DSP revolution?

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Hugo76
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DSP revolution?

Post by Hugo76 » Fri Nov 16, 2007 3:51 pm

The coming Waldorf Blofeld had me thinking; due to the incredibly low price tag - has there been some kind of DSP revolution lately? I mean, a synth with the Blofelds spec would have easily cost at least 3 or 4 times as much only few years back. Indeed it is alot cheaper than for instance Korgs R3, yet it blows it away spec-wise.
Can we expect a whole new era of hardware synths?

Any thoughts?

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Post by yburn » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:18 pm

until you actually see one that works I wouldn't bother thinking about it.

It's also worth pointing out that synths, as a consumer product, are designed to fit into price bands. Korg think they can sell it at the price, doesn't really matter whether it cost more or less to make than a blofeld, it's part of a product line which is trying to wrangle every last penny out of the R&D on the Oasys. Korg will sell more R3s than Waldorf will sell any synth because they are Korg.

Personally I can't see much point in having a hardware VA with a limited interface, you may as well use a plugin.
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Post by JSRockit » Fri Nov 16, 2007 4:51 pm

yburn wrote: Korg will sell more R3s than Waldorf will sell any synth because they are Korg.
Yep, that's the bottom line.
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Post by SWAN » Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:13 pm

yburn wrote:
Personally I can't see much point in having a hardware VA with a limited interface, you may as well use a plugin.
Good point. But to me, the best VA still sound better than the majority of the plugins-although the margin of that is decreasing....Separate DSP from the host computer can allow for more sophisticated coding=better sound + no host load. A la SCOPE/Virus TI. I think manufacturers should go the DSP route but as a node from the host-like the TI. Its the better middle ground in my mind. Of course Creamware and Digidesign have been doing it for years-just not in external boxes as control surfaces. The Blofeld looks awesome to me. Im not sure if you can send audio down USB straight into the DAW tho...

Also some people do like to use the computer for mixing, and external boxes for sound making-better separation in music making.

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Post by Hugo76 » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:19 am

yburn wrote:Personally I can't see much point in having a hardware VA with a limited interface, you may as well use a plugin.
That's another thing about the Blofeld; the interface seems awesome. With that big screen I'd much rather tweak the Blofeld than programming parameters on a computer with my mouse. This has actually been a inspiration killer for me.
What you say about Korg selling more because of their name, is obviously a fact. However, the big three can't keep on selling synths at a much higher price than a competiton that provides much more powerful products at a substantially lower price.

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Re: DSP revolution?

Post by Yoozer » Sat Nov 17, 2007 12:26 am

Hugo76 wrote:The coming Waldorf Blofeld had me thinking; due to the incredibly low price tag - has there been some kind of DSP revolution lately?
How 'bout this: all the Blofeld code was already available since it's not that different from a Micro Q (and therefore only needs Micro Q quality DSPs, IIRC some older Motorola ones).
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Post by yburn » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:34 am

I can't see much changing soon. It's not all about the quality of the instruments, the smaller manufacturers just can't compete on manufacturing levels/ cost or distribution channels. One lemon and a smaller manufacturer can go under whereas the bigger manufacturers can release synth after synth and always have something new and "exciting" on the market.

As for the interface, having had a microQ, I'd think the interface on the Blofeld would be fine but you'll find many that would want more than 4 rotaries and many that can't stand a matrix. Most midi controllers have twice the number of controls at least.

As far as I know, code is code whether it runs on dedicated DSP chips or a Pentium processor so there is no difference in sound quality. With the speed on modern processors load is becoming a non issue for most applications. I personally still use my powercore for everything but if I had to buy now I might just settle for the sonnox plugins instead and forget about DSP cards. There's also no reason the PowerCore Access Virus code couldn't run on a normal PC.
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Post by masstronaut » Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:54 am

yburn wrote:There's also no reason the PowerCore Access Virus code couldn't run on a normal PC.
Except that it would have to be completely rewritten? ;) (OK - maybe some of it can be recompiled.)

I think it's a good question - there must be developments in DSP design just as there have been with more general purpose processors. And don't forget that the whole point of a DSP is that it has more built-in low level instructions and architectural design characteristics geared towards accelerating signal processing. So it's better at what it does than a CPU of similar size and speed.

The Alesis ION & Micron are an interesting case - they have a dedicated chip for each voice, that's 8 processors (plus 1 for the FX). You'd have to go quite high up the Intel product line to get a CPU capable of doing the DSP functions of 9 dedicated custom designed chips.

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Post by yburn » Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:53 pm

perhaps there are lots of new DSP processors, the other stumbling block is developers. Finding someone to code some DSP routines in C++ for VST is a lot easier than trying to find the developers to create wrappers that link to DSP code running on proprietary hardware.

I wish there was an open DSP platform that would run routines that could be compiled form C or something. Open source drive, standardized processors, like a P+P DSP farm.

It's beyond my programming skills to know how this would work.
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Re: DSP revolution?

Post by Zarith » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:59 pm

Hugo76 wrote:The coming Waldorf Blofeld had me thinking; due to the incredibly low price tag - has there been some kind of DSP revolution lately? I mean, a synth with the Blofelds spec would have easily cost at least 3 or 4 times as much only few years back. Indeed it is alot cheaper than for instance Korgs R3, yet it blows it away spec-wise.
Can we expect a whole new era of hardware synths?

Any thoughts?
Well, processors are cheap these days. The 2 Texas Instruments TMS 320 processors in my Radias cost approx. $8 each. I guess the Blofeld can run with one small (cheap) processor.

Remember that the Blofeld is MicroQ in a new package, with just a extra features. It was not build from scratch. $400 is good price, it could even cost less.

The Blofeld doesn't "blow away spec-wise" the R3. You're wrong here. The R3 and Radias include a very powerful and aliasing free engine with 4 different synthesis (analog modeling, formant, FM and PCM), 2 continuous multi-mode filters, a vocoder and a complete dual effect processor. "Spec-wise" the Blofeld is a junior compared to the R3 (but it might sound better!).

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Post by Hugo76 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:58 pm

What happened to the posts of yesterday? Several have disappeared!
Anyways, according to a swiss webshop, the Blofeld is supposed to be available as of today :D

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Post by Vxster » Mon Nov 19, 2007 4:04 pm

Check the announcements forum.

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Re: DSP revolution?

Post by supermel74 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:54 pm

Hugo76 wrote:Indeed it is alot cheaper than for instance Korgs R3, yet it blows it away spec-wise. Any thoughts?
I'd take an R3 over a Blofeld anyday. Specs? Most people actually don't need a 16 part va or 50 note polyphony. Those specs are just overkill for 95% of users. Add to that the fact that it's just a little box with a few knobs and I can't see why anybody would drop more than $300 on this thing.

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Post by altemark » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:16 pm

http://www.sequencer.de/blog/?p=2277

"Blofeld will have all Waldorf MicrowaveXTk, MicrowaveXT Wavetables on board plus those of the Waldorf microQ / Waldorf Q. The first batch of blofelds are ready to sell and will be available very s.o.o.n (in about 1 week). It will come for 399€ over here in europe."

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Post by MitchK1989 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:23 pm

altemark wrote:http://www.sequencer.de/blog/?p=2277

"Blofeld will have all Waldorf MicrowaveXTk, MicrowaveXT Wavetables on board plus those of the Waldorf microQ / Waldorf Q.
'


WHAAAAAA?

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