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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Anderton #3015424 11/09/19 06:36 PM
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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. I've owned quite a few "vintage" (obselete) keyboards, including boards that were quite expensive when new (Kurzweil K-1000, Ensoniq MR-76...) and support Winston's point regarding price. You can pick up some nice older boards on the cheap. Processing is the Achille's Heel on these otherwise fine instruments, that and the keyboards did not have the same level of control regarding velocity, aftertouch, etc. To my ear they just don't sound as good as more current computer based - MIDI controller driven offerings.

I've had a few vintage tube organs here as well. These fare much better in terms of tone, there is no touch sensitiviy, they are huge, heavy, filled with foul, dusty old stuff and often have electronic problems nestled in a gigantic maze of intricate wiring.

On the other hand, a friend had an original Mini Moog in a custom cabinet and I took on getting it mounted into the cabinet properly. It probably wouldn't have hurt to spray some De-Oxit here and there and some pot cleaner but that thing sounded AMAZING. He paid a lot for it, way out of my range.

Haven't found an analog synth for a steal yet but I probably would keep it. Apples and Oranges.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Winston Psmith #3015441 11/09/19 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Winston Psmith
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.


No dispute with what people love - that should always be the deciding factor and I admire your pursuit of "things that seem silly" 2thu

I plug my VSTs into hardware effects or the audio inputs on my analog synths. I love running Diva through my Empress Multi-drive or one of my Moogerfoogers and then the fun begins! There's no re-cabling, just one mouse click to route the VST to the proper audio interface output and a couple of button pushes on my mixer. Some people might see this as a hassle, headache or just not fun. But just maybe it's because they're not really set up to do it easily even though it can be. I don't think its any better or worse than what you're doing - just what I prefer for digital synths. To me a VST is just another synth. Regarding memory/processing problems when stacking VSTs? Can be, but doesn't have to be (up to a point).

Am I taking my setup to my next show? You got me there big time. But I did preface this subject be focused on studio application. So there cop grin.

I still have my Wavestation A/D in the back storage room and had the EX prior to that. I've been using the Korg Legacy software (or whatever it's called now) ever since it came out and never looked back. Is it better than the hardware? Depends- if we're talking live you got it. But we're not. I think it would be hard to dispute that creating original wave sequences from scratch is way easier and faster with the VST. I often read complaints about the dreaded mouse and the "I use a computer all day at work bla bla bla". But we're not talking knobby analogs here - these are digital synths. The SR interface is one of the worst as I recall and even the A/ D with bigger screen and more buttons doesn't come close to the ease of editing and creating patches on the VST version. I did however create patches for years using these type interfaces without even thinking about it so whatever works best for you. Not creating your own patches? Using presets? I have no problem with that other than note we seldom get this context when people (not you specifically or at all) claim how one thing is so much better than another.

I guess the thing that annoys me with any of these decisions is the take sides mentality when there's really none to take. I quoted your response but please know this comment does not reflect on anything you stated. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3015464 11/10/19 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard

I plug my VSTs into hardware effects or the audio inputs on my analog synths.


last time I was at Little Grey Studio (Markyboard's) I played Scarbee EP 88, Kurzweil keyboard as a controller through a Mooger Fooger MP 103 withoutout knowing what I was playing. It was one of the better Rhodes sounds I have ever heard in my life. This coming from a guy who has owned at least one Rhodes piano since 1977, and will go play my current one (1981 MKII 88) as soon as I finish writing this post. cool


A reason why I collect old keyboards is that I feel partly responsible for doing it, responsible for preserving history and being a custodian for these things
Plus, old gear has a story. I like that.
Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3015482 11/10/19 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard


No dispute with what people love - that should always be the deciding factor and I admire your pursuit of "things that seem silly" 2thu

Not creating your own patches? Using presets? I have no problem with that other than note we seldom get this context when people (not you specifically or at all) claim how one thing is so much better than another.

I guess the thing that annoys me with any of these decisions is the take sides mentality when there's really none to take. I quoted your response but please know this comment does not reflect on anything you stated. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


Thank you for reading my post.

I do design my own patches, and have to agree on the PITA factor in programming old-school gear: given the depth of programming available in the Wavestation SR, that little display screen is absurd. I keep an old MacBook running OS9 around, so I still have access to SoundDiver; makes editing much easier.

I can't honestly claim that my old hardware is "better" than modern VI's, it's more that it suits my budget and my set-up. Also, as I said, I just like it, in spite of the encumbrances, like address label-sized LCD's.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Winston Psmith #3015595 11/11/19 02:26 PM
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Sorry for piling on posts, but I found that I couldn't edit my previous post, so . . .

The Synth duo I'm in takes a 'best of both worlds' approach. My rig is hardware-dependent, Guitar w/hex pickup driving Guitar Synth + MFX, while my bandmate's rig is built around an iPad and a KB Controller. We like the sounds that we get, and more important, people listening to us like our sound. That's the only side that really matters.


"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3015629 11/11/19 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Markyboard
[
I guess the thing that annoys me with any of these decisions is the take sides mentality when there's really none to take. I quoted your response but please know this comment does not reflect on anything you stated. Thanks for sharing your perspective.


One quiet evening this week, I will go down to our 40 parking space underground garage with the small cream carton that is now empty.

The lush echoes/reverb down there is wonderful but we are near a freeway so I need a quiet time.

I will set up my Tascam DR-40 with the mics turned wide, on a tripod. 24 bit 96khz, recording on, meters set high.

I will place the carton (similar to the ones we were given at lunch time in school) on the floor and stomp on it.

That will become a snare drum sample.

There are no sides, there is only stuff we like to do (and hear).


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3016489 11/17/19 09:26 PM
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One of my favorite tricks to make VSTs sound "better" is to run them thru a software compressor- these days PSP's VintageWarmer2, which give the sound some "oomph" or "mass." I have begun to notice a few digital synths (Quantum, another one I can't remember at the moment- Roland?) now including the same capability in their digital synths.

Last edited by Marzzz; 11/17/19 09:26 PM. Reason: My keyboard is broken...
Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3018962 12/09/19 09:51 PM
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When I was a younger man in the 70s, I lusted after all the usual keyboards we wanted but couldn't afford. First it was the Odyssey, 2600, Mini, String Ensemble, Rhodes, Hammond, etc. Couldn't wait every month for the bookstore to get the latest Keyboard and EM magazines in. Would take them home and make wish lists of all the ones I wanted. I'm sure a lot of you can feel me on this. I now own 90% of those instruments I could never afford when I was a kid. By any measure, that makes me happy. The Arturia V Collection alone took care of most of those needs, but if you factor in Komplete, Spectrasonics, u-he, and yes even the Korg Legacy Collection, I really just need the time to dig deep into all of them. These VSTs may not be quite the same as the physical hardware, but if they get us 95% there then what is the harm in using them to create music (or noise). I also play out and am using a Yamaha MOXF6 and a 88-note controller running MainStage on my MBP. When learning a new song, it's really easy to look up what they were playing on the original recording and being able to get there fairly quickly. Unless I'm doing something like flying in samples or the like, it's pretty straightforward. I've got a Kronos 88 sitting at home in the studio that even with its nine engines, doesn't get much love anymore. Bought a Roli Seaboard about a year ago and as intrigued as I am with it, I have yet to put in the time to see what I can get out of it. As the twilight years approach, the wife and I are planning to get an RV and travel the country. It's reassuring to know I can pack up my MBP, some small monitors, a small keyboard, a guitar or two and have almost everything I now have at home with me to enjoy if I feel the urge. I could have never imagined when I was a kid that this would be possible. I always saw myself "chained" to a physical studio space. It's amazing how far technology has come since the 70s. I am thankful. Now if we could only get cancer research to move along at the same rate, right?



Kronos 88 | MODX7 | KeyLab 61 | CPS SSv3 | MacBook Pro | MainStage | More VSTs than I'll ever figure out

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Re: Digital Synths vs Virtual Instruments - Lets Fight!
Markyboard #3018972 12/09/19 11:18 PM
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Just like my chosen hardware my VSTs get me 100% there. That’s because I’m not looking to go anywhere they don’t want to go. I’m not trying to make them sound like anything other than something I want to enjoy playing. This is why I enjoy Lounge Lizard for example. I don’t care if it sounds like a real Rhodes or Wurlitzer or whatever. I can screw around with it and always come up with that aha moment when hopefully I hit save before screwing it up.

But yeah I hear you midinut. Be it hardware, software, iPad apps, modulars, whatever, this is the coolest stuff ever and I too am fortunate to spend my days getting lost in it. Can’t think of anything I rather be doing when not traveling or ...well, ya know. hand

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