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Synths - How Close Can They Duplicate Each Other?


Markyboard

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Not meant as a challenge but I often wonder how many sounds from synth x can make the same sound as synth y. Folks often compare the Voyager to the original (or reissued) Minimoog; or the OB-6 to Prophet-6 for example. Yeah the filters are different but certainly there's some (maybe plenty?) of overlap where identical and even indistinguishable sounds can be created between the two. Of course this assumes one forgoes those unique modulations and other parameters on either synth - you know, the ones that made you buy it in the first place. And you may have to set the knobs quite different to achieve the identical sound. But still, what percentage of the sounds can be duplicated?

 

This came up recently as I was evaluating (and posted on) U-HE's Repro-1 soft synth. I really like how quickly I came up with some great patches. But then I thought is this really unique or could I duplicate it with something else in my collection? I decided to see how close it was to Diva and the short answer - very close if not indistinguishable - at least for those 3 or 4 sounds. This exercise isn't one where I get my thrills but since I was about to pull the trigger I thought it worth seeing what value this new soft-synth brings.

 

I tend to want to put my money towards unique sounds and capabilities.

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Every Arturia emulation sounds like every other Arturia emulation. OTOH, every Arturia emulation doesn't sound much like the real synth it is emulating.

 

More seriously, I have played with Voyagers in stores many times. I could never get them to sound anything like a Mini. The Voyager was anemic every time no matter what I tried.

 

 

Moe

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Yes, of course with a little time programming you can get very very close, extremely close even with any synth that gives you the right number and type of oscillators and enough control to sculpt. This will get you close to the base sound...

 

After that, it's a question of wether or not the modulation matrix is flexible enough to pull off patch "X"' from another synth, and lastly does the FX section offer the right type of effect or combination of FX and do they sound similar or as well? Working with soft synths of course your host or DAW might offer additional plugins on the channel strip or via aux's to make up for short comings in the soft synth you are using - EQ and additional filters as well as dynamic controls play a big part in getting them to sound similar.

 

 

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Every Arturia emulation sounds like every other Arturia emulation. OTOH, every Arturia emulation doesn't sound much like the real synth it is emulating.

 

More seriously, I have played with Voyagers in stores many times. I could never get them to sound anything like a Mini. The Voyager was anemic every time no matter what I tried.

 

 

The Auturia stuff all sounds so similar because I suspect they are using the same framework underneath it all - meaning, it's basically the same code with this or that feature turned on or off depending on the hardware synth they are trying to emulate. Very economical approach and easy to maintain and support from a software developer's point of view, but maybe not treating our ears to a enough variety. That's my suspicion anyway.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Every Arturia emulation sounds like every other Arturia emulation. OTOH, every Arturia emulation doesn't sound much like the real synth it is emulating.

 

I've heard this before - maybe even from you. At this point I've certainly reached the same conclusion about U-HE synths - at least for the 2 I mentioned. Of course the effects add another dimension to Repro-1 so that may provide enough unique value to some.

 

More seriously, I have played with Voyagers in stores many times. I could never get them to sound anything like a Mini. The Voyager was anemic every time no matter what I tried.

 

"Anemic" compared to a vintage Mini or anemic overall? I love the Voyager and the sounds I get but this is from someone who owns both; I'm thrilled that it brings its own unique sound character. Of course like any synth some will just not like it even as it's own thing which is fine. I do often wonder though if folks dismiss it due to shattered expectations in marketing this as a Minimoog next generation.

 

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Yes, of course with a little time programming you can get very very close, extremely close even with any synth that gives you the right number and type of oscillators and enough control to sculpt. This will get you close to the base sound...

 

After that, it's a question of wether or not the modulation matrix is flexible enough to pull off patch "X"' from another synth, and lastly does the FX section offer the right type of effect or combination of FX and do they sound similar or as well? Working with soft synths of course your host or DAW might offer additional plugins on the channel strip or via aux's to make up for short comings in the soft synth you are using - EQ and additional filters as well as dynamic controls play a big part in getting them to sound similar.

 

 

They are different but those are not the reasons.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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They are different but those are not the reasons.

 

Please share your thoughts. Btw I'm well aware of saturated VCAs and other elements in the signal chain that potentially brings a certain unique sound quality to a particular synth. But I think this effect is often dependent on the programming and the type of sound.

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Waves are waves. Perfection all looks the same on a scope. It is all imperfections in the analog circuitry and gain stages found through the audio chain from when the audio leaves the oscillator till they exit the amp section. Then there is the issue of trying to replicate micro instabilities within in the oscillator itself. Sometimes it is yuge instabilities. You just can't replicate all the beautiful f*** ups.

 

The Moog Roger has used in Head East since the beginning is horribly unstable. His tech while doing maintenance on it replaced the original oscillators with newer more stable oscillators. He was able to dig the originals out of the trash and put them back in. Good thing because Roger would have probably killed him if he hadn't.

 

It is hard to replicate chaos.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Yeah, I hear you. But I think this is more relevant to aged vintage equipment. What about modern analogs? I mean I don't think you're going to hear much difference between the chaos in one OB-6 vs another OB-6. What about between an OB-6 and a Prohet 6? Or and OB-6 and a Korg Minilog?
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"Anemic" compared to a vintage mini or anemic overall?

 

Just anemic period. It's been extremely puzzling. I think Moogs must be super sensitive to amplification. For whatever reason, all my fiddling with Voyagers in music stores thru those small monitors has been very disappointing.

Moe

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I tend to fall on the side that there's not as big a difference as is often made out by people. A wide open SAW sounds pretty neutral. Sure, there are differences in the waveforms and what's permissible in the waveform mixture. Filters can have their own character but it's often not really heard till it hits the extremes. But modulators, EGs and LFOs, don't add coloration. The signal path is frequently neutral, I believe, with the coloration occurring by accident rather than design (with many vintage synths).

 

I mean I completely get the idea of software people trying to recreate these synths at the component level, so that every interaction is accounted for, but when you step back a put together a sound that's a couple of detuned SAWs through a static filter with some portamento, how different is synth A going to sound from synth B?

 

When I did my bank of vintage synth sounds for the Kronos, I first researched what instrument was used in the recording. I then typically used the neutral AL-1 VA to build the sound, limiting myself to those things possible in the original instrument. For example, if it was a Minimoog, I know my waveform options are: tri, saw (inverted), pulse 50%, pulse 29% and pulse 18% (the waveform settings were tested against a real Mini). Tri-saw is not possible in the AL-1. Filter 24db with drive setting pushed as needed and a programming trick to emulate the shape of the Mini EGs. There are other things possible, e.g. maybe coming up with keyboard track modulators that match the effect of the KEYBOARD CONTROL switches, etc. Point being, with a neutral, highly capable synth, you can probably get pretty close to some of these "iconic" synth-specific sounds.

 

Busch.

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"Anemic" compared to a vintage mini or anemic overall?

 

Just anemic period. It's been extremely puzzling. I think Moogs must be super sensitive to amplification. For whatever reason, all my fiddling with Voyagers in music stores thru those small monitors has been very disappointing.

 

Don't think you're alone in your opinion Moe - just not my experience.

 

 

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Point being, with a neutral, highly capable synth, you can probably get pretty close to some of these "iconic" synth-specific sounds.

 

Busch.

 

This. Probably why I mistakenly identify every "guess the synth" post as an Andromeda.

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Yeah, I hear you. But I think this is more relevant to aged vintage equipment. What about modern analogs? I mean I don't think you're going to hear much difference between the chaos in one OB-6 vs another OB-6. What about between an OB-6 and a Prohet 6? Or and OB-6 and a Korg Minilog?

 

Modern stuff ... Not so much. Tolerance is much better on high grade components and I IMO I think the same amplification that makes DPs and sample waveforms shine kind sterlizes a synth's sound. I think I have ranted before that part of the great vintage synth tones was our vintage amplification. Many of us older guys' best amp rigs were what we used 20-30 years ago .... But no way am I going to go back to carrying those 3 way passive cabs and that amp rack. But amplification was a huge piece of the sound.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Depends on how exact we're talking here and if it's the uniqueness of the hardware synth one is trying to re-create, or specific patches - sound-a-like patches. We can, and have, debated hardware vs. software/digital vs. analogue endlessly. It all depends on your goals. If you have U-He Diva and you need it to sound like "X" - yes, you can probably get close if Diva has the flexibiliity you need - and if it doesn't, additional plugins are available - you're in the software world. No it will not sound exactly the same - in context of recorded and live music, in the mix - sometimes even the most discerning listeners can be fooled or possibly appeased. On the other hand, if you are designing new patches, new sounds, there are things you can do with software that go far beyond the limitations of most hardware (particularly the complete instrument type, not extensive modulars). There are many patches made with NI Massive that you most definitely can't pull off in the other direction - meaning on old hardware. Keep in mind lot's of folks on this board are also fans of digital synths: Nord Lead, Nord Wave, Roland D-50, Yamaha DX-7, Access Virus, etc.

 

But it's fun to chat. Everyone has their own preferences and opinions, nostalgia, love of this or that characterstic of all these great sound toys designed for us to play.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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I think Moogs must be super sensitive to amplification. For whatever reason, all my fiddling with Voyagers in music stores thru those small monitors has been very disappointing.

I had initially wanted to get a new Model D this year but it just isn't economically possible for me at the moment. When I play my Voyager through my 1966 Fender Twin Reverb (not a re issue) I don't care that I don't have a Model D. ;)

I do hear the difference as I have played a Model D re issue and it is fat as hell, but I'm not sure it is $3500.00 better for my uses.

:nopity:
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Depends on how exact we're talking here and if it's the uniqueness of the hardware synth one is trying to re-create, or specific patches - sound-a-like patches.

 

Very much the opposite. To reiterate, I'm trying to ensure that when I make a purchase I'm minimizing overlap with other synths I already have. Whether hardware or software when a new synth appears before me, I'll typically create my own patch(es)as part of my evaluation. If it really grabs me I'll consider purchase. Of course the interface and unique features is a big part of my decision.

 

But I'm finding the most difficult part is to determine whether I'm duplicating soundwise what I already have.

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1st ... I agree 1000% on Bush´s post above

 

Modern stuff ... Not so much. Tolerance is much better on high grade components ...

 

Yes,- meanwhile sometimes, the sound of modern hardware is close to the high end VSTis.

You can use the cheaper plugin and avoid more expensive hardware for many tasks.

I won´t discuss issues like latency, CPU usage and eventually also unreliability of computer host domain here,- just only the sound.

 

It really depends on what you really need or think you´d need for your musical expressivity.

I´d say, in most cases it´s the haptics and playing experience w/ the hardware topping the sonic experience.

 

... the ... amplification that makes DPs and sample waveforms shine kind sterlizes a synth's sound.

... the great vintage synth tones was our vintage amplification.

 

Probably not.

 

I remember when recording in studios in the 70s and 80s at least we used miked amplification together w/ DI-boxes for direct signal recording of keyboard instruments.

On the console, we often had both signal variants available,- and IF, there were also the type/brand/quality of mics and DIs as well as the console part of the result.

Not to forget to mention the skills and ears of that recording engineer as well as the studio monitor speakers used,- all inside a individualy designed recording/mixing environment (room).

 

In fact, amplification and mics ruled for electromagnetic instruments always and the DI signal was some kind of "support" when you wanted it cleaner, but ...

 

Already in the 80s for any synths offering line-output-level, we ran direct into the console and rarely used amps or DIs.

It was much more comfortable recording in the control room and talking to the producer/ engineer without using the talkback system.

Recording was "dry" in most cases and bread & butter FX were added in the mix.

Only very special FX/stomp boxes were used while tracking WHEN the tune urgently needed those FX.

 

Once recorded, the engineers/ producers experimented w/ that source signal more or less.

Some decided to play the signal out from tape to some amp/ speaker combo in the recording room and mic/re-record,- but that was rare.

 

Using some outboard like compressors, gates and FX from the studio´s side racks was common though.

 

Sound coloring Dynamics and EQ like Fairchild (compressor), Pultec (EQ), Kepex (Gates/Expander) and those german broadcast vintage preamps (Telefunken etc.) were studio standard in the 70s b.t.w. as were the vintage mics you now pay 10 grand for used @ebay.

 

Later the Valley People 400 compressor was used most often while tracking keys.

 

I talk about the recording because most classic vintage keyboard and synth sounds we remember are the ones we know from recordings.

Live work is a different story and all about that sound´s present fame which is gone once the band performs the next tune or when the gig is finished.

 

Anyway, I doubt it was the dedicated keyboard amplification even it was sometimes part of the sound,- I think it was the TAPE, the recording console and the processors !

No one recorded @ -18dBfs ... with tape we went into the RED ...

Saturation without distortion and there were good MTR machines in the ballpark and 2" tape as well as great quality analog recording consoles like MCI, Harrison, Neve etc..

No junk components, thick PCB tracks, stellar PSUs, star type low induction grounding and so on.

It was the time when there was a market for music, the industry selling physical media for real money and there was a budget for production.

The word "bedroom producer" was simply unknown and no one recorded, mixed and mastered "in the box".

 

Breaking all down to the instruments,- no grand piano in a studio sounded the same than the one in the other studio,- no Rhodes, no Wurli and no Clav did.

Same ruled for Hammonds and Leslies as well as Minimoog Ds and other vintage synths.

In fact, they all could sound like s##t or shine, depending on WHO played ´em, WHO recorded and WHO mixed and mastered.

Creativity was much more important than the source signal itself.

 

IMO it´s the same w/ todays instruments,- even I think digital is more sterile and might need "vintage type" amplification and FX (or simulation of that) much more than any vintage instrument from the past ever needed.

 

Different times, different demands.

 

I had a talk w/ a keyboardplayer buddy, producer, record company owner/publisher when he said:

"the sound of (Apple) Logic incl. it´s plugins and the result of mixing/mastering inside the computer is what the customer today expects soundwise."

 

I found that a bit extreme but I tells where we are today.

At the end of the day, there are mp3 and earbuds ! :D

 

A.C.

 

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"Anemic" compared to a vintage mini or anemic overall?

 

Just anemic period. It's been extremely puzzling. I think Moogs must be super sensitive to amplification. For whatever reason, all my fiddling with Voyagers in music stores thru those small monitors has been very disappointing.

 

Voyager owner since 2003, and I have little trouble replicating most sounds from my RAM Minimoog. Hardly what I call anemic. Perhaps the real problem is highlighted...

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I'm with Busch and A.C.

 

Probably 75% of the common stuff can be pretty easily covered by most analogs and VA's that meet the architecture (meaning for instance dual OSC if that's what it calls for, hard sync, etc.).....apples to apples. With a good programmer, with a good ear, you can squeeze another 20%. The last 5% is the extreme case of a sound that really tapes in to whatever truest unique feature a specific synth has. Those sounds are rare.

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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Waves are waves. Perfection all looks the same on a scope. It is all imperfections in the analog circuitry and gain stages found through the audio chain from when the audio leaves the oscillator till they exit the amp section. Then there is the issue of trying to replicate micro instabilities within in the oscillator itself. Sometimes it is yuge instabilities. You just can't replicate all the beautiful f*** ups.

 

The Moog Roger has used in Head East since the beginning is horribly unstable. His tech while doing maintenance on it replaced the original oscillators with newer more stable oscillators. He was able to dig the originals out of the trash and put them back in. Good thing because Roger would have probably killed him if he hadn't.

 

It is hard to replicate chaos.

 

As an OB-X owner, imperfections can be a good thing.

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I tend to fall on the side that there's not as big a difference as is often made out by people. A wide open SAW sounds pretty neutral. Sure, there are differences in the waveforms and what's permissible in the waveform mixture. Filters can have their own character but it's often not really heard till it hits the extremes. But modulators, EGs and LFOs, don't add coloration. The signal path is frequently neutral, I believe, with the coloration occurring by accident rather than design (with many vintage synths).

 

Sorry, but the signal path is hardly neutral.

 

First off, the VCF used in analog synths are the Chebyshev class. They were chosen for their steep cutoff and ease to achieve resonance, but at the expense of flat frequency response in the passband before cutoff. Years ago I played a CD through the wide open VCF on my Micromoog and it frankly sounded like sh!t.

 

Second, the VCA designs of 1970s analogs were hardly ideal. They got the job done, but not with flat frequency response or low distortion. Crude low fidelity devices. During that era, that was the best that technology had to offer. Oberheim actually reverted the voice VCA in the OB-8 back to dirty sounding CA3080s used on legacy polysynths because the brand-new high-fidelity CEM3360 VCAs were too clean.

 

Third, anyone who has viewed the raw ramp waveshape on a Minimoog would find that the falling slope is curved rather than straight. It wasn't laboratory pristine. That waveshape is going to have a different timbre than the garden variety ramp.

 

I mean I completely get the idea of software people trying to recreate these synths at the component level, so that every interaction is accounted for, but when you step back a put together a sound that's a couple of detuned SAWs through a static filter with some portamento, how different is synth A going to sound from synth B?

 

If you're aiming to emulate the Minimoog, few people realize that the portamento rate is different between upward and downward transitions. One of those "happy accidents" that gives the Minimoog its character.

 

When I did my bank of vintage synth sounds for the Kronos, I first researched what instrument was used in the recording. I then typically used the neutral AL-1 VA to build the sound, limiting myself to those things possible in the original instrument. For example, if it was a Minimoog, I know my waveform options are: tri, saw (inverted), pulse 50%, pulse 29% and pulse 18% (the waveform settings were tested against a real Mini). Tri-saw is not possible in the AL-1. Filter 24db with drive setting pushed as needed and a programming trick to emulate the shape of the Mini EGs. There are other things possible, e.g. maybe coming up with keyboard track modulators that match the effect of the KEYBOARD CONTROL switches, etc. Point being, with a neutral, highly capable synth, you can probably get pretty close to some of these "iconic" synth-specific sounds.

 

There will always be stalwarts who argue that a VA doesn't sound like their Minimoog. The reason for this is the tolerance of the components that comprise the pulse wave generators. Set two Minimoogs to the 15% pulse wave, and neither will measure the same pulse width. Not even the 50% square waves will be square. They won't even be the same pulse widths between VCOs on the same Minimoog. There are audible differences with those tolerances.

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Excellent replies - thanks. BTW thanks A.C (Peter) for sharing the trip down memory (or lack there of) lane!

 

There will always be stalwarts who argue that a VA doesn't sound like their Minimoog. The reason for this is the tolerance of the components that comprise the pulse wave generators. Set two Minimoogs to the 15% pulse wave, and neither will measure the same pulse width. Not even the 50% square waves will be square. They won't even be the same pulse widths between VCOs on the same Minimoog. There are audible differences with those tolerances.

 

But this is what I don't get- I can put a scope on each of the Minis and another capable synth and match the pulse widths, even if the knobs are in different position. Regarding the filter, yes the cutoff is different yielding a different response. But how much of that filter range does it matter? I guess this is what we refer to as the sweet spot?

 

Your point about unique frequency cutoff vs resonance is interesting and something I was unaware of. This in itself may shut me up :blah:

 

I also agree regarding the uniqueness of the ramp waveform

and the portamento response. But maybe this contributes to where I can only duplicate 75% of the sounds with another analog/VA? :idk

 

I guess I'm trying to size up what percentage of a synths overall sound capability results in those chills I get right before I hit save on my Memorymoog or where I start to cringe at the the thought of pulling all my patch cords.

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Let me address the specific question first, then the broader one.

 

This came up recently as I was evaluating (and posted on) U-HE's Repro-1 soft synth. I really like how quickly I came up with some great patches. But then I thought is this really unique or could I duplicate it with something else in my collection? I decided to see how close it was to Diva and the short answer - very close if not indistinguishable - at least for those 3 or 4 sounds. This exercise isn't one where I get my thrills but since I was about to pull the trigger I thought it worth seeing what value this new soft-synth brings.

 

I tend to want to put my money towards unique sounds and capabilities.

 

Me too. :thu:

 

Once you have on competent VA soft synth, the only reason for me to buy another is if the new synth has unique features (e.g. modular architecture) which the current synth doesn't have. I buy synths to synthesize (make) sounds. Not just to play them.

 

What about the broader question: can synths can duplicate each other? I'll assume you are primarily thinking of analog or VA fixed architecture synths. Within that group, I agree that the great majority of rock music's "famous sounds" can be functionally duplicated on most competent synths these days. We should all build out the "famous sounds" on any synth we own, just to get our chops on a particular synth. Like Hanon or Czerny for pianists.

 

Here are a couple of caveats however:

 

1) How precise an emulation do you want?

 

A few emulations rely on audio rate modulations or on overdriving some aspect of the synth's architecture, and there are differences that can become significant. The mini has some idiosyncrasies for example. Busch has mentioned the "punch" envelope. The ladder filter resonance is lower on lower frequencies. The higher notes on a mini are louder, which means ascending lines have built in dynamics! Overdriving the filter has a unique timbre, which CEB alluded to. You have to scale and adjust for this stuff for some sounds. So how good is good enough? If you plan to play a sound with minimal variation, most modern synths can pull off some kind of mini-esque sound very well. Monark is pretty nigh spot-on.

 

2) Are you playing saved sounds or improvising timbres in performance?

 

Here's where the unique characteristics start to matter. Once you have got comfortable with a set of navigations between timbres on one synth, you may find it difficult to find exactly the same path on another synth. On jazz gigs over the last three years, my indulgent band mates have allowed me to play a "crazy" solo late into the second or third set, on my Slim Phatty, usually over a blues form. You know the kind ... extreme vibrato zaps, white noise booms, long portamento sweeps and some gnarly FM. It clears everybody's ears out, and then we can go back to playing music. You would have difficulty replicating my particular bag of tricks on a non-Moog architecture, frankly. The solo takes a certain shape because some settings are easier to reach for and due to the ladder filter which turns anything you feed it into Moog-ness. It's not transparent at all. It's lo-fi, as MC pointed out. If you switched to say a Prophet 002, you may end up with more tricks and perhaps better ones, but even doing roughly the same sounds it wouldn't be the same personality. That synth will take you to it's own unique place.

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I think you nailed some important points Jerry. As a home studio only guy I have all day to try to match up one synth with another. My experiment with Diva/Repro-1 wasn't quick (maybe 30 - 90 minutes per sound); I adjusted, got close, switched filter types, tweaked, got closer, changed envelope types, tweaked etc. etc. But again, this was just an experiment with a particular goal in mind- not something I care to do very often (if ever).

 

As you indicated especially with analogs, it's the immediacy and where that synth wants to take you. That is the most fun part of synths for me - the dynamic changing of sounds in looking for that holy grail, or more often than not spiraling down a rabbit hole until needing to come up for beer. :cheers:

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... the signal path is hardly neutral.

 

... the VCF used in analog synths are the Chebyshev class.

 

... the VCA designs of 1970s analogs were hardly ideal.

They got the job done, but ...

 

... dirty sounding CA3080s

... high-fidelity CEM3360 VCAs were too clean.

 

... the raw ramp waveshape on a Minimoog ... wasn't laboratory pristine. That waveshape is going to have a different timbre than the garden variety ramp.

 

... Minimoog ... the portamento rate is different between upward and downward transitions.

 

... the tolerance of the components that comprise the pulse wave generators.

Set two Minimoogs to the 15% pulse wave, and neither will measure the same pulse width. Not even the 50% square waves will be square. They won't even be the same pulse widths between VCOs on the same Minimoog. There are audible differences with those tolerances.

 

That´s all true !

 

But, when we use musical instruments, we use ´em in the context of (more or less good) music.

We don´t do side-by-side instrument tech comparisons when making music,- may it be in the studio or on stage.

It´s all matter of the imagination and sound design,- what fits the taste, the tune and the market works.

 

With todays digital instruments there are also many ways working around pre-existing synth architectures and achive a similar, sometimes also very close sound.

The former architectures exist because there wasn´t any other way to construct and build it (cheaper).

 

It´s true all sounds more sterile today and there´s too much perfection, but that also begins w/ the usage of complex and feature-rich DAW software, today´s deep post editing possibilities, digital consoles and/or soundcards with pristine AD/DA converters, other poweramp and controlroom speaker designs and so on.

 

My actual impression is,- the only lacking perfection is the user/performer/producer himself in most cases.

Now we have all that perfect gear for cheap in masses, but also so much crap music out at youtube and soundcloud we never were aware before.

 

It´s nothing like it was in the past anymore,- I know it well ´cause I´ll be 62 soon.

The hearing habit of today´s music consumer is totally different from mine and IMO music producers have to have that in mind to have sales and not only clicks and likes.

 

When reading the web and occasionally vintage gear forums, to me the analog synth discussions are now on a level which already amused me when I read or listened to the discussions hi-end hifi nerds already had decades ago about insanely expensive audio cables and plugs,- and they bought !

 

One of my friends,- guitar player, composer, home studio producer & publisher,- he also runs such hifi nerd shop to make money and keep his family alive. He confirmed the above.

 

B.t.w., his wife plays keys and there is Lintronics Memorymoog, Minimoog D and Kurzweil K2500X in his studio while he regrets he sold his Matrix-12 years ago.

 

His son is successful in the hip-hop scene,- he´s using Phead Reason throughout !

When pa recognized he called me and said:

 

"Man, son does all on his laptop w/ only ONE program,- and he has sales!"

 

Times changed.

 

A.C.

 

 

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We should all build out the "famous sounds" on any synth we own, just to get our chops on a particular synth. Like Hanon or Czerny for pianists.

 

:2thu:

 

 

... the "punch" envelope.

... The ladder filter resonance is lower on lower frequencies. The higher notes on a mini are louder, which means ascending lines have built in dynamics!

 

... Overdriving the filter has a unique timbre

 

Most of the beloved "features" of the Minimoog were design flaws.

In the past all designers and manufacturers were after the most perfect instrument but it was impossible to create caused by former lower technical standards.

 

You had also never seen the now essential keyclick in a original Hammond when they were able to get rid of it at that time.

 

The Minimoog Voyager was the last one where Bob Moog was involved.

In the past he already liked toys like the Fairlight and other digital solutions.

If he would be younger and alive, he´d create a iPad app today or when it came to hardware.- probably a VA or some hybrid instrument.

 

... Monark is pretty nigh spot-on.

 

Yes,- and that other toy,- IIRC "The Legend" which is now also out for Reason as an RE is too.

 

But,- you have only some code and a GUI pic.

It LACKS the haptics and therefore the playing experience which is more important than the sound itself.

It´s psychoacoustics,- when it makes MORE fun to play, it seems to sound MUCH better.

 

Some stuff is also unique,- you don´t get the non-spring loaded pitch wheel of the Minimoog w/ any software emulation or modern controller keyboard and almost any "controller signal" via MIDI (MIDI CC) comes for the price of some zipper noise because the resolution of the controller is still 127.

 

That´s stuff which is more annoying to me than any slightly different filter sound, different waveform shape (on a scope) or GUI "knob" scaling.

 

... band mates have allowed me to play a "crazy" solo ... on my Slim Phatty, usually over a blues form. You know the kind ... extreme vibrato zaps, white noise booms, long portamento sweeps and some gnarly FM. It clears everybody's ears out, and then we can go back to playing music.

 

Now tell me you were eventually not allowed to play any solo w/ that band when you didn´t have a MOOG Slim Fatty.

 

You would have difficulty replicating my particular bag of tricks on a non-Moog architecture, frankly. The solo takes a certain shape because some settings are easier to reach for and due to the ladder filter which turns anything you feed it into Moog-ness. It's not transparent at all. It's lo-fi, as MC pointed out.

 

The Kurz PC3 series has a pretty good MOOG ladder filter emulation for my ears.

I made me some synth programs using the VA algos which are pretty usable in musical context.

 

You have to use a "shaped saw" (unfortunately) aliasing DSP waveform and set it to something equal to the tri/saw waveform mix in a Minimoog.

But when you´re after the buttery and duller MOOG sound, you can tame that waveform aliasing w/ LP filters and "rolloff" parameter in each DSP layer.

And there are a lot of ways getting random micro detuning and some drift by modulation the pitch in a PC3.

 

For a 2nd layer you choose a different waveform, lets say square or pulse and some "mix" DSP block and cascade both layers, then put the MOOG filter emulation in a 3rd layer and cascade w/ layer 2.

There are several drive parameters in a PC3 DSP layer all over the place, at least for the filters and resonance parameters and it´s easy to make the resonance lower level the ore you go down the keyboard and so on.

Unlike a Minimoog, you can modulate and scale almost anything in a PC3, but unfortuinately not the envelope time and level parameters in ENV2 & 3.

So, use the AMP ENV in each layer for anything and set all layers levels to -96 dB,- except the last (4th) layer you create just only for the AMP.

You can modulate ALL ENV parameters for AMP ENV !

 

MOOG synth architecture ready.

 

You deal w/ software ENVs and LFOs though,- but for most patches it works fine even side by side w/ my Minimmoog D when I re-create the FX I use w/ my Mini for p.ex. a lead sound.

And creating FX chains in a PC3 is a breeze and great result.

 

Here´s some PC3 basic Minimmoog architecture for download.

 

Now don´t complain, it DOESN´T sound like a Minimoog and I also don´t use the slider mappings.

Lot´s in there is wrong like filter keyboard tracking values and so on.

But it´s a good starter because the stock KURZ VA algorithms lack that structure.

So sometimes and when the machine allows, one has to dig in deep and re-build algos before saying one cannot achive a given sound from that machine.

You can also do a lot w/ the FUNs and/or modifiers like RANDV1, RandV2, Rolloff p.ex. to mimik some randomness of analog circuitry in a PC3 VA.

You also get S&H stuff even it´s not directly available as a S&H modulator circuit. Just use FUNs.

You don´t get audio rate modulation from LFOs,- but you get it frome somewhere else.

PC3 audio modulation pt.1

 

PC3 audio modulation pt.2

 

Well, it all doesn´t sound exactly like a Minimoog D, but you can realize it even people posted a hundered times you can´t,- and you can use it intelligently to come close as possible to the result you want and leave your rare Minimoog at home before it gets stolen from your car or gig.

 

If you switched to say a Prophet 002, you may end up with more tricks and perhaps better ones, but even doing roughly the same sounds it wouldn't be the same personality. That synth will take you to it's own unique place.

 

This is true.

 

Now the final question is if it is really necessary.

The consequence might be you´d need a bunch of analog synths to be taken to their own unique places and for all the solos you can occasionally do once a night as a keyboardplayer in different bands.

 

Depends on the music though,- but when touring w/ other artists selling enough records and tickets, sometimes the band introduction to the audience was the only occasion to shine.

 

A.C.

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Some great discussions. I think Moe is right about sterile amplification at GCs. Volume matters. I liken it to the symphony. You can listen to the finest symphony orchestras on CD but when you have good seats at a live performance you feel the vibrations coming of the stage. A full orchestra can be really loud. It matters. It makes the hairs on your body stand up.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Well, it all doesn´t sound exactly like a Minimoog D, but you can realize it even people posted a hundered times you can´t,- and you can use it intelligently to come close as possible to the result you want and leave your rare Minimoog at home before it gets stolen from your car or gig.

 

To me it's about approaching some of those qualities in our favorite synths without necessarily trying to imitate any particular sound. I've yet to really explore the PC3x architecture, mostly because I just prefer to reach for a knobby type interface. Although I will program my Z1 and of course VSTs so not sure why I never got into exploring the Kurzweil other than my deep rooted aversion to sample playback? :idk.

 

Maybe one of these days - and then 3-6 months later someone will post wondering what ever happen to Markyboard? :freak:

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