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Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:57 am
by creepysuitguy
How many analog voices would you say someone needs? 1,4,8,12,16? Just curious I have a DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard poly chained to a poly evolver rack, so I have a total of 8, debating adding another rack but I am not sure if I would actually use the other 4 voices, what do you guys think, is 8 enough?

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:05 am
by smoothcriminal
Definitely not.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:10 am
by Alex E
Sometimes all I need is 3 voices for a polyphonic part. Depends on what your music needs.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:34 am
by Z
The typical rule for polyphony is to have twice as many voices as what you play at a single instance. If you only play 4 notes at a time (ie, 3 note chord plus a base note), then you'll want 8 voices.

The reason for having double polyphony is so that when you play a new set of notes, the original set are still going through their release stage and those voices are not "robbed" for the new set.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:59 am
by Automatic Gainsay
If people were playing analog synths like pianos, I could see wanting a lot of polyphony. But who plays an analog synth like a piano, and why would you want to?
I'm inclined to think that people wish analog synths had more polyphony for multitimbral use/sequencing etc.... but beyond that, I really don't know why.
Don't most of you want a different sound for bass, a different sound for various chords, a different sound for lead, etc.? I mean, that's kind of what synthesizer music is about. Most people don't seem to play all of those things at once with the same sound (which is what you'd really need a lot of polyphony for).

I figure you need four notes to effectively define a chord. :)
(although I agree with Z's point!)

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:36 am
by Mr Knesh
One note of polyphony is enough for Wendy Carlos.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:30 am
by Stab Frenzy
creepysuitguy wrote:How many analog voices would you say someone needs? 1,4,8,12,16? Just curious I have a DSI Poly Evolver Keyboard poly chained to a poly evolver rack, so I have a total of 8, debating adding another rack but I am not sure if I would actually use the other 4 voices, what do you guys think, is 8 enough?
What do you think? You own eight voices of Evolver, you know how you use it better than anyone else does, do you think you need four more voices? Nobody here can answer that question better than you can.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:11 am
by Zamise
Are you sure you got the count right on your evolvers? I'm just thinking half of them aren't Analog Oscs but I guess you'd have 2 of those per voice which is still 4 voices for each??? Anyhow, not that it matters much, the same question could be asked as well for digital and sampled voices. Personally, I think having 3 oscs or elements works well enough per voice of polyphony most of the time. 2 is enough to do some fine detuning or have one as a sub, a 3rd is good for a sub an octave or so below the first detuned two, a 4th is good for detuning the sub as well... However, 3 usually does the job well enough, any more than 4 though then I'm not really sure what to do with it unless it would be needed for extra LFOing or FMing. If you are wanting more poly then yes, the more the merrier but they'd prob be part of a second voice or card to play those notes. In theory, 10 voices would likely be the maximum needed for any single part unless you plan on using other body parts or anyone else's besides your fingers to play the synth. Putting all those in unison does create some monstrous beefyness, but then that would put you back down to monopoly, one finger. But then, maybe like AG says, you may want more parts too to play at the same time with different voice settings or doing some sequencing to create a more whole sounding song. In that case, maxing out 16 tracks with 10 voices per part, and 4 oscs per voice, then you'd need 160 voices with 640 oscs all playing at the same time. I don't max out 64 very often myself, 640 poly definite over kill for me, but hey it might be fun to try.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:33 am
by GuyaGuy
Zamise wrote:Are you sure you got the count right on your evolvers? I'm just thinking half of them aren't Analog Oscs, not that it matters much, the same question could be asked as well for digital and sampled voices.
2 DCOs and 2 digital oscillators per voice on the Poly Evolver x 4 voices of polyphony= 16 oscillators
Automatic Gainsay wrote:If people were playing analog synths like pianos, I could see wanting a lot of polyphony. But who plays an analog synth like a piano, and why would you want to?
I'm inclined to think that people wish analog synths had more polyphony for multitimbral use/sequencing etc.... but beyond that, I really don't know why.
Don't most of you want a different sound for bass, a different sound for various chords, a different sound for lead, etc.? I mean, that's kind of what synthesizer music is about. Most people don't seem to play all of those things at once with the same sound (which is what you'd really need a lot of polyphony for).

I figure you need four notes to effectively define a chord. :)
(although I agree with Z's point!)
Basically I think of things in the same way. BUT...there are those who use multitimbrality AND split the keyboard, etc. So, in short, the number of voices you need is number of voices you need.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:36 am
by V301H
Theoretically a person could play ten notes at once. In reality how often does that happen? It really depends on how the available voices can be assigned and what you want to do with the synth.

If you just want to do basslines or solos and prefer to do multiple overdubs one voice will suffice.

If you want to play more elaborate parts in real time on a synth with no split or layering capabilities then five or six voices should be adequate.

With a CS-80, for example, unless you are doing a lot of piano-like arpeggios using a sustain pedal eight voices might be considered an extravagance since there is no split or layering capability.

On an eight voice like a Jupiter 8 or OB-8 you can do a layer which reduces the polyphony down to four-notes or you can split the keyboard into two separate four-voice synths.
With a multi-timbral synth like the Matrix 12 one layer reduces the polyphony to six voices, another layer takes it down to three voices. Then you can mix multiple layers and splits in any combination as well as use it as twelve monosynths. All voices could be sequenced with a different sound or some could be sequenced while others are played manually.

So in at least a few cases you could definitely make use of more voices than could reasonably be played simultaneously in mono-timbral mode. Of course this capability usually comes at greater expense. For most purposes eight analog voices with split and layer would seem to be a reasonable number considering the greater cost of analog voices vs. digital voices.

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 6:50 am
by Zamise
GuyaGuy wrote:
Zamise wrote:Are you sure you got the count right on your evolvers? I'm just thinking half of them aren't Analog Oscs, not that it matters much, the same question could be asked as well for digital and sampled voices.
2 DCOs and 2 digital oscillators per voice on the Poly Evolver x 4 voices of polyphony= 16 oscillators
Ah OK got it.


I think I'm getting amount of Oscs mixed in with amount of voices and creating unnecessary confusion on the topic. I'm thinking it could be a big factor, but it might have nothing to do with the OP's question. Voices with only 1 Osc could sound a lot different, but perhaps it'd still apply just as much as a voice with 2 or more Oscs per voice for the question? I'm thinking there might be some relevance to that as well, but perhaps not.

The OBs seem to usually have 2 Oscs per voice, as well as the Evolvers if you don't include the digital ones. Is it it the same for the Jupiters then? Are there any 3 or 4 osc per voice polyphonic analogs out there?

I'm thinking now that may be the big difference between Analogs and digitals, not many analogs have 3 or 4 for oscs per voice, where as sampled and digitals often can have that many or more per voice. So, this may be why the concern for how many Analog voices would be enough instead of just voices in general?

Sorry if straying OT ::idiot dork mode off::

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:33 am
by Pro5
V301H wrote: If you want to play more elaborate parts in real time on a synth with no split or layering capabilities then five or six voices should be adequate.
If recording, 5 is usually enough for me (as I can always overdub if I need more of the same sound which I usually don't, as AG says, you tend to use a variety of sounds for parts anyway).

However, if playing it for inspiration, I often use 6 notes (2 octave bass, 4 finger chords a lot) the problem isn't 'can the synth play that many notes' it is, as already mentioned, the long release times on some patches (pads/strings) and it can sound horrible with note stealing when you move to the next chord. Having the polyphony of an instrument dictate your creative posibilities may be OK during recording (forcing decisions based on limits for productivity and different thinking) but it's not always so cool when you are just trying to play a nice piece for inspiration.

Bottom line is I'd need minimum 5 notes for me, 10/12 would be ideal using long patches but really It's not a piano so I do work around it and it's never stopped me creating stuff (JX-3P and Poysix are both 6 note poly and I use them in recordings all the time with no problem).

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 7:36 am
by GuyaGuy
So I think we all agree...


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Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:53 am
by pflosi
I like my A6 :) especially with a sustain pedal

Re: Analog Voices, 8 enough?

Posted: Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:50 pm
by creepysuitguy
Thanks guys your awesome and I enjoyed your opinions I personally thought 8 was enough but my partner who owns half the studio was trying to convince me 8 wasn't enough and we needed at least 12, I am not the worlds best synth player I am just average and only use 4-6 notes when I play usually so I wanted outside opinions, thanks guys!