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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Soft synths
hardware obsolete?
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
If/when I feel the need to use a softsynth I will do so without prejudice.


Or chain saws & screw drivers ... whatever works ... harmonium even Shocked

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:


Like aliasing issues. This is actually a huge field, and I won´t go there right now as we will have to look into way too much stuff before we get around to slicing the turkey. But much of this is already available in other threads here.

Digital synths are however not consistently problematic. There are many excellent designs out there that perform great and most users won´t actually patch themselves into the messy spots.

BTW, I actually bought one of these sets new way back in the first part of the 80s:

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.


Thanks for the link. An interesting piece, even though I don't speak German. Wink

I had forgotten about the aliasing issue. Yep, that is a problem, and often exacerbated by not having enough RAM. Then there are those annoying digital dropouts, too.

Gary

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DrJustice



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GaryRea wrote:
I had forgotten about the aliasing issue. Yep, that is a problem, and often exacerbated by not having enough RAM.

I didn't know that the amount of RAM affects aliasing. Please elaborate.

DJ
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
GaryRea wrote:
I had forgotten about the aliasing issue. Yep, that is a problem, and often exacerbated by not having enough RAM.

I didn't know that the amount of RAM affects aliasing. Please elaborate.

DJ
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Well, admittedly, I'm just guessing it is, based on my own annecdotal experience (which I may have mis-attributed to my computer's puny RAM). So, am I wrong?

Gary

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The only thing I could think of is if a sample based synth relying on huge oversampled files would undersample those files when loading into a RAM starved system - then pitch shifted playback would adversely affect the degree of aliasing. I don't know whether any softsynths have fallback methods like that, though. Other than that I can't see any connections between RAM amounts and aliasing.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
The only thing I could think of is if a sample based synth relying on huge oversampled files would undersample those files when loading into a RAM starved system - then pitch shifted playback would adversely affect the degree of aliasing. I don't know whether any softsynths have fallback methods like that, though. Other than that I can't see any connections between RAM amounts and aliasing.

DJ
--


Probably not, then.

Gary

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I code in ChucK, which can be thought of as a soft synth with instruments and a programming language. What I like about it is that it allows me to make use of my engineering / programming experience in the context of music.

Although it does suffer from some limitations, the freedom of expression that I get from ChucK is so much fun I've gotten addicted to it. As far as things like dropouts go, I hardly ever have any problems along these lines, especially now that I have a dedicated music computer. Besides ChucK is strongly timed so it tracks every sample perfectly even if the real-time output has dropouts, so recordings are flawless. Maybe I'm just too much of a music amateur, but quality is just not an issue for me with ChucK.

As an example of what can be done, I started out on electro-music.com with the ChucK forum, but when I found out about modulars I was fascinated. I wanted my own modular but had zero cash. So what did I do? Why, I built my own modular in ChucK. I just used indexed sliders instead of patch cables and then I was able to do all kinds of neat stuff with the GUI.

The most important aspect of ChucK to me is that without it I would never have discovered music. Music to me was a radio and I hated the commercials, so I never listened to the songs I enjoyed. When I started buying songs and using iTunes I rediscovered my love of the music that I listened to as a youth plus new music, but I was still a passive listener. Now, because of ChucK, I can create my own music and even perform live or recorded. This is not just my hobby, but my therapy too. My psychiatrist recommends to me that I keep making music for this reason.

So a soft synth to me is not only fun and fascinating, but it actually keeps me sane! If music were only accessible to me via hardware I would probably never have discovered this joy.

Just my two cents.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The only time I ever have trouble with dropouts is when I've created a very large file after doing a lot of other tasks, as well; i.e., web surfing, downloading files, etc. and I haven't cleared my cache yet, done a restart or run defrag lately. Then I can sometimes get a few minor dropouts. Otherwise, no problem with it.

Gary

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

GaryRea wrote:
The only time I ever have trouble with dropouts is when I've created a very large file after doing a lot of other tasks, as well; i.e., web surfing, downloading files, etc. and I haven't cleared my cache yet, done a restart or run defrag lately. Then I can sometimes get a few minor dropouts. Otherwise, no problem with it.


Oh dear. I feel a Mac vs Windows debate coming on. Shocked Laughing

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:

Oh dear. I feel a Mac vs Windows debate coming on. Shocked Laughing


that has already been sorted out Exclamation right, Tom Question

Wink

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

v-un-v wrote:
GaryRea wrote:
The only time I ever have trouble with dropouts is when I've created a very large file after doing a lot of other tasks, as well; i.e., web surfing, downloading files, etc. and I haven't cleared my cache yet, done a restart or run defrag lately. Then I can sometimes get a few minor dropouts. Otherwise, no problem with it.


Oh dear. I feel a Mac vs Windows debate coming on. Shocked Laughing


Don't know what I said that gave you that idea. I've used both, myself, and both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses. I'm primarily a PC user, though, simply because it's the dominant platform and most of what I do is geared toward the PC (such as my job...when I have one). So, sorry to disappoint you, but there will be no Molotov cocktails throw from this direction. Wink

Gary

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 3:13 am    Post subject: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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Well, I have recently gone over to using my computer entirely for music, and I don't regret it at all. The only word I can find that describes my feeling entirely is "liberated" From the burden of owning stacks of hardware, the financial investment, the guilt of buying it, and the sheer real estate that hardware occupies can get ridiculous. My computer, my soft synths and other applications can go way beyond what my hardware could ever do sonically, to an infinite degree, the result of that is I haven't spent any money on hardware for a long time, a very long time.
The reality of recording today is that anyone with a home computer can theoretically make music, and very complicated music, you can download programs such as Audacity for free, or Reaper (just a few dollars) down load one of the many free soft synths, and start making music immediately for what ? less that the cost of a few beers, if that.
Computers have taken over mainly because of financial considerations, and now, in this global recession, they make even more sense.

Tony.
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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This topic was started years ago. The passage of time has shown some interesting and perhaps unexpected answers to this question.

I see these days several movements WRT this question.

1) computers are getting faster, audio interfaces are getting better, software is getting better. Many people are going light and using the computer more and more. This is probably the largest and fastest growing segment. Midi and OSC controllers are getting more capable. Laptop music used to be a novelty and always seemed to be big beat music. Now the laptop is part of almost every setup and the music is very diverse.

2) there is a growing interest in DIY synths and analog modulars. While not the mainstream, this area is getting more and more activity every year. Bent circuits and creative alternative electronics, like those of Scot Stites, Rob Hordijk, Peter Blasser and many others are changing the way some people make music. There is a tremendous resurgence of creativity in the world of hardware design. I'm speaking here not of the commercial instruments, but those of the independents.

One thing that would be somewhat surprising when this topic was first started: streaming concerts, like the ones here on electro-music.com, Stillstream and other places. At the recent City Skies Festival in Atlanta, we had more people listening to the stream than were in the audience. Live streaming concerts are starting to really take off. You can perform for a relatively large audience right from your home studio. Thus, you can use all of your hardware which might be impossible to carry to a physical gig across town or across the country.

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PostPosted: Thu May 21, 2009 9:10 am    Post subject: Re: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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patchmouse wrote:
Well, I have recently gone over to using my computer entirely for music, and I don't regret it at all. The only word I can find that describes my feeling entirely is "liberated" From the burden of owning stacks of hardware, the financial investment, the guilt of buying it, and the sheer real estate that hardware occupies can get ridiculous. My computer, my soft synths and other applications can go way beyond what my hardware could ever do sonically, to an infinite degree, the result of that is I haven't spent any money on hardware for a long time, a very long time.
The reality of recording today is that anyone with a home computer can theoretically make music, and very complicated music, you can download programs such as Audacity for free, or Reaper (just a few dollars) down load one of the many free soft synths, and start making music immediately for what ? less that the cost of a few beers, if that.
Computers have taken over mainly because of financial considerations, and now, in this global recession, they make even more sense.

Tony.


I'm in somewhat the same camp, in a way. While I haven't opted to use my computer exclusively for music production, that is one of its many uses. I think we cross paths where the degree to which it's used for that purpose is concerned, though.

I bought an Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler in 1993, which is a workstation keyboard, among the first generation of such beasts, and I was using it, exclusively, in conjunction with a Tascam Porta-03 4-tracker cassette recorder as my setup, recording digitally, then mixing down to analog tape. I did that until about 1997, when I began experimenting with software sequencers and, in 2003, I began using VST instruments as my only sounds, eschewing the ASR-10's entirely, as those had to be laboriously loaded to the ASR-10 from floppies every time I wanted to use it. These days, I still use the ASR-10, but only as a MIDI controller for an ever-changing collection of VSTi's. So, the only hardware I have is my computer and the ASR-10, now.

I have also experimented with making music without the ASR-10, using Bome's Mouse Keyboard as my MIDI interface and my computer's keyboard as the controller, but I find it rather limited, especially expressively, so I've gone back to using the ASR-10 as my MIDI controller now. Maybe, at some point, I'll get one of those small dedicated MIDI controller keyboards that you have to use a button to add octaves, but, for now, 61 keys, laid out as per usual, is what I'm accustomed to, so why change? When I find something I like, I usually stick with it unless a better way presents itself.

Mosc, thanks for the mention of Stillstream. I'm enjoying it a lot! Smile

Gary

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Patchmouse



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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 12:07 am    Post subject: Re: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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GaryRea wrote:
patchmouse wrote:
Well, I have recently gone over to using my computer entirely for music, and I don't regret it at all. The only word I can find that describes my feeling entirely is "liberated" From the burden of owning stacks of hardware, the financial investment, the guilt of buying it, and the sheer real estate that hardware occupies can get ridiculous. My computer, my soft synths and other applications can go way beyond what my hardware could ever do sonically, to an infinite degree, the result of that is I haven't spent any money on hardware for a long time, a very long time.
The reality of recording today is that anyone with a home computer can theoretically make music, and very complicated music, you can download programs such as Audacity for free, or Reaper (just a few dollars) down load one of the many free soft synths, and start making music immediately for what ? less that the cost of a few beers, if that.
Computers have taken over mainly because of financial considerations, and now, in this global recession, they make even more sense.

Tony.


I'm in somewhat the same camp, in a way. While I haven't opted to use my computer exclusively for music production, that is one of its many uses. I think we cross paths where the degree to which it's used for that purpose is concerned, though.

I bought an Ensoniq ASR-10 sampler in 1993, which is a workstation keyboard, among the first generation of such beasts, and I was using it, exclusively, in conjunction with a Tascam Porta-03 4-tracker cassette recorder as my setup, recording digitally, then mixing down to analog tape. I did that until about 1997, when I began experimenting with software sequencers and, in 2003, I began using VST instruments as my only sounds, eschewing the ASR-10's entirely, as those had to be laboriously loaded to the ASR-10 from floppies every time I wanted to use it. These days, I still use the ASR-10, but only as a MIDI controller for an ever-changing collection of VSTi's. So, the only hardware I have is my computer and the ASR-10, now.

I have also experimented with making music without the ASR-10, using Bome's Mouse Keyboard as my MIDI interface and my computer's keyboard as the controller, but I find it rather limited, especially expressively, so I've gone back to using the ASR-10 as my MIDI controller now. Maybe, at some point, I'll get one of those small dedicated MIDI controller keyboards that you have to use a button to add octaves, but, for now, 61 keys, laid out as per usual, is what I'm accustomed to, so why change? When I find something I like, I usually stick with it unless a better way presents itself.

Mosc, thanks for the mention of Stillstream. I'm enjoying it a lot! Smile

Gary


Hi Gary, I was just checking out the Bome Mouse Keyboard you mentioned, but it looks like it won't be any use to me, as I must have a proper keyboard. What I am looking for is some sort of mother keyboard that allows me to do away with my computer mouse ? is there such a thing ? with a built in mouse-style interface ? I'm using my X-Board, which is fantastic, the best of the bunch for me, but I'm trying to make things even more compact, at the moment I have to make space for the mouse pad etc, it would be good to integrate the two somehow ?

Patch Mouse.
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Re: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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patchmouse wrote:
Hi Gary, I was just checking out the Bome Mouse Keyboard you mentioned, but it looks like it won't be any use to me, as I must have a proper keyboard. What I am looking for is some sort of mother keyboard that allows me to do away with my computer mouse ? is there such a thing ? with a built in mouse-style interface ? I'm using my X-Board, which is fantastic, the best of the bunch for me, but I'm trying to make things even more compact, at the moment I have to make space for the mouse pad etc, it would be good to integrate the two somehow ?

Patch Mouse.


I have no idea, Patchmouse. I'm not even really sure what it is you're asking, in fact. When it comes to computer peripherals, I'm still stuck in the nineties, I guess. Very Happy

I gather you're using the Emu X-Board 25? I had to Google it to see what you were referring to. So, it doesn't include the usual mouse functions of scrolling, selecting, entering, etc? In any case, I can see that, plainly, it wouldn't work with Bome's Mouse Keyboard, as it's designed to allow a user to use their existing computer keyboard as a MIDI controller. If you're using an X-Board, that would be redundant, anyway, as you already have a better controller. The reason I tried out Bome is because I was sometimes tired of having to turn to my ASR-10 to play something, then turn back to my computer to do something else. I wanted to be able to just sit at my computer, looking at the monitor with my attention undivided, and to do everything I want to do without having move my chair or look away. For that much, Bome works fine, as it keeps me positioned in front of my computer, where I want to be. The problem is that it just lacks the functionality of a true MIDI controller and using a QWERTY keyboard to play music on is something that I just know some sadist came up with! Wink

P.S.: I guess the solution for my predicament is to either do as you've done and dedicate my computer exclusively to music production (can't do that, but I do have an old Dell with a burned out motherboard that would suffice, if I repair it), or to get something like an X-Board, that will allow me to stay positioned in front of my computer and play music on a piano-style keyboard, as I'm accustomed to. The thing is, unless I have my computer dedicated to music production, I'd be switching back and forth between the X-Board and my QWERTY keyboard, depending upon what I'm doing with my computer...which I guess is the dilemma you're glad about having solved, right?



Gary

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

patchmouse, are you looking for something like this?

http://www.fentek-ind.com/kbsgpps2bb.htm
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 2:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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patchmouse wrote:
What I am looking for is some sort of mother keyboard that allows me to do away with my computer mouse ? is there such a thing ? with a built in mouse-style interface ? I'm using my X-Board, which is fantastic, the best of the bunch for me, but I'm trying to make things even more compact, at the moment I have to make space for the mouse pad etc, it would be good to integrate the two somehow ?

Patch Mouse.


Because this is a different topic, I thought it'd be fun to start an entirely new thread:

http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-34505.html

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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:49 am    Post subject: Re: Cost effective ?
Subject description: Recording ITB...
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GaryRea wrote:
patchmouse wrote:
Hi Gary, I was just checking out the Bome Mouse Keyboard you mentioned, but it looks like it won't be any use to me, as I must have a proper keyboard. What I am looking for is some sort of mother keyboard that allows me to do away with my computer mouse ? is there such a thing ? with a built in mouse-style interface ? I'm using my X-Board, which is fantastic, the best of the bunch for me, but I'm trying to make things even more compact, at the moment I have to make space for the mouse pad etc, it would be good to integrate the two somehow ?

Patch Mouse.


I have no idea, Patchmouse. I'm not even really sure what it is you're asking, in fact. When it comes to computer peripherals, I'm still stuck in the nineties, I guess. Very Happy

I gather you're using the Emu X-Board 25? I had to Google it to see what you were referring to. So, it doesn't include the usual mouse functions of scrolling, selecting, entering, etc? In any case, I can see that, plainly, it wouldn't work with Bome's Mouse Keyboard, as it's designed to allow a user to use their existing computer keyboard as a MIDI controller. If you're using an X-Board, that would be redundant, anyway, as you already have a better controller. The reason I tried out Bome is because I was sometimes tired of having to turn to my ASR-10 to play something, then turn back to my computer to do something else. I wanted to be able to just sit at my computer, looking at the monitor with my attention undivided, and to do everything I want to do without having move my chair or look away. For that much, Bome works fine, as it keeps me positioned in front of my computer, where I want to be. The problem is that it just lacks the functionality of a true MIDI controller and using a QWERTY keyboard to play music on is something that I just know some sadist came up with! Wink

P.S.: I guess the solution for my predicament is to either do as you've done and dedicate my computer exclusively to music production (can't do that, but I do have an old Dell with a burned out motherboard that would suffice, if I repair it), or to get something like an X-Board, that will allow me to stay positioned in front of my computer and play music on a piano-style keyboard, as I'm accustomed to. The thing is, unless I have my computer dedicated to music production, I'd be switching back and forth between the X-Board and my QWERTY keyboard, depending upon what I'm doing with my computer...which I guess is the dilemma you're glad about having solved, right?



Gary


Hi Gary, I have an X-Board 61, it's fine, I was just wondering if there were any master keyboards (music, not computer ones) with some sort of mouse interface built in, just to save space really.
I have two computers, one for music, thats never connected to the internet. And one for office/internet duties. The bottom line is that if I thought my music was suffering from lack of hardware I'd have it ! Very Happy but it isn't, simple. I can still do what I've always done but more so.
jksuperstar, thanks for the link, but it's a music keyboard that I was after. I'll probably end up just getting a smaller computer keyboard, that takes up less space.

Patch Mouse.
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PostPosted: Wed May 27, 2009 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Patchmouse,

One more item added to the thread I started for you.

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