When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
Post Reply
rschnier
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
Posts: 220
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:52 am
Location: USA

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by rschnier » Tue May 13, 2014 8:15 pm

When polys first became popular, it was much harder to achieve time synchronization when multitracking a mono than it is today. Face it, if you want to play a chord, it's more feasible to hit all the notes on your keyboard at the same time (poly) than it is to hit those notes individually in multiple passes, on-time, when multitracking. (Yes, you could play along with a click track, etc., but that limits the flexibility to make expressive changes in tempo without a lot of preplanning.) Every time I listen to the switched-on stuff by Wendy Carlos, I am impressed and amazed by what it took to get all those individual parts in sync with each other given the technological limitations of the time.

Nowadays, you can just create multiple MIDI tracks on a sequencer and then multi-pass record the individual tracks produced by a mono.
-- R.

User avatar
Rezisehtnys
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:32 am
Real name: Casey
Gear: Ensoniq VFX
KORG Monotron
KORG Triton
Peavey Fury 1992
Peavey KB-300
Peavey Milestone 1984
Roland JX-8P
Waldorf Micro Q
Yamaha KX5
Yamaha SY77
Location: Springville, AL

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Tue May 13, 2014 9:14 pm

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
madmarkmagee wrote:I wouldn't say that mono's are better than polys. That's crazy talk.
I'm good at crazy talk.

I prefer monos because of the sad thing that happens to synthesizers when you make them polyphonic. There is no reason why a synthesizer should play 4 or 6 or 8 carbon copies of the timbres, pitches, etc. you've chosen each time you play a chord. That is the way that organs and pianos and etc. behave. The concept for synthesizers should have been that you got to choose what each voice would be doing... more of an orchestral model (if we're going to use antiquated models for a modern instrument) than a piano model.
But because the polyphony problem has been a problem since the early part of the 20th century, it was much easier to just give every single note the same treatment and timbre as any other note. Rock musicians were happy. The end.
But because polyphonic synthesizers (most of them, anyway... I love you Korg MonoPoly and Oberheim (x) Voice) follow the piano model, people play them like pianos or other emulative instruments. It's just such a limited application of a limitless potential, and we all always play the same sort of c**p on them (myself included).
If someone would make a polyphonic analog synth that allowed me to control oscillator, filter, and amp per note, then I would be much more excited about the polyphonic concept, and synthesizer music would be a lot more interesting and complex. Of course, I know it'd be expensive and complicated to pull that off... and that's why it hasn't happened.

I think you should sit tight, Kenneth.
Just get one of these. :P
Image

User avatar
Automatic Gainsay
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3962
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:22 am
Real name: Marc Doty
Gear: Minimoog, 2600, CS-15, CS-50, MiniBrute, MicroBrute, S2, Korg MS-20 Mini, 3 Volcas, Pro 2, Leipzig, Pianet T, Wurli 7300, Wurli 145-A, ASR-10, e6400.
Band: Godfrey's Cordial
Location: Tacoma
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue May 13, 2014 10:23 pm

pflosi wrote:There's good reasons to want every voice to be the same timbre. Just like there's good reasons why you wouldn't want that. Both have their place, one is just more common.
Well, certainly... there is no denying that having the choice to decide what you want is much better than not having the choice. With almost every polyphonic analog synth since 1975, you don't have any choice.
pflosi wrote:But I suppose you are happily multitracking your monos anyways, right? :thumbleft:
Absolutely. :thumbleft:
‎"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." -Charles Babbage
"Unity and Mediocrity are forever in bed together." -Zane W.
http://www.youtube.com/automaticgainsay

User avatar
Automatic Gainsay
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3962
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:22 am
Real name: Marc Doty
Gear: Minimoog, 2600, CS-15, CS-50, MiniBrute, MicroBrute, S2, Korg MS-20 Mini, 3 Volcas, Pro 2, Leipzig, Pianet T, Wurli 7300, Wurli 145-A, ASR-10, e6400.
Band: Godfrey's Cordial
Location: Tacoma
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Tue May 13, 2014 10:32 pm

rschnier wrote:Face it, if you want to play a chord, it's more feasible to hit all the notes on your keyboard at the same time (poly) than it is to hit those notes individually in multiple passes, on-time, when multitracking. (Yes, you could play along with a click track, etc., but that limits the flexibility to make expressive changes in tempo without a lot of preplanning.) Every time I listen to the switched-on stuff by Wendy Carlos, I am impressed and amazed by what it took to get all those individual parts in sync with each other given the technological limitations of the time.
It is very challenging to do a rubato passage of chords through multitracking. But how many of the people who are screaming for an analog polysynth are going to be doing that?
As long as you're playing to a metronome of some sort, it's totally easy to hit the right note at the right time when multitracking monos. I mean, it takes some time to learn how to do it... but that's the point isn't it? Isn't this about immediacy? It takes more time, effort, and knowledge to multitrack. If you've got a polyphonic synth, you can just plunk down the chords, and you're done! While I agree with that, I'm having a hard time helping people see the benefits that offset the convenience of immediacy. And there are many.

Getting all of those parts in sync wasn't easy for Wendy, for sure... but the challenges were mostly associated with track-bouncing and the quality losses and permanent mixes that occurred once that bouncing had happened.

The hardest part about multitracking monos is knowing what chords you want in what sequence, choosing what notes each voice will play in that sequence of chords, and then remembering what voice and what chord you're on at any given time. But there are a lot of benefits to going through that hassle.

But anyway... I would just love to see a full-featured analog poly instead of another rehash of the pile of limitations that have been occurring since 1975.
‎"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." -Charles Babbage
"Unity and Mediocrity are forever in bed together." -Zane W.
http://www.youtube.com/automaticgainsay

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue May 13, 2014 10:44 pm

Cybercardinal wrote:Tom O is working on a new OB-X. It will crush everything :twisted: And you will have to save your lunchmoney for a thousand years. (If it happens)
:o

if that is true sign me up.
On second thought it will probably cost more than an original OB-X.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

User avatar
ninja6485
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 2766
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:13 pm
Gear: Virus Ti, Jx-8p, Juno 60, Radias, Maschine, 101,303,606,707,727,808,909, odyssey, mirage, akai s5K/s2K/s1k, drumtraks, E6400ult, M1R, rx5, fizmo,d50
Band: Lyra, The Sun Worshipers
Location: Exton/ westchester

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by ninja6485 » Tue May 13, 2014 10:47 pm

rschnier wrote:When polys first became popular, it was much harder to achieve time synchronization when multitracking a mono than it is today. Face it, if you want to play a chord, it's more feasible to hit all the notes on your keyboard at the same time (poly) than it is to hit those notes individually in multiple passes, on-time, when multitracking. (Yes, you could play along with a click track, etc., but that limits the flexibility to make expressive changes in tempo without a lot of preplanning.) Every time I listen to the switched-on stuff by Wendy Carlos, I am impressed and amazed by what it took to get all those individual parts in sync with each other given the technological limitations of the time.

Nowadays, you can just create multiple MIDI tracks on a sequencer and then multi-pass record the individual tracks produced by a mono.
You could also make a unique polyphonic instrument out of a patch by multi-sampling your mono, expanding its capabilities through layering different sounds, constructing velocity layers/ changes, etc.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

User avatar
Sir Nose
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 785
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:54 pm
Real name: Bob
Gear: Machinedrum, Octatrack, Moog LP, x0xb0x, Elka Solist 505, Simmons SDS-400
Location: PA

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Sir Nose » Tue May 13, 2014 11:52 pm

Ashe37 wrote:
Kenneth wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:You mean like the Analog Four? Or like the SOFV? Or the Ambika? Or something different?
8 voice. I thought I mentioned that at least once. :roll:

Analog Four Keys + Analog Four.

Voila!
No poly chain. Elektron has stated they have no plans to implement it either. Maybe in the more distant future...maybe.
Funkadelic wrote: nothing is good unless you play with it
all that is good is nasty

User avatar
GuyaGuy
VSE Review Contributor
VSE Review Contributor
Posts: 1547
Joined: Fri Sep 17, 2010 2:10 am
Gear: YES PLEASE!
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by GuyaGuy » Wed May 14, 2014 1:46 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
madmarkmagee wrote:I wouldn't say that mono's are better than polys. That's crazy talk.
I'm good at crazy talk.

I prefer monos because of the sad thing that happens to synthesizers when you make them polyphonic. There is no reason why a synthesizer should play 4 or 6 or 8 carbon copies of the timbres, pitches, etc. you've chosen each time you play a chord. That is the way that organs and pianos and etc. behave. The concept for synthesizers should have been that you got to choose what each voice would be doing... more of an orchestral model (if we're going to use antiquated models for a modern instrument) than a piano model.
But because the polyphony problem has been a problem since the early part of the 20th century, it was much easier to just give every single note the same treatment and timbre as any other note. Rock musicians were happy. The end.
But because polyphonic synthesizers (most of them, anyway... I love you Korg MonoPoly and Oberheim (x) Voice) follow the piano model, people play them like pianos or other emulative instruments. It's just such a limited application of a limitless potential, and we all always play the same sort of c**p on them (myself included).
If someone would make a polyphonic analog synth that allowed me to control oscillator, filter, and amp per note, then I would be much more excited about the polyphonic concept, and synthesizer music would be a lot more interesting and complex. Of course, I know it'd be expensive and complicated to pull that off... and that's why it hasn't happened.

I think you should sit tight, Kenneth.
Being able to scroll through the waveforms was one of my favorite things on the MonoPoly.

You can do a lot of what you're asking for on the PolyEvolver by utilizing the step sequencer, setting the key to trigger to the next step, and setting each step at a different value. You can vary the osc vol, filter, VCA, and a whole lot of other values for each voice that way. You can set each step to be a different waveform too--but only the digital ones for some reason. But you can set each step to be a different PW value so you can get a pretty wide variety of raw osc tones from just the PW range.

User avatar
madmarkmagee
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:18 am
Gear: King Korg
ESQ-1
Reface DX
Microbrute
Shruthi-1
Pittsburgh System-1
Juno 106 (needs work)
Location: Sydney

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by madmarkmagee » Wed May 14, 2014 2:32 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
madmarkmagee wrote:I wouldn't say that mono's are better than polys. That's crazy talk.
I'm good at crazy talk.

I prefer monos because of the sad thing that happens to synthesizers when you make them polyphonic. There is no reason why a synthesizer should play 4 or 6 or 8 carbon copies of the timbres, pitches, etc. you've chosen each time you play a chord. That is the way that organs and pianos and etc. behave. The concept for synthesizers should have been that you got to choose what each voice would be doing... more of an orchestral model (if we're going to use antiquated models for a modern instrument) than a piano model.
But because the polyphony problem has been a problem since the early part of the 20th century, it was much easier to just give every single note the same treatment and timbre as any other note. Rock musicians were Oohappy. The end.
But because polyphonic synthesizers (most of them, anyway... I love you Korg MonoPoly and Oberheim (x) Voice) follow the piano model, people play them like pianos or other emulative instruments. It's just such a limited application of a limitless potential, and we all always play the same sort of c**p on them (myself included).
If someone would make a polyphonic analog synth that allowed me to control oscillator, filter, and amp per note, then I would be much more excited about the polyphonic concept, and synthesizer music would be a lot more interesting and complex. Of course, I know it'd be expensive and complicated to pull that off... and that's why it hasn't happened.

I think you should sit tight, Kenneth.
I guess I really like polys because I like bashing out chords and counter melodies in real time. There is something intrinsically gratifying about bashing out jump or axel F on a brass patch. Or just improvising on a poly. I don't think its fair to say that polys are idiot instruments for rock musicians. Look at the ESQ-1 and the blofeld (i'd say dx7, but you'd say that was the ultimate idiot rock musician instrument and no one ever programmed it :lol:) . Don't get me wrong, I like mono's and have a few, but each to there own I guess. I mean would an MS-20 work as a poly? :lol:

User avatar
madmarkmagee
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 416
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:18 am
Gear: King Korg
ESQ-1
Reface DX
Microbrute
Shruthi-1
Pittsburgh System-1
Juno 106 (needs work)
Location: Sydney

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by madmarkmagee » Wed May 14, 2014 2:43 am

You can get as much tonal variation out of the DSI polys as you can out of say the bass station. The tetra can do this thing where each voice plays a different patch, so when you play a chord you get 4 different sounds ( a different sound on each voice.) Though unfortunately there is no way of arranging this ( eg the double bass sound plays on the lowest note of the chord, while the violin plays on the top note.

What I would really like is a desktop clone of the arp Omni. I love your demo of it by the way automatic gainsay.
Last edited by madmarkmagee on Wed May 14, 2014 2:49 am, edited 3 times in total.

pelican
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 78
Joined: Thu Jan 05, 2006 7:02 pm
Location: US

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by pelican » Wed May 14, 2014 2:45 am

rschnier wrote:When polys first became popular, it was much harder to achieve time synchronization when multitracking a mono than it is today. Face it, if you want to play a chord, it's more feasible to hit all the notes on your keyboard at the same time (poly) than it is to hit those notes individually in multiple passes, on-time, when multitracking. (Yes, you could play along with a click track, etc., but that limits the flexibility to make expressive changes in tempo without a lot of preplanning.) Every time I listen to the switched-on stuff by Wendy Carlos, I am impressed and amazed by what it took to get all those individual parts in sync with each other given the technological limitations of the time.

Nowadays, you can just create multiple MIDI tracks on a sequencer and then multi-pass record the individual tracks produced by a mono.
Different way of working though. I imagine there was a lot of cut and splice tape

commodorejohn
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1564
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:39 am
Real name: John
Gear: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, Oberheim SEM
Location: Sacramento, CA
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by commodorejohn » Wed May 14, 2014 3:18 am

Blaming the polysynth for boring polyphonic arrangements is blaming the instrument for the faults of the player. It's true that the nature of the instrument influences the decisions of the player, but there's nothing about a (good) polysynth that requires you to play static, unimaginative arrangements on it - even on polys without expression controls like velocity or aftertouch, you can cycle patches, twiddle knobs, etc. They are definitely two different ways of working, but neither way is bad.

The point of comparison I'd draw from my own experience is what happened when I started to switch from exclusively using trackers to using more traditional-style MIDI sequencing software. A tracker makes you think in terms of individual monophonic channels, especially if, as I was, you're writing for a playback system where the number of channels has a fixed limit (say, 4 or 8.) My compositions at the time fully reflected this, with lots of individual parts doing their own interesting things, but relatively few polyphonic parts (except where I was using pre-sampled chords.) When I started using traditional sequencers, I slowly began to do more exploration of piano/organ-style polyphonic playing, but tended to have fewer individual parts going at once. There's things I like about both approaches, but it's hard to do one when working in the system that favors the other - when I was doing my all-MS-20 track for the modern analog compo this fall, I actually had to sit down and work out the chords on my JX-10 first before I could record them with the MS-20, because no matter how I tried, I just couldn't think in the kind of '80s polysynth pop-rock style I was going for on a monophonic instrument! Even multitracking a monosynth leads to utterly different results than actually writing on a poly.

So in my not-so-humble opinion, there's room for both monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers in the world. Both have their particular strengths and weaknesses, and lend themselves to doing different things - and a balanced approach is probably the most interesting and fruitful.

Therefore, everybody should buy lots of both, because that's what we do here ;P
Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73

User avatar
Stab Frenzy
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 9723
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 5:41 pm
Gear: Eurorack, RYTM, Ultranova, many FX
Location: monster island*
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Wed May 14, 2014 3:20 am

I'm glad all this off topic rehashing of the mono versus poly rubbish is drowning out the actual discussion of how a company can actually make a new poly these days.

edit: typo
Last edited by Stab Frenzy on Wed May 14, 2014 4:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Automatic Gainsay
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3962
Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 12:22 am
Real name: Marc Doty
Gear: Minimoog, 2600, CS-15, CS-50, MiniBrute, MicroBrute, S2, Korg MS-20 Mini, 3 Volcas, Pro 2, Leipzig, Pianet T, Wurli 7300, Wurli 145-A, ASR-10, e6400.
Band: Godfrey's Cordial
Location: Tacoma
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed May 14, 2014 4:03 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:I'm glad all this off topic rehashing of the mono versus poly rubbish is drowning out the actually discussion of how a company can actually make a new poly these days.
I don't think you're telling the truth, Stabby.
‎"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." -Charles Babbage
"Unity and Mediocrity are forever in bed together." -Zane W.
http://www.youtube.com/automaticgainsay

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: When will we see a new (non-DSI) analog poly?

Post by calaverasgrande » Wed May 14, 2014 6:13 am

it has been brought up in other threads, but I think it bears repeating. The old saw that it is 'just too expensive does not really hold true anymore. that may be the case if you expect a fully recallable digitally controlled analog poly. But lets look at some similar musical gear. I'd posit that the mixing consoles of the 80's and 90's were also gigantic outlays of cash for many musicians at the time. The reason they were so expensive was that each channel is on it's own PCB. With discrete components such as individual transistors, inductors and capacitors. Even the ones with opamps had discrete op amps (API 2520 and Yamaha's rip offs).
All of the boards are connected by ribbon cables that terminate at a master module with routing and metering.
That whole menagerie of boards and buss cables was usually encased in a wood and metal enclosure that weighed quite a bit on its own.
Ther result was often huge sounding, but expensive and heavy.
In the last 30 years manufacturers like Allen & Heath, Mackie etc have reduced this to SMT components on a single PCB, mounted in a simple monocoque chassis with little to no extraneous material to add weight or cost. So instead of a purchase so large it requires financing. Today you can buy a 16 channel mixer with a portion of one paycheck.
Ditto for poly analog. Even if they only use chips for audio amps and power supply, they can still save a lot in cost, manufacturing and size with SMT. The single PCB approach does make repair more difficult. But it really cuts the price down. Not just because there are less boards. But also because card edge connectors, and methods to secure cards in a frame add a lot to the cost.
And then there is the control side of it. I really have a hard time considering this to be the huge cost it is made out to be. There are many examples of arduino based projects that are spun up by individuals, on their own, in spare time that are doing as much or more than you could expect a polysynth microprocessor to do.
Especially if all you expect is keyscanning and midi it should be almost off the shelf.
Frankly I think it is just a matter of time.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

Post Reply