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calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:14 pm
by cgren72
Does anyone have good examples or thoughts about people calling good digital sounds "analog?" An example I have is when people buy analog synths for digital nintendo sounds. Its kind of funny that nintendo sounds should probably be made with a really cheap digital synth that would cost a fraction of an analog.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:57 pm
by CS_TBL
I would say, the only reason to sub-label a digital sound 'analog' is when:
- the oscillator is free running, so that each key down starts at another phase
- the oscillator is alias-free
- the sound features subtle fluctuations, most notably in pitch.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 5:43 pm
by meatballfulton
My thoughts are the word analog (or analogue for you across the pond) is so poorly-over-mis-used it's lost all meaning in general discourse about synths.

Beat example I can think of is a sample disk that came with Future Music magazine some years ago that contained "Analogue Bass samples". I expected some MiniMoog, SH-101 or 303 samples and instead they had all been created on a Virus...WTF :banghead:

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:22 am
by asohn
Using analog synths to make digital-esque sounds can have it's benefits. For example, using the Juno 60 arpeggiator to get an almost 8-bit style sound, using FM features in analog synths can also give you sounds that are almost digital. There are other examples too, such as the airy bell-like synth lead that Para One often uses. They all sound somewhat digital, but lack the aliasing and sharpness that similar sounds created in the digital realm would have, giving them a character of their own.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:38 pm
by gs
cgren72 wrote:Does anyone have good examples or thoughts about people calling good digital sounds "analog?" An example I have is when people buy analog synths for digital nintendo sounds. Its kind of funny that nintendo sounds should probably be made with a really cheap digital synth that would cost a fraction of an analog.
In the post-punk very late 70s it became popular to use synths to create, not warm creamy organic sounds, but these kinds of cheezy robotic synthetic sounds - but there weren't any affordable digitals in existence yet, so they used analog (the only kind available) synths to create them. That's the historical framework anyway, which has absolutely nothing to do with why some people may still be doing that.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 3:41 pm
by mharris80
meatballfulton wrote:My thoughts are the word analog (or analogue for you across the pond) is so poorly-over-mis-used it's lost all meaning in general discourse about synths.

Beat example I can think of is a sample disk that came with Future Music magazine some years ago that contained "Analogue Bass samples". I expected some MiniMoog, SH-101 or 303 samples and instead they had all been created on a Virus...WTF :banghead:
:facepalm: Ever notice how often this occurs when art and science collide? It seems that with all the hype over the years, the fact that "analog" and "digital" are really nothing more than operating principals is lost on a lot of people.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:47 pm
by Ashe37
asohn wrote: For example, using the Juno 60 arpeggiator to get an almost 8-bit style sound

funny part is...

one of the sounds most people picture as '8-bit' is a Commodore 64....

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:38 am
by Steve Jones
I have a patch on my Virus Indigo that sounds more like a CS-80 than my CS-80 does. I spend ages trying to get the real machine to sound as archetypal as the Virus for this particular sound. Too bad the Virus comes loaded with brittle techno sounding patches because that machine is capable of just about anything.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:11 am
by Nannerfan
I also find it funny when people say a digital synth sounds analog... when the exact sound in question no analog could ever do...

The Roland D-50 comes to mind.,.. No Roland before that could make strings and pads so well... no Roland since either actually... JD-800, I'm looking at you..

Off Topic - I also don't understand when people say the Juno 6/60 is great at strings... did I miss something? I know that synth extremely well.. One of the few instances where the 106 has a slight edge... but I'd take the JX-8P over those in that regard. And the D-50 over that as well...

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:13 am
by Yoozer
meatballfulton wrote:My thoughts are the word analog (or analogue for you across the pond)
Let's just make everyone write it as "analog" for everyone unless you also spell color colour and tire as tyre and cookie as biscuit - usually people write "analogue" to make it look more interesting but then omit the rest of the idiosyncrasies of British English.
Beat example I can think of is a sample disk that came with Future Music magazine some years ago that contained "Analogue Bass samples". I expected some MiniMoog, SH-101 or 303 samples and instead they had all been created on a Virus...WTF :banghead:
But if you wouldn't have known this, would you have classified them as analog anyway?

I think the word is more about a quality than a method nowadays, though its potential replacement - "organic" is probably worse. Yes, let's call something "organic" while the guts consist of heavy metals and plastics and the entire thing is as artificial as it gets. Interestingly, when you find out what makes people call it that - pitch drift, nonlinear response, frequency ranges - it becomes much easier to emulate, too.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:49 am
by Pro5
Nannerfan wrote:
The Roland D-50 comes to mind.,.. No Roland before that could make strings and pads so well... no Roland since either actually... JD-800, I'm looking at you..
agreed
Nannerfan wrote: but I'd take the JX-8P over those in that regard. And the D-50 over that as well...

agreed again. And did. D-50 is an amazing machine for pads/strings. 8P is too but is far less 'special' and a bit too samey, but nowhere near as plain as the juno.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:13 pm
by cgren72
And sometimes analog is better, vsts of modular synths arent the most fun for me. But then again, there are times that I would write better music with lsdj or a vst than a full modular synth. Ive never tried the d-50, but it and the dx 7 seems to have pretty much made a large part of the 80s sound that everyone calls analog. Im suprised the dx 7 doesnt go for a thousand dollars on ebay like the juno, but if it were "analog" it would.

Re: calling good digital sounds "analog"

Posted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:59 pm
by meatballfulton
Yoozer wrote:I think the word is more about a quality than a method nowadays, though its potential replacement - "organic" is probably worse. Yes, let's call something "organic" while the guts consist of heavy metals and plastics and the entire thing is as artificial as it gets.
I've always hated the word "organic" used to describe synths.

When I want organic I get out my string bass with the gut strings on it :mrgreen: