Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

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masstronaut
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by masstronaut » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:01 pm

I think the point is mostly that in principle there is no difference between a software synth running on a general purpose computer and a software synth running on dedicated hardware, which is what a VA is. Although as said before this doesn't take into account the dedicated interface and the subjective way in which a player interacts with an instrument, which is certainly part of the story.

In practice I would say that some manufacturers of hardware synths do have the advantage of having been around a good while and have experience and highly refined / field-tested algorithms on their side.

The other reason people haven't named software synths is I imagine that most people here are hardware based innit.

I don't use software synths much but I hear talk of things like -

Zebra
Massive
Sylenth
Rapture
Alchemy (sample based I think, but very advanced with resynthesis and s**t)

Also new and coming -

Waldorf Largo (of course)
FXPansion D-CAM Synth Squad (supposed to be very good circuit modelling)

I'm sure there's lots more.

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by GeneralBigbag » Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:00 pm

masstronaut wrote: In practice I would say that some manufacturers of hardware synths do have the advantage of having been around a good while and have experience and highly refined / field-tested algorithms on their side.
Which is also why people still buy Eventides.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by solaristica » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:44 am

blitzdj86 wrote:People are talking about how great these new soft synths are, they should be able to come up with at least one example, or their argument is based on NOTHING>

WHAT?! I just asked in another thread, why would I buy a DX7 if I already own FM8, and the majority of the people replied saying that there would not be, essentially, any difference... in fact, I would be better off with FM8... now, I might be a "newbie" and all, but the question posed by the starter of this thread has been haunting me for a while... and in the case of the DX7, which is a "digital" keyboard, it totally applies in reference to FM8... why, of course, they are both digital, bunch of numbers being processed and "translated" into sound...

So, in short, FM8 for starters, and I'm sure many others...

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by CS_TBL » Sun Jun 21, 2009 9:33 am

There are major differences between FM8 and a DX7:
- FM8 has effects, which can have a radical influence on the sound
- FM8 has 32 waveforms for its operators, a DX7 has one: a sine
- FM8 has segment envelopes with curves, a dX7 has a relatively simple envelope. The curves in FM8's envelopes are great for brass/wind instrument simulations
- FM8 has a polyphony of 64, a DX7 has 16 voices. For special unison sounds, this difference is like day and night.
- In context of creating music, you can use as many FM8 instances as you can (that is, as long as your CPU doesn't cook), without the not-so-flexible (composition-wise) recording of a part: one DX7 will always be one DX7.
- each operator can have feedback, in the DX7 you have only one feedback path
- free algorithms, which makes it easy to construct or rebuild the FM-flow, in the DX7 these are pre-configured and migrating from one to another is a pain
- there's a filter
- there's a noise generator

And probably some more as well, but the bottomline is: had FM8 been an exact replica of a DX7 then you could probably include a DX7 in your setup without any drawbacks, and it'd fit the subject of this thread. But FM8 does so much more than just being a DX7, there's no point in going back. Despite their origins, they're both quite different synths.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Jack Spider » Sun Jun 21, 2009 1:12 pm

This thread's a bit more software than hardware, so I've moved it over to 'Software Synthesizers'.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by megamanx » Sun Jun 21, 2009 4:44 pm

I think that this became a "what's better software or VA synths?" when I think it originally was stating that VA's are software synths.

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by masstronaut » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:42 pm

Not really. I don't see an argument. Some people asked what's good about software synths and others answered. It's not always a slanging match on the internet.

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by masstronaut » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:44 pm

Jack Spider wrote:This thread's a bit more software than hardware, so I've moved it over to 'Software Synthesizers'.
So is a thread about virtual analog just a soft synth thread in disguise?

;)

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Old Iron Giant » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:09 am

Hartmann Neuron.... when PC internals, meets Synth.
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The gray area of Synth & software :lol:

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Jun 22, 2009 8:03 am

These are the facts:

a) VAs aren't software synths cause they don't run software, they run firmware. However a lot of old samplersare software synths, because they run software in the form of an OS you need to load into a disk drive when you turn it on.

b) Synths; hard, soft, firm, spongy, limp, whatever, are tools for making music. Some people like one kind cause it sounds different to another kind, they have a more inspiring experience when they use one kind, they find one kind to be more flexible or convenient to use and that helps them to make their music. This is opposed to:

c) Some people buy synths to sit in a big pile and look at, take photos of and post on the internet etc. These people all think hardware synths are better.

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by griffin avid » Mon Jun 22, 2009 2:56 pm

Masstronaut said: "So is a thread about virtual analog just a soft synth thread in disguise?"
I had to read that six times before I caught on.

"Some people buy synths to sit in a big pile and look at, take photos of and post on the internet etc. These people all think hardware synths are better."

Well this turns it back into more of a slag match for sure.
Seems like the jury could be easily split on this one.
FM7 verse the DX7.
FM8 would have to match up with a DX8 and since one does not exist, who's to say the FM8 would be a better value?


The Virtual Analog Roland JP-8000 has many soft-synth versions.
None of the emulations sound like each other, but they all 'sorta' sound like the JP. :?
Same with the Junos. It's close enough so you know what it's supposed to be at first listen.
That says to me, it's not impossible to port over ANY sound into software, it's just difficult.
And we are just facing limitations due to technology and experience.

A digital synth should be EASY to port/translate if this threads opening theory holds water.
I mean, what would happen if soft synths were able to replicate or exceed the sound of (vintage) hardware 100%?

If you refuse to acknowledge the possibility and started to say "Never gonna happen" even before seeing the question mark at the end, then maybe there is a group that loves hardware for no more reason than ...it being hardware. In that case "Looks good in pictures" may be enough. They say "You can't hug the plug."
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by shaft9000 » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:11 pm

Cycom wrote: I'll say it again. The Virus is just a softsynth with a hardware interface. I'm not saying it's bad sounding, far from it, it's just incredibly overpriced! You just paid almost $3000 for a softsynth with a dedicated control interface....
Stab Frenzy wrote:This is a fact:

a) VAs aren't software synths cause they don't run software, they run firmware.
i wonder if he's really going say it again.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by masstronaut » Mon Jun 22, 2009 3:41 pm

griffin avid wrote:A digital synth should be EASY to port/translate if this threads opening theory holds water?
Not necessarily 'easy', just possible in principle, I think that's the thesis. In practice it's rarely easy or even desirable or even what is being attempted anyway.

I don't think there are many cases where there has been a straightforward attempt to do an exact port. But the two examples I can think of (Virus TDM and Neuron) are generally reckoned to be spot on and that I would say is because they were relatively 'easy' ports to systems running on the exact same types of processors.

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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Jack Spider » Mon Jun 22, 2009 5:36 pm

masstronaut wrote:
Jack Spider wrote:This thread's a bit more software than hardware, so I've moved it over to 'Software Synthesizers'.
So is a thread about virtual analog just a soft synth thread in disguise?

;)
It could be - in which case, we are all in peril! :shock:

Japes aside, it looked to be more a comparison of the two, but leaning more towards the software side of things as the conversation developed, so I reckoned here might be a better place for it.

Funnily enough, reading the Howard Massey 'Complete DX7' book, he makes repeated references to it being a 'computer', so going from that, all DX7 threads are actually *software!! :shock: :lol:



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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by griffin avid » Mon Jun 22, 2009 6:57 pm

You're a mod. It is official.

I don't think there are many cases where there has been a straightforward attempt to do an exact port. But the two examples I can think of (Virus TDM and Neuron) are generally reckoned to be spot on and that I would say is because they were relatively 'easy' ports to systems running on the exact same types of processors.

Does it mean anything that the Original Company is the one doing the port and using their own R&D as opposed to someone only owning the synth and trying to reverse engineer it based on its sound(s)?
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