SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

For computer based music makers. Discussions about plug-ins and stand alone computer synth gear.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by commodorejohn » Mon May 05, 2014 10:36 pm

CS_TBL wrote:Hmm, in that I read: "I'm willing to do a blind test!"
Get me access to a Minimoog and I'll be glad to :D
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by Bitexion » Mon May 05, 2014 11:02 pm

I wish software manufacturers wouldn't use those bloody dongles for protection.
Even the e-license is a long set of hoops to jump through if you don't have the keycode anymore or it was registered on a different computer two years ago.
It's a whole mess to get the software working again if you wanna reinstall it after a couple years and lost the dongle and codes..have to write customer support and beg them for a new key and stuff...the pirates have it so much easier, they just install a cracked version and that's that.

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by cgren72 » Mon May 05, 2014 11:11 pm

2manydrummachines wrote:Anyone else getting weened and forced off of hardware and integration? We are in Chicago.
If you are getting weaned off of it, you are the one doing the weaning. I don't think anyone is forcing such matters. :thumbright:

I am in Indiana, purchasing software and hardware as I see fit

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by calaverasgrande » Mon May 05, 2014 11:36 pm

Bitexion wrote:I wish software manufacturers wouldn't use those bloody dongles for protection.
Even the e-license is a long set of hoops to jump through if you don't have the keycode anymore or it was registered on a different computer two years ago.
It's a whole mess to get the software working again if you wanna reinstall it after a couple years and lost the dongle and codes..have to write customer support and beg them for a new key and stuff...the pirates have it so much easier, they just install a cracked version and that's that.
or even worse when you have bought and paid for your legit plugin, maintained updates etc only to have the rug j**k out form under you by some 64 bit plugin nonsense, then having to pay for the plugs all over again to get a compatible version.

OTOH, physical analog synths may sound great and all, but they sure do consume a lot of power being turned on all the time. And if you shut them down they need a good hour or so of warm up to be stable.
When I was 100% in the box I loved being able to open a project and have all my synths in tune and ready to rock.
(if my TC Powercore wasn't having issues!)
I've completely quit iLok and all those gadgets. I simply won't authorize software if it requires me to run an additional program in the background all the time, even when I am not recording or producing.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by commodorejohn » Mon May 05, 2014 11:43 pm

calaverasgrande wrote:OTOH, physical analog synths may sound great and all, but they sure do consume a lot of power being turned on all the time. And if you shut them down they need a good hour or so of warm up to be stable.
I'd be curious to see some numbers on this. I have difficulty believing that, say, a Z80, a VFD display, and a dozen or so analog ICs draws anywhere near as much power as even just my laptop (to say nothing of my recording/mixing PC.)

Also, stability really depends on the synth. My MS-20 Mini is stable within 15 minutes, and my DCO/hybrid synths are usable right from boot unless you need the filter to track the keyboard perfectly enough to do the filter-as-an-extra-oscillator trick.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue May 06, 2014 1:21 am

commodorejohn wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote:OTOH, physical analog synths may sound great and all, but they sure do consume a lot of power being turned on all the time. And if you shut them down they need a good hour or so of warm up to be stable.
I'd be curious to see some numbers on this. I have difficulty believing that, say, a Z80, a VFD display, and a dozen or so analog ICs draws anywhere near as much power as even just my laptop (to say nothing of my recording/mixing PC.)

Also, stability really depends on the synth. My MS-20 Mini is stable within 15 minutes, and my DCO/hybrid synths are usable right from boot unless you need the filter to track the keyboard perfectly enough to do the filter-as-an-extra-oscillator trick.
Well I DID just buy a Kill-a-watt exactly so I could test the hypothesis.
When all my gear is turned on it generates heat. A significant bit more than my Mac by itself.
In addition to the synths themselves you would also need to factor in other tools that come 'for free' in any DAW software. For instance I have a Mackie 1402 for all my synths to plug into and then feed a pair of speakers.
In addition to that I've got your standard reverb and delay.
And just because I am a former audio engineer I have to run a few Mic preamps as line drivers, to embiggen the sound of a few synths.

As far as pitch stability, my Taurus is pretty solid, but my X0X and Sh09 are more finicky. They can be stable in 15 minutes, but I give it an hour.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by ninja6485 » Tue May 06, 2014 4:06 am

calaverasgrande wrote:
commodorejohn wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote:OTOH, physical analog synths may sound great and all, but they sure do consume a lot of power being turned on all the time. And if you shut them down they need a good hour or so of warm up to be stable.
I'd be curious to see some numbers on this. I have difficulty believing that, say, a Z80, a VFD display, and a dozen or so analog ICs draws anywhere near as much power as even just my laptop (to say nothing of my recording/mixing PC.)

Also, stability really depends on the synth. My MS-20 Mini is stable within 15 minutes, and my DCO/hybrid synths are usable right from boot unless you need the filter to track the keyboard perfectly enough to do the filter-as-an-extra-oscillator trick.
Well I DID just buy a Kill-a-watt exactly so I could test the hypothesis.
When all my gear is turned on it generates heat. A significant bit more than my Mac by itself.
In addition to the synths themselves you would also need to factor in other tools that come 'for free' in any DAW software. For instance I have a Mackie 1402 for all my synths to plug into and then feed a pair of speakers.
In addition to that I've got your standard reverb and delay.
And just because I am a former audio engineer I have to run a few Mic preamps as line drivers, to embiggen the sound of a few synths.

As far as pitch stability, my Taurus is pretty solid, but my X0X and Sh09 are more finicky. They can be stable in 15 minutes, but I give it an hour.
:? Maybe you should look into getting that s**t serviced... My TB303 is ready to go immediately. In fact, it's been in tune for years, drifting only slightly once in a blue moon. Usually you only hear about multiple osc synths suffering from these problems. Did you build the xox yourself?
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by Ashe37 » Tue May 06, 2014 9:39 am

2manydrummachines wrote:
Worse since my new Windows 7 OS install.....
1) One piece of software wouldn't handle my files. After endless googling and searching the sites tech support and emails and forums etc....I find a blurb about a 'common missing file" that I need to update and now all is good.
:arrow: Must be some type of a computer virus bug.
2) Another piece will not allow me to save my project(s) saying that I do not have authorization to save in that folder. Mind you, it's the same folder where all my other work is saved. After the same long process I seem to have narrowed it down and the app is scanning -over 53,000 files. It's taking forever, but I hope this sorts it out.
:D
Are you storing the files in the Program files directory? If so, that's your problem.

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by tomorrowstops » Tue May 06, 2014 12:36 pm

None of my vintage stuff gave me any warm-up tuning issues. The Prophet 5 only took that initial 8-10 seconds to get in the groove, the Pro One and JP6 didn't even take that long. The Model D might have taken the longest - 10 minutes tops though. Zero wait time on my Opus 3.

Must be a servicing thing?

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by synthroom » Tue May 06, 2014 2:20 pm

commodorejohn wrote: I have difficulty believing that, say, a Z80, a VFD display, and a dozen or so analog ICs draws anywhere near as much power as even just my laptop (to say nothing of my recording/mixing PC.)
A lot of gear, except the really old stuff, will have a wattage rating on the sticker with the serial number.

My Fairlight is in tune as soon as I turn it on... But it take 440 Watts to run, and the air coming out of the 4 cooling fans is about 20F warmer than the room air.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by commodorejohn » Tue May 06, 2014 2:40 pm

Well, a beast like the Fairlight, that's less of a surprise. But after calaverasgrande mentioned the heat, I stopped and thought about it, and it probably has a lot to do with most vintage synths dating from before switching power supplies were common - linear power supplies draw more and give off a lot more waste heat. So I could see that, I guess.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by silikon » Tue May 06, 2014 3:57 pm

I'm desperately trying to understand the whole controversy over hardware and software. It escapes me.

That said, regarding energy usage, I'll tell you without equivocation that most vintage or current hardware synths or effects devices use far less energy per instance than say a typical modern (or elderly for that matter) computer. Heat dissipation speaks of inefficiencies less than amount of energy absorbed (IIRC). Generally, most desktop PC/Mac's use around 400-600 watts depending on many variables that are likely out of the scope of this conversation.

I know that most all of the synths I've owned, absorb around 10-60 watts. Tens of watts versus hundreds for a single computer. I know that I could energize literally all of the synths I owned at one period of recent, and it would use only slightly less than the single PC that I had built that had an 800 watt power supply at full processing capacity. (less than the rating of the power supply therein)

(bear in mind that doesn't include modular systems, which can vary wildly depending on modules used and the number of modules overall)

Things like a Fairlight, an Emulator II, and certainly the Synclavier will use more, in line with what one would expect a normal desktop computer to consume as they were essentially, computing devices themselves with all the encumbrances.

Obviously powered speakers, amps, and especially tube-driven amps (guitar, bass) will also absorb a large amount of energy.

Synths, by themselves absorb far less (even with inefficient power supplies).

Regarding licensing issues, even the most obfuscated licensing is manageable if you put effort into such activities. I personally save all my license information into an encrypted file that's backed up. This includes any license keys that are associated with iLok or eLicenser license files. I know that iLok also has a fee-based license backup service, in case one loses or damages their iLok, but even that's unnecessary as they'll replace the licenses on a new iLok (that you would have to purchase), albeit within a week or so, and not instantaneously. I can't be certain, but I believe the eLicenser mechanism also has this. Then there's also the fact that most reputable developers also have a database of purchased licenses in the event you lose them.

I also believe that a comparison of software to hardware is essentially "doing it wrong". Yes, there are emulations of hardware, but really they're emulations and shouldn't be expected to model the most delicate nuance of a hardware device. If you're that up your own a*s about some nuance of any synth (not a derogatory statement at all, I'm guilty of the same thing oftentimes) then you shouldn't look to software to fill that void.

To answer the OP's question, I use hardware and software to different extents. Being able to have hardware around for me is an absolute luxury and I feel fortunate for having that ability. If the time comes that I've got to do everything in the box, I'll be okay with that as well.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by Ashe37 » Tue May 06, 2014 5:09 pm

Silikon,

Also keep in mind that any reasonably current PC only consumes that amount of power when running at 100% CPU anfd GPU, and all the drives being active. Current CPUs use 85w or less. GPUs, it depends what you have. At idle, most systems go below 80 watts total these days (more so if you have SSDs)

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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue May 06, 2014 5:19 pm

obviously most individual synths run about 10-20 watts. Even the old ones like my SH09 are only 15 watts.
Computers vary widely. A desktop might have a 800 watt power supply, but in reality it only draws half that in most cases. The "800 watts" of most enthusiast power supplies is an extremely optimistic rating.
But that is actually kind of beside the point. Most folks I know are using Laptops these days. The most aggressive over the top laptop we have at my work is a 200w monster. And that is a 17" screen, 3 hard drive bays, 4 ram slots and every connector contemporary computers are expected to have. Most laptops fall into the 45-90 watt range.

Using my kill-a-watt last night I verified that my rig consumes about 200 watts total. Turning off my fancy shmancy preamps shaved about 40 watts.
And this is with my Moog MG1, Korg Poly 61 and DX21 in the shop.
It is not a huge difference from just my computer, only a few dozen watts.
However, for a physical setup to compete with the polyphony and multitimbrality of a DAW/softsynth set up you would need a lot of hardware. And if you wanted to be at parity in terms of mixdown capability then you really open a can of worms. Compressors, EQs and other processors add up fast.

But I'll take that hit in the energy bill. Even positing that there is no sonic distinction to hardware over software, I simply prefer the immediacy and 'thingness' of using synths and drum machines to write songs.
Though I reserve the right to butcher said songs like a drunken viking once they are safely recorded into my DAW!
The process of programming my X0x with patterns, working within the limits of my KPR77 and SPS1 to craft a rhythm. And then utilizing the rest of my synths to elaborate the melody. This forces me to consider my music and not just click squares on a piano roll and instantiate softsynths.

I also find that having a few limits placed on how many possible sounds I can fiddle with stimulates my creativity. The endless permutations of softsynth patches actually kind of stunts my flow. At least for me, crafting patches in a DAW is a totally different frame of mind from being creative.
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Re: SOFTWARE REVOLUTION

Post by madtheory » Tue May 06, 2014 6:10 pm

I think most people like to use both. Software is unbeatable for recording. Even if you like tape it's highly unlikely you won't use a DAW at some point.
calaverasgrande wrote:
CS_TBL wrote:Hmm, in that I read: "I'm willing to do a blind test!"
blind tests are kind of pointless, all they prove is that our senses are not terribly reliable.
Our brains just aren't as good at remembering 'tone' as they are at remembering symbols and colors.
A blind test has the blush of objectivity, but in fact it is just carefully orchestrated subjectivity.
Or it could save you a ton of cash by proving to you that Mini Monsta sounds exactly the same (to you) as a real Mini Moog! (I'm kidding, but only a bit).

But seriously, that's such a negative view of it. With what we learn from any kind of objective testing, we can expand our minds beyond our senses, and appreciate our senses for what they are.

But it's true that testing is not 100% reliable either, for giving us accurate information. Most often it's because all of the variables are not accounted for. With synths, the tactile part has a huge influence on how we experience the sound, and I think it also affects what we create with the synth (all of which makes it very hard to do a comprehensive blind AB of a real Mini vs a plugin version). It's important to be aware of our cognitive biasses, and to work with them. We're human, it's good to know how we are.

Also, I have to take issue with your assumption about remembering tone. Yes, untrained the auditory memory (i.e. for timbre) is on average around 7 seconds. Unfortunately there are no studies I know of that assess the memories of people who do sound designing- probably because we're a very small group! But studies with students show it can be improved to 30 seconds to a minute. You'll find references to some studies in [url+https://sites.google.com/a/umich.edu/jason-corey/]this[/url] book.

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