Eyeballing synclaviers - some questions

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Eyeballing synclaviers - some questions

Post by username » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:00 pm

I have been looking at synclavs lately and I have a few questions for those of you with experience on them.
I am mainly looking for unique sounds rather than a new way to make music. My personal "sound" is very important to my line of work so anything to build on or augment that is a welcome addition to my synth collection. So I guess I am mainly wondering a) does the synclav offer a unique sound? B) Is it totally cheesy and 80s? (of course I've heard them before but not in a modern context). C) I know the learning curve is tough, but how tough? I have a background in max, kyma and some other environments that have a bit of a technical learning curve before you can make anything useful.

So, any excited synclavier owners out there? Or is it a waste o money just for the "sound"?

Thanks

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Re: Eyeballing synclaviers - some questions

Post by Jinsai » Tue Jul 05, 2011 4:07 pm

I studied with Jon Appleton at Dartmouth and used their full-on Synclavier system extensively for 4 years.

The Synclavier offered a number of things no other synth or workstation did quite the same way (for example, its ability to do macrotuning and microtuning). Its synthesis engine is slightly different from others (the FM implementation is different) but in 2011 it is fair to say there are plenty of unique-sounding synths out there.

You didn't really define unique, so I can't answer definitively. I can say that if few other people have a Synclavier (and few do) then simply using one a lot and leaning on its special qualities will make your music a bit different from everyone else's.

"Cheesy and 80s" has very little to do with a given instrument's inherent qualities and everything to do with how you use it. Don't use presets. Program from scratch. Try not to sound like everyone else. Those things matter far more than what gear you use. Plenty of people take flexible tools like Max/MSP and make things that sound just like everyone else using Max/MSP.

Learning curve for any powerful tool is tough. I didn't find the Synclavier any more difficult than other complex instruments, and if you get one with the computer option, it is far less intimidating than it may seem initially.

The Synclavier's sampling remains the best I've ever heard.
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Re: Eyeballing synclaviers - some questions

Post by username » Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:07 pm

thanks for the reply.

how would you say the sequencing is? Coming from a DAW background, am i going to be pulling my hair out? I am mainly interested in working "differently" - meaning a different process to achieve different results that I might not otherwise conceive in a conventional DAW.

Someone I know has a 6400 system available. I don't think it comes with FM but I heard you can "upgrade" it to have FM. Is it worth it for the FM? How does the FM synthesis relate to something like the DX7 or even software synths like FM8?

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Re: Eyeballing synclaviers - some questions

Post by Jinsai » Sun Jul 10, 2011 9:24 pm

I don't know what the different models are like - the Dartmouth studio's unit was always "latest and greatest" and often had beta software. I would do some extensive Google searches.

As for sequencing, the Synclavier does not really compare to a DAW. The Synclavier's sequencing was originally designed to allow performance - you can find some great videos of Jon Appleton demonstrating it.

As for the FM, well, it's FM. The implementation/interface is different from the DX series. I think it sounded better than the high noise floor 12-bit DX7, but it's not really an apples-to-apples comparison. I haven't used FM8, but from what I understand, if what you really want is FM, you're way better off dropping $100 on FM8 than whatever the Synclavier is going to run you!
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