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analog waveforms
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akaie



Joined: Jun 18, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 1:07 am    Post subject: analog waveforms Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I am looking for samples of raw waveforms ( sines, saws, squares etc.) from vintage analog synths. If anyone knows where I can find those please help.
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State Machine
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 5:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The best place to find lots of samples of analog gear is to go on "Ebay" and do a search. Type in a search criteria "Vintage analog samples" or something like that. I just did and turned up several CD's worth!! Some of these venders have some real high quality samples. One such vender is "peace love productions"

http://www.peaceloveproductions.com/
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opg



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've seen several pages with samples. Of course, there will be lots of samples of preset/designed sounds, but I'll see if I can find some links:

I've found some good links to pages at SynthZone:
http://www.synthzone.com/sampling.htm

I typically use soundfonts, and every once in a while, I'll find some that have basic waveforms. I don't know how interested in soundfonts you are, though:

http://www.hammersound.net/cgi-bin/soundlink.pl?action=view_category&category=Synth+Lead&ListStart=0&ListLength=15

There used to be great Hollow Sun samples, but the only thing left (that someone else reposted) are the drum machine samples.

This site isn't too bad. I searched "synth wavforms" and got some nice samples to loop:
http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/searchText.php

I still feel like I'm missing a big link, though....

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bigtex



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think getting just the raw waveforms, you'll be missing something. Most classic synths have their characteristic "sound" from their filters and perhaps some cross-modulation. The waveforms alone will likely be rather boring. A sine is a sine is a sine. Perhaps some are a little more dodgy than others and so don't create the waveform exactly right, but most tof them will likely sound the same. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.

Do you want these raw waveforms to then run though your own filters? You might be best off starting with the type of clean waveforms you can synthesize in a software waveform editor. I don't think there will be much difference between those from the synth and those from the software, aside from the possible waveshaping errors and noise inherrent in the synth hardware. But if that's exactly what you're looking for (slight errors and slight noise) I'll see if I can get some samples out of my Octave Kitten.
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akaie



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ok. Thanks for replys and the links. Unfortunately all I was able to find was preset samples while I am looking for the raw waveforms. The reason I want to find those samples is that ( althought I never had experience whith analog synths ) I am dissapointed from the sound of the digital synths. I believe that the waves softsynths generate are boring and thin because they are allmost perfect while the ones from analog synths are more interesting and natural because of the waveshaping and the errors bigtex is talking about.I am not really looking to actually use those samples. It is more that I want to study those waves and try to emulate them in a digital enviroment.
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akaie



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

bigtex wrote:
I'll see if I can get some samples out of my Octave Kitten.


That would be sweet. ...If its not big trouble for you of course
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

akaie wrote:
The reason I want to find those samples is that ( althought I never had experience whith analog synths ) I am dissapointed from the sound of the digital synths. I believe that the waves softsynths generate are boring and thin because they are allmost perfect while the ones from analog synths are more interesting and natural because of the waveshaping and the errors bigtex is talking about.I am not really looking to actually use those samples. It is more that I want to study those waves and try to emulate them in a digital enviroment.


Well, you might be dissapointed by the raw waveforms from analog synths, as well. Basic waveforms are really not all that interesting by themselves, unless you manage to compose something that sounds good with just basic waveforms (i.e. NES music). Otherwise, filtering, modulation, and other effects are used to make the sound more interesting and lively.

I don't know what software you use, but if you want some more interesting waveforms, you could try what I do. I like to use Cool Edit (now Adobe Audition) because it has this great waveshaping effect. They call it distortion. Many other programs might have this effect.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here's a basic triangle wave. Ordinairy. Boring. A good starting point, though.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here is Adobe Audition's "Distortion" dialog box. By drawing the waveform here, you are reshaping the wave. Basically, the X axis is input amplitude and the Y axis is output amplitude. So with this particular kind of distortion, the higher levels (peaks of waves) will be kind of mushed down in a squiggly way.

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here's what it looks like after running through that "Groove2" waveshape. All messed up. Now that's a lot more interesting than a triangle wave. OF course, it's still a static waveform and the tone will be a constant ooooooooooooooh until you run it through some filters or play some notes or something...

Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.
Here's the same triagle wave through their "70s fuzz" effect. Kind of like what a distortion pedal might do.

The idea with waveshaping is that you are adding or changing the harmonic content of an otherwise boring waveshape. You'll probably get more interesting results by messing around with what you have than by seeking out some holy grail of vintage waveforms. There's really not going to be all that much wrong with their waves unless the synth is broken. The really intersting sounds come from dynamic effects, modulation, and stuff.

Is there a particular sound you are looking for, or are you just experimenting to find what you like?

Edit: you should also try listening to some electronic music you like, listening for particular sounds you like, and then opening up the music in a waveform editor and actually seeing what it looks like. That might help you figure out how to make such sounds using the effects and instruments and such that you have available. There's as much to be told about a waveform by seeing it as there is by hearing it.

Last edited by bigtex on Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:26 pm; edited 2 times in total
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

akaie wrote:
bigtex wrote:
I'll see if I can get some samples out of my Octave Kitten.


That would be sweet. ...If its not big trouble for you of course


I'm at work now, but when I get a chance to mess around with it at home, I'll put some samples up. In the meantime, check this out:

-- The Octave Kitten - A Purrrfect Vintage Analog Synthesizer! --
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akaie



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It is obvious that you can not expect the basic waveforms alone to be interesting. I just think that it would be better to start with warmer sounds. In most softsynths the most complex patches sound thiner than the most simple analog sounds so I thought I could try to emulate this sound.
I am young and new to sound synthesis so like you said I am trying to figure out what works best. Cool edit is very nice, I use it too. Maybe by using the distortion you could emulate the waveshaping of certain anolog synths
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

akaie wrote:
It is obvious that you can not expect the basic waveforms alone to be interesting. I just think that it would be better to start with warmer sounds. In most softsynths the most complex patches sound thiner than the most simple analog sounds so I thought I could try to emulate this sound.


I see. If you have such options available, you may want to enable such things as error in pitch tracking, oscillator instability, high frequency drift, etc. Some analog synth emulations offer these things. This is how to get a more "analog" sound. My Alesis Micron allows me to enable all kinds of errors which really give a sloppy and a kind of organic quality to the sound.

You may also want to experiment with filters that are not the plain ordinairy "scientific" type difital filters. It's easy to make a rigid filter slope and apply it to a sound. It's much more difficult to model an analog filter which might add some distortion, respond differently at different cutoff frequencies and resonances, etc. See if you can find some filters which are designed to be more dodgy, error-prone, or analog-like. This might help you find the sound you are looking for, as well as the dirtier waveforms.


Quote:
I am young and new to sound synthesis so like you said I am trying to figure out what works best. Cool edit is very nice, I use it too. Maybe by using the distortion you could emulate the waveshaping of certain anolog synths


Good! Getting an early start is great.

I'm glad you have Cool Edit available. Play around with preparing some waveforms using that distortion effect, and you might find some more intersting harmonic structures once you start filtering and composing using those modified/distorted waveforms.

Good luck!

Oh, and welcome to electro-music!
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peripatitis



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Geia sou patrida:
The differences between analog and digital synths is one for the purists .
Imho it shouldn't bother you at this point, taking for granted what you said earlier that your are now getting into this field.

If you are however indeed determined buy a good pair of monitors , a good mixer a good soundcard and an analog synth and then judge for yourself. Personally i think that this direction is fruitless, at least at this stage.


Another way could be to loose all the plugins that you might have from other manufacturers (perhaps keep a modular emulation to learn the basics of that kind of programming) and get a copy of maxmsp or csound, suppercollider, pd (the last three are free).
And then of course study

In any case a sampled waveform of a sinewave for example will give you no useful information, admitedly you might find that some sinewaves have a few added harmonics. Nevertheless you should be able to interpret any finding , thus have at least a basic understaning of math (trigonometry ,complex numbers etc) and fourrier analysis.

Think of it in another way an unmodulated repetitive waveform , has basicaly no information, thus it can only be boring.

Using bigtex's idea and on a more 'quick fix' you can perhaps create a number of these distorted harmonics (perhaps with minor differences in between them) and put them in a wavetable synth, see what comes out with various modulation options.

afta pros to paron

cheers
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bigtex



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

peripatitis wrote:
Think of it in another way an unmodulated repetitive waveform , has basicaly no information, thus it can only be boring.


Which is what I was trying to say. Any repeated waveform, no matter how distorted or ugly (or nearly clean but slightly off like an analog synth) is still a repeated waveform. It's static, unchanging, uninteresting, boring.

Searching for the right waveform isn't likely to have a big payoff. Experimenting with filters and methods of modulation will open a whole world of sonic possibilities. If it is "fatness" that you are looking for (in reference to your mention that softsynth waves are "boring" and "thin") then you should experiment with filter slopes, resonances, and effects. Turn those boring waves into something more.


peripatitis wrote:
Using bigtex's idea and on a more 'quick fix' you can perhaps create a number of these distorted harmonics (perhaps with minor differences in between them) and put them in a wavetable synth, see what comes out with various modulation options.


Agreed. And I only proposed that idea as a possible way for akaie to experiment with waveforms. It couldn't hurt to try. Experimentation is always good Smile

Now, I will admit that my Octave Kitten can make sounds that I'd be hard pressed to emulate on the computer without a lot of careful programming or manipulation, but that sound has little to do with the waveforms. It's all about the filter on that thing. Playing a nice mix of waveforms (sine, triangle, saw, square, and some sub-octave squares) through an analog filter close to resonance (so it "rings" a little bit) makes for some ripping bass. The magic is in the filter and in combining or shaping the wave that's going through it. With some experimentation, you'll find a way to make the tools you have available make the sounds you want. I'm sure a skilled softsynth user could make sounds just as good as, and I'm sure better than, the Kitten, but I just never cared to try.

I don't care much for softsynths. It's an interface issue for me, not a sound issue... I've heard some great softsynths. You may want to play around with StudioFactory a little bit, too, if you want a very simple virtual analog modular synthesizer to play with. Despite the fanciness of the available software, I find this program suits my needs the best. And the filter sounds nice, too Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

A great discussion. I think Moog discovered pretty early that you really only need 4 basic waveforms. Beyond that it's not worth the effort and expense. Like bigtex says, static waveforms aren't too interesting or all that valuable - the musical interest is in changes. In fact, filters wouldn't be that useful if they weren't controllable with envelopes, LFOs or other control signals.

The exception is the fixed filter bank. This is a static filter but it is great because it colors each note a little differently. Sometimes these are called formant filters. I'm very disappointed that many soft synths and even the great G2 don't have these filters.

Back to waveforms - in the later model modulars, Moog added pulse width adjustments on the square waves. Pulse witch modulation is a nice effect. Of all the wave forms, one I find very very useful is the very narrow pulse width square wave - sometimes I call it an impulse wave or a spike. It is rich in harmonics and works great with filters.

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Kassen
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
A great discussion. I think Moog discovered pretty early that you really only need 4 basic waveforms. Beyond that it's not worth the effort and expense.


Hmmmmm. While Moog's work is great I wouldn't take his word for everything.

Most synths try to create the same four waves, so much is true..... Then comes the factor that they generally fail miserably at this. For example; "saws" are often asymetrical with the verical flank slightly rounded, "squares" tend to ring at the edges.... This behavouir often varies with frequency as well. Making a mathematically perfect waveform that tracks over a large range means very expensive components and many older analogue synths use relatively cheap ones.

......And of cource all of that sounds slightly different, if the oportunity is there it may well be interesting to pick the exact "saw" that suits your needs.

I agree with you guys that a lot of the character of synths comes from the filter's characterisitcs but filters aren't the be-all end-all of synth character that they are sometimes made out to be. The impurities of the wave form do affect the sound and character of a synth, sometimes to a quite signifficant degree.

Maybe it's not worth obsessing about in the early stages of one's explorations but there are diferences, some "sines" do sound different then others, some can be quite beautifull in a way that's hard to pinpoint.

(at least to me......)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I downloaded a wav from a Synth DIY discussion a while back.
From memory, this file contains a software generated sawtooth and a sawtooth from a modern analog VCO module (MOTM?), spliced together.
The creator of the file was trying to illustrate how difficult it was to tell the difference. You can see the splice points in a wave editor, hearing them is not so easy.
Mind you, MOTM make a seriously good VCO.

Mixing two or more oscillators together is where you can easily tell the difference.

Last edited by ian-s on Mon Jul 16, 2007 7:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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varice



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
A great discussion. I think Moog discovered pretty early that you really only need 4 basic waveforms...


A great discussion indeed...

Just my own personal opinion (but, I could be wrong) - the raw oscillator waveforms of various analog synths probably do not differ significantly enough from the more or less perfect digital waveforms to account for the "analog sound". There are many other factors involved also - the fact that analog oscillators are not normally in perfect tune with each other and do not have perfect keyboard tracking, the particular synth filters used, outboard amps, mikes, EQ, - recording to analog tape, etc... - all have an impact on the analog sound.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I remember a discussion somewhere online about the NES and Gameboy waveforms. It was similar to this thread, and someone posted a waveform picture, showing that the "pure waveform" was not perfect and that its particular shape gave it character. So, I can understand how the imperfections in hardware synths can be desirable.

However, I also agree that looping an "imperfect" waveform can make it boring. I've tried this a while back, also thinking I'd get a warmer sound. It doesn't work. Now, I usually end up layering two or more waveforms that are a few cents off in pitch, or adding some distortion or bit reduction. I like the slow phasing effect of the layering, and panning each wave slightly is nice, too. Even the slightest bit of overdrive on a sine wave is very noticeable, and in my opinion, "warmer" and more pleasing to the ear.

I know I've whined a lot in past threads about needing "analog warmth" and hiss and hardware self-noise (digital vs. analog discussions, for example). I've been put in my place, however, by discovering that some random free VSTi synths can be "warmer" and "fatter" than actual hardware synths I've either recorded or high-quality recordings I've found.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

hi akaie,

look here for basic waveforms of the arp 2600: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/packsViewSingle.php?id=12


best regards

eike
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:
I've been put in my place, however, by discovering that some random free VSTi synths can be "warmer" and "fatter" than actual hardware synths I've either recorded or high-quality recordings I've found.


Thanks for posting this. Although I don't use too much VSTi gear, I believe strongly (maybe because I'm an electrical engineer) that digital equipment can make sounds with the "warmer" and "fatter" analog character.

I wouldn't say you have been "put in your place". I'd say you have made a positive contribution to an ongoing discussion. Very Happy

Once, when trying to compare the sound of the Moog filter to the Nord Modular filter, I was having a difficult time. I was playing a Moog sawtooth through the Moog filter and a NM sawtooth throught the NM filter. They sounded much more different than I thought they should. It turns out that the Moog sawtooth is is quite different from an ideal sawtooth. There are many artifacts. The NM is more "ideal". Turns out, the oscilators sounds more different than the filters. (I wouldn't suggest which sounds better). Anyhow, to do the comparison I had to use the same oscilator.

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akaie



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

All posts are vey interesting. i also believe that digital sound can be phat and warm. Its just that some times thing that would normally be considered as unwanted can help for a better result. And because it is unlikely for software companies to make products that go steps back in technollogy
you have to figure it out yourshelf.

(thats terrible English I guess)
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peripatitis



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:

akaie wrote :
And because it is unlikely for software companies to make products that go steps back in technollogy





Well one can argue for the opposite, not to disregard obvious benefits from emulating 'analog' synthesis technology (accessibility to a wider user base , polyphony etc), one could easily see that software companies are indeed mostly concentrating on these older technologies.

What i am trying to get at is that even if we finally get the perfect emulation (if we are not at this point as we speak) this is definitely not what a computer can do best, and perhaps what it should do at all.

After all with a computer you can do spectral analysis and resynthesis , granular synthesis and granulation ,physical modeling ,fm , waveshaping...etc
Things that even when possible in the analog domain, demand a huge amount of effort and time.
Additionally you can see it as a tool to assist you in compositional problems and why not totaly alter the way we perceive music (as has been the case with a lot of academic music).

In the end i feel that the problem if one could see it as one is not that the software companies disregard the past technologies but on the contrary that most of them don't embrace the future.

The big question however is why do we insist on that past ?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:

I've been put in my place, however, by discovering that some random free VSTi synths can be "warmer" and "fatter" than actual hardware synths I've either recorded or high-quality recordings I've found.


mhh...which vst-i's ?...not that i doubt it..per se...but....really ?

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paul e.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

peripatitis wrote:


... if we finally get the perfect emulation (if we are not at this point as we speak) this is definitely not what a computer can do best, and perhaps what it should do at all.

After all with a computer you can do spectral analysis and resynthesis , granular synthesis and granulation ,physical modeling ,fm , waveshaping...etc


well said..i agree...emulation is a red-herring..a 'distraction' from what is really exciting about DSP

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

peripatitis wrote:
The big question however is why do we insist on that past ?


Because it makes up the framework which we use to regard the present and future.

Also emulation makes it cheaper and easier. I read an interview with A Guy Called Gerald, where he talked about how Reason was great because he didn't have to carry around 20 kg of gear (which still isn't that much) anymore.

/Stefan

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 19, 2006 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

paul e. wrote:


mhh...which vst-i's ?...not that i doubt it..per se...but....really ?


I mentioned in another thread - YMVST, the freeware VSTi that supposedly emulates the Atari ST YM2149 sound chip. VERY big sound.

http://www.preromanbritain.com/ymvst/

I was also impressed by another free VSTi, MoCheese:

http://www.kvraudio.com/get/773.html


While on the subject of emulation and digital/analog, the one thing I can't get over is the fact that if you are using an analog hardware synth and recording it into a DAW, it is then digitized. I'm sure this is oversimplifying a bit, but lately I've wondered if this is "the great equalizer" (pun intended) for the hardware synth/VSTi debate. I mean, for example, even though you are recording a pure analogue waveform from an analog synth with its "unique properties that make it pleasing to the ear," you are then digitizing it and, however small, you do lose something in it. On the other hand, a VSTi "escapes" this possible loss in quality by avoiding A/D conversion but also doesn't include the artifacts from a hardware synth that we like (well not perfectly, however small the difference may be), even if the VSTi was designed to emulate them.

I'm not trying to stir up trouble on the analog/digital thing again, but I agree that we are at a point where bitrate, software programming and processor speed are good enough that is hard to tell the difference. And this is good, because one day we won't have analog synths because Japan will rule the world with their Asimo robots and do that thing where they outlawed vintage synths and old appliances. If I want to use my 1973 Kenmore microwave that seems to still be on when I open the door, I should have the freedom to do that, dammit! Whoops....some more hair fell out..... Smile

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