Advantage of a monophonic synth?

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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Shleed » Thu Aug 29, 2013 6:48 pm

Monophonic synths are useful for expressive leads. Polyphonic synths are useful for pads etc.

No real advantage over each other, it all depends on your personal preference.

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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Solderman » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:42 pm

You don't see alot of modular or semi-modular polyphonics either, even dual-voice where it's just a second CV channel with note-priority flipped. It's power and flexibility versus immediacy, where any polyphonic phrase/motif is involved.

In regards to strictly composition, it seems with most DAW's having the capacity of infinite tracks and a high resolution timeline, any use of polyphonic synthesis is just out of convenience and real-time encumbrances. Live performances make them a necessity, of course, but it's also so much more satisfying to hear a chord with little effort. And how many people on this board use chords and play just for kicks? I know I do.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by ryryoftokyo » Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:54 pm

I've always felt mono synths were easier to play quickly and from a cost standpoint, you can pack more into a mono synth at a lower price point than you could if you had to make the same board polyphonic.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Kenneth » Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:17 pm

ryryoftokyo wrote:I've always felt mono synths were easier to play quickly and from a cost standpoint, you can pack more into a mono synth at a lower price point than you could if you had to make the same board polyphonic.
I have always thought this was the main reason monos are still popular. You can get a whole lot more functionality out of a cheaper synth if it's monophonic than you can out of one with 8 voices. But there is something more...

All of these explanations are great and make a lot of sense, but to me there has always been something specific about monophonic synthesizers that is difficult to define. I turn on a monophonic synthesizer, and before I press a key, I know I cannot play chords. So I don't even bother thinking about that. Right from the start my thought process is totally different, and I'm always going to write completely different melodies because I know I can't play chords. Therefore I find it useful to my creative process to have a monophonic synthesizer, as well as a polyphonic one. I know this is purely psychological, but there is value in an instrument that makes its player think differently.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Zamise » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:32 am

You can play chords on a mono, but not all monos can play chords. One osc nope, multple oscs detuned per voice yes. Not quite the same as playing multiple keys on a poly, but I think you guys should know what I mean here.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by pinksoir » Fri Aug 30, 2013 1:08 pm

I agree with Kenneth about the whole thought process thing. There is a definite dividing line in my mind when I look at my synths and the role each of them plays. I always, without fail, start by playing chords on my polys when I'm noodling around. I use my CS15 for playing riffs or melodies or whatever. That's not to say that the end sound I use will be played on my mono synth, my CS50 and SK20 are well capable of great bass or lead sounds too. But for sure I'll always start playing them on the CS15.

The one use my mono has that I never use my polys for is FX like filter lfo and stuff. It kills at that and the polys I have just don't have that capability.

I'm totally happy with the synths I have and can do pretty much everything I want between them. I'm always window shopping for a poly with its own character going on and will probably buy another one in the future if space and money allows.

EDIT: Actually forgot I just preordered the Volca Keys! :yahoo:

But when it comes to my mono, I'm more than happy with the CS15. I definitely wouldn't sell it, and I never really think about getting another mono (well of course I do, but not really seriously!). However, I absolutely, certainly, could not do without it. I think a mono is vital in a synth setup.

Obviously ymmv and all that. Depends what type of music you're making.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by calaverasgrande » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:07 pm

another major difference between mono and poly synths is arps.
IME only mono synths ever bother to even have arpeggiators. Since on monos you can only play one note at a time. Some genius came up with the idea of changing that one note based on whatever keys (keys MULTIPLE bitches) were being held down as an arpeggio. By the time polys came along the monos had developed pretty sophisticated features around the arpeggio function. Latching, duration, sync, range etc.
Then it was as if the thinking was why do you want an arpeggiator? That was just a work around since we couldnt play chords! Now we can play chords, move along nothing to see here.
But there are of course those of us that prefer the heavily arpeggiated styles that evolved in the hey day of monos.

FWIW a few transitional synths like the monopoly and the poly 61 have arpeggiators and are polyphonic. But by the time most of the analog synths ahd come out in Midi versions they lost their arp capability.

Sucks for those of us with no musical talent.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by synthparts » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:25 pm

Several analog polys had excellent arpeggiators - Jupiter-4/6/8, Juno-6/60, OB-8, Voyetra-8, Memorymoog, Andromeda... The most advanced arp is the JP-6 with Europa upgrade...
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by tekkentool » Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:40 am

Might be a fluff point but you will think a lot harder about your harmony and doubling if you're writing for individual concurrent lines than if you're just slapping your fat paw down on a poly keyboard.

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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:14 am

tekkentool wrote:Might be a fluff point but you will think a lot harder about your harmony and doubling if you're writing for individual concurrent lines than if you're just slapping your fat paw down on a poly keyboard.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Sep 05, 2013 4:54 am

calaverasgrande wrote:another major difference between mono and poly synths is arps.
IME only mono synths ever bother to even have arpeggiators. Since on monos you can only play one note at a time. Some genius came up with the idea of changing that one note based on whatever keys (keys MULTIPLE bitches) were being held down as an arpeggio. By the time polys came along the monos had developed pretty sophisticated features around the arpeggio function. Latching, duration, sync, range etc.
Then it was as if the thinking was why do you want an arpeggiator? That was just a work around since we couldnt play chords! Now we can play chords, move along nothing to see here.
But there are of course those of us that prefer the heavily arpeggiated styles that evolved in the hey day of monos.

FWIW a few transitional synths like the monopoly and the poly 61 have arpeggiators and are polyphonic. But by the time most of the analog synths ahd come out in Midi versions they lost their arp capability.

Sucks for those of us with no musical talent.
this sounds like the kind of thing that makes sense enough to pass for truth, but isn't all that accurate. The juno -60 has an arp, and ok: pre midi, but then the fizmo has an arp, and that has midi. My radias AND virus TI also have arps. They're used for a lot more than just making up for polyphony, especially when it comes to trance, techno, etc. The fizmo's arp has great features too, like adding 5ths, 4ths, octaves, etc, tons of rhythms, and all sorts of things.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by Zamise » Sun Sep 08, 2013 7:21 am

Ninja - they haven't seen synths past the 80s here some times.
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by synthparts » Mon Sep 09, 2013 12:53 pm

Zamise wrote:Ninja - they haven't seen synths past the 80s here some times.
All the polysynths with arps I mentioned above were from the 80s - Jupiter-4/6/8, Juno-6/60, OB-8, Voyetra-8, Memorymoog...
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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by cgren72 » Mon Sep 09, 2013 1:05 pm

synthparts wrote:
Zamise wrote:Ninja - they haven't seen synths past the 80s here some times.
All the polysynths with arps I mentioned above were from the 80s - Jupiter-4/6/8, Juno-6/60, OB-8, Voyetra-8, Memorymoog...
I think that solidifies his point :mrgreen:

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Re: Advantage of a monophonic synth?

Post by GuyaGuy » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:08 am

I don't think timbre was mentioned. It's not an absolute truth, but often a mono synth tries to be big and juicy, whereas a thinner sound can actually be an advantage on a poly. Big thick Moog oscillators and filters are great for mono but can get muddy quick on chords--sort of like a hot humbucker on a guitar.

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