Author Topic: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?  (Read 2184 times)

Julio Di Benedetto

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Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« on: February 09, 2013, 06:21:39 AM »
Seems there is a lot going on with analog synths recently......the new Korg MS 20 Mini, various mono synths from Moog and Arturia, Oberheim has the 4 Voices SEM coming soon and now Dave Smith has released the Prophet 12.  This looks really special to me as my Matrix 12 depending on the day can be a Matrix 7 or 11 as voice chips die and seem to resurrect themselves.  Perhaps soon vintage analog gear will just be for collectors not players.

Imagine a polyphonic offering from Moog, or something from Roland that is worthy of the name Jupiter.

I think its exciting times for analog hardware synths especially as digital synthesis development in hardware has stopped.

 
Introducing the Prophet 12 Synthesizer - Dave Smith Instruments

El culto

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 07:14:34 AM »
See Julio, you should have better kept your Andromeda  ;) Anyway, why did you sold this extraordinary piece of hardware? I would never sell mine  :D

Cheers,
Tomas

hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2013, 03:43:18 PM »
It is exciting for me seeing all of the recent developments in analog synthesis. I hope it keeps up. I do regret selling various analog gear in recent years especially my CS50 And Prophet 5. I had the same problem Julio mentioned, parts hard to find and constant maintenance. I do wish I had kept them, though.  :(  The recent explosion of analog products is encouraging, what with the Tom Oberheim products coming soon and the 2nd wave of modular synthesis that I thought I would never see. The best part is the affordability! Even though many of these products are not cheap (Tom Oberheims SOFV) they are so much more affordable than like products were in the 1970's when I spent a lot of time drooling over modular, patchable and analog keyboards. Picking up an ARP 2600 in 1971 was like buying a new car, neither of which I could afford.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 10:34:30 PM by hdibrell »
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 04:36:24 AM »
See Julio, you should have better kept your Andromeda  ;) Anyway, why did you sold this extraordinary piece of hardware? I would never sell mine  :D

Cheers,
Tomas

Hi Tomas.....actually I still have it.  The sale never work out, however it is in need of some serious tech support.  The software and LCD screen malfunctions have made it impossible to program.  The Matrix 12 in is much better shape.  Strange as it may seem I find programming the Andromeda frustrating.  It does produce wonderful sounds nevertheless.  The Matrix 12 is much more intuitive to program for me.  I will get the Andromeda fix this year.

As Harry mention there has also been a huge revival of modular synthesis and all of this is so much more affordable!

ffcal

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 01:09:57 PM »
I've always had a fondness for analog because it's seeming unpredictability and warmth. 

One thing I hope is different about the mini-MS-20 is programmability.  Analog patches were difficult to preserve on the original version and were not programmable.

Forrest
« Last Edit: February 11, 2013, 01:11:53 PM by ffcal »

hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 02:59:18 PM »
Just from a quick look, I don't think there are going to be any changes as far as saving patches or programmability on the mini MS-20. I do remember the frustration in trying to recreate sounds on many of these older analog beasts. It was sometimes close to impossible to duplicate sounds on the EML101 and Synthi AKS that I had just gotten the day before back in college. That was one of the problems of having several people play with the same machines. Ah, the good old days.  ;)
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Scott M2

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 05:56:23 PM »
With its USB out - it will probably be a good controller for the Korg MS-20 VST which sounds pretty darn good and patches are savable, though with an awkward save/load interface. It will be the perfect way to compare the sounds of the analog vs VST by programming them both from the front panel at the same time.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 06:20:39 AM »
I've always had a fondness for analog because it's seeming unpredictability and warmth. 

Forrest

Yes the unpredictability is what I love most with modular systems.  One cable is capable of changing the sound completely, two cables and a tweak of a knob and the chance to ruin the patch you work on for a good while and three cables, two tweaks and odds are you cannot do back and recover the patch, yet your on the way to something even better, perhaps.  Modular synthesis forces you to take risk in sound design and with this though comes the opportunity to creates some of the most amazing and unique sounds.....once!

Actually I believe the Buchla 200e has memory.

ffcal

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2013, 09:59:13 AM »
Yes the unpredictability is what I love most with modular systems.  One cable is capable of changing the sound completely, two cables and a tweak of a knob and the chance to ruin the patch you work on for a good while and three cables, two tweaks and odds are you cannot do back and recover the patch, yet your on the way to something even better, perhaps.  Modular synthesis forces you to take risk in sound design and with this though comes the opportunity to creates some of the most amazing and unique sounds.....once!

I had the good fortune to work with a Moog Mark V modular synth with ribbon controller and an ARP 2500 when studying EM in college.  I can remember spending a whole evening on one patch--especially crazy on the Moog with its multiple patch cord routes--and thinking I had to record the results now or I would lose them forever.  The ARP matrix switches were cool and less messy.

Forrest

LNerell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 11:10:28 AM »


Actually I believe the Buchla 200e has memory.

The 200e does have memory but you still have to repatch everything, it only remembers the settings for each module. I started learning the art of synthesist first on a Moog modular and then on an old Buchla 100 system. I try to take a sort of zen approach to modulars, a patch is here one day and gone the next. You can literally start with a clean slate at any time.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 03:09:47 PM by LNerell »
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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 12:49:40 PM »
I think its exciting times for analog hardware synths especially as digital synthesis development in hardware has stopped.

I'm not sure this "stopped" is true. Plenty of good, relatively new digital synths out there. Roland, Korg, Novation, and more. Yep, a limited number, but in that sense it is like the analog manufacturers. Of course, digital hardware is always in competition with software synths, and there have been some very fine VST synths released this past year.
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ffcal

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 03:34:12 PM »
This relative lack of programmability for analog synths gives me a new respect for EM pioneers like Larry Fast, Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita, who were still able to develop a distinctive style and sound from analog gear.  I had better luck preserving my settings for the MS-20 than for the Moog, but it was far from easy.  I couldn't imagine doing something like that for the Serge.

Forrest

hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 09:58:39 PM »
I try to take a sort of zen approach to modulars, a patch is here one day and gone the next. You can literally start with a clean slate at any time.
Yes! That is one of the most frustrating and one of the most rewarding things about modulars.
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Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 05:47:56 AM »
I think its exciting times for analog hardware synths especially as digital synthesis development in hardware has stopped.

I'm not sure this "stopped" is true. Plenty of good, relatively new digital synths out there. Roland, Korg, Novation, and more. Yep, a limited number, but in that sense it is like the analog manufacturers. Of course, digital hardware is always in competition with software synths, and there have been some very fine VST synths released this past year.

Yes Anthony "stopped" is a bit abrupt.....its more a "stopped" personally speaking.  I haven't seen anything that has grabbed my attention since the Hartmann Neuron. I had the software with the joystick controller.  In one sense the Neuron Keyboard was a soft synth with a very stylized and expensive user interface as I believe it was run by a pc internally. For me the Neuron was a major development in digital synthesis and something I have not seen since.

John Bowen has created the Solaris which is digital...I haven't heard it but if it is digital technology emulating analog then Im not sure I would call that a development imho. 

I have always felt that digital would be the touch bearer for synthesis development and it has in software.  I love my Virus TI and the sounds it produces but for me its not a torch bearer. 

Of all the synths I have used the Oberheim Matrix 12 / Xpander still stands as a unique synth that was lock in time and never developed further. And thats ok....however programming and play it is an experience that no other synth Ive used has equalled considering it was created nearly 30 years ago

In this light one could argue the new Prophet 12 is no synthesis revolution.....looks very special but the technology under the cover is "old school" yet put together in a new way perhaps.




Actually I believe the Buchla 200e has memory.

The 200e does have memory but you still have to repatch everything, it only remembers the settings for each module. I started learning the art of synthesist first on a Moog modular and then on an old Buchla 100 system. I try to take a sort of zen approach to modulars, a patch is here one day and gone the next. You can literally start with a clean slate at any time.

That makes sense...how can a memory module remember where a physical patch cable was.

I was really fortunate to own a 3 panel Serge system and what was  unusual was the ability to stack the banana plugs, something that is true for the Buchla systems as well.  I can recall having up to six banana plugs coming out of one jack on a Universal Slope Generator....serge speak for a strange and wonderful LFO, well sort of an LFO but much more.  Programming the Serge modular became almost 3 dimensional.  Layer one was the initial patch with plugs in contact with the various jacks and then the was the next possible layer.....banana plugs into banana plugs.....and the next layer.  TRS and mini jack systems have patch bay type modules to do the same thing but for me the Serge system offered a way of seeing the physical sonic layers of a patch.   

petekelly

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 08:28:18 AM »
Julio,
I'm not sure on this one,

I think there are some really interesting things going on with software synthesis. I'm thinking primarily about some of the Reaktor synths and ImageLine's 'Harmor', that does some pretty unique things. I think there's a lot of interesting things that can be done with granular synthesis (granted thats hardly new), in particular.

Julio Di Benedetto

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 11:10:53 AM »
Pete I do agree and it is what I was suggesting in my post that software is the one place that digital synthesis has really evolved.  Much more so than digital hardware. 

I was just thinking about how much I enjoy programming with wavetables......another milestone in digital synthesis and now combined with the new Prophet 12 as well as the DS Evolver.....hybrid synthesis, Analog & Digital 
« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 11:13:43 AM by Julio Di Benedetto »

hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2013, 02:21:43 PM »
For those interested in the resurgence of modular synthesis, I Dream Of Wires- Hardcore addition is now available to order.  [url]http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2013/02/11/i-dream-of-wires-hardcore-edition//url] . I'm not sure what "hardcore addition" means , but the film looks interesting.
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LNerell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2013, 04:22:09 PM »
I'm not sure what "hardcore addition" means , but the film looks interesting.

I believe its a lot longer then the normal version will be. It says four hours long over 2 DVDs. Looks interesting but I have to admit that I am disappointed that no one from our little circle of music was interviewed for this documentary. And some people I suspect are only on the doc because they are popular. Like deadmau5, there is a really funny video of him floating around where he confuses a filter with a vco.  ;D
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hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2013, 10:25:15 PM »
I'm not sure what "hardcore addition" means , but the film looks interesting.

I believe its a lot longer then the normal version will be. It says four hours long over 2 DVDs. Looks interesting but I have to admit that I am disappointed that no one from our little circle of music was interviewed for this documentary. And some people I suspect are only on the doc because they are popular. Like deadmau5, there is a really funny video of him floating around where he confuses a filter with a vco.  ;D
I agree that I would have liked to see several others interviewed and I don't know who half the people mentioned are. It still looks interesting.  8)
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hdibrell

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Re: Is Analog the future for hardware synths?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2013, 10:31:40 PM »
Actually, I was exaggerating when I said I knew who half of the people mentioned are. 
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