Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

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bouzoukijoe1
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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:51 pm

Trom69 wrote:For me, anything with one knob per function.
agree! for beginners, the MS-2000 I think has the best interface, but for intermediate to semi-advanced level, modular definitely takes the cake. it sounds like a cliche, but I never realized how boxed in I was with my other synths until I tried a modular. it's not so much the limitations of regular synths, but just the way it makes you think about programming. I think it has something to do with being able to see the patch right in front of you instead of having to go through menus. every time I go back to my VA's I use them very differently. and it's actually mind blowing how much you learn just by using a modular normally.

if you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. especially the plain vanilla modules like the ones synthesizers.com has. those are the best as far as flexibility and the fact that their modules have attenuators/inverters/mixers already built in, so it makes patching a lot more fluid compared to other systems. the only thing that sucks about modular is that it can cost a lot more.

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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:22 pm

bouzoukijoe1 wrote:if you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it. especially the plain vanilla modules like the ones synthesizers.com has. those are the best as far as flexibility and the fact that their modules have attenuators/inverters/mixers already built in, so it makes patching a lot more fluid compared to other systems
Modulars never managed to grab me. It could be related to me making conventional instruments (e.g. brass-like, strings-like, wind-like, plucked-like etc.) and such instruments typically follow the same routing fundamentals. So, whenever I have a (software-)modular at my fingertips, the first thing I usually do is recreate the classic models again, then tweak parameters. Only to eventually discover that a certain other synth suits me much more.. ^^
the only thing that sucks about modular is that it can cost a lot more.
- and it occupies more space depending on the amount of modules
- storing your patch is probably something nasty too..
- not much 'quantity' in context of a (vast) project, such as polyphony and multi timbrality, unless you like bouncing down tracks - which I don't.
- I think I'd quickly develop muscle pain when plugging cords and tweaking knobs on a big modular.. :)
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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by Sexor » Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:47 pm

filtermod wrote:
meatballfulton wrote: Minor rant: all softsynths and patch editors should use only sliders, no knobs. Whether mousing or using a touchscreen, sliding is easier to deal with. I hate sliding a mouse to rotate a knob, moving my mouse far away from the knob I'm tweaking.
You're damn right. :thumbleft:
Actually, virtual knobs are much more clever, because with those virtual sliders, your parameter resolution is restricted to the drawn resolution of the slider. Unless you allow the pointer to go outside of the slider's drawn location, in which case we end up with the same "annoyance" which is that your pointer is far away from what is being edited.
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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by tekkentool » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:07 am

Shreddie wrote:I'm surprised that people are even mentioning software here... Anything driven by a mouse is instantly going to be slower and more awkward to use as you can't use muscle memory for it.
To steal from A.G's signature.

I cannot rightly apprehend the confusion of ideas that could provoke such a statement.

It's supposedly going to be more awkward because you can't use muscle memory?

1. You can use muscle memory with a mouse, haven't you ever played the vidja games before?

2. This is implying that muscle memory is either necessary or required to not feel awkward on what is not a physical interface. You don't need muscle memory to operate it because if we had a proper BC interface we wouldn't need to use muscles to even operate it. We're constantly looking at it so there's no need to operate it without a heuristic visual knowledge.

3. Slower? any parameter requires two clicks in massive. Any modulation routing can be done in two clicks. Every modulation routing, and the amplitude of that is visually on tap at any one time. There is no speed impediment to virtual software, if you feel a personal disability in regard to speed in software that's fine but putting it on record as a matter of fact is ridiculous. I make presets, basses, leads, pads you name it all on demand when producing. No presets. Using massive it's never taken me more than a few minutes to create a patch for a track. There's no speed issue. Check my sig for the songs I make too, the programming is not non-complex.

Image

4.

As Cs_Tbl said, Fm8 would be slower in hardware. In many cases a software programming environment is finally able to give certain synthesizers the interface they always deserved.

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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by CS_TBL » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:26 am

Nah, not slower. What I pointed out was that the hardware equivalent of FM8 would be a rather expensive project, and quite big in size (though depending on whether all functions of each operator have their own section, of whether buttons/knobs are shared). Also, segment envelopes/scalers are somewhat tricky with hardware,
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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by JJQ » Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:31 am

I would vote:
Roland Juno 6/60/106, SH-101, Jupiter-8, yeah all the old Rolands.

Teico 110f is very straight-forward.

And the Minimoog becomes one with your hands :)
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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by Shreddie » Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:36 pm

tekkentool wrote:
Shreddie wrote:I'm surprised that people are even mentioning software here... Anything driven by a mouse is instantly going to be slower and more awkward to use as you can't use muscle memory for it.
It's supposedly going to be more awkward because you can't use muscle memory?

1. You can use muscle memory with a mouse, haven't you ever played the vidja games before?
Oh yes, regularly!
3. Slower? any parameter requires two clicks in massive. Any modulation routing can be done in two clicks. Every modulation routing, and the amplitude of that is visually on tap at any one time. There is no speed impediment to virtual software, if you feel a personal disability in regard to speed in software that's fine but putting it on record as a matter of fact is ridiculous. I make presets, basses, leads, pads you name it all on demand when producing. No presets. Using massive it's never taken me more than a few minutes to create a patch for a track. There's no speed issue. Check my sig for the songs I make too, the programming is not non-complex.
That's maybe where the difference lies, much of my programming is complex so in software requires seemingly endless flipping between pages. Also, as I'm a semi professional sound designer I do this stuff every day so maybe years of practice has something to do with my speed and the constraints in it I find in software. And as for 'personal disability', I can assure you I have none with computers having previously worked in data entry (boring as s**t) and being one of the fastest there. I'm also far from illiterate with computers as I use them for hours every day be it in photo editing, music, programming, sample editing or simply foruming and facebooking.

And as for the 'two clicks' that massive requires... I'm used to pressing one button or turning one knob.

Muscle memory though is an important thing, I can program most of my synths without even having to look at them, literally touch typing in most cases, try programming software without looking at it... That's the effect of muscle memory... Sometimes I do it so fast on my hardware that the processor can't keep up meaning that I have to go back and correct it when I've been too fast for the change to a new menu screen. Software in comparison is painfully slow for me. Driving it with a mouse is like programming a hardware synth while wearing boxing gloves. Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate a good UI in software as it can make things a great deal easier/faster than a badly designed UI but it's still the poor relation to a well designed hardware UI in my view.

And that's the thing, this is my view, you have yours. You may be perfectly happy driving Massive with a mouse, but if I had massive I'd much rather have it hooked up to a custom hardware controller... And speaking of controllers/hardware, if it wasn't easier to use them than the mouse, then why do knobby and fader loaded controllers sell so well?


As a side note, I did once use Kontakt with a touch screen... Now that was fast and easy, much like hardware.

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Re: Best Synth Programming Interface Ever?

Post by CS_TBL » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:19 pm

Shreddie wrote:And speaking of controllers/hardware, if it wasn't easier to use them than the mouse, then why do knobby and fader loaded controllers sell so well?
  1. Most synths are fairly basic in their sound design and those can be operated fully with a limited set o' knobs (or at least enough of the general parameters can be operated).
  2. As long as people keep telling other people that knobs are better than a mouse.. then there will always be people among them who actually believe this is true. I wonder how much of those stories is related to people tactically sky rocketing eBay prizes for their old synths..
As for me: as I've said before, FM8 would require a controller of gargantuan dimensions and pennie$ to make it worthy. I have a BCR2000 controller, I've tried it, and it's truly not interesting for FM8. It's also very much related to how one is using a synth. If you create a sound with your head, then you're typically focused towards a specific section only - you don't need the LFO details in front of you if you're working on the envelopes. So, having a feature per knob would only work well when the whole layout gets reconfigured depending on which section you're in. I dunno whether things work like that - not enough experience working with controllers as I'm fairly happy with using a mouse.

Perhaps an example 'closer to home' is in place as well... all this talk about FM8 can be a drag.. I know.. :-)

As I have both a JD800 and a JD990.. let me tell you that my own sounds made with the 990 alone aren't an inch less useful and nice than those which I've made with the 800. And know that I haven't really used my 800 to operate the 990, so I'm really talking about creating the sounds with the display and the buttons. In the next room there's also a JV1080 laying around (not mine), and I've created similar quality sounds on that model, all with the two-line display and the buttons.

Another typical example is my Supernova 2 rack. I've created a fair amount of cool stuff with that one too, ranging from reasonably pianos to shakuachi flutes with you could actually 'overblow' - this was more than half a decade ago in my pre-software years. Most of the parameter tweaking was done with non-dedicated knobs, it was all down in the menus, using a few general multi-purpose knobs.

One synth which really failed to have me programming a lot of stuff on it is the FS1r, but the stuff I did program with it was nonetheless done with the buttons, not with those four general purpose knobs! I must add though that with over a thousand FM presets to choose from, I didn't even find the need to make things myself. And having to use a single algorithm is a bit too hardwired for me anyway, I like the flexibility of a custom FM matrix.

So, really: again and again it all depends on who's using it, it certainly isn't a law that having tons o' knobs is always better.
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