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Unreplacable hardware

134 posts since 8 May, 2008

Postby Sjefke; Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:52 am Unreplacable hardware

How many pieces of hardware are still unreplacable by software in your setup.

In my case it would be Kronos, and not even for its sounds, but mostly for Karma, which is my ultimate tool for getting inspiration...

Now i am just wondering if anyone still has hardware they deem unreplacable by software because of its unique sound.
756 posts since 8 Jan, 2012

Postby ChiTown24; Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:32 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

Sherman Filterbank
Schipmann Ebbe und Fludt
Mutronics Mutator

in terms of architecture, sure there is some stuff that does the same.. but no where near close to covering/emulating/bettering the sound IMO/IME.

and some boutique bits and pieces I'd rather not promote for selfish reasons :)

Though I don't have any eurorack modules {saving up though, will splurge on my first modules at the end of the year in time for the holidays} - I imagine there's probably a healthy smattering of modules that have no software equivalents... the eurorack thing is probably the best thing to happen to analogue/hardware synthesis.. given the vast selection on offer, the quality, the comparative affordability {compared to yester-year} and of course the ease with which we can now incorporate modular outboard with ITB sequencing and mixing thanks to high quality and affordable soundcards and CV input/outputs by the likes of Expert Sleepers / Motu Volca...

the worst thing for me is any kind of dogma... anyone who swears too much by ITB or OTB I can't take seriously. I like to use both, and there's plenty of stuff that is much better ITB.
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213 posts since 26 Sep, 2013, from Cavardiras, CH

Postby Phil999; Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:52 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

those who have it, will probably swear on those Eurorack modules. Those who have other system modules will probably rely much on them.

Myself I'm very glad to have a couple of hardware effects and modules. Especially the phaser effects. And BBD (Bucked Brigade Delay). These sound different to software emulations, in my view, or ear. I have three hardware phasers, and still find they sound better than any emulation. Also two BBD's, and it's clear to me, after many tests, they are getting used.

However, there are situations where I cannot carry those units to a gig, and I'm glad that there are software emulations. They sound good. Quite the same as hardware.

Digital Delay, Reverb, Pitch Shift, I don't care much if they are hardware or software. They are digital anyway, so it's only the converters and the special algorithms that come into play. There might differences as well, but for me it doesn't count much.
Formant+Eurorack, PPG wave 2.2, Korg MS-20, etc., EWI 4000s, QuNeo, etc., Mixbus 32c, u-he, MadronaLabs, Samplemodeling, NI, etc., iPad2/4/Pro
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5257 posts since 6 Sep, 2006, from Elk Grove, CA

Postby cryophonik; Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:12 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

I have several synths that are not replaceable by software AFAIC, but it has much less to do with their "sound" and more to do with their playability, build quality, interface, and just how well I connect with them. My Virus TI2 and Kurzweil PC3X are both pretty easily replaceable by many software synths/romplers these days in terms of sound, but can't touch them as far as being an instrument that I can sit down, immediately connect with, and get lost in for hours at a time.

I recently replaced my Tetra with a Mopho X4 because the Tetra just didn't fit into my workflow the way I had hoped it would, and felt that soft synths like Diva and Monark got me where I wanted to be, sound-wise, with less effort and were even more fun to program than the Tetra simply was because that connection just wasn't there. The Mopho X4 has a very similar architecture and almost identical sound as the Tetra, but I felt an immediate connection with it because of its interface and keybed/playability, love the way its front panel is laid out, and basically can't stop playing with it (no quoted out of context submissions, please ;) ). But, don't get me wrong, I'm not a hardware snob and I have a ton of soft synths that account for about half or more of the sounds in most of my tracks.
6203 posts since 6 Aug, 2003, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby deastman; Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:21 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

My eurorack modular, for sure. Also probably the Andromeda, 777, MS-20, and SEM. I'm also really fond of the Strymon pedals. Nord Modular is almost replaceable by the demo, but not really. Those are the main ones which come to mind.
Incomplete list of my gear: 110V AC to 12V DC 1.5A power supply (+ tip)
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6100 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:31 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

Microwave XT
Future-Retro 777
Sherman Filterbank
Sequentix Cirklon

I might add the Elektron A4 and MD because the kind of real time performance (linked with the sequencer) and instant recall of machine state is not really possible in software at this point.

Honorary mention to: control voltage. Not really possible using software unless it's a closed system.

... space is the place ...
6248 posts since 16 Dec, 2002

Postby VariKusBrainZ; Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:54 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

Notron Latronic
The future is yesterday
11850 posts since 2 Feb, 2005, from in the wilds

Postby pdxindy; Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:37 pm Re: Unreplacable hardware

my hands...
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11126 posts since 21 Mar, 2008, from Hannover, Germany

Postby Ingonator; Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:04 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

Waldorf Blofeld:
Some people say that Largo is a perfect replacement but besides Largo missing some features like e.g. PPG filter mode, sample import and custom wavetables import (there is a free editor) the sound and the parameter ranges are not 100% identical.

Ingo Weidner - Sound Design
HW: Blofeld, Pulse 2, UltraNova, BS2
SW: PPG 3.V, Largo, Nave, Icarus, Legend, Avenger, Saurus 2, Diva, Syn'X 2, Komplete 10, VC 5, many more
i5-3350P / Win 10 x64 / Live 9 / Cubase Pro 9 / Studio One 3 / Bitwig 2 / PT 12.6
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2646 posts since 21 Jul, 2004

Postby macmurphy; Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:33 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

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790 posts since 6 Jul, 2008, from Lost in the wilderness

Postby Axis1~SL61; Sat Apr 19, 2014 1:44 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

My Ensoniq ASR-10 -- It's been waiting for repair, so I've not been using it, :-( but I miss the Transwave feature, never saw any softsampler that can do it , at least not as good sounding as the Ensoniq (smoothly without clicks and glitches). Also, I liked the way the layers and zones were organized, much better than any other sampler I've tried. Magazine reviews of the time considered it's sound quality to be above the competition of the time (Emulator and Akai). Great Fx processor too.
Also, the Korg PS series -- PS 3100 (which I own), PS3200 and PS3300.
Last edited by Axis1~SL61 on Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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something special
8456 posts since 15 Mar, 2002, from Birmingham, Alabama

Postby bluedad; Sat Apr 19, 2014 2:25 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

Microwave XT
Roland D550
tapper mike
4321 posts since 19 Jan, 2008

Postby tapper mike; Sat Apr 19, 2014 6:51 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

My Guitars and amps. You wouldn't beleive how much armature accounts for play ability. Unless of course you are willing to sacrafice a great keybed for a touchscreen virtual keyboard.
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9170 posts since 22 Jul, 2002, from Coon Rapids, MN

Postby ew; Sat Apr 19, 2014 8:40 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

Z1- you could look at Tassman as a replacement for it, but there really isn't much comparison other than the fact that they're both based on physical models. The Z1's much faster to work with and you have so much realtime control over the sound.

Microwave (mine's an original with v2 firmware)- you'd think that the ground's covered by either the PPG Wave or Largo, but it's not. The time/level envelopes for the waves, the filter (the Blofeld's PPG model comes close, BUT...) and the pure glitchiness of it all (clock noise when transposing down and aliasing when transposing up) means it's still not replaceable- there's something about an original Microwave in full squawk mode that's still untouchable.

Blofeld- for the reasons Ingo mentioned. I still think the Blofeld's the best bang for the buck out there as far as hardware goes; YMMV.

My modular for obvious reasons.

My guitars. Besides trying to duplicate the response, the other big problem with synthesized guitars is duplicating chord voicings and the like; you have duplicate pitches in the same octave, random detune amounts and the like. I've made Kontakt and NN-XT instruments that come close, but they still aren't there- and it's a lot of work. I'm lazy :)

A spectral heretic...
952 posts since 14 Oct, 2006, from france

Postby budweiser; Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:08 am Re: Unreplacable hardware

Old harware samplers, mostly 8 & 12 bit with analog filters & analog adsr. Found nothing in the software world that sounds like my mirage (ensoniq), emax (1 - emu) or asr (even if the asr is 16 bit fully digital). A single soft synth bass note resampled in the mirage is just whou-ou :-)

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