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Too much hype


marino

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[rant]

 

Today, I was reading the latest "Virtual Studio Buyer's Guide", published by "Keyboard" and "EQ" magazines. I went to the "Virtual Instruments" section, in the hope of getting to know some softsynth I wasn't aware of. I'd like to report some fragments taken from their comments on the various instruments.

 

Creamware Minimax: "Minimax's sound is unique, the oscillators are strong and powerful, the filter packs a real punch, and the envelopes are blindingly fast".

 

Creamware six-String: "Six-String produces string instrument sounds with a degree of realism unparalleled by any previous algorhythm".

 

NI Pro-53: "The Pro-53 casts in software those qualities that have been a major influence on popular music in the past 20 years: brillance, power, warmth, and beauty". Oh. Maybe next time tell us how many LFOs as well, okay?

 

Steinberg D'Cota: "Imagine the best synthesizer you can and then multiply that by three". Wow!! I must get one!

 

Steinberg HALion 2.0: "Imagine your dream sampler". Later: "...pristine sound quality...unrivalled modulation capabilities".

 

Steinberg HALion String Edition: "(it)... offers fantastic playing feel and a sound character suited to any musical style, from classical to contemporary. The top-notch recording techniques used give the HALion S.E. an outstanding sound quality and an unobtrusive, natural ambience".

 

Steinberg Plex: "It's a synthesizer based on an absolutely novel synthesis process that offers you almost limitless possibilities in varying and creating sounds".

 

(The little comments are mine, of course.)

 

Look, I appreciate the works which goes into putting such things together. And I'm sure those instruments are very good. But these are words I'm used to read in ads, not in a magazine presentation - at times, the hype takes the best part of it. Dedicating more space to the actual features of the instruments would have been a good idea, especially since there are no spec tables - not even a note telling us if/when a particular instrument has been reviewed by the two magazines!

 

What's even more disturbing is the fact that the hype seems to go mainly to Creamware and Steinberg instruments. Now, I don't want to go paranoid - it could very well be that the presentations are written by different guys. But maybe not.

I'm bothered by this, simply because I'm not used to read such senseless hype on Keyboard. I used to believe that they were relatively immune from advertisers' pressure. But I'm starting to have doubts.

 

[/rant]

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As far as Creamware is concerned, The MiniMax is their second MiniMoog vi and the first one, the Miniscope, was much better than the Model E that Steinberg put out a couple years later. I would agree with the review of the MiniMax. And this is from a guy who owns both a MiniMoog and a Voyager.
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Some things I would like to know...

 

.... the filter packs a real punch, and the envelopes are blindingly fast".

How do you measure "punch" when trying to qualify this statement, and did the person measure the speed of the envelopes?

 

... with a degree of realism unparalleled by any previous algorhythm".

Does the person know the difference between an algorhythm, a routine, and a program? I have never heard an algorhythm, but I have seen and developed a few. They were later turned into routines and programs.

 

Imagine the best synthesizer you can and then multiply that by three.
Ok. I am visualizing Reaktor, z3ta, and Vaz Modular.

 

...unrivalled modulation capabilities.

Was there a nice comparison chart anwhere that tells what modulation capabilities each sampler has?

 

Steinberg Plex: "It's a synthesizer based on an absolutely novel synthesis process that offers you almost limitless possibilities in varying and creating sounds".
Strange, the complaint I keep hearing about Plax is how it is limited.

 

I understand the marketing hype in an advertisement, but many magazines seem to be publishing corporate releses. Not really in reviews, but in the "new items" sections. Companies also seem to be taking hype and glitz too far on their web sites. I was just off on the Emu users group complaining about the new web site. While searching the new site for information on the Emu Protozoa ROM the newly designed web site has a nice looking page with one sentance of hype. The old site had a few paragraphs of information and a complete patch listing. When did a pretty site and one sentance become better than an old site and detailed information?

 

That's it. I hope you don't mind me sidetracking your thread for a simular rant.

 

Robert

This post edited for speling.

My Sweetwater Gear Exchange Page

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Originally posted by TinderArts:

I would agree with the review of the MiniMax. And this is from a guy who owns both a MiniMoog and a Voyager.

I hate to say it, because I have an intense dislike for the man who runs Creamware...but I, too, think the MiniMax is quite good...and this is from a guy who still holds the MiniMoog as being the benchmark against which all other synths are judged.

 

dB

:snax:

 

:keys:==> David Bryce Music • Funky Young Monks <==:rawk:

 

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Might I recommend the Markyboard Buyer's guide

 

Creamware Minimax: "Minimax's sound is what it is, it has bits that oscillate between 1 and 0 , and filters too, and the envelopes are somewhat adjustable".

 

Creamware six-String: "Six-String produces string like instrument sounds with a degree of realism hopefully better then the next guys".

 

NI Pro-53: "The Pro-53 casts in software those qualities that have been a major influence on popular music in the past 20 years: Boring, no talent required, lack of originality, and ocassional notes here and there ".

 

Steinberg D'Cota: "Imagine the best synthesizer you can and then save up for it cause this ain't even close"

 

Steinberg HALion 2.0: "Imagine your dream sampler". Later: "...prissy sound quantity...rivalled in modulation capabilities by only our competitors".

 

Steinberg HALion String Edition: "(it)... offers fantastic playing feel and a sound character suited to any noise, from static to RFI. The top-crotch recording techniques used give the HALion S.E. an outstanding sound quantity and an obtrusive, unnatural aliasing".

 

Steinberg Plex: "It's a synthesizer based on an absolutely novel synthesis process that offers you almost the possibility in varying and creating sounds".

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I don't know how we could expect something different. Do you really imagine these magazines would do anything but heap praise upon the product of those who pay the bills? A product would have to be truly horrendous to rate anything less than a superlative review, unless it's not being advertised in the magazine (and then think about it - why would the mags give free press to anyone?)

 

One must take care not to mistake the content of professional or hobby magazines for real jounalism.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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Hype sucks. These products can't all be so superlative. Some of them have to occupy the other regions of the bell curve.

 

Also, didn't we hear superlatives like this years ago? Many of those acclaimed products don't seem as brilliant as they used to. How many of this group of highly praised products will be tomorrow's ho-hum throwaways?

 

My (least) favorite hype phrase: "virtually indistinguishable from ..." It's either indistinguishable or it isn't. I'm betting on the latter.

 

It's amazing how much music has been produced on broken drums, ancient B3's, and beat-to-oblivion guitars. Maybe the latest and greatest gizmo isn't as critical to the process as the marketing twits would have us believe.

 

P.S. I expect better information from Keyboard.

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I completely agree. It's unfortunate but there are too many manufacturer's interfering with reviews. They twist and manipulate the reviewer until they finally have to give in. I know of one in particular (not mentioning names) that even used the leverage of his advertising dollar to get negative comments removed.....sad but true...

 

dc

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The entries are written by the manufacturers, not the magazine. I write some of those Buyer's Guide entries. They urge us to "tone down" the weasel copy, but often I'll just copy and paste something I've used before and tweak it. There's seems to be another buyer's guide every month, sometimes two a month, and you usually get a week to do them. It's like homework, no fun at all.

 

I hope I haven't aired any industry secrets here, or I might have my secret weasel society jacket revoked (cruelty-free imitation weasel fur lining).

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Aha! That cut'n paste technique is surely responsible for the forty blobzillion times I've seen the phrases "a winner on their hands", "kicks some serious butt", "don't walk, run, to buy this", and "a serious addition to anyone's arsenal", in the reviews.

 

What I really need to know is if the instrument in question is fat-free. That info would be at least as helpful as knowing that a particular instrument is capable of actually kicking someone's butt.

 

M Peasley

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In fairness to the manufacturers, it's also possible that we're now somewhat jaded. We have $500 digital recording systems, we have $400 keyboards that make better sounds than the $20,000 Synclavier of yesteryear....

 

Perhaps the reason the marketers hype their stuff so much is because WE are stupid enough to respond to it; in fact, we crave it and beg for it. How many months before the next NAMM will Pavlovian musicians be asking about the impending products - and asking right here on this Forum? It's just like elections. We have the government we deserve, and we have the overhyped environment we deserve.

 

One definition of insanity: Repeating the same behaviors but expecting different results. Until WE stop responding to hype that hasn't even been produced yet, we will continue to get hype. "We have met the enemy, and they is us."

 

(EDIT: Just as I posted this, I saw the thread on the 2004 Winter NAMM. It has 24 responses.... It's still SUMMER, folks.

 

Originally posted by Dan South:

Also, didn't we hear superlatives like this years ago? Many of those acclaimed products don't seem as brilliant as they used to. How many of this group of highly praised products will be tomorrow's ho-hum throwaways?

 

It's amazing how much music has been produced on broken drums, ancient B3's, and beat-to-oblivion guitars. Maybe the latest and greatest gizmo isn't as critical to the process as the marketing twits would have us believe.

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

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I'm still waiting for that "perfect digital sound" that CD's were supposed to deliver. Now, I find out that 16/44.1 is no longer the definition of perfect. I'm crushed.

 

Copy and paste? That's classic. I'm sure that everyone is busy, but if you're no willing to spend enough time to write a simple paragraph (from scratch) to describe your latest product, the consumer may very well share your lack of enthusiasm in the product.

 

Chrysler ad exec No. 1: "Hey, I'm working up some ad copy for the Vipre. Any ideas?"

 

Chrysler ad exec No. 2: "Gee, I can't think of anything. Hey, I know! Let's go back and look over the promo materials for the Dodge Dart!"

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I started "gearing" down off the hype machine a few years ago. I pretty much have all the gear I need to do what I want now, so I no longer get excited about new releases.

I'm still running VST32 on Win98, how's that for "ancient"? :D

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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;)

Originally posted by M Peasley:

Aha! That cut'n paste technique is surely responsible for the forty blobzillion times I've seen the phrases "a weiner on their hands", "licks some serious butt", "don't walk, crawl, to buy this", and "a serious addition to anyone's dung heap", in the reviews.

;)

 

M Peasley

Let them cut and paste this.

 

-edited without consent of M Peeasley- ;);)

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Originally posted by Dan South:

Copy and paste? That's classic. I'm sure that everyone is busy, but if you're no willing to spend enough time to write a simple paragraph (from scratch) to describe your latest product, the consumer may very well share your lack of enthusiasm in the product.

I think you misunderstood Synthetic, who paraphrased the process.

 

There is always very specific text and information written for every individual product by any capable manufacturer. When an editor for a magazine calls and says "We need your information for a buyer's guide by 3:00", since the text already exists, that is what is copy/pasted and sent for inclusion in the buyer's guide.

 

By nature, the text is often filled with hyperbole since it was written to help promote and sell the product. It's editors (who are very harried and pressed for time...ask Anderton) that don't have the time or manpower to go through and extract the promotional verbiage.

 

Makes sense?

 

- Jeff

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Just to make clearer what bothered me in those mini-presentations:

 

1) Such hypened language doesn't seem to belong to 'Keyboard';

 

2) The hype was reserved for certain products, Steinberg in particular. No hype on other excellent instruments, like Tassman, iSynth, B4, Tera etc.;

 

3) Sometimes, the hype takes so much real estate on the page, that there's no space to at least hint at the actual features;

 

4) There's *no mention* of some important instrument, like the VAZ modular (Which was reviewed very positively by Keyboard, IIRC).

 

Carlo

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Originally posted by marino:

The hype was reserved for certain products, Steinberg in particular. No hype on other excellent instruments, like Tassman, iSynth, B4, Tera etc.;

 

Carlo

Maybe Steinberg has too many guys writing copy and not enough writing code. That'd explain the problems with Nuendo's coding.
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I started "gearing" down off the hype machine a few years ago. I pretty much have all the gear I need to do what I want now, so I no longer get excited about new releases.

I'm with you dan. I've pretty much got the keyboard / modules I want. I'm still struggling with getting updated PROMs for some of my older boards to work better with Sounddiver (I landed another Wavestation A/D today just for that purpose after chasing Korg for months over what turned out to be non existant PROM parts and firmware. I'll be selling the other one.

 

There's not one new board coming out or currently out(that I dont already have) that excites me.(thats not a complaint - I feel extremely fortunate after 22 years into this) And anything I consider would have to do something that none of my other boards can do or be an upgrade (ie a Z2 or an FS2R etc).And even if these did happen they would now have to be weighed against a soft synth version. I'm glad I never got into sample playback stuff with the never ending next year model more/better approach(ala "Triton Truely Pro" and "Motif Extra ES" etc). Of course that doesnt mean I stopped buying stuff. My focus these days are in improved monitors(which I recently did) and acoustic treatment and maybe a spinning leslie type thingy. A Steinway would be nice too along with lots more time to use what I have.

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After years of "weighting' ;) , I finally scored an S80 in February, so that was pretty much the icing on the gear cake for me. I'd always wanted an 88 note weighted action board, and always had my eye on the 80. I believe I even told my wife that was it!

I just ordered Absynth 2 this morning, but soft synths don't count, right?

Right? :D

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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