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#2603221 06/12/14 07:33 AM
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Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?

Don't most polyphonic synths give you the ability to play it as a mono synth?

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It all comes down to the character of the sound you want. For example, I'm sure most people here would agree that the Minimoog and it's derivatives - LP, Voyager, Sub 37 all have a very distinctive "Moogy" character. All are monophonic. To make them polyphonic would involve cramming huge amounts of extra electronics into the case, which would undoubtably change the character of the instrument. If you're only making one note at a time, you can put a whole lot more effort into making it sound unique.

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Cost. To produce a analog poly with the same modulation complexities and same VCA quality as a good mono analog would cost a lot of money. ..... or at least it did when I was into synths.

A Memorymoog is just 6 voices and look what kind of beast that is. As Moe said, it would heat your house.

Last edited by CEB; 06/12/14 10:23 AM.

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Most musical instruments are monophonic, and even ones that are capable of polyphony, like say a violin, are mostly played monophonicly. Polyphony is useful for particular applications like chords, but there is an astonishing amount that can be done with a single voice. This is especially true of monosynths that have "tricks" to get around the polyphony by utilizing extra oscillators that can be tuned to octaves, intervals like 5ths above or below, sub-oscillators, etc.

There is a traditional dichotomy that monos are for leads, bass lines, arpeggiations, and special effects/textures, and polys are for chording and parts reminiscent of other polyphonic instruments, whether keyboard-based like electric pianos, organs, chromatic percussion instruments, etc. This dichotomy can be a bit misleading and limiting, but it's useful as a general rule of thumb. If you don't need the extra polyphony for harmonies or other uses, you can quite easily get by with a mono.


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His question I think is along the lines of 'Why buy a mono when you can run a poly in unison mode?'


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Originally Posted By: CEB
Cost. To produce a analog poly with the same modulation complexities and same VCA quality as a good mono analog would cost a lot of money. ..... or at least it did when I was into synths.

A Memorymoog is just 6 voices and look what kind of beast that is. As moe said it would heat your house.


This.

Before electronics, wind instruments were the only monophonic instruments that I can think of. Piano, organ, strings, guitars, ... all polyphonic. Watch any good lead guitarist and you will see them making use of extra notes for dynamics and extra tonal punch in their leads. Same with piano and organ. When is the last time you witnessed a piano or organ solo that was strictly monophonic. Even violin players. The melody may be monophonic, but when they dig into a solo they make use of multiple notes. But, if you are going to cover those you might as well get a ROMpler.

I think the character of the old monophonic synths had over poly's has more to do with the digital tracking and tuning of hybrid polyphonics. My modular has as much character as my old Mini. Rewiring it to play multiple notes does not change that.


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Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?


Quality over quantity, mostly.

ie:


vs:


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What if a person was trying to decide between this



or this


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Originally Posted By: RABid
Before electronics, wind instruments were the only monophonic instruments that I can think of.

You mean besides brass instruments....and the human voice, of course... poke grin

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Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?

Don't most polyphonic synths give you the ability to play it as a mono synth?


I bought my analog mono synths because I like the element of unpredictability that comes with voltage-controlled gear, and I like exploring sounds by twisting physical knobs and plugging/unplugging physical patch cables.

I also have a couple of polyphonic digital synths. Yes, either one could be used for playing monophonic synth melody lines and solos.

However, I'm actually having the most fun playing lead lines and solos on my Suzuki Andes, which isn't a synth at all, but a flute you play with a keyboard. I'm not really into soloing on my mono synths or my polyphonic ones.

Buy whatever synth meets your needs and personal tastes. Make music.

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Originally Posted By: Brilliant
What if a person was trying to decide between this



or this



Depends. One is a 25 voice modeler and the other is a monophonic true analog. It depends on your needs. In my 10-piece band I am using a VA modeler as my lead synth because it does a bunch of other things I like and I already carry 3 boards. The FA gets the job done. Our main sound guy is sort of a analog snob. He has a studio with some great analog pieces and he was impressed with some of the VA sounds I got from the FA-06.

For me in a live situation a VA in unison mode gets the job done but it is a tone compromise that I do not think the audience or band notices. Plus the sample player and Intregra library offers a lot of other pluses.

To me the real strength of analog mono is the live interface and with things like those blofeld boxes you get none of that. I would rather look at something with real knobbage.

Would I rather play leads on a Voyager or Pro One? Yes.

Last edited by CEB; 06/12/14 12:07 PM.

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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Originally Posted By: RABid
Before electronics, wind instruments were the only monophonic instruments that I can think of.

You mean besides brass instruments....and the human voice, of course... poke grin

dB


Hey, I didn't say "woodwind" did I? I believe brass and voice also take wind. razz


whistle


Oh. Add whistling to that.


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Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
....and the human voice, of course... poke grin


Oh yeah? wink rawk

Direct link:
http://youtu.be/0SJIgTLe0hc?t=6m11s

Or fast forward to 6m11s of this embedded video:


snax

(or straight to the primal source):


...and of course, the pop culture reference:

Last edited by Sven Golly; 06/12/14 01:09 PM.

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Originally Posted By: RABid
Originally Posted By: Dave Bryce
Originally Posted By: RABid
Before electronics, wind instruments were the only monophonic instruments that I can think of.

You mean besides brass instruments....and the human voice, of course... poke grin

dB


Hey, I didn't say "woodwind" did I? I believe brass and voice also take wind. razz


whistle


Oh. Add whistling to that.


I'd even argue for some drum-related instruments, especially ones that can be tuned.


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For me, I seldom have any desire for a polyphonic analog synth.
I actually kind of have one in the sense of my mono/poly being capable of up to 4 notes (albeit all going through one VCF and one VCA) but I never ever use that function. The only thing I use it for is if I want an interval, I play it and hit the chord memory button which is faster than tuning one VCO.

There is a old interview in CK with Wakeman...shortly after he left Yes the first time, where he said he felt analog synths should be monophonic, that the sound is too big to be polyphonic. I kind of agree to some extent. Of course his next interview in CK was for the Tormato tour when he was using the Polymoog extensively, and is widely criticized for his "cheezy" sounds on that album. (I personaly don't mind them, but I do prefer his work with more hammond, mellotron and minimoog)

So for me personaly the answer is I don't need polyphony on my analog synth, so why pay more for it? Mind you I also don't care about patch memory either, so I'm a bit old school I guess.

However, the photo of the sub 37 posted earlier forced me to say out loud "God that thing is beautiful!"

Last edited by Shutoku; 06/12/14 03:19 PM.

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Personally I would skip the philosophy and stick with the pratical reasons:

The vast majority of mono synths are analog, at least for the most part. Analog circuits are more difficult to design and more expensive to build than digital circuits. Thus, a poly VA (digital) can be made for roughly the same price of a mono analog.

This is the main reason why there still are (*analog*) mono synths around: Building the polyphonic versions of the same synths would push their price at levels that few people could afford.

There are other minor considerations like overheating, patch memory, etc., but this is the main reason. All the rest is speculation.


Last edited by marino; 06/12/14 03:36 PM. Reason: clarity
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One exception was the Alesis Andromeda. I'm surprised that wasn't around longer. Do you think it was slightly ahead of its time? It was just at the very beginning of the Analog resurgence. I wonder what the market for it would be like if it were released today. Looking at sold items on Ebay, looks like they're going used for over $3,000.00, which if memory serves, is slightly more than they were new.


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On the mass market, it is hard for something like a $3000+ Andromeda to compete with a $900 VA, or a $3000 multiple voice structure synth like the Kronos or JP80.

I'm not sure where the Andromeda would fall on my wish list of polyphonic analogs. Somewhere after the Matrix 12, Chroma, and Prophet 5. Somewhere ahead of that beast of a maintenance headache called the MemoryMoog.


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Originally Posted By: RABid
On the mass market, it is hard for something like a $3000+ Andromeda to compete with a $900 VA, or a $3000 multiple voice structure synth like the Kronos or JP80.


Well when they were still in production, they were selling in the $2500-$3000 range. Given 16 dual osc voices with 32 filters, all analog, complete with 72 knobs and full MIDI implementation, seems to be a pretty good bargain. Especially considering people will pay $3000 for a Minimoog Voyager ($5000 for the XL), and it's monophonic.


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By the time the community as a whole realized just what that board was pffft! it was gone.


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I think the aliens took it back from us. It sure looked like they designed it.


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Originally Posted By: CEB
By the time the community as a whole realized just what that board was pffft! it was gone.


I think it was only in production 1 or 2 years. I'm guessing it wasn't profitable. The whole design idea to get it affordable and reasonably sized without generating a ton of heat was using ASIC's (Application Specific Integrated Circuits)...thus the A6 model number. Problem with those is that there's a very high up-front development cost and you have to do high volume to get the price down. I'm assuming volume wasn't high enough and they pulled the plug and cut their losses. Too bad.


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Originally Posted By: JAD
I think the aliens took it back from us. It sure looked like they designed it.

no, it wasn't aliens, it was our moderator (db) and a group of his buddies rawk


"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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Originally Posted By: RABid
that beast of a maintenance headache called the MemoryMoog.


Beautiful though. thu



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Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?

I choose to buy a synth on what it sounds like. My DSI Prophet 8 sounds different than my Moog Voyager.

Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Don't most polyphonic synths give you the ability to play it as a mono synth?
My DSI Prophet 8 has unison mode and sounds great in mono.

Last edited by davedoerfler; 06/12/14 05:21 PM. Reason: never mind

"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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Originally Posted By: davedoerfler
Originally Posted By: JAD
I think the aliens took it back from us. It sure looked like they designed it.

no, it wasn't aliens, it was our moderator (db) and a group of his buddies rawk


I learn something new every day. Nice work on the Andromeda, dB!

Of course my 2 cents is based on briefly messing with Markyboard's Andromeda.

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There actually is one cheap paraphonic analog in production - the Korg Volca Keys. It can play 3 note chords, which in some folks' minds qualifies it as "polyphonic".

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 06/12/14 05:33 PM.
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Originally Posted By: Sven Golly
Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?


Quality over quantity, mostly.

ie:


vs:


The Gaia's interface is actually pretty spectacular. I briefly had one, and I could get some really cool sounds very quickly. However, it's raw tone was totally uninspiring. It could've been so much cooler if one could use PCM sounds instead of the usual square/saw/sine etc....and the Gaia had them on board secretly via midi. What a waste.

Sorry for the tangent.

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Originally Posted By: CEB
Originally Posted By: Brilliant
What if a person was trying to decide between this



or this



Depends. One is a 25 voice modeler and the other is a monophonic true analog.


That was in reply to a Moog vs a Roland Gaia, quality vs quantity argument... so I used two synths from the same company, both with the same relative build quality.

Originally Posted By: davedoerfler
Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Why would a person chose to buy a Mono synth opposed to a Polyphonic one?

I choose to buy a synth on what it sounds like. My DSI Prophet 8 sounds different than my Moog Voyager.

Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Don't most polyphonic synths give you the ability to play it as a mono synth?
My DSI Prophet 8 has unison mode and sounds great in mono.


& the Keyboard version is only $2,000 comparable to the cost of the mono synths.

Do you ever use the Prophet in mono? OR for leads & basses, or do you use it strictly for chording & pads?

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Originally Posted By: Brilliant
Do you ever use the Prophet in mono?

yes
Originally Posted By: Brilliant
OR for leads & basses,

yes, it is an excellent lead synth, built in delay is cool
I myself don't use it for bass ever, but it is surely capable
Originally Posted By: Brilliant
or do you use it strictly for chording & pads?

I very much like the Prophet Strings and the warm OB type pads and strings. That was the main reason for my purchase for sure.


"Fuck your mics, fuck your outboard gear, fuck your DAW, fuck your interface, fuck your software, and absolutely and completely fuck every single one of your instruments including that vintage keyboard you saved for a year to get -- they are all worse than useless if you can't accurately hear what they're doing. Your ears will lie to you without mercy if they are fed bad information. Spend the damn money!"
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