Why buy hardware synths?

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:24 pm

shaft9000 wrote:- no dependence on a host PC w/ an OS that is far too complex than it ever needed to be for running softsynths
It's not really a bother to have an OS that does more things at the same time. It can be practical to have notepad open in another window for those lyrics you're composing a track for. It can be practical to have Acrobat open, showing a score you're rearranging, it can be practical to have an imageviewer open to display images you need to compose for. It may be practical to have a chatwindow open in case you don't want to miss the fun. The reality is that these programs are really lightweight and don't do a thing unless they 1) get updated (chatchannels) or 2) you do something to them, like moving their window. This is the beauty of the event systems in modern programming languages: nothing happens while the system waits for an event. In either case, these updates are lightweight anyway.
shaft9000 wrote:- some hardware units have a sound that software alone can approach, but alas will never be exactly the same
May be. Such a sound can only be 'really' compared when it concerns an emulation. And even when it's slightly different, does that mean the sound is bad? Also, it also works the other way: new software that isn't based on a hardware model can typically do more than the hardware model that comes closest. For instance DX1/5/7 and the FM part of the SY77/SY99 compared to FM8. In fact, FM8 doesn't emulate anything. FM7 only emulated the visual looks of the DX7 afaik, it already could do more things than any DX. So, I'd say the balance is right in the middle again. Hardware may have the D/A you find so important, and software has the vast functionality and polyphony I find important.

And yes, these analogies with Ferrari cars are a bit weak.. I think my Japanese cars analogy hits the nail where it should. :lol:
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:57 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Hardware may have the D/A you find so important, and software has the vast functionality and polyphony I find important.
And again, CS... you've stated a great ending to the thread. :)


As for analogies... as a person who has used both original versions of hardware and their software emulation, I think the virtual reality analogy is accurate. Using a software version of a hardware device really is nothing like using the actual device... in user experience, sound, or even functionality (as software versions so often add extensive functionality which didn't exist with the original).
That, however, doesn't mean that software is inferior as a creative tool. As I've always said, software is only inferior in comparison to hardware when software is trying to be hardware.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Yatmandu » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:15 pm

Yatmandu wrote:
griffin avid wrote:Well, now that you deleted the meat of you post and only left us a simple quote.

for me Its like driving a simulated car driving game on the xbox and actually a real car on a real road .I dont think you can compare the experiences.

I feel like playing the Devils' Advocate today.
Horrible analogy.
1) Playing the game won't get you from point A to B as if you were really driving. Using a VST emulation of a synth WILL get a similar sound in your record and that is the point for many.


2) If your Xbox game had the same interface as the real car then you could actually learn how to drive from playing the game. See the military and its usage of Flight Simulators. VSTs are triggered with real keyboards. Same interface. I am actually playing music for real.

3) The end experience is not always The Making Of The Music - sometimes it's someone else hearing the music you've made.

4) That person does not know whether or not every part of your composition was real. h**l, if musical honesty was that important there should be no edits or do overs and every recording should be live from open to close.


And so I'd say the proper analogy is making love to a blonde or a brunette who dyed her hair blonde.
Exactly!!! I really don't get people who make that "virtual reality" analogy. It would make sense only if, after creating your song using the VSTs, you published it to a virtual world, played gigs to a virtual audience, and got virtual record deals out of it, and got some virtual dineros, from this virtual world...then it's analogous to playing Forza versus real driving! :idea: :lol:
By the way, if I made such a game, I would call it "Synthesizer Wizzard"! Maybe I'll sell the idea to Harmonix!?! :mrgreen:

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by stalla » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:42 am

why buy software synths ?
In a synthetic mood

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:25 am

Image
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by stephen » Sat Nov 14, 2009 9:43 am

stalla wrote:why buy software synths ?

Because stealing them from torrents isn't nice.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by MarcinP78 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:13 pm

The reality is that these programs are really lightweight and don't do a thing unless they 1) get updated (chatchannels) or 2) you do something to them, like moving their window.
I'm not a programmer but I think these programmes are active all the time, running in loops, constantly sensing whether you do something to them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

BTW, does anyone know if Korg Legacy Digital Edition runs on Windows 7? I need a good rompler but have no room for one.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:46 pm

MarcinP78 wrote:I'm not a programmer but I think these programmes are active all the time, running in loops, constantly sensing whether you do something to them. Correct me if I'm wrong.
That's polling.

In pseudocode it would look like:

repeat
drawcursor mousex,mousey
forever

This runs as fast as it can technically run, drawing the mousepointer even when it hasn't changed. This can be done on old computers (that only ran a game, not an underlaying multitasking OS) and dedicated synthesizers/samplers/fx.

An event based solution looks like this:

repeat
waitforevent
if event=mousemove then drawcursor mousex,mousey
forever

Now, if nothing happens then the application waits at the waitforevent line forever, it won't draw the mousecursor again, it won't check out the mouse position, it just does nothing. This is handy because you can spend the CPU on some other part or other application.

You can easily check this yourself if you have WinXP orso just ctrl alt del for the Task Manager, go to the performance tab and you'll see that there's a difference in CPU usage between mouse usage and no mouse usage. If Windows would be using polling instead of events then the performance for mouse and no-mouse would not be different. Now, programs get updated now and then, but *only* if there is a reason to update them, and such an event check is really something minimal to do, nothing to worry about.. it's not like your polyphony goes back to 50%. :P
Last edited by CS_TBL on Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by MarcinP78 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:55 pm

Thanks CS_TBL, that explains a lot.

Now, back on topic, what do you do in software if you need to play three keyboard synths, each with its own effect chain in real time? In my experience, the quality software synths and effects that sound awesome would choke the computer in this scenario.

You guys who commit your tracks to audio before tracking the next part have no problem but what if someonene asks me to play my music for them? Oops? Should I buy three computers?

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Yoozer » Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:59 pm

griffin avid wrote:for me Its like driving a simulated car driving game on the xbox and actually a real car on a real road .I dont think you can compare the experiences.
Suspension of disbelief with a synthesizer is lots and lots easier than doing the same with a car. With a synthesizer, you do not touch the parts that make the sound anyway; in other words - you're already using a controller. What comes out a synth is a voltage, and nothing more.
MarcinP78 wrote:Now, back on topic, what do you do in software if you need to play three keyboard synths, each with its own effect chain in real time? In my experience, the quality software synths and effects that sound awesome would choke the computer in this scenario.
That's when you buy a better computer. It's not like it's impossible to run out of polyphony on a hardware synth, and I've even managed to make my workstation's effect bus choke with a particularly heavy reverb ;).
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:06 pm

MarcinP78 wrote:what do you do in software if you need to play three keyboard synths, each with its own effect chain in real time? In my experience, the quality software synths and effects that sound awesome would choke the computer in this scenario.

You guys who commit your tracks to audio before tracking the next part have no problem but what if someonene asks me to play my music for them? Oops? Should I buy three computers?
I suggest you visit my youtube channel, www.youtube.com/mvsmsx

There you see various FM8 remixes, in most cases each instance has its own effects (typically including reverb even). In some cases, like Second Rendez-Vous, I have a global FM8fx unit for reverbs and use the DAW for reverb sends, but that would make sense once you see the list o' instance that are running. All that runs on a PC from 2006, which is probably underspec'ed by today's standards, but alas, it works fine for me.

I never render a track before a tune is finished btw, there's always the chance you really want to change something. And besides, I work measure after measure, not track after track, so rendering a track would be cumbersome for me. Recently, my CPU usage has climbed a bit, but that's because of my barbarian methods of late in which I create tutti strings by having individual solo strings, all with small timing differences. :-)
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by MarcinP78 » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:55 pm

I suggest you visit my youtube channel, www.youtube.com/mvsmsx
I love your videos, but I think FM8 is exceptionally light on CPU. I couldn't run Arturia's JP8 demo without choking on long release sounds.
That's when you buy a better computer.
Or rather that's when I buy a hardware synth :-) Anyway, this thread isn't as retarded as some people said. It has had me thinking how much synths suck, both hardware and software. The more I listen to the farting sounds otherwise called phat or warm, the more I realise how little musical impact they make when compared to some even simple accoustic instruments. Synthesizer is probably the single musical instrument that allows people show off and even be applauded despite their complete lack of talent. Theremin is perhaps the second one. #-o

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by stephen » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:01 pm

MarcinP78 wrote:
I suggest you visit my youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/mvsmsx
I love your videos, but I think FM8 is exceptionally light on CPU. I couldn't run Arturia's JP8 demo without choking on long release sounds.
That's when you buy a better computer.
Or rather that's when I buy a hardware synth :-) Anyway, this thread isn't as retarded as some people said. It has had me thinking how much synths suck, both hardware and software. The more I listen to the farting sounds otherwise called phat or warm, the more I realise how little musical impact they make when compared to some even simple accoustic instruments. Synthesizer is probably the single musical instrument that allows people show off and even be applauded despite their complete lack of talent. Theremin is perhaps the second one. #-o
Yeah, I'm thinking about buying a Bodhran (Irish Drum). Phat!

Just checking CS_TBL's videos, I see you're a tracker fan (Chariots of Fire). I find that I'm using Renoise more than anything these days. So... to keep on topic, trackers or electribes? :twisted:
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:11 pm

MarcinP78 wrote:I love your videos, but I think FM8 is exceptionally light on CPU. I couldn't run Arturia's JP8 demo without choking on long release sounds.
The fact that FM8 is light on the CPU is one of the best aspects of it, and -apart from sound shaping functionality- the reason I rarely ever use other synths. I'm rather down to earth about all this: if I can make a sound with FM8 I make it with FM8. If you run short on CPU, you may consider moving a sound to a lighter plugin. Often I hear people about JP8 pads (either hardware or software), but if that Arturia JP8 is so heavy on the CPU, I would think.. why not FM8?

I mean:

..is this bare FM8 pad so bad within a production? It costs barely any CPU time!
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CfNorENa » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:58 pm

CS_TBL wrote: I suggest you visit my youtube channel, http://www.youtube.com/mvsmsx
Very impressive. Gotta admit, didn't know FM8 (or FM in general) could be that versatile. You've obviously found your niche.

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