hardware vs. software

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Martin P268
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Post by Martin P268 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:29 am

? digital hardware synths are just software running in their own box. If you run software through a good converter there really isn't any difference
I'm sorry that's a cliche, and not true whatsoever. Any hardware synth is much more than just the software + box.

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Post by CS_TBL » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:28 am

The term 'hardware synth' is a bit vague here, are you referring to old analogues or also to things like Roland's JD/JV/XV models? (or any ROMpler/FM synth for all I care)
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Martin P268
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Post by Martin P268 » Thu Jul 12, 2007 1:52 pm

I simply refer to synthesizers as opposed to personal computer applications doing the job of synthesizers. If a digital synthesizer has software envelopes or software oscillators - it doesn't make it a software synthesizer as we know it yet.

I must clarify that I don't want to diminish the importance of soft synths. They have their place in music and if someone enjoys playing them, it's good for them. I've listened to amazing music done on soft synths.

I have CS80V which I like, for it is the only reasonable choice if you want to have the CS80 sound, but...

- it introduces ugly sound artifacts at low latency settings (my computer cost me £1000 two years ago).
- it sounds different at different sample rates (I mean the master tune changes), who can tell me wchich is the right one?
- it can be detuned to emulate old analogue character but no one has specified how much of detune is the right amount.
- there is no MIDI controller on this planet to play it like the old CS80.

At this time I say 'thank you' to software synthesizers. Too many variables and no integrity of the instrument whatsoever.

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Post by riccir » Sat Jul 14, 2007 10:10 am

martinp268 wrote:
? digital hardware synths are just software running in their own box. If you run software through a good converter there really isn't any difference
I'm sorry that's a cliche, and not true whatsoever. Any hardware synth is much more than just the software + box.
well, yes its more but much more? and 'box' can mean a crapload of dsp power behind a great DAC, too ... better than what some software synths may be piped out of :wink:

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Post by Martin P268 » Sat Jul 14, 2007 2:59 pm

I can't be specific about how much 'more' it is. For me the synthesizer (or any musical instrument for that matter) is much more than the technology used in it. I mean, this 'more' is the significant part that actually makes the instrument. Software synth is the advanced technology minus the whole rest and essence of synthesizer as a performance instrument.

Yes, software produces great sound - so does a CD. But I am a performance oriented, hence my approach to bodyless software synthesizers.

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Post by CS_TBL » Sat Jul 14, 2007 3:51 pm

Right as I suspected. You're referring to being able to touch it, move it around, gig with it, smell it etc. While those are valid points in a performance context, or perhaps even an emotional context, they're no valid arguments when it comes purely to the sound itself (assuming digital technology, without analogue sound shapers).
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
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Post by hey_timj » Sat Jul 14, 2007 6:17 pm

i like the interface of native instruments' massive better than any hardware synth i've ever tried, because it's not an emulation of something, it is saying that the computer is the instrument, a far more versatile and powerful instrument than any machine out there barring the most astonishing modular systems. and it sounds huge.

sorry, i think hardware is on its way out, just like physical media and and an analogue currency system.
fender rhodes, moog little phatty, moogerfooger mf-103, mf-105, all going into ableton live 6

Martin P268
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Post by Martin P268 » Sat Jul 14, 2007 7:52 pm

sorry, i think hardware is on its way out, just like physical media and and an analogue currency system.
If you believe this and the software works for you then... it's true.

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Post by SYNbiotic » Mon Jul 16, 2007 5:54 pm

As someone who did everything in software first, then started toying with hardware years later, I'd have to say that both are necessary.

For hardware there are two factors that I simply cannot have in software: True analog and a dedicated control surface. Software and MIDI controllers come close, and perhaps acceptably close for others, but in the end it's still ghetto comapred to hardware.

I can sit with a VA softsynth and spend time dialing in clear bass or crystaline leads with my sample rate cranked until my CPU gasps for air and gets close... or I can fire up the SH-101 or Jup and BAM! that sound, that tone, is right there and it's perfect.

In my opinion, software has replaced all digital hardware... romplers, drum machines, sequencers, and all the digital synths out there. I may buy a JD-800 just because of the controls, but that's the only reason.

I tried really, really hard to stick to software... but in the end I just kept wanting that missing piece. I spent 100s of bucks on software trying to get "that" clean analog sound, when all along I should have just bought the Roland.

Don't get me wrong, software is amazing and I can't live without it, but someday you're going to hear analog at it's best and you're never going to be satisfied with VAs again.

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Post by Soundwave » Mon Jul 16, 2007 6:37 pm

I started out going through many so called 'all in one' grooveboxes but if I had had Reason all those years ago I would have got a lot more done with far better results so a think dedicated hardware can often not be all its cracked up to be.
I think the future is with dedicated interfaces as most people have only just started to scratch the surface with the more complex softsynths around today hence the slight decline of interest or anything truly radical in the past couple of years, sure the Creamware stuff was a step in the right direction with a nice dedicated USB interface that avoided MIDI but it was sadly limited for the sake of vintage authenticity. More unorthodox dedicated USB controllers is what we need without the constraints and limitations of MIDI for example if each big softsynth firm made their own series of expandable controllers designed to work with their range of software the world would be a much better place. :)

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Post by droolmaster0 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am

martinp268 wrote:
? digital hardware synths are just software running in their own box. If you run software through a good converter there really isn't any difference
I'm sorry that's a cliche, and not true whatsoever. Any hardware synth is much more than just the software + box.
Actually, it is true. Your religion is nice, but please - point out the difference then (other than the box).

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Post by droolmaster0 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:36 am

martinp268 wrote:I can't be specific about how much 'more' it is. For me the synthesizer (or any musical instrument for that matter) is much more than the technology used in it. I mean, this 'more' is the significant part that actually makes the instrument. Software synth is the advanced technology minus the whole rest and essence of synthesizer as a performance instrument.

Yes, software produces great sound - so does a CD. But I am a performance oriented, hence my approach to bodyless software synthesizers.
Essentially, your argument boils down to this:
Hardware digital synths are much more than software digital synths in a different box because, gee, golly, I just like them so much more.

The real point is that the difference IS the box, and it IS an important one for many people. It is for me. But I don't entertain the delusion that what exists inside my hardware box isn't a software program in a nice hardware interface.

Martin P268
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Post by Martin P268 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 1:54 pm

Actually, it is true. Your religion is nice, but please - point out the difference then (other than the box).
It seems you overlooked some parts of this thread. Here it is again (for convenience's sake):
I have CS80V which I like, for it is the only reasonable choice if you want to have the CS80 sound, but...

- it introduces ugly sound artifacts at low latency settings (my computer cost me £1000 two years ago).
- it sounds different at different sample rates (I mean the master tune changes), who can tell me wchich is the right one?
- it can be detuned to emulate old analogue character but no one has specified how much of detune is the right amount.
- there is no MIDI controller on this planet to play it like the old CS80.

At this time I say 'thank you' to software synthesizers. Too many variables and no integrity of the instrument whatsoever.
As to your other point, specifically:
The real point is that the difference IS the box, and it IS an important one for many people. It is for me. But I don't entertain the delusion that what exists inside my hardware box isn't a software program in a nice hardware interface
I still think, a hardware digital synth is not the same as software thing even regarding what's inside. The difference is that the digital and analogue parts of a hardware instrument give that instrument it's own character and feel. They simply define that synthesizer.

On the other hand the digital and analogue parts that accompany a software synthesizer, do not give that instrument a character. They introduce variables upon variables to the synth. Here are some selected features of FM7:

- it's got an excellent/crappy/no keyboard action.
- it can be played with latency of 5ms, 7ms, 10ms, 12ms, 15ms or more
- sample rate is 44100Hz, 48000Hz or 96000Hz
- it has real time (minus latency) brightness, controlled by a slider or a knob / a knob and a slider / a mouse
- sound quality is good or not so good, can be excellent, though.
- it can take voice data from other digital synths but these data will not produce the same sound. (Why? Same guts inside and different sound? :-# )

Enough... I hope my point is clear now.

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Post by droolmaster0 » Tue Jul 17, 2007 2:53 pm

martinp268 wrote:
Actually, it is true. Your religion is nice, but please - point out the difference then (other than the box).
It seems you overlooked some parts of this thread. Here it is again (for convenience's sake):
I have CS80V which I like, for it is the only reasonable choice if you want to have the CS80 sound, but...

- it introduces ugly sound artifacts at low latency settings (my computer cost me £1000 two years ago).
- it sounds different at different sample rates (I mean the master tune changes), who can tell me wchich is the right one?
- it can be detuned to emulate old analogue character but no one has specified how much of detune is the right amount.
- there is no MIDI controller on this planet to play it like the old CS80.

At this time I say 'thank you' to software synthesizers. Too many variables and no integrity of the instrument whatsoever.
As to your other point, specifically:
The real point is that the difference IS the box, and it IS an important one for many people. It is for me. But I don't entertain the delusion that what exists inside my hardware box isn't a software program in a nice hardware interface
I still think, a hardware digital synth is not the same as software thing even regarding what's inside. The difference is that the digital and analogue parts of a hardware instrument give that instrument it's own character and feel. They simply define that synthesizer.

On the other hand the digital and analogue parts that accompany a software synthesizer, do not give that instrument a character. They introduce variables upon variables to the synth. Here are some selected features of FM7:

- it's got an excellent/crappy/no keyboard action.
- it can be played with latency of 5ms, 7ms, 10ms, 12ms, 15ms or more
- sample rate is 44100Hz, 48000Hz or 96000Hz
- it has real time (minus latency) brightness, controlled by a slider or a knob / a knob and a slider / a mouse
- sound quality is good or not so good, can be excellent, though.
- it can take voice data from other digital synths but these data will not produce the same sound. (Why? Same guts inside and different sound? :-# )

Enough... I hope my point is clear now.
I see nothing above that addresses anything that I've said. The cs80 was an analog synth. My posts addressed software synths vs digital hardware synths.

The analog parts of a hardware synthesizer do not give it a sound, other than the digital to analog conversion. The sound character of a hardware digital synth is due to its programming, its box with interface, and its converters. Software synths these days, on a good computer using good audio drivers won't suffer in the latency dept.

I respect your religion, but that's what it is.

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iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

Post by esqoner » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:36 pm

i think we should have just talked about parappa the rappa...


haha.

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