Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

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muhammed
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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by muhammed » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:02 am

today's oscillators have better tracking range I think it is big improvement isnt it ?

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:41 pm

There is no set up. These are my some thoughts which I wrote.
griffin avid wrote:This is the part of the thread where I look around and wonder if you are setting me up.

which are trying to imitate the VCO synths . ;-) ?
Yamaha AN1x and all other VA-architecture synths? ;-) All the VSTs IMHO too which are "meant to be minimoog".

Also the ROMplers like JD990, especially with SR-JV expansion cards, JV1080 (ooops, actually that JD990 is my favourite). They all have also those presets trying to be TB303, MiniMoog, Jupiter,...
And of course they were copying themself -- the D50 most famoust patch itself is weared out.


And how many "VCO"-powered ANALOG SYNTHS have patches/presets -FUNCTIONS/aim/design/marketing/purpose to "imitate" or by your own definition FAKE other instruments?

By your own logic, pretty much every analog etc, synth has been faking it. Especially all those vintage ones.
yep, every analog. Until they discovered that whoa actually it is more useful to use for new sounds. ...?

Something is more about to tell, but I continue in my next post as it goes more along with the electronical cat post... :)

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:34 pm

recordbot wrote:I always figured the awesome factor in the old synths was similar to the awesome factor in a lot of old electronic technology, that the WWII parts manufacturing produced a higher standard of reliability which is no longer expected from modern components, so the farther away you get from 40s and 50s manufacturing the closer to the modern sound you get
[/quote]

This is something what I always admire in the old studio electronics where some details are really built to last forever, whereas its modern counterparts come nowhere near to its reliability.
However there are cheaper and reliable components which can swap out the old components function, but manufacturers use still even cheaper ones... to maximize profit.
Solderman wrote:
jxalex wrote:
  • Synthesizers have improved only in its first 10 years
  • the next 10 years they were faked
  • and more than the last decade these synths are a cheat
I know where you're going with this, and it's an inclination that has been around for a while now. I think it may have started as far back as when the media was calling the then new Fairlight CMI a "synthesizer". Your stance seems to be a point of view that is rooted in a once popular idea here at VSE forums, in that progress stagnated when synth manufacturers stopped tinkering with the old design and replaced it with newer and cheaper technologies. Don't forget that both the industry and the market demanded these changes.
It is the manufacturers greed for profit I think and cutting corners on each way, I think.
Becouse why otherwise it is so that just some tweaks increase the properties beyond the
specifications and the modification is not even expensive.

Solderman wrote: If we want a new synth built with the old standard, chances are you're still going to have to pay alot. Look at the MacBeth Elements: It's $5,000. Most people now who want a synthesizer are eager to do little more than recreate the sounds of their favorite record albums and they want it done cheaply and want it to do everything easily. Everyone gets a shiny new device every couple of years now, so why not? If you want to experiment or fill in time, you buy Aalto or build a modular system. The times and the technology have changed, plain and simple.
"every couple years new shiny device" oh yeah, and at the same time all talk about "save the earth".

I do not miss the synths built with lead components, which weight 20kg and more with zero preset memory.
I miss the constructions which are with RELIABLE components (whatever, if it will be rotary encoder or still a carbon pot), and build which is up to those high reliable standards and schematics where the engineers have not cut the corners while designing power supply.

I see if now the Super Jupiter rack would be done with modern components and SMD build, then it would be not only 2 times more compact but also with many new features, would cost LESS to produce than original 30 years ago, and having more features and would keep in tune much better, while having wider octave range, multitimbral and instead of 8 voice polyphony having 12..16 voices.
But hey why they wont do that?

And if the manufacturers still do that VCO synth then they will be very eager to cut corners where they can, and introduce limitations and imitate like it is still 70s (Korg Monology and Prophet 08 for example),
For more voices the price is higher but they still wont build it so it would last. No reliable components nor high quality production. :( One particular reason --- lead-free soldering.
So, just like building skyscrapers in a Louis XVI style ;)

Instead they release next workstation, and STILL they cut the corners, again customer was cheated.
Somewhat worse it is with software and VSTs -- there the platforms and such change so fast that it renders the previous load of VSTs obsolete, or something just does not work.

If these synths would be done by manufacturer like for THEMSELF too, then they would make them to last forever, becouse otherwise it would be just wasting the time. But when it comes to selling then it is also genuine business idea to sell items which last only warranty period whatever if it is 100USD or 3000USD and about that I am very bitter, and of course
for just hobby-use all the equipment is meant to be rather cumbersome, impractical or too expensive for this purpose.

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by Jabberwalky » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:13 pm

I feel you're someone that forever feels victimized.

There are companies making synths the way you want them, but you probably don't want to spend the money!

Also, SMD is cheaper, but do you really think components are that much cheaper? Metal enclosures, laser etching, pots, sliders, keys....all of that stuff still costs something.

These synth companies are tiny. I really don't think they're trying to be greedy by what they produce.

The bizarre rose-tinted glasses look at old synths confuses me. Why they're considered more reliable makes no sense either. I've had to fix and repair a number of old synths which had a slew of problems not related to neglect. Let's take a look at the Pro-One as a prime example...cheap build, junk quality components, one pcb. 1981.

I guess we'll see who's right in 30 years when the oscillator on my Korg Monologue dies or something.

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by ninja6485 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:01 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:Metal enclosures, laser etching, pots, sliders, keys....all of that stuff still costs something.
Not only that, but someone needs to be paid to design what to etch, where to etch, what the sliders and the syth should look like, how the UI should be laid out, etc. That's usually the weakest area of a fair number of DIY synths: the design itself is an afterthought. Conversely, the Juno 60 is an exercise in design brilliance: it both looks stunning, and has a great intuitive UI that's immediately understandable from the moment you see it. If you're asked to draw a synth (draw your ideal Synth off topic post anyone?) And you draw something as beautiful and functional as the Juno, that's worth something! Synth manufacturers know this, and consequently that design work costs money, which adds to the overall price of the Synth itself.

Also, the same is true for designing the circuits!
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:17 pm

A general response to jxalex:

Synths are actually more reliable today. They aren't as easy to repair, but they are more reliable. I've been an electrical engineer for 35 years and I could fill up a few hundred more posts about why this is true.

We just have lots of cheap synths these days. The obvious example is the MS20 mini which now sells for less than $500. Korg had to cut corners somewhere to hit that price and most of it is in the packaging...the circuitry itself is fine, but lower quality pots, minikeys, wall wart power, etc. all to keep the price down.

The expensive stuff like Moog and DSI are built much like vintage gear was and the prices reflect that.
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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:05 pm

Thank You all.

Yes I feel victimized becouse I see no point to keep consuming cycle running by buying every second year new shiny one. I HOPE that the new ones are really NOT built that way.
In many ways I keep old habits, but I welcome all new details which are more reliable.

Still many things are not right. I feel so, but cant point a finger on it exactly what it is which feel like I am totally alone with this kind of problems.
Is that the friend come to me asking help with the new synth, (from 2006) which misses notes, which is NOT a vintage synth?
Is it becouse the newest rack synthesizer INTEGRA which operating system crashes is gaining "reputation" in internet?
Is it becouse some effect units by some manufacturer are eager to go bad after couple years which I see in Youtube and also I experience myself?
Is it becouse many ways I hear Roland JP8000 and JP8080 are giving up its life?
Is it becouse once I ordered from DIGIKEY 8 loudspeaker elements 2 years ago, then 5 of them were defective, as they do not check before sending out?
Is it becouse ATC SM75-150 midrange element from 1987 had manufacturing defect (had a piece of tin running inside around) which I got lately?
...
and all kind of that stuff which feed my fears.


While at the other side I hear "it must be good and reliable". And of course it IS if compared to what was 35 ..40 years ago (I have not repaired Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 revisions, but maybe You have).
But latest synths reliability, usability now compared to the synthesizers back in the 1990-s besides polyphony? ;) I dont know.
Last edited by jxalex on Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:38 pm

Jabberwalky wrote:I feel you're someone that forever feels victimized.

There are companies making synths the way you want them, but you probably don't want to spend the money!

Also, SMD is cheaper, but do you really think components are that much cheaper? Metal enclosures, laser etching, pots, sliders, keys....all of that stuff still costs something.

These synth companies are tiny. I really don't think they're trying to be greedy by what they produce.

The bizarre rose-tinted glasses look at old synths confuses me. Why they're considered more reliable makes no sense either. I've had to fix and repair a number of old synths which had a slew of problems not related to neglect. Let's take a look at the Pro-One as a prime example...cheap build, junk quality components, one pcb. 1981.

I guess we'll see who's right in 30 years when the oscillator on my Korg Monologue dies or something.
Are Korg, Roland, Yamaha the tiny companies now?

What about human labour costs?

SMD PCBs are smaller, assembling them is much faster than compared to lead components, even if handcraft.
All does not have to be pots, can be also rotary encoders, but the good ones. WHich also can be mounted directly to PCBs.

But the metal enclosures and pots do not cost so much if the company does all the panel and buttons as they order in big quantities. For hobbybuilder these components cost a fortune (more than the actual synthesizer details all together).


Most of the costs in this case are still, I guess, schematic design on the bench if just making couple synths and not in quantities like the 3 big companies do...?

well...? However I feel that I should be there before I draw some conclusions. But I still refuse to believe that the costs for casing, pots, sliders are what costs the most which keeps synthesizer price high (unless it is DSI).

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Fri Feb 03, 2017 1:47 pm

ninja6485 wrote:If you're asked to draw a synth (draw your ideal Synth off topic post anyone?)
?? :D TO draw a SYNTH...?
What a idea!

Yes, outlook and something is still what I would leave for someone else.
And if I try then perhaps it will be very reminiscent to Juno-106 again in the color scheme or something between Jupiter and such.
Also, the same is true for designing the circuits!
...thats much simpler. To me. Just becouse it just needs thinking in milliampers, ohms and Hz most of the time. ;)

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by jxalex » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:44 pm

Hilarious thought (or not...?). This kind of thoughts were something perhaps good to talk with psycholog or psychiater, but they would give up as they have to learn at first several aspects about the electronics, and synthesizers before that specialist would understand what I am talking about...

so my humble opinion is that some synthesizer aficionado understands me better and can give a light in these shadowed areas.

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:10 am

:::pinches bridge of nose:::

Synthesizers are for the authorship of sound. With the right amount of sine wave oscillators, envelopes, and amps, you can create any sound.

Yes, we've created boatloads of interesting types of sound-generation devices. We've added features. We've improved stability.

But at the same time, we've also limited function to specific genre purpose, we've destroyed tonal aspects that led to aural beauty, and we've pigeonholed anything electronic to be about a specific style of music.

All of the people who are hailing progress are people who are remaking the same music from decades ago, without realizing that the point of synthesis isn't to make ELECTRONIC sounds, it's to make SOUNDS AT ALL.

Lastly, to answer this question, one has to define what INTENTION they see for synthesizers. To decide if improvement has occurred, you have to portray what would DEFINE IMPROVEMENT.
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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by ninja6485 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:55 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:All of the people who are hailing progress are people who are remaking the same music from decades ago, without realizing that the point of synthesis isn't to make ELECTRONIC sounds, it's to make SOUNDS AT ALL.
I see where you're going with this, but I also think there's something nice about stopping to smell the roses with some of these sounds and styles. (Maybe I'm just not hailing progress!) I mean the piano really only has one sound that it makes, with a variation or two via the pedals below and the lid. It's a piano. Yet that sound continues to be explored and developed in almost every style. Conversely, if a synthesizer patch is used on one or two significant songs, that's it for the patch. It's spoken for. Any other development around that sound is in danger of being criticized as unoriginal. Why not let some iconic synthesizer sounds develop like the piano's timbre without criticism?

There are at least 2 types of boundaries synthesis can have: one forward and back (creating new types of sounds and methods for synthesizing sounds), but also a boundary to the sides, which explores the context, nuances, performances, and variations of each individual sound. I really don't want to have a world of disposable sounds, where you use them once for a song, and throw them away afterward. I like hearing new tunes in a classic sound. (Think of all the great uses for our Pan Flute patches that have yet to be discovered! ;) )

I also like new contributions to older genres. If you love genre, but no one's making that kind of music anymore, and you're tired of listening to the same few albums over and over, I can't think of a better reason to crack your nuckles, sit down at a synth and start creating. This is not an instrument centered approach, or a musician centered approach, but a music centered approach.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by countrushmore » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:20 am

It's really hard to say because most of us haven't really heard what most synths are capable of doing. Every synth I own I have gotten sounds I have never heard of out of them. Most people just program the same sounds. and don't know how to program at all anyways ahahhaha there are always those old school classic synths that will always be on top .i see people with 5,000 in modular gear that cant patch a good sound at all. I'm happy with my early 80s synths. But would love some Erica Synths gear for sure!!!! Check out what they have been making, they always seem to be improving their game.

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Re: Have synthesizers Improved in 35 years?

Post by griffin avid » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:56 am

The only part most of are skipping over is context.
Synthesizers are purposed as musical instruments. The word MUSICAL is key.
You can't hang TOO hard on the idea that it just 'makes sounds'.

No, it's purpose, by every facet of design and thought- is as a tool in a MUSICAL CONTEXT.
You are hanging on to a purity that didn't exist for more than a year at best. (pure exaggeration, but yeah...)

"Wow, this is capable of...now what do we do with it and WHO could BEST use the technology of something that can make lots of varied sounds and have tons of expression built in?"


"I know...Musicians..." (experimental ones count too)--
And we've noodled with all kinds of controllers and interfaces, but outside of a musical context is the realm of sound effect.

Mostly, modelling nature or the nature of things beyond nature.


There's your real limitation.

Sure, we all make sounds that ....sound incredible, crazy, wild, weird and nutty.
But use it on your record, if you can, and keep your record in a non-experimental context.
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