electro-music.com   Dedicated to experimental electro-acoustic
and electronic music
 
    Front Page  |  Articles  |  Radio
 |  Media  |  Forum  |  Wiki  |  Links  |  Store
Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
 FAQFAQ   CalendarCalendar   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   LinksLinks
 RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in  Chat RoomChat Room 
 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Soft synths
hardware obsolete?
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Page 6 of 8 [195 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Next
Author Message
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12087
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
There's a great forum which sprung up after Hartmann went OOB, to support it.

do you mean this one Question

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
EdisonRex wrote:
There's a great forum which sprung up after Hartmann went OOB, to support it.

do you mean this one Question


Yup, that would be the one. You can find me there too if you look. Wink

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12087
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:

Yup, that would be the one. You can find me there too if you look. Wink

I did

Cool

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
zerocrossing



Joined: Jun 07, 2007
Posts: 10
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
But getting back to the original post's intent, I have a couple of pieces of hardware which are basically dedicated computers all to themselves. My Hartmann Neuron actually has a computer motherboard in it and runs Linux, down underneath all those nifty LED bars. There's a great forum which sprung up after Hartmann went OOB, to support it. And my Akai sampler is essentially a dedicated computer too.

Rhetorical question. Why use a general purpose computer in a specialised fashion? Especially when "making music" isn't all about VST plugins anyway. I'm not trying to be flip or anything, I'm interested in how other people approach the problem.

One thought I have is people start out on the software-only route because of a perception that it's cheaper.


Ah the Neuron... I've lovingly looked at it via the webpage but never had the pleasure to put it through some hoops. Amazing machine? Seemed so. At one point it looked like they might be developing a software version... but then stopped? I lost track.

Anyway, I totally agree. What happens when you dedicate non dedicated hardware to a task? Why do it? I guess I only have one answer: software. As I mentioned above, there was a single software program (Mobius, a software emulation of 8 Stereo Gibson Echoplexes) that I had to run. The hardware (a toshiba laptop) cost me about $1500 USD including extra ram and a firewire audio interface and replaced a piece of hardware (Looperlative) that did similar things for about the same cost. In my case the software was free and more mature than the hardware I was trying to use. In this case the price was about a wash, definitaly not cheaper. What I did get was the ability to add functionality without adding anything that took up space. Now that same "box" could be my audio looper AND a multi-effects processor at the same time... and perhaps a synth as well.

So I mostly gained flexibility, space and a very quick setup time for live shows. In a perfect world I'd love to have the space for a ton of hardware, trust me I love it. However, there are nitch products like Mobius that will never be profitable enough to manufacture in hardware only form, so there you have it. I think the future will be populated with PC/DSP boxes like the Neuron or the Receptor that will be semi dedicated boxes with the flexibility of a PC but with functionality designed for music production only.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12087
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zerocrossing wrote:
At one point it looked like they might be developing a software version... but then stopped? I lost track.

there is the Neuron VS.

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zerocrossing:

the Neuron is an amazing machine, but as you can imagine, the owner community has been orphaned by both the demise of the company, Hartmann, and the complete lack of support of the hardware manufacturer, Schlafhorst, as well as various rights issues for the software. There are people working on obtaining those rights, who will, we hope, bring the OS back into support and maybe development. And there are people exploring the innards, eventually we will know what we haven't been able to know.

As for the Neuron VS, it's stuck in OSX, non Intel. Development was stopped with the demise of Hartmann. It was in fact impossible, when I bought my Neuron, to get ahold of the editing software by any legal means, as I needed to register with the manufacturer, who had gone out of business 2 days before I bought my keyboard. Nice, huh.

Anyway. The point is, expensive soft synths and expensive hardware both have the weakness of the company going out of business. In the case of software, new operating systems *cough*Vista*cough* require extensive rewriting and your old software won't run on new kit. This of course negates your investment. Almost as much as it threatens the hardware investment, although the road of hardware is littered with orphaned machines, and many people just deal with it. Someone in these forums just mentioned that his Mirage just died after 21 years. Ensoniq has been out of business for quite a few years now, and I still have an Ensoniq as my main controller too.

Ah well. I guess if you don't have space for a studio you can work on a laptop. I just like having more knobs and sliders available. My choice, I guess.

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Blue Hell
Site Admin


Joined: Apr 03, 2004
Posts: 20517
Location: The Netherlands, Enschede
Audio files: 147
G2 patch files: 318

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
zerocrossing wrote:


Why on earth are you connecting a computer you use for music to the internet? HA HA!


Ha ha, indeed. Something about software updates.


Oh I thought it was for the web cam Rolling Eyes

_________________
Jan
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
EdisonRex wrote:
zerocrossing wrote:


Why on earth are you connecting a computer you use for music to the internet? HA HA!


Ha ha, indeed. Something about software updates.


Oh I thought it was for the web cam Rolling Eyes


Spoilsport. Just because you haven't got one...

Razz

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2041
Location: Morokulien
Audio files: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Please forgive me if somebody has mentioned this already: so far you will need hardware in order to run software Idea I'm unaware of any methods to run software in thin air. Come to think of it, since the 80's you pretty much need software to run most hardware as well...

OK... <coat> clown

DJ
--
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dr:

I think the issue we were exploring was why spend so much on general purpose hardware for a specialised software environment.

I think there was an answer too...

Still, looking for more answers. I don't suppose it would matter to me, being a hardware bigot but I was thinking it would be nice to hear from some of the software synth folks.

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2041
Location: Morokulien
Audio files: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Sorry Edison, I couldn't help myself... Embarassed

On the more serious side, my previous remark, although half joking, is (by definition) also half serious. And obsolescence is a thing that the soft side suffers the most in my experience.

I wouldn't say I'm a hardware bigot myself, having made my living primarily in software, but wen it comes to music I just love all the knobbly boxes.

What I'd really like to see is purpose made music computers, with hardware and OS made for music, rather than wordprocessing. Being more than a bit intolerant towards latency, crashes, inconsistencies, incompatibilities etc., souped up office appliances simply doesn't rock my boat. I see many pieces of synthesis software that looks tempting, but the whole softsynth/PC/soundcard/OS -scenario is too transient for my liking. The only notable attempt at solving this is perhaps done by OpenLabs and Lionstracs, but they missed out by basing it all on PC innards and OS'es IMO.

Well - guess I'm just not a believer in the do-it-all-for-everything-machine. Neither am in need of constant upgrades for ever more voices, tracks and plugins.

EdisonRex wrote:
...I think there was an answer too...

That must've escaped me... Very Happy

DJ
--
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Dr: *snort* Laughing

more seriously...

Read up about the dedicated computer for music that is my Neuron, if you want a story of how it goes wrong.

I think the problem is complicated, especially in the world of IP rights, buyouts, OOBs and of course the IP sharks. Software, and hardware itself will be increasingly vulnerable to these sorts of issues. The end user is not immune! We pay money to obtain software or hardware, only to find it obsolete, or incompatible, or worse, we'll be liable for more payments to someone else someday. This does disturb me.

Personally I think I'm going back to the world of well defined circuits which are given express rights for non commercial use. I.E. DIY.

Over-reaction? I dunno. How many people have software that won't run on Vista?

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There's no stopping the tide -- soft synths will eventually take over.

I don't remember who wrote about this -- one of the people I read in grad school -- but the basic idea was that new music making technologies are always met with skepticism at first, but eventually they come to represent "authenticity" for at least one style or another. Then, what used to be a bad, scary technology that would destroy music making becomes a desirable instrument -- often in opposition to another new technology that takes the role of the villain. (Once upon a time, it was considered barbaric to strike strings with hammers instead of plucking them; now, of course, pianos are everywhere and the harpsichord for the most part belongs to a specialist few.)

Probably because of my own biases, speaking as someone who abandoned hardware synths altogether a few years ago in favor of SuperCollider, I can't help but wonder if any of that dynamic plays into a preference for hardware sound generators. Certainly some of the rhetoric has shown up in this thread -- dedicated hardware sounds richer/fatter/more polished; there's no way a general-purpose CPU can match special purpose hardware etc. It sounds curiously like what they used to say about analog vs digital several decades ago (digital audio is a crime, no way it can even come close to an analog oscillator), and go back further, and recall that the analog synthesizer was going to kill "true" instrumental performance.

I know I'm stepping on some toes here -- mischievously, and I hope not maliciously. I just can't escape the feeling of deja vu... history repeats itself...

I also know I'm leaving out the issue of technological improvement. I'm sure the early digital synths did sound like crap compared to analog, but digital technology got better and the gap shrunk to the point where now, for most people, it's ana-what? So it makes sense that soft synths might have a way to go.

And, all snark aside, if you ask me to make a pad in SuperCollider that is as rich as a G2, I would have to work really hard and I probably still wouldn't be able to come close. For me, it just means my style can't depend on big fat dreamy space pads (which is fine with me... I'm interested in other stuff).

I love questions like this, with no real answer! Just wanted to throw a monkey wrench into the idea that hardware is obviously better. Maybe it is now, but not for long...

James

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
DrJustice



Joined: Sep 13, 2004
Posts: 2041
Location: Morokulien
Audio files: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

@ dewdrop_world:
No doubt about that; software will take over the synthesis functions - it pretty much has already. But in no way am I personally happy with the PC centric way it is happening (when I say PC's I mean Mac's too BTW), i.e. it's kind of dull and reactionary IMO.

Also, the reluctance that some of us show in embracing PC+softsynths does not necessarily have to do with opposition to new technology or it's eventual lack of "authenticity". Quite the opposite, if I dare say so: we're ready for much more radical technology. I just think the technical solutions, limited by general purpose desktop computing, are subpar and the direction of development is wrong, including what I might call the the technological-cultural attitude.

This is just my opinion of course, and it will not change anything Laughing As you say there is no real answer to this. This discussion will continue to pop up, slightly changed each time, and that is a good thing since discussing the evolution of musical technology is entirely valid.

@ Edison:
I read about your Neuron, too bad it went the way it did. That said, it was "only" a PC in a fancy box, running a PC OS and a PC originated application. Not at all what I think of as dedicated music/instrument -computer, but this may have been what you meant by "general purpose hardware for a specialised software environment" in your second last posting.

Like yourself, I'm increasingly tempted to pick up DIY as it simply seems more worthwhile and exciting... although DIY is obviously not the solution for everyone.

DJ
--
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:

@ Edison:
I read about your Neuron, too bad it went the way it did. That said, it was "only" a PC in a fancy box, running a PC OS and a PC originated application. Not at all what I think of as dedicated music/instrument -computer, but this may have been what you meant by "general purpose hardware for a specialised software environment" in your second last posting.


That is kind of what I mean. When someone builds a better computer for a decent price, with lots of cheap DSP and a proper realtime OS, I'd take a closer look at it.

Those new SHARC boards are interesting but very very expensive.

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
Also, the reluctance that some of us show in embracing PC+softsynths does not necessarily have to do with opposition to new technology or it's eventual lack of "authenticity". Quite the opposite, if I dare say so: we're ready for much more radical technology. I just think the technical solutions, limited by general purpose desktop computing, are subpar and the direction of development is wrong, including what I might call the the technological-cultural attitude.


Just a point of clarification -- it's that the new technology is considered inauthentic now, but in some years they will have acquired authenticity.

More radical technology... we're up against economics again. Software (like SuperCollider) can be free and open source (though it is often not free, in a big way), but dedicated hardware offering the same degree of control has to be viable in the marketplace or it dies.

One of the reasons I went with SuperCollider is that it's an open box - don't like something? If you know enough c++ you can rewrite the guts if you want. I don't know that much c++ but you can build a whole lot in sc code alone. We talk about all the knobs you have on hardware boxes but to me, that's boring if you can't get in there and muck deeply with what the knobs are controlling.

Let's have a box where all levels of control, from high-level performance interface to core levels of sound design, are OSC programmable. Then you could have clients for sc, max/msp, pd, Java, Python, scheme, common music, chuck ..... Now we're talking.

I guess what I'm saying is, NO PROPRIETARY INTERFACE. Open up the box! Put a lot of horsepower in there, but let us get in and tinker.

(VST and AU softsynths are just as inadequate in this regard as off-the-shelf midi rack units.)

James

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

dewdrop_world wrote:
DrJustice wrote:
Also, the reluctance that some of us show in embracing PC+softsynths does not necessarily have to do with opposition to new technology or it's eventual lack of "authenticity". Quite the opposite, if I dare say so: we're ready for much more radical technology. I just think the technical solutions, limited by general purpose desktop computing, are subpar and the direction of development is wrong, including what I might call the the technological-cultural attitude.


Just a point of clarification -- it's that the new technology is considered inauthentic now, but in some years they will have acquired authenticity.

More radical technology... we're up against economics again. Software (like SuperCollider) can be free and open source (though it is often not free, in a big way), but dedicated hardware offering the same degree of control has to be viable in the marketplace or it dies.

One of the reasons I went with SuperCollider is that it's an open box - don't like something? If you know enough c++ you can rewrite the guts if you want. I don't know that much c++ but you can build a whole lot in sc code alone. We talk about all the knobs you have on hardware boxes but to me, that's boring if you can't get in there and muck deeply with what the knobs are controlling.

Let's have a box where all levels of control, from high-level performance interface to core levels of sound design, are OSC programmable. Then you could have clients for sc, max/msp, pd, Java, Python, scheme, common music, chuck ..... Now we're talking.

I guess what I'm saying is, NO PROPRIETARY INTERFACE. Open up the box! Put a lot of horsepower in there, but let us get in and tinker.

(VST and AU softsynths are just as inadequate in this regard as off-the-shelf midi rack units.)

James


I guess my problem with all of this is that ultimately, soft synths are not only more complex and blackbox, but they are totally dependent on the hardware platform.

I can build a VCO from less than 40 components, and I could build a working physical synthesizer from maybe 400 individual pieces. The simpler ones take less, even.

I can't count the hardware platform as a single component.

My piano has thousands of components, but they are very reliable. It's why I can depend on my piano to be there for me to walk up to any time I want to play it.

My Mac died today. I am sure it is repairable, well Applecare will have to repair it regardless, but since the heart of my studio is missing I'll play with some other components this weekend. It sucks, I have a lot of Max/MSP patches too. Everything is usable and reusable.

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

EdisonRex wrote:
I guess my problem with all of this is that ultimately, soft synths are not only more complex and blackbox, but they are totally dependent on the hardware platform.


Soft synths are closed, black boxes because the companies who make them think that's what musicians want. (Actually, that's exactly what a large number of them want.)

Hardware and OS dependence are a fact of life - I would say it's more OS-dependent than hardware dependent for soft synths. (When will Kyma be hardware-independent? Razz )

I'm not saying there's a right answer - but it remains a fact that the kind of open box I want is available for free in software, where it would require some venture capital to make the same level of control available in hardware (or plunk down $4000+ for a Kyma system).

James

PS Condolences on the mac. I know the feeling... I had a logic board die on a G3 iBook a few years ago. My heart was on the floor.

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
EdisonRex
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 07, 2007
Posts: 4524
Location: London, UK
Audio files: 169

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
PS Condolences on the mac. I know the feeling... I had a logic board die on a G3 iBook a few years ago. My heart was on the floor.


thanks, I will get over it. It just is one of those pesky annoyances after a day at work, come home to a dead mac, and the machine you live on. It'll be fixed, but there's an annoyance thing. Ah well. It could have been any of the machines here, I'd have been annoyed about it. Just this one's not something I can DIY-fix.

_________________
Garret: It's so retro.
EGM: What does retro mean to you?
Parker: Like, old and outdated.


Home,My Studio,and another view
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
elektro80
Site Admin


Joined: Mar 25, 2003
Posts: 21977
Location: Norway
Audio files: 14

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DrJustice wrote:
Also, the reluctance that some of us show in embracing PC+softsynths does not necessarily have to do with opposition to new technology or it's eventual lack of "authenticity". Quite the opposite, if I dare say so: we're ready for much more radical technology. I just think the technical solutions, limited by general purpose desktop computing, are subpar and the direction of development is wrong, including what I might call the the technological-cultural attitude.


Good thinking! Very Happy

_________________
A Charity Pantomime in aid of Paranoid Schizophrenics descended into chaos yesterday when someone shouted, "He's behind you!"

MySpace
SoundCloud
Flickr
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Uncle Krunkus
Moderator


Joined: Jul 11, 2005
Posts: 4759
Location: Sydney, Australia
Audio files: 52
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2007 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm quite happy to do all my music on the same PC I use for the internet. I also use it for PCB design, stripboard design, e-mail, Office, Winscope, Photo-Manipulation, and running some very graphics intensive games, which by the way, rock. Maybe it's because I'm a PC kind of person, I've put alot of effort into knowing my PC back to front, and despite the amount of stuff I use it for, I run a very clean ship. Less than 20 processes.
Most people I know who own a PC don't know how to get the most out of it, and I think that is where the problem lies. You only need to have a bit of a look around, and you realise that they are full of garbage, (the PCs, not the peple who use them!)
I don't expect the average musician to have as much PC taming experience as I do, but I just thought it would be important to say that it can be done.
As for Vista, if you're worried about what it might do to your current setup, don't get it. Simple. I didn't upgrade to XP till it was 3-4 years old. There was no need. And there's no need to go for Vista either. I can't understand what all the worry is about. Confused

_________________
What makes a space ours, is what we put there, and what we do there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
mosc
Site Admin


Joined: Jan 31, 2003
Posts: 17611
Location: Allentown, PA
Audio files: 125
G2 patch files: 60

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's now 2007 and we just got through a three day music festival with over 40 performances. From doing this for three years, the conclusion is inescapable that if there is a computer involved, the probability of failure or glitches is many times more than if not. By computer, I mean one with a general purpose OS like XP or OSX. Similarly the more pieces of gear the higher the probability of catastrophe. The more hardware the more connections you have, and each connection is a point of failure.

So why would a single computer be as unreliable as say a kit with 5 pieces of hardware? Because the computer has many interconnected software modules. A single general purpose computer is many times more complex than a single dedicated music making piece of hardware.

So, if you want reliability, keep it simple.

Lately, I've used a setup with just one piece of gear, a G2X. Is it hardware or software? I don't know. It has a dedicated real-time OS with 8 DSPs. Certainly it's hardware, but no oscillators, filters, VCAs, envelope generators - none of that.

Consider a Kyma. You can get a Capybara box with 27 DSPs. Is that hardware? Certainly it is hardware, but the synths/processors are software too.

I'm thinking that in 2007, the question is more like - are general purpose computers obsolete?

Today, synths and computers are systems made from both hardware and software. A general purpose computer is designed to read your email, browse the web, design graphics, play music downloads and CDs, play games, manage your stock portfolio, edit your PhD thesis, order your tickets, watch movies, etc. These computers are able to do many things but not all things as well as more specialized systems. To some, using a general purpose computer to make music is sorta like playing golf with only a putter.

Whether GP computers are feeble computing devices or not is interesting to consider, but in the real world it's not very relevant because of the economics. I mean, like Behringer mixers, GP computers are pretty good.

Yet the trend is certainly that general purpose computers are getting more and more capable, and hopefully more reliable and robust. Already, most synths are specialized computers. No doubt, someday one will have what is today a most sophisticated studio in your phone - yet another specialized computer that is assuming more and more general purpose capabilities. Then your phone will become implanted into your body and we will be elevated or demoted to being network nodes on a civilization processor and the discussion will be, "is biology obsolete?". Then the civilization processor will become embedded into the great consciousness system of the Solar System which will ask, "so what?"

Time for a diversion... happy smoker

_________________
--Howard
my music and other stuff
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address
seraph
Editor
Editor


Joined: Jun 21, 2003
Posts: 12087
Location: Firenze, Italy
Audio files: 33
G2 patch files: 2

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Time for a diversion... happy smoker

time for a trip to Europe Very Happy

_________________
homepage - blog - forum - youtube

Quote:
Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
dewdrop_world



Joined: Aug 28, 2006
Posts: 858
Location: Guangzhou, China
Audio files: 4

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
It's now 2007 and we just got through a three day music festival with over 40 performances. From doing this for three years, the conclusion is inescapable that if there is a computer involved, the probability of failure or glitches is many times more than if not. By computer, I mean one with a general purpose OS like XP or OSX. Similarly the more pieces of gear the higher the probability of catastrophe. The more hardware the more connections you have, and each connection is a point of failure. ...

So, if you want reliability, keep it simple.


That's why I use just supercollider, instead of supercollider + max/msp + logic + inter-app midi + a few dozen au plugs. The chance of breakage in the latter case seems much higher to me.

SC is really surprisingly stable. I've run it for hours without glitches.

(Assuming you've debugged your code thoroughly... head banging monitor )

James

_________________
ddw online: http://www.dewdrop-world.net
sc3 online: http://supercollider.sourceforge.net
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
GovernorSilver



Joined: Apr 26, 2004
Posts: 1334
Location: Washington DC Metro
G2 patch files: 1

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hardware synths (I mean, those that can operate without a computer - I include the Nord Modulars even though I'm personally spoiled by the Editor software) have the appeal of a user interface that many synth users like. For quick prototyping of song ideas for our rock band, I love using my Emu Command Station due to its built-in sequencer and sound engine.

But I'm looking forward to continued improvement in touchscreen technology to get softsynths closer to hardware synths in that department.

I've had my share of embarrassing moments when I relied more heavily on my laptop for live performance. I knew a laptop musician whose "backup" was his trumpet. He always brought the trumpet to all his shows but rarely played it. I asked him why and he said it was his backup - if he had a computer problem he could always pull out the trumpet and play that instead. I bought my Nord G2X at a time when I needed a more portable keyboard controller (my main one is a heavy 88-key M-Audio) and felt it was a good idea to get one with an internal synth engine. The G2X happened to be on sale. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic
Page 6 of 8 [195 Posts]
View unread posts
View new posts in the last week
Goto page: Previous 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Next
Mark the topic unread :: View previous topic :: View next topic
 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Soft synths
Jump to:  

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum
e-m mkii

Please support our site. If you click through and buy from
our affiliate partners, we earn a small commission.


Forum with support of Syndicator RSS
Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group
Copyright © 2003 through 2009 by electro-music.com - Conditions Of Use