Mini D vs. Voyager

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Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Alex E » Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:43 pm

Not really trying to compare features or anything, but how is the overall sound quality of the Voyager compared to the Model D? There's something really magical about the sound of the D and I was wondering how well the Voyager fares in comparison.
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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Solderman » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:25 pm

This has been done to death, and I gave my own criticism of comparing the Voyager and Model D in this thread, but I think it's hard to do it without mentioning features, mostly because they are otherwise too sonically different when isolated to similar features, then it becomes too subjective about what you want.

Biggest obvious sonic difference to me is the Voyager's oscillators don't sound as bright, yet their low end goes much prevalently deeper. The VCO's are obviously not at all drifty in the digital panel versions, and only a tiny bit in the OS. The transistor array chips used for each Voyager filter are matched pairs, so it sounds much more tame than the Model D's, which were individual transistors, with only one pair out of four matched. That partially is why it's so much harder to get interesting distortion when driving the Voyager's filter input. The benefit there is that using feedback gives you this lovely unstable "squeal" that I found when paired with a aural exciter on the VCO mix, created a totally unique character. But there I go with features again. Maybe I should just say the Voyager is better at smoother and liquidy.

Short answer: Model D sounds like a Model D and not much else, and even then alot of them through the production line don't even quite sound like each other. Voyager sounds like a watered down Model D sometimes, but is capable of so much more. But I'm betting you've heard that already.

My Voyager basses demo, including using the 2 pole filter configuration, and ALOT of abuse of both feedback and an aural exciter:
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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:06 am

I found that the Voyager has a very static sound. It is not organic. It's very stable, and at times almost DCOish as a result. Is it capable of a VERY vast array of sonic variety? Heck yes... far more than the Minimoog. But it simply lacks the sound quality that made the Minimoog famous. I'd say it was probably the best modern analog, for sure... but it lacks much, if not most, of what made the Minimoog desirable.
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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Cybercardinal » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:50 am


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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by nvbrkr » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:22 am

I am not sure what those guys in the video are trying to say about the env amount control on the Voyager. Why it "shouldn't" add brightness to the sound? Is that supposed to be an illegit thing on a synthesizer's controls? It's the combination of the position of the "regular" filter controls and the env amount that determines how "bright" or "dark" the resulting sound is.

Due to its possibilities the Voyager has remained an interesting synth to use even if I've had it for nearly 5 years now. I can't really say the same about any other synth I've owned, even if I've preferred the basic tone of some vintage boards more than the Voyager's. It does many things I've heard only modulars do, but it's also a very expressive instrument to play. The sound won't be as static if you just use the modulation wheel (which seems to be something many of the guys in the youtube videos won't even try). I really don't think Bob Moog intended it to played just by triggering it with a sequencer or something like that. To me the biggest difference between its sound and the older Moogs seem to be just the character (or, rather, the lack) of distortion. Vintage gear just tends to distort in a manner that results in that full-bodied, fuzzy sound and I don't think that's exclusive to the Moog synthesizers. I can hear that same character in older preamp units, effect boxes, electric pianos and so on.

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Hybrid88 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 2:50 pm

They're actually really different, in fact I've always thought the Little Phatty has more of the big sound and bite I would associate with what makes the Model D special. The Voyager is *really* polite in comparison, still good but oh so different, more modern, more civilised, just generally more refined. Almost afraid of being overdriven, where the model D says "suck this" and then rips you ears off. ;)

I have got a model D and played the Voyager Select a few times, and I think from the demos I've heard that the Voyager OS is the best all rounder for practical musical use. I doesn't have the pain in the a*s tuning and old age of the D but sounds much more organic than the standard Voyager. Plus it adds the cool modulation options of the Voyager, which is very nice. :)

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:46 am

"the Voyager can closely approximate most sounds on the Model D"

GAAAAAHHHHH. Okay, it's videos like that which really give me motivation to make MY comparison video.
People totally miss the one astoundingly apparent difference between these two synthesizers, and the other less astoundingly apparent differences, and instead focus on what I think are largely unimportant differences.

The Voyager CAN approximate general sounds that a Mini can make, but SO CAN MOST OTHER SYNTHS. Saying that the Voyager can approximate most Mini sounds is about the same as saying "Minimoogs sound like Nintendo when you use a square wave."

The things that make the Mini fantastic aren't that the Mini makes synthesizer sounds, it's HOW it makes those sounds... meaning specifically the TONE QUALITY of the timbre, not the timbre itself. On top of that, it's the fact that most anything you dial up on the Mini is musical and aurally attractive. This is NOT the case for the Voyager.

The Voyager is in NO way diminished by its lack of similarity to the Mini. It's f**k stupid to expect the Voyager to sound like the Mini. The Voyager is a different, more powerful, great sounding synthesizer. It isn't meant to be a duplicate of the Mini. It was the realization of Bob's desire to update the design and functionality of the Minimoog.

Lastly... will everyone PLEASE stop saying "Model D?" It is a useless distinction. The Voyager has "Minimoog" in the name, but it is NOT a Minimoog model. There was really only ONE Minimoog production model, and that was the Minimoog. It's called the "Minimoog." It's super awesome that there were several Minimoog prototypes, but calling the Minimoog by the designation of the last prototype is totally pointless.
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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by b3groover » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:18 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:The things that make the Mini fantastic aren't that the Mini makes synthesizer sounds, it's HOW it makes those sounds... meaning specifically the TONE QUALITY of the timbre, not the timbre itself.


You know I appreciate your expertise and your musicianship, but this statement makes no sense. Timbre is by definition tone quality. You're saying what makes the Minimoog special is the sound of it's sound, not the sound. Uh... okay. Just say you like it's sound better and be done with it. No need to make esoteric conflicting statements.
On top of that, it's the fact that most anything you dial up on the Mini is musical and aurally attractive. This is NOT the case for the Voyager.
That's purely subjective.
The Voyager is in NO way diminished by its lack of similarity to the Mini. It's f**k stupid to expect the Voyager to sound like the Mini. The Voyager is a different, more powerful, great sounding synthesizer. It isn't meant to be a duplicate of the Mini. It was the realization of Bob's desire to update the design and functionality of the Minimoog.
Agreed.

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:43 am

b3groover wrote:You know I appreciate your expertise and your musicianship, but this statement makes no sense. Timbre is by definition tone quality. You're saying what makes the Minimoog special is the sound of it's sound, not the sound. Uh... okay. Just say you like it's sound better and be done with it. No need to make esoteric conflicting statements.
No, I'm afraid you're wrong.
There is a very distinct difference between tone quality and timbre. While they can be bundled together, they are not.
This can be easily demonstrated by the difference in recording a sound with different media. The thing you record on the LP, or the wire recorder, or in the computer, etc. are all going to have different tone qualities. The timbre, however, is still present. Simply because it's presented in a different way does not mean that the timbre has changed.
Timbre is NOT by definition tone quality.
I mean... guitar amps? Right?

b3groover wrote:
On top of that, it's the fact that most anything you dial up on the Mini is musical and aurally attractive. This is NOT the case for the Voyager.
That's purely subjective.
Any statement anyone makes that can't be uniformly or consistently proven accurate scientifically can be described as "subjective." And often is, by someone who disagrees, but lacks a platform from which to disprove the statement.
However, there is a reason why experienced and talented musicians are drawn to the Minimoog, and it isn't the hype put forth by children on the internet. When I say that the Minimoog consistently makes beautiful noises, it's not just me saying that. It's something many musicians with a great deal more skill and talent than I have, have said. And of all people, b3, I'd expect YOU to realize that. If you want to argue subjectivity with them, I welcome you to it.
As for the Voyager, if you don't know what I mean, there is no way I can explain it to you.
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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by b3groover » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:26 am

One man's "aurally attractive" is another's "boring". You can argue all you want and claim some sort of "majority" but saying something is more "aurally attractive" is a purely subjective statement that has no real meaning. It doesn't matter if I or anyone else agrees with you (and I do), it's still a subjective statement and is thus no more valid or invalid than someone else saying the exact opposite. Nor does it invalidate your opinion. I personally think a mid-50s Hammond B3 through two 122's is one of the most gorgeous sounds known to man. The majority of people think it sounds like a cheesy roller-rink. Who's right? Who's wrong? It doesn't matter and it doesn't make one opinion more valid than another. Art is subjective.

You said in another thread that you don't dig Buchla. Ask Morton Subotnick about Buchla vs. Minimoog. I think we both know what "side" he'd fall on. He'd most likely find the Minimoog dull, confining, limited, and uninspiring. But does that mean that his opinion trumps yours or mine? Nah. He just likes what he likes, I like what I like, and you like what you like. And if we mutually respect each other, we can get along just fine with our disagreements, and make music, whatever that music is.


As for timbre... it is by definition tone quality.
tim·bre   [tam-ber, tim-; Fr. tan-bruh]
noun
1.
Acoustics, Phonetics . the characteristic quality of a sound, independent of pitch and loudness, from which its source or manner of production can be inferred. Timbre depends on the relative strengths of the components of different frequencies, which are determined by resonance.
2.
Music . the characteristic quality of sound produced by a particular instrument or voice; tone color.

In music, timbre ( /ˈtæmbər/ tam-bər or /ˈtɪmbər/; French: [tɛ̃bʁ]) is the quality of a musical note or sound or tone that distinguishes different types of sound production, such as voices and musical instruments, such as string instruments, wind instruments, and percussion instruments. The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include spectrum and envelope. In psychoacoustics, timbre is also called tone quality and tone color.


Definition of TIMBRE

: the quality given to a sound by its overtones: as
a : the resonance by which the ear recognizes and identifies a voiced speech sound
b : the quality of tone distinctive of a particular singing voice or musical instrument


Sounds may be generally characterized by pitch, loudness, and quality. Sound "quality" or "timbre" describes those characteristics of sound which allow the ear to distinguish sounds which have the same pitch and loudness. Timbre is then a general term for the distinguishable characteristics of a tone. Timbre is mainly determined by the harmonic content of a sound and the dynamic characteristics of the sound such as vibrato and the attack-decay envelope of the sound.
Those definitions are from the first four results via Google. Tone quality = timbre. The literal French translation is "sound quality".

A guitar amp changes the timbre of the instrument. Just like different pick-ups do. And different strings. And different pedals. Recording that instrument with different mics yield different results. As do the choice of preamps and medium. That's why there are so many choices. Because different mics / preamps / amps / filters / EQs / pedals / rooms / etc. all influence the timbre of the instrument.
This can be easily demonstrated by the difference in recording a sound with different media. The thing you record on the LP, or the wire recorder, or in the computer, etc. are all going to have different tone qualities. The timbre, however, is still present. Simply because it's presented in a different way does not mean that the timbre has changed.
The timbre certainly does change. That's why old recordings sound the way they do. Sure we can still distinguish between a human voice and a piano on an old 78 of Big Maceo but his piano would certainly sound MUCH different if it was recorded with modern technology. That's like saying a black and white film would still look the same if it were in color. Or vice versa. Or shot with a different lens. Or in a different aspect ratio. That's simply false.

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by madtheory » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:04 pm

Actually it's a worthwhile distinction. Regardless of what it's recorded on, you'll still recognise a Minimoog. Yes, the harmonic content has changed but the distinguishing harmonic features are still recognisable. Bit of a risk to use a performer as an example, but the point still stands: Bonzo sounds like Bonzo regardless of how many mics were used to record his performance, or whether you hear it on old vinyl or an mp3 player.

So there might be an issue with AG's language, but the meaning, which he has tried to place in context, is clear. Your argument is to remove the context and make it one of semantics, which has no useful meaning in this discussion. It would be better if you tried to understand the distinction, and suggest an alternative way of putting it.

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by b3groover » Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:01 pm

madtheory wrote:Actually it's a worthwhile distinction. Regardless of what it's recorded on, you'll still recognise a Minimoog.
I disagree. You might recognize it as a synth but depending on the recording medium and how it was recorded, it might be hard to tell if it's analog or digital, a Minimoog or a dotcom, etc.

As for arguing semantics, when engaged in any debate you have to define your terms. AG is trying to define "timbre" by saying it isn't "tone quality", which is actually exactly the definition as outlined by pretty much every reference source and indeed the literal translation of the word from French. So if timbre isn't tone quality, what is it?

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by madtheory » Sun Jan 08, 2012 10:28 pm

b3groover wrote: it might be...
Yes, it's not definite. If recording media changed the sound that much, they wouldn't be much use, would they?
b3groover wrote:So if timbre isn't tone quality, what is it?
So really he's just using the wrong words, to describe a phenomenon that you don't agree exists. I happen to agree with him on that point, but I do agree with you that the words don't get the point across very well.

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by b3groover » Mon Jan 09, 2012 8:19 am

madtheory wrote:
b3groover wrote: it might be...
Yes, it's not definite. If recording media changed the sound that much, they wouldn't be much use, would they?
Depends on what you're going for. There's a reason people still use old tube preamps and funky mics. But there's also a reason why we improved upon wax cylinders... they radically change the timbre of whatever is recorded. Record a Minimoog on one of those and see how much it actually sounds like a Minimoog. :)

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Re: Mini D vs. Voyager

Post by dzlvs8 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 4:08 am

b3groover wrote:
madtheory wrote:
b3groover wrote: it might be...
Yes, it's not definite. If recording media changed the sound that much, they wouldn't be much use, would they?
Depends on what you're going for. There's a reason people still use old tube preamps and funky mics. But there's also a reason why we improved upon wax cylinders... they radically change the timbre of whatever is recorded. Record a Minimoog on one of those and see how much it actually sounds like a Minimoog. :)

I have a very good example of this. I have a minimoog (the good one) and my dumba$$ used to run it through a Peavey KB100 amplifier (aka. a pile of garbage). The minimoog was the greatest thing I ever heard....until I bought a Roland KC500 amp. WOAH I was missing so much sound before with the old amp. I seriously thought something was wrong with my minimoog filter when I first used the KC500 because I was missing about half of the high end sound (due to a terrible piezo tweeter). The amp changed the sound drastically. I knew something wasn't right about my setup. I mean, I had 7 vintage keyboards at the time that totalled more that $15,000, yet I ran them all through an amp I got for $100.

FYI - All gear makes a difference.

I used to also run all my analog stuff through a Digitech RP355 digital processor. BAD idea. Using the digital processor wah on my clavinet made my clavinet so dry and muffled. nasty! (in a bad way)

So yeah, anything you run your gear through can possibly change the sound. With my setup I could definitely tell the difference between a minimoog D and a minimoog voyager, but that wouldn't always be the case during recordings that you can hear. Professional recordings a just a LITTLE bit more tweaked and "refined" than what I do. lol

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