why are VA's called VA's?

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zmd
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why are VA's called VA's?

Post by zmd » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:49 am

i know it stands for virtual analog, but, shouldn't they be called synths only?
i mean, they were called synths when they were analog, but, a watch is still a watch, not a virtual analog watch.
maybe i'm just tired of the term, but, isn't it time we called em all synths?
i'm waxing philosophical i know, but... :D

anywho, i look at synths as a relatively new thing, we are on the ground floor still, we are the pioneers, and i think of the history of synths as taught in 100 years. "well, they kept changing what they called them, and that led to the keyboard rebellion of 2032 where over 200,000 keyboardists had their fingers removed (as was the custom in those war torn times) to prevent them from having any further interest in the conflict"
or something.

but in a bit more serousness, when do you suppose the "VA" term will die its deserved death?
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Post by GeneralBigbag » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:52 am

Should we call them physical modelling synths instead?
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Post by Synthazaiser » Thu Jan 03, 2008 12:56 am

I'm no expert, but I think the name "VA" is well suited. VAs are digital synths, so they are not really analog, but they function more like an analog synth. My MS2000 is just as digital as my DX7, but the DX7 is definately not a VA. Therefore, I see no reason why we shouldn't call things like JP-8000 and MS2000 "VA". As for not calling them synths, I hardly think that any of us on this forum would not realize that we were not talking about watches. If you prefer to say "VA synth", go ahead.
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Post by Alex E » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:13 am

It's not analog, but it acts like it... So it's analog in a virtual way- Virtual Analog.

Your answer is literally in the term in question.
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Post by zmd » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:18 am

i should have stated too, i'm really deeply invested in this in anyway, just thinking out loud

i think digital synth is good too, maybe i really just hate that keyboards without any ability to synthesize, get called synths. i dunno. but i don't love the VA term.

i should also say, in no way should any snobbery come from this, check my gear list for proof of my humbleness of gear :)
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Post by clusterchord » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:24 am

i think Virtual Analog is appropriate term.

until the synth starts offering more int terms of snythesis, beyond classic "analog" subtractive.. then i like the term "digital snythesiter".

for example: FS1R, K5000, VSynth stuff like that. even Virus TI aint really just a VA anymore.
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Post by zmd » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:26 am

makes sense clusterchord!

i was thinking how so few of the current ones are looking only backwards too. some really do, like creamware of course.
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Post by Zamise » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:31 am

I can get what your saying. "Virtual" is just an overused term. Either it is what it is or it isn't. h**l man, I seen an advert on a box for a can of something the other day in the store and it said the [insert product name] "Virtually lasts forever. Guaranteed!". I actually got pissed at that box while I was in the store, well actually its more like I got virtually pissed to tell the truth. Marketing tactics :x
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Post by xpander » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:38 am

it's a totally accurate description.

i think what you are looking to do is to call them subtractive synthesizers, because that describes less the nature of the circuitry and more the nature of their synthesis.

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Post by zmd » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:40 am

Zamise wrote:I can get what your saying. "Virtual" is just an overused term. Either it is what it is or it isn't. h**l man, I seen an advert on a box for a can of something the other day in the store and it said the [insert product name] "Virtually last forever. Guaranteed!". I actually got pissed at that box while I was in the store, well actually its more like I got virtually pissed to tell the truth. Marketing tactics :x
hahahahah, awesome!

i love how little meaning virtual has in those type of adds!
xpander wrote:it's a totally accurate description.

i think what you are looking to do is to call them subtractive synthesizers, because that describes less the nature of the circuitry and more the nature of their synthesis.
food for thought
can i call em subsynths and have my own catchy term tho? :D
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Post by Synthprophet » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:41 am

Back in the days I don't think what kind of synth it was, was relevant as today. It seems like we care more about the differences between the different synthtypes. I also think it is more common that we care more about if it's real analog or VA.
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Re: why are VA's called VA's?

Post by Synthaholic » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:44 am

zmd wrote:i mean, they were called synths when they were analog, but, a watch is still a watch, not a virtual analog watch.
When synths were analog, that's all they were (digital synths didn't exist or were rare/expensive back then), and they were pretty much all subtractive synths. So they just called them synths.

Then when other synth technologies appeared (digital FM, additive, sample-playback, and yes, virtual analog) the terms are used to describe the type of synth, since each type has its own attributes, so it's good to know what kind of sounds it can make.

Watches are often described as "analog" or "digital", but the term "analog" nowadays refers to the watch face having hands instead of digits, rather than the underlying technology. I guess a quartz-timed watch with hands would be a "virtual analog" watch. I guess if watch terminology applied to synths, the JD-800 would be an analog synth. ;)
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Post by zmd » Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:46 am

i want a va abacus now!

hhehehe, but, it's fun to see how we all see this...i gotta say, i'm pretty alone on this so far tho, so i guess the companies won't be stealing my idea, eh?
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Post by Villi » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:04 am

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

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Post by caligari » Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:10 am

The whole point of labeling all these synths differently is so that we, the user, can identify the method of synthesis that rests under the hood.

Analog means discrete circuitry that does not contain ic chips in the actual voice path. If they are present in that path it is a virtual analog.

Other synths produce sounds in different ways from a standard subtractive method also.

FM, pseudo-additive in Yamaha DX series

Wavetable synthesis in Ensoniq ESQ1, Korg Wave, PPG Waves, etc.

Sampling synths that sample their own waveforms like the Korg DSS

GeneralBigbag wrote:Should we call them physical modelling synths instead?
And physical modeling refers to synths, usually software, that allow you to build acoustic instruments from scratch by designing a resonating chamber, choosing strings or membranes, and methods of striking, etc. Very cool but tough to use.

The cutting edge in synth design lies in software because of cost efficiency. Cutting edge hardware synths like the Hartmann Neuron are way to expensive and tend to fail.
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