Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

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balma
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:24 am

no hay problema!
Reconsidering my observations, I own an apology to everybody reading for being negative on some of my posts, and my respect to you for adhering to the forum normatives with such a difficult member like me.. :drinks:
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by synthRodriguez » Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:27 pm

When I first joined VSE a couple of years ago, it seemed pretty apparent to me that most people felt this should be the Vintage Analog Synth Explorer website, as most of the love was in that direction. Anyone showing affection for FM or rom-based synthesis was generally sneered at (with a few exceptions), so it's good to see this thread.

Dating myself, I remember the day my Dad brought home Switched-On Bach and played it. Then hearing Funeral For A Friend. Then I got a chance to play an ARP Axxe. My first thought was, you've got to be f**k kidding me.

I work with sonic textures that are somewhere between what I would call orchestral and complex-synthetic, so I love the sound and feel of romplers. Not to emulate a piano or guitar (which is difficult), but for the rich sonic waveforms. The music I like to write pulls from the sounds a rom-based instrument, regardless of what instrument the original sample was.

When you get a JD-800 and Motif ES and SY99 all working together in one patch, you can get some complex waveforms that are just as beautiful, sonorous, and expressive as any acoustic instrument, especially when you have your controllers properly programmed.

All synths bring something to the table, but for me and what I write, romplers are the cat's meow.

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by realtrance » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:37 pm

I really appreciate balma and Automatic Gainsay's recent responses.

The reason I bring up the massive conventionalization of the current music scene, in the context of this thread, is mainly that the _history_ of workstations has always implicitly, if not explicitly, mainly contributed to the reinforcement of those conventionalities. You hear patches that sound "good" on a rompler/workstation, and then, if you're trying to be creative, you soon realize that "good" just means "familiar" in some way.

Sure, at the other extreme, in small corners, in academic settings, etc. there are extreme experiments that have nothing to do with the commercial music environment. I'm sure many of these are fascinating, interesting, worth listening to.... the problem is, they're probably also excessively intellectual (a tendency I stray towards, if anything), abstract, alienating to listen to, as well.

There was a golden period at the "dawn of culture globalization" back in the '50's and early '60's, which consisted primarily of white people in the US and the UK "discovering" Mississippi blues and Motown and other such never-heard-before sources. The Beatles went to India. It was all part of a tradition of the "exotic minority" that had actually been inherited from the British Empire in the 18th/19th century (cf. Edward Said's "Orientalism"). But nevertheless, it opened people's eyes and ears and souls and feet to types of music that had been around actually for hundreds of years, but which freshened what had become an absolutely stale, ballad "pop" scene at the time.

We're in an age now where you can go to Youtube and listen to music, or watch videos of dance, from ALL around the world. Chalga, Indonesian cymbal music, gnawa, Dr. Sakis, whatever. Those are just the tip of the musically "strange" iceberg.

The sad thing is, there are now so _many_ wonderful sources of the fresh and different for music, all of which easily exceed the bounds of what we have hammered into our ears day and night by the commercial corporate sources of western music, and yet almost no-one is thinking about listening to, studying, trying to "emulate" elements, borrow elements, from all these types of music which haven't been absorbed into the maw of commercial hit pubescent Disney-sourced pop-star muzak. Perhaps this is actually a very good thing.

Ironically, at least once upon a time workstations/romplers contained elements, at least in the emulation of instruments from around the world, that might lead to further interest in the variety of traditional, folk music out there outside the pop medium. There's less and less of this. At the same time, access to "world" instruments at best has had a tendency just to make it into "soulful" music soundtracks where such traditional instruments are ruthlessly exploited simply to add a little sauce to the suite of music conventionalisms, instead of referred to as the foundation for departures from the norm in music.

What sounds "bad" to the western ear -- Chinese classical opera, for instance -- might be very worth studying until it sounds "good" to you. It would change your ear, change your sense of what's valuable in music. For that alone, going after what doesn't sound familiar might be the best thing you could do.

With that New Ear you might then come back to your choices of synth and think differently about what you'd want, and why.

There are never enough people who are going to do that to make it profitable for most current electronic instrument makers to support such a search, however. And hence we go back to what we've gotten for the past 15 years: more of the same.

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by yamaha22 » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:29 pm

quick post: romplers can be tweaked and s**t to sound different, yet there's still hate on them

i guess it's the preset thing

i know a lot of big name rnb/ pop producers use presets though

so yeah, lots of pop you hear on the radio use them and people still eat it up. it's cause they are just listeners and not musicians and don't give a s**t about how the music is made nor can they say, owe yeah, that sounds like a mo'phatt

i guess electronic artists care more because there's a hint of art faggotry and pretentiousness in the scene. don't deny there isn't.

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Fri Feb 11, 2011 9:35 pm

realtrance wrote: The sad thing is, there are now so _many_ wonderful sources of the fresh and different for music, all of which easily exceed the bounds of what we have hammered into our ears day and night by the commercial corporate sources of western music, and yet almost no-one is thinking about listening to, studying, trying to "emulate" elements, borrow elements, from all these types of music which haven't been absorbed into the maw of commercial hit pubescent Disney-sourced pop-star muzak. Perhaps this is actually a very good thing.

Ironically, at least once upon a time workstations/romplers contained elements, at least in the emulation of instruments from around the world, that might lead to further interest in the variety of traditional, folk music out there outside the pop medium. There's less and less of this. At the same time, access to "world" instruments at best has had a tendency just to make it into "soulful" music soundtracks where such traditional instruments are ruthlessly exploited simply to add a little sauce to the suite of music conventionalisms, instead of referred to as the foundation for departures from the norm in music.

What sounds "bad" to the western ear -- Chinese classical opera, for instance -- might be very worth studying until it sounds "good" to you. It would change your ear, change your sense of what's valuable in music. For that alone, going after what doesn't sound familiar might be the best thing you could do.

With that New Ear you might then come back to your choices of synth and think differently about what you'd want, and why.

There are never enough people who are going to do that to make it profitable for most current electronic instrument makers to support such a search, however. And hence we go back to what we've gotten for the past 15 years: more of the same.

Well those are very interesting points, I addressed them but not so clear as you.

In my opinion, youtube is something fantastic. We just got used to it, and forgot, how different was the music market 10-15 years ago.

With a computer or a phone, or any device that can connect to the web, you can find almost any song you want and enjoy it almost immediately.

I want to listen Master of Puppets, I type it on youtube, I listen to it. That was a dream before, withou t having 50000 cds at your room....

Should the hability to reach almost any song and instantly, have it on your ears, increase our musical understandings?

From the point of view of an analitical mind, maybe, since, it's a powerful tool to access different styles, contexts, etc.
But also lead us to an excesive generalization, and it's harder to focus on something. We have so much music in our hands, that sometimes, I appreciate a lot the silence....
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by Shreddie » Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:39 am

CapnMarvel wrote:I've yet to find a really, really great Mellotron sample outside of a few of the ones on the JV's 60's and 70's ROM board.
Alesis Fusion with the Hollowsun soundpacks mate, probably the best Mellotron patches outside of a Mellotron.
guitarsandsynths wrote:I think romplers are fantastic instruments.
They democratized music production. Anybody with good musical taste, good programing skills and a good rompler is good to go. It's a one stop solution. Off course they're not analog synthesizers. Ehehe.... But nowadays they're even vintage! :lol: And who can afford a grand piano? :cry: I have a TS10 and it's a fantastic board. It gets a lot of use.
And ultimately it's not about the instrument, but the music you make with it. 8-)
+1 Apart from the grand piano bit, you can get a second hand baby grand for far less than you may pay for a vintage analogue (or even a new one) these days. I very nearly bought myself a truly beautiful (and lovely sounding) Austrian Baby grand made in 1908 a couple of years back, it would've cost me £750... There's loads available for £1000 or less.

Romplers are brilliant things and for anyone who thinks they're limited, they've either not used a decent one or haven't dug deep enough... Many workstation romplers are deeper than your average analogue synth. And in the case of the Alesis Fusion, it's easily comparable in depth to the Andromeda. Just because many romplers don't have the complex looking knob laden facade of analogue's or VA's it doesn't mean they're any less complex, infact the opposite is often true and that's why alot of synth newbies have trouble with them... Not only do they have a complex synth engine to deal with but they have to learn to navigate an often complex menu system too.

For me though, with workstation Romplers at least, they're the ultimate sketchpad... A bucket load of sounds and effects, with an integrated sequencer, all in one box that boots up in a few seconds. Quite often, I'll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a few bars of melody or whatever going round in my head. I can get up, fire up either my Fusion or EX7 record it (perhaps including a tweak of a sound or two), save it and be back in bed in 2-5 minutes. It's the sheer immediacy of them that I love... Sure, your computer may be more powerful and more versatile but I always seem to spend far more time dicking around with the mouse at my computer than I do actually creating a track, I rarely have the same kind of problem with my workstations, which is why I still use them so often... Sometimes I use my whole rig but with a workstation (or two, I sync them) sequencing everything instead of the computer.

While my Andromeda is by far my fave synth, if I was only to have one synth in my studio, it'd be a workstation.

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by realtrance » Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:03 pm

Yeah I had an E-Mu Audity 2000 for a good long time, it was a rompler, basically, in the sense that it was a sample playback machine, but the editing capabilities on its little two-line LCD interface was actually spectacularly deep. Plus, E-Mu chose to include a good variety of the Z-plane filters originated with the E-Mu Morpheus, as well as an, at the time, spectacularly extensive arpeggiator, that wasn't Karma but not that far short of it. While you couldn't edit the samples at all (this was during the period of the E4 series' popularity, so obviously E-Mu didn't want to tread on its own toes there... also, cost factor...), you could certainly do things like control sample start, end and loop times, and thus do quite a bit with a sample to change it up. Since the average patch included at least two different samples, with independent filters, envelopes, etc. on each, you could do some pretty sophisticated things, including playing the same sample forwards and backwards at the same time.

It was quite a deep machine. Still is, if you can find one, used.

I don't think it's the technical capability of the workstation/rompler per se that I was commenting on critically; it's more the market and mindset that has driven workstation/rompler manufacturers to cater to a certain kind of approach to the technology.

With the Audity 2000 as one counterpoint, the Fusion as another, it's certainly not a question of intrinsic limitation to the technology! :)

OTOH the Audity 2000 sold not at all, as I recall. A later incarnation, as a DJ-friendly X-Treme Lead in an MPC-like box, sold a lot better, even though it was essentially the same instrument....

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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by balma » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:25 am

realtrance wrote: editing capabilities on its little two-line LCD interface was actually spectacularly deep. Plus, E-Mu chose to include a good variety of the Z-plane filters originated with the E-Mu Morpheus, as well as an, at the time, spectacularly extensive arpeggiator, that wasn't Karma but not that far short of it. While you couldn't edit the samples at all (this was during the period of the E4 series' popularity, so obviously E-Mu didn't want to tread on its own toes there... also, cost factor...), you could certainly do things like control sample start, end and loop times, and thus do quite a bit with a sample to change it up. Since the average patch included at least two different samples, with independent filters, envelopes, etc. on each, you could do some pretty sophisticated things, including playing the same sample forwards and backwards at the same time.

It was quite a deep machine. Still is, if you can find one, used.
I took your advice, I have three EMU command stations.

I think that the EMU PROTEUS 2500 is exactly the same command station's engine.

Command station stills as the most rewarding synthesizer I have used ever. Few persons know about how incredibly
deep is this amazing rompler. Sounds cheesy, but along all the synths I have owned and used, this one is my favorite.

Yeah my favorite synth, is a rompler. :giveheart:

Is not a certain feature (it has many great features like the patchcord, patchlink, tempo syncable ADSR, arpeggio structure, super sequencer, customizable engine, and great filter section etc) but the combination of so many creative ideas inside a single compact robust box. My favorite piece of gear.

I strongly believe they will be more appreciated in a few years.
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Re: Your thoughts about rompler synthesis

Post by meatballfulton » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:13 am

balma wrote:I strongly believe they will be more appreciated in a few years.
Especially if they still have any ROMs left inside :ebay:
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