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About that new, all-analog vintage polysynth...


David Emm

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Considering the screaming for the reissue of a "REAL" CS-80/JP-8/OB-8/Synthex/etc., I've been thinking it over a bit. Aside from the parts issues, long-gone chip molds, impractical ramping-up costs per unit and such, I was recalling the Jupiter-8 I played. Yeah, it was an ear-popping beauty, no debate there. It had a heated capacitor sheet that kept it well in tune, IIRC, but it was HOT to play and pretty heavy as well. We all know the CS-80 story by now and some ownership rights scatter to the winds or die in a file cabinet. My view is that what you can currently buy banishes 98% of the old issues and gets you 98% of the way there for "emulations." Then you can add an analog module on top as a cherry. We are SO covered.

 

So my query is this: Is there any way these classics could be re-released with rational modern updates that would retain the sound and still keep them affordable? I thought the sky was going to turn green over the evils of the JP-80, sheesh. I think the debate is pointless, but then, I'm one of those heretics who can build a decent Moog patch in software and who thinks a sleek modeled oscillator bank with analog filters and envelopes downstream is akin to The Right Way To Fix It. I respect other approaches because I've used several, but that one feels the most liberating with the least compromise.

 

In other words, would you buy a Jupiter-8 for $15,000 in today-dollars that was a faithful recreation to the bone or $2500 for one with supremely-modeled oscillators that passed the comparison test with dolphins 5-to-1? If we're going to keep seeing hardware recreations like the MS-20 mini, its also testing the waters for the big boys. The market just has to prove its interest first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well well well, if it isn't the consequences of my own actions.
    ~ from Twitter

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I think there are smart updates you can make, and the Voyager is an example of that. Would I spend $15,000 for a Jupiter 8? No. Give me a Jupiter 8 with basically the same interface but full midi implemetation and some additional features (like a jupiter 6 with the Europa upgrade), modern stability and reliability - i think it'd be worth $3,500.

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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Admitted Jupiter-80 fanboy here, but I frequently use this "Jupiter 8" string patch from the "Synth Legends" collection. Certainly captures the essence of the genuine article, IMHO:

 

[video:youtube]

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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An Oberheim 2-voice from the 1970s would have gone for about $7k in current dollars. The fact that his new version is half that price is pretty good, considering that analog electronics haven't dropped in price the way digital electronics have in the last 30 years.

 

If we use that as a guide, a Jupiter-8 manufactured today might go for about $7k. I think that would be a tough sell!

 

I'll be curious to see what the Odyssey goes for. Does anyone know what the original sold for in the 70s?

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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....

 

I'll be curious to see what the Odyssey goes for. Does anyone know what the original sold for in the 70s?

 

I bought one back in '73 and I believe the price was around $1600 or so. Don't quote me with that but it should be close.

John Cassetty

 

"there is no dark side of the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark"

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....

I'll be curious to see what the Odyssey goes for. Does anyone know what the original sold for in the 70s?

I bought one back in '73 and I believe the price was around $1600 or so. Don't quote me with that but it should be close.

 

Probably in that range according to Wikipedia:

 

The ARP Odyssey is an analog synthesizer introduced in 1972. Responding to pressure from Moog Music to create a portable, affordable (the Minimoog was US$1,495 upon release) "performance" synthesizer, ARP scaled down its popular 2600 synthesizer and created the Odyssey, which became the best-selling synthesizer they made.
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There are times I miss my OB-Xa, and a few other goodies from that era. But to spend gobs of money to get the real deal again is not something that's a priority. If I absolutely needed the knockdown power and window rattling capability that starts with Curtis chips, I'd likely add a Tetra module to my existing rig.

 

Ever since I switched out my Kronos 88 for a Kronos 61, then started digging deep into the instrument as my second tier performance synth, the depth and power of the keyboard has become quite evident. The VA sections alone are extremely strong; then seeing how the various engines interact - even within Program mode - is quite an eye opener. Steve Fortner's 2011 review of the Kronos - specifically the AL-1 engine rings true: " More significant than any of this is the sound quality of the modeled waveforms and filters. Its simply unparalleled....To sound any more analog than this, you need a real analog synth.". Spot on.

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Admitted Jupiter-80 fanboy here, but I frequently use this "Jupiter 8" string patch from the "Synth Legends" collection. Certainly captures the essence of the genuine article, IMHO:

 

[video:youtube]

 

Here's an interesting sound comparison video , between the old Jupiter 8 (which was the very first synth I wanted , but didn't have the multi $$$1000's) , and the Jupiter 80 today.

I think most of the sounds are so close and similar , it doesn't matter. >

 

Brett

 

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Like with the Kurzweil, it may be more of interest in the short term to begin with making and collecting patches for machines like the Propher-12 that *actually work* instead of sounding like bagpipes or lousy small-speaker-pleasers.

 

I think the few real analogs out there have potential rarely met. I'm not (yet ? :) ) a deep expert on programming the new Prophet for instance, and am well aware of a prophet VS, Chroma, etc, being interesting machines, too, but my studio processing experiments tell me probably the aim of the "good synth" designers was a bit different than what modern producers try to tell us.

 

T.

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Here's an interesting sound comparison video , between the old Jupiter 8 (which was the very first synth I wanted , but didn't have the multi $$$1000's) , and the Jupiter 80 today.

I think most of the sounds are so close and similar , it doesn't matter.

 

Brett

 

Thanks for that. One thing it showed was that the original definitely had snappier, faster envelopes- the -80 seemed a bit sluggish, and the other thing was that the lack of dynamic range on the -80 left the top end a little lifeless and dull comparatively.

 

..Joe

Setup: Korg Kronos 61, Roland XV-88, Korg Triton-Rack, Motif-Rack, Korg N1r, Alesis QSR, Roland M-GS64 Yamaha KX-88, KX76, Roland Super-JX, E-Mu Longboard 61, Kawai K1II, Kawai K4.
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Steve Fortner's 2011 review of the Kronos - specifically the AL-1 engine rings true: " More significant than any of this is the sound quality of the modeled waveforms and filters. Its simply unparalleled....To sound any more analog than this, you need a real analog synth.". Spot on.

Check out some of the nice work Busch just did...

 

http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=88149

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Steve Fortner's 2011 review of the Kronos - specifically the AL-1 engine rings true: " More significant than any of this is the sound quality of the modeled waveforms and filters. Its simply unparalleled....To sound any more analog than this, you need a real analog synth.". Spot on.

Check out some of the nice work Busch just did...

 

http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=88149

 

Some great, and very useful sounds there. I'm almost done organizing a 'favorites' Set List, and several of those - plus some of Busch's Prophet 5 sounds - will be in there.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The VA sections alone are extremely strong; then seeing how the various engines interact - even within Program mode - is quite an eye opener. Steve Fortner's 2011 review of the Kronos - specifically the AL-1 engine rings true: " More significant than any of this is the sound quality of the modeled waveforms and filters. Its simply unparalleled....To sound any more analog than this, you need a real analog synth.". Spot on.

 

The big difference I see is user interface. For that reason, I find myself using the polysix engine any time I can for VA. If I need something like Hard sync or more complex eg's I'll go to AL-1. But the onscreen polysix panel with the knobs makes it easier to dial up, and still not as easy as the real thing. Even with some dedicated knobs on the front panel, it's not the same. I like my Jupiter 6 mainly because it's so quick and easy to dial in any sound.

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 imagine the looks of a machine are important, depending on where you are and what everybody finds important in your environment. Economics, too, because I know for sure where I come from and where I was educated it would be sensible to pay for something that has just the right added value.

 

Of course it is hard to discuss taste with others, but maybe some are more attracted to a synthesizer that's the hottest model out there, regardless of the sound, and somebody else may have the idea "retro is cool" for whatever reasons, which brings me to the main point: why analog?

 

Is it purely a matter of analog designers doing or having done (in the long ago past) their front panel design better?

 

Or is it simply a matter of musicians loving to have a great sound to play with, also with a lot of choices as to personal variations, direct (delay and interpretation-free) control over parameters and modulation. And most of all: isn't the quest for analog *mainly* because no matter what almost everybody seems to subject-fornicate freely about all day, anyhow, in the end, after playing a couple of samples: sampling sucks! (unless you produce your behive of, and know to chose and use the right digital equipment)

 

I don't know of, nor did I hear hints towards any other serious motivation dimensions.

 

T.

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I think a lot of modern VA's have the capability to emulate classic analogs and then some, but it gets lost in the UI.

 

I don't know if he's done it yet, I haven't checked, but there was a guy who wrote an AL-1 editor for the kronos that put all the parameters on virtual knobs on the screen. Last I recall, his idea was to create "Skins". So you pull up a minimoog skin, and it automatically sets parameters to make the EG respond like a mini (clipped), etc., set the filter to emulate the Moog Ladder, etc. And hide all the parameters that you wouldn't directly control. Have onscreen knobs laid out like the mini that change the appropriate AL-1 parameter or parameters to mimic the Mini. Could do this with other synth models within AL-1 as well.

 

For that matter, theoretically future OS updates could include "skins" for other emulations within the AL-1 engine.

 

Sometimes, limiting (hiding/ignoring) certain parameters is helpful IMHO.

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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Check out some of the nice work Busch just did...

 

http://www.korgforums.com/forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=88149

Never thought I would have GAS for a Kronos... Excellent work, Busch. :thu:

 

Thanks guys. As much as I enjoy the Polysix and MS20 emulations on the Kronos, most of what I use is AL-1, which is a monster. That's the thing about emulations/recreations. You get the unique sound and capabilities but also the limitations.

 

Here was one of the more interesting challenges for me in vol 2 of my Famous Synth Sounds. I couldn't find a KARMA arp that would work for me so I turned to the step sequencer. But how do you get a 32-step sequencer to produce a ~64 note arp? Now that's a damn fine question.

 

Lucky Star

 

Busch.

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But how do you get a 32-step sequencer to produce a ~64 note arp?

 

In this example, I'm guessing square wave LFO that creates 2 notes per step?

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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But how do you get a 32-step sequencer to produce a ~64 note arp?

 

In this example, I'm guessing square wave LFO that creates 2 notes per step?

 

Turned out to be a little more complicated. I will need to blog all the details at some point. In simplest terms:

 

With AL-1 you have the 32-step sequencer in the EXi plus the 32-step common sequencer. The cool thing is you can use one to modulate the other. So I create the arp ascending (31 notes) in the EXi sequencer. I then used the common step sequencer to modulate that by setting the first step to a 32nd note X 31. I now have 31 steps available to modulate the sequence DOWN using negative values and each step needs to be modulated. The only problem is the arp extends four octaves which exceeds the +100/-100 range of the step sequencer. So I had to create an AMS Mixer using the OFFSET to allow the greater values. It worked but I took it exactly to the limits.

 

This ability to modulate one step sequencer with another is very cool. Let's say you have a repeating blues bass pattern. One sequencer would contain the basic pattern, let's say 16th notes, but the other would have 0 for 1 measure, +4 for a measure, 0 for two measures, etc. It would only take 8-9 steps to recreate the blues progression.

 

Busch.

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Cool. I hadn't messed with the step sequencer, but just did playing around with your Kyrie post on the Korg forum. So in the Polysix engine, I assigned it to pitch, but doesn't retrigger the envelope with each note change like an arppegiator would. Is there a way to get each step to retrigger the EG?

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 step sequencer won't trigger the EGs. The best thing to do is use an LFO set to square wave with tempo set to MIDI sync. I don't know the best way to do this in the PolySix. In AL-1 there is an EG reset at the top which is where you'd re-trigger. On the MS-20 you would use a patch chord to go from the Trigger In to the LFO.

 

Busch.

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Busch, you've got good ears. A lot of those sounds are dead nuts on.

 

Indeed. And the more I delve into the various engines, the more impressed I am with the whole package. There is some heavy, sonic mojo happening with the Kronos - especially once you get beyond the basic, few dozen factory 'show-off' sounds that are played ad-nauseam at music stores. Who'd have thought the electric guitar patches with the coolest vibe come from the STR-1 engine. And it's an 80's synth paradise - between the three, VA engines and various other bits tossed in from the others. The master Set List I just wrapped up is starting to scare me. Quite the chameleon this 'board is..

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It's deep for sure. I'd challenge anybody to kind a practical application it can't do. No of course, you can say this piano is better, that organ is better, another EP is better - but Kronos does it all, and most of it very well.

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 bought a new ARP Odyssey in 1973. I still have the receipt. I paid $1000 plus 6% California sales tax for a grand total of $1060.

 

Most of the early Polysynths were in the $5-6K range and some up to around $7-8K. The first VCO Poly to sell for under $2K was the Korg Polysix and they cut some corners like a single VCO per voice to do this. The Sequential Prophet 600 was also a major price breakthrough for VCO Polys and was the first to have MIDI. There was little compromise features-wise on this one except for the lack of a Noise Generator. The Roland Jupiter 4 was another that broke the $3K price level but was only a 4-voice with a single VCO per voice. The Jupiter 6 was probably the first really full-featured VCO Poly for under $3K. Great Synth with practically every feature you could want and capable of very detailed programming.

C3/122, M102A, Vox V301H, Farfisa Compact, Gibson G101, GEM P, RMI 300A, Piano Bass, Pianet , Prophet 5 rev. 2, Pro-One, Matrix 12, OB8, Korg MS20, Jupiter 6, Juno 60, PX-5S, Nord Stage 3 Compact
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