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Analog or digital?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Modular Synth General Discussion Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next [all]
Author Analog or digital?
patchnerd
The digital vs analog argument has been going on a long time, and in my mind it's not the same debate it used to be due to high bit/sample rates and cheap processors. With the emergence of 32bit audio and 64bit filters, can digital compete with analog in the synth world? What would convince an analog purist to buy digital?
ritchiedrums
Both now!

Hybrid digital / analog synths are really sounding good lately! Guinness ftw!
strangegravity
I guess if you can't hear stepping on the filter it would be OK. Digital OSCs are too clean or sterol (most of the time). I like the wobble of analog OSCs.

It's ultimately subjective.
mek42
I was just thinking about asking what parts of sound/music are better suited for analog or digital tools. Especially when planning a hybrid system.
mek42
strangegravity wrote:
I guess if you can't hear stepping on the filter it would be OK. Digital OSCs are too clean or sterol (most of the time). I like the wobble of analog OSCs.

It's ultimately subjective.


Would applying an LFO or noise modulation signal to a digital oscillator replicate this wobble?
cornutt
In the modular world, I don't see much point in using digital to do things that analog does just as well and at similar cost. I like to see digital used to do things that analog does not do well or at all, e.g. stuff like the Miniwave, quantizers, complex oscillators, different kinds of waveshaping, and so on. I wouldn't be interested in a a digital emulation of an analog filter, but I would be interested in a digital filter that does something an analog filter can't do, for example, extreme amounts of resonance without self-oscillation.
Parnelli
My purpose for going modular was to take a step back in time and escape from the digital world; that being said there are some things digital makes much easier to accomplish, but I haven't reached that threshold yet, nor am I striving for it.
captjrab
Both (for me). Digital packs a lot of funtionality. Analog sounds good and has a great workflow.
fac
patchnerd wrote:
What would convince an analog purist to buy digital?


Nothing. If that's what they like then why try to convince them?

I love both analog and digital. They cannot replace each other so I don't try to. I don't even mind. I just use whatever I have available at the time. There are lots of cheap analogs/hybrids now and lots of expensive digitals. VA development has kind of stagnated in the past 15 years. I'm talking about hardware, though. In the software world things are different.
tesserack
I also use both analog and digital synthesizers. I have a Roland VG 99 that uses a DSP to model hex distortion and I have a spicetone 6appeal hex distortion pedal that has digital control of an all analog signal path.

In a side-by-side comparison, the analog signal path both sounds better and has a better playing feel.

Dr. Wayne Jones wrote an article that compared the all analog signal path of the 1980s Roland gr 300 to the Roland VG 99 gr 300 model. While the DSP model sounds really close, once again the analog circuitry is better for sound quality.

The DSP processors are convenient and you get a lot of bang for your buck in a small package, however there's nothing like the real thing.

With that said, DSP processors do some things that analog can't fully accomplish like long delay times and mimicking acoustic instruments, because after all the DSP processors use samples of real acoustic instruments.

But there is a sameness to the samples and once again the real acoustic instrument always sounds better.

I'm to the point where I'd rather have an analog impressionistic version of a violin rather than playing the same layered DSP sample, over and over and over again.
ranix
I've got digital synths for things they do better and analog ones for things they do better. It sure is fast to dial in a sound on a Nord Lead, and it sounds great. A DX7 sure does sync its oscillators a lot better than any modular. And the modular is there for when I want to make some cool and unique voices.
commodorejohn
tesserack wrote:
But there is a sameness to the samples and once again the real acoustic instrument always sounds better.

I'm to the point where I'd rather have an analog impressionistic version of a violin rather than playing the same layered DSP sample, over and over and over again.

Amen to that. Digital synthesizers like the DX7 have their own unique merits to bring to the table, but the more companies try to create super-"realistic" digital reproductions of real instruments, the harder they crash into the Uncanny Valley. I'd take an Emulator II with "Marcato Strings" over the oh-so-blah modern fake-orchestras any day, and I'd take a nice divide-down ensemble synth over either in most cases.
Shledge
When it comes to modulars, the marriage of analogue and digital is a very good thing. For example, you can get small, condense multifunction modules which can easily replace a whole suite of utility modules, and while they're digital, offer CV functions that work just as well in most cases. Extremely complex oscillators like the Shapeshifter cannot exist in the analogue world. Re-programmable modules are fun. Complex clock sources bring life to a patch. Full samplers, fully CV controllable. It's only a small taste of what digital brings to the table.

This is the sort of stuff not even software or dedicated digital hardware on it's own can't touch, as they either lack tactile feedback or lack of interconnectivity with other hardware outside MIDI. The intermingling of digital and analogue allows people to not only explore the best of both worlds and get away from the dreaded computer, but also broaden sonic horizons to the point that it isn't possible with exclusively one or the other.
sam_schorb
I'm a big fan of the hybrid ones tbh
mousegarden
I use analogue for farts and drones, and digital for aliasing and the sound of trains derailing.
luketeaford
Either analog or digital is fine with me, but my rule is no screens-- and I have been tempted to break this rule by the ornament and crime.

In modular, I don't think digital is restrictive -- my digital modules are quick and fun to play, and sound great.

My Roland Jx305? Can be programmed to sound good, but requires tremendous effort to add in all the analog charm, and modulating the filter beyond 10% makes the worst of steppy, sterile, digital noise.
roya
I guess for no good reason, i like analog
Oldstench
They're both awesome. In context 99% of the time no one can tell if something is digital or analog unless the digital-ness is extremely overt. Further, some analog stuff can be built to such a good spec (ex: Cwejman) that some people easily confuse them for being digital.

In the end: who cares? Does it sound good? It's good! Does it sound like shit? Could still be good!
RGB
EMBRACE DIGITAL

we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy
scrunday
I've embraced digital for most things, but do use analog filters and overdrives most of the time. I think the most important thing is that at least some of the music, regardless of it being analog or digital in nature, is coming from outside a computer in order to not sound lifelessly sterile.
RGB
scrunday wrote:
I think the most important thing is that at least some of the music, regardless of it being analog or digital in nature, is coming from outside a computer


thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up thumbs up

Absolutely Agree!
mousegarden
RGB wrote:
EMBRACE DIGITAL

we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy we're not worthy


Embrace digital? WTF? We're talking about 0's and 1's here, the word "embrace" in the context of anything audio related or computer shit is quite honestly, just a tad too much.....chaps.
Leescan
Stick it in the dictionary

mousegarden wrote:
I use analogue for farts and drones, and digital for aliasing and the sound of trains derailing.
Leescan
I've been the same but wondering of late. It's all just voltage manipulation, I think I've been snooty about digital in the past but stuff like Mutable Instruments Braids changed that. Although I have just got a SEM Pro and it does sound delicious

roya wrote:
I guess for no good reason, i like analog
wiggy81

¿Porque no los dos? SlayerBadger! Give me my tacos hard or soft damn it! They are both delicious.

But to get back to the false choice of analogue/digital lol... Seems to me that both have there advantages for different applications, I guess in the future you will see more hybrid systems that take advantage of the strengths of both domains.
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