Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

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alan partridge
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Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by alan partridge » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:57 pm

a small, simple little keyboard from some enterprising young outfit ? Or even just a hybrid little rompler.
Last edited by alan partridge on Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:42 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by shaft9000 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:27 pm

probably because VA's are a currently a niche market, and most people that buy synths today don't really know or care so much if the filters are analog or not....not enough to spend extra.
and it would add considerably to expense...you need D/A (and A/D if there's digital fx) and filter circuit for EACH voice - or else you're stuck with the 'string machine limitation' way of playing.
this all means that the sales numbers would likely be pitiful... much as I'd like to see more choices available.
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by cartesia » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:40 pm

You could just buy a small VA and an analogue filter like the moog pedal one or the MFB filter

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by loungedumore » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:15 pm

Waldorf Q+ http://www.waldorfmusic.de/en/products/q_plus
They did and it almost killed them .

Edit : I guess that's not so small eh ?
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by otto » Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:34 am

I'm curious why? I understand that it could possibly be an interesting combination which would probably give it a unique sound. However, there are many VA's and analog polys available at all price points so it seems very niche...
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by cartesia » Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:19 am

I think VA with analogue filters is a good compromise between number of voices/analogue sound/cost

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by Villi » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:33 pm

I think the MFB Synth Lite and Polylite has VA oscillators and analogue filters? And they're certainly small.

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by Yoozer » Sun Aug 09, 2009 2:58 pm

No, those aren't VA oscillators.
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by otto » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:33 pm

cartesia wrote:I think VA with analogue filters is a good compromise between number of voices/analogue sound/cost
I'm not sure I follow. As far as compromises go, there are plenty of older analog polysynths that are very affordable. So why compromise when you can get a fully analog synth (if you are ok with calling DCO fully analog) for a couple to a few hundred dollars, the same price as a used, cheap VA. Also, I think you might be making an assumption that the analog filters are just automatically good. Not all analog filters are created equal. I also think their is an erronous assumption that somehow this will make it cheap. VA's just have volume sales on their side. The market was flooded with VA's not so long ago and I imagine this is why you don't see a lot of new ones coming out.
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by masyst » Sun Aug 09, 2009 9:42 pm

Dave Smith have made this new Tetra synth, a polyphonic successor from Mopho.
I guess it wont be very expensive and it's totally analog and it's small.
So why get a VA with analogue filters, when you can get a real analogue synt?
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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by mute » Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:30 pm

the quasimidi sirius was a v/a with analog filters.. im not sure about the polymorph though, if it does too like the sirius, then theres a lil synth (rackmount.. similar in design to jp8080 and ms2k) :)

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by Gianni » Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:32 am

mute wrote:the quasimidi sirius was a v/a with analog filters.. im not sure about the polymorph though, if it does too like the sirius, then theres a lil synth (rackmount.. similar in design to jp8080 and ms2k) :)

I thought too the Sirius had analog filters because I heard it that way. But recently it was mentioned in this forums that those are VA filters too.

http://www.vintagesynth.com/forum/viewt ... idi+sirius

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by balma » Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:40 pm

masyst wrote:Dave Smith have made this new Tetra synth, a polyphonic successor from Mopho.
I guess it wont be very expensive and it's totally analog and it's small.
So why get a VA with analogue filters, when you can get a real analogue synt?
I suppose he wants the polyphony of a standard VA but with analog filters....

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by steveman » Mon Aug 10, 2009 7:50 pm

alan partridge wrote:a small, simple little keyboard from some enterprising young outfit ? Or even just a hybrid little rompler.
Simple, money. Look at the cost of modular filters, even the simplest ones are $100 each. the typical VA has at least 16 voices, and has at most 6 outputs. All the voice assignment is dynamic meaning what comes out of each output can change on the fly, you couldn't do this easily with a set of filters in the way.

Would you be happy with an monotimbral 8 voice rompler? You might say yes but plenty complained when the Prophet '08 was only bitimbral. Dynamic multimbrality (try saying that after a pint:)) is unknown in the analogue world, as it's very hard to do.

For an analogue filter / voice setup you'd need fixed voice assignments, a D>A for each voice before each filter. As synth architecture goes sound source>filter>amp you'd then need an (analogue) VCA for each voice. Doing that for 16 voices AND then code the VA would put you in Andromeda territory. Dave Smith does pretty much this using DCOs as the sound source anyway.

What would you gain? Bragging right "ooh look my synth has ANALOGUE filters", and a lot of limitations. You couldn't have pairs of filters / voice with one VA + one analogue and serial parallel options as this would mean even more conversions. All the mod routings would have to be converted to analogue too. Best you could do would to put a filter on the end of the VA voice, and brag that 3 people in the world could tell the difference...

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Re: Why can't anyone release a small VA with analog filters ?

Post by HideawayStudio » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:49 pm

steveman wrote:
alan partridge wrote:a small, simple little keyboard from some enterprising young outfit ? Or even just a hybrid little rompler.
Simple, money. Look at the cost of modular filters, even the simplest ones are $100 each. the typical VA has at least 16 voices, and has at most 6 outputs. All the voice assignment is dynamic meaning what comes out of each output can change on the fly, you couldn't do this easily with a set of filters in the way.
That's $100 to the customer - I think if your average owner knew how little it actually costs to make an analog resonant filter using discrete parts they'd be horrified - in fact that goes for the parts cost of most analog subsystems. This notion that everything analog is expensive is not entirely founded.

For a discrete analog filter I'd expect it to cost < $15 in parts (per voice) in volumes over 100 off. Even the pcbs are dirt cheap in volume - and remember that several voices worth of filters will easily reside on one pcb. In fact the irony is that a high end DSP will cost -more- than analog filter components on a per voice basis remembering that most VAs contain several DSP chips.

What's actually a little more tricky is that anything running in the analog domain on a modern synth has to be controlled somehow and, as has been mentioned, requires lots of A/D and D/A - this usually results in loads of digital pots and converters which also add cost.

What you get with VA is total flexibility and a good degree of upgradability. This would not be the case for a hybrid. If the analog filters turned out to be lacking you're stuck with it - no software upgrade is going to fix that. Also, as Steveman said, note priority control becomes more of an issue when the filters and their output stages are permanently bolted to the DSPs. That said - this is exactly how the Emulator II and III worked. Discrete output stages do become an issue when you require loads of polyphony.

That said - I still don't agree that this would be prohibitively expensive - just one of engineering's more interesting challenges.
Last edited by HideawayStudio on Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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