Long Live the Soft Synth, Hardware Synths are dead

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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KVRAF
3663 posts since 8 Jul, 2008 from UK

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:04 am

Scotty wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 2:11 am


Here is Hanai Rani - live from Studio S2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFRdoYf ... iQ94AaABAg

That was really cool tbh. Playing the piano in a way I could only of ever dreamed of.

And in relevance to this title, I only own soft synths , and I am obsessed with them. Each different and the way they work changes. So cool.

But , I always wanted a hardware synth, I had my heart set on a virus, but that kinda changes, I wanted an M1, but then I own the software version. But the urge to own a hardware synth kinda dies down when I buy another softsynth and the bank account goes back to zero. ;)
"Part Man, Part Machine, Part Bird, Part Drum - It's Robo-bongo-cuckoo-cop" - James Acaster

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KVRAF
20463 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:17 am

MitchK1989 wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 8:23 am
Softsynths have improved by leaps and bounds over the past 15 years. Can hardware say the same?
Much of those 'leaps and bounds' were to catch up to hardware sonically... still needs some catching up with analog hardware. And now we have digital hardware synths or components of synths running on FPGA's and running at sample rates like 25mhz... or the NCO's of the Modal 002 which sound different than the usual VST plugins.

As for hardware, check out Eurorack if you want to see an explosion of development.

Then for example, check out the Arturia Polybrute. An analog synth with exceptional modulation, morphing and expression capabilities. And even with such deep possibilities, basically no menu diving.

And in general, hardware has continued to improve user interfaces, integration with computers and DAW's with stuff like audio over USB, synchronous plugins, Elektron's Overbridge, and so on.

And hardware has what it has always had... a unique experience. My Moog Matriarch is so different from my Analog Rytm etc. That leads to different creative pathways, exercises the brain and nervous system differently. It's great!

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KVRAF
20463 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:30 am

zerocrossing wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 5:56 am
If I could replicate my hardware synths in software, I’d happily ditch them all, but I can’t. Even a simple synth like my ATC-X has no equivalent in software. By that I mean and excellent analog emulation (at least as good as RePro/Legend) that’s got cross modulation, ring modulation, three envelopes, filter FM and four filter types. On GearSpace we were talking about the PolyBrute, and I can’t for the life of me think of a single plugin that can touch it.
Even if you could replicate all your hardware synths in software, you wouldn't be able to play them together. Trying to emulate the Polybrute even to the level of RePro would crush your cpu by itself.

And that emulation would be missing the morphee X/Y/Z pad, motion recorder, ribbon controller, 2 expression pedal inputs + sustain. All the immediacy of the hands on controls. There is no controller out there that would come close to the integrated experience of using the synth itself.

KVRAF
2357 posts since 23 Dec, 2002

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:03 am

LeVzi wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 6:04 am
Scotty wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 2:11 am


Here is Hanai Rani - live from Studio S2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFRdoYf ... iQ94AaABAg

That was really cool tbh. Playing the piano in a way I could only of ever dreamed of.

And in relevance to this title, I only own soft synths , and I am obsessed with them. Each different and the way they work changes. So cool.

But , I always wanted a hardware synth, I had my heart set on a virus, but that kinda changes, I wanted an M1, but then I own the software version. But the urge to own a hardware synth kinda dies down when I buy another softsynth and the bank account goes back to zero. ;)
The money aspect is certainly a valid consideration as is available space. Just adding one hardware synth can be enough to change up the workflow a bit and give a taste of the hands on enjoyment but if you aren't missing it there is no need. Glad you liked that performance. It hit me as a nice contrast to some of the material I have been listening to lately.

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KVRAF
7282 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 7:43 am

The real question is this: who's gonna double-down and claim that hardware synths are dead in 2021 just so we can necro this thread for a good laugh again in 2035?

KVRAF
6564 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 10:36 am

The problem with this is that software requires hardware to exist. And in that, we've all been subjected to the continual ouroboros effect debating what is the head and what is the tail.
The promise of a singularity of analog/digital is close, but still not realized. And perhaps it never can be in the realm of infinitive mathematical splitting of the proverbial hairs. And it will always come down to personal subjective preferences anyway.
The problem I run into in realizing my construct of the ideal are the OSs themselves that continually promise everything while purposely limiting it for saturation marketing schemes.
At some point in the chase for the new, the old could and should be stripped, dedicated and slaved to it. What we call hardware synthesizers and workstations do this, but only as much as the company allows. Because their survival demands that singularity can never be allowed. And we live in the realm of work-arounds and in-betweens...

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KVRian
1395 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 3:37 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 12:08 am
BONES wrote:
Wed Oct 06, 2021 4:44 pm
Here is Hanai Rani - live from Studio S2.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFRdoYf ... iQ94AaABAg
Urgh! That was painful to listen to and watching it was like watching paint dry.
This was one of the most inspiring and stunning performances I have heard for quite a while. BONES is just jealous or doesn‘t know anything about music except for his own style (which I like btw…)
First comment under the video: Rick Beato - "Beautiful!", then we have a comment from Bones :D One is talented and expert in music, and another is talented, sad and dry like a 200 years old paint ;)

Fantastic performance in this video. Thanks for sharing :)
Beware! The software discussed in this topic has unacceptable aliasing at -386dBTP but it can be fixed by changing the sample rate to 12Bit

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GRRRRRRR!
12579 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Thu Oct 07, 2021 4:52 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Thu Oct 07, 2021 12:08 am
This was one of the most inspiring and stunning performances I have heard for quite a while. BONES is just jealous or doesn‘t know anything about music except for his own style (which I like btw…)
I don't appreciate musicianship at all. Never really have. It's just not a thing for me so if the music doesn't move me, and that music most assuredly does not, then it has nothing as far as I'm concerned.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10(64), Evo8 | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Thorn, Equator, VG Iron 2 | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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KVRian
1268 posts since 16 Jan, 2004

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 5:40 am

I appreciate musicianship as I do mastering any craft to a high level. I will watch / listen to music for musicianship sake for the appreciation, but not regularly. I'm with BONES on this - the music moving me is "the thing".

I consider there to be a number of traps within music (as with a lot of activities) where the craft of the thing becomes the focus, and the result can be "music for musicians". But I don't take away from people who enjoy that - I certainly did growing up and developing my skills. I just don't focus on that anymore.

KVRist
184 posts since 31 Aug, 2020

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 7:30 am

Meanwhile the big trend is recreation of 70s synths.
One day we will be AI hybrids and all ask to the god central system to remake the good old Hive for comptability with our quantum brain chips. So we can play again that Synth Powa preset which copies the sound of the 80s synths, while zapping off some ugly aliens in outer space 8)

KVRist
324 posts since 5 Jul, 2004

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 8:13 am

what sounded good 15 years ago still sound good today.. why it would sound good at one point and then bad unless it get broken or something :D ... it always sounded like crap or not ... soon some guys will set up some old computers to run their first plugins like hardware synths cause nothing sound like it anymore and you can t run them on todays OS... it s possible to make good sound on everything.. maybe even a casio.. but there is lot of plugins i don t miss at all but something like z3ta can still sound better tahn last hyped vst on some sound and there is plenty of others, some emagic synth these have what 20 or probably even 25 years old i don t remember, some i still can t beat on some saw bassline even by recent analog emulation.. i get as good result but emagic one is 20 years old and consume 0.01% of cpu.
when you use a 10 or 20 years old or more great digital synth, you wonder why newer stuff don t really sound better in term of sound caractere it s cause lot of the work is to minimze aliasing, while aliasing in some case sound better than what they do to remove it, so ok modern plugins are better at handling modulation and extreme setting.. but the raw sound when not using extreme setting suffer from all these filters to prevent aliasing i guess.. it s seems oversampling is a very tricky subject and some implementation are not transparent at all, it ruin the sound, it s one of the reason why a old digital synth can still sound better even if it alias on some patchs than lastest alias free plugin with a fake sound.
Fake sound cause the sound of oversampling if it has one, is not something you already heard in the nature, i mean you can hear this only with digital audio, this coloration is not natural to our ears probably a reason why analog can sound more alive and natural to us , cause it behave more like the sound we are used to listen in reality, might be bullshit, just some thought i just got.. :D

KVRer
5 posts since 11 Mar, 2005 from Sweden

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:25 am

Not saying software emulation is in a bad spot, some giant steps have been made for sure and it is why I'm getting into DSP programming. Still, analog circuitry is finally getting the attention it deserves, look at boutique makers like Black Corporation... Their upcoming ISE-NIN is all discrete components. Great time to be alive!

KVRist
449 posts since 2 Jan, 2004

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:38 am

I have used soft synths for many years. Diva (and pretty much all u-he synths) sound amazing... but I recently demo'd and subsequently purchased a Sequential Pro 3 SE. Hardware synths are definitely not dead my friend. This thing is a beautiful piece of kit and I absolutely love it. Diva is still the best VA in my opinion, but for pure hands on, tactile, hybrid analog/wavetable gloriousness (new word?), the Pro 3 is just amazing! Long live hardware AND software :D

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KVRAF
20463 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 12:47 pm

CrazyHarij wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:25 am
Not saying software emulation is in a bad spot, some giant steps have been made for sure and it is why I'm getting into DSP programming. Still, analog circuitry is finally getting the attention it deserves, look at boutique makers like Black Corporation... Their upcoming ISE-NIN is all discrete components. Great time to be alive!
We've got the best of both at hand. This is the golden age of synthesis!

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KVRAF
20463 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:01 pm

MikeCallon wrote:
Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:38 am
I have used soft synths for many years. Diva (and pretty much all u-he synths) sound amazing... but I recently demo'd and subsequently purchased a Sequential Pro 3 SE. Hardware synths are definitely not dead my friend. This thing is a beautiful piece of kit and I absolutely love it. Diva is still the best VA in my opinion, but for pure hands on, tactile, hybrid analog/wavetable gloriousness (new word?), the Pro 3 is just amazing! Long live hardware AND software :D
+1

Seems like hardware synths are hitting a new stride! The Sequential Pro 3 SE is a beautiful synth. Then there is the Arturia Polybrute. Never been an analog poly synth quite like that! Then Waldorf just release their new M hybrid synth. All these user interfaces are exceptional.

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