Software vs Hardware Synth (better investment for beginners?)

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
KVRAF
7017 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Post Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 pm

I also have a RYTM and it is a superb bit of kit. Small footprint, individual outs and a great sequencer, audio in with access to fx, overbridge etc. No doubt in my mind (and many other peoples) that it is one of the best hardware drum machines available.I think the argument on if a real analogue synth, drum or distortion sounds better than a VA equivalent has been done to death and people will have to be an agree to differ on that one!

In software I probably use SD3 most (I play drums a bit so often try and play in live with my V kit then edit....often a lot as I am not a great drummer!) and I also loved Tremor, but for no good reason other than a nicer GUI I use SB Drum Computer for the type of stuff I would have used Tremor for. I’m a sucker for a pretty face!

I realise not everyone has the space or inclination to learn to drum, but electronic kits are amazingly cheap now and can have a very small footprint...in terms of hardware Vs Software an e-kit is a great option...and you get a new appreciation for drums as a skill (and how tiring it is!) when you actually hit something with a stick rather than drag a mouse across your DAW!
PC, Studio One, BWS, Live, FL Studio, Renoise, X32 Desk, Hardware Synths, Grove Boxes + Eurorack, TD27 V Drums, Guitars & Basses

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KVRAF
18740 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:44 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 10:24 pm
pdxindy wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:06 pm
the Rytm gets results that software cannot. And the same goes in the other direction.
You can say that until you are blue in the face but we both know that it's just bullshit.
If I thought it wasn't so, I wouldn't say it.

I say that analog hardware in various use cases has a sound character digital doesn't. Plus various hardware interfaces invite different results just like a guitar does compared to a piano. Also that hardware has or can have some logistical advantages . I say can have cause not every hardware interface is designed well or prioritizes what I find advantageous.

You of course disagree and have made quite few posts saying so... I don't see much else to say to each other, cause it just goes round.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuFOkAL8ihM

KVRer
15 posts since 10 Apr, 2021

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:18 am

100% soft synth to start out imo. Emulations have come along so well that most analog vsts sounds almost identical to their real-life counterparts. The korg polysix/monopoly collection and a large margin of the u-he library comes to mind. Tal-u-no-lx is a phenomenal juno emulation. Learning the basic principles of sound design and becoming an adequate patch maker before even considering a physical piece was the path I'd recommend. That being said, if keys is integral to your background, having something more tangible may work better for you. But if you're in it for "the sound", I wouldn't bother quite yet.

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KVRAF
18740 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:44 am

SLiC wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 pm
I also have a RYTM and it is a superb bit of kit. Small footprint, individual outs and a great sequencer, audio in with access to fx, overbridge etc. No doubt in my mind (and many other peoples) that it is one of the best hardware drum machines available.I think the argument on if a real analogue synth, drum or distortion sounds better than a VA equivalent has been done to death and people will have to be an agree to differ on that one!
It becomes a problem when the word better comes in... which is subjective.

Analog has some characteristics that digital has not audibly duplicated. Audio rate modulations and distortion are two areas where there are readily discernible differences in results. Whether those differences matter to someone or if someone prefers the digital version is subjective. One cannot really say better, only at most different.

btw, the through-zero FM of the Rossum Linnaeus filter is shockingly coherent. As soon as I heard it, it was whoa, that is something different!

But setting that A vs D part aside... if I wrote Plasmonic or Bazille gives some different sounds than anything else I've tried in software, there would not be the sort of response that saying a particular piece of hardware (Rytm) gets results not available in software.

Take the Korg Wavestate... The new wavesequencing 2.0 engine has no equivalent in a VST. So if one wants that functionality, hardware is the only current option. Eurorack has a lot of creative development happening. It is a rich and fertile space. There are various digital euro-modules that have no VST equivalent. This part has nothing to do with A vs D.

Then there is interface. A guitar and a piano are both stringed instruments, but the interfaces give rather different results. There are lots of creative interfaces showing up in hardware, including euro-modules. Those also lead to different results. Even if the Rytm were digital with a 100% identical VST version, the hardware interface would still give different results than someone using the VST version with mouse and screen.

So those are 3 different aspects...
1 - whether there is a sound character difference between analog and digital
2 - whether there even is a software equivalent for some hardware
3 - whether the interface plays a significant part in someones musical experience

None of the 3 need the word better to discuss them.

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KVRist
220 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:01 am

False dichotomy all together. It is not an either or neither. If hardware can do something you need that you do not think softies can, who will punish you if you buy both? I have had both since the dawn of softies, and no Gear-police have raided my home yet. These fantasy-dichotomies live in their own narrow and delusive loops on the internet. Most amazing is to see how people act and discuss as if they made any difference to anything for anyone. Who has ever changed his bias and habits on basis of such debates? Not me, I guarantee.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 Karma, MC909, Microkorg, MU100R/VL70 w. BC1, Nord Lead 2, Polivoks, Prophecy, WSA-1, Mac Pro w. Reason 11 Suite + Nektar P4 + Nektar Impact LX25+.

KVRAF
7017 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:01 am

Eurorack is a better 'investment' - I just sold 2 modules on ebay for a lot more than I paid for them!!
PC, Studio One, BWS, Live, FL Studio, Renoise, X32 Desk, Hardware Synths, Grove Boxes + Eurorack, TD27 V Drums, Guitars & Basses

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KVRAF
18740 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:24 am

SLiC wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:01 am
Eurorack is a better 'investment' - I just sold 2 modules on ebay for a lot more than I paid for them!!
:tu:

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KVRAF
2604 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from A Swede Living in Budapest

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:30 am

SLiC wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 pm
I also have a RYTM and it is a superb bit of kit. Small footprint, individual outs and a great sequencer, audio in with access to fx, overbridge etc. No doubt in my mind (and many other peoples) that it is one of the best hardware drum machines available.
And don't forget the Dual VCO mode which can turn the Rytm into a pretty nasty monosynth (times four if you want).
Plughugger Sound Design
VINTAGE NO. 5 - Vintage Electronica for U-HE DIVA
HARDWARE SAMPLER FANATIC - Akai S1100/S950/Z8 - Casio FZ20m - Emu Emax I - Ensoniq ASR10/EPS

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KVRAF
18740 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:40 am

DrGonzo wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:30 am
SLiC wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 11:09 pm
I also have a RYTM and it is a superb bit of kit. Small footprint, individual outs and a great sequencer, audio in with access to fx, overbridge etc. No doubt in my mind (and many other peoples) that it is one of the best hardware drum machines available.
And don't forget the Dual VCO mode which can turn the Rytm into a pretty nasty monosynth (times four if you want).
which can also layer with samples as well...

KVRer
1 posts since 26 Nov, 2020

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 11:33 am

Ideally you'd be able to trial a softsynth and hardware synth (rent ig for the hardware?), and see which one gets you inspired and wanting to use it more. Bc imo that's the only thing that matters for beginners, unless you want to circlejerk over features instead of actually creating things.

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KVRist
220 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 11:46 am

From about 2015 until spring 2020 I had a great time taking a break from software and work with hardware workstations like MC909 (which I am so grown into that it is an exo-skeleton), Korg M3m, Fantom 6 (for a year) and MPC One. For reasons not so important here, I ended up with Reason 11 Suite and Panorama P4. This is not like having a DAW with a controller for your synths only, it is like having the DAW at your fingertips, materialized in hardware. I can control up to 70% of Reason's basic functions from the controller and up to 95% of a VSTi or RE when they automap. I can make my own synths, effects and generative modules. The flexibility is amazing. Though I am still a faithful hardware lover too, I would find myself in complete denial if I claimed that I know any hardware equivalent to Reason + Panorama P4 if you consider this a self-contained system. It is way beyond what even the best of workstations can compete with. However, if it was not for the dedicated P4, I would not associate a DAW with much more than a music program made for PC screen and mouse. Software + controllers have quantum leaped as far as I am concerned, and I am not the one who will decline this offer on basis of worn out prejudices.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 Karma, MC909, Microkorg, MU100R/VL70 w. BC1, Nord Lead 2, Polivoks, Prophecy, WSA-1, Mac Pro w. Reason 11 Suite + Nektar P4 + Nektar Impact LX25+.

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GRRRRRRR!
11408 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:32 pm

pdxindy wrote:
Tue Apr 20, 2021 6:44 am
I say that analog hardware in various use cases has a sound character digital doesn't. Plus various hardware interfaces invite different results just like a guitar does compared to a piano. Also that hardware has or can have some logistical advantages . I say can have cause not every hardware interface is designed well or prioritizes what I find advantageous.
All of which is provably wrong for 99.9% of people in 99.9% of situations. Let's tackle it point by point.

1. SOUND CHARACTER
EVERY synth has a sound character that other synths do not but everything that's characterful about analogue can and has been meticulously modeled in software, to the point that neither you nor anyone else could tell the difference in a blind test. If I thought you'd have the guts to give it a go, I'd set one up to prove my point but it would require a lot of work and I am pretty sure you'd find some reason to weasel out of it.

2. INTERFACE
Again, EVERY interface can invite different results and things like breath controllers can be used at least as effectively with softsynths as with hardware. Then, of course, we have things like Roli's Seaboards which are designed to be used with softsynths and allow you to do things with them you could never hope to match with hardware.

3. LOGISTICS
Logistical advantages? Are you shitting me? There are none. Zero. Zilch. f**k-all, Your Honour. Software requires no cables - audio cables, MIDI cables, power cables, all have to be kept separated to avoid hum - no power supplies, no bulky mixer or anything else. It's slick, streamlined and eminently more portable, more robust and way, way less effort. Let me give you a couple of examples. When we flew half-way around the world to perform in Germany a few years ago, our entire stage set-up fit into our carry-on luggage, where we didn't have to worry about anything being mishandled and/or damaged in transit because we could keep an eye on it throughout the whole trip.

Right now I am sitting in a motel room on the South Coast. It's a tiny room with a small desk, yet as I type this on my Surface Pro, I have Studio One playing Love Action and, with my Seaboard Blocks set-up in front of the TypeCover, I can play my part as it comes up without having to look away or reach across or anything else. It's a full arrangement, 9 parts with my ANA2 contribution, and it's all right here in front of me. Now I'm done with that and I'm doing one of our songs, ROAD. It's great practice to be doing something else but not miss any of my cues because it's so easy to get distracted on stage and miss bits. And everything I have bought with me fits into my laptop messenger bag.

When I'm finished here, I will be heading out to sit on the beach (no surf at the moment, unfortunately). I could take my Uno Synth and headphones and be able to play one sound at a time or I could take my Surface Pro and actually be productive. Easy choice, really. But I'm going to take my Kobo and read because I am not such a big dork that I'd try to make music on the beach.
You of course disagree and have made quite few posts saying so... I don't see much else to say to each other, cause it just goes round.
That's because you refuse to provide any evidence to support your case. You just make ridiculous statements and expect them to be taken at face value when they are laughably absurd. You also have to remember why we're discussing this - someone asked for advice and all you've given them is a huge, steaming pile of horse manure. You may not care if, as a result of your BS, the poor guy goes out and wastes a big wad of cash but I'd like to think that we're all interested in helping each other out, rather than filling everyone's heads with garbage.
NOVAkILL : Dell G7 Core i7, 32GB RAM, Win10, Zoom U24 | Studio One | Thorn, bx_oberhausen, ARP Odyssey, JP6K, Hexeract, Vacuum Pro, TRK-01, Knifonium, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova, Rocket.

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KVRAF
18740 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 7:23 pm

BONES wrote:
Wed Apr 21, 2021 6:32 pm
All of which is provably wrong for 99.9% of people in 99.9% of situations. Let's tackle it point by point.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuFOkAL8ihM

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GRRRRRRR!
11408 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 12:33 am

If you're going to lay melodica, it's gotta be like this - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1w_kPnXeBs

It was a favourite of Joy Division/New Order, too.
NOVAkILL : Dell G7 Core i7, 32GB RAM, Win10, Zoom U24 | Studio One | Thorn, bx_oberhausen, ARP Odyssey, JP6K, Hexeract, Vacuum Pro, TRK-01, Knifonium, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Analog Keys, Ultranova, Rocket.

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KVRist
220 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Thu Apr 22, 2021 3:00 am

pdxindy wrote:
Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:20 pm
Users can make their own setups. However, I doubt many users ever figured out to make their own. It is on the complicated side.
Don't recognize this as a Karma owner and former M3m owner. They are not much more complicated than any convoluted WS of their time. You just have to take your time and get to know them, which seemingly owners do. You cannot change notes without software, but you may increase or decrease their scales and their beats too, depending on which parameters the engines display. You can control the arp movements to some extent, the rhythm on some presets, and not at least some probability parameters by which you make variations more or less dynamic. Any sound can be controlled with any arp, so the arps can go from quite functional to rather wierd depending on presets. My Karma is my best jam synth ever. It is at my bandmate's apartment. We have made a lot of personal programs consisting of 4 Karma arps for my left hand, including drum track, and split or layered leads for solo and improvisation for my right. It is like having a dynamic orchestra far beyond a normal arrangerkeyboard.
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 Karma, MC909, Microkorg, MU100R/VL70 w. BC1, Nord Lead 2, Polivoks, Prophecy, WSA-1, Mac Pro w. Reason 11 Suite + Nektar P4 + Nektar Impact LX25+.

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