What are the differences between the Synclavier and the DX7?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRist
42 posts since 6 Dec, 2020

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:54 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:14 am
I can respect the effort that went into programming dexxed without having to like the quality of how it sounds.
There's no "quality of how it sounds". It's sine waves and FM algorithms, the math of those has been thoroughly understood for at least a century now.

It's one thing to prefer DX7 V because you prefer the UI - I frankly think the V collection UI is excellent, and click-and-drag envelopes were enough to almost tempt me into buying DX7 V standalone before I got a hold of my senses and waited for a sale on the whole V collection - but trying to make it about "sound", and particularly the specific complaints you have about the sound, tells me that either you're comparing it to processed/mastered samples, or you're confused by the extra built-in FX of the DX7 V, which are convenient but nothing that can't be added to a Dexed patch.

Or you're just going through the built-in presets and deciding that the Arturia presets are better than the Dexed presets - which is possible for a reasonable individual to conclude, but that's the presets sounding better, not the synth sounding better. It's saying Car A is better than Car B because the radio in Car A is tuned to your favorite station.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:13 am
Not sure why there's a need to be defensive about this. I don't like how Dexxed sounds.
The only person being defensive in this thread is you. You have a logical reason to be defensive, considering the rest of the thread is mostly calling you an idiot, but they have a logical reason to be calling you an idiot, considering you came in here three days ago asking about the differences between the Synclavier and DX7 and are now trying to give advice based on how you think an emulation of the DX7 should sound.

KVRist
184 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:09 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:16 am
I will give dexxed another go, but I do struggle with FM. Altering one parameter seems to mean every other connected parameter/operator can also be changed and so sound design is a nightmare, despite the possibilities
Sounds like you should first learn a 4 operator FM synth instead of going straight to 6 operators. If you can't make a 4 operator FM synth sound great, you won't have much luck with 6 operators either. Especially with a GUI as clunky as the one in Dexed.

KVRist
51 posts since 3 Dec, 2009

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:49 am

crickey13 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:09 am
ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:16 am
I will give dexxed another go, but I do struggle with FM. Altering one parameter seems to mean every other connected parameter/operator can also be changed and so sound design is a nightmare, despite the possibilities
Sounds like you should first learn a 4 operator FM synth instead of going straight to 6 operators. If you can't make a 4 operator FM synth sound great, you won't have much luck with 6 operators either. Especially with a GUI as clunky as the one in Dexed.
Good idea. Even better might be to learn a 2 operator synth like Plogue’s chipsynth PortaFM or OPL. With two operators, you can pretty quickly figure out how basic FM works.

Dexed does a very good job at emulating the DX7. As a matter of personal taste, it may not be your thing.

KVRist

Topic Starter

248 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:36 am

crickey13 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:09 am
ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:16 am
I will give dexxed another go, but I do struggle with FM. Altering one parameter seems to mean every other connected parameter/operator can also be changed and so sound design is a nightmare, despite the possibilities
Sounds like you should first learn a 4 operator FM synth instead of going straight to 6 operators. If you can't make a 4 operator FM synth sound great, you won't have much luck with 6 operators either. Especially with a GUI as clunky as the one in Dexed.
What would you suggest?

KVRist
184 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:46 am

nominil wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:49 am
Dexed does a very good job at emulating the DX7. As a matter of personal taste, it may not be your thing.
I do like Dexed, it's just that it's not the quickest synth to work with. I oftentimes wish I could adjust the envelopes through their graphical representation rather than fiddling with these knobs, it slows down the sound creation process to some extent. The sound is good enough and I like the 24 bit interpolation, it suits my needs. I always put either a DAC emulation or a waveshaper anyway to add some interest to my patches, so the raw sound itself is not as important as in case of VAs or wavetable synths. With that being said, I'm pretty sure it sounds close enough to the original DX7 MKI.
ghostwhistler wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 7:36 am
What would you suggest?
There is a ton of free 4-op FM synths, but Sonicbits Exakt Lite is probably the best of them: a very clear interface, some TX-style waveforms and a nice oscilloscope, which is very useful for educational purposes I imagine. Sounds nice as well.

If you use either Ableton or Bitwig, both of these have great built-in FM synths and I believe both of them are 4-op. Ableton's Operator spectral editor is also useful for learning the addtive synthesis and then combining it with FM, but for the time being, I suggest you stick with FM exclusively, just remember to pair it up with a nice saturator or a waveshaper. An FM patch using mostly 1:1:1:1 ratios and then getting processed through soft clipping or generally an analog style saturation unit can sound incredibly warm as well as analog in the hybrid/West Coast sort of way. I find that FM sounds great with a sine shaper too, albeit in a considerably more digital way. FM in combination with TAL chorus sounds dope as well.

To make things a little easier, remember that the 1:1 modulator/carrier ratio produces a sawtooth-like wave, 2:1 yields something approximate to a square wave, whereas 3:1 is closer to a pulse wave. Higher ratios tend to sound more digital, brittle and metallic. The aforementioned description is a gross oversimplification obviously, but it makes things a little easier to grasp and you can go from there and figure out the rest, just remember to not overdrive the carrier and only use a moderate amount of signal to modulate the carrier. The more you crank up the level of modulators, the more metallic the final sound will get. FM doesn't have to sound metallic and just a small amount of FM modulation usually yields the most pleasing results. Maybe FM is not for you, but bear in mind that it's probably one of the best if not the best form of sound synthesis for creating detailed transient-oriented material and is a bit of a sonic chameleon, it can do both "analog" and digital if you try hard enough and get the feel of things.

Good luck.

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KVRist
37 posts since 24 Jan, 2021

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:15 am

Lint_Huffer7 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:54 am
There's no "quality of how it sounds". It's sine waves and FM algorithms, the math of those has been thoroughly understood for at least a century now.
It's not quite that simple. Careful analysis of Yamaha's early FM synths shows some internal digital aliasing, thanks to the way it generated sine waves from a low-resolution wavetable. Modern FM synths generate sine waves with arbitrary precision, so they produce "cleaner" sounds, even when they implement the same algorithms and play the same patches. There have been a few threads about this, mostly from before the original release of Dexed. I think Dexed did implement the wavetable approach, though, because its entire goal is to perfectly recreate the DX7.

KVRist
51 posts since 3 Dec, 2009

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:38 am

crickey13 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 9:46 am
nominil wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:49 am
Dexed does a very good job at emulating the DX7. As a matter of personal taste, it may not be your thing.
I do like Dexed, it's just that it's not the quickest synth to work with. I oftentimes wish I could adjust the envelopes through their graphical representation rather than fiddling with these knobs, it slows down the sound creation process to some extent. The sound is good enough and I like the 24 bit interpolation, it suits my needs. I always put either a DAC emulation or a waveshaper anyway to add some interest to my patches, so the raw sound itself is not as important as in case of VAs or wavetable synths. With that being said, I'm pretty sure it sounds close enough to the original DX7 MKI.
Ah sorry, crickey. I was responding to the OP. I agree that Dexed doesn’t have the best UI. KQ Dixie on iOS does a much better job, imho. In most ways, the Arturia DX also has a superior UI. I’ll always be a big fan of Dexed though.

KVRist
42 posts since 6 Dec, 2020

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:17 pm

Super Piano Hater 64 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:15 am
Lint_Huffer7 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:54 am
There's no "quality of how it sounds". It's sine waves and FM algorithms, the math of those has been thoroughly understood for at least a century now.
It's not quite that simple.
I understand where you're coming from, but... it's that simple.

The DAC and aliasing only come into play when "best-sounding" is taken to mean "closest-to-a-hardware-DX7" (and in that case, the only matter really up for debate is whether Dexed/DX7 V is a mosquito's pube better than DX7 V/Dexed or if they're both equally top-of-class great), but it's pretty clear from his posts that he wasn't intending "best-sounding" like that.

In which case, you switch the Engine Resolution from Mark 1 to Modern and it becomes pure sine waves and math.

A reasonable person can not like the FM sound, which is often cheesy and quiet-sounding, but someone asking if a Stratocaster sounds better than a Les Paul isn't going to be helped much by "no, you can't do a slow crescendo and there aren't any good low-pitched sounds".

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KVRist
37 posts since 24 Jan, 2021

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:50 pm

Lint_Huffer7 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 12:17 pm
Super Piano Hater 64 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:15 am
Lint_Huffer7 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 5:54 am
There's no "quality of how it sounds". It's sine waves and FM algorithms, the math of those has been thoroughly understood for at least a century now.
It's not quite that simple.
I understand where you're coming from, but... it's that simple.

The DAC and aliasing only come into play when "best-sounding" is taken to mean "closest-to-a-hardware-DX7" (and in that case, the only matter really up for debate is whether Dexed/DX7 V is a mosquito's pube better than DX7 V/Dexed or if they're both equally top-of-class great), but it's pretty clear from his posts that he wasn't intending "best-sounding" like that.

In which case, you switch the Engine Resolution from Mark 1 to Modern and it becomes pure sine waves and math.

A reasonable person can not like the FM sound, which is often cheesy and quiet-sounding, but someone asking if a Stratocaster sounds better than a Les Paul isn't going to be helped much by "no, you can't do a slow crescendo and there aren't any good low-pitched sounds".
I agree that Dexed isn't "worse;" it's pretty clear from other posts that OP just didn't know how to use it. I think we're on the same page now.

KVRist
180 posts since 11 Sep, 2017

Post Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:21 pm

That like comparing a rutabaga to a hex nut.
2 very different beasts.

KVRist

Topic Starter

248 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:00 am

Could A synclavier do the kind of FM electric piano that TDream use (i had no idea what it was for years, and I could still be wrong):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUBY12JvEYo

Assuming that's a DX7. I know they used 'em

KVRist

Topic Starter

248 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:23 am

So I've started tinking with Dexxed a bit more properly. It is an impressive feat, all these vst's are. I couldn't do it. I just think it's a bit too quiet sounding. I don't think it's bad in any way.

However I cannot work out the EG dials. THe graphic is too small to see what they are doing. I assume they are ADSR controls but they aren't producing results intuitively. Is there anywhere that has a labelled diagram of this interface? THanks

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KVRian
1051 posts since 8 Feb, 2013 from Switzerland

Post Tue Feb 23, 2021 9:07 am

Image

Picture 1: Basic DX7 Operator Envelope Parametric

Image

Picture 2: DX7 Operator Envelope ADSR Setting

KVRist
184 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:29 am

ghostwhistler wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:00 am
Assuming that's a DX7. I know they used 'em
It also might've been a PPG, that's one of their most favorite synths and that would be my first guess. Honestly, you would have to ask Froese himself to get a straight answer.

KVRist

Topic Starter

248 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:17 pm

crickey13 wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:29 am
ghostwhistler wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 9:00 am
Assuming that's a DX7. I know they used 'em
It also might've been a PPG, that's one of their most favorite synths and that would be my first guess. Honestly, you would have to ask Froese himself to get a straight answer.
I'll get my shovel

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