Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

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Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by alanash » Fri May 06, 2011 8:49 pm

Hi... I'm new to the forum. I chose this forum to join because it seemed to me as I read various posts that there was less "battling," less bashing of various synths than what I've read on other forums, so I thought you guys (girls, too?) might be able to restrain yourselves from the bashing, arguing, biased judging that I so often read on other forums. I hope I'm right about this forum, because I need some good information.I am hoping here to get some good, unbiased, objective comments.

I am new to the synthesizer scene, but have been reading about the various kinds of synths.... analog, analog-modeling, digital synths, etc. I've played around with the Yamaha MM6 and the Roland SH-201. Yamaha just refers to theirs as a "synth" and don't claim that it is able to create "virtual" analog sounds or even be able to "model" analog sounds. Yet it is filled, stuffed with presets, hundreds of different sounds, hundreds of arps, and dedicated buttons to call up whatever instrument you wish to play... piano, organ, strings, guitar, bass, brass...etc. The Roland SH-201 DOES claim to be a "virtual analog" or "analog-modeling" synth.... and OH YES it does have that deep, rich, fat (PHAT) analog sound... I love it, but it only comes with 32 presets, and 32 user slots for sounds the user can create and store, and 32 arps. Yes, there are hundreds more available for the SH-201, but only 32 at a time can be accessed through the synth itself (and yes, I know that through software on a computer/laptop, you can access more). The SH-201, however, has NO buttons to push to let you play piano, organ, guitar, bass, strings, brass, etc, and no onboard sequencer.

So after that really long paragraph above, Here's my question: Is there a synth out there that is a "virtual, analog modeling" synth (like the SH-201) that has hundreds of presets onboard already AND has dedicated buttons to call up specific instruments (like the MM6)???

Like I said, I've played with both, and the growls, supersaw waves, infinite tweaking of sounds and the deep analog sounds of the Roland SH-201 are fantastic, .... and the hundreds of presets, arps, and the onboard sounds and dedicated buttons for specific instruments on the Yamaha MM6 are fabulous to have right there at the press of a button or screen plus an onboard 8-track sequencer.

Is there a beast out there that combines the above qualities of both synths?

Thanks for your objective comments in advance. I look forward to your replies.

Alan

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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by TheKeytarist » Sat May 07, 2011 12:20 am

I've been reading about the korg Kronos, and it seems pretty awesome. It looks as though korg has combined some of the qualities of work stations(like the MM6?) with a virtual analog engine(like the 201). Let me explain; the korg kronos has 9 different sound engines. Included in these are a sample based engine, (at least) 3 virtual analog engines, plus other instrument engines. Besides that, it is also has a touch screen! You said you wanted something with the instrument sounds and the synth sounds. The Kronos was the first thing that poped in to my head. I'd recommend doing some research and deciding for your self what you like. The other solution I can think of is a multi instrument set-up. Lime maybe the mm6 and the 201. Just some thoughts...
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat May 07, 2011 1:39 am

The Kurzweil PC3 line of synths is exactly what you want. They do better sounding pianos and other acoustic instruments than the Yamaha, and have a better sounding VA synth than the SH-201. The interface isn't designed for tweaking the VA though, even though it sounds great.

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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by TheKeytarist » Sat May 07, 2011 1:32 pm

What he said^ I haven't done much research on the kurzweil, but I do recal they had a virtual analog engine. I have seen the kurzweil in some interesting places(like the super bowl one year!). I will say if you go with a kurzweil, you might consider a knoby midi controller like the novation remote sl mk2 zero(I think). Still, touch screen on the korg sounds pretty cool. Also, the Korg Oassis seems to have most of the features of the Kronos as well...
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by TheKeytarist » Sat May 07, 2011 1:35 pm

Also, there's the radias expansion for the korg m3. It pretty much adds a korg radias to the already awesome M3.
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by meatballfulton » Sat May 07, 2011 3:51 pm

In general "virtual analog" synthesizers do not do emulative sounds like pianos, drums, etc. Those are usually done with "sample based" synths (you will see these often referred to in this forum as ROMplers).

There have been some synthesizers available over the last 15 years with multiple sound engines that allow both sample based and virtual analog synthesis. None of them have the knobby interface common to most virtual analog-only synths and you have not stated how important having knob control is vs. just the sounds.

Since you have mentioned both the SH201 and MM6 I will assume you are on a limited budget...about $500? Some of the synthesizers mentioned by others are considerably more expensive, $1000-$3000!!!

Please reply back with more information.
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by Phollop Willing PA » Sat May 07, 2011 6:50 pm

My favourite virtual analogue modelling synth for a knobbiness and sliders are the Roland JP 8000 and the MS 2000 (I have the rack vers.). Either are available most often for around $500 or less. Real analogue is a wide and varied ocean of sound. Current stuff from Moog is a good start - maybe a Moog Phatty? or for more knobs something like Dave Smith and the boutique analogues are worth looking into.

I am pleasantly surprised how well the aforementioned VAs sit in the mix, sometimes....
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by alanash » Sat May 07, 2011 6:58 pm

Thank you for your replies so far. I am interested in "some" tweaking knobs, special effects controllers, etc, but the Sh-201 has SOOOO many of them I end up getting lost as I twist, turn, slide, and push. I've saved a few sounds so far but if you asked me how I made that sound, I wouldn't be able to recall how I got there, or be able to reproduce the patch from my own memory. On the other hand the Yamaha was on the "Lite" side when it came to tweaking.

Budget-wise, I would consider going up to $800 or so for just the right machine, new or used.

I'll look into some of the machines you have suggested so far.

I appreciate the time taken to reply to my questions. Thanks again.

Alan


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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by Rick N Boogie » Sun May 08, 2011 1:05 am

It might be worth your time to learn the ins and outs of syntesis in general, like starting with the oscillators, filters, amp, LFO, etc, and learn what exactly each section does, so it will be easier to understand "how" you make the sound. (re: the SH 201) Synthesizers are a huge blast, but a basic understanding of how they work will make it alot more fun for you. Alas, I have no suggestions on a machine, though I'm sure those already mentioned are spot on, I like the real anolog stuff, like the Little Phatty, or Dave Smith's MoPho, and need no piano's/organ's/etc. Good luck.
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by alanash » Sun May 08, 2011 3:29 pm

OK. Thanks for all your input. The synth I have right now is the Roland SH-201. Since that's the one I have, what I need is a preset for a piano. Since it doesn't have a button, like the Yamaha MM6 does, for "piano," I need a piano preset, right?

Elsewhere, when I was searching around, someone commented that the SH-201 was a machine designed just to make "synth" sounds, and not particular individual instruments.

I have found some VSTi piano plugins, which say that I need to place them in my VSTi's plugin folder. Since I'm new to this, I don't know how to do that. The SH-201 came with (and I already have it installed) a VSTi editor. However, I do not see a "plugin folder." Am I missing something? Do I need to create the folder? I've poked around the editor and not found a place to create a plugin folder.

And finally.... maybe the dumb question of the day: Are VST (virtual studio technology) and DAW (digital audio workstation) the same thing?

Thanks.. and please have mercy upon me.

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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by Virgil » Mon May 09, 2011 1:11 pm

@alanash

I bet you make a piano-like sound on your SH-201, just don't expect it to be very realistic. Check a manual, maybe they got some instructions on how to make one.

As for the piano vsti, you need a sound editing/recording program that supports those kind of plugins i.e. Fruity Loops, Cakewalk, Ableton Live etc. And from SH-201 description, I can say that it ships with a software editor, where you can change your synth presets on a PC, that could be integrated in an above-mentioned programs. So, you need a third party tool. I'm not a specialist in that field, probably someone more knowledgeable gonna help you to choose one.

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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by TheKeytarist » Mon May 09, 2011 2:14 pm

What's your computer and os? Maybe we can help you find something simple that will host vsti's and the 201 editor.
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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by alanash » Mon May 09, 2011 2:18 pm

Thanks. The editor with the 201 isn't any of those brands you listed, but maybe it doesn't have to be to make these piano presets work.

I have pc laptop running Windows XP, fast processor and good amount of ram and hard disk space.

Anything else you need to know, just ask. Thanks!

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Re: Analog-modeling versus ... "Normal" synth?

Post by Dr. Phibes » Mon May 09, 2011 4:34 pm

With a VA you'll be able to emulate certain parameters of the piano sound, but it will certainly not sound like an acoustic piano. As has been mentioned older kurzweil keyboards are good option, having both sampled and VA sounds but the latter can be a hard to get to with the controls offered.

In went for the cheapo option personally and got a second hand kurzweil microensemble and switch between that and my synths. There a number of other dedicated piano modules by roland, kurzweil, alesis and a few others

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