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

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

Post by Yoozer » Fri Jun 19, 2009 2:29 pm

It would be neat if you could do a direct comparison, since there's not that much reason to assume that whatever happens in the Virus can't possibly happen in a PC now - with multiple cores and all that. In 1995 when the VA revolution started, PCs weren't that fit for software synthesis yet (as in using several instances without severe penalties in processing or latency).

Releasing a VA as software would immediately kill hardware sales; that's why it's not happening (and that's why they haven't updated the Virus Powercore yet). In the case of the V-station and K-station/A-station where something like that -has- happened, the hardware was cheap anyway, and newer iterations of the product line have the same VA engine in there as a matter of convenience.
The only reason that could make the hardware VAs sound noticeably better than softsynths and that I can personally think of would be, you know, magic.
Or, you know, different modeling algorithms for filters, distortions, oscillators etc. Not all saw waves are created equally.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by shaft9000 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:09 pm

the only VST that I know of that sounds identical to the keyboard hardware version is the Neuron VS; this comes from several confirmed owners of both versions.
of course it won't sound the same coming thru a Soundblaster vs an Apogee card - they are comparing the digital out of the keyboard w/ the renders of the VST soundfile.

Also, you are NOT going to get "the same performance" sounding in a particular way because the interfaces are VASTLY different, and that's true for any keyboard<>VST comparison, afaik.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by blitzdj86 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:25 pm

Perhaps you could just download some demos from the internet yourself and don't expect the others to do it for you?
OK then, thats no problem..
But I need to know, what is the exact soft VA I should be checking out? And the hardware VA that I should be comparing it to?

Since the claim I am investigating is "Software virtual analogues sound the same as hardware virtual analogues" - and because not all hardware virtual analogues sound the same I need a specific comparison. (funny that they dont all sound the same isnt it? - I mean, the saw oscillator sounds different, or a 24DB resonant filter on all synths that have such a thing, sounds different... Must be 'magic'! Just like God must have made the universe, because nobody quite knows exactly how it came about!)

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Actually...

Post by vin14 » Fri Jun 19, 2009 4:50 pm

blitzdj86 wrote:we're not really tralking about better/worse here dont you see,

we're talking about whether software sounds the same as hardware.

... it's more a case of, if they are both software running on different kinds of hardware, not whether one sounds better or is better than the other. At least that's what I meant in the original post!

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

Post by GeneralBigbag » Fri Jun 19, 2009 5:10 pm

If you had the raw code of a digital synth, and implemented it in a computer, I don't see how the digital output of the hardware would be any different than wav files generated by the code on the computer.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Cycom » Fri Jun 19, 2009 6:15 pm

It seems as though this subject touched a nerve on some people! :lol:

I can't believe some of you use the argument that VA's are any different from softsynths because they use DPS's for the processing. Sorry, but the DSP's in the Virus have nothing on a multicore computer. I'm using an 8-core Mac Pro and am EASILY able to run multiple instances of polyphonic softsynths like Arturia's CS-80v or any Native Instruments synth easily, to say nothing of all the 3rd party fx plugins and ITB Logic plugins that I'm running at the same time. With a controller like the Novation Remote, it renders many if not all VA's as utterly pointless (I'm speaking, of course, through my own experience).

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

Post by ashton » Fri Jun 19, 2009 7:54 pm

YES - NO - Yes - No LOL!

I'm always amused by this debate. It seems that we're all waiting around for someone to create the perfect soft synth that sounds exactly like a real discrete analog synth but unforutanely that will never happen because the great analog synths (as well as hardware digitals) are a product of the entire package so the hardware components make then unique.

The question I always ask myself is what do I want a specific piece of gear for, what purpose will it have for me. If it's for my studio does it complement my existing gear or is it just duplicating something I already have. And there's always the "playing live gear" versus "would never take out of the studio" gear.

Dave Smith says it's best to buy a really good analog hardware synth because after you've spent 4-5 years dropping $200 a soft synth you could have had an exceptional modern or classis analog synth that you will use for 20 years. Problem is most synth heads don't wanna wait and save up for the really good hardware synths and opt for a lot of cheaper choices over time because it's easier to spend $200 now and then over $2000. I saw Tom Oberheim recently saying basically the same thing. He seems to think that computers have passed up the digital workstation synths from the big three and the hardware workstation is basically becoming a thing of the past. So he sees spending money on a good computer and good DAW and a really good analog synth as the best way to go.

It's also interesting that Macbeth are creating a pure discrete analog synth (x-series keyboard and modular) the way they were made in the 70's. It's no longer enough for the boutique analog synth houses to make modern versions of 80's analog polys as is the case with Studio Electronics. Would that we all could run out and drop 3K on a modern boutique discrete analog mono-synth eh?

Hans Zimmer recently said that he loves his analog modulars but if he spent a lot of time tweaking and patching he would never get work done scoring films. Hence why he writes on computers with GIGA and soft synths initally and then comes back later to add in layers with the hardware. He used Zebra2 on The Dark Night and Angels and Demons. That is quite significant because just two years ago he was using the Access Virus TI a lot as well. It's interesting to see what those who have so much classic gear use to make music today when they could use anything.

Martin Gore of Depeche Mode wrote the songs on their current album exclusively on soft synths (which he claims to have them all and he's known to live on ebay and kvraudio) on an apple laptop. In the studio, Depeche Mode pulled out all the classis analog gear they have and a few modern digitals and layered those with the virtual synths used writing the songs. But live they're using a combination of apple g5's running sequencing and soft synths and driving samples as well as the Access Virus TI. BUT..... the Virus TI was NOT used in the studio to record the albums nor in the writing of it. Interesting?

The PetShopBoys latest album was also written on an apple laptop with soft synths. And again in the studio they used various hardware on the recording of the album. Chris Lowe recently stated that when writing he's concerned with getting the songs written in the most efficient and accessible way possible and when their in the studio he relies on the producer to color up the sound with whatever makes sense (e.g. other hardware or a real orchestra if needed). They're on tour now and what is Lowe using on stage? Korg Triton to control a pair of Access Virus TI racks and he's got a Moog Voyager as well.

Nick Rhodes has recently been photographed in the studio with Jupiter-4, Jupiter-8, Prophet-5, Moog MiniMoog Model-D, Juno-6, V-Synth GT, FantomGT, JunoG (yes strangely enough), Andromeda. And on tour over the past few years he's used an old Kurzweil K2000 (samples only), Andromeda (for Prophet-5 and Curmar Performer stuff) and a pair of V-Synths (one for new songs and the other V-Synth controls two Akai S6000's which sampled all his Jupiter-8 sounds).

DJ Schiller uses a Nord Wave and Lead1 and computer when writing almost exclusively. On tour he's using a pair of Nord Waves and several Fantoms (S, GT).

DJ Sasha is a big user of the Access Virus and the Andromeda in the studio as well as soft synths. But he puts his digital synths through a lot of outboard effects racks and pedals to warm them up. Something that Trent Reznor is known for as well.

The point? These guys have the money to buy and use any synth they want. But most of us don't have that luxury. I think it best for the rest of us to have the gear that makes sense for the purpose we use it for and/or music we make whatever that is. Have a good soft synth or a few of them not 1000 of them because you will never have time to learn them all or use them all. Buy a good VA and a good analog synth that give you different sound choices. Play them before you buy them to make sure they're what you want.

I currently use: Nord Wave, DSI Evolver, Ableton Live 8, Access Virus TI Snow, Zebra2. The digitals almost always get put through a channel strip and/or the Evolver and finally through a Kurzweil Rumour. I use Zebra2 and Ableton for all software, drum programming and use Ableton Sampler quite a bit. Anxiously awaiting the MAX/MSP upgrade for Ableton.

The synths that I've had, sold and wish I still had: Jupiter-8 (had it for 18 years), Nord G2.

What I hope to see in the next couple of years: Nord G3 with sample oscillators like the Nord Wave.

b.t.w. The Nord Wave is INCREDIBLE!

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

Post by Yoozer » Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:30 pm

ashton wrote: Dave Smith says it's best to buy a really good analog hardware synth because after you've spent 4-5 years dropping $200 a soft synth you could have had an exceptional modern or classis analog synth that you will use for 20 years.
Of course he says that - he's selling them ;).

Problem is, the modern analogs have SMT, so there's not much for a user to fix.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jun 19, 2009 11:30 pm

Cycom wrote:I'm using an 8-core Mac Pro and am EASILY able to run multiple instances of polyphonic softsynths like Arturia's CS-80v or any Native Instruments synth easily, to say nothing of all the 3rd party fx plugins and ITB Logic plugins that I'm running at the same time.

The Virus is just a softsynth with a hardware interface. You just paid almost $3000 for a softsynth with a dedicated control interface....
How much was that 8-core Mac Pro? Softsynths don't sound very good without a computer #-o

BTW not all VAs cost $3K. The most expensive one I've ever owned only cost $1000 (and I bought it used). That's cheaper than a dual core iMac 8)
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Cycom » Sat Jun 20, 2009 3:07 am

meatballfulton wrote:
Cycom wrote:I'm using an 8-core Mac Pro and am EASILY able to run multiple instances of polyphonic softsynths like Arturia's CS-80v or any Native Instruments synth easily, to say nothing of all the 3rd party fx plugins and ITB Logic plugins that I'm running at the same time.

The Virus is just a softsynth with a hardware interface. You just paid almost $3000 for a softsynth with a dedicated control interface....
How much was that 8-core Mac Pro? Softsynths don't sound very good without a computer #-o

BTW not all VAs cost $3K. The most expensive one I've ever owned only cost $1000 (and I bought it used). That's cheaper than a dual core iMac 8)
Paid $1999 for a brand new, EOL Mac Pro 8-core. A h**l of a lot less than a new Virus Ti. Thanks for trying, though.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Zamise » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:06 am

I think VST soft synths can be sample bassed too, technically VAs can't ;)

Unless...

Probably another can of worms there...but um... Not that I'm for Soft VAs over Hard VAs, but the wares in a hardware VA synth are what I'd call platform dependent which is usually the same for all software in hardware synths. Soft synth VSTs arn't so much platform dependent, you can use them on multiple platforms. Make of that what you will, they each have their pros and cons, but at the end of the day I'm with Joey, just use it.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by blitzdj86 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:49 am

please, can someone tell me which exact software VA I should be checking out?

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

Post by Zamise » Sat Jun 20, 2009 4:57 am

You want something Virus TI like for that correct? I'm no expert there, but there is a software synthesizer sub forum on here you might get a more direct response from on that question. Looks like we may have overloaded your processor here mate. Heh, sorry.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by Jack Spider » Sat Jun 20, 2009 8:27 am

blitzdj86 wrote:please, can someone tell me which exact software VA I should be checking out?
If you want advice on what to check out, why not start a dedicated thread in Buyer's Guide? Asking in this thread will probably result in you getting a lot of different responses, derailing the thread.
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Re: Are virtual analogs just soft synths with their own...

Post by blitzdj86 » Sat Jun 20, 2009 2:33 pm

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>

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