Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

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Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by surveysynth » Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:52 am

Hello, please take a moment to participate in my survey studying whether groups can identify a real analog synth vs a virtual analog. This is for a masters thesis project. It is an anonymous survey, you will listen to a few short sound samples.

Survey Link

Thanks!

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by ʝɵʝɵ » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:07 am

Interesting survey - but you really should consider not using SoundCloud for hosting the audio examples. Their online player always uses very badly encoded 128kbit MP3s, no matter how high-grade the uploaded material is. The MP3 artefacts are more obvious than anything else!

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by knolan » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:44 pm

Can't answer the survey - the first question excludes me - I'm both (and suspect most here are too).

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by Zamise » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:05 am

Not taken it yet, will try it. I am not sure what you'll accomplish either way the results turn up. You are already making a huge over generalization by pitting what is likely one synth against another and using them to represent the whole gambit of synths in the same category. Or, either you are just trying to fool people. I know I can't tell True Analog from Virtural Analog unless it is made really really obvious somehow which is not always that easy to do, however I can usually tell the dif between old shitty synth and a nice new synth., the analog vrs digital is a pretty old and warn out game for starting c**p, almost troll like here, anywhows I guess I bought in to it. What is the surprise bombshell?

Taken... not sure if I got any of them right even though I do hear differences in some of them.
<ZQS> [....<OII>.....soundcloud player v2.42.....................link]

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by Voodoo Ray » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:25 am

Gave it a go.

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by jxalex » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:32 pm

cant make the test. The webpage does not open -- too complex.

Please make a simple HTML with audio links in it with poll answers.


However some thoughts:

There are patches/sounds where it is to me no difference if it is the sample/analog/digital/VA synth, if they are carefully made to look alike. But it is just a some "common area". It also depends on what mix it is listened.

Still, there can be big difference. The synths can still be tweaked to the end where the analog does what cant be done with Virtual Analog and which is not at all so extreme, but it needs some sort of certain patch.

Also, does the listener hear or sense it somehow? If not then my all efforts were lost.

And if it is all-things-equal situation, then to me it counts how it is usable as a TOOL in my current setup and I prefer to use what I already have instead of selling-buying newer VA gear. ;-)

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by madtheory » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:21 pm

knolan wrote:Can't answer the survey - the first question excludes me - I'm both (and suspect most here are too).
Agreed- being a musician does not preclude being a synth expert.

Is this a college assignment? Because you have a study design issue. As has been pointed out, it's true that the SoundCloud streaming is a problem. The 128k MP3 is now an extra variable in the test. Studies show that 128k artefacts are detectable even by "non-expert" listeners. Variables need to be reduced to only the ones you want to test.

As to guessing- simple statistical analysis will show you if the user guessed their answers.

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by surveysynth » Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:06 pm

Thanks to those who took the survey!

Not looking to get into word games, but I don't follow as to how anyone could fall into more than one of these categories:

1. non-musician
2. musician, not synth expert
3. synth expert

if you are a synth expert you must be in some capacity a musician...it does not need to be qualified

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by cl516 » Fri Mar 03, 2017 6:20 pm

I played. But rather than a straight-forward test, I felt it was deliberately trying to trick the listener into picking a specific answer, like trying to prove a point. And of course the Soundcloud streaming didn't help, but it's a timesaver and easiest way I guess. Fun times.

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by surveysynth » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:03 pm

With all due respect there are no tricks. Its straightforward. One sound was produced analog, the other with a virtual analog plugin. Simple as that.. Not trying to prove anything. It is just a study for a thesis.

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by Jabberwalky » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:04 pm

I think whatever conclusions you come to will be kind of skewed to whatever point you're trying to make with the thesis. Some of them were a little more obvious, but most of the sounds were very basic, where almost any synth could create the sounds. If the point of the thesis is to make VA more valid than analog, or vice versa, the only conclusion could be "Both are valid in their own ways".

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by surveysynth » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:14 pm

The point is not to prove if one is more valid than another. It is only to study if different groups can significantly identify which is which.

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by CS_TBL » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:38 pm

I fail to see the point of this survey, really.

Of each sound question, the sounds were different, but not in ways that can be addressed to the source being analogue or digital, just parameters being different. It's like asking which of these is the best number: 31 or 84. Or, if quality shouldn't be considered a factor (which you've pointed out), it's like asking which of those numbers reminds one most of strawberries. Simply put: I don't know! Of each sound question, I know how to construct those sounds with either method, so how am I supposed to tell which is which? In addition to not knowing, I actually don't really care either. As Jabber pointed out: a basic osc->filter->envelope sound isn't much to study. Complex ringmods with extremely high frequencies, that is where the analogue domain has an advantage. Not saying that these would be pleasant sounds to listen to, but at least the study of an audience recognising such differences would make sense.

And as for the first question: if you leave out the term 'musician' from the 'synth expert' choice, this can be interpreted as "musicianship prolly isn't related to being a synth expert". And yes, this may all sound like nitpicking over words and semantics, but for a thesis these things have to be be devoid of any doubts and ambiguity.
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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by surveysynth » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:54 pm

I respectfully disagree but thanks for the feedback

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Re: Survey on Analog vs Virtual Analog Synths

Post by madtheory » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:57 pm

surveysynth wrote:Thanks to those who took the survey!

Not looking to get into word games, but I don't follow as to how anyone could fall into more than one of these categories:

1. non-musician
2. musician, not synth expert
3. synth expert

if you are a synth expert you must be in some capacity a musician...it does not need to be qualified
Yes, that's true, but that's not the problem. The problem is how you have qualified it. Your question implies that the categories are exclusive.

Word games? You've just made it wide open.
surveysynth wrote:I respectfully disagree but thanks for the feedback
That fundamentally prevents you from getting a valid result from a survey, because you're unable to account for bias. Don't take that as a negative criticism by the way! Bias is fundamental to the human condition. It is not stupidity or ignorance. Therefore it is something we must all try to account for when trying to learn new things.
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Last edited by madtheory on Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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