A discussion on improving synth design.

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kogmachine
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A discussion on improving synth design.

Post by kogmachine » Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:43 am

I think about designing my own synths a lot. I look at features from many hardware and software synths and try to think of ways they could be better.

I believe that software is overtaking the market for hardware synths. They're much cheaper, there's less s**t to lug around, and softsynths usually have more interesting features than most hardware synths. But softsynths have no physical controls with the exception of NI Kore, and you still need a keyboard controller. Who wants to take the time to map MIDI controls? I know it's not difficult, but it's very time consuming to make templates for say over a hundred different softsynths, (if you use or have that many). I for one would not like to see hardware synth manufacturers go out of business, because they couldn't compete with developers of softsynths. I like hardware and I like software too, and I think for the future of electronic music (which is pretty much all new music) the key to keeping hardware alive is software.

For starters, USB connectivity with editor software and VSTi/AU/RTAS/DXi support is very useful for editing patches on a larger screen and for syncing your hardware with your favorite software sequencer. The Virus TI is a prime example for hardware keeping up with the growing softsynth market. I hope that other companies follow suit.

I look at FL Studio's Sytrus plugin, and often wonder if a hardware synth's mod matrix should have physical controls, so you wouldn't have to venture into the menus to setup your mod routings, much like a modular system. Sytrus would be a great hardware synth.

I do like onboard effects, even though they typically don't sound as good as external effect modules or pedals. Chorus, distortion, delay, and reverb are must haves.

MIDI control with auto mapping like the Novation Remote SL, would be immensely valuable for controlling all of your softsynths and saving valuable time.

I'd like to see more hybrid synths, like the Elektron Monomachine that utilize more than one or two forms of synthesis.

So, what features do you think would improve hardware saleability?
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Re: A discussion on improving synth design.

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:34 am

kogmachine wrote:So, what features do you think would improve hardware saleability?
I think if consumers would get away from the notion that keyboard instruments should be extremely convenient, extremely cheap, and give them everything they've ever wanted all at once, perhaps hardware saleability would increase. :lol:
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Post by crow » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:39 am

So, what features do you think would improve hardware saleability?

Big giant f**k off letters from A to G on the keys. Then repeated. BUT not on the same keys. 8)
...and ah just thought, cuntin well hit it!
GOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL!!!!

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Re: A discussion on improving synth design.

Post by Box » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:51 am

kogmachine wrote:So, what features do you think would improve hardware saleability?
Hmm... More built in effects: chorus, phaser, etc... Arpeggiators and sequencers... Of course a drop in price. Lighter weight and built sturdier. Lots of memory is always good. Of course good sound and functionality is always important. Good keyboard action with velocity and aftertouch etc... Mainly, the more you can cram in and the cheaper you can sell it the better.
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Re: A discussion on improving synth design.

Post by RobotHeroes » Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:25 am

Box wrote:Mainly, the more you can cram in and the cheaper you can sell it the better.
That's never going to happen. :lol: Either the more your cram the more expensive it will be or the more your cram the weaker the quality. I would like to imagine a Prophet '08 or an Andromeda at the 1K range new but if they were they wouldn't be as good.

On the part of sales I would have to agree with Box. Lower priced swiss army knife synths would sell but I'd hate to imagine the sound quality or overall quality period. Synths by Ikea? No thanks.

I was thinking what about something with programatical upgrades? Like plug-ins? Or something super modifiable. Then I thought about the Arturia Origin. It looks to allow you to combine different modules from different synths. The only thing I've tried from them was the Moog Modular V. Sound wise I am not too fond of it but am curious to listen to the Origin.

I would def like to see the Monomachine cross synthesis tables as well as user uploaded sounds, like I posted in my Monomachine-UW thread some time ago. They are cooking something for sure. Let's see them battle the Nord Wave.

In this day and age a synth that can interact with a computer/software is def good. The Nord Modular is pretty cool. I would much rather look at a nice GUI than a little screen but be able to work with a little screen when I can't use a comp. Good interface? Lousy interfaces scare people away and cripple the user experience. Elektron I love you. :lol:
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Post by MitchK1989 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:14 am

Hardware peices should offer things software doesn't, either in terms of a unique/well designed interface, a unique way of using analog or digital electronics that hasn't been emulated to death already, or a form of sequencing/control that software doesn't give.

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Post by OriginalJambo » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:18 am

Personally?

Sell them together with a free meal - I can't resist a good feeding on the cheap. ;)

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Post by synapsecollapse » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:59 am

so...

is your complaint that there aren't enough Virus TI's and Elektron monomachines out there? or that you cant afford/don't own them?

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Post by JackAstro » Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:45 am

Good idea.

I would like to see more interface options. Like the touch pad, the d-beam, or the electribe arpeggiator.

Some sequencer options would be nice too. And I don't just mean sequencing notes. For example, polyrhythmic step sequencers for patch parameters.

Getting away from subtractive and FM synthesis would be really nice. Maybe you could design the interface and synthesis method together!!

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Post by kogmachine » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:06 am

This tread is not to complain... I'm just trying to gather opinions on what features people like. I used those particular synths as examples of great, cutting edge products. And I will get a TI, probably by the end of next year. Right now it's not a priority because TI's are plentiful. There are a lot fewer Andromeda's out there, so that's my next acquisition.

I'd like to add how Sytrus uses envelopes for just about all of it's modulations. Pretty innovative.

A great UI is the most important feature of a synth, bar none.
Last edited by kogmachine on Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Wiglaf » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:14 am

kogmachine wrote:Why does everyone always complain?
It's easier to complain about than to solve a problem.


Personally, I agree with your desire for more "hybrid" synths. For example, I love synths like the V-Synth and MEK simply because there's a greater range of ways to produce different sounds, versus more "traditional" synths like, say, a Little Phatty.
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Post by RobotHeroes » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:42 am

kogmachine wrote:Why does everyone always complain?
It's a requirement in a thread. :lol:
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Post by kogmachine » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:06 am

RobotHeroes wrote:
kogmachine wrote:Why does everyone always complain?
It's a requirement in a thread. :lol:
Some people like to start arguments. Probably why some people don't like this forum anymore. I try not to let it bother me when someone gets all worked up about something I said and to what they say in response. I'm not here to b***h and call people names and start fights and piss people off. It's a waste of time and energy, and helps no one. I'm here to learn and get better at what I love doing.
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Post by RobotHeroes » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:11 am

:boxing: Don't come after me. My post kicked a*s. You must've meant to quote the other guy up there.
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Post by kogmachine » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:12 am

RobotHeroes,

I just clicked on your link! :lol:
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