The obsession for the Analog

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by alan partridge » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:14 pm

I think we've arrived at a similar point before because people who tend to favour analog or digital much more, among the people who've had opportunity to try both, in the end are most attracted to different things. Many people who are taken by digital favour programming possibilities, versatility, expandability, complex functionality, and ultimately complexity of the sound itself. Many people who favour analog place tone as more important, as well a more straightforward and immediate idea of functionality. Life would be much more boring without either of these.
Last edited by alan partridge on Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:40 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by CS_TBL » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:24 pm

Right, so, is this the end of the ominous analogue vs digital threads? Is yes: let's continue on this subject:

complex functionality vs straightforwardness :lol:




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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by alan partridge » Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:31 pm

Its ultimately between complexity of sound and presence and tone, I think. And as many of us have both, we don't have to choose.
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by meatballfulton » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:24 am

CS_TBL wrote:let's continue on this subject:
complex functionality vs straightforwardness
I think this would be a great thing to discuss.

I own a DSI Evolver and think it's one of the most interesting synth designs so far in this century, the idea of mixing analog and digital oscillators was brilliant. The interface on the original desktop version has no menus...none...and all knobs are always live (no "edit mode" needed). You can't even name your patches, you have to remember them by number just like the good old days. The sequencer is digital but operates like an analog unit with a wide range of triggering options and modulation options. Other than lacking a multi-mode filter, the Evo can easily go head to head with small modular systems in terms of functionality. It also meets AG's requirements for a hands-on instrument...two button presses get you access to the 18 sets of 8 parameters each with the mapping printed right on the panel.

The only truly menu-less parameter programmed synth I have ever seen is the Ensoniq ESQ-1/SQ-80. The interface is designed so one button push to select a "block" of the synth, a second button push chooses one of up to 8 parameters and the slider or cursor buttons to set the value. The powerful "mod matrix" is cleverly hidden, call up the filter for example and choose two mod sources and the depth of each on the same screen used for the other filter parameters. This same uber-simple mod philosophy is used throughout the instrument. Even the split/layer functionality is intuitive, rather than complex "combi" menus enable splits or layers in the current patch and select the second patch to associate with it. The huge display is easily readable in any light.

I look at both the Evolver and ESQ-1 interfaces to be "best in class" because they provide immediacy of control with access to far more parameters than any "one knob per parameter synth" could manage in the same space. Yet no mfr ever followed up on Ensoniq's direction and the most common complaint about the Evolver desktop is the control interface!

Discuss :ugeek:
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:51 am

CS_TBL wrote:If you think the easy of programming should equal a reduced set o' features (so, there won't be menu diving, multi-purpose controllers etc.), then I guess you'll accept the simple fact that synths with simple interfaces feature a limited amount of sound shaping options. Does this improve synthesis quality, I ask..? Where in this story does FM synthesis (with its hundreds o' parameters) fit in?
I admit there is a limit to where simplified interfaces will work. for example, the standard Moog interface would not work obviously for FM or additive synthesis so there's room for exploration there. but if you think about it, the Moog interface in itself was a revolutionary simplification of modular (if you consider modular its predecessor).
CS_TBL wrote:Right, so, is this the end of the ominous analogue vs digital threads? Is yes: let's continue on this subject:

complex functionality vs straightforwardness :lol:
:facepalm:
another example of simplification is the western piano. people can (and do) say that the twelve tone equal tempered system is a severe limitation, but it works quite well for a lot of music. of course someone could also offer a 100 tone keyboard where you can do a lot more, but you have to program it first to get good music out of it. couldn't you imagine the majority of musicians saying, ok I can use the 100-tone keyboard sometimes, but usually I would just like to use my 12-tone keyboard because it just sounds great! I think it's a similar concept.

meatballfulton wrote:
CS_TBL wrote:let's continue on this subject:
complex functionality vs straightforwardness
I think this would be a great thing to discuss.

Discuss :ugeek:
indeed! although even DSI did not "hardwire" the overdrive and drift features. they still have to be manually added (just like on VA's). also I don't know if there is any inherent harmonic distortion in their filters and VCAs either (at least to the degree that the MiniMoog filter has overdrive built-in). but I know of at least one modular designer who has taken into account harmonic distortion in a VCA, but I forget off the top of my head who it was. in eurorack, Modcan Triple VCO has drift completely hardwired!

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by OntarioHydro » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:50 am

CS_TBL wrote:Right, so, is this the end of the ominous analogue vs digital threads? Is yes: let's continue on this subject:

complex functionality vs straightforwardness :lol:




:facepalm:
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by balma » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:27 am

The amount of features,functions, and their nature and purpose should be the point of reference to create a layout of controllers and data visualization on a synth's interface.

The user, is the responsable to find the best way to use each one of his synths. . There are no poor interfaces, only not recommendable implementations. Don't put a cat to take care of the chickens.


(OF course, there are synths wich can play more important roles than others, more protagonic, but now, that lead us to the question.... what kind of music are you gonna make? )


An example:

I want to make a sound with up/down square changes on the volume, with a rate of 1/4.

Depending of the synth you are using, you must:

1-dive a LFO menu, scroll up/down with a button until you send the LFO to the Amp Envelope. Then, scroll again, and move with a modwheel the Depth value, and finally going to the LFO rate and set it at 1/4.

2-press shift and preset buttons, and enter the patch edition mode. Moving the LFO knob, will take me to the LFO's menu automatically, then scroll and make the desired changes with a modwheel.

3-look for an empty slot inside the modulation matrix, and create a patchcord between LFO and Volume. Go to LFO menu.... etc

4-Move the LFO knob next to the ADSR sliders, and move the LFO knob rate, while holding shift, to enter clock sync values. Set to 1/4

5. Move te LFO knob, and press 2-3 times the destination button until you select AMP.


Or don't do s**t. Go to the preset banks and find the sound you want.

Etc etc....


There are so many ways to achieve a singular task, with a variable range of time between models , and depending of what synth you are using, and what do you want to do.

Performing the task I mentioned before, could last 2 seconds on X model, or 1 minute using another one. But maybe the first one, will restrict you to send the LFO to any other destination, and the second one won't avoid you to use the LFO for something else.

Now. What kind of sound I'm trying to make? Is this a background noise? a pad?, a sound with a relevant presence inside the main segment of the a song you are composing? the end of a song? or the beginning?

When the requirements are defined, you take a decision and pick one of your synths to do it.

If the sound repeats too much all over the song, maybe I should be able to never make it sound exactly the same, but with small variations. Can I compress and expand a little bit the depth of the LFO affecting the Amp?

Some models, will allow you to make further programming stuff, like using a second LFO, to slightly affect the rate or presence of the first LFO, wich is modulating the volume.

This will require, dive a modulation matrix, and send the LFO2 depth to affect the LFO1 rate.



But maybe this sound, is not so relevant, because it belongs to another sound, wich has 4 voices inside.


Or is a noise wich appears on a distant landscape just once.

Or this sound, is linked to a LINE IN step modulation sequence, that will affect the sound of another synth, sent through the LINE IN inputs.

Or is just a simple addition to a background drumbeat. So I will use a synth with basic synth programming steps, to make the sound. I don't want to make too much ornamentation to it.

Or is this a sound for a filmscoring? Now I have external requirements, not just my pervert thoughts. I will use X synth, and sit for a while to navigate screens.

OR maybe, I have a synth with golden presets. I just have to browse a directory, and find the right sound. Period.



Now, my goal is to be able to perform my music EXACTLY in the same way I record it in the studio. Absolutely every

single sound must be at my disposition to be disected, muted, increased in presence, etc, depending of my willing.

If I want to go to such detail, I would avoid long samples of the beat loop category, if they can't be dissected

sound by sound, since they are long audio recordings looping.

OR this sound does not require a chromatic scale. Is a sound triggered a couple of times. Let's use a nice synth to make it, and then, sample it.


And finally, some synths will require you to press SAVE button (others won't), and browse a f**k user patch database directory, wich is already 99% full with sounds of other compositions that you don't want to erase.


Nice thing uh? I spent 2 seconds programming the sound, and 30 seconds looking for an empty slot to save it.....that happens...




I strongly believe, that when you integrate several synths and create interactions between them, there's no poor
interface.
They help each other. Each synth supplies the defects, low points or carencies of another different model.

Interface's complications, could vanish when incorporated and melted with other synthesizers. Using the right synth, for the right purpose. Dig synths one by one. But also, all of them working together.

Those are the things that I really do care.


As a personal opinion about interfaces. I don't like Big screens. Now because they don' help, but becase they distract me.
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by iProg » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:23 pm

Most of it comes from wanting to create a vibe out of an old instrument, to make vintage sounds and to get the right feel for music that you only get by playing the original instrument! Most of it is surely placebo though.

FM8 is a far better synth than many analogs I've tried. I just get the nostalgic feeling out of my analog synths, and that only makes it money's worth. I don't want to sound modern.

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by _seph » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:47 pm

iProg wrote:.... I don't want to sound modern.
sorry but this was a LOL moment... I am quite certain that (depending somewhat on form) no less than 90% (but probably more like 99%) of music listeners would say that music made with the gear you've listed sounded "modern". The context of it.. I know what you mean and sure, your newest synth was made in '87 and amongst this crowd that statement really needs no qualification, but really?! you don't want to sound "modern" and you make music with at least half a dozen synthesizers...... :lol:

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by b3groover » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:45 pm

Complexity is a moot point now with software synths. Everything is just a few clicks away.

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by iProg » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:49 pm

_seph wrote:
iProg wrote:.... I don't want to sound modern.
sorry but this was a LOL moment... I am quite certain that (depending somewhat on form) no less than 90% (but probably more like 99%) of music listeners would say that music made with the gear you've listed sounded "modern". The context of it.. I know what you mean and sure, your newest synth was made in '87 and amongst this crowd that statement really needs no qualification, but really?! you don't want to sound "modern" and you make music with at least half a dozen synthesizers...... :lol:
Glad I made you laugh :D

I want my music to have a 70's-80's vibe. I don't like the sound of modern productions and music too much.
I'm a nostalgic retro guy.

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by CS_TBL » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:48 pm

iProg:

I fail to see how a default time period emerges from a synth, or any instrument for that matter. If tomorow Skrillex uses an old Renaissance lute for one of his wubs, then this lute is suddenly a cool modern instrument or something?

It's up to the sound designer to ape old synths/organs/methods with today's gear, just like anyone could use a B3 or a VCS3 for the next Eurovision Songcontest winner. The synth itself is just a collection of components.

Is this "old" enough for ya?
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by tekkentool » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:41 pm

A complex synthesizer is only as complex as you decide to program it.

I say just find 1-2 that can be flexible and know them better than the back of your palm.

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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by balma » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:32 pm

tekkentool wrote:A complex synthesizer is only as complex as you decide to program it.

I say just find 1-2 that can be flexible and know them better than the back of your palm.
I picked up the E-mu command station for that. Besides is nice to expose to others your findings about an instrument that only a bunch of people has try to squeeze its potential.

A rompler/synthesizer with a fully customizable interface and a HUGE modulation matrix of 96 slots per patch and a formidable filter section (50 filters) is something worth to consider, if you like experimentation. Plus one of the best sequencers you can find on hardware synths, and a system developed to also control other synths at the same time (32 tracks per pattern, 2 MIDI outputs). Packed on a hi quality, robust design, with 6 individual stereo outputs. Each output has stereo jack detector, and you can isolate the effect output from the dry one on each one of the plugs.
Further more, almost each parameter, include each one of the stages of the ADSR envelope and sample start point, is syncable with the bpm. Plus you can use 4 chorus per patch (without using the effect section).
And some people think they are good for their trumpet/brass sounds :D . Put a trumpet under a Ubulator Filter to see what happens... and then layer other 11 sounds with different complex filters each one

Digital modulation matrices should be something to explore for people who wants to go further into sound design, they are pure creativity and a open source for customizing. But a flexible mod matrix, would require a MASSIVE interface.... plus, a hungry user...

The most beautiful interface I've seen is the Vsynth. Is a synth that can get really close to its owner with his layout of different controllers. Is almost like plugin your brain to it with a cable. Now, think on a sound. You can keep growing and learning even after several years using it. Plus, smart integration with the PC. It loads a project (512 sounds including sample directory) very fast, and patch directory, is really easy to access.



Multiple paths to integrate sounds with samples. And it deals with sampling REALLY well. Variphrase, a fast browsing directory. You can format a sample depending how you are gonna use it.

And it has massive features, and just one or two steps to access them. Patch palette big buttons to fast access to your favorite patches during live performance, makes me remember Yamaha big keyboard arrangers. Is a synth made for studio and for stage. For weird experimentation, and sound design. Is a synth wich puts a universe of options on his interface, without getting messy. At your right, three structures where each OSC is a button. they prefer to put those three structures, instead one with a shift button. Sliders, pad surface, touch screen, knobs, triggers. modwheel with stick. ROLAND put so much work and brains designing the Vsynth.....
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Re: The obsession for the Analog

Post by jeffrey1121 » Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:45 am

i like synths

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