Why Modern Digital Synthesis Is More Analog Than Analog

Discussion in 'Software' started by Lemmy, Mar 2, 2024.

  1. Lemmy

    Lemmy Audiosexual

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    I thought that was very interesting

     
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  3. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    In a blind test, i REALLY started to struggle with "old tech" like UHE ACE, Synth Squad ... era.
    Zero latency filter, audio rate modulation ... it was a revolution.

    To me, it was already "realistic enough" for synths. I never wanted to buy another analog synth after those plugins.

    Same in guitar domain with Kemper (12 years ago ?) : touring musicians were already using it live ... and no one cared.
    Fear Factory toured with the first Line6 Vetta. So what ?

    I don't even speak about "in the mix"... we would reach 100% random answers in blind test.

    Listen to those demos (12th August 2009 ... yes already)
    https://www.fxpansion.com/products/dcamsynthsquad/
     
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  4. orbitbooster

    orbitbooster Audiosexual

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    I'm not sure, but it seems to me that Anthony was suffering...:rofl:
     
  5. toetea

    toetea Kapellmeister

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    May be suffering for other reasons, he looks like he does not sleep. :speaker:
     
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  6. Demloc

    Demloc Platinum Record

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    Tottally agree with the guy,my first "Synth" was a cracked VirsSyn Tera loaded on a 386, and man, do they sound better nowadays. Also I always felt that the modular analog comeback was some kind or reaction from the market to the wealthy against the popular democratization of the means of music production. :rofl:. I even ditched the constrained physycal knobs and faders and have a tablet with TouchOSC and dozens of custom made configurations for every posible scenario, just in one 15" screen. You can turn up or down a fader with the same or more precision, (cause with OSC we are in the floating point realm), and even a infinite knob, with little practice. And you can program behaviors and interactions between them totally imposible on the physical.

    I'm tottally biased towards Digital but is just because is far superior and cheaper than Analog. :bleh:
     
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  7. vaiman

    vaiman Platinum Record

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    Yes, great video as usual from him.
    I've around 20 vintage synths here, nobody can tell the difference between them to their digital versions. But everyone gravitates to the synths and play them. Smile, and actually play them, twist things etc. They click through presets on the plugs.

    Flip side, I don't wince and grit my teeth when I turn a plugin on. Unlike some of these crackly old girls. For me, sound is no different, except digital can go beyond the OG. Fun factor is with the crappy dusty one's.
     
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  8. Xupito

    Xupito Audiosexual

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    When you really have to take a shit but you have to hold it... the pain!
     
  9. SineWave

    SineWave Audiosexual

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    VA synths have come a long way, mates, indeed. I've been thinking about it just the other day and concluded we had a form of "peak audio DSP" about 10 or so years ago. What I mean with peak DSP is - it cannot get any or much better than that. However, it's still not a great idea to ditch anything, rather use everything at your disposal to create. Know your tools well and use what you think is appropriate to bring your imagination out, be less worried about the process than the results.
     
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  10. Lois Lane

    Lois Lane Audiosexual

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    First I gotta say that Marc Barton's thesis that modern digital synthesis is more analog than analog is a bit shabby at the least and both confrontational and click-batey at best as I don't buy into his example of S/N making digital synths superior. More real than real is an odd idea and one that just makes little sense to me. I haven't read his paper on the subject but will. We also differ when he appreciates having limitless filters, oscillators and the like, though of course to each to their own, whereas in my own work I have always strived for simplicity and getting off on being limited to basic ingredients. The greatest joy I ever had when making art in any medium was at a beach in Malibu and creating a 400 meter long piece by using found wood, shells and stones. I enjoy holding a guitar, or any other instrument for that matter, and being able to express myself in the moment without tether to cables or the need for technology. A lump of clay in my hands becomes what it will. I do use both vsti and analog synthesizers and enjoy what both bring to my music but wouldn't ditch analog anything "just because". I never liked Cherry Audio synths and have rid them all on my hard drive after auditioning them and never bought any. I guess Marc and I just have different tastes.
     
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  11. BuntyMcCunty

    BuntyMcCunty Rock Star

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    Particularly as he's saying it surrounded by hundreds of thousands of dollars work of vintage synths and sporting a Moog t-shirt. Clearly he isn't getting rid of HIS analog gear any time soon.

    I also use digital VST's and analog hardware. For me, the hardware is mostly about the workflow. It all sounds good to me.
     
  12. DoubleSharp

    DoubleSharp Platinum Record

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    I highly agree with everything Mark says, totally. I think Anthony misses the point on musical instrument, he comes across very naively and a bit of a dick. I suppose he is on to something with regard to limitations of midi and the lack of a market for midi interfaces. But the BB2 controller in combo with any polyphonic midi enabled synth is wayyyy more musical than a strad.

    Furthermore, if you can record advanced expressive midi, you probably save off the midi and then really work on the synth after the performance. Many ways of skinning a cat.

    Let's face it 90% of the world violinist probably won't sound any better on a strad, the average listener wouldn't hear the difference of a top player on a sub standard instrument. The best musicians don't blame their tools.
     
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  13. mondomorte

    mondomorte Producer

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    Not sure what you mean - that is not Mark Barton's studio but the interviewers. It was mentioned multiple times in the video that he did, in fact, get rid of ALL his analog gear. It was also mentioned that the large modular behind him was purchased from him by the interviewer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2024
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  14. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    clickbait? check. But I really do like the idea of other people selling their analog synths. Hopefully they put them on Reverb, and not eBay. Reverb does something like not transferring the money to the seller, until the buyer has gotten the item. Ebay is usually like finding something at a garage or estate sale, compared with Reverb; where the sellers know what they are selling.

    If people want to convince themselves emulations are as good as the real thing, have at it. I'm not sure what causes someone to prefer a computer file over a musical instrument.
     
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  15. mondomorte

    mondomorte Producer

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    Personally, the creative process (which is, since I make electronic music, often a technical process) ultimately comes down to what I desire sound-wise at a given moment. Over the years I have worked to dispel some of the sentimental biases that were keeping me from achieving more or less the same results albeit in drastically shorter time and more convenience with software (not as a rule, I use both, but its important to know where and when the differences actually matter).

    I ended up realizing that many of these hang ups had far more psychological and perceptive weight to them for me than any sonic difference could amount to.

    The biggest thing I have noticed between my software and hardware has been undoubtedly WORKFLOW. I still sometimes use my hardware sampler, for example, - not because it imparts some sound I can't easily recreate or even greatly embellish in software - but because it has a certain workflow and certain limitations which I do sometimes find inspiring. But if I just want to cut a breakbeat up or dirty up some drums quickly, why the fuck would I boot up my Akai and slog through the menus, wait for processing times, take 20min to jog wheel my cuts into place, etc when I could load my FX chain and dynamically slice the beat in Reaper in about 5 seconds. The only good reason I can come up with is that it imparts a certain sentimental feeling (in addition to its inconvenience) and this is highly subjective to the point where it virtually doesn't matter in a debate like this about which is supposedly "better".

    Of course, having a large Alesis Andromeda in front of you is going to inspire feelings and sentiments that you just won't get anywhere else (I mean it also sounds phat as hell, but again very few people are going to tell and software can get us 98% of the way or further if we know how to use our tools). For me, with biases out of the way, I would choose to use it less for its sound and more because it feels like I am the pilot of a starship, it has a direct physicality that is overall inspiring on some level to use. But I have software synths that do cool shit the Andromeda cannot, and I don't think they are somehow 'lesser than' because they exist inside my computer. On the other hand, nothing I have in software sounds quite like the Waldorf Microwave XT (also digital).

    All I'm saying is that the better we know what we want, getting results timely and conveniently are crucial. Doing away with my perceptive biases surrounding this topic has greatly helped me cut through all the noise and get back to the signal, so to speak.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2024
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  16. mondomorte

    mondomorte Producer

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    One more thing is that I, like many people here, also feel great nostalgia and sentimentality about certain software. I still love using certain software that reminds me of the 'good old days' and my relationship with their looks and sounds is a lot more inspiring and personal than how I feel about, I don't know, a MiniMoog.

    A lot of the analog hype is similar to that because it comes from an era when digital still had a long way to go and the sonic, haptic, and nostalgic benefits of analog hardware were still obvious.
     
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  17. mondomorte

    mondomorte Producer

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    But this debate often comes with a lot of stupidity. Just the other day I saw someone going on about how analog sounds better than digital and they used a fucking DX-7 as an example :trolls:
     
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  18. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Guest

    One keyboard player I worked with learned how to program his own sounds in a KORG Polysix a long time ago. They sounded like nothing I've even heard today. If tone or quality is the primary focus of this thread, then yes, Digital synthesis is of a far superior timbre and tonal spectrum quality, not to mention superior polyphony. If sounds only, many sound similar and get similar results far more easily if copying is the intent. Analog emulations... take your pick... if something does the job, then it does not matter which is chosen.

    As for is it better? Analog is analog, digital is digital... oranges and apples. They're both created differently. I remember some time ago, someone asking why their Moog poly vst did not quite sound the same. For a start, they had nine notes playing at once on a keyboard when invented only had a maximum of eight. The Moog emulations sound better these days though. They also lacked body and warmth early on. It will only keep getting better. The synth that impressed me the most for its potential in the Digital realm, is XFER's Serum. Its programmable facilities give it the possibility to be something actually new and not a remake of something else that already exists. IRIS also has that potential. Meh, I still love an analog Mini-Moog.
     
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  19. clone

    clone Audiosexual

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    There are almost always people with their own agendas involved in the subject, and that's how it even becomes a "debate" in the first place.

    If all someone cares about is what sound they will end up with in their DAW for a song to stick on youtube, that just ignores much of what makes physical analog synths nice instruments. Especially if you actually play them. And of course the results hinge on other external factors, like cabling, mixer, DAC, and so on.

    There's a reason why the "synth world" always comes back to analog. You mention the DX7, and around the time; everything about the "new digital synths" were subjects of hype. A few years later, right back to analog. Again and Again. When you see a software developer of synths who have some real money, why do they always have a big collection of hardware? While they tell you that what they are selling is just as good? It's because they know that it isn't.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2024
  20. ItsFine

    ItsFine Platinum Record

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    Some ppl had a good argument about DX7 (and music made with it) :
    DX7 polyphony
    Before that, polyphonic analog synths where scarce AND expansive.
    DX7 helped playing RICH chords and sustain (16 polyphony).

    No analog synth could do that in that era.

    Add to that a very broad palette of sounds, and you get a winner.

    The main reason why it failed in the long run is less than 10 ppl on the planet really known HOW to really program it :rofl:
    So all ppl used the same sound banks and presets.

    When computer editors were created ... it was already too late.

    Famous expression for programming DX7 : painting a room through a letter box opening :rofl:
     
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  21. Stevie Dude

    Stevie Dude Audiosexual

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    So he's the co-creator of Pollard Syndrum

    upload_2024-3-3_9-39-34.png

     
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