Goose wrote:Is being a virtual analog a subjective thing? Are synths definitely or definitely not VA or is it pretty much whatever the company calls it? I mean, the Novation Novas are pretty modern sounding, but they're called Virtual Analogs, which confuses me a little, I don't really get it. "modelled on analog methods and designs" sounds pretty general, like something that'd be in a lot of product descriptions. I might be looking too far into it though. Okay, here's something that might help, why is the Microkorg considered virtual analog but the Roland JD-800 isn't? Sorry for the endless questions by the way
THE MAIN THING (sorry caps) is not the control surface it's the sound creation method
most importantly at the oscillator level. If a digital synth uses DSP/Software to create live versions of waveforms (like an rough simulation of what analog does) then it IS a virtual analog in that respect (to be what most would term a true VA you would need the control surface to go with it - see further down re D-50).
If it uses static samples (rompler) then it isn't. If it uses FM (not static but not analog simulation) then it isn't. I think you are worrying a bit too much about terms instead of just listening and enjoying a synth.
It is SIMPLE.
A Digital synth tends to be either FM, PCM (or hybrid), or VA - to simplify the main types.
FM and VA create waveforms 'on the fly' or 'live' if you will by referring to code, algorithms, systems... blah blah to create a sound's starting block that isn't exactly 'static' (so more akin to analog which constantly create waveforms live/on the fly).
On the other side (PCM/Romplers like the JD-800) use STATIC PCM SAMPLES as their basis for sound creation. THAT is the fundamental difference between romplers and VA. The fact VA have nice control surfaces is just because they do, because it was part of the marketing and the ethos of the instrument. Nothing to stop a Rompler having that (JD-800) it's just a very rare and now-a-days almost pointless endevour as they found that DSP/on the fly creation of waveforms (VA) was more lively and more akin to 'real analog' than the romplers/sampled/pcm synths (so those type now tend to be the big workstations or preset machines with gigabytes of samples in, while the VAs rarely if ever use samples - ms2000 etc CAN use some samples but it's a feature not forced).
The Roland D-50 is often called the 'first VA' (and yet you can see it does NOT have a knobby interface at all) because it's a digital recreation of an analog process (live waveforms created on the fly by software) - yes it ALSO has some short samples that you can tack on (optional) that gave it it's great sound at the time but now the D-50 is still revered due to that 'hypothetical analog synthesizer' (as roland calls it) inside that is always live, never static like a pure rompler.
You really can't class all digital synths under the same banner, there is a wide variety.