Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
Ou_Tis
KVRist
154 posts since 10 Jul, 2018

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:22 pm

Or do they have other advantages over more recent, purely digital synths?... I'm thinking particularly of the Arturia emulations.

Much as I like the soundtrack for Stranger Things (and synth music from the 80's), sounding exactly like that isn't a priority for me....

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wagtunes
KVRAF
14354 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:17 pm

I'll give you a very specific example. Maybe this will answer your question.

Earlier last year I wanted to do an 80s retro CD. Original songs but in 80s style.

At the time, there was no Polymoog emulation. Just a sampled based one that I settled for. It was okay but wasn't the real thing.

Then XILS released PolyM. All I know is I wish I had it when I was making that CD. Nothing else sounds like it.

That's an example of an emulation that serves a definite purpose that you're not going to get from a modern synth.

Dasheesh
KVRAF
2944 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:28 pm

there is a limit. a ceiling. it's. called cpu. usually, software synths can do a whole lot half assed or do a few things very well. pick your poison.

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
7376 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:22 pm

wagtunes wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 8:17 pm
I'll give you a very specific example. Maybe this will answer your question.
Earlier last year I wanted to do an 80s retro CD. Original songs but in 80s style.
At the time, there was no Polymoog emulation. Just a sampled based one that I settled for. It was okay but wasn't the real thing.
Very poor example as the 80s was also full of digital synths like the DX-7. Analogue really goes back to the 70s and further. And to make an 80s sounding album you wouldn't need any emulations at all because 99% of people wouldn't' know what synths were ever being used on their favourite 80s synth music anyway. I certainly have no idea what a Polymoog sounds like and, as far as I know, I've never heard one in my life. So, ultimately, it was just because you wanted to use it, not because it was necessary to achieve your aim.

To answer the original question - no, they have no advantages at all. Their popularity is 90% nostalgia. I have owned many analogue synths in my time, many digital synths and far too many virtual synths and they all do exactly the same stuff, albeit in slightly different ways. But the differences aren't anything like people around here would have you believe and in no way justify anybody sticking rigidly to one or another of them.

Right now I have four hardware synths, two digital and two analogue, but in my mind the distinctions are purely arbitrary. I can get beautiful, warm sounds form the digital synths and harsh, abrasive tones from the analogues. It's all about how you use them and while I definitely do sometimes think that Ultranova will be perfect for this and Analog Keys will be perfect for that, it's never because one is digital and the other analogue, it's just about the strengths of each instrument or existing presets I might have in the back of my mind.

Of course, when it comes to soft synths, the distinctions get even more blurred. I've never understood the point of slavish recreations but I definitely get the attraction to an emulation of an old favourite. e.g. I always loved the ARP Odyssey but I could never afford a real one. When Korg announced they were re-making it, I was incredibly excited, until discovered it wouldn't include any modern features, like a patch memory. At that point I lost all interest. But then they made a VSTi version and I was really excited again because I had the opportunity to have something with the great Odyssey sound I had lusted after forever plus the convenience of modern digital luxuries like unison, an apreggiator, on-board effects and unlimited patch storage. What was really good about that for me is that my love of the Odyssey was vindicated, as it has a sound that fits perfectly with the music we make. OTOH, when I bought a Roland JP-08, it made me realise that my nostalgic memories of that thing were not based in the same reality. It was a big disappointment and I didn't keep it very long.
NOVAkILL 3.0 : Acer Switch5 (Core i5, 8GB RAM, Win10), Yamaha AG06, Orion 64 bit, Roli Seaboard Rise 25, Elektron Analog Keys, Waldorf Pulse 2 MicroMonsta, IK Uno.

christian f.
KVRist
80 posts since 3 Feb, 2017

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:58 pm

BONES wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 9:22 pm

Very poor example as the 80s was also full of digital synths like the DX-7. Analogue really goes back to the 70s and further. And to make an 80s sounding album you wouldn't need any emulations at all because 99% of people wouldn't' know what synths were ever being used on their favourite 80s synth music anyway. I certainly have no idea what a Polymoog sounds like and, as far as I know, I've never heard one in my life.
What a nonsense.
Tons of examples where the first thing you would do to recreate a sound from a specific era and style is to use emulations of instruments and processors that provided those signature sounds.
There's a reason Vintage hardware / software emulations and clones of Roland, Oberheim, Moog, Korg, Neve, SSL, Eventide, Lexicon etc. etc. are so popular ... beyond nostalgia.

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V0RT3X
KVRAF
7339 posts since 4 Jul, 2012 from Canada

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 10:00 pm

Because 80% of KVR is full of old folks who want to relive the past.

Just kidding..

No it's because they have a charm to them that modern sterile digital ones don't have and it's cheaper than buying the real deal which is probably going to cost an arm and leg.

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Daru925
KVRist
210 posts since 20 Mar, 2015 from Nerima, Tokyo

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:25 pm

Automatic or manual gear on your car? Bah driving is just going point a to b right? No, some people like the driving in itself, the control they have on their vehicle etc. OMG you are killing the planet, lets all walk naked and stop farting to preserve oxigen. Hey look at my horse while i build this teleporter to alpha centauri.

And none of them ever got to point b.

recursive one
KVRAF
3843 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:57 pm

Daru925 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:25 pm
Hey look at my horse
my horse is amazing!

I'm not familiar with Arturia synths, but I have some U-He, D16 and Tal stuff and I use these a lot, in addition to the digital/modern sounding synths. I don't care about 70-80's music at all, actually I can't even quite hear that "80's sound" in my head, but I like how these synths sound, how they behave in a mix, how they respond to automation. Especially when I want to do a lot of realtime cutoff/resonance/filter envelope tweaking I'll take an analogue emulation, it will just sound better, more smooth and musical.
Last edited by recursive one on Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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Aliens
KVRian
714 posts since 2 Oct, 2016 from DogGirlDon't

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:05 am

Daru925 wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 11:25 pm
Automatic or manual gear on your car?
Manual. Only people who can't drive go auto. Might as well just get a chauffeur if all you have to do is put it in drive.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
1709 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:28 am

I can only speak for myself. Its a combination of nostalgia and collectors desease. Either instruments I have owned personally, or worked with or longed for. Some of them I would still use, as they carry my personal signature sounds.
Is there any Poly 800 emulation that can read the old cassette tapes?
Lots of memories...
I always thought a polymoog isn‘t worth it. Its just a collection of curtis chips which is extremely limited. But that limitation is most likely the answer why they are so popular. At least those with presets make it easy to recreate old songs. I guess a lot synthesists play in an 80‘s cover band. They just have to dial in the fitting preset... But with Synthmaster you get sound sets which cover that as well perfectly...
In a way Bones is correct and wrong at the same time. Any modern and powerful synth can cover any sound you want, especially nostalgic ones, but if you need to get into the ancient mood, the recreation with its limitation will get you there faster...

AnX
KVRAF
3632 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:32 am

Ou_Tis wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:22 pm
Or do they have other advantages over more recent, purely digital synths?... I'm thinking particularly of the Arturia emulations.

Much as I like the soundtrack for Stranger Things (and synth music from the 80's), sounding exactly like that isn't a priority for me....
in order to sell a product, you need to convince ppl they need it.

if you concentrate on writing songs, you dont need to worry about the trend chasing bullshit that drives the market

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martinjuenke
KVRAF
2781 posts since 28 Dec, 2015 from Germany

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:44 am

For me the modern instruments (eg U-He, FXpansion, NI... ) offer A LOT MORE than those retro recreations with limited abilities (eg Arturia...).
If I wanna have a crunchy retro sound I can easily generate it with modern stuff meanwhile.
If I wanna have a new and unheard sound (with superior modulating, MPE etc) I can not generate it with these oldtimers.
You can rationalise your old men’s nostalgia and collecting habits with many words in this thread, but I have made my decision.

Flowing atmospheric music
http://www.sonoryth.bandcamp.com/music

ramseysounds
KVRist
183 posts since 9 Jul, 2014 from UK

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:54 am

So this will turn into yet another analogue vs digital debate. Hey-ho.
Let's face it, no-one uses any synth without applying a bunch of EFX, be it compression, reverb, delay, bit crush, chorus, tremelo, phaser, flanger etc etc, so by the time you finish, who cares what you make the original sound with?
It's all down to personal taste. If it works for you, that's all that matters. :tu:

(oh and analogue sucks :hihi: )
I wonder what happens if I press this button...

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Gamma-UT
KVRAF
4507 posts since 8 Jun, 2009 from UK

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:49 am

Ou_Tis wrote:
Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:22 pm
Or do they have other advantages over more recent, purely digital synths?... I'm thinking particularly of the Arturia emulations.
All hardware synths have design limitations and choices that influence the kinds of sounds people tend to get out of them. Envelopes and LFOs that you can only route to certain things ("Why did you do that?" "It costs too much to add another switch"). Or the cross-modulation you find on a Roland JX. A pure software synth need have none of those limitations – the only limitations are CPU horsepower and UI complexity. Would you bother seeking out cross-mod on a general-purpose software synth? Probably not. It only makes a pleasing noise 2% of the time. But faced with it on a JX, you're going to give it a try because it's there staring you in the face.

Similarly, the beauty of a PolyMoog is in its resonators. You've got resonators in Absynth but the chances are, because of the way things are laid out, you'll use them differently and get different sounds because the limited architecture of the PolyMoog tends to nudge you in a certain direction.

Yes, nostalgia probably plays into a lot of reasons for buying these things. But for usage, the value really comes from the way that the functions are laid out and how they will cause you to make different sound-design choices. However, there's nothing stopping you from making templates in semi-modulars to get a similar effect.

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martinjuenke
KVRAF
2781 posts since 28 Dec, 2015 from Germany

Re: Why use emulations of classic analogue synths---is it just nostalgia?...

Post Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:00 am

ramseysounds wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:54 am
So this will turn into yet another analogue vs digital debate. Hey-ho.
It‘s not meant that way, at least from me.

My argument aims at
(so called faithful and what ever buzzwords)
emulations of decades old limited machines
versus
innovative new instruments with a lot of smart options.

This is NOT digital versus analog, it‘s modern versus outdated.

Flowing atmospheric music
http://www.sonoryth.bandcamp.com/music

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