What hardware is replacable by vst and which isn't?

Anything about hardware musical instruments.
KVRist
58 posts since 21 May, 2018

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:55 am

I use a lot of vsts of hardware imitations, and in a lot of cases they work very well, production wise.
However, I want to try some hardware synths.

Fun level aside, what synths either don't have vsts equivalents, or sound far better as hardware? For example, I like the DX reface, but I feel that it would only be a marginal improvement over the software vsts, which are very good. I also feel like it might be best to get something with a lot of physical controls, since to me thats half the fun of hardware.
Last edited by Kiiryu on Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
12529 posts since 8 Mar, 2005 from Utrecht, Holland

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:52 am

You just opened Pandorra's Box... :popcorn:
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KVRAF
11053 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:57 am

BertKoor wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:52 am
You just opened Pandorra's Box... :popcorn:
I thought I could smell something fishy...

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KVRAF
10722 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 8:00 am

I’ve done a fair amount of casual research, and here’s what I’ve concluded.

Most pure digital synths are not worth having as hardware. That said, I wouldn’t mind a Solaris, but they’re too expensive for me to take that plunge.

Analog synths, especially ones that feature things like audio rate modulation and internal overdrive/distortion and feedback are definitely worth having in hardware. This includes hybrids like the Peak or Prophet 12.

Same holds true for effects. While I can’t really hear a quality difference between most digital reverb units and good software, my Analog Heat sounds a lot better to me than most plugins.

Last, but not least, feel free to disregard everything I’ve said. I’m sure I will. Sometimes just wanting a hardware synth or effect is all the excuse you need. If it inspires, it’s worth it. I’m considering a Kyra because I want one more polyphonic synth. My original plan was for a REV2, but I heard a few Kyra demos that really caught my attention. We’ll see. I’m not in a position to buy anything until December anyway. I’m also thinking about some sort of saturation device like a Culture Vulture or Silver Bullet.
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KVRian
768 posts since 8 May, 2018 from Sweden

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:33 am

I agree that if you're going hardware, it makes more sense to go with analog synths, since the CPU in your computer is already capable of creating sounds digitally in exactly the same way as the DSP/CPU in any digital hardware synth.
On the other hand, it's theoretically impossible to emulate a continuous analog signal using a digital processor with a finite resolution and sampling rate. So a hypothetical, exact replica of an analog synth in digital form is an impossibility in either hardware or software. Of course whether you can actually hear the minute differences between a digital approximation and an actual analog synth is another matter. IMO, if you find a digital hardware synth that you like the sound of, the sound generation method should be irrelevant. It's a musical instrument, not some scientific lab equipment.
Last edited by AdvancedFollower on Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRAF
5633 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:26 pm

This question is honestly impossible to really answer definitively.

Sometimes hardware does exciting and exotic things you can't do in software... but some of the time, it turns out, you don't actually want to keep using that after the novelty wears off.

Sometimes software that emulates hardware is vastly more satisfying than the actual hardware -- I feel this way about delays.

Sometimes simple hardware, even digital, feels a lot better and more inspiring and leads to better results than software which absolutely sounds better.

Sometimes a VST plugin that sounds 95% as good as an analog synth and costs 1/4 as much is simply the more practical, wiser choice. Sometimes the last 5% is everything.

Sometimes the hardware and software sound very similar and you love them both for different reasons.

Sometimes the hardware teaches you how to use the software better. Sometimes it's the other way around.

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Banned
3896 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:30 pm

If hands on control is the only thing you're after, get a good midi keyboard that maps to your vst's.

KVRAF
27146 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:33 pm

Distorted Horizon wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:30 pm
If hands on control is the only thing you're after, get a good midi keyboard that maps to your vst's.
Yeah. Even though i find myself using the VSTi's controls with the mouse much more often than with my MIDI controllers controls... i really have to consider if i'd still get a MIDI keyboard with controls next time, as i really don't use them most of the time. It's tedious to map them, there are only a limited number available, if i don't use some fancy software, and they wear out quickly as well. Much more comfortable with mouse fiddling.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRist

Topic Starter

58 posts since 21 May, 2018

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:23 pm

I'd say one of the main reasons I'd be getting one would be the inspiration and just fun of using the actual hardware. For example I tried the Korg minilogue and liked it quite a bit.

I have a decent midi controller, but I don't use the knobs on it much. I switch around beween vsts a lot, so I've never really attempted to map stuff.

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KVRAF
18045 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:14 pm

My Analog Rytm cannot be replicated by software. Not the analog sound character and not the workflow.

My Moog Grandmother cannot be replaced with software. Not the raw analog tone and all the patching possibilities. In addition, no midi controller and soft synth can give the great hands on experience of the Grandmother. It's a real instrument. I have the Moog Matriarch on pre-order and it will be the same there.

Most digital hardware synths can be replaced by software... I think VST's overall sound better than digital hardware (overall does not mean in every case). For controlling VST's I prefer mouse and screen to any midi controller I have tried.

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KVRAF
10722 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:27 pm

AdvancedFollower wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:33 am
It's a musical instrument, not some scientific lab equipment.
Right. I get that too, but when you’re trying to cover a lot of ground with finite space and money, concessions have to be made. That’s why there are a bunch of digital synths that I’d love to have but I pass because I can get closer to that kind of sound in software. Software can get pretty damn close to analog too (RePro and Legend, for starters) but the CPU use is usually pretty high, and if you listen closely to things like distortion, they clearly alias in a way that analog does not.
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addled muppet weed
75072 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:06 pm

it depends on what you expect to be using it for.
if it's going to be your "main instrument" and be up front in mixes and you know the hardware sound well, then id imagine you wouldn't be happy with an emulation.
whereas if it's going to mostly be used as pads and backing in the mix, then it becomes less important.

then it also depends on the instrument, some emulations add features that help if you're playing live for example, with recall for patches if you're looking at an analogue synth :shrug:

it's all about usage and what's important to you.

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KVRAF
10722 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:15 pm

vurt wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:06 pm
then it also depends on the instrument, some emulations add features that help if you're playing live for example, with recall for patches if you're looking at an analogue synth :shrug:

it's all about usage and what's important to you.
This is a big reason why I don’t have actual vintage hardware synths and instead only have emulations of vintage synths and modern hardware synths. Features. Starting in the 90s, I got hooked on a lot of modern features available in my Ensoniq TS-10. I then went to other digital synths and still found those features, but when I started looking at the new analog reissues, I found them to be missing to the point that they didn’t really work for me. So, someone could totally give me a fully restored Prophet 5 and I wouldn’t care. I’m happy with my Prophet 6 and RePro, because they function the way I want a synth to function and any additional “mojo” the OG might have isn’t missed because I have such expanded abilities for modulation that I feel the new synths are a lot better.
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KVRAF
2216 posts since 24 Mar, 2015 from Toronto, Canada

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:22 pm

A Bechstein piano. When you actually are in the presence of a real one that is tuned .. you feel like you are hearing other worldly notes .

No. But seriously. I am no synth expert, but those expensive Moogs really do sound and feel 1000x more amazing than any VST I tried .
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KVRist

Topic Starter

58 posts since 21 May, 2018

Post Fri Aug 30, 2019 1:58 pm

For me it would mostly be the fun of it, inspiration, and learning to play keyboard more. I'm not a live player, and I don't really use things like sequencers or a lot of in-depth features. Good basic wave shaping options would probably be the most valuable thing to me, and then I'd probably feed midi into it.

That, and I'll plug a guitar into anything with a hole.

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