Why buy hardware synths?

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drei-vier-zehn
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by drei-vier-zehn » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:41 am

When I turn on my hardware synths in twenty years from now, I will still be able to play them.
Try that with a softsynth from a small company. Highly likely that 99% of these small shops won't be around anymore in even ten years and therefore there won't be any support for system upgrades of PCs or Apples. So if you are fine with this "disposable" aspect of softsynth then that is ok. I am not and therefore I only use hardware.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:53 am

Barfunkel wrote:That kinda proves the point I think... with hardware, you only need to know how to connect the power and you can start playing, with computers you need to spend hours and hours before you can even start to actually do anything musical. I'd rather spend a week playing a synth than tuning a computer so that it would work properly.
Hours and hours? If the PC is already switched on: a DAW starts in a few seconds, a softsynth is selected in a few seconds, a link between a midi channel and the softsynth is a matter of seconds. And that's the daily routine. And 'setting it up' is overrated anyway. I just bought a good PC in 2006 (RAID, fast harddisks, fast RAM, fast CPU) and installed the drivers of my Terratec soundcard (or asio4all if you have a simple soundcard/chipset). Done. All this special-audio-PC hype is vastly overrated, I've done music for a short movie with my -older- notebook even (512MB RAM which included the OS's share), and that one came straight from an ordinary shop!

Seriously, if you feel these things take hours and hours, then you're doing it wrong.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:26 am

drei-vier-zehn wrote:When I turn on my hardware synths in twenty years from now, I will still be able to play them.
Try that with a softsynth from a small company.
I'm sure a lot of people with rev 1 Prophet 5s, Juno 106s, Polysixes, MG-1s (or any of the other Moogs effected by the goo syndrome), Memorymoogs, Pro-Ones with the membrane keyboard etc thought that too, pity they were wrong. And modern synths use SMD components, microprocessors and DSPs that you don't have the code for and are for the most part unserviceable if something important goes. Pretty much anything you buy has a limited lifespan of usefulness, best to just use it while you can and not get too upset when you can't.
drei-vier-zehn wrote:Highly likely that 99% of these small shops won't be around anymore in even ten years and therefore there won't be any support for system upgrades of PCs or Apples. So if you are fine with this "disposable" aspect of softsynth then that is ok. I am not and therefore I only use hardware.
On the other hand, if you want to buy a softsynth for a tiny fraction of the price of a comparable hardware synth and then be able to use it on any computer hardware you want as you upgrade (all of the softsynths from OSX 10.2 still work fine on 10.5 that I'm using now) you can do that. And if you get an OS upgrade that causes a compatibility problem you can continue to use the old machine, nobody's forcing you to upgrade your OS every time an upgrade gets released. (And Windows users are starting to realise that 'upgrades' are often best avoided.)

Also consider this: If a software synth costs one tenth the amount of a hardware synth and you expect to use your hardware synth for 20 years, you can afford to buy yourself a new softsynth every two years for that whole 20 year time period, and not worry about any compatibility issues.

Not that I have anything against hardware, I enjoy using both hard and soft synths and effects in the studio. I just think your reasoning for preferring hardware is poorly thought out. The big things going for hardware for me are the dedicated interface, unique tangible interface and standalone usability, I don't even consider longevity.

My house burns down and all my hardware is gone but I can still download all the software I use to a new computer and use it even if the original computer that had it is gone.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Hybrid88 » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:31 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:...My house burns down and all my hardware is gone but I can still download all the software I use to a new computer and use it even if the original computer that had it is gone.
Yes, but unless all you use is freeware, then all your install discs are toast aswell with no way to prove you actually paid for the software in the first place.

It is true though that everything has a used-by date eventually - new or old :wink:

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:14 pm

Hybrid88 wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:...My house burns down and all my hardware is gone but I can still download all the software I use to a new computer and use it even if the original computer that had it is gone.
Yes, but unless all you use is freeware, then all your install discs are toast aswell with no way to prove you actually paid for the software in the first place.
No, in fact I don't think I have install discs for any of my software, except for Pro Tools cause it came with the interface. But that's a 7.1 disc and I run 8 now, so it doesn't really count. All the software I use is registered to my accounts with different companies which I can access on their websites, download the installers and off I go. Authorisation is all done online.

Do you actually use any softsynths? They all seem to work like this, even if you get an installer disc the first thing you do is check the manufacturer's website to see if there's a more recent update and then download and install that instead of the version on the disc.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by elsongs » Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:27 am

Why play with a racket in a tennis court when you can play Wii Tennis?

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:08 am

Digital synths and software are simple: whether it's ones and zeros from a dedicated RolYamKorEmuEtc chip, or whether it's ones and zeros from an Intel or AMD chip, it's still ones and zeros. Only in the latter case I can upload every one and zero I want while in the first case it's all fixed. In the end it doesn't matter.

Analogue synths and digital synths (including software) are a different ballgame, but only because the fundamentals are so different. To compare these two you'll have to envision an image of a polygon. No matter how many sides/steps you'll give your polygon, as long as it's not an infinite number, it'll always be a polygon rather than a perfect circle. However, at a certain stage the human eye can't see the difference anymore. The same applies to analogue synthesis vs digital synthesis of basic waveforms: once the human ear can't hear the difference anymore, who cares?

This was all sound related, btw..
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by cartesia » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:03 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Digital synths and software are simple: whether it's ones and zeros from a dedicated RolYamKorEmuEtc chip, or whether it's ones and zeros from an Intel or AMD chip, it's still ones and zeros. Only in the latter case I can upload every one and zero I want while in the first case it's all fixed. In the end it doesn't matter.

Analogue synths and digital synths (including software) are a different ballgame, but only because the fundamentals are so different. To compare these two you'll have to envision an image of a polygon. No matter how many sides/steps you'll give your polygon, as long as it's not an infinite number, it'll always be a polygon rather than a perfect circle. However, at a certain stage the human eye can't see the difference anymore. The same applies to analogue synthesis vs digital synthesis of basic waveforms: once the human ear can't hear the difference anymore, who cares?

This was all sound related, btw..
Hi, unfortunately it's not that simple - the process of converting 1's and 0's into air pressure waves is something that is inherently unpredictable - due to the fact that the signal ends up being analogue, rather than remaining as pure digital information.

I'm not sure if you saw my post the page before, but check out the difference between the Blofeld synth and the Largo plugin.. for the features that are the same, the algorithms are identical.. yet the output is slightly different - and the differences can be spotted by human ear.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by CS_TBL » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:21 pm

Assuming you're talking about a D/A, it plays of course a role here -unless you use a digital output-, and I hear lots of people about the D/A of the D50 being good.

Then I wonder two things: can such a D/A be emulated, and is the blofeld/largo difference just that: a D/A not being emulated?

Also I wonder whether it really matters in the mix. So, a HW and SW version of a synth may differ due a D/A, does that make the SW version completely useless? In these discussion it's almost as if only with a D/A of a specific type the sound is going to get good. If something doesn't have a D/A of a specific type then it can't be good, right?
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:28 pm

Do DSPs calculate their sounds using floating point math?

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Hybrid88 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:34 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:No, in fact I don't think I have install discs for any of my software, except for Pro Tools cause it came with the interface. But that's a 7.1 disc and I run 8 now, so it doesn't really count. All the software I use is registered to my accounts with different companies which I can access on their websites, download the installers and off I go. Authorisation is all done online.

Do you actually use any softsynths? They all seem to work like this, even if you get an installer disc the first thing you do is check the manufacturer's website to see if there's a more recent update and then download and install that instead of the version on the disc.
Yes I definately use softsynths, only my experience is that you need the "original" disc to first install the software and only then once your authorized/registered can you download updates via the company websites. AFAIK you need that original software to use the updates, ie, you can't just use an update, you need something to update from.

So if you then take the update file and try to install it on a new computer It'll need the original "full" version first to update from.

In saying that most of my software is quite old now but I have yet to come across a company that lets you access the full product downloadable from their site.

Maybe you use an ilok? I have no experience with these. Anyway not gettin' into a fight or anything, just interested how you do it. Maybe there's something I'm missing here :lol:

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:20 pm

Hybrid88 wrote:In saying that most of my software is quite old now but I have yet to come across a company that lets you access the full product downloadable from their site.

Maybe you use an ilok? I have no experience with these. Anyway not gettin' into a fight or anything, just interested how you do it. Maybe there's something I'm missing here :lol:
Ah yes, I do use an iLok to authorise Pro Tools and some of my PT plugins, but most of my other stuff authorises online. Pro Tools, my Digidesign plugins, Max/MSP, Live, my McDSP plugins, Melodyne, the IK Multimedia stuff, FXpansion and others, can't remember them all, can be downloaded from their website and installed without a disc. Just log into my accounts and they're available, I bought them online so never had any install discs ever.

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by Hybrid88 » Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:34 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
Hybrid88 wrote:In saying that most of my software is quite old now but I have yet to come across a company that lets you access the full product downloadable from their site.

Maybe you use an ilok? I have no experience with these. Anyway not gettin' into a fight or anything, just interested how you do it. Maybe there's something I'm missing here :lol:
Ah yes, I do use an iLok to authorise Pro Tools and some of my PT plugins, but most of my other stuff authorises online. Pro Tools, my Digidesign plugins, Max/MSP, Live, my McDSP plugins, Melodyne, the IK Multimedia stuff, FXpansion and others, can't remember them all, can be downloaded from their website and installed without a disc. Just log into my accounts and they're available, I bought them online so never had any install discs ever.
Ahh, thats probably why. Maybe if you buy online you get access to the full version to download. Anyway been having an absolute h**l of a time sorting out my Native Instruments stuff lately, god I'm sick of the trouble with authorisation and version incompatibility, bugs etc. Have been trying to fix it all for many months, but it makes me love my analog hardware more and more so I suppose every cloud has a silver lining :lol: :lol:

Edit - Hey I just realised the thread topic :lol:

Q.) Why buy hardware synths?
my answer
A.) To avoid endless updates and incompatibility, thats why...

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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by nuketifromorbit » Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 pm

mao wrote:imho... like Master Onion said "kick punch it's all in your mind".

I like hardware... I like having metal boxes with knobs... but I must admit that sw has grown so well and are so easy to edit and to manage that sometimes I feel I need only a PC with Reason or Cubase with some vst. But again I feel better twisting knobs so I really can't understand why nobody follows the korg idea to give a hardware controller suited for their vst MS20.

I mean... I used a behringer BCR2000... well try to remember where things are... Novation Remote... ok you have the display but again very far from having the real thing... so the solution (and I hope someone builds the thing) is a custom controller for each vst. I mean a tabletop custom USB controller with knobs and labels in the right position (the same of the gui) for a PRO52 for example. A custom controller for Minimonsta... and so on... Well keep it at the same price of a behringer BCR or lower and you're sold.
This, its mainly an issue of interface with me. Ultimately though I'm just glad synths are being made and that we have such a huge variety of choice. I hope both hardware and software synths continue to be built, but if I'm forced to settle with software and a nice controller I guess I really can't complain.
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Re: Why buy hardware synths?

Post by de raaf » Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:30 am

why hardware, because some people don't like to stare at a screen the whole time, reading info and forums is enough already, maybe the younger generation is more brainwashed in sitting behind a computer the all day for everything.
for me it doesn't work, i don't have proper controller, just midi keyboard of my k4. i have a lot of free softsynths en some others, how good same sound , it just doesn't click, this greatly because the screen thing.
i use my computer to record and stuff. i even thing it would work even better with a standalone recorder where you can multitrack and some other things for the grand basics(need to look into it what's outthere) than transfer to computer to do the other stuff, i think that be better for me to get to a final result.


i think its a good idea that manufactures would come with a controller that can be used with their synths
for instance dsi could come with a universal controller with all the knob, switches, buttons there are needed for easy editing, life use for their desktop series evolver, mopho, tetra and even the poly evolverrack so the become more attractive for people that like to tweak and way easier and fun

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