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How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? #3027668 02/05/20 04:44 PM
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Anderton Offline OP
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You know what I mean...like that digital reverb from the 1980s that technically isn't as good as what's available, but has its own sound. At NAMM, AMS resurrected their 40-year-old Model RMX 16 digital reverb (it's now a 500-series module), and Chase Bliss and Meris collaborated on the CXM 1978, which incorporates three of the Lexicon 224’s most famous algorithms.

We're also seeing more plug-ins that emulate digital hardware, whether you're talking Korg M1 or Lexicon reverbs. These are particularly relevant, because the A/D conversion in our audio interfaces is much better than what was in the hardware of the 80s.

Got any fave vintage digital? Wish you hadn't sold your PCM-70? Do you want any vintage digital brought back from the 80s? Whaddya think?

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027678 02/05/20 06:09 PM
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Lexicon M200
Lexicon PCM60
Eventide H969
Korg SDD-3300

Bought them ten years ago when everybody was dumping hardware for plugins.

I got the Lexicons for dedicated reverbs not multieffects. I wanted all the CPU horsepower dedicated to reverb. Haven't heard a multiFX box or plugin that can come close to legacy Lexicons. Plus those two boxes are simple interfaces, no menu needed.

The H969 is a cool harmonizer that is probably easier done with plugins today. Yes the H3000 and later units have greater FX choices, but I like units with controls for immediate tweaking and no menus.

The Korg SDD-3300 is my favorite delay unit for synths. Three digital delays each with filters and two LFOs, and a digital audio routing matrix for routing anything to anything. I can also integrate the PCM60 and process the reverb tails in combination with modulated delay effects. This is a tweaker's delight. I get effects from this box that I haven't heard from a multiFX.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027694 02/05/20 07:10 PM
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Fortunately, although early plug-ins were usually dumbed down to accommodate multitrack DAWs, some of the newer "vintage digital" plug-ins are direct ports of the original algorithms and code because modern CPUs can handle the complexity. Of course, inserting more than a couple instances might bring your computer to its knees...but at least there's always track freeze.

However, I can't help but wonder how much of the "vintage digital" sound depended on the hardware of that time, and whether the better quality of today's converters might be perceived as a drawback instead of an advantage. Waves has an interesting article about their modeling process, and tells the story of how people evaluating their early SSL plug-ins insisted they didn't "sound right." It turns out hum and noise were part of the signature sound...when Waves added the option to include those, then listeners said the plug-ins sounded "right." Maybe "vintage digital" plug-ins will need an option to lower the bit resolution and sampling rate.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027705 02/05/20 08:07 PM
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I really liked my Yamaha FS1R synth - FM with some amazing features that left the DX7 in the dust. And just sounded great - better than NI's FM8 (as good as that is.)

And yes, those old Lexicon units had a lot of character. Would be fun to play around with new software versions of those - but if it costs very much, I'd probably pass.

nat

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027711 02/05/20 08:48 PM
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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027715 02/05/20 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
some of the newer "vintage digital" plug-ins are direct ports of the original algorithms and code because modern CPUs can handle the complexity.


The legacy Lexicons implemented lots of TTL ICs to realize their algorithms (the reverb algorithms were NOT in the EPROMs). Back then TTL ICs had way faster propagation speeds than CPUs could dream of. Todays' gigahertz clocked CPUs can approach the speed of TTL ICs but in an laptop/desktop computer OS there's a lot of horsepower divided up between peripherals and DAWs. It's getting there...

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027716 02/05/20 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
However, I can't help but wonder how much of the "vintage digital" sound depended on the hardware of that time, and whether the better quality of today's converters might be perceived as a drawback instead of an advantage.


The converters were a big component in the sound quality of signature digital processors, more than most people understood at the time. The designers of high end processors (Lexicon, Eventide, AMS, et al) put a lot of focus on the quality of their converters. There was an AES paper about 1978 that was an excellent study on converters.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3027732 02/05/20 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Anderton
some of the newer "vintage digital" plug-ins are direct ports of the original algorithms and code because modern CPUs can handle the complexity.


The legacy Lexicons implemented lots of TTL ICs to realize their algorithms (the reverb algorithms were NOT in the EPROMs). Back then TTL ICs had way faster propagation speeds than CPUs could dream of. Todays' gigahertz clocked CPUs can approach the speed of TTL ICs but in an laptop/desktop computer OS there's a lot of horsepower divided up between peripherals and DAWs. It's getting there...
Fascinating stuff!!

Wow, that must have taken a ton more design work than just feeding lines of code into a processor. Did this extend into the mid-80s, and the days of the PCM-70? Or was this more of a 224 kind of thing?

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3027734 02/05/20 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Anderton
However, I can't help but wonder how much of the "vintage digital" sound depended on the hardware of that time, and whether the better quality of today's converters might be perceived as a drawback instead of an advantage.


The converters were a big component in the sound quality of signature digital processors, more than most people understood at the time. The designers of high end processors (Lexicon, Eventide, AMS, et al) put a lot of focus on the quality of their converters. There was an AES paper about 1978 that was an excellent study on converters.
Also fascinating. My dalliance with digital basically started in the days of the Sony PCM-F1, anything prior to that was way too expensive for me to even look at. My memories of early digital gear comes solely from listening to it being used in recording sessions.

IIRC back in 1977 you couldn't even get 16-bit converters, so designers paired converters (like 12 and 8 bits) to hit 16 bits. Do you know if maybe those high-end units were using converters made of discrete components?

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027735 02/05/20 10:25 PM
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Oh, and one more thing @The Real MC...totally with you on the Korg SDD-3000, that was a monster. Maybe they'll reissue it....or maybe Behringer will smile

Thanks for contributing your expertise to the forum, it's much appreciated!

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Nowarezman] #3027743 02/05/20 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Nowarezman
I really liked my Yamaha FS1R synth - FM with some amazing features that left the DX7 in the dust. And just sounded great - better than NI's FM8 (as good as that is.)



I went from DX-7 to DX7-7II/FD and TX-802 to 2 x Fs1r to FM-7 to FM-8. And along the way there were always people claiming how the earlier or previous version sounded better (warmer facepalm) than the current version. Aside from fs1r sequencing stuff that I wasn’t into I never found this to be the case. And I would often challenge someone to create from scratch a new fm patch on the later version and see if that same patch sounded better on the older.

Still waiting for a response.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027758 02/06/20 12:02 AM
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Ok, that probably sounded snarky, sorry about that. I guess I just don’t care about vintage anything. I love just about everything I currently own because of familiarity and it’s just so much fun to play with. And at least to me it sounds great (the equipment that is hand). I never worry about other stuff old or new that may be better or give me something I don’t have. There’s so much cool shit out there to be had be it hardware, software, original, reissues, or new designs. But I don’t have any desire to own most of it. Once in awhile something cool comes along that really grabs me, and then I’ll grab it- maybe. But the older I get the more infrequent this becomes.

If I were really into mixing then I suppose I would dig particular effects devices as much as my synths. But I don’t. I have several Moogerfoogers that are fun to play with and explore along with a multi-effects processor, compressor and Eq. But I really couldn’t care less if they’re digital, analog or hamster driven. I think sometimes it’s more about the exclusive ownership title than anything else; something the marketeers are always trying to capitalize on.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027759 02/06/20 12:06 AM
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I have a Roland SRV-2000. It was one of the first $1000 digital reverbs on the market. I had a Great British Spring reverb in my remote truck and decided that I needed something that didn't go BOINNGG when someone bumped the outside of the truck. It's still in my rack and when mixing analog (which is most of the time) it's the first reverb I go to. It just works.

At the time, there were two others in the same price ballpark, I think one was a Lexicon with about two programs and I can't remember the other one, maybe ART. I took one of each home from my local dealer over a weekend (that's vintage, too) and compared them with the kind of things I work with. I could have been happy with any of them, even though they sounded a little different, but I could make the Roland sound like anything that the other two did, plus what it could do on its own. I don't use reverb for sound design, just to make up for lack of ambience. And when you have tape hiss, who cares about a little extra noise from 1980s digital hardware?

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027777 02/06/20 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
I went from DX-7 to DX7-7II/FD and TX-802 to 2 x Fs1r to FM-7 to FM-8. And along the way there were always people claiming how the earlier or previous version sounded better (warmer facepalm) than the current version. Aside from fs1r sequencing stuff that I wasn’t into I never found this to be the case.


Well clearly, you had the versions with the 12AT7 tubes. The ones with a 12AX7 were so much better. Lucky you - I have a 12AT7-to-12AX7 Tube Conversion kit that costs only $499.95! Just go to the online store at www.audiosnakeoil.com.

But seriously...as is probably obvious, I'm of the "songwriter and vocals are what matter" school of thought. Yet, if you want the sound of the 80s - and it had its own merits - then the reverbs used in the 80s sound different compared to today's reverbs.

I visited a vinyl fan's house, and his listening system was vintage 70-80s consumer gear. He didn't have a fetish about the gear per se, he just said that he figured records were intended to be played back on those systems, so he felt that was optimum. Who was I to argue?

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027791 02/06/20 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Anderton
However, I can't help but wonder how much of the "vintage digital" sound depended on the hardware of that time, and whether the better quality of today's converters might be perceived as a drawback instead of an advantage.


The converters were a big component in the sound quality of signature digital processors, more than most people understood at the time. The designers of high end processors (Lexicon, Eventide, AMS, et al) put a lot of focus on the quality of their converters. There was an AES paper about 1978 that was an excellent study on converters.
Also fascinating. My dalliance with digital basically started in the days of the Sony PCM-F1, anything prior to that was way too expensive for me to even look at. My memories of early digital gear comes solely from listening to it being used in recording sessions.

IIRC back in 1977 you couldn't even get 16-bit converters, so designers paired converters (like 12 and 8 bits) to hit 16 bits. Do you know if maybe those high-end units were using converters made of discrete components?


The earliest schematic I have is Eventide H910. DAC is a 10-bit 7530, ADC is 10 bit built from TTL logic (!!)

Lexicon 224: 12-bit DAC-80-II, and another DAC which is part of the ADC with SAR built from TTL and opamps...! (yes I have schematics) Inputs and outputs were mux'd.

PCM60 was 16-bit PCM53 implemented as both ADC & DAC.

The EARLIEST digital reverb is EMT 250. No idea what is in there, I don't have schematics, and they sanded off the markings on the ICs.

Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Anderton
some of the newer "vintage digital" plug-ins are direct ports of the original algorithms and code because modern CPUs can handle the complexity.


The legacy Lexicons implemented lots of TTL ICs to realize their algorithms (the reverb algorithms were NOT in the EPROMs). Back then TTL ICs had way faster propagation speeds than CPUs could dream of. Todays' gigahertz clocked CPUs can approach the speed of TTL ICs but in an laptop/desktop computer OS there's a lot of horsepower divided up between peripherals and DAWs. It's getting there...
Fascinating stuff!!

Wow, that must have taken a ton more design work than just feeding lines of code into a processor. Did this extend into the mid-80s, and the days of the PCM-70? Or was this more of a 224 kind of thing?


The 224 had the ARU (accumulator register unit) and floating point converter processor built from TTL. CPU was an 8080A. The timing & control schematic built from TTL makes my head spin. This is all high speed logic, controlling the propagation timing had to be a b!tch!

Discrete ARU was used in 224, 224x, 200, PCM60, PCM70, 480. I have a nice description of the ARU from someone who dissected the circuit, wish I remembered where it came from.

Early PCM60s also had discrete ARU, later ones shrank it all in a 40-pin custom IC. '60 also had custom ICs for MMU and CMU. Blow them and you have an instant doorstop. PCM80 and later models used the VLSI custom Lexchips.

My study emphasis in college was digital electronics. Lexicon is sick stuff.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027798 02/06/20 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton


But seriously...as is probably obvious, I'm of the "songwriter and vocals are what matter" school of thought. Yet, if you want the sound of the 80s - and it had its own merits - then the reverbs used in the 80s sound different compared to today's reverbs.

I visited a vinyl fan's house, and his listening system was vintage 70-80s consumer gear. He didn't have a fetish about the gear per se, he just said that he figured records were intended to be played back on those systems, so he felt that was optimum. Who was I to argue?



Interesting but...as someone who has zero interest in recreating sounds from the past I recuse myself from further discussion. I’m not exactly sure what recuse means but I heard someone else use it to avoid involvement in further argument and well, I just like it. Fortunately I no longer have my ancient hard copy Webster‘s dictionary so I guess we’ll never really know.

Python

Last edited by Anderton; 02/06/20 06:43 PM.
Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027803 02/06/20 02:04 PM
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A lot of digital gear from the 80's & 90's can be found dirt cheap, if you look around. In the last couple of years, I've picked up a WaveStation SR for $150, a QS8 for another $150, a Proteus 2000 with the Protozoa card installed for right around $100+/-? Someone gave me a Digitech RDS 1900, another friend gave me a Quadraverb+ that was gathering dust in their Guitar shop. All of them work, and I was able to find Manuals and other support for them online for no additional cost. (Alesis, for some reason, has taken down a LOT of their Legacy Firmware & Manuals in the last couple of years? I was lucky enough to get in before most of it disappeared.)

I don't seek this stuff out because it's old, per se; I seek it out because it fits my budget and my needs. When I see the prices of Korg's new WaveState and new FM Synth, I look fondly at my old SR and TX81z.


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027847 02/06/20 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Originally Posted by Anderton


But seriously...as is probably obvious, I'm of the "songwriter and vocals are what matter" school of thought. Yet, if you want the sound of the 80s - and it had its own merits - then the reverbs used in the 80s sound different compared to today's reverbs.

I visited a vinyl fan's house, and his listening system was vintage 70-80s consumer gear. He didn't have a fetish about the gear per se, he just said that he figured records were intended to be played back on those systems, so he felt that was optimum. Who was I to argue?



Interesting but...as someone who has zero interest in recreating sounds from the past I recuse myself from further discussion. I’m not exactly sure what recuse means but I heard someone else use it to avoid involvement in further argument and well, I just like it. Fortunately I no longer have my ancient hard copy Webster‘s dictionary so I guess we’ll never really know.

Python


Well, "recuse" means "to cuse something again." smile

Okay, that was a joke. Seriously, you used the word 100% correctly - it's to realize that you shouldn't render a judgement, because you can't be impartial. Then again, no one is really arguing here, we're exploring the topic, which can be fairly nuanced.

For example, suppose you were born in 2000. You don't really have an incentive to recreate sounds from the past, because you have no past history with those sounds. Like NBC used to say in the promos for summer reruns, "If you haven't seen it before, it's new to you." Or, you may just happen to like a sound that current devices can't produce.

I'm not really into re-creating the sounds of the past either, but I'm not against using them in the present. For example, I don't have any real interest in using a Mellotron in my music; the sound is so stereotyped, and associated with a particular type of music. But, if I ever do something where that sound would fit, I'll use it...although that will probably mean running it through some effects that never existed during the Mellotron's lifetime smile

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027861 02/06/20 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
...as someone who has zero interest in recreating sounds from the past I recuse myself from further discussion.


Using vintage gear isn't always about re-creating sounds from the past. Sure, if you want the popular sounds of the day from a DX-7, you can certainly get that from a vintage DX-7, or probably from one of the virtual instrument versions. But I'm sure that not all the sounds the DX-7 is capable of making have been explored yet, or at least not put on a record.

Also, sometimes vintage equipment is just easier to use, but this depends on your workflow. If you want an 1176 compressor on a vocal track and you're working entirely in the box, you can get it, and about 1,000 other compressors that will probably do the just just as well, as a plug-in. And it may be awkward to impossible - depending on your interface, your software, and how much you understand about signal flow - to patch in a vintage hardware (or even contemporary revival) box. But when working in the analog world as I do, it's just the natural thing to do.

And, frankly, I don't have any right or wrong compressors. I use whatever works out of my choice of about three different ones. The compressor I choose isn't going to sell any more records, at least not at my end of the food chain. I use vintage because it's what I own (from when it wasn't vintage) and it still works.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027875 02/06/20 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

Interesting but...as someone who has zero interest in recreating sounds from the past I recuse myself from further discussion. I’m not exactly sure what recuse means but I heard someone else use it to avoid involvement in further argument and well, I just like it. Fortunately I no longer have my ancient hard copy Webster‘s dictionary so I guess we’ll never really know.

Python


Hmmm... are you not also "Music with Marky" that posts in the guitar forum?

Electric guitar is far older than early digital music gear. It's pretty hard to play an electric guitar and not recreate sounds from the past, true?
Just sayin' is all. :- D

My humble contribution to the is thread is that I own and use a vintage Sharper Image Saxxy, which was a digital kazoo. It is post early digital but so abominable yet versatile (and cheap) that it seems worthy of mention.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efjQWzFJ088


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3027877 02/06/20 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


Hmmm... are you not also "Music with Marky" that posts in the guitar forum?

Electric guitar is far older than early digital music gear. It's pretty hard to play an electric guitar and not recreate sounds from the past, true?
Just sayin' is all. :- D


Ummm no, not me, but my nemesis guitar toting daughter will sure get a kick out this thought. Btw it’s not like I avoid classic sounds if that’s where my meanderings, noodlings and programming take me. I just don’t typically set out with any pre-conceived notion of what I want something to sound like. Probably explains my falling just short of mega stardom.
rocker

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027884 02/07/20 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Oh, and one more thing @The Real MC...totally with you on the Korg SDD-3000, that was a monster. Maybe they'll reissue it....


I admit I was tempted by the last reissue, which was in pedal form - still on their site but I doubt it's in production now:

https://www.korg.com/us/products/effects/sdd3000_pedal/

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Markyboard] #3027886 02/07/20 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz


Hmmm... are you not also "Music with Marky" that posts in the guitar forum?

Electric guitar is far older than early digital music gear. It's pretty hard to play an electric guitar and not recreate sounds from the past, true?
Just sayin' is all. :- D


Ummm no, not me, but my nemesis guitar toting daughter will sure get a kick out this thought. Btw it’s not like I avoid classic sounds if that’s where my meanderings, noodlings and programming take me. I just don’t typically set out with any pre-conceived notion of what I want something to sound like. Probably explains my falling just short of mega stardom.
rocker


Sorry, my bad.

I usually try to make stuff sound insane, anything will do that if you find the wrong settings.
Which reminds me, a part of me misses my old Effectron delays, the one where you could turn the time knob and shift the time continously in real time.
I could work wonders with a couple of those, especially on a final mixdown.
That was part of my ish back in the cassette porta studio days.


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3027905 02/07/20 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

Which reminds me, a part of me misses my old Effectron delays, the one where you could turn the time knob and shift the time continously in real time.
I could work wonders with a couple of those, especially on a final mixdown.
Too bad I didn't PM you when I sold my Effectron Jr. on reverb.com smile

However, I do think the elusive "mess with delay and have it sound like the universe is stretching" sound is available in the Helix.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: GovernorSilver] #3027912 02/07/20 02:49 AM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Originally Posted by Anderton
Oh, and one more thing @The Real MC...totally with you on the Korg SDD-3000, that was a monster. Maybe they'll reissue it....


I admit I was tempted by the last reissue, which was in pedal form - still on their site but I doubt it's in production now:

https://www.korg.com/us/products/effects/sdd3000_pedal/


Craig missed a digit.

I was talking about the SDD-3300, not 3000. Very different product.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027914 02/07/20 03:00 AM
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Old digital reverbs can be had for about a nickel on the dollar. When i was in dire straits about 8 years ago, I got twice what I paid for my old Analog rack gear, and the Alesis and Digtech rack units were worth jack really. So I still have a couple of Alesis reverbs , eq's, and one of their compressors...Which was junk from the start really.
All of it still works, and the Digitech 3.6 delay unit still works really well.
I could not afford any Lexicon stuff back then.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3027927 02/07/20 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by GovernorSilver
Originally Posted by Anderton
Oh, and one more thing @The Real MC...totally with you on the Korg SDD-3000, that was a monster. Maybe they'll reissue it....


I admit I was tempted by the last reissue, which was in pedal form - still on their site but I doubt it's in production now:

https://www.korg.com/us/products/effects/sdd3000_pedal/


Craig missed a digit.

I was talking about the SDD-3300, not 3000. Very different product.


Yes, sorry...I knew you meant the 2U piece, not the 1U.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027929 02/07/20 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

Which reminds me, a part of me misses my old Effectron delays, the one where you could turn the time knob and shift the time continously in real time.
I could work wonders with a couple of those, especially on a final mixdown.
Too bad I didn't PM you when I sold my Effectron Jr. on reverb.com smile

However, I do think the elusive "mess with delay and have it sound like the universe is stretching" sound is available in the Helix.


I became curious/nostalgic and surfed ebay to take a look. I remembered that there was a reason why I didn't get an Effectron Jr when I had an opportunity.
Looking at the photos, the reason was that it didn't have an infinite repeat function, this was an important part of my sound for The Posers, a short-lived but fruitful recording project I was involved in.
I had two Effectron II units. I'm not sure now if I owned them both at the same time, the recordings indicate a single delay.

I think I had another one when I was in the original Vortexans (a punk band on the east coast took the name years later), in that band I played bass with a nut made from an acoustic guitar saddle transducer so tapping would produce "The Notes That Are Wrong" - a logarithmic inverse of the tempered scale. Run through a crappy Ibanez rackmount pitch shifter, I could capture a short chunk from a fast delay, infinite repeat it and then turn the adjust the delay time in real time. The pitch moved with the delay since it was essentially a sample and was being stretched. Live through a good PA it was an incredible cacophany. The guitarist used a similar nut pickup but had better pitch shifting devices, one for the nut pickup and one for the standard pickup system. So it was impossible for anybody watching to know who was playing what. Far and away one of the best/worst bands I've ever been been in.

I still have that nut and the bass it was mounted on. I removed it since I never used it. Not doing anything quite that different these days.

I'll have to dig these up and post them online so I can link them!!! Yikes, another project. :-D


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3027941 02/07/20 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

My humble contribution to the is thread is that I own and use a vintage Sharper Image Saxxy, which was a digital kazoo.


I have a vintage Bath House Brass. All analog. I also have a collection of vintage kazoo reeds to go with my vintage tin kazoos.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3027942 02/07/20 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

My humble contribution to the is thread is that I own and use a vintage Sharper Image Saxxy, which was a digital kazoo.


I have a vintage Bath House Brass. All analog. I also have a collection of vintage kazoo reeds to go with my vintage tin kazoos.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


That photo is simply obscene.

nat

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3027968 02/07/20 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz

My humble contribution to the is thread is that I own and use a vintage Sharper Image Saxxy, which was a digital kazoo.


I have a vintage Bath House Brass. All analog. I also have a collection of vintage kazoo reeds to go with my vintage tin kazoos.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]



Awesome, thanks for sharing!!! A friend bought a display box of vintage kazoos and gave me one - it's black, thin sheet metal with the mouth end bent over so you don't cut your lips off. It has 3 embossed "soundholes" to make it look official. That is the kazoo of my childhood, a different tone than the new plastic ones. A friend adds a piece of clear tubing and an oil funnel to his, another tone too.

Kazoos rule!!!! :- D


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3027989 02/07/20 06:18 PM
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I started buying analog synths in the 1980s when everyone was dumping them over DX7s samplers and "me too" digital keyboards.
I started buying digital FX and mixing consoles in the early 2000s when everyone was going ITB.
I'm a little late with vintage 50s sunburst Les Pauls...

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: KuruPrionz] #3027992 02/07/20 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
A friend bought a display box of vintage kazoos and gave me one - it's black, thin sheet metal with the mouth end bent over so you don't cut your lips off. It has 3 embossed "soundholes" to make it look official.


That's the real deal. A trick I used to do with mine was to attach a hose to it and run it into a canteen full of water strapped to my waist to make it gurgle. I have some vintage jews harps, too.

The Bath House Brass came from a very creative friend and sometimes music partner, Jonathan Eberhart. He was into unusual instruments and when he saw the Bath House Brass and discovered that it was a very good kazoo, he wrote to Mattel and asked if they'd send him a couple of dozen for a local classical music ensemble to work with. They did, and as part of a concert program they played the last movement of Beethoven's 5th symphony on 24 Bath House Brasses and a wash tub bass.

They actually made three different sizes of the Bath House Brass differing only in the length of tubing between the ball and the bell. The pieces all fit together, so after the concert, Jonathan took a bunch of them apart and assembled one with enough tubing to wrap a couple of times around his body. Too bad we didn't have handy cameras and recorders in that day (late 1960s).

But I digress, since this discussion is about vintage digital products.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3027996 02/07/20 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
I started buying analog synths in the 1980s when everyone was dumping them over DX7s samplers and "me too" digital keyboards.
I started buying digital FX and mixing consoles in the early 2000s when everyone was going ITB.
I'm a little late with vintage 50s sunburst Les Pauls...


And $80 1952 Teles with "Leo" written in pencil in the neck route? Don't get me started!!!! Gah!!!!!!!!


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3027997 02/07/20 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
I started buying analog synths in the 1980s when everyone was dumping them over DX7s samplers and "me too" digital keyboards.
I started buying digital FX and mixing consoles in the early 2000s when everyone was going ITB.
I'm a little late with vintage 50s sunburst Les Pauls...


LOL! I followed a similar path. I bought a beautiful Minimoog when digital started happening. People thought I was nuts ("drift? only one note? no velocity? are you nuts?"), but I said it was going to be the arch-top Les Paul of the 21st century. I'd say that was pretty close to reality.

At the time, there was a company in LA that rack-mounted Minimoogs. I asked what they did with the cases and wheels, and they pretty much just trashed them. I said "if you ever find a cherry case and pitch wheel, let me know and I'll pay whatever you want." Nothing happened, until 6 months later, when a box showed up. All they asked for was shipping, and I was able to restore the mini to cherry condition. It also has the buffer boards for better pitch stability.

When Bob Moog stayed over at my place for a couple days after his divorce, I asked him to autograph my Minimoog. He normally didn't like to do that, but I was annoying enough that he made an exception smile If I lived in ancient Egypt, I would have that Minimoog buried with me so I'd have it available in my next life!

Last edited by Anderton; 02/07/20 07:04 PM.
Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3028001 02/07/20 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Early PCM60s also had discrete ARU, later ones shrank it all in a 40-pin custom IC. '60 also had custom ICs for MMU and CMU. Blow them and you have an instant doorstop.


A friend of mine in Holland who repairs synths said that vintage digital is much harder to repair than vintage analog. One reason is what you mention - with analog, you can usually figure out a workaround or replacement. But so much vintage digital used custom components, so good luck finding them.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3028005 02/07/20 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
A friend bought a display box of vintage kazoos and gave me one - it's black, thin sheet metal with the mouth end bent over so you don't cut your lips off. It has 3 embossed "soundholes" to make it look official.


That's the real deal. A trick I used to do with mine was to attach a hose to it and run it into a canteen full of water strapped to my waist to make it gurgle. I have some vintage jews harps, too.

The Bath House Brass came from a very creative friend and sometimes music partner, Jonathan Eberhart. He was into unusual instruments and when he saw the Bath House Brass and discovered that it was a very good kazoo, he wrote to Mattel and asked if they'd send him a couple of dozen for a local classical music ensemble to work with. They did, and as part of a concert program they played the last movement of Beethoven's 5th symphony on 24 Bath House Brasses and a wash tub bass.

They actually made three different sizes of the Bath House Brass differing only in the length of tubing between the ball and the bell. The pieces all fit together, so after the concert, Jonathan took a bunch of them apart and assembled one with enough tubing to wrap a couple of times around his body. Too bad we didn't have handy cameras and recorders in that day (late 1960s).

But I digress, since this discussion is about vintage digital products.


Sweet, I'll bring it back around then. The Saxxy Synthesizer Kazoohas 3 "voices" - Sax, Tuba and Clarinet. They are all an octave apart. There is a pair of Pitch switches that provide another octave up and down for each "instrument." So the Saxxy has a 5 octave range. If you can hum 2 octaves you have 7 octaves. There are 2 switches for = / - volume and 3 switches for horrendous backing tracks, plus a pathetic built in speaker. There is an 1/8" "stereo" headphone jack so you could jam out with yourself on a city bus and engender discomfort in your surroundings. :- D

All that said, I am not actually sure if there is any digital or if it is just all analog. It does track pretty weill and sounds more or less somewhat like the person humming. Maybe just a crappy analog mic running into crappy analog octave shifters? Still, it does have the backing tracks, those are probably ROM. So, it squeaks by and adds an aura of ultra low budget shameful goodies to this lovely thread. I paid $50 for it new.

When I got mine I took it and some crappy Radio Shack adapters over to a friend's house. He had a 1,600 watt bass guitar system with two full range cabs including folded 18" woofers. We plugged it in and he set the Tuba an octave down. When he hummed down low you could see the woofers moving but could barely hear them - subsonic. The dog ran out of the room and hid in the farthest corner of the backyard.

I recently went through all my audio cables and found a cord that is 1/8" stereo to two mono 1/4". Tomorrow I am working on an opening set for a local show. My singer is down for anything, she loves to go outside the box.

There will be gnashing of teeth and rending of sackcloth!!! Cheers, Kuru.


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Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3028042 02/08/20 01:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton

A friend of mine in Holland who repairs synths said that vintage digital is much harder to repair than vintage analog. One reason is what you mention - with analog, you can usually figure out a workaround or replacement. But so much vintage digital used custom components, so good luck finding them.


A related problem with maintaining or resurrecting vintage digital gear is documentation. When you got an Ampex MM1200, you got a 2-inch thick loose leaf binder with schematics of every circuit board, wiring diagram of the chassis, a text description of how each circuit works, and how to adjust all the mechanical parts. The parts list listed every part both by Ampex part number and commercial part number. There are some ICs that are obsolete today, but fortunately there are a couple of companies who have accumulated a stock of obsolete ICs where you can buy one for an inflated price if you need it.

But manufacturers of digital gear hold their technical documentation pretty close to their chest. There's a good amount of scanned schematics on the web from people who had them because they were authorized service shops, but the quality varies from blah to good and the cost ranges from free to outrageous. And if there's firmware or an EPROM involved, or application software, the manufacturers never released the code. And while you can trace a signal through most analog devices without formal documentation, there's no real "signal" in a digital device so you can't isolate the problem to a particular circuit or component.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3028055 02/08/20 06:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
there's no real "signal" in a digital device so you can't isolate the problem to a particular circuit or component.


That's what logic analyzers are for, and I have one for my bench.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3028076 02/08/20 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
there's no real "signal" in a digital device so you can't isolate the problem to a particular circuit or component.


That's what logic analyzers are for, and I have one for my bench.


Awwww . . . you're just braggin' wink.

But along with that logic analyzer, you need enough documentation to know what's supposed to be happening at that point in the circuit, while much of the time you can trace an audio signal through an analog circuit using something as simple as an earphone and a couple of clip leads.

[Surgeon General's Warning] When working with tube equipment, it's a good idea to put a capacitor in series with the headphone when working with tube equipment, to keep plate voltage off the earphone.

An oscilloscope is a better tool, but you don't need a fancy digital one. You can find old analog 'scopes with plenty of bandwidth for audio work for under $50, or even sometimes free at hamfests. And a 'scope is fun for looking at waveforms even when things are working, and checking phase relationships, and looking for distortion, measuring gain, so much great stuff.

Logic analyzers are for designers and people who can make a lot of money fixing "unfixable" digital gear. They're not cheap, and not something you use every day unless it's your job. And there's no fun in looking at numbers. wink

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3028099 02/08/20 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Originally Posted by The Real MC
Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
there's no real "signal" in a digital device so you can't isolate the problem to a particular circuit or component.


That's what logic analyzers are for, and I have one for my bench.


Awwww . . . you're just braggin' wink.

But along with that logic analyzer, you need enough documentation to know what's supposed to be happening at that point in the circuit, while much of the time you can trace an audio signal through an analog circuit using something as simple as an earphone and a couple of clip leads.


They are invaluable for troubleshooting hybrid synths, and once you learn one architecture the rest are pretty much the same.

Quote
An oscilloscope is a better tool, but you don't need a fancy digital one. You can find old analog 'scopes with plenty of bandwidth for audio work for under $50, or even sometimes free at hamfests. And a 'scope is fun for looking at waveforms even when things are working, and checking phase relationships, and looking for distortion, measuring gain, so much great stuff.


How do you trigger a 'scope on a multiplexed analog signal in a hybrid synth? Answer: configure the word recognizer on the logic analyzer, then route the WR output to the trigger input of the horizontal amp of the 'scope. That tool pinpointed an intermittent malfunction with a data latch affecting a synth function. The combination of a logic analyzer and analog scope is a powerful one.

Quote
Logic analyzers are for designers and people who can make a lot of money fixing "unfixable" digital gear. They're not cheap, and not something you use every day unless it's your job. And there's no fun in looking at numbers. wink


You can pick up a 7xxx or 5xxx Tektronix mainframe and 7D01 logic analyzer for peanuts. 7D01 displays up to sixteen channels are logic waveforms, the optional DF1 adds many functions like memory storage to catch intermittent RAM or corruption of data buss. If you get the 7xxx mainframe, you can add vertical and horizontal plugins for an analog scope and L/A all in one chassis. Not just for designers.

My emphasis in college was digital electronics and microprocessors, so I know these circuits very well.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3028170 02/09/20 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC

My emphasis in college was digital electronics and microprocessors, so I know these circuits very well.


When I went to college, DTL was just emerging but we didn't have any ICs in our lab. All of the logic I got to work with, we made out of transistors on a breadboard. The closest thing to a microprocessor was a DEC PDP-8, which was launched in 1964, the year I gradualted college. Maybe that's why I'm stuck in the analog world. wink

Surely you need some documentation to figure out where to connect the logic analyzer. How difficult is that to obtain? I'm not trying to give you a hard time - I admire your knowledge of hybrid synths and their inner workings. But this is service shop level equipment. I have signal generators and distortion analyzers (mostly old H-P stuff, older than the gear that I work on) here that are appropriate for working on analog audio equipment. Nowadays, however, a computer, a decent audio interface, and a copy of Room EQ Wizard, together with a $20 multimeter, will get you through a lot of diagnosis of a mixer or amplifier and you don't need to strain the brain beyond Ohm's Law math. .

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Mike Rivers] #3028180 02/09/20 03:28 PM
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I'll join in this geek-fest. I think you both have valid points. If the digital CPU and related parts are off the shelf parts and labeled then I can see MC's point. Most of these synths share similar architectures, some even "suspiciously "so. The problem I've come across is custom parts and other parts I just can't identify. Japanese synths are notorious for this. Then you also have the unavailablity of parts even if you do figure out the problem. The 2000-ish Korg CX-3 motherboard was such a case where I had to sell it for parts because just no way to fix it. This was the "door stop" point made above.

I too spent years with a logic analyzer as part of my job 25 years ago or so. Got really good with it - but this was for troubleshooting my own ASIC and FPGA designs. Even with familiar analog synths under CPU control I don't know how much use an analyzer would help me. I use a scope to detect data, address and various enable line activity. I've even checked certain timing relationships with just 2 scope probes but if the RAM or EPROMS are corrupt I'm screwed. I'm actually wrestling with this now looking at a friend's Prophet 5 rev 2. I have schematics but that's it. Personally I'd need timing diagrams to make sense of what I'd be seeing on an analyzer. All the more power to you if you can get by with out these. For me I'll get by with a scope...or not.

Btw I once actually hooked up a logic analyser to by brain. I couldn't find a trace. freak wave

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: Anderton] #3028192 02/09/20 05:38 PM
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True my logic analyzer is no good for some situations. There is little to no documentation available for custom ICs, often nothing more than a block diagram and names for each pin. If they're generous enough they'll include a timing diagram. Unless there is a debugging port on the PC board, my logic analyzer is no good with SMT. The probes can't be attached to them. Almost all new gear is made from SMT anymore. I'd need bench measurement tools designed for SMT, and now we're talking expensive.

Custom ICs do make many things possible at reduced cost and size, but at the risk of premature obsolescence. After production is stopped on a product, often the custom IC is stopped too. OEMs only keep spares around until the warranty period expires (warehousing is expensive and cuts into revenue). When gear starts dying after the end of warranty, that is a real problem...

...and today you can't avoid gear with custom ICs unless you're buying simple analog synths or processors. I have plenty of old gear with custom ICs, but the worst loss was a CEM part or two (knock on wood). I haven't had the (mis)fortune yet to probe a custom IC, but I can get a general understanding of its operation from the block diagram.

I'm not fond of the repair situation with a lot of modern gear, but you can't avoid it. For analog synths I happen to prefer the sound of vintage gear. One reason why vintage gear retain their value is that they are built from parts that are STILL made today. I'm amazed I can still buy TTL and CMOS ICs in through hole DIP format, as well as opamps. Sure you have to look around harder for ua726s or SSMs but they're much easier to scavenge from a PC board than a 200 pin SMT custom IC with fine pitch pins.

Too easy to go off on a tangent so I'm going to stop there.

Re: How Many Are Into "Vintage Digital"? [Re: The Real MC] #3028205 02/09/20 07:11 PM
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Documentation of obsolete ICs is one thing - you can usually find that on the 'net. Lots of good stuff out there about the 4004 CPU. Documentation of custom ICs is another thing. For some reason it seems to disappear from the manufacturer's library too soon - and even after the product is obsolete, they don't want to make it easy for someone to study their code.

But the documentation that I was talking about is about the product itself, the equivalent of a block diagram and a schematic. It doesn't do much good to watch bits go in and out of a chip if you don't know what function that chip has in the circuit. If something's going in and nothing's coming out - or there's a stuck bit - you can change the part if you have a replacement. but without knowing at least what circuit blocks do, you can't get a clue of what's not working by what's not working.

When you bought a piece of H-P test equipment, or an Ampex AG440, you got an inch-thick binder that had enough information in it to build at least the electronics from scratch. In the 1990s, every Mackie mixer instruction manual had a schematic, but no more, not even the analog mixers.

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