Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

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SoulState
KVRist
143 posts since 30 Dec, 2008

Post Thu May 28, 2020 1:44 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCCm00KESUk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8d2uYYw6CM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtGZNc6van8

Modern processors have computing power like supercomputers of 2000
But almost all modern VST synths sounds "lifeless" and thin..
Spire, Dune 3, Synthmaster, Avenger, etc. etc... countless "Virus Killers" it's all sounding like plastic TOYS. Compared to 20-years old hardware VA's. These vst synths basically sounds too thin or muddy in the top-end, or (often) both... There is some good analog models (clones) like U-He Re-Pro series or Softube modular. But not any good sounding "Digital" synth...
What's the problem?
Last edited by SoulState on Fri May 29, 2020 7:08 am, edited 3 times in total.

ShawnG
KVRian
783 posts since 27 Apr, 2005

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 2:10 pm

SoulState wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 1:44 pm

What's the problem?
Thinking that personal opinions constitute objective truth?

SoulState
KVRist
143 posts since 30 Dec, 2008

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 2:12 pm

ShawnG wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 2:10 pm
Thinking that personal opinions constitute objective truth?
I want to ask software developers,
1. You don't hear the difference
2. You hear, but you can't make that / don't know how

ShawnG
KVRian
783 posts since 27 Apr, 2005

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 2:21 pm

SoulState wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 2:12 pm
ShawnG wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 2:10 pm
Thinking that personal opinions constitute objective truth?
If you-re not deaf there is nothing personal. Anyone with some normal hearing tell you exactly the same
:roll:

To be flatly honest, I've not owned any of these synths, so I haven't formed any opinion and am not going to be able to discuss it. however there are people I respect, with well developed skills of reasoning, logic, and ability to cogently construct a valid argument who have both good hearing AND experience with both older hardware VAs and modern softsynths and... they tend to come down on both sides of the fence on this one. so I tend to doubt your stridently spoken opinion as fact.

SoulState
KVRist
143 posts since 30 Dec, 2008

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 3:44 pm

I respect the effort of software developers, but i want to realize, what the cause of that - lack of skills or simply they don't care about how it sounds, or maybe like that "type" of sound? (all of them btw)

About hardware users - all of them which i know tell the same - vst is nothing close in terms of sound to the even older (20 years!) VA synths. I hear exaclty the same. Otherwise, they would simply switch to VST and be happy.
Most Vst is good for usability etc etc, but not the sound.
So 20-year old VA-s it's basically a vst in the box, same digital algos (or not the same?)

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Jbravo
KVRian
1488 posts since 20 May, 2002 from Cambridge, UK

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 4:13 pm

I don't think hardware users would just switch to VST for the sound. Hardware owners LOVE their gear for many reasons, the sound is but one of them
THIS IS MY MUSIC: https://sptfy.com/dn31 :phones:

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zerocrossing
KVRAF
10200 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 6:32 pm

SoulState wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 1:44 pm
What's the problem?
Confirmation bias.
Zerocrossing Media

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

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BONES
GRRRRRRR!
10003 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 7:26 pm

SoulState wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 3:44 pm
About hardware users - all of them which i know tell the same - vst is nothing close in terms of sound to the even older (20 years!) VA synths.
Well, you can tell them from me that they are complete f**king idiots. You should certainly have no respect for their opinions because they clearly have no idea what they are talking about. I have an Ultranova, the ultimate refinement of the SuperNova engine, and I can assure it doesn't sound as good as DUNE or Thorn or Equator or any of my other more high-end V/A VSTi. It's a great synth, probably the best hardware synth I have ever owned, but it can't hold a candle to DUNE's sound quality.
Otherwise, they would simply switch to VST and be happy.
No, if they did that they'd have to admit they have clung to inferior technology for far too long.
Most Vst is good for usability etc etc, but not the sound.
Most decent VSTi are better for sound as well as usability.
So 20-year old VA-s it's basically a vst in the box, same digital algos (or not the same?)
Of course they are the same. Novation have even made VSTi versions of some of their hardware synths. I had both a K-Station and V-Station. I conducted a blind test here on KVR and only half the people who responded picked which was the hardware, which in a 50:50 test tells you that they were just guessing. They sounded identical.

There is no special magic in hardware. It's just code running through a processor, same as a computer. If your friends were to run their hardware synths through the same audio I/O device and into the same amp/speakers as a VSTi goes through, they would hear that for themselves.
NOVAkILL 4.0 : Dell G7 (Core i7, 32GB RAM, RTX2060, Win10), UR44C | Cubase | DUNE, Thorn, TRK-01, Union, bx_oberhausen, Vacuum Pro, Arcsyn, Phase Plant, Mono/Fury, Pigments, Aparillo | Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova.

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SJ_Digriz
KVRAF
6000 posts since 5 Jul, 2001 from Just about .... there

Re: Why even modern VST Synths cant't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 7:39 pm

BONES wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 7:26 pm
If your friends were to run their hardware synths through the same audio I/O device and into the same amp/speakers as a VSTi goes through, they would hear that for themselves.
I knew the day would come that I would agree with Bones on something. I don't think it's the glass of scotch sitting to my left either. :hihi:
I've played this game with VA vs the real deal by sending the audio out to a mixer and through proper $$ pres and various speaker cabs. In other words treat the VA like hardware. Even the golden eared cork sniffers are baffled. I LIKE external hardware. I enjoy playing real hardware. I can afford stupidly priced hardware. But I don't think it sounds "better". Give them equal signal chain and I'll put my money on a hung jury looking for a quick exit drink or something to puff on.
If you have to ask, you can't afford the answer

johnwoo
KVRist
61 posts since 7 May, 2012

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Thu May 28, 2020 9:46 pm

Today this debate is pointless , many emu vsti sound like hardware , U-he Diva , Repro 1/5 , Synapse The Legend , Native Instruments The Monarh and the list can go on. Nobody have super ears to hear every nuance of a sound . it's just about everyone taste ...

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TheMaestro
KVRist
383 posts since 26 Jan, 2020

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Fri May 29, 2020 12:05 am

“Doesn’t come close to the sound of hardware”, and “sounds better than hardware” are very different.
If the Earth was flat, cats would have pushed everything off the edge a long time ago.

recursive one
KVRAF
4900 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Fri May 29, 2020 12:23 am

As an oldschool trance lover and an Access Virus owner I can totally see where you are coming from. The demos you posted sound awesome to my taste and I agree that it's not really that easy to get all these sounds form software with 100% authentic character - you can do something kinda similar with Spire or Dune, but then you process it, layer it, compress the hell of it and then it doesn't really matter what was the original synth :)

But i think it's not the matter of the lack of skills in the developers, rather the lack of interest and demand. These sounds went out of fashion 5-10 years ago, trance sounds different these days, the sound of Spire (mainstream trance) or Serum (psytrance) is the new norm. Also these synths are considered techncially inferior, with aliasing, bandlimited oscillators and other limitations of old digital tech which is now considered as flaws and drawbacks.

Viper is a really good effort to bring the sound of classic hardware VAs to modern DAW, it's not a perfect sonic replica of Virus but definitiely a step in the right direction. Maybe more developers will follow this route if they realize there is still some demand for this exact sound (Virus, JP8000, Nordlead, Yamaha AN1x).
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

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DJ Warmonger
KVRAF
3849 posts since 7 Jun, 2012 from Warsaw

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Fri May 29, 2020 1:03 am

Or maybe it's just nostalgia. Why computer games are not as fun as 20 years ago? Well, because I'm 20 years older now :v
http://djwarmonger.wordpress.com/
Tricky-Loops wrote: (...)someone like Armin van Buuren who claims to make a track in half an hour and all his songs sound somewhat boring(...)

recursive one
KVRAF
4900 posts since 7 Feb, 2013

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Fri May 29, 2020 1:08 am

DJ Warmonger wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 1:03 am
Or maybe it's just nostalgia.
Sure :) The same thing that drives the demand for these countless analog emulations.
You may think you can fly ... but you better not try

urosh
KVRist
310 posts since 4 Oct, 2002

Re: Why even modern VST Synths can't sound like 20 year-old Hardware VA Synths?

Post Fri May 29, 2020 2:00 am

Some really funny details:
1) all examples are drenched in FX, making comparisons nearly pointless
2) first example is Polyevolver. I guess OP doesn't know much about Evolver series, because it wouldn't bring it up for this particular topic.
3) funny thing about second example is that bazillion peoplez complained about Ultranova engine compared to older Supernova engine in Novation VAs, so one might think that HW companies "don't know how to do it". It sounds better then Polyevolver in these particular examples, but then again, I had K-Station for a while and was not impressed by it, but not nearly as unimpressed as with Nord Lead 3 which constantly pulled trick of magically disappearing in the mix. Nord did f**k that one up, so they reverted to older engine on NL4 iirc
4) I remember endless complains back then about "weedy sound" of AN-1X compared to "good" stuff like JP-8000

Don't have much experience with other pure VA plugins that OP mentioned, but Dune sure sounds stunning (if one turns FX off), however it doesn't sound like Virus. Most of these first generation VAs have their own particular sound, but are usually technically inferior to newer stuff. I like MS2000 engine, but oh boy, people were complaining about it's tone endlessly when it came out, and lot of complaints were not baseless.

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