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Analog "Re-Issues"


J. Dan

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So this latest announcement of Korg due to release an ARP odyssey as well as the recent discussion of the OB Matrix 12/Xpander got me thinking. There have been a lot of re-issues of vintage analog synths. Let's keep this strictly hardware and not software emulations....

 

MiniMoog - Moog Voyager

Prophet 5 - Prophet 08

Korg MS20 - MS20 mini

ARP Odyssey - coming soon from Korg

Oberheim SEM - SEM, 2-voice, SOFV

 

So a few questions...

1) What's still missing? Obviously there are lots of cool vintage analogs out there we could name, but I mean the really big pinnacle ones that were influential. I'm thinking Roland Jupiter 8, ARP 2600, Oberheim Matrix 12/Xpander, Yamaha CS80. Am I missing any?

 

3) How do you feel each of these compares to the original?

 

4) Do you think these are just tapping into nostalgia, or do you think you can actually do just as well, and maybe even more with other modern analogs and VA's that aren't trying to be something else....Virus, Radius, Ion, Andromeda, VA engines in Kronos, Jupiter 80, etc.?

 

 

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.

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The monophonic reissues are more successful and more numerous IMO because they are easier to do in terms of keeping closely to the original circuit topology.

 

The only iconic poly to be reissued is the Prophet, which while an impressive instrument in its own right, doesn't sound much like the original.

 

I don't expect we will ever see true analogue reissues of the likes of the Jupiter 8, MemoryMoog, or CS-80. It's simply too expensive.

 

Roland could probably do an updated MKS-80 if they really wanted to, but they show no interest in doing something cool like that, and it would cost a mint.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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There's an ARP 2600 kit, but they stopped taking orders:

http://thehumancomparator.net/

 

The main problem with this kit, as I understand it, is that it requires you to order your own components, some of which are difficult to obtain.

 

There's been an ongoing rumor about Korg reissuing the PolySix. They decided to reissue the MS-20 because of iMS-20 app sales, though I'm sure the success of the Monotron and Monotribe devices helped. They are now watching iPolySix app sales.

 

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The only iconic poly to be reissued is the Prophet, which while an impressive instrument in its own right, doesn't sound much like the original.

 

This is something of curiosity, and part of why I asked. Since a lot of the original components are no longer available, I was kind of curious how the newer crop compare to the originals in general. Seems to me, the only real reason for a re-issue would be to create the original sound, otherwise, it's just a look-alike, and nothing more than capitalizing on the notion that they were better than anything modern.

 

I don't expect we will ever see true analogue reissues of the likes of the Jupiter 8, MemoryMoog, or CS-80. It's simply too expensive.

Alesis was probably on the right track using ASICs in the Andromeda...although its fate may indicate it wasn't profitable - maybe still to costly. But really when you think about the Curtis and CEM chips used back in the day, a modern ASIC would be the answer so long as you could do enough volume. With the resurgence of analog popularity, maybe it would be worthwhile for 3rd party to develop and produce such chips to sell to all of the manufacturers. The combined market may add up to be enough volume to reduce the cost.

 

Yet to be discussed...do you think any modern, non-re-issues...i.e., completely new designed analogs or VA's, are superior?

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.

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I can't directly speak to the sound of some of the modern instruments. I was impressed by the Andromeda, but the only one I ever got hands on was broken.

 

The Bowen Solaris digital impresses me, but at a distance.

 

Dave Smith's instruments are handicapped by having to use one of the lesser sounding CEM filter chips, which are the only ones available today. The older CEMs that powered many of the best sounding polys of yore are long gone, as are the even more gorgeous sounding SSM chips.

 

It's entirely possible to make a modern filter sound like a Moog ladder, MS-20, Yamaha GX filter, or even an SSM 2040 - I have had accurate renditions of these filters in my modular synth.

 

The Korg MS-20 reissue has gotten high marks for sound fidelity, and I expect the ARP reissue will be able to mostly retain its original character.

 

But polys are hard. VERY hard. If the original had proprietary chips, they are no longer available. If it was mostly discrete, then the sheer parts count of doing even 4 or 6 voices makes it prohibitively expensive today.

Moe

---

"I keep wanting to like it's sound, but every demo seems to demonstrate that it has the earth-shaking punch and peerless sonics of the Roland Gaia. " - Tusker

http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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4) Do you think these are just tapping into nostalgia, or do you think you can actually do just as well, and maybe even more with other modern analogs and VA's that aren't trying to be something else....Virus, Radius, Ion, Andromeda, VA engines in Kronos, Jupiter 80, etc.?

 

 

No, I don't think this is tapping into nostalgia at all. I think people want to be more hands-on with their synths, love the sound of analog, and get a physicality (both in playing and in the sound) in a way that non-analog synths and plugins can't touch. There's been an explosion in analog modular synths and analog synths for the past few years, and I don't think it's going to go away any time soon.

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...

So a few questions...

1) What's still missing?

...

[font:Fixedsys]

An affordable Modular Moog with some (limited) polyphony and perfect quality circuit programmability

[/font]

 

That's why I love my Creamware Minimax ASB.....

 

Mark

"Think Pink Floyd are whiny old men? No Problem. Turn em off and enjoy the Miley Cyrus remix featuring Pitbull." - Cygnus64

 

Life is shorter than you think...make it count.

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There have been a lot of re-issues of vintage analog synths. Let's keep this strictly hardware and not software emulations....

 

MiniMoog - Moog Voyager

...

How do you feel each of these compares to the original?

Consensus seems to be that while the Voyager has the look and basic layout, and that it sounds great, still it doesn't really recreate the actual MiniMoog sound. The Creamware Minimax ASB supposedly came closer.

 

What's still missing? Obviously there are lots of cool vintage analogs out there we could name, but I mean the really big pinnacle ones that were influential. I'm thinking Roland Jupiter 8, ARP 2600, Oberheim Matrix 12/Xpander, Yamaha CS80. Am I missing any?

With all the emulations Korg has done, whether dedicated hardware, Kronos engines, iPad apps, I'm surprised they've never done any implementation of the original Mini-Korg/Maxi-Korg. I wouldn't say they were iconic like the others you mentioned, but they were still widely used.

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The sleeping giant: Yamaha

 

It would be great to see a reissue of any of the CS synths

 

Yamaha has shown no interest in even VAs, just sampling and modest modeling. Actually the only iconic synth they had in the 1970s was the CS-80 and that would be a near impossibility to recreate--something along the lines of re-creating a tone wheel Hammond console.

 

I owned several Yamaha synths back in the day mainly because I could get them cheap but largely ended up hating them. I had the CS-50 and the sound was so tiny next to the CS-80.

 

Busch.

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Yet to be discussed...do you think any modern, non-re-issues...i.e., completely new designed analogs or VA's, are superior?

Okay, I'll play. Although I'm hardly an authority on the subject, other than being old enough to remember all of them. :laugh:

 

Whether or not any modern synths are superior is obviously a subjective matter, and depends a lot on the criteria. However, IMO the best of the current VAs sound so darn good that it doesn't matter to most of us whether or not they're an authentic recreation of anything. If they sound great and inspire us to make music, that's all we really care about. :cool:

 

Consider something like the Virus TI2 - It's been out for at least 5 or 6 years now, and even Access doesn't seem to be in a hurry to improve or replace it. It could be that it's hit the bulls-eye for so many synthesists that they know enough not to mess with it, in which case it could be considered a mature design. This could explain why the price hasn't come down, and used ones are rarely discounted much. :cool:

 

Even something like my humble little Blofeld desktop has been around for 6 or 7 years, and Waldorf has yet to release anything with a more elaborate synth engine. Does it sound exactly like a Prophet, Oberheim, Jupiter, etc.? Probably not, I've never had the chance to A-B it against anything like them. Does it sound good? You bet! In fact, it sounds good enough to me that I'm happy to just play it and create my own sounds. By that criteria, I'd dare say it (and other similar VAs) is at least as useful as a musical instrument as any of the classics. :)

 

Then there are synths like the Kurzweil PC3 that are so versatile that they could probably be the last synth most synthesists would need, at least in theory. ;) Again, even Kurzweil themselves has yet to expand the V.A.S.T. engine after 6 years.

 

I think the fact that classic synth re-issues are such big news shows that modern synths are getting to be a mature technology. From a practical standpoint (read- synth sales) there doesn't seem to be a lot of room left for development, other than repackaging and spinning off "light" versions of flagship synths.

 

 

><>

Steve

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4) Do you think these are just tapping into nostalgia, or do you think you can actually do just as well, and maybe even more with other modern analogs and VA's that aren't trying to be something else....Virus, Radius, Ion, Andromeda, VA engines in Kronos, Jupiter 80, etc.?

 

 

No, I don't think this is tapping into nostalgia at all. I think people want to be more hands-on with their synths, love the sound of analog, and get a physicality (both in playing and in the sound) in a way that non-analog synths and plugins can't touch. There's been an explosion in analog modular synths and analog synths for the past few years, and I don't think it's going to go away any time soon.

 

I agree - the Arturia Mini- and Microbrute synths as well as Korg's own Monotron and Monotribe synths are quite popular and none of them are marketed as reissues of previously existing synths. They are cheap, have analog sounds, and are very hands-on in a way that VIs are not.

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No, I don't think this is tapping into nostalgia at all. I think people want to be more hands-on with their synths, love the sound of analog, and get a physicality (both in playing and in the sound) in a way that non-analog synths and plugins can't touch.

 

My comment about nostalgia was in reference to recreating the old analogs, vs coming out with something new, and really hinges on how true they are to the original.

 

For instance (and this is hypothetical because I can't speak to comparisons to the originals since I've done no side by side comparisons).... If Company A comes out with a modern version of UltraSynth from 1971, if they can't really duplicate it exactly since components aren't available and it can't be recreated, then are people buying the IDEA of the original? Now consider some of the great modern analogs and VA's, that arguably can do most if not all that their vintage brethren can, and maybe more. If what somebody really wants is knobs and true analog, or to get that sound, then why not something like an Access Virus? Does something like the MiniMoog Voyager capture a sound the Access can't get, or is it just aesthetics, or is it nostalgia? See where I'm coming from? Why re-release rather than recreate? Obviously, with some synths, there was something special - but is that captured in the newer counterparts?

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.

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That's why I will follow the TR-8 with interest. It is not analog, but is nevertheless an attempt to recreate the analog TR-808 drum machine, with elements of is hybrid analog/digital brother the TR-909 (its cymbals were sampled, and therefore, digital). The market will decide if this TR-8 has successfully captured the sound, "vibe", and other whatnot from the older machines.
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