Software Synths VS. Digital Hardware Synths.

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
EnGee
KVRAF
7632 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:02 am

digitallysane wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 12:12 am
EnGee wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:52 pm
The MODX is great but not its keybed or build quality! The keylab mk ii, for example, has so much better keybeds and build quality overall.
The cheap ones maybe yes, but a Midi controller like Arturia keylab mkii or NI S series have great keybeds and build quality. Those can last many years.
No idea what you're talking about.
The build quality is great and the keybed very playable.
Yes, it's not as high end as Montage (metal and top of the line keybed), but everything is high quality (buttons, switches, sliders, knobs) and the keybed is great. Speaking of which, of course the Montage is an even better controller, but for a different price.
Yes, a top of the line MIDI controller are also great, but they cost as much as a MODX while most of them lack a lot of features (for example, the MODX can output 8 MIDI channels as a master keyboard, the Arturia Keylab can't).
Not to mention well known low quality of Arturia's knobs on their controllers.
I also don't know what you are talking about!!

I bought my MODX6 (new) for NZ$2400 and Keylab mkii 49 for NZ$899 (new also). The mkii 61 was for NZ$999. NI S61 was for NZ$1099. Those were the most expensive controllers. Montage 61 is for NZ$6000 here!

The keyboard in MODX is a cheap one! I'm glad that you like it, but if you try a Fatar based or another good quality keybed, you won't feel MODX is on par with them! MODX is a cut version of the Montage exactly like Korg Krome is a cut down version of Kronos. They had to use cheap quality keybed to bring the price down.

I usually play the piano from my MKii because the MODX 6 sucks in velocity (especially the high velocity). The dynamics is not as good as with the Fatar based. I don't know about the MODX 8 keys though.

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Uncle E
KVRAF
12806 posts since 22 Nov, 2000 from Southern California

Post Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:39 am

Gadget Fiend wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:57 pm
I'm not so sure about that. Even though discoDSP makes an emulation of my Nord Lead 2, the discoDSP clone falls far short of capturing the punchiness and aggressiveness of my Nord. I also have a Nord Lead 3. There is no software instrument that combines the purity of tone and the pristine sound of the NL3's FM oscillators. And then there is my Virus. While Dune, Spire, Hive, etc. are all in the same ballpark, nothing sounds quite like the Virus TI.
The Nord Lead has that amazing pitch stick, as well. Anyone who plays guitar should love it for vibratos. And the knob layout is logical and effortless. Even if you don’t love the DiscoDSP, it’s pretty great that you can use it with the Nord Lead knobs and add resynthesis and software sampling.

petercom
KVRer
4 posts since 8 Dec, 2021

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 6:19 am

I started with a Korg Kronos LS (synth action), because I got a good deal on it, but I found it difficult to create any expression, even though I tried all the velocity settings. It was very difficult to move from FF to pp on piano, for example, which is a shame considering the German Grand preset is so realistic sounding.

So after a couple of years I found a little used Kronos with RH3 hammer-action, fully-weighted keybed secondhand and, luckily, nearly new. Also, luckily, I chanced on a buyer for my LS. Guess that doesn't always happen so fortuitously!

The Kronos hammer action took some getting used to, of course, after the lightweight nature of the LS. But it only took a couple of weeks and I'm now loving it. That's not to say there's anything wrong with the LS keybed - I think it is easy to play. But, if you need to 'feel' the expression under your fingers, the hammer action of the standard Kronos is great.

I've seen other piano reviewers say they didn't like the Kronos's hammer action compared to, say, a Roland RD2000. Maybe that's a cut above the Kronos, I haven't tried it. However, I've played real pianos and I reckon the Kronos isn't far off feeling similar. Every piano is different just like every Keybed. My friend has a Roland V-piano which I find a bit mushy in comparison.

I also have invested in a Native Instruments S88 Mk2 which has a Fatar fully-weighted keybed. It's nice to play but nowhere near the quality of the Kronos. I use it as an interface to Logic X and a variety of software synths. (Sure, I could use the midi of the Kronos for this, but the Korg is at home for playing fun and not in my new studio).

chk071
KVRAF
30542 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 6:25 am

Depends what you're after, I would say. Not everyone needs a piano like keybed.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 6:38 am

Uncle E wrote:
Wed Nov 03, 2021 7:39 am
Gadget Fiend wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:57 pm
I'm not so sure about that. Even though discoDSP makes an emulation of my Nord Lead 2, the discoDSP clone falls far short of capturing the punchiness and aggressiveness of my Nord. I also have a Nord Lead 3. There is no software instrument that combines the purity of tone and the pristine sound of the NL3's FM oscillators. And then there is my Virus. While Dune, Spire, Hive, etc. are all in the same ballpark, nothing sounds quite like the Virus TI.
The Nord Lead has that amazing pitch stick, as well. Anyone who plays guitar should love it for vibratos. And the knob layout is logical and effortless. Even if you don’t love the DiscoDSP, it’s pretty great that you can use it with the Nord Lead knobs and add resynthesis and software sampling.
That “aggression” is aliasing. When you turn it off you get the Nord Lead 2x sound, plus a lot more.
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4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:05 am

EnGee wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 1:12 pm
I don't know if others feel the same! But buying some hardware and using them made me more practical (and have less GAS) with software synths! I don't know also if this is a temporary feeling or a good cure against the flashy (buy me) software synths!

Anyway, I went through my software synths after playing for one week or so with my hardware synths and I put a list of the frequently used soft synths (i.e. those synths that I insert first in my DAW and tend to use most of the times) and I found I'm actually using just 4 or 5 most of the times and the rest (about 30) I just use rarely in my music (but using them mostly as standalone to play around without a specific aim). I like them all but when it comes to making music, I use the same few synths I used over the years and in the end it doesn't matter if it is digital or analog!

Maybe also due to my small bedroom (not very small but about 4x4m) I can't have many hardware, so I must choose carefully what I fill the space. That makes me limited in spending on hardware also and become more practical! While with the software (synths and DAWs) I have more than enough virtual space that I can't fill it easily, so buying a software is a continuous spending here and there all the times! Also, no one is watching what I have inside the computer :hihi: No passing by one can tell me: "Wow! You have too many synths!! Why? Are you really using them all?! How much they cost you?! This is crazy!!".

Well, just some random thoughts I don't know if they are useful or just garbage! One thing is true and that is my inspiration in music is not related to any specific synth or instrument! I can be inspired with whatever DAW or Synth or Instrument out there (software or hardware)!
Why are you concerned with what people see in your studio? Is it you who thinks it’s crazy or someone else? I personally would love a mostly software studio, but I’ve fallen hard for some hardware synths and I’ve not found anything in software that can compare.

There’s nothing wrong with creating a streamlined setup where you squeeze a few carefully curated synthesizers and get busy, but there’s also nothing wrong with creating a warehouse full of goodies that can be pulled out and used when the mood hits. I’ve got a bunch of hardware synths and not all of them are in heavy use at all times, just like I don’t use all my software on a weekly or even monthly basis, but when I get the urge to use something, it’s nice to not have to go shopping. That said, my hardware tends to be the “core” of what I do, and I’ll go into my plugins folder to add spice. I just like the feeling of something new or at least not the same ol’- same ol’. The affordable nature of software is perfect in this way.

Often the software is a lot more weird. Not a synthesizer, but I’ve wanted a Chase Bliss MOOD pedal (sort of a glitchy micro looping delay thing) but it’s expensive and monophonic. I still might get one for guitar, but what I really want is a stereo version for my Prophet 12. It’s a sound that I like a lot, but I know that it wouldn’t be in heavy rotation, so shelling out the money for the hardware (and the space it’ll occupy) is a concern. I’d rather do it in software (I’m going to look at the Puremagnetik stuff today) because it doesn’t make sense to drop a bunch of money on something I’ll seldom use, even if I like it a lot when I’m using it. On the other hand, I use my AxeFX 3 every single day, and I love it. I maybe could get similar results with software, but the hardware sounds better to me, so that’s that.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

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Shankiphonic
KVRer
9 posts since 5 Dec, 2021 from near Denver

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 8:51 am

zerocrossing wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:05 am

Often the software is a lot more weird. Not a synthesizer, but I’ve wanted a Chase Bliss MOOD pedal (sort of a glitchy micro looping delay thing) but it’s expensive and monophonic. I still might get one for guitar, but what I really want is a stereo version for my Prophet 12. It’s a sound that I like a lot, but I know that it wouldn’t be in heavy rotation, so shelling out the money for the hardware (and the space it’ll occupy) is a concern. I’d rather do it in software (I’m going to look at the Puremagnetik stuff today) because it doesn’t make sense to drop a bunch of money on something I’ll seldom use, even if I like it a lot when I’m using it.
I think the stereo version of the mood your lusting after is the Hologram Microcosm.... :) but I respect you're decision to use software instead. truly.

here comes a rant:
I'm moving more "in the box".
I've got a desk full of synths sequencers and samplers, and very few finished tracks to show for it.
I love hands-on, but it's dawned on my that I spend a lot of time rewiring my gear and I'd rather be making music. Also, accumulating effects pedals and hardware synths doesn't make good business sense if you're only recording at home.
The microcosm is a $500 pedal. it can be midi synched, but that's setup/config that's almost non-existing with a plugin.
Back to price. $500 buys a whole suite of different high-quality effects these days.
There's nothing wrong with owning one or 2 synths.
I'd steer you towards something with a buttload of dedicated knobs, or a lot of knobs with a maximum of 1 alt mode.
if you're menu diving too much - in a sense, you're playing with software.
idk, that's my opinion, feel free to disagree.

EnGee
KVRAF
7632 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 12:37 pm

zerocrossing wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:05 am

Why are you concerned with what people see in your studio? Is it you who thinks it’s crazy or someone else?
It's me actually :hihi: I like things to be compact and tidy. Most of all is to actually using the damn thing instead of just collecting. It's also for my comfort and how I like it to look (my room).

Anyway, everyone is different and even we are possibly change our preferences and opinions with time. For me now, I'm fine with what I have and my setup can cover me for the rest of my life.

Lately, I want to cut my time on forums and concentrate on reading and practicing my music books and also write some music and lyrics (thoughts more than lyrics as I don't sing). So, in the end a mix of software and hardware is the way to go for me, although my hardware will be the main focus 😀

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 12:56 pm

Shankiphonic wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 8:51 am
zerocrossing wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 7:05 am

Often the software is a lot more weird. Not a synthesizer, but I’ve wanted a Chase Bliss MOOD pedal (sort of a glitchy micro looping delay thing) but it’s expensive and monophonic. I still might get one for guitar, but what I really want is a stereo version for my Prophet 12. It’s a sound that I like a lot, but I know that it wouldn’t be in heavy rotation, so shelling out the money for the hardware (and the space it’ll occupy) is a concern. I’d rather do it in software (I’m going to look at the Puremagnetik stuff today) because it doesn’t make sense to drop a bunch of money on something I’ll seldom use, even if I like it a lot when I’m using it.
I think the stereo version of the mood your lusting after is the Hologram Microcosm.... :) but I respect you're decision to use software instead. truly.
Yeah, I’m aware of that one… the price is putting me off, but maybe. My wife got canned from her job, but just got a job offer in between my first post and last post, so the money thing isn’t as big a deal as it was when I first posted.
here comes a rant:
I'm moving more "in the box".
I've got a desk full of synths sequencers and samplers, and very few finished tracks to show for it.
Is that a problem? I’ve personally never found a correlation between the amount of gear I have and productivity. I don’t create finished tracks that much these days, but I know it’s because I don’t see much point in it. I’m most productive when I’m in a band or have a partner that I’m collaborating with. When I’m by myself, I just like to jam out with audio loopers and sequencers and I really don’t care if anyone ever hears it. In fact, the idea that someone will hear it sort of kills the mood. (Pun intended. :lol:)
I love hands-on, but it's dawned on my that I spend a lot of time rewiring my gear and I'd rather be making music.
Why are you rewiring your gear? I recommend having an interface that lets you hook everything up and then you’re done with it.
Also, accumulating effects pedals and hardware synths doesn't make good business sense if you're only recording at home.
The microcosm is a $500 pedal. it can be midi synched, but that's setup/config that's almost non-existing with a plugin.
Back to price. $500 buys a whole suite of different high-quality effects these days.
Yeah, nothing about buying music gear is really “good business sense,” unless you’re a professional who makes money from their music. Then again, nothing about buying software makes good business sense, and I know with me is that I’ll spend my budget and it doesn’t really matter much whether or not it’s hardware or software, though you obviously get more bang for your buck with software, but on the flip side, you get to sell your gear for something as much as you paid for it if you buy used and are careful. For me, it’s more about value, in the sense that I won’t spend a ton of money on something that I don’t think I’ll use that much, or can be done just as well with a much cheeper software.
There's nothing wrong with owning one or 2 synths.
What about 10? :lol:

I'd steer you towards something with a buttload of dedicated knobs, or a lot of knobs with a maximum of 1 alt mode.
if you're menu diving too much - in a sense, you're playing with software.
idk, that's my opinion, feel free to disagree.
[/quote]
I care a lot more about expressive “hooks” like full MIDI implementation, or better yet, MPE, than I do care about a unit having knobs. I’ll see if the Puremagnik stuff works well inside Maschine, and then that’ll be (maybe) that. The reason I have all the hardware is that I find characteristics of the sound that I like.
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

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Shankiphonic
KVRer
9 posts since 5 Dec, 2021 from near Denver

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:13 pm

there's a couple reasons I move stuff around so much.
One is that I don't have enough space to use it all at once.
there's usually something put away. My next major hardware acquisition is a proper studio desk.
It's not an interface problem, not right now, anyway.

I'm not a pro - business sense was the wrong term. I really meant bang for buck. I've been through 1 great "gear selloff" in my life and 10 years later I'm back to more than I had originally. Resale value is a bonus.
No excuse necessary to not buy a pedal like the microcosm.

yes, I'm interested in completing some tracks.
I also enjoy making sketches, or snacks, or jams, or whatever. But lately I'm interested in the process of getting through a song.

I also like working on stuff with others. a little constructive pressure helps me produce also.
if you want to work on something together, I'm down. I'm on Mountain time.

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pekbro
KVRAF
4435 posts since 29 Sep, 2010 from Maui

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:44 pm

I like the microcosm on drums... imo the Zoia is better for granular probably, though they
are quite different. No mood here (yet).

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Shankiphonic
KVRer
9 posts since 5 Dec, 2021 from near Denver

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 3:47 pm

pekbro wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:44 pm
I like the microcosm on drums... imo the Zoia is better for granular probably, though they
are quite different. No mood here (yet).
I'll bet the microcosm is good on drums.
I like using Ableton's beat repeat on my drums to just get freaky, and I imagine microcosm would give me a similar result when I am working with hardware.

CBA pedals are pretty amazing -
I picked up a blooper in the height of lockdown... but I probably won't go in for any more CBA stuff in the foreseeable future.
it is incredibly powerful and full of features, but it's lacking on basic looper features. I'd use it a lot more than I do, for example, if it had more than 8 layers, or more than one channel. I'm using it more like a sampler/mangler than a looper.
It was a GAS impulse buy (they were very hard to find for a minute, and I couldn't resist when I found one). I'm not trashing the blooper at all. this is an expectation vs reality issue on my part.
We were talking about hardware synths. The blooper's ramping is almost like an LFO - it does some insane stuff, run some noise through that guy and it's a capable sound source...

I would probably use the mood, microcosm, or zoia more than I use the blooper, if I had one of those.

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pekbro
KVRAF
4435 posts since 29 Sep, 2010 from Maui

Post Fri Dec 10, 2021 5:27 pm

Shankiphonic wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 3:47 pm
pekbro wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:44 pm
I like the microcosm on drums... imo the Zoia is better for granular probably, though they
are quite different. No mood here (yet).
I'll bet the microcosm is good on drums.
I like using Ableton's beat repeat on my drums to just get freaky, and I imagine microcosm would give me a similar result when I am working with hardware.

CBA pedals are pretty amazing -
I picked up a blooper in the height of lockdown... but I probably won't go in for any more CBA stuff in the foreseeable future.
it is incredibly powerful and full of features, but it's lacking on basic looper features. I'd use it a lot more than I do, for example, if it had more than 8 layers, or more than one channel. I'm using it more like a sampler/mangler than a looper.
It was a GAS impulse buy (they were very hard to find for a minute, and I couldn't resist when I found one). I'm not trashing the blooper at all. this is an expectation vs reality issue on my part.
We were talking about hardware synths. The blooper's ramping is almost like an LFO - it does some insane stuff, run some noise through that guy and it's a capable sound source...

I would probably use the mood, microcosm, or zoia more than I use the blooper, if I had one of those.
I use the Boss RC-500 looper currently, pretty similar to the looper in live imo. It's not perfect,
but it's pretty good. Likely I'll get the RC-600 at some point as well. The Blooper is on my list
definitely, though I have been not been super in a hurry to get it as it's quite expensive and
not overly suitable for basic looping as you say. The Zoia of course has a looper module but I
expect both of those dedicated units are generally better solutions.

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Sat Dec 11, 2021 1:28 pm

Shankiphonic wrote:
Fri Dec 10, 2021 1:13 pm
there's a couple reasons I move stuff around so much.
One is that I don't have enough space to use it all at once.
there's usually something put away. My next major hardware acquisition is a proper studio desk.
It's not an interface problem, not right now, anyway.
Having an ergonomic setup is crucial. If you can’t get to a piece of gear, why have it? Get that desk and proper risers for things. I put it off for a long time and I’m so glad I finally did it.
I'm not a pro - business sense was the wrong term. I really meant bang for buck. I've been through 1 great "gear selloff" in my life and 10 years later I'm back to more than I had originally. Resale value is a bonus.
Yeah, I hear you. It’s a tough one, because there are some nice things out there that I’d really like, but the cost keeps me from getting them. Not because I don’t think they’re worth the money, but because they do something or have a certain character that I know I won’t use that often.
No excuse necessary to not buy a pedal like the microcosm.
Well, the excuse I’m using is that it’s like cardamom. A great spice that I like, but not one that I use on a daily bases. It would get stale if I bought a bunch of high quality cardamom pods. I used to do a lot of ambient gigs, and that’s when something like the Microcosm would have been a must have, but it didn’t exist. So, is it worth $450? Not when I’ll use it every other month or so, and I do have Portal, RIBS and MGranulizerMB.
yes, I'm interested in completing some tracks.
I also enjoy making sketches, or snacks, or jams, or whatever. But lately I'm interested in the process of getting through a song.

I also like working on stuff with others. a little constructive pressure helps me produce also.
if you want to work on something together, I'm down. I'm on Mountain time.
Yeah, that could be fun. PM me with a link to some of your music and maybe it could work. I have some old stuff up, but my music basically sounds like this, though I’m all over the place.

http://www.zerocrossing.net/MP3s/A_Cata ... quests.mp3
Zerocrossing Media

4th Law of Robotics: When turning evil, display a red indicator light. ~[ ●_● ]~

grrrz
KVRer
26 posts since 2 Dec, 2021

Post Tue Dec 14, 2021 3:23 pm

each hardware or software synth has its own quirck and personnality; so the best is to pick something you like (and to demo it beforehand if possible). Software will be usually less expensive and more practical in the context of a DAW (with a midi controller); hardware will have hands-on controls and will be (hopefully) more fun to program. But apart from classic virtual analog or wavetable; some sounds will be only possible to produce with a specific synth (for example I don't think there is a plugin equivalent to the microfreak; specially the noise engineering algorithms).

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