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EverythingIBM
December 16th, 2011, 10:18 PM
So I know this is primarily a vintage computer forum, but I was wondering if anyone else is into vintage analog synthesizers? I have some old Rolands that I use for music production, along with software.
I do enjoy a good analog jam every week, it never gets old for me :)

After college I'm going to hunt for a JP-4 (For some reason, I want one more than any other analog synth out there; something about it just entraces my attention):
http://www.vintagesynth.com/roland/images/jup4.jpg

Ole Juul
December 16th, 2011, 11:15 PM
I haven't been into those for just about 40 years. I used to have a fairly large setup with mostly PAIAA modules. I've still got a bunch of 10" reels of music I did back then. The first synth I tried was an ARP which somebody loaned me. MOOG was pretty popular, but I was too poor to own one - hence the soldering iron approach. :)

barythrin
December 16th, 2011, 11:22 PM
I don't have any but they're certainly cool. An acquaintance I knew actually offered to let me borrow his original minimoog once. I told him as awesome as the offer was I wasn't familiar enough with patching analog circuits that I wouldn't feel comfortable playing around with it. Pretty neat to see though. I don't have or collect syths, but have a few aged items vs when I bought them lol. My digital but analog style Korg Z1 is about as close as I have. Yeah, I could mention another small synth but again, it's digital.

Have you played with any softsynths that are analog mock ups? I think I have a moog or something in Native Instruments but I'm not sure how creative I can get with it vs the saved patches. Actually I think Reactor is the analog/raw synth modeling program if I remember correctly. I've always been curious about how the electronics behind sound work and how much of a challenge it would be to build something from scratch.

DOS lives on!!
December 17th, 2011, 03:43 AM
I got a Casio CTK-491 years ago and still have it. Every one in a while, I'll dig it out and make up a song, or listen to the built in songs. It's not exactly *vintage*, but close.

I'd like to get my hands on an older synthesizer. Some old educational movies I have contain neat background music that I'd like to try to reproduce.

commodorejohn
December 17th, 2011, 06:31 AM
Have you played with any softsynths that are analog mock ups? I think I have a moog or something in Native Instruments but I'm not sure how creative I can get with it vs the saved patches. Actually I think Reactor is the analog/raw synth modeling program if I remember correctly. I've always been curious about how the electronics behind sound work and how much of a challenge it would be to build something from scratch.
I've used G-Force Minimonsta (a Minimoog emulator VST) - it's quite nice, and you can do a whole lot more with it than just shuffle through patch libraries. For an example, this song (http://www.commodorejohn.com/cgspace.ogg) was constructed (drums excepted) entirely out of Moog sounds, mostly done through fiddling around on the panel and tweaking some parameters in-song.

I'd kill to get my hands on a real Minimoog, though.

per
December 17th, 2011, 08:52 AM
I've been quite interested in them, but I don't have enough money nor space to get myself one. I find it fascinating how you can play around with signals to generate different waveforms and envelopes. I especially like the filter-envelope effects a lot.

EverythingIBM
December 17th, 2011, 12:19 PM
Have you played with any softsynths that are analog mock ups? I think I have a moog or something in Native Instruments but I'm not sure how creative I can get with it vs the saved patches. Actually I think Reactor is the analog/raw synth modeling program if I remember correctly. I've always been curious about how the electronics behind sound work and how much of a challenge it would be to build something from scratch.

I have used a lot of software synths (VSTis) that are analog simulators. Oh boy, is this ever a controversial topic for some.
It's really difficult to reproduce a particular synth, but possible to emulate "analog" sound; usually consists of pushing basic PWM.
One of the biggest issues I have with analog emulators is the fact they can't quite get the filter and resonance chips quite right (and then you run into the whole notion of physical capacitors affecting the sound too). Especially since practically every synth has a unique resonance chip.
--> high quality chips are able to self-resonate (which emulators I tried, wouldn't do).

The best way to put it: I like a mix of both. But some of the emulators trying to get the sound of a particular synth don't do a very good job. Especially when you [know of] and make use of that particular synth's quirks.


I've used G-Force Minimonsta (a Minimoog emulator VST) - it's quite nice, and you can do a whole lot more with it than just shuffle through patch libraries. For an example, this song (http://www.commodorejohn.com/cgspace.ogg) was constructed (drums excepted) entirely out of Moog sounds, mostly done through fiddling around on the panel and tweaking some parameters in-song.

I'd kill to get my hands on a real Minimoog, though.

You might like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gm-jDZWgLQc), a Jupiter-4 and minimoog played alongside one eachother. The Moog for the arp, and the JP-4 as the lead.

This video here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgXXN6wTq6Q) demonstrates some of the more fun stuff what you can do with the minimoog's filters :)


I've been quite interested in them, but I don't have enough money nor space to get myself one. I find it fascinating how you can play around with signals to generate different waveforms and envelopes. I especially like the filter-envelope effects a lot.

That's why synthesizers are fun. They produce waveforms that are dynamically manipulated.
Whereas wave-table synthesis has to be one of the most boring things ever conceived.

I suppose there's not a whole lot of folks who collect both vintage computers and synths due to space restrictions. If I ever get a Jupiter-4, that'll be my second and last analog synth; those things are not small. Unless I got a real sweet deal for an oberheim or something.

commodorejohn
December 17th, 2011, 12:23 PM
Yeah, filters seem to be the absolute hardest thing to emulate. My Commodore 128, for example, differs drastically in effective cutoff pitch from any emulation I've heard, and it's general wisdom that no two C64s/C128s sound quite the same. Makes composing for it an adventure...

EverythingIBM
December 17th, 2011, 12:57 PM
Yeah, filters seem to be the absolute hardest thing to emulate. My Commodore 128, for example, differs drastically in effective cutoff pitch from any emulation I've heard, and it's general wisdom that no two C64s/C128s sound quite the same. Makes composing for it an adventure...

The thing is, emulating filters and other hardware pieces is likened to emulating something that's not there (in my opinion).
A good example of this is VMWare. VMWare can't emulate a better graphics card (if the physical card is limited) or bigger hard drive even though it may be told to do so.

With that said, a software emulation still requires some sort of "sound card" to output the audio. And if you have a bad soundcard, that'll even cripple the emulation. At the end of the day, audio relies on hardware. Software can only do so much :p

I believe a way around this would be to have special hardware units that work with the software to "complete" the emulation. But then, if you're going through all of that work, you may as well get the real deal... :p
--> which is why physical "virtual analog" synths sound much better than pure software. One of my favourite virtual analog synths would be a Roland JP-8000/8080. Some people say it sounds cheap, but I enjoy its timbres.
Heh, I suppose I could get a D-50 and JP-8080 for rack modules (those don't take up a lot of space).

EDIT:
Oh yes, C64s would sound different from others. Especially since the SID chip had a lot of revisions.

Ole Juul
December 17th, 2011, 03:56 PM
I've been quite interested in them, but I don't have enough money nor space to get myself one. I find it fascinating how you can play around with signals to generate different waveforms and envelopes. I especially like the filter-envelope effects a lot.

Why not start by building a few of the basic circuits? You can do more later. If you have two voltage controlled oscillators, and perhaps a VCA, you can already be in business. Lots of stuff is simple. A ring modulator is just two transformers. When I was doing it chips weren't so cheap but I'm guessing that it shouldn't be so much work to build suitable circuits now. Anyway, you can do a lot with a little. Much composition can be done in the recording side of of it. I used to make hundreds of short splices in magnetic tape. I haven't tried it but that should be trivial with digital recording. I say go for it!

VileR
December 20th, 2011, 03:38 AM
as for VSTIs, http://www.vaz-synths.com/ have a few nice ones. I've used VAZ 2010 before, been ages though... I bet something better is out there these days. More of a tracker guy myself ;)

commodorejohn
December 20th, 2011, 06:19 AM
That's why I like Jeskola Buzz, (http://www.buzzmachines.com/) it's a tracker-format synth host :) (Unfortunately, you have to stick with earlier versions if you don't want .NET :O)

Bumcake
December 20th, 2011, 11:17 AM
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i193/bumcake_2006/DSCF5094.jpg

Not as much older gear as I had back in the early 90's, just what I have setup at one end of the loftroom, there's a Korg DSS-1 & Wavestation at the other end, there's still few nice bit's in my fathers loft, Siel opera 6, mini korg 700s and a knackered ARP solus :(

DOS lives on!!
December 20th, 2011, 11:29 AM
That's a neat blue-ish effect you've got with that light.

EverythingIBM
December 20th, 2011, 07:16 PM
http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i193/bumcake_2006/DSCF5094.jpg

Not as much older gear as I had back in the early 90's, just what I have setup at one end of the loftroom, there's a Korg DSS-1 & Wavestation at the other end, there's still few nice bit's in my fathers loft, Siel opera 6, mini korg 700s and a knackered ARP solus :(

What's wrong with the solus? You can repair the little guy.

Also it looks like you have a juno, although I'm going to say a juno-6 as I can't seem to see the memory buttons.
I just love the sound of those things. Mine's in mint condition, BUT, at some point that lithium battery has to be replaced with like a coin one or something (you don't have to worry about yours though).

Nice little collection there; you reminded me that I should buy a mixer in the near future. So you have that place set up in the attic? Would be nice; just having a special area for music gear.

Bumcake
December 21st, 2011, 03:21 AM
Bit of a sad case with the solus, it needs one of the oscillators replacing, keys need removing and respringing and many of the sliders just dont work anymore :( it's been about 10 years since I last switched it on!.
I should really make the effort to get it fixed as when it was working it could produce a fantastic raw sound and with the filter closed a little results in devastating thunderous bass.
Yes thats my old Juno-6, been with me since the late 80's still sounds.....well like the 80's.
My Youngest son has adopted all my old toys, and has realised that whilst vst's are really nice to have and use, having vintage gear to use can be very inspiring, satisfying and sounds totally different.
I miss the 80's.....sigh.

EverythingIBM
December 22nd, 2011, 10:21 AM
Bit of a sad case with the solus, it needs one of the oscillators replacing, keys need removing and respringing and many of the sliders just dont work anymore :( it's been about 10 years since I last switched it on!.
I should really make the effort to get it fixed as when it was working it could produce a fantastic raw sound and with the filter closed a little results in devastating thunderous bass.
Yes thats my old Juno-6, been with me since the late 80's still sounds.....well like the 80's.
My Youngest son has adopted all my old toys, and has realised that whilst vst's are really nice to have and use, having vintage gear to use can be very inspiring, satisfying and sounds totally different.
I miss the 80's.....sigh.

I wasn't around during the 80's, but I do enjoy some old Gary Numan, Human league, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, Echo and the Bunnymen; pretty much anything where analog is used :p
I like hearing old Roland synthesizers in particular. Not stuff like the Jupiter-80 (that thing is just a cheap sampler with a whole bunch of cheesy reverb and delay added on each patch; to cover the limitations of resampling). See, when you resort to adding too much reverb and delay, it ruins the raw sound. Much like auto-tune or limiters.

I use VSTs for convenience; but after I got into real gear, it's always a key component in my music. I'm transitioning over to the hardware as I acquire more.
--> I never knew analog synthesizers could have so much punch, I was completely oblivious (but at that time I was 14 years old, didn't have any money to buy that gear -- and I was still learning my way around MIDI and audio interfaces).

Bumcake
December 23rd, 2011, 09:09 AM
I was very much into Krautrock, the likes of Tangerine Dream, Stockhausen & Klaus Shultze, The analogue sequences from the mighty modulars with there coiled snake like patch cords that looked and sounded from another distant planet & totaly out of my reach, I can still see the face of horror on my fathers face when he saw the price tag of the first real sampler I was lucky enough to fiddle with...it came home with me a year later :) I still have it.....
Trying to replicate these complex sounds with an Atari ST with Cubase and half a dozen polysynth's was frustrating but then again great fun, but even with these, plenty of fx was still required mainly delay, reverb & phaser, as a Juno owner you know turning off the chorus leaves you with a bit of a thin sounding single digitally controlled oscillator synthesizer, I still love the thing though.
I'm with you as to these new pseudo vintage looking offerings they are pretty much just dressed up rompler workstations, personally they do nothing for me, they just dont command the same excitment, maybe I'm just getting old.
But dont write off digital or digital/analogue hybrids there lower bit rate and ancient DACS sound unlike any software emulation.

Have fun
Chris

vintagemacrepairs
December 23rd, 2011, 12:11 PM
I was there in the 1980's - couldn't afford any of the synths used. That JP-4 is soooo much in demand at the moment and commands top prices. However... I have subsequently owned many synths and have now reduced my kit. I can recreate many of the tracks now from scratch using the few modern synths I own, but you soon come to realise, what's the point? There is no doubt when you listen closely to the tracks there was a lot of skill and talent involved (so I'm doomed) - so now I try to imagine what if I'm doing their next album. That is a challenge, and having little talent myself...

As for synths, I like 'em with knobs on. There is some spritual connection between human and synth when the hand is on the knobs. Tweeking the sound, the hearing of it creates an emotional connection, then more tweeking, more emotion.. etc.
VST synths are good but for me I much prefer that hands on a knob approach and give it a tweek. Does that sound rude? wasn't intended to be.

EverythingIBM
December 26th, 2011, 10:25 PM
I was there in the 1980's - couldn't afford any of the synths used. That JP-4 is soooo much in demand at the moment and commands top prices. However... I have subsequently owned many synths and have now reduced my kit. I can recreate many of the tracks now from scratch using the few modern synths I own, but you soon come to realise, what's the point? There is no doubt when you listen closely to the tracks there was a lot of skill and talent involved (so I'm doomed) - so now I try to imagine what if I'm doing their next album. That is a challenge, and having little talent myself...

As for synths, I like 'em with knobs on. There is some spritual connection between human and synth when the hand is on the knobs. Tweeking the sound, the hearing of it creates an emotional connection, then more tweeking, more emotion.. etc.
VST synths are good but for me I much prefer that hands on a knob approach and give it a tweek. Does that sound rude? wasn't intended to be.

I think offences happen when people start to battle virtual (VSTi) instruments with the physical hardware. To me it would be like emulating a 5150, you lose the physical aspects of the floppy drives, big red flippy switch, capacitive buckling spring keyboard, CRT monitor etc.
And the same goes for the synths, you lose the knobs, wooden sides, spring-loaded keys, colours, etc. However, analog is infinitely ( :p ) more difficult to emulate with digital software as it doesn't understand infinity. Digital is limited to set numbers.
While IN THEORY it may be possible to create a fool-proof 100% accurate emulation, none exist for any of my synths or various sound devices ;)

Analog synths really dropped in price during the 90's when Yamaha released the DX7. I was too young then to know what a "polyphonic analog synthesizer" even was.
I didn't know there was a demand for JP-4s? As far as I know, it's a more obscure synth with a high upkeep. There's a lot of issues when owning one (none of which affect me), but here they are:
#1 JP-4 needs tuning due to the VCO, you have to open it and tune the four sandwiched voice cards (mmmm analog sammich). And then fine-tuning occurs on the outside with the tuning knob. I have a special system of tuning my synths which works well.
#2 you have to have a technical knowledge of synthesizer lingo, and know what the knobs do.
#3 you have to know how to play, and the desire of such. Unless you're one of those people who just collects stuff and never uses it (which I don't like: what if there's someone who really wants it, and will actually make good use of it?)
#4 understanding of circuitry is needed, and the tools to repair electrolytic capacitors or whatever else. Luckily the JP-4 has very simple PCBs (the main board is single-sided from what I could tell). Runs on an 8048 processor, like the 5150's keyboard apparently.
#5 no MIDI! Musicians who live and breathe MIDI will not be interested. I think this is one reason why JP-4s are ignored. Of course you could solder on a minerva kit or whatever it is (but that might even turn down more interest in it), but I don't have the heart to modify my electronics, I always leave them stock.

So that's pretty much it; as you can tell, most folk would rather throw in a VSTi and have it all dynamically hooked up with MIDI and never worry about hardware needing maintenance or periodic tuning. There's not a whole lot of *creative* people that are also equipped with *technical* skills; usually it's one or the other. I'm just starting to get into the technical arena, will buy soldering tools some day; so I can repair my electronics (besides, finding, let alone paying someone to do it is not worth it).
There's always been (from what I observed) a big distance between vintage computer and vintage synth aficionados. Which is too bad as I enjoy both.

By the way, if anyone's interested in hearing a super-quick track I did (mostly) on my JUNO-60, here it is (http://soundcloud.com/devonrosemusic/moon-water). The backing strings, and "weow" (charactierstic of the resonance filter) are from the juno.
Awww man, it's awesome with a bunch of good speakers and hearing that thing blare nice and loudly.

I'll quit rambling now ;)

vintagemacrepairs
December 31st, 2011, 06:35 AM
....
I didn't know there was a demand for JP-4s? As far as I know, it's a more obscure synth with a high upkeep....)

yes yes you are quite correct, there is NO demand for JP-4 at all, I'll buy all you can find, $50 each. waddya say?

EverythingIBM
December 31st, 2011, 09:05 AM
yes yes you are quite correct, there is NO demand for JP-4 at all, I'll buy all you can find, $50 each. waddya say?

:)

Buying one isn't cheap, but most people would rather buy something else is what I was getting at.
Of course it's all semantics.

And folks from England are a lot more synth-savvy. In my area, there really isn't much when it comes to synths, let alone vintage ones.