Is every synth a compromise?

For fans of synths, pianos or keyboard instruments of any sort.

Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by MarkOne »

It seems an odd question.

Compromise on what? All metal construction? Hardwood End-cheeks? Smooth Alps pots? Discrete solder-through PCBs? Or plastic, surface mount mass produced? But essentially the same circuit?

Or design compromises? No self oscillating filter? (Or no filter at all on early FM synths?) Not enough oscillators? Not enough LFOs? Limited sample memory? Too small a display? Features hidden under pages of menus?

You could argue that unless it is capable of every synthesis and sampling technique known to man from subtractive through FM, Granular to Physical Modelling, includes every filter type known to man has Poly AT, MPE, a fully reconfigurable physical control surface, is 100% Analogue and 100% digital at the same time, and is available in a Piano Black, Rosewood or carbon fibre and stainless steel case with 25-88 key options, it will be compromised in some way

All that matters really, is does it sound good in a musical context? And is it nice to use?
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

MarkOne wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:15 am It seems an odd question.

Compromise on what?

I thought that was clear? He mentioned extra LFOs, envelopes etc.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Arpangel »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:47 am
MarkOne wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:15 am It seems an odd question.

Compromise on what?

I thought that was clear? He mentioned extra LFOs, envelopes etc.

But those things are preferences, not compromises, surely?

Jeepers! I’ve got it Holmes!
Get into modular, you can design out as many compromises as you want to, you could have a whole case just full of LFO's!

:D
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

It's almost as if it would be nice to be able to put together a custom collection of components such as LFOs, filters, oscillators and so on to match your own requirements. If they were all roughly the same size and had the same power requirements they could occupy a chassis of some kind and that would be nice because then there could be an ecosystem of different sorts of podules* from which you could mix and match to your heart's content.

* We could call it a podular!
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Folderol »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:11 pm some kind and that would be nice because then there could be an ecosystem of different sorts of podules*

The ghosts of Acorn Computers Ltd. would like a word with you :?
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

Folderol wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:17 pm The ghosts of Acorn Computers Ltd. would like a word with you :?

It crossed my mind but though it was a corny jest it was worth the risc as I didn't think it did any arm.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by N i g e l »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 10:08 am ....... my Micron is too complicated for me to really get into it, I haven’t got the patience, but it’s worth it for what I do get out of it........

are you using an editor ? sometimes having all the parameters on display at once makes things flow more easily

Image

other editors are available
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by resistorman »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:50 pm
Folderol wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:17 pm The ghosts of Acorn Computers Ltd. would like a word with you :?

It crossed my mind but though it was a corny jest it was worth the risc as I didn't think it did any arm.

ooooggghhh
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by resistorman »

Folderol wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 10:00 am and not even a keyboard, or other interface that feels natural.

I have to say that the LinnStrument has really changed my life, I feel like I'm touching the sound for the first time. I did unspeakable things to my guitars and basses to try and get an actual playable MIDI instrument for decades to no avail :crazy:
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

Arpangel wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:04 pm But those things are preferences, not compromises, surely?

No. But leaving them out could be considered a compromise. Or looking at it another way, it's the designer's preference as to what modulation is included. Categories of things eh? Endless source of discussion. Or arguments :D
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by bonefixer »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 9:57 am Yea it seems like bonefixer needs a Polybrute.

Almost bought one, but decided the 6 note polyphony would be too limiting for what I want right now. I may get one at some point.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by bonefixer »

MarkOne wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 11:15 am It seems an odd question.

Compromise on what? All metal construction? Hardwood End-cheeks? Smooth Alps pots? Discrete solder-through PCBs? Or plastic, surface mount mass produced? But essentially the same circuit?

Or design compromises? No self oscillating filter? (Or no filter at all on early FM synths?) Not enough oscillators? Not enough LFOs? Limited sample memory? Too small a display? Features hidden under pages of menus?

You could argue that unless it is capable of every synthesis and sampling technique known to man from subtractive through FM, Granular to Physical Modelling, includes every filter type known to man has Poly AT, MPE, a fully reconfigurable physical control surface, is 100% Analogue and 100% digital at the same time, and is available in a Piano Black, Rosewood or carbon fibre and stainless steel case with 25-88 key options, it will be compromised in some way

All that matters really, is does it sound good in a musical context? And is it nice to use?

Not really what I meant, and I realise that one keyboard won’t do it all. It’s more like buying a new car. If you get it from the factory you can pick the colour, what options you want, leave out things you don’t, and make a perfect car for you. Buy from a dealer’s forecourt and you’ll miss out on some things, and get others you don’t want.

I could probably design (at least draw up a spec list of) the perfect synth for me right now, but I couldn’t find it on the market. I got the Nord Wave 2 as it was close, but some more mod options would have been nice, and a bit more flexibility in the layers/splits. But I can live with these relatively minor compromises.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by The Elf »

There you go. A Nord Wave 2 is a long way from my 'uncompromised' synth. It lacks things I'd want, and it includes features I have no need of.

So...

One man's 'compromised' is another's 'ideal'.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by N i g e l »

The Nords do have the wooden waggle stick for pitch bending, I really like that.
Not really keen on the stone wheel.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by ajay_m »

Probably yes. On the other hand, the 49 key hydrasynth I bought a couple of years ago is about the only piece of gear I've ever owned that really didn't disappoint me in any way i.e my fantasy of a 21st century cs80 wasn't shattered.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by tea for two »

Some musicians say they feel like one with their musical instrument.

Try to find a synth/s module/s software/s that does this for us.

It need not be perfect. It may have lots of compromises. Same as us.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Arpangel »

Eddy Deegan wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:11 pm It's almost as if it would be nice to be able to put together a custom collection of components such as LFOs, filters, oscillators and so on to match your own requirements. If they were all roughly the same size and had the same power requirements they could occupy a chassis of some kind and that would be nice because then there could be an ecosystem of different sorts of podules* from which you could mix and match to your heart's content.

* We could call it a podular!

Modular is "alright" but it’s lacking one very important component for me "polyphony"
To get a modular to play polyphonically to any useful degree, is a total pain, we need more polyphonic modules, that would be a genuine revelation to build your own modular polysynth.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by MarkOne »

Arpangel wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2022 7:15 am
Eddy Deegan wrote: Tue Nov 29, 2022 12:11 pm It's almost as if it would be nice to be able to put together a custom collection of components such as LFOs, filters, oscillators and so on to match your own requirements. If they were all roughly the same size and had the same power requirements they could occupy a chassis of some kind and that would be nice because then there could be an ecosystem of different sorts of podules* from which you could mix and match to your heart's content.

* We could call it a podular!

Modular is "alright" but it’s lacking one very important component for me "polyphony"
To get a modular to play polyphonically to any useful degree, is a total pain, we need more polyphonic modules, that would be a genuine revelation to build your own modular polysynth.

Definitely doable though with the Hermod 8 voice thingy. You just need 8 of everything (or 16 to get separate filter and amp envelopes). And a very big box of patch leads. But wow, a different texture for each voice. That alone might get me saving for a modular.

Oh wait, I don’t have anywhere to keep it :roll:
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by RichardT »

Yes, in some ways I think every synth is a compromise. At the same time, so are all musical instruments. It’s not a problem, so long as we know the limits and capabilities of our instruments.

It does mean that you may need a number of synths in your arsenal. I guess I have around a dozen soft synths and synth-like sample libraries that I use regularly. Others have considerably more than that.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Eddy Deegan »

I love my Hermod but Cre8audio's NiftyKEYZ keyboard case is also very useful as it can do anything from 1 to 4-voice polyphonic Eurorack control, either with splits or layers.

The Winterbloom "Castor and Pollux" (Juno-style dual oscillator module) works wonderfully with it, and I've also got a 2HP Pluck in mine.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Arpangel »

Trouble with modular polyphony, is that you do need multiples of everything, it gets very expensive, and, unwieldy.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by t-sun »

There’s always Max/MSP.

The only synth that didn’t feel like a compromise that I loved was Vaz Modular. I guess the issue is that you’ll need a soft synth of you want a truly unlimited tool. Of course, the limitations are usually why i LIKE a piece of gear.
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Re: Is every synth a compromise?

Post by Martin Walker »

t-sun wrote: Mon Dec 05, 2022 10:38 pm The only synth that didn’t feel like a compromise that I loved was Vaz Modular.

I'm glad someone other than me remembers Vaz Modular - I had great fun reviewing its various releases donkey's years ago ;)

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/so ... modular-21

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/so ... y-vaz-2010
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