Do I “need” analog synths?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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vurt
addled muppet weed
42879 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:10 am

i think of those on your list, the neutron would be a better starting point for that particular "modularesque" vibe.
although you would need to add a beat step or similar of course.
but the ms20 is a beast of a machine :)
cant say im familiar with the sq1 tbh, and the other behringers are cool too. definitely grabbing a crave myself :D

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toonertik
KVRian
998 posts since 15 Feb, 2017 from a worn out vinyl groove

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:37 pm

Jace-BeOS wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:11 am
toonertik wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:36 pm
BTW, I am not really a musician,
I’m not sure what the requirements are to be called a musician, ha ha :-)
toonertik wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:36 pm
It ain't serious.. it is the famous vurt toon.. with the neutron singing praise to vurt (or just screaming in pain, you decide).. hey.. lets not get too serious.. have a giggle :wink:
https://soundcloud.com/toonertik/singing-the-vuts
Interesting sounds. What was the signal flow? It sounds like drums being processed through and triggering a synth.
No drums were harmed in this Neutron outing.
I don't remember the exact signal flow. It was just 1_Neutron OSC2 tune up 2 Octaves and a fifth. Lots of modulation>> wave shaping, filter etc, this was then fed into VCV_Rack (Software eurorack thingy) where I split the signal into a filter or 2 and a reverb called plateau (but not in reverb mode, there is another mode, I forget the name) and some more modulation. I think I modulated the filter with one of the vult adsr's that has a "loop" mode, which I love and use quiet a lot, again modulating some of the parameters, attack , hold and release have profound effect on this looping .

I am definitely an unskilled muso.. I have been fortunate to have worked with some really fantastic musos ( I mean REALLY good) but in the 70's was not bad on percussion and played some sessions and gigs... but the money for me was in being an engineer, so that is the direction I followed.

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toonertik
KVRian
998 posts since 15 Feb, 2017 from a worn out vinyl groove

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:53 pm

vurt wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:10 am
i think of those on your list, the neutron would be a better starting point for that particular "modularesque" vibe.
although you would need to add a beat step or similar of course.
Without doubt the Neutron is an excellent "modularesque" device.
The beatstep is great for hands on.. but the Neutron behaves well with MIDI from DAW (which could be software sequencer or MIDI editor)
I have a thing called the Klee sequencer in VCV which is a mad M_Fer of a seq... still trying to tame that beast... because VCV doesn't have MIDI out yet I have to go through Expertsleepers software.. a bit clumsy but doable for my purpose.

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egbert101
KVRAF
2289 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:58 pm

I found this pretty educational when it comes to analog synthesizers and changes in tuning over time, particularly the Model D.

Behringer Model D Oscillator Tuning
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kDWEnOwHkU
<list all your stupid gear here>

JCJR
KVRAF
2570 posts since 17 Apr, 2005 from S.E. TN

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:38 pm

A big part of tuning instability was the way the 1V per octave gets converted to exponential current or voltage in the first stages of a VCO CV input circuit. Manufacturers typically tried to use matched transistors and special temp compensating resistors but that part of the circuit was real temp sensitive.

I don't know the CS 15 but if it was similar to later big brothers CS 50, 60, 80, it probably shows lower drift because it uses exponential CV oscillators rather than 1 V per octave. Exponential CV oscillators can drift, but they don't need the anti-log circuitry which is the most temp sensitive part of typical 1V per Oct oscillators.

CS 50, 60, and 80 used similar or identical voice boards. Just that the 50 had 4 voice boards, 60 had 8, and 80 had 16 of the voice boards (as best I recall).

Yamaha made their own vco and filter chips for those models and maybe Yamaha even had those chips to use in the CS15. Those exponential VCO chips had built in solid state thermostatic controlled heaters, so that they were designed to run at a constant temp a little hotter than typical operating environment.

So the chips would run at the same temp whether the room was cold or hot, and would "turn up the heat" just enough if maybe the air conditioning kicks in, so the osc stays in tune. They get tuning issues now that the synths are many decades old, but were remarkably stable when those synths were current production.

The problem is, exponential CV is not near as convenient for most stuff, especially a modular type of environment.

I played about a year around 1975 in this huge warehouse of a redneck rock/R&B club. El piano, Hammond, Freeman string symphonizer and two mono analog synths. My side of the stage was right under a giant industrial duty air conditioner vent. On weekend packed nights it would get about 100 degrees on stage with the dancefloor full and the stage lights on.

Then that AC would kick in like a winter cold front and my analog synths would drift completely unusable out of tune from one verse to the next verse in a song. I could start a solo in tune and have to swap to piano or organ halfway thru the solo because the synth drifted so fast. It was quite annoying. Would have rather it either stayed cold all the time or hot all the time on that stage.

There are other tuning factors such as power supply stability. But that guy's test could even be inconclusive-- Or maybe done well-- If his model D just happens to be in a part of the room with more air circulation, then it might drift more compared to a synth somewhere else in his room with less air circulation.

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egbert101
KVRAF
2289 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Wed Feb 13, 2019 4:18 am

These tuning issues are not as bad as I thought. Model D is back on my wish list. Apparently this happens with original Minimoogs too.
<list all your stupid gear here>

GearNostalgia
KVRist
280 posts since 28 Dec, 2017

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:27 pm

I can relate to almost all things you have taken up.

For endless years I treaded water doing the "moving notes randomly by ear routine hoping to spark a melody" or tweaking sounds hoping to inspire a melody. All that changed in recent years when I threw down 10 bucks a Udemy for an online music theory course. I did not expect much of it, but 10 bucks is not much to loose and while I was at home sick with cancer I had some time on my hands. Is sounds like a commercial, but I assure you I am definitley not a part of Udemy, it just was great for me. That course made all the loose pieces in my mental jigsaw fall into place. It was great.

As for trying hardware I feel the same about mouse and key. I have no problem with the sound out my VSTs but using them feels like eating with gloves on. Doabel, but slow and cumbersome.

I second the idea that if you get a physical synth you can always sell it second hand and not loose much in the process, And that is something to be taken granted for software. Stuff like Cubase and such can be sold, but stay away from stuff like kontakt-libraries and such if you are unsure. Most brands there have a strict policy of not allowing resale or refunds (some not even for broken software). So go hardware for testing the waters.

Jace-BeOS wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:26 am
I do one while in pursuit of the other. I don’t have a lot of success focusing on melody, and sound itself is what got me into this whole thing. Playing with sounds, hoping my brain will be triggered into a melody for them, is what I do most times. Sometimes fun, but usually not. I lost the ability to experience pleasure through this complicated stuff some time ago.

I might end a music/sound session having learned better about how something works; better is if I saved a few loops or ambient sounds for later use. If I’m lucky, I found myself awake after 26 hours, eyes wanting to clamp shut, with a piece of music that’s in a public demo state of completion. Lately, the share-worthy stuff I’ve made hasn’t been shared because it clearly needs vocals and I suck at putting words and music together, despite being able to sing.

As long as I am making something at all, I feel like I’m not neglecting my equipment. I do still need to figure out a process of using it all more effectively, though. The hardware, because it doesn’t have immediate feedback, or a feeling of direct control, tends to sit there going unused much of the time (it’s connected and routed, but not fun to play with), while the software gets used rather often because it’s right there on the computer where I’m sitting, where my sequencer and editors already are.

My efforts to create a standing workspace of hardware gadgets hasn’t come together because it’s all pretty static and menu-divy. I can’t bear the notion of selling that stuff because each has a unique facet that drew me in to buy it in the first place. Maybe standing and leaning over a workspace is the wrong approach for those items. Still haven’t cracked the workspace configuration problem.

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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
4961 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:42 am

I’m not against music theory, but I have a considerable neurological limitation with it. I have “dyscalculia”. It’s basically mild dyslexia and shitty working memory (while most people can keep mental track of 7 +/- 2 items, I struggle to keep track of 2 or 3 items... plus or minus 2).

Math itself has been a massive area of difficulty for me. Much of music theory is math and keeping multiple variables in mind at once (complicated by needing dexterity, if playing an instrument).

Same issues with component electronics, chemistry, programming... I did some minor programming once and it required a lot of time and help from people who didn’t have my problems; I was never creative or inventive with it. I know enough to understand the concepts and be an irritant to lazy, maintain-the-status-quo-type programmers ;-)

With music, I think I’m better off practicing my physical skills. That dexterity thing is also an issue for me (essential tremor, fine motor skills). I need to play keys and strings more; get a feel for where the notes are and how to transition from one to another. Learning some chords would be helpful, but I suck hard at rote memorization too.

I’m more expressive and inventive with melodies and such when I can sit down and PLAY; feeling the music as a kind of play is an important part that I’ve lost track of. While my comfort and dexterity has improved slightly over the years, it’s never gotten to a “player” level.

That’s on me, but it’s also down to having been lead by the nose to pay so much attention to computer screen menus & controls, and relying on mouse-pointers as control interfaces. MIDI controls, having low resolution and a constant need to be configured, as I’ve complained about earlier in this thread, haven’t solved this. So, I seek one-control-per-function, physical, analog synths.
- dysamoria.com
my music @ SoundCloud

GearNostalgia
KVRist
280 posts since 28 Dec, 2017

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:21 pm

I never thought the day would come when I would be the one to push for music theory, but take a look at Udemy. There really is not much to it. You don't have to memorize it. Just understanding it. Then and setting the scale in your DAW and start pushing notes up and down and it will start to rock.

As for knob per function i am all for that as well. And the funny thing is that if you go into modular and get some sequencer modules you will soon discover that a surpricing amount of music can be achieved with just a few step sequencers, LFOs and dividers. Divide in half, and half again... and there you go...

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vurt
addled muppet weed
42879 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:21 pm

you can do a hell of a lot without even thinking about music theory.
im no theory expert, but i know the basics, scales/chords/ and so on, and when im writing "music" it's useful :)

however, when im jamming on the modular, everything! is done without thinking about anything other than "oh my gods that sounds amazing' or "hmmmwhat happens if i connect these two?"
there is no thought to notes or timing, just the sound.

it depends what you are trying to achieve.
can it be useful? yes.
but given what you've outlined about not being able to understand it fully because of discalcula, id have to say, have fun without it. if trying to learn it is going to frustrate you and possibly turn you away from music, what's the point?

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topaz
KVRAF
4365 posts since 15 Jul, 2001 from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, U.K

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:36 pm

Considering selling both of these soon as even though I thought I would use them I never do, much like any other hardware I have owned, coming into music production from the birth of soft synths for me they are just easier.

vurt wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:23 am
need? no.
might you enjoy it? possibly.

for the price of a beat step pro and a neutron you could find out, or if there's shops nearby test it a few times and see if it draws you in.

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vurt
addled muppet weed
42879 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:44 pm

well, not saying it would be for everyone :hihi:
but as a test, i think it's a reasonable outlay, in comparison to even one row of modules.

im still keeping the neutron on my list to buy, but the bspro is off, i got the crazy 8 in the charity auction, plus i have a few seq modules, so im covered for sequencers
i think :lol:

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topaz
KVRAF
4365 posts since 15 Jul, 2001 from Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, U.K

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:39 pm

My issue is I finish tracks when using software but noodle for ages with hardware. :hihi:
vurt wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:44 pm
well, not saying it would be for everyone :hihi:
but as a test, i think it's a reasonable outlay, in comparison to even one row of modules.

im still keeping the neutron on my list to buy, but the bspro is off, i got the crazy 8 in the charity auction, plus i have a few seq modules, so im covered for sequencers
i think :lol:

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
9427 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:03 pm

Jace-BeOS wrote:
Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:02 pm
(This is another thread about expressivity and control; NOT yet another thread about analog vs digital sound quality)

How is everyone dealing with low resolution MIDI? Or aren’t you?
Not dealing with it. I’ve never been a guy to use MIDI CC to control something like filter cutoff, except for using mod wheel or aftertouch.
I noticed zipper noise in low resolution MIDI CC. I can’t stop noticing it (I’ve made a post about this before, I think, but can’t find it). I’m also tired of on-screen controls. I’ve an MS-20ic USB MIDI controller; it solves the tactile problem, but not the zipper noise.
I’ve had better results hosting a plugin inside Maschine, which an be had for cheap if you don’t mind v1 hardware (which was good, IMO)
I’m also bored with the limited expression on keyboards. I’ll never have a Haken Continuum. The Roli Seaboard isn’t cheap either, especially considering the results. I’ve followed the Roli Seaboard thread and it seems they’re still not reliably built. It also has nothing to do with high resolution MIDI control, and has no analog connections; its entire use, including MIDI, is tied to computers.
Why never? Yeah, they’re expensive, but good hardware instruments are expensive. I’ve had a Rise 49 for a long time now and I’ve yet to have a single issue with it. It’s as solidly built as anything that I’ve ever owned. YOLO dude. Save up. Also, you don’t need a computer if you have an MPE synth like a Micromonsta or 002. The Rise Block starts at about $300. Not that bad.
I’m considering buying a Behringer Neutron & Model D, and controllers (like the Eowave Ribbon 2, since Doepfer’s is discontinued, and an Arturia KeyStep and/or a Korg SQ-1) and begining my first play with actual analog synthesis. I’ve had my eye on Korg’s MS-20 mini for ages but the $300 Behringer synths look like a lot of bang for buck, and would allow me to get experience with not only real analog but also with doing some modular routing. I want a ribbon for long continuous pitch slides/pressure, etc, and the SQ-1/KeyStep for obvious uses.
As someone who lives in both worlds, I can vouch for the magic of a good hardware synth, analog or otherwise. However, it is a different thing. To me it reminds me of the difference between using a physical modeled guitar synth and a guitar. I’m not saying that one is better than the other. They’re just different and can lead to different results. You will gain things, like no zipper noise from changing CV, but you will lose other things, patch memory, easy automation inside a DAW.
This requires spending some of the money set aside for a new Mac Pro (whenever the hell that comes along, I probably still won’t be able to afford it). I’m poor (this is tax rebate savings), but thinking about putting some priority on entertainment for quality-of-life reasons. Playing with sound on the 3rd floor keeps me away from the majority of the neighbors’ noise (they don’t seem to use their 3rd floors).
Like I said, save up. There’s no reason you can’t continue on with what you’re doing until you have the cash to get something fun. Hell, look at the Microfreak. $300! Polyphonic aftertouch and a hybrid synth that sounds amazing.
Priorities are hard. I once got caught up irrationally buying gear to “treat” misery, years back, but that was when I was under the influence of psych drugs (and had money & credit). Now I’m only under the influence of hating my life situation and desiring some kind of growth in my music gear experiences. Entertaining one’s self is important. So, I think I’m being rational here; I know buying stuff wont make me happy.
Well, happiness comes from within, blah blah blah, but as an artist, I can tell you that unhappiness can come from wrestling with gear that won’t do what you want it to do. That said, a real musician will make music with what ever they can get their hands on.
It’s either this or buying a new TV, a game console, games (or a new gaming PC, which I do not want)... and that’s even MORE expensive. Besides, music can be productive.
I make video games for a living and I can assure you that games don’t become more fun over time. Sometimes less fun.
The question is: Do I “need” analog synths? I’m not keen on lacking patch recall, but it looks fun to play with that stuff; having a control for everything helps with expression, right? I have some nice digital hardware and a DAW, but that’s all work; I’m not having fun there. I want immediate feedback without menus & mousing. Touch screen stuff on my iPad isn’t doing it for me because it’s not tactile (though the most expressive synth I’ve used so far is FingerFiddle on iOS). A side benefit seems to be processing other gear through analog synths.

Generic controllers have yet to do any of this right, IMO, but they’re also limited to MIDI, and MIDI... MIDI never changes. The only controller I have with high-resolution knobs is Native Instruments’ Kore (discontinued years ago). It’s useless to me on current Mac OS (I could use it on Snow Leopard, but Kore is also lots of menu diving & mousing). Yeah, 14-bit MIDI exists, but most software / controllers don’t support it, and I’ve failed to figure out how I’d use it if I could (Logic supports it; none of my controllers do?). “14-bit” isn’t something you can search for on KVR. I’ve used Google and DuckDuckGo and read about it, to no avail. No search results for using Kore with 14-bit CC. It’s just not talked about much. When it is, it’s usually people discussing WHAT 14-bit CC means and how it works; not a practical “here’s how to make use of it”.

Is there a real solution to the low resolution controller problem with MIDI? Are we locked into a choice between “128-step CC” OR “analog gear”? I’ve been looking at this problem for years. I’ve yet to see a real solution. OSC is higher resolution, but has network latency, is a PITA to configure, has little support, and is all computer-based or touch-screen based, so the tactile thing is moot. HD MIDI/MIDI 2.0 seems like it won’t arrive in my lifetime (if it appeared today, nothing would support it anyway). Digital synths (and many portable analog synths!) have been like this since day one of MIDI. It’s like people don’t care (I didn’t grasp it until a few years ago). Those who do care are already(?) playing with analog synths and handling them like you’d do any live performance device (record the audio into the DAW and move on).

Ultimately, I want to make music and I want the process to be more dynamic. I’m not having fun now. Analog looks like it might be fun... but also frustrating... but also more immediate... except for patch recall; hence frustration...

??????
No one “needs” analog synths. Like I mentioned before, you can get some of that Kore functionality in Maschine and it will run on your current system. I’ve seen MK1s run $200 with the full v2 software. Oh, where have I seen that? I’m selling mine! :lol: (lost space, not because of problems with it) There are also ways around having modular functionality and still having presets memory. I’ve got a Microvolt 3900 wired up to my Pro 2 as basically a 5th oscillator and it works brilliantly. (Wish the Pro 2 had more CV i/o...) That’s an expensive way to go, but I’ve also spent years being broke too and I always seemed to manage making cool noise with whatever I could get my hands on.
Zerocrossing Media

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

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pekbro
KVRAF
2538 posts since 29 Sep, 2010 from Maui

Re: Do I “need” analog synths?

Post Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:21 pm

I picked up an SQ 1 the other day, I quite like it. Good build quality and whatnot, metal case with good
buttons. The knobs are a bit tiny, though thats not a problem for me. I got it because I am not a big
fan of Arturia, even though their step sequencers might offer more functionality. Works great with
my modular and everything else. Of course, I don't need a fancy step sequencer as I already have the
Rene 2 from Make Noise. What I wanted, was the opposite, traditional, uncomplicated etc. :tu:

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