Software Synths VS. Digital Hardware Synths.

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
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KVRAF
5927 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Wed Oct 27, 2021 12:26 pm

vurt wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 9:41 am
i think some people just think of music as "what i do" and maybe don't realise there are many styles which are built differently. not on purpose, just a human trait to imagine others will work the same as you do to achieve similar goals.
Also true outside music too!

I do have to admit this one catches me too sometimes though... like I just can't imagine why people like trackers, for instance. Or why people with more synths than me and who can play five different acoustic instruments will insist they're not musicians.

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KVRAF
20406 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:01 am

chk071 wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:50 am
pdxindy wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 6:56 am
chk071 wrote:
Wed Oct 27, 2021 3:47 am
pdxindy wrote:
Tue Oct 26, 2021 5:51 pm
You don't have to bounce every sound with hardware. You can record and play back midi to hardware just like you can with software.
You can't have different instances of a hardware synth like you have with software synths. So, yes, you have to record the different parts, unless you only want to use one sound from the hardware synth.
My Elektron Digitone is 4 part multi-timbral. That is 4 'instances' in one synth... so no, I do not need to record to audio to have more than one part on a hardware synth.
Didn't you forget something? Yes, that splits up the polyphony. :)

You're one of those "Let's just not state the disadvantages" kind of guy, aren't ya?

Also, nice job picking one of the few of your hardware synths which are actually multi timbral. We're talking about the generality here, not single devices. Especially when it comes with such a downside like limiting the overall polyphony. 8 voices in total, and 4 parts multi timbral, nice! That's a blazing 2 voices per part. Vs. as many instances of soft synths, of which many can play 256 voices per instance. Hilarious.
I listed 3 multi-timbral synths (out of 5 that I have), not one as you claim. Plus I mentioned a couple more that are bi-timbral. So most of my synths are more than one part.

I have plenty of polyphony... With the Digitone, I will often have a bass sound plus a lead or arp. That is only 2 voices. That leaves 6 for a pad which is enough.

If you are into features for features sake, then 256 voices per instance sounds amazing. But for real world use 256 is utterly meaningless. I very rarely would go over 16 in a part. Most of my parts are monophonic. And then a handful have polyphony... generally anywhere from 2-12 and weighted towards the low end.

At any given time in a composition, at most, I might have 30 voices sounding at once. And usually less otherwise it would be too crowded. I easily have enough polyphony in hardware to cover any use I might have. Not that I'm interested in being hardware only as I like using both.

KVRAF
29954 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:13 am

pdxindy wrote:
Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:01 am
If you are into features for features sake, then 256 voices per instance sounds amazing. But for real world use 256 is utterly meaningless.
Nope. I often make use of per oscillator unison. Do that with 2 oscillators, and play a few voices, and it will take up a lot of polyphony. Couldn't even imagine how that would work on a synth which only has 8 voices.

I wouldn't have minded if you said that 256 is utterly meaningless or useful for you. But, it's not generally meaningless or useless. That's just utter nonsense. ;)
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRAF
20406 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:00 am

chk071 wrote:
Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:13 am
pdxindy wrote:
Thu Oct 28, 2021 6:01 am
If you are into features for features sake, then 256 voices per instance sounds amazing. But for real world use 256 is utterly meaningless.
Nope. I often make use of per oscillator unison. Do that with 2 oscillators, and play a few voices, and it will take up a lot of polyphony. Couldn't even imagine how that would work on a synth which only has 8 voices.

I wouldn't have minded if you said that 256 is utterly meaningless or useful for you. But, it's not generally meaningless or useless. That's just utter nonsense. ;)
Osc unison and polyphony are different. For example, Hive has Osc Unison up to 16, but that does not change the polyphony setting which is still 1-16. Putting Osc unison to 16 in Hive does not mean I have more than 16 possible voices.

It is the same with the Waldorf Quantum. It has Osc unison but that does not make it 64 voices. It is still 8.

KVRAF
7607 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Sat Oct 30, 2021 11:33 pm

I'm trying to move to the hardware synths mostly (digital and analog) but keep using some software synths for the time being. I believe the hardware is better overall these days but not in everything!

The points that favour the software are known. For the hardware, there are several points that IMO are very important to me:

1. There are no licenses! Just plug the hardware and off you go! It works with any system giving that it has audio and midi outputs.
2. The limitation and the nature of the workflow make me get more creative and less lazy!
3. I don't look at the CPU measure! I don't care! That means mid range computer is more than enough and no need for a super CPU!
4. Chosen right, the hardware can compete and sometimes better than the software (digital) in sound and of course it is better with the analog.
So, I might need some software but they would be to complement the hardware and to fill in the gaps (if any).

I think the workflow is very different if you have just 2 or 3 hardware synths. I usually use only one channel each because anyway I have only 4 mono inputs or 2 stereo inputs. So, I prefer to take it once at a time and then render the midi to audio and move on to another sound/track (with the same synth/workstation) after taking notes of the preset name, etc.

I don't know, it makes me concentrate more on what I have, knowing that I need to know my hardware inside out if I want to get sounds not already available.

I have now only one digital synth (FM-X in MODX), but I have ordered a hydrasynth desktop (hope to get it January next year). I think from the demos I heard, it sounds so great with details only I heard in Massive X or Serum, but I think the hydrasynth has even more details in the sound!

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KVRist
81 posts since 11 Mar, 2021 from Romania

Post Mon Nov 01, 2021 12:24 am

I like software synths when / if they do stuff that's not so easily available in hardware (granular or deep DSP development like in Reaktor).
But as instruments, I definitely prefer hardware.

I have UVI Falcon to cover a lot of ground in software, but I prefer the MODX for most of the stuff and looking to get a Blofeld as well.

Where I find the software shining is in sequencing. Yes, I can do it in the MODX, but in Cubase is more powerful and easier (if I can be convinced to power up my computer).
I also started looking into Loomer Architect for sequencing, like i said above, it offers some deep level of MIDI processing that suits software well.

KVRer
11 posts since 2 Nov, 2021

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:26 am

If you aren't buying some kind of rare/vintage synth out of basically sentimentality or for a very specific use, there is literally no advantage to the hardware anymore. Especially since you can expect anything you buy new to lose 90% of its value within a few years.

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KVRAF
20406 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:00 am

beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:26 am
If you aren't buying some kind of rare/vintage synth out of basically sentimentality or for a very specific use, there is literally no advantage to the hardware anymore. Especially since you can expect anything you buy new to lose 90% of its value within a few years.
I've had a Moog Matriarch for a few years now. I bought it for $2000 and new price today is $2200. I can sell it for maybe $1800 - $1700 at the lowest. So no, gear does not lose 90% of its value.

And good luck getting the sound and hands on experience of the Matriarch in software.

KVRian
1073 posts since 1 Jul, 2008

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:27 am

It's funny how many people reduce life to a series of binary choices, leading to hardened opinions and even extremism. It's no different here, the hardware vs software 'debate' often tends towards the sectarian. Both can -and do- co-exist peacefully in many studios, and we are very lucky to have so many choices. Rejoice and enjoy!

KVRer
11 posts since 2 Nov, 2021

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:30 am

pdxindy wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:00 am
beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:26 am
If you aren't buying some kind of rare/vintage synth out of basically sentimentality or for a very specific use, there is literally no advantage to the hardware anymore. Especially since you can expect anything you buy new to lose 90% of its value within a few years.
I've had a Moog Matriarch for a few years now. I bought it for $2000 and new price today is $2200. I can sell it for maybe $1800 - $1700 at the lowest. So no, gear does not lose 90% of its value.

And good luck getting the sound and hands on experience of the Matriarch in software.
I'm glad you personally had this experience, but surely you're at least aware that this isn't the case for the vast majority of this market segment. I mean even a cursory look on any online marketplace will tell you that. It's the difference between anecdotal evidence and evidence of a statistical pattern.

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KVRAF
20406 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:39 am

beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:30 am
pdxindy wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:00 am
beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:26 am
If you aren't buying some kind of rare/vintage synth out of basically sentimentality or for a very specific use, there is literally no advantage to the hardware anymore. Especially since you can expect anything you buy new to lose 90% of its value within a few years.
I've had a Moog Matriarch for a few years now. I bought it for $2000 and new price today is $2200. I can sell it for maybe $1800 - $1700 at the lowest. So no, gear does not lose 90% of its value.

And good luck getting the sound and hands on experience of the Matriarch in software.
I'm glad you personally had this experience, but surely you're at least aware that this isn't the case for the vast majority of this market segment. I mean even a cursory look on any online marketplace will tell you that. It's the difference between anecdotal evidence and evidence of a statistical pattern.
Actually, it is the difference between a specific real world example, and some bullsh*t :hihi:

I've bought and sold a fair bit of gear over the past years and not a single item has come close to losing 90% of its value.

I love softsynths... and hardware too... they are both great!

KVRer
11 posts since 2 Nov, 2021

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:57 am

pdxindy wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:39 am
beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:30 am
pdxindy wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 10:00 am
beleca wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 9:26 am
If you aren't buying some kind of rare/vintage synth out of basically sentimentality or for a very specific use, there is literally no advantage to the hardware anymore. Especially since you can expect anything you buy new to lose 90% of its value within a few years.
I've had a Moog Matriarch for a few years now. I bought it for $2000 and new price today is $2200. I can sell it for maybe $1800 - $1700 at the lowest. So no, gear does not lose 90% of its value.

And good luck getting the sound and hands on experience of the Matriarch in software.
I'm glad you personally had this experience, but surely you're at least aware that this isn't the case for the vast majority of this market segment. I mean even a cursory look on any online marketplace will tell you that. It's the difference between anecdotal evidence and evidence of a statistical pattern.
Actually, it is the difference between a specific real world example, and some bullsh*t :hihi:

I've bought and sold a fair bit of gear over the past years and not a single item has come close to losing 90% of its value.

I love softsynths... and hardware too... they are both great!
yeah, 90% was (I thought) obvious hyperbole but a cursory look at the first page of an ebay search has 2 used digitones made in the last 5 years that lost 25-40% off retail price. But I'm sure you'll show how happy you are with your investment with a few more weirdly hostile replies that I won't read.

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KVRAF
20406 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:26 am

:lol:

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KVRAF
7231 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:40 am

See, this is why soft synths are such a great investment. They NEVER depreciate in value or become totally obsolete.

Ten years from now, I expect to sell my perfection-condition Dimension Pro installation CD for just enough to retire. :party:

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KVRian
1391 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Tue Nov 02, 2021 12:17 pm

cryophonik wrote:
Tue Nov 02, 2021 11:40 am
See, this is why soft synths are such a great investment. They NEVER depreciate in value or become totally obsolete.

Ten years from now, I expect to sell my perfection-condition Dimension Pro installation CD for just enough to retire. :party:
:lol:

Wait 20 years. In 2040 everyone will be raving about this crunchy retro sound quality of CDs (no matter if it's audio or data). Using CD-ROM is such a pleasant experience that nothing can't beat it.
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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