Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by BoddAH » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:26 am

I'm on the verge of buying a hardware mono-synth myself. Do I need it? No. Can I already do the same things and much, much more with software synths? Definitely. Would the sound quality for what it does be better? Not even certain and even if, it would be marginal.

I don't know if it's just GAS or if this purchase would actually be justifiable. Part of me knows that I can already do much more with what I have but then again sometimes, less is more and I am wondering if getting to know a simple mono-synth inside out instead of browsing among thousands of presets wouldn't allow me to get more stuff done in the end and be a better producer.

I am itching to do something really simple. Like 4 channels recorded in 4 different takes a la string quartet with a simple mono-synth. I could even program a bass drum, snare, and some other percussive sounds and sample them to basically make a whole song with nothing but a simple mono-synth.

I can't decide if I'm just being an idiot justifying his GAS or if this is actually something worth doing in any way... Oh well. :roll:

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:46 am

Soft synths have totally spoiled me for real synths. Every time I stand in the store in front of one and start playing around with it, invariably there comes quickly the moment where I wonder: Wait, why can't I do this now? Or where is that?

The only time when I can get over that is if the device contains the whole package, multi sequencer with step-automation included. i.e the Electribe.

With that thing you can really make a whole track without ever laying it down or turning on a computer. 8)

Machinesworking
Posts: 11131
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Sep 06, 2015 4:46 pm

TomViolenz wrote:Soft synths have totally spoiled me for real synths. Every time I stand in the store in front of one and start playing around with it, invariably there comes quickly the moment where I wonder: Wait, why can't I do this now? Or where is that?

The only time when I can get over that is if the device contains the whole package, multi sequencer with step-automation included. i.e the Electribe.

With that thing you can really make a whole track without ever laying it down or turning on a computer. 8)
That's odd? Do you play with a VST reverb and wonder why it can't play notes? I've never thought of hardware as a replacement for the computer as much as dedicated devices for making music like a reverb plug in or Absynth etc.
To me anyway, I go for hardware that's near impossible to replicate on computers. Anything by Metasonix, or the overtones you get from poly analogs etc. I haven't gotten into modular synths because I don't want to end up broke but that's another area.

THere's something inherently great about not having to map out every parameter of your soft synth to your multi function controller in order to not use the mouse, and still having to look at the screen to figure out what knob to tweak.... That's a huge advantage of hardware, that it's not essentially a single use or only 8 knob device.

Don't get me wrong, computers are amazing for writing and I own ten times as many soft synths as hardware etc. but sometimes setting up device to work etc. and maintaining etc. all kills ideas. The Beatstep Pro does hardware style sequencing, and I suppose if I get an analog drum machine I'm capable of not using the computer but all this is much more fun if you don't do an either/or thing to it. 8)

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:08 pm

Machinesworking wrote:
TomViolenz wrote:Soft synths have totally spoiled me for real synths. Every time I stand in the store in front of one and start playing around with it, invariably there comes quickly the moment where I wonder: Wait, why can't I do this now? Or where is that?

The only time when I can get over that is if the device contains the whole package, multi sequencer with step-automation included. i.e the Electribe.

With that thing you can really make a whole track without ever laying it down or turning on a computer. 8)
That's odd? Do you play with a VST reverb and wonder why it can't play notes? I've never thought of hardware as a replacement for the computer as much as dedicated devices for making music like a reverb plug in or Absynth etc.
That's not quite what I mean. I mean even just taking the synth part of a soft synth, like your Absynth example, there are so many envelopes LFOs, routing options etc. Once you are used to this sort of feature set, going back to the bare bones of an Analog synth is testing. Now they may sound very good, but then so do soft synths nowadays.
Anyways just personal preference I guess.
To me anyway, I go for hardware that's near impossible to replicate on computers. Anything by Metasonix, or the overtones you get from poly analogs etc. I haven't gotten into modular synths because I don't want to end up broke but that's another area.

THere's something inherently great about not having to map out every parameter of your soft synth to your multi function controller in order to not use the mouse, and still having to look at the screen to figure out what knob to tweak.... That's a huge advantage of hardware, that it's not essentially a single use or only 8 knob device.
Yes that's a huge advantage, in addition to it never crashing, like computers do.
But that for me only comes into play, if this simplicity still lets me do everything I want. That's why I'm so interested in the Electribe. It's like a little studio on the go 8)

Machinesworking
Posts: 11131
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by Machinesworking » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:56 pm

TomViolenz wrote: Yes that's a huge advantage, in addition to it never crashing, like computers do.
But that for me only comes into play, if this simplicity still lets me do everything I want. That's why I'm so interested in the Electribe. It's like a little studio on the go 8)
That's where we differ, the Electribes to me don't sound enough different than software to justify the space they take up.
Take a single Oscillator from an analog synth and you already have a huge thick tone. the same simply isn't really the case with digital, it needs it's complexity to get that tone to come to life, otherwise it's static. I love both, but of the two Absynth with two Oscs and it's filter etc. doesn't cut it, it needs the wave shapers, extra envelopes and crazy delay FX section for the sound to come to life.

Now take that analog synth and run it through Live with Max and it's the best of both worlds IMO. Again not knocking Absynth etc. I'm only willing to use hardware if it offers something I can't do easily on the computer.

I think it's because you started in the computer age device wise, and I started when all you could do on a computer was the sequencing. I had a copy of 'Digital' Performer for about three years before I ever bought a sound card or did more than MIDI sequence a sampler and moog to it. Never even thought of recording to it until a collaborator prompted me to. :lol:

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Sep 07, 2015 9:59 am

Machinesworking wrote:
TomViolenz wrote: Yes that's a huge advantage, in addition to it never crashing, like computers do.
But that for me only comes into play, if this simplicity still lets me do everything I want. That's why I'm so interested in the Electribe. It's like a little studio on the go 8)
That's where we differ, the Electribes to me don't sound enough different than software to justify the space they take up.
8O
"Space they take up"?! My MBP is bigger and heavier than the new Electribes.
And I don't need them to sound different than software, since I'm quite happy with how software sounds. What counts is that it is a little self contained studio I can use everywhere. For up to 6 h even with batteries. I could make tracks on a fold-away table in an economy class airplane seat with it. Something that only an iPad would beat it at, but at the cost of having no physical controls.
Take a single Oscillator from an analog synth and you already have a huge thick tone. the same simply isn't really the case with digital, it needs it's complexity to get that tone to come to life, otherwise it's static. I love both, but of the two Absynth with two Oscs and it's filter etc. doesn't cut it, it needs the wave shapers, extra envelopes and crazy delay FX section for the sound to come to life.
Now you are comparing apples with oranges.
Compare your analog synth with Diva then.
I think it's because you started in the computer age device wise, and I started when all you could do on a computer was the sequencing. I had a copy of 'Digital' Performer for about three years before I ever bought a sound card or did more than MIDI sequence a sampler and moog to it. Never even thought of recording to it until a collaborator prompted me to. :lol:
That is true, I only started in fall of 2010 with a copy of Live 8 Intro, and I agree that it explains the difference in perspective. For me music making was always this virtual miracle box that can do everything, but needs to be forced to have decent outside controls. Something that I spend much of my effort on by thinking up controller schemes, Midi routings and translations, scripts etc.
But there is a big upside to this too. After I have set up all these controllers with self made control schemes, I have a custom interface for interacting with my sounds and rhythms tailored to my needs and desires, while with hardware I have to take what the creator of the device deemed prudent which is often dictated purely by economic criteria.


But yes, it is the hands on control aspect that really interests me in hardware, but only if I don't lose too many features in the process. For me the Electribe hits a decent middle ground of hands on control in a well thought out package with a great work flow and quite good sonic shaping capabilities.

But I also agree that I would like these sonic capabilities to be even better. That's why had high hopes for the new Electribe Sampler, with the aim to have this hands on workflow in a box with my own computer produced sound designs and loops. Unfourtunately Korg really let me down with this one, since the sample memory is miniscule (in this day'n age!!! :x ) and the interaction with longer samples is quite bad. :(

Machinesworking
Posts: 11131
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by Machinesworking » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:05 pm

TomViolenz wrote: Now you are comparing apples with oranges.
Compare your analog synth with Diva then.
Diva is great, it's still not a Memorymoog or Xpander and certainly not a S-1000 Wretch. Again all three of these have besides a sound not easily replaceable (or at all replaceable in the case of the Wretch), but total control over the interface without unmarked knobs etc.
But there is a big upside to this too. After I have set up all these controllers with self made control schemes, I have a custom interface for interacting with my sounds and rhythms tailored to my needs and desires, while with hardware I have to take what the creator of the device deemed prudent which is often dictated purely by economic criteria.
There's a downside as well, I mapped all the parameters of the Hive Sequencer to the 16 knobs and buttons on the Remote SL and made an Automap patch of it, you get the patch knob name this way, but if Novation stop making Automap I have to decide whether to update my OS and risk losing that control over Hive etc. This isn't the same with Beatstep Pro, I get a similar level of control over any hardware or software synth without being tied to any one OS, DAW or softsynth. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but IMO not if you think of hardware like software or visa versa. I think of hardware as dedicated controllers that interact with one device and would be hard pressed to buy any synth or sequencer without a great interface.

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Sep 07, 2015 4:50 pm

So I guess we have different perspectives. Which we now shared.
I'm not really interested in convincing you of mine. What purpose would that have.
Variety is a good thing, no?! 8)

H20nly
Posts: 15844
Joined: Sat Oct 27, 2007 9:15 pm
Location: The Wild West

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by H20nly » Mon Sep 07, 2015 5:52 pm

It is a good thing.

I like the idea of being able to output a track, or a strong foundation of one, without being dependent on OS or much in the way of software. Can the Electribe or Beat Step do that? Sorry, haven't used either...

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:18 pm

H20nly wrote:It is a good thing.

I like the idea of being able to output a track, or a strong foundation of one, without being dependent on OS or much in the way of software. Can the Electribe or Beat Step do that? Sorry, haven't used either...
The Electribe yes, the Beatstep is just a (very good) Midi controller.

Have a listen and hands on trial at a store though if the workflow and sound of the Electribe is your cup of tea 8)

aisling
Posts: 2640
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2006 8:58 am
Location: 50 miles north of SF

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by aisling » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:00 pm

boss es-8, bought if 45 days ago, and still have not had the interest, energy, time or motivation to wire it into my pedal board. Not bad for $700 :oops:
http://soundcloud.com/aislingbeing


Live, Reason, Moog sub phatty, Moog sub 37, Ozone 6, guitars, Pedals, proper ergonomic sitting posture, french pressed coffee with a pinch of cardamon.

Machinesworking
Posts: 11131
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by Machinesworking » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:02 pm

H20nly wrote:It is a good thing.

I like the idea of being able to output a track, or a strong foundation of one, without being dependent on OS or much in the way of software. Can the Electribe or Beat Step do that? Sorry, haven't used either...
The electrotribes (there are a few kinds) tend to be sequencers with samplers/drum machines with maybe a synth included. it's IMO i know, mostly going to be good for dance music, but I'm sure you can get other things out of them. The Beatstep is two old school mono step sequencers and a drum sequencer. Works with MIDI, USB and CV, so immensely popular with the modular synth crowd for instance. It's very definitely not just a controller, though with polyphonic after touch and a 16 pad, 16 button, 16 knob interface it can be used as one. Both used together with a Minibrute or Subphatty you would never need a DAW for sure.

I pretty much immediately did what you describe with the three hardware synths here, wrote a bass lead and drum hit, base for something with the built in sequencer. that's the ease of use of hardware.

BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by BoddAH » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:33 am

Is the difference between software and dedicated hardware really just the “hands-on experience” (besides true analog maybe)?

I can’t shake the feeling that a hardware synth, even a digital one, has got to sound somewhat better, or at least different, compared to a plug in running in your DAW. Something about low-fi grittiness brought about by (comparatively) simplistic chips and converters or the fact that everything inside has been fine tuned to work well together.

Or it’s just the placebo effect. :lol:

If it is, what’s the point of using an Electribe as opposed to, say iElectribe on an iPad which does the same thing and a metric shit ton more if you get other apps for roughly the same price. I can understand the appeal of the “hands on experience” on a musical instrument that's actually tricky to play but the Electribe is mostly flipping switches and turning knobs and listening to the result. :roll:

TomViolenz
Posts: 6854
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2010 6:19 pm

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:57 am

BoddAH wrote: but the Electribe is mostly flipping switches and turning knobs and listening to the result. :roll:
:roll:
No really, :roll:

BoddAH
Posts: 638
Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 7:13 pm
Location: Brussels, Belgium

Re: Proudly collecting music gear and software for no purpose

Post by BoddAH » Tue Sep 08, 2015 9:10 am

TomViolenz wrote:
BoddAH wrote: but the Electribe is mostly flipping switches and turning knobs and listening to the result. :roll:
:roll:
No really, :roll:
Well I guess I forgot about the buttons but most of these are switches as well so, yeah. :P

Post Reply