Why buy hardware synths?

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ognolman
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by ognolman » Fri Jul 10, 2009 4:54 am

CS_TBL wrote:I could imagine that notebooks may be a bit more fragile then desktops, maybe slower harddisks, maybe the chips getting a bit too hot etc. But would all the nay-sayers dare to use a rock solid rackmounted music PC on the road instead? One with decent coolers, sturdy PC-case, and sturdy rack-case around it, with perhaps some shock absorbers built in and such?
I would expect that a laptop would be more resiliant than a desktop since they are designed with portability in mind. But if you don't trust a regular laptop, you can always buy a ruggedized laptop.

One thing I think would be a problem in live performance situations is smoke and dust. Laptops have a tougher time getting rid of heat and smoke and dust tends to clog up their fans and vents, complicating the matter. So if I were touring with a laptop I'd be cleaning it out pretty good about every six months or so.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:05 am

tyrannosaurus mark wrote:But yeah, stressful stuff, like watching a horror movie, I'm sure Mr Frenzy has had similar experiences with gear on tour :D
Ah yeah, too many. I was playing a fairly big show in Sydney a few years ago and got a bit drunk before we played and forgot to plug in a midi lead from the MPC, then about four songs in a synth wasn't playing and I had to run off the side of the stage and go through the cases to find one then hook it up. Nightmare.
CS_TBL wrote:I could imagine that notebooks may be a bit more fragile then desktops, maybe slower harddisks, maybe the chips getting a bit too hot etc. But would all the nay-sayers dare to use a rock solid rackmounted music PC on the road instead? One with decent coolers, sturdy PC-case, and sturdy rack-case around it, with perhaps some shock absorbers built in and such?
That would take away one of the best things about gigging with computers, portability. If I was gonna be lugging around a big rack I think I'd probably just go the whole hog and use hardware.

If I had the cash to spend on a computer purely for gigging I'd get a 13" Macbook Pro with an SSD drive and max the RAM. Portable, tough, a hard drive with no moving parts.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by balma » Fri Jul 10, 2009 8:38 pm

CS_TBL wrote:I could imagine that notebooks may be a bit more fragile then desktops, maybe slower harddisks, maybe the chips getting a bit too hot etc. But would all the nay-sayers dare to use a rock solid rackmounted music PC on the road instead? One with decent coolers, sturdy PC-case, and sturdy rack-case around it, with perhaps some shock absorbers built in and such?
something like a..... hardware synth?
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:06 pm

Not exactly, but that all actually boils down to the fundamental differences between hardware and computers/software, does it?

In this whole debate all the implications of hardware and software get mixed up a bit, I think.

That racksynth (can't recall the name) that loads VST instruments, or heck, even the V-Machine, is that hardware or software?

The fundamental differences between computers and fixed machines are:
- computers are mass-produced and have thus cheaper components (not, worse components, just cheaper, because of mass-production)
- computers typically have, or can have, mass amounts of memory (HD-streaming, RAM)
- computers are custom, it can be whatever you want it to be

For a hardware synth to impress me it'll have to have the same raw performance the PC offers, the same custom elements, the same price etc. Question is, of course, whether a PC filled with music software is a hardware instrument or not. What if Roland or Korg would make a 5u rackmachine, with their own OS, a sequencer, sample streaming, custom GUI, custom virtual instruments, custom amounts of memory etc. Did they make a hardware machine then? If yes: if some third party adds a webbrowser that uses the network connection of such a machine, is it still a musical hardware instrument?

Computers and hardware share the same grey area, when it comes to digital synths.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Villi » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:40 pm

Someone should make a computer os dedicated to audio work.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by balma » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:40 pm

IMO a great advance on synthesizers on this area is the VirusTI. This synth is so easy to integrate with a PC, lots of formats can be transmitted between them, the division between them is almost invisible.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by ognolman » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:22 am

Villi wrote:Someone should make a computer os dedicated to audio work.
There is BeOS, which was targeted at multimedia applications and was used in a Tascam DA recorder. I seriously doubt there would be much market for an audio-only OS, but maybe there is...
balma wrote:IMO a great advance on synthesizers on this area is the VirusTI. This synth is so easy to integrate with a PC, lots of formats can be transmitted between them, the division between them is almost invisible.
Agreed. Now that USB has replaced the old MIDI cables and you now have sophisticated patch editor applications and tight integration, they are slowly coming together. With my FantomXR the synth just becomes another USB appliance that happens to handle some heavy processing tasks.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Jul 11, 2009 6:15 am

Villi wrote:Someone should make a computer os dedicated to audio work.
I've actually spoken to some software developers about this, or even doing a dedicated Linux build so you'd just turn on your machine and you'd have the music software and nothing else. From their point of view the difficulty is with drivers, as each interface manufacturer would need support the venture to write drivers for it. There's a possibility it could happen in the same way that Steinberg's VST standard took off, if one manufacturer takes the initiative and does it and then lets other companies in on it, but I really think OSX is stable enough for audio that not a whole lot of improvement could be made to it, so there wouldn't be a great deal of incentive for anyone to try to improve on it.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by man-009 » Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:47 pm

hardware synths just sound better to me. I need the real thing in my hands.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by elsongs » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:14 pm

When you're playing, and someone accidentally trips over the extension cord/power strip, which one will boot up faster, a hardware synth or a computer?

There is a time and place for plugins, but hardware synths > software synths.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by stikygum » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:53 am

The immediacy of hardware is more suitable for making music sometimes. Analog synths can't be beat for sound. Softsynths sound dang good though, so I can understand going soft.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jul 12, 2009 8:59 am

Looks to me that many people aren't discussing hardware vs software, but stage vs studio.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Jul 12, 2009 9:12 am

elsongs wrote:When you're playing, and someone accidentally trips over the extension cord/power strip, which one will boot up faster, a hardware synth or a computer?
??

Got three hours of battery before I need to plug my gigging laptop back in, so it doesn't even turn off. Synths do turn off though. Appreciate the attempt to be smug, but next time think it through a little more eh? Or you could just say you like hardware cause of the ergonomics or some other valid reason.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by synthRodriguez » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:55 pm

static double HardwareSynth;
static long LearningCurve;
static double Money;
static int PurchaseSynth;
static double SoftwareSynth;
static short Time;

void main ( ) {
while {SoftwareSynth*LearningCurve >= HardwareSynth*LearningCurve)
{
if (Time > Money)
PurchaseSynth = SoftwareSynth;
if (Time <= Money && Money > 0)
PurchaseSynth = HardwareSynth;
}
}

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by pflosi » Sun Jul 12, 2009 1:35 pm

:lol:

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