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Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! #3014528 11/01/19 01:01 PM
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Markyboard Offline OP
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Been thinking about this a lot lately and challenging some questionable and imo far fetched claims. We've beaten the Real Analog vs Virtual Analog to death and I have no dispute with RA sounding more analog than a VA whether in a dedicated stand-alone synth or VI.

But the subject here is a dedicated digital synth verse a VI a) sounding better, b) sounding more present/dimensional and c) feeling more like an instrument. I don't get it.

Some points for this discussion:

1) I don't care which digital synth we're talking about as long as the sound is created strictly in the digital domain. So no synths with analog oscillators, filters, VCAs etc.
2) Anything goes for VIs including analog emulations like U-He Diva, Repro 1/5, Monark as they are digital. But I'm really thinking about VIs like Massive X or Zebra(no experience here) vs a Virus TI, Solaris, Hydra synth etc. In fact it's the recent revival of digital synths that has me feeling folks are about to be sucked into a digital synth marketing vortex.
3) Don't think we need to discuss the hassles/reliability of using a computer on stage although I am interested in the sound comparison from a live venue perspective.
4) Lets talk interface in the studio. I'm not claiming that VIs are as much fun or immediate as dedicated synth. However I do think people are not well set up ergonomically to use a VI as easily as possible and project that "frustration" into it having inferior sound. I also believe people are often using inadequate computers and interfaces when they whine about drop-outs and latency or don't have the technical knowledge/desire to work through the issues. I also think some of the more recent upcoming entries using shared/matrixed knobs aren't all that great as people claim.
5) Let's talk cost advantages with the thought that a decent computer (one up to the task) and interface is going to cost around $5000!

OK - have it!




Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014554 11/01/19 04:50 PM
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I don't think I've ever heard anybody try to make the argument that a digital synth sounds better than software. The argument is always around the immediacy of having everything in one box that you can put your hands on and play, vs piecing together a controller, computer running multiple pieces of software, and audio/midi interface.

Last edited by J. Dead; 11/01/19 04:51 PM.

Dan

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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: J. Dead] #3014571 11/01/19 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
I don't think I've ever heard anybody try to make the argument that a digital synth sounds better than software. The argument is always around the immediacy of having everything in one box that you can put your hands on and play, vs piecing together a controller, computer running multiple pieces of software, and audio/midi interface.


Your first statement surprises me. Just about any thread (mostly on GS but sometimes on KC also) regarding a new digital synth gets someone saying "it sounds like a VST". This implies that every VST sounds the same (another often repeated comment) and that every patch on every VST is some how comparable to whatever synth they're talking about, even though they are different synths facepalm. Now I believe they mean the sound quality is comparable to certain VSTs. But this often seems to offend and even infuriate those who have or are considering spending money on the hardware synth. No one wants to think that a $150 VST can possibly sound as good as the $1K + real synth that they're about to buy. This despite the hardware synth's interface advantage and considering the up front cost of a computer and audio interface.

I know GS is what it is but since I also see Al Coda posting here. I'd like to get his perspective as I know he's posted in the past regarding VSTs vs Scope Excite(?) and other digital synths (I think). I really want to know if there's some technical merit to dedicated DSP, FPGA etc resulting in better sound in today's world.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014582 11/01/19 08:01 PM
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Well a $150 VST isn't $150 after you add a laptop, midi controller and interface. By then, it's a lot more than $1000.


Dan

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.
Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014586 11/01/19 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

3) Don't think we need to discuss the hassles/reliability of using a computer on stage although I am interested in the sound comparison from a live venue perspective.
4) Lets talk interface in the studio. I'm not claiming that VIs are as much fun or immediate as dedicated synth. However I do think people are not well set up ergonomically to use a VI as easily as possible and project that "frustration" into it having inferior sound. I also believe people are often using inadequate computers and interfaces when they whine about drop-outs and latency or don't have the technical knowledge/desire to work through the issues. I also think some of the more recent upcoming entries using shared/matrixed knobs aren't all that great as people claim.
5) Let's talk cost advantages with the thought that a decent computer (one up to the task) and interface is going to cost around $5000!


First off, I am not a notable keyboard player (no apologies for terrible puns either!!!!). I have owned a few boards - Kurzweil, Ensoniq etc. Currently I have an Akai MPK25 and a 25 key X-Key, a Fishman Triple Play and a Roland Handsonic HPD-15 that can all be used in the MIDI realm. The Roland has built in sounds as well.
I do like to keep up with technology. I am going to refer to all-in-one keyboards as "keyboards" and MIDI controllers as "controllers.
For my purposes, a sound is good if it compliments a recording I am working on. That is my only criteria.

Some of my thoughts:

3 - For live work the keyboard wins hands down. In my experience most players will also want an amp.
4 and 5 - In the studio, BOTH the keyboard and the controller will need a decent computer, interface, playback system, etc. So this cost is moot, incurred by both choices.

The keyboard will also have MIDI controller capabilities, allowing simultaneous recording of the built-in sounds and a MIDI track for plug-ins simultaneously. Advantage keyboard for expedience and efficiency.
On the other hand, once the MIDI track is recorded, it can be copied and pasted into as many tracks as are needed and used to playback plugins. In the end, the keyboard advantage is nice but not essential and therefore relatively minor.

The big players in digital keyboards are Roland, Korg and Yamaha. These are large companies with big budgets, they can hire great people and get huge sound banks coded.
For all that, there are geniuses everywhere and some of them are writing outstanding code for smaller companies or on their own. I'd have to give this a toss-up, case by case basis.

Keyboards have mostly maintained the piano/organ format, some companies venture into other formats, like Roland and Yamaha with their electronic drum offerings.
Controllers offer some interesting outliers - Rola Seaboard, Roger Linn Linnstrument, Keith McMillian's offerings and the Pearl digital "xylaphone" thingie come to mind. There are more choices and a focus on more tactile control. Advantage of more choices - controllers.

Sounds? $150 plug-ins? I've yet to hear any piano emulation that sounds like a real piano but most of them can sound like a recorded piano. The same is true for nearly any emulation/sampled instrument you can name except synths. The sampled stuff keeps getting better all the time. Synths are a matter of subjective preference.

As to the $150 plug-ins, I've paid in that range for collections. Others may not care for some of my choices, I've found them useful for tracking. I shop sales and snag bargains, others may go into finer detail and find exactly what they want. Either approach is valid if the individual using the plug-ins is happy.

Native Instuments Komplete Kontrol is a free host plug-in that has a section called MIDI Learning. You can click on the parameter in your plugin that you want to control, move the knob on your controller that you want to assign and it's done. You can assign several knobs and change parameters in real time.

As an example, when SampleTank was about to introduce version 4 they put the full version of SampleTank 3 on sale for $99. A few months later they offered asale on the 'lite" version of SampleTank 4 which had the same interface as the full version but limited sounds. I got that for $70 and loaded all the SampleTank 3 sounds into it. For my uses, that is a LOT of bang for the buck.

I am sure there are many who would not like any of it.

I do have to wonder what others would choose if they selected their sounds "blind", without knowing the source.

Since I haven't used any of the alternate controllers mentioned above except the Fishman Triple Play (which certainly has it's limitations), I don't feel there is any compelling advantage to either approach in the studio. Since I play guitar live and will continue to do so, it comes down to "whatever anybody likes to use is good." Fun discussion, I'll check back later!


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: J. Dead] #3014597 11/01/19 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by J. Dead
Well a $150 VST isn't $150 after you add a laptop, midi controller and interface. By then, it's a lot more than $1000.


True- but this is where opinion/ responses are biased to an individuals perspective based on what he already has and what he’s/she’s doing with it. For someone that already has a studio with adequate computer, interface and controllers that VST really is $150 (additional). A computer/interface is like a capital expenditure. If it were just for running VSTs than yeah, factor the entire cost into your VST cost. But most studio guys are using computers primarily for DAWs anyway. Does anyone consider the long term cost? Computer + interface + controller hopefully good for at least 5 years vs the yearly GAS inducing latest release gotta have it costs?

Space constraints also come into this based on what you already have and the ability to integrate another piece of hardware into one’s setup. I relegated the last of my digital synths to the computer with selling my Z1 a couple of years ago. When we talk hardware interface advantage the desktop versions that appeal to folks with limited space are often compromised compared to the keyboard version. Are these better than a VST using a mouse with a large screen? I find ergonomics way more challenging with hardware. A keyboard inconveniently placed and guess what, I’m not using it all that often. On the other hand when people quickly dismiss VSTs are they setup where it’s no more difficult to start playing then your favorite hardware synth? Or do they have to load up a bunch of crap and reconfigure their interface etc.?


So now assuming these are all valid considerations I really don’t care which side people come down on. I’m not trying to sell VSTs over hardware- I happily use both. I’m just saying the arguments I read are kind of silly. That is until someone can make a technical argument regarding the sound, which is kind to f important.





Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: KuruPrionz] #3014611 11/01/19 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz



For my purposes, a sound is good if it compliments a recording I am working on. That is my only criteria.




Absolutely.

Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


3 - For live work the keyboard wins hands down. In my experience most players will also want an amp.
4 and 5 - In the studio, BOTH the keyboard and the controller will need a decent computer, interface, playback system, etc. So this cost is moot, incurred by both choices.




Yes, exactly the point I was trying to make in my follow up post

Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


The keyboard will also have MIDI controller capabilities, allowing simultaneous recording of the built-in sounds and a MIDI track for plug-ins simultaneously. Advantage keyboard for expedience and efficiency.
On the other hand, once the MIDI track is recorded, it can be copied and pasted into as many tracks as are needed and used to playback plugins. In the end, the keyboard advantage is nice but not essential and therefore relatively minor.

The big players in digital keyboards are Roland, Korg and Yamaha. These are large companies with big budgets, they can hire great people and get huge sound banks coded.
For all that, there are geniuses everywhere and some of them are writing outstanding code for smaller companies or on their own. I'd have to give this a toss-up, case by case basis. later!



As I said it really depends how you’re using this stuff. When I think of synths they’re for creating new sounds. I’m not opposed to using classic emulated sounds (piano, B3, Rhodes, Wurlitzer etc) that someone else created. But there’s no shortage of these in VST land and I use them often. With tons of memory I think the advantage is with VSTs. I also think managing the sounds, i.e. saving and recalling them is much easier in the computer. In fact unless some hardware synth sound really grabs you why you would not prefer having all those 1/0s resident in the computer? Of course if there’s a particular hardware based sound that grabs you then absolutely use it. I just don’t have any of these now and avoid purchasing digital hardware synths. For the most part I spend most of my time exploring the inner depths of VSTs and analog hardware synths and their sound creating potential.

Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


Sounds? $150 plug-ins? I've yet to hear any piano emulation that sounds like a real piano but most of them can sound like a recorded piano. The same is true for nearly any emulation/sampled instrument you can name except synths. The sampled stuff keeps getting better all the time. Synths are a matter of subjective preference.

As to the $150 plug-ins, I've paid in that range for collections. Others may not care for some of my choices, I've found them useful for tracking. I shop sales and snag bargains, others may go into finer detail and find exactly what they want. Either approach is valid if the individual using the plug-ins is happy.



Funny, I had so clear in my mind “synth”, not sample playback which I think of as totally different. Again it really was comments regarding the upcoming Hydra Synth, the Modal Electronics Argon 8 and maybe even the Waldorf Kyra that got me going on this. Of course the Kyra uses FPGA so that’s going to sound waaayyyyy better than anything else facepalm .But no disrespect for any tool/ sound out there that gets you where you want to go.


Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

I do have to wonder what others would choose if they selected their sounds "blind", without knowing the source.



Me too!

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014702 11/02/19 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

Funny, I had so clear in my mind “synth”, not sample playback which I think of as totally different. Again it really was comments regarding the upcoming Hydra Synth, the Modal Electronics Argon 8 and maybe even the Waldorf Kyra that got me going on this. Of course the Kyra uses FPGA so that’s going to sound waaayyyyy better than anything else facepalm .But no disrespect for any tool/ sound out there that gets you where you want to go.


I get that but so many digital synths include "bread and butter" sounds like piano, organ, etc. that is difficult to separate these things.


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014745 11/03/19 12:32 PM
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hey boiiiiiiiiz. so far I've been following this discussion in silence. ***popcorn / beer / feet on the table***
grin

often I get run over by "endless possibilities" and when I can do absolutely everything with one system I often end up doing nothing at all.
i really like it when instruments are closed "biotopes" and do ONE thing really well. yes. i also use softsynths and midi controllers but i don't like being vst-jockey for hours and helplessly skipping through endless plug-ins.

that is the reason why i m building now around my favourite software complete workstations: a dedicated computer with dedicated midikeyboard / soundcard / effectpedals.
all glued together with gaffertape and hot glue. synced via ableton "link" to the masterclock.
first workstation now is for NI kontakt / absynth & iris2.

the next workstation will be exclusively for glitchmachines plug ins.

also almost done is an experimental cut up workstation based on traktor - yes. i use traktor for producing tracks and i m not "stealing" loops from others for that.
traktor can make extremely crazy stuff when you load the right material in.

also i have to admit that the ipad is one of my fav instruments.
itz incredibly lovely and fun to use. i even perform live with 2 drummachines, a tb303 and 3 ipads.

anyway: whatever brings a cool fast interesting result is welcome.



Last edited by dr walker; 11/03/19 12:34 PM.

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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3014777 11/03/19 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by dr walker


anyway: whatever brings a cool fast interesting result is welcome.




Truth. This is why I play guitar and sing and merely dabble in electronica. I prefer not to use a mouse, touch a knob, flick a switch or press a key.
The music comes out of my pie hole or I have my fingers on the actual source of the tone/note.

I learn from participating in threads like this, that is fun too.


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3014809 11/03/19 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dr walker


often I get run over by "endless possibilities" and when I can do absolutely everything with one system I often end up doing nothing at all.
i really like it when instruments are closed "biotopes" and do ONE thing really well. yes. i also use softsynths and midi controllers but i don't like being vst-jockey for hours and helplessly skipping through endless plug-ins.


I hear you regarding the closed “biotopes”. I have no desire for something like Omnisphere or equivalent just like I never cared for workstation type keyboards. My Kurzweil PC3x has been used almost exclusively for a controller only.

I think bring up a a somewhat ironic disadvantage with VSTs: The fact that VSTs are relatively inexpensive and take up no physical space invites a virtual pack-rat mentality; 50%, 60%, 90% discount? Load em up. Black Friday sale , Summer sale, Bastille Day sale? Yes please! It’s just all too easy to be enticed by something you might need down the road. Even if it’s just to satisfy curiosity it’s irresistible. And of course once you have them the updates are even less money and well, you don’t want that software you may use one day to be out of date.


This is why I am very selective over which VSTs I’m willing to purchase and commit to - just like my hardware synths which tend to be with me and continually used for years and maybe life. I even got fed up with the free or $1 VST offerings a couple of years ago and swore off those for good. I do have Komplete but only upgrade when something really grabs me, like Massive X . I use a small subset of the package; not an Absynth fan but I plan to do more Reactor stuff soon. I also use original Massive, FM-8, a couple of the funky pianos and that’s pretty much it. Add Diva, Repro1/5, Opx-II Pro, a couple of piano VSTs, a few Rhodes/Wurlitzer types, B5 and BFD3. Oh and Korg Collection.

These are all resident and accessible in Reaper and there’s no pre loading of sounds or vst- jockeying. Like my hardware synths I’ll often focus on one at a time that will span a few days or weeks until I complete whatever exploration I wondered into.


To me this amount of VSTs is almost overwhelming because I explore these just like hardware. I create my own sounds just because that’s what I like to do. If I were focused on song creation then sure, nothing against using presets. I get no prize for rolling my own but to me this is what synthesizers ( hardware or software) are all about. But I also have to be in the mood to shift from hardware to software as it is a different experience and work mindset. Just like going to modular.


Originally Posted by dr walker
almost done is an experimental cut up workstation based on traktor - yes. i use traktor for producing tracks and i m not "stealing" loops from others for that.
traktor can make extremely crazy stuff when you load the right material in.

also i have to admit that the ipad is one of my fav instruments.
itz incredibly lovely and fun to use. i even perform live with 2 drummachines, a tb303 and 3 ipads.

anyway: whatever brings a cool fast interesting result is welcome.





I find it fascinating how each of us can dive so deep into these tools and still be focused in completely different areas. Maybe that alone is the beauty of synths.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014838 11/04/19 04:12 AM
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Markyboard, it sounds like you might like to have Komplete Kontrol on your computer. It is a free download from Native Instruments.
It is a host program but unlike Kontakt it has a simple popdown section allowing MIDI Learning.
You can choose a parameter of the plugin that you would like to control from your keyboard, turn one of the controller knobs on the keyboard and there you are.
A great way to reduce the use of the mouse. Plus now you can play with one hand and tweak with the other, the main advantage of using a hardware rig.

It will also host other company's plugins so it gives you a single plugin to drop into your DAW for using your synths.

In my experience some of the drum plugins from NI are very good as well. I have Drum Lab, Studio Drummer and West Africa and find all of them useful.


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014848 11/04/19 09:00 AM
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i love 2 softsynths from NI especially. in my studiosetup both are getting filtered and modulated by additional modular gear and effectpedals
these are the softsynths:




and




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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: KuruPrionz] #3014878 11/04/19 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Markyboard, it sounds like you might like to have Komplete Kontrol on your computer. It is a free download from Native Instruments.
It is a host program but unlike Kontakt it has a simple popdown section allowing MIDI Learning.
You can choose a parameter of the plugin that you would like to control from your keyboard, turn one of the controller knobs on the keyboard and there you are.
A great way to reduce the use of the mouse. Plus now you can play with one hand and tweak with the other, the main advantage of using a hardware rig.

It will also host other company's plugins so it gives you a single plugin to drop into your DAW for using your synths.



Actually I do have it but I'm not sure what it buys me other than an additional unnecessary layer. Reaper lets me do exactly what you describe directly. If the plug in doesn't have its own midi learn function (as I just discovered with Massive X) you can execute midi learn through the Reaper's FX track container for the plugin. Unfortunately Massive X has this sort of convoluted implementation where you first assign your CC to 1 (or more) of 16 macro virtual knobs and then assign those to whatever function you want. Somewhat limited but I got past it pretty quick. For any other VST I'm using the plugin midi learn is really simple. Hopefully NI improves this with an update.

I use this an Akai MPD323 (top right) for controlling VSTs with a different patch programmed for each:
[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Each patch has 3 banks for the sliders, knobs and buttons which is pretty good. I'll also supplement this with my PC3x for additional sliders and buttons. Of course with some of these VSTs you just end up with a subset of the functions assigned - usually the more commonly tweaked parameters. So for "serious" programming once I'm on the mouse I tend to just stay with it as switching back and forth gets annoying. And as I mentioned in the Too Long Release Times...thread I've been really going to town lately with expression pedal assignments.

And yes, I have briefly played with most of those drum/percussioin vsts - great stuff!



Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3014883 11/04/19 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dr walker
i love 2 softsynths from NI especially. in my studiosetup both are getting filtered and modulated by additional modular gear and effectpedals


Hey cool - one of my planned upcoming topics is modulars for modulation.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014896 11/04/19 05:27 PM
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modular synths for fkkn up stuff in an exciting way = loooooooovely!


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014916 11/04/19 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
[
Actually I do have it but I'm not sure what it buys me other than an additional unnecessary layer. Reaper lets me do exactly what you describe directly. If the plug in doesn't have its own midi learn function (as I just discovered with Massive X) you can execute midi learn through the Reaper's FX track container for the plugin.


I just learned something, will have to check my DAW (Waveform 10) and see if there is a MIDI learning function. I've been learning more about Tempo Stretching, organizing plug-ins and experimenting with the Automation tracks - which can allow automation of settings in effects plugins.

We are so different is it impossible for us to "fight" but we can learn things and that is good.
I would be overwhelmed by the setup you've shown in your photos, so many buttons and such!!!!! To say nothing of cables, etc.
Our ways of working are different, our intended results are different, our paths to our goals are different.
One of the things I love about forums is broadening my perspectives by hearing about other ways of doing things.
We don't have to agree, or disagree or even agree to disagree, I like that too. :- D


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: KuruPrionz] #3014942 11/04/19 09:47 PM
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This may help you with where to look for your DAW learn function:

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Now back to the fight...or not fighting. Taking this a step further if we agree that there's no sound advantage between digital hardware synths and VSTs what about effects? Certainly something like the mega monster Eventide H9000 and Bricasti M7 Reverb must have a huge advantage sound-wise over any software effect VST? I know these use many mega-powered dsp chips. So is it a matter of today's best computers still not yet able to match up performance wise with this type hardware just like it was true a while back for synths?

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014969 11/05/19 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
This may help you with where to look for your DAW learn function:


Now back to the fight...or not fighting. Taking this a step further if we agree that there's no sound advantage between digital hardware synths and VSTs what about effects? Certainly something like the mega monster Eventide H9000 and Bricasti M7 Reverb must have a huge advantage sound-wise over any software effect VST? I know these use many mega-powered dsp chips. So is it a matter of today's best computers still not yet able to match up performance wise with this type hardware just like it was true a while back for synths?



Thanks for the screen shot. As to your question, perhaps we could ask why a box full of hardware and software that costs $7,000 doesn't sound 10 times better than a $50 plugin running on Tracktion 7 (free) installed in a $650 computer? ;- D


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3014998 11/05/19 07:37 AM
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did anyone test yet h3000 hardware vs h3000 vst? is there a difference?
i have to google about this.....


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3015019 11/05/19 03:08 PM
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Markyboard Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dr walker
did anyone test yet h3000 hardware vs h3000 vst? is there a difference?
i have to google about this.....


In a word...no- never tried either one, but kind of where I was going with this. There are several threads on GS regarding the Access Virus II vs. similar sounding VSTs. Someone even mentioned the Access Virus II TDM plugin whch claims to use the exact same algorithms as the hardware. Scanning through those threads again I see now that no one really claims superior sound of one over the other and certainly no technical argument was offered. They do claim a more satisfying experience which I totally understand and agree with.

Going back a number of years I remember reading how some folks claimed a DX7 and offshoots sounded warmer then FM-7 (or similar). They were comparing ported over patches so the comparison was apples to apples. My first thought however was "warmer? Your worried about FM not sounding warm enough? wtf?"
But anyway I do think they will sound somewhat different due to the D/A and supporting output hardware vs whatever audio interface you're using. Different, but not necessarily better. But here's the kicker; all those patches were created on hardware and ported over to software- never the other way around. When I program I'm continually making decisions (unconsciously I believe) based on "sweet spots". Those decisions are going to be different no matter how alike 2 products are. So if you spent hours creating a great program in FM-7 would it really sound better once ported over to a DX-7? I think not.

Now take this up a level with those fancy and expensive effects boxes. If the sound isn't significantly better than you're paying a whole lot of money for that satisfying experience- one that may be some what negated finding out your buddy got the same sound for a whole lot less. I do realize this is driven in large part with pulling in clients and other money related considerations


Back to synths, here's my final stance: When you get up into the $4000 range (Quantum, Solaris) and even Modal 002, Virus range market there are things worth doing to significantly reduce the gap to achieve a satisfying experience with software; not as good certainly but maybe good enough considering the money. I seriously don't care where people spend their money and of course it depends on what you already have . For me real analog synths still make a difference over the best of their VST "competitors" and that's where my money and studio real estate goes. Everything else goes in the box.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3015028 11/05/19 04:16 PM
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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3015046 11/05/19 07:16 PM
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[quote=dr walker][/quote]

Thanks for posting the Eventide video. I watched/listened to about 10 minute of it.

As YouTube comparison videos go it is well above average in many ways. My take-away is that I liked the interface of the plugin because I only recall seeing one "knob" and there were lots of sliders. Sliders are mouse friendly and quickly referenced visually. Knobs, not so much.

Knobs are fine in Hardware World, our opposable thumbs change everything.

I can't make a call on which is better since I will never have them both to compare in my own workspace. YouTube videos are famous for the limited reproduction of audio. There are too many other variables to even start in on them, should be obvious that it is impossible to make an informed decision/comparison based on the sound of the video.

If the plugin had been all knobs then I would not like it.

I don't use plugins the way he uses for his demonstration. He may not either, it is an expedience.
When I recently purchased a PreSonus Quantum I was allowed to download Lexicon MPX Reverb. I haven't tried it yet, will be fun.


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3015047 11/05/19 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

Back to synths, here's my final stance: When you get up into the $4000 range (Quantum, Solaris) and even Modal 002, Virus range market there are things worth doing to significantly reduce the gap to achieve a satisfying experience with software; not as good certainly but maybe good enough considering the money. I seriously don't care where people spend their money and of course it depends on what you already have . For me real analog synths still make a difference over the best of their VST "competitors" and that's where my money and studio real estate goes. Everything else goes in the box.


I get your position on this and respect it. As a hopelessly mediocre (at best) "keyboardist" I just don't connect with the keys themselves. So I go about things in a different way.

Interface is paramount to me when selecting plugins, if I hate the interface I may not use it much and may even delete it even if it sounds good.
I LOVE the programming software that Boss came up with for creating patched for the Katana amps. When you select an effect to dial in, it shows in the lower left of the screen with "knobs", just like the pedal (sometimes with lots more parameters to dial, fun!). If you click on any knob, once, a long throw fader for adjusting that parameter is available just to the right of the effect unit. Saves space and makes tweaking very mouse friendly. I had fun dialing in my Katana primarily because of this feature.

Would like to see that become a standard, so many plugins are covered in tiny "knobs". Hate that!!!

Will also be hooking up my FaderPort 1 soon, that might work a treat on those knob based plugins. Too many things need done!!!!
Cheers,
Kuru


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: KuruPrionz] #3015082 11/05/19 11:52 PM
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Markyboard Offline OP
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


Thanks for posting the Eventide video. I watched/listened to about 10 minute of it.

I can't make a call on which is better since I will never have them both to compare in my own workspace. YouTube videos are famous for the limited reproduction of audio. There are too many other variables to even start in on them, should be obvious that it is impossible to make an informed decision/comparison based on the sound of the video.

+1



Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3015148 11/06/19 09:18 PM
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the gentleman in the eventide video says in the end that hardware and plugin sound almost the same but the hardware has some more effects.
a "pro" for the software could be: we indeed map tons of midi-faders and can perform better with the h3000 plug in.

actually after watching this video i guess i will grab the h3000 plugin next time (cyber monday?) i see it for a reduced price.
i m huge h3000 fan....


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: dr walker] #3015154 11/06/19 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by dr walker
the gentleman in the eventide video says in the end that hardware and plugin sound almost the same but the hardware has some more effects.
a "pro" for the software could be: we indeed map tons of midi-faders and can perform better with the h3000 plug in.

actually after watching this video i guess i will grab the h3000 plugin next time (cyber monday?) i see it for a reduced price.
i m huge h3000 fan....



If you can run multiple instances of the plugin you can probably have more effects than a single hardware unit.
Your choice seems very sensible in any case, it is what I would choose if I had to have that sound set.

I've got infinite + variations available already - way too many plugins!!!! Do they sound just as good as the Lexicon? I don't know, does brocolli taste better than artichoke? :- D


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3015400 11/09/19 02:19 PM
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Coming late to this discussion, but here goes . . .

I collect old hardware Synths, in part because I love a physical Instrument, and in part because I find them cheap. Korg Wavestation SR, $150US at a nearby GC, Casio CZ-1, $2 from a community yard sale, Roland D-110 w/PG-10 programmer, $50 from a fellow Musician, Alesis QS8, $150 from another friend; any one of them, bought new, would have cost me more than I spent for all of them, as used, not-exactly-vintage gear, and those are just a few of my old toys.

I also like physical gear, because sometimes it leads me to try things that seem silly, until they work. I recently plugged one of those little Teenage Engineering Pocket Operators into a Boss GT-1, a $50 calculator-sized Synth into an entry-level Guitar Processor. It sounded amazing! Next up, I tried my Korg Monologue through the GT-1, and again, it made the little MonoSynth sound HUGE! I'm likely to take them out for one of my next shows.

I have enough MIDI Patchbays and splitter boxes that I could network all of my Synths and MIDI gear, and not have to worry about memory, processing power, as I would stacking VI's within a computer. But in the end, I just like gear that I can hold in my hand. Probably comes from starting out on Guitar and Percussion.


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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Markyboard] #3015421 11/09/19 06:13 PM
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Interesting discussion...I became aware of this issue when reviewing Korg's re-issue of the M1 as a virtual instrument. I was SURE it sounded better than the original. Korg swore up and down the algorithms were exactly the same, it was a 1:1 port. However, the D/A converters on the hardware instrument itself were way inferior (12-bit, IIRC) compared to the D/A converters in the modern-day computers that could host virtual instruments. The better conversion is what accounted for the better sound quality.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight! [Re: Anderton] #3015423 11/09/19 06:23 PM
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Dr Mike Metlay Offline
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Interesting discussion...I became aware of this issue when reviewing Korg's re-issue of the M1 as a virtual instrument. I was SURE it sounded better than the original. Korg swore up and down the algorithms were exactly the same, it was a 1:1 port. However, the D/A converters on the hardware instrument itself were way inferior (12-bit, IIRC) compared to the D/A converters in the modern-day computers that could host virtual instruments. The better conversion is what accounted for the better sound quality.


Truth. Very evident on the Wavestation, too. I keep hoping that Korg will do a software version of MOSS, so I can get the same performance improvement on my prophecy.


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