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Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 10:32 pm
by nvbrkr
I have usually a problem with people labeling something as "sounding digital", which is usually just voiced when people proceeding to use such expressions can't spot the most obvious and stereotypical qualities associated with the analog medium that outright. Those being in the case of synths most often the sound of an overdriven filter, the drifting pitch of the oscillators and the lack of the type high frequency definition more commonly found on contemporary music. Old analogs are commonly appreciated on the basis of their own limitations - which is fine on its own right - but using the term "digital" as some sort of an overarching derogatory term just reeks of total ignorance as far as any understanding on music technology goes. That was widely the case with the negative comments on the web concerning the Voyager when Moog first released it, and you can usually spot similar tendencies all the time when e.g. guitarists are discussing gear. You can also spot such expressions used in reviews for records released in the marginal music genres.

"It sounds so digital".

Analog is more than just something sounding shitty in a potentially attractive way, it is also about the definition of the sound - some would also dare to call it, "its depth". I would call it "character" or "texture" myself, since I am a sort of a pretentious individual in the end. I made some comparisons between the Voyager and the Arturia Minimoog V this morning once more - and whilst someonce could make the claim that the VSTi would be actually "closer to the sound" of the original Minimoog, I think it was just really easy for me to spot which one is the analog synth and which one a digital emulation of an analog synth.

I might be wrong about that, but at least I don't think I am.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:07 pm
by plikestechno
I don't think it's complete ignorance saying that a lot of VAs sound digital. I enjoyed playing with the Waldorf Q rack I had at one point but sold it because it always sounded like I was listening to a CD as opposed to the sound I get out of Solina, Syncussion, Octave Cat SRM etc. Also the single waveforms on a lot of VAs don't sound very authentic at all. Like get a good, true triangle on a VA. I've never heard one.

I would rather have an editable rompler like a E-mu Vintage Pro or Roland JD990 to create and tweak classic sounds then a VA.

A lot of blame lies on companies too then and now with regards to how some VAs have been promoted. I bought my Q rack when I was a little naive to what these synths were and despite my work could not get what I wanted out of them because I was expecting something else from the start.

That said I may throw some Waldorf back into my kit one day. Knowing exactly what I will get from it now.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:26 am
by Automatic Gainsay
Yoozer wrote:
vin14 wrote: It is to be expected really, as I said it's not a bad thing, I was just surprised by it and how little difference I heard between it and a virtual analog. I guess that's an achievement on the part of the virtual analog designers.
Or on the analog designers.

After all, stability and perfect tracking are hallmarks of good engineering. The pain is that the musicians think these rev 1 symptoms are charming rather than deleterious.
Yooz, I'm to the point where I totally agree with you every other point you make. :wink:
It is a matter of preference as to whether you want your synths inhumanly stable, or organically variable. But it's been proven that humans find inhumanly stable to be less musically appealing than organically variable. However, many of us have chosen (at one point or another) to really embrace some otherwordly sounds and pursue sonic directions which are quite distant from what humans are used to, or what the average person sounds pleasing. That's a good thing.
Implying that people are stupid for embracing electronic instruments which sound more acoustic is as stupid as implying that people are stupid for embracing electronic instruments which sound less acoustic.

vin14: There is a difference between analog, new analog, and virtual analog... but if you can't hear it, it doesn't matter. Just find the instrument that sounds the way that appeals to you, and go for it.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 6:33 am
by adhmzaiusz
I personally think the sound is all in the design...we can all argue semantics of old parts etc. but I don't think it has much to do with that. I've built a few soundlab minisynths using all modern components, and h**l the sound of the thing reminds me of a synthi a or something in that ball park. Since analog is the sound of electricity you are hearing converted to SPL its really down to how that electricity is shaped and controlled.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:00 am
by Stab Frenzy
vin14 wrote:I'm sure this has been discussed to death already
Yes, it has.

There is no 'old analogue' sound, just like there's no 'new analogue' sound. All the old synths sound different; a Juno doesn't sound like an MS-20 or a Minimoog, just like a Prophet 08 doesn't sound like an XS or a Voyager.

Add to this the fact that people program synths differently now to how they did 30 years ago and things get even more mixed up. You can program a new synth to sound a lot like a synth on a 30 year old record or you can program patches on an old synth that sound like something recorded yesterday. Bottom line is that you're gonna be the one playing it so you should get something you like. No point getting something that a whole lot of nerds on teh internet said was the best if you don't really get along with it.

Sounds like you like the sound of the Virus more than the Prophet 08 (not sure how that's related to old vs. new but anyway...). If it makes you feel better I'd prefer a Virus to a P08 as well, and I'm a big fan of the Evolver.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:04 am
by nvbrkr
plikestechno wrote:I don't think it's complete ignorance saying that a lot of VAs sound digital.
If this was a response to my post, then I should emphasize that I was speaking of analog synths being labeled as "digital-sounding". But yes, most VAs sound very digital at least to my ears
A lot of blame lies on companies too then and now with regards to how some VAs have been promoted.
There I agree.

I think it was more of a problem a little bit earler, or when those units started appearing on that market. It's a little bit absurd even reading some of the magazine ads and reviews from, say, a decade ago, where it is insisted that there's no need to use those old "unreliable" units anymore now that we have these "new units". Of course, to certain degree, similar criticism towards advertisement applies to some modern analog manufacturers as well.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:42 am
by nvbrkr
Stab Frenzy wrote: There is no 'old analogue' sound, just like there's no 'new analogue' sound. All the old synths sound different; a Juno doesn't sound like an MS-20 or a Minimoog, just like a Prophet 08 doesn't sound like an XS or a Voyager.
Ehm.

The fact that the analog synthesizers from the 70s and 80s sound different from each other and that the new units do this as well, does not really lead to such "logic". You can pick a number of classic units from the past decades and compare them to an equal number of their modern counterparts - and it is very likely that you are going to hear something of a considerable difference between the two groups. The same applies to all musical gear that happens to pass electrical current through it. Another typical example would be guitar pedals, where the differences between the originals and their re-issues are smaller, but still perfectly perceivable. Whether that's due to component ageing or to the differences in their manufacturing is a different issue.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:49 am
by Stab Frenzy
nvbrkr wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote: There is no 'old analogue' sound, just like there's no 'new analogue' sound. All the old synths sound different; a Juno doesn't sound like an MS-20 or a Minimoog, just like a Prophet 08 doesn't sound like an XS or a Voyager.
Ehm.

The fact that the analog synthesizers from the 70s and 80s sound different from each other and that the new units do this as well, does not really lead to such "logic". You can pick a number of classic units from the past decades and compare them to an equal number of their modern counterparts - and it is very likely that you are going to hear something of a considerable difference between the two groups.
OK, I pick:

1. Roland Juno 106
2. Korg MS-20
3. FutureRetro XS
4. DSI Prophet 08

Please group them into similar sounding and not similar sounding.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 7:54 am
by plikestechno
Ah, I get it now. Well, having had a Roland JX10 forever I've waded through all the "sounds too digital, not analog" hate over the internet. And having recently purchased a Prophet T8, the same comments were directed at it for not being as warm and punchy as the P 5 from the get go in the 80s. But I don't care. I want them for what they are, not what they aren't. People who really like these synths aren't pretending they have P5s and Jup8s.

But I do think everybody really interested in synths should buy something from the 70s as long as they don't spend crazy money. Whether it's an MG1 or a MiniKorg or an Octave Cat or an old string synth or combo organ or the more well known ones there's nothing that sounds quite like super old stuff to me.

Everything sounds like whatever it is. I've learned that over time with flipping bunches of synths.

The P 08 "disappointment" I blame on fan hype. Everybody was losing their mind for it when it came out and now you see bucketloads for sale. Dave Smith never came out and pretended that it was a p5 even though tons of people thought that's what they were buying in a brand new package.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:16 am
by Juno6
plikestechno wrote:And having recently purchased a Prophet T8, the same comments were directed at it for not being as warm and punchy as the P 5 from the get go in the 80s. But I don't care.
I had the chance of playing a T8 and a P5 rev3 side by side and prefered the sound of the T8 way more. =D>

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 8:24 am
by plikestechno
Yeah since I've said I bought one there have been a lot of people very excited for me. As opposed to a lot I read where the thoughts on this synth are quite lukewarm. Mailed out today, will be here Wednesday. Can't wait. Looks in perfect shape with pedals and manual and seller followed my packing instructions to a tee. So hopefully it's travelling well.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 10:05 am
by pflosi
oryjen wrote: In addition to that, the pots are often of poor quality. Keyboards too...
So those synths are far far worse than their old cousins.
this is not sound-related, i also think one cannot just compare new vs old. just look at the new oberheim SEM module... but i really hope that the andromeda i'm gonna pick up soon will have better keys than my p6, ju60 or ms20...!

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 1:06 pm
by 23
vin14 wrote:This is a follow-on from the last thread I posted. It went off on a tangent, but the essence of it was whether the Virus ti is a soft synth in it's own dedicated computer/controller/keyboard.
the answer to that question isn't only yes, it's that the vast majority of synthesizers, drum machines, and samplers have been that since the mid 80s.
Should you feel guilty for liking the sound of software?
I don't see why you should, but that's up to you.

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:46 pm
by oryjen
One old electronic service-guy I heard about, called Emile, said once, while opening a failing recent Yamaha analog mixing console:
"Look at those tracks... How thin they are! How do you want it to provide good sound through such few MATTER?"

Physical miniaturization just provides miniaturized sound, huh?

Re: is 'new analog' better or worse 'old analog'?

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:54 pm
by Joey
the key here is every synth sounds different. since old analogs have certain engineering flaws that sound pleasant, as well as the fact that around that time everyone was into making certain kind of synth sounds, there is a concept of a 'vintage sound', or rather sounds used when synths were big in the 70's and 80s, etc

with that said:

everyone arguing about vintage sound go to my myspace page and listen to the demo of my song square

now tell me, which synth did the solo at the end?

can you tell easily if it is digital or analog?

what synth did I do it on?

or rather, which synths in the mix are analog and which are digital? which are vintage?

can you pick out vintage analog on any of my songs?

(the vintage gear used on those songs includes an ms20, juno 106, minimoog, and octave cat)