What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

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Which setup do you prefer.

VST is the only way I make music.
7
50%
Some hardware but mainly VST's.
1
7%
Equal Mixture of VST's and Hardware.
4
29%
Mostly Hardware with some VST's
0
No votes
Hardware is the only way I make music.
2
14%
 
Total votes: 14

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 13/10/2012 - 16:42

poke16384 wrote:95% VSTi's for me at the moment.... It's convenience mainly I guess!

I can sit down and compose/arrange fairly instantly on those days when I have an idea bouncing around in my head.

The standard of sampled instruments has got better and better, mainly over the last few years. So much so that it's now
virtually impossible to distinguish from the real thing, (in the right hands). It really makes me laugh when people comment
on the latest 'orchestral' remixes that the instruments sound 'artificial'. NO! they don't... They ARE the real instruments!!

It's the arrangement and style of playing the instruments that sometimes makes it obvious that you're listening to a sample
rather than a physical performance. (Omoroca.... take note :) ).

I still like to use my guitar to add a touch of 'human' to the MIDI but I've found that having the ability to play a few instruments
helps me a lot when it comes to arranging the MIDI performances. So, I suppose the logical conclusion is that you can't/couldn't
and wouldn't have the gorgeous VSTs that we now enjoy, without the understanding of the original instruments.

Back in the 80's there were people who cited the same argument against the mini-moog the DX7 and the Juno6. It was reckoned
that whole orchestras would be put out of work by one-man-and-his-synth. How ironic then, that we now have the people who
question the validity of using digital recordings of those 'Now classic' instruments. IMHO, what the critics missed back then is the
same thing the critics are missing now.... It's all about the performance! It's about the way you arrange it and play it.... and in this
context only, musicianship becomes primary.... the source instrument or sample becomes secondary.

I both agree and don't agree with this view... it's very true, that you have to know how to play the original instrument to make the most out of sampled versions of it, but you will be limited to the extend that the samples are flexible... you could articulate a guitar string a thousand different ways, but would never be able to sample them all... this alone makes samples less flexible than the real thing.

It's the same with analog synths in my opinion... yes, you can get close in emulation, but they're never quite there in my opinion when it comes to algorithmic immitations... with samples it has more of the original sound, but the performance possibilities will be less flexible and only to what extend the samples allow you... that's why I would not use anything other than the real thing... otherwise I could as well sample my analog machines, and sell them again...

Especialy when you get to a point where you don't just "program" musik... but actualy PERFORM it live, and rely on your performance skill on a keyboard, the samples limitations become extremely apparent... at least for me... I want to be able to twist the mod and pitch wheel live while playing and so on... try this with a sampled MOOG for example... you have Modulation data, Pitch wheel data, Aftertouch data, Velocity data, all of them intermodulating eachother as per the presets structure... you just cannot get that dynamic sound from samples.... when we're talking imitation of "the real deal" of course.

Samples can still be modulated in many other ways that make them an "instrument" in itself I think... and that's what I use samples for... to be what only they can be... then I leave the MOOG sound to... well... a MOOG synth :)

But does all of this mean "bad music" if ou use samples anyway!?... not at all... it could still be that killer sound that one likes... no bars... use what inspires you I'd say to be the golden rule... some people will be satisfied with something other won't... I'm one of those that would NEVER substitute a sampled version of my MOOG Minitaur, that's for sure... not because I happen to have one, but because I can hear a differense that matters to me :)
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 13/10/2012 - 16:52

Doddsy wrote:I agree.
If I hear a remix that uses artificial instrumentation and it sounds good then I'm not fussed. For the record on VST's, when some people say that "this VST" doesn't sound as warm as the real hardware one then I think that's just nitpicking or scared that their two grand synth has now being replaced by a cheap VST! Remember you can add addition FX to warm/colour the sound of your VST quite easily.
I'm one that would say that, if it's a direct comparison between the real deal and an emulation... I CAN hear the difference, especially when playing the real deal and the imitation, both soundwise and performancewise... it may be nitpicking to others, but not to me since it's that difference that inspires me to use the real deal machines.

Anyways, if I could get a VST that sound like my MOOG Minitaur, I sure would not have paid 800 dollars for the real deal... I know that some rich music-snobs would do this, just for the bragging-factor, but not everyone choose expensive hardware just because of that.

But I think this debate will go on for ages still... the old digital vs. analog thing... it's reduculous really since the normal straight guy listening to the end result would probably not even care about it anyway...

anyways... I'm not scared of VST's stealing the show... it already have, both hardware and softwarewise... the game HAS changed... but there is still a relatively large niche group of people who swear to the analog side... and this group is actualy constantly growing... I've never seen so many analog synths pop up on the market as in the last few years, and to reasonable prices that most can pay id they really want one... we only need Roland, Yamaha and Korg to realise this trend also.
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Analog-X64 » 13/10/2012 - 21:43

Razmo wrote: Anyways, if I could get a VST that sound like my MOOG Minitaur, I sure would not have paid 800 dollars for the real deal... I know that some rich music-snobs would do this, just for the bragging-factor, but not everyone choose expensive hardware just because of that.
Whats funny is there are now VST's that cost as much as their hardware counterparts. I've seen VST's cost more than $800 dollars.
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by TNT » 13/10/2012 - 21:58

And that's absolutely ridiculous in my humble opinion. I would never support that!
But I agree with Razmo, that there's a difference if you're comparing the real hardware with a VST-emulation. But it's not very relevant because of its minimality. Otherwise, if you want to get THAT special sound, the difference could be too huge. Anyway, if you look at the price-performance ratio, VST is the answer in nearly any case.

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 14/10/2012 - 6:33

TNT wrote:And that's absolutely ridiculous in my humble opinion. I would never support that!
But I agree with Razmo, that there's a difference if you're comparing the real hardware with a VST-emulation. But it's not very relevant because of its minimality. Otherwise, if you want to get THAT special sound, the difference could be too huge. Anyway, if you look at the price-performance ratio, VST is the answer in nearly any case.
No it's not relevant for the end listener... but it very well is for the musician, and that's the thing that i feel those who enjoy digital VST's often forget when the fire debates are going... I as a hardware enthusiast often feel like VST users try to picture everyone that buy a hardware analog synth as snobs or outright stupid buying so expensive gear when they can have VST for a fraction of the price (it's between the lines), and I don't find that fair.

On the other hand, there are analog purists that depict VST users as people who don't have "proper taste" in that they don't hear the difference... also between the lines... and that's just as stupid really.

When it comes down to the end result, it's mostly a musicians preference it's all about, and what inspires them, and taste cannot be argued to be either right or wrong in my opinion.

I have a hoarde of hardware analog gear in my studio, and a spaghetti-mess of wires going everywhere, something a would REALLY like to get rid off... I envy VST users that "in the box" advantage to be honest, but the sound does not quite get where I feel it's better than my hardware, and even more important, a computer screen and a mouse does NOT trigger my inspiration... neither the unstability of a Windows environment.
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Commie_User » 14/10/2012 - 12:59

Like you say Razmo, it's all down to the job and preference.

The SID's probably the most commonly emulated home computer sound chip. But I still love my wall of 64s, Sound Expander keyboard and other nick-nacks. Not just for the 'real' sound but because there's still Commie software you just can't fully use with Vice.

And as I (probably) pointed out elsewhere, MIDI drum kits can use VSTi as extensions of the set. Find yourself Ringo's drums for example and you have no need to upgrade the hardware, using sounds and atmospheres you could never record at home. I think hard and software are equals but different.

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Look at that, they recorded the samples actually AT Abbey Road. Hardware really does feel the pinch and it's the sort of stuff I now want to (largely) displace my real kits.


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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Doddsy » 14/10/2012 - 14:59

Remember what ever you use to make music they are just tools and it shouldn't affect the direction and quality of the work. I've heard some inspirational stuff done on a gameboy (little dj) and just look at the following the sid chip has had - enough to promote a site called remix64.

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 14/10/2012 - 23:37

"Remember what ever you use to make music they are just tools" ... for some people yes... then they are tools... for others they are more than that.... some people only buy exactly what they need, and what will "get the job done"... others (like me) hoard "tools" because they do not have to only "get the job done", they have to inspire to actualy DO the job :D

I think this is what can be hard for people who just see instruments as "tools" to understand.... and it's also quite hard to explain actualy :? ... but for me, even if there was a perfect SID emulation, where you could not hear the difference at all, I'd still feel more inspired to use the real thing... mainly because it has a nostalgic "spark" to it...

crazy... I know... but that's just how it is...
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Commie_User » 15/10/2012 - 11:03

I disagree somewhat there. And bear in mind my room resembles the Steptoe set.


(Well, perhaps not quite: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/steptoe3.jpg . I've got far more.)


You can only get so much in the house. And many instruments have become names in their own VST right. Though the 'feel', control and majesty of a good hardware synth is hard to beat in software, who can deny that a fleet of PCs don't seriously enhance the range? (After all, who can just pop down to Abbey Road to record Ludwig drums with all the old gear?)

I say buy yourself the killer core hardware and surround that with more software. Which is why I say I'm mad about it all, if they're all of any use.

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Chris Abbott » 15/10/2012 - 15:41

Doddsy wrote:Remember what ever you use to make music they are just tools and it shouldn't affect the direction and quality of the work. I've heard some inspirational stuff done on a gameboy (little dj) and just look at the following the sid chip has had - enough to promote a site called remix64.
Never heard of it, but it sounds interesting and I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter :)
Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children?

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Doddsy » 16/10/2012 - 12:28

The only problem with late 80's/early 90's synths now are that the batteries are packing up on them. VST's don't have that problem only computer compatability in 20 years time.

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 16/10/2012 - 16:53

Doddsy wrote:The only problem with late 80's/early 90's synths now are that the batteries are packing up on them. VST's don't have that problem only computer compatability in 20 years time.
Not if you know how to change a battery :wink: ... it's one of the most simple "mods" to do, and in worst case scenario don't reqire more than basic soldering skill.... but if you're not into that kind of thing, then yes... batteries can be a problem... I've never encounteret even one of my synths from the 80's fail on me batterywise, even though the batteries are decades old... they usualy last longer than their expectancy.

I'd say, that the biggest problem with 80's synths is that they have compromised SysEx specs (those of today also do when it comes to the analog synths), and can need a little bit of maintaining, but it's really not much...

The biggest prob. in the future for hardware synth MIDI freaks (like me) is that MIDI interfaces of good timing are becomming obsolete, and no new manufacturers are making any new ones... the last good ones was the UM-3G from Roland/Edirol/Cakewalk, but they've stopped production of them now.

and then of course... you never have enough channels in your analog mixer :roll:
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Commie_User » 16/10/2012 - 18:05

you never have enough channels in your analog mixer
EMI had the same trouble. Note a premix box on the middle mixer, through which most of Ringo's mike signals were once plugged on their way to a console channel.


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Good times.

you could articulate a guitar string a thousand different ways, but would never be able to sample them all... this alone makes samples less flexible than the real thing.
Not if you use Kontakt, say, or virtually any of the current generation romplers. Up to 55 gigs of samples per pack, now, can be compiled for the software to handle a wide range of timbres, expressions and such. We're FAR from the 'N-n-n-Nineteen' stage of sample use, though you do need to rely on a company to do the hard sampling and programming for you.

But for that reliance you get Ringo's drums, ethnic drums, Supertramp's Wurlitzer, all kinds of organ (even pipe), string section, brass, concert pianos, basses, sitar, you name it... all recorded using actual gear, actual studios and actual people. And using intelligent engines to make it sound a guy really is still playing.

I personally cross the divide and make custom samples to use in individual tracks. In trickier sections nobody need know it's not live.

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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Razmo » 19/10/2012 - 12:57

"Not if you use Kontakt, say, or virtually any of the current generation romplers. Up to 55 gigs of samples per pack, now, can be compiled for the software to handle a wide range of timbres, expressions and such. We're FAR from the 'N-n-n-Nineteen' stage of sample use, though you do need to rely on a company to do the hard sampling and programming for you"

sorry, but I just cannot agree with this at all... especially when it comes to live performance, with a lot of performance control going on at the same time... velocity alone has 128 variations, aftertouch also 128, modwheel also 128... all these intermodulating eachother in a performance... that would mean that if all possible combinations should be sampled from a single note on message (without even thinking about the possible change over time which would multiply the possibilities into the endless), it would be more than 2 million samples to cover all performance possiblities.

How many would be needed to make it believable I cannot say, but I've not found anything yet that can compete with the real thing, especialy when it comes to accoustic instruments... VA synthesis is what does it for analog modulation... here it's only the raw analog sound I'm missing, not the performance possibilities... with accoustic there is Physical modelling which caomes close, but again... not like the real thing.

Samples can get you a long way, and if you don't need to perform in extreme, it's usualy good enough...

that's my opinion at least... yours may differ :)
Regards, Jess D. Skov-Nielsen (Razmo).
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Re: What do you prefer VST or Hardware.

Post by Commie_User » 19/10/2012 - 19:05

sorry, but I just cannot agree with this at all...
That's because we're moving from the studio where it's safer for PCs. Still, you don't actually need all your romplers running at once onstage, plus VSTi can be less demanding. But even so, crashing PCs onstage are a risk.

Yes, you can get your outboard knobs and sliders to control software better but if your keyboard man becomes one with a 'telephone switchboard' synth then obviously he needs one of those for his best performances.



And as George Harrison once reflected, the modern technology does have its place. For bands who can't have the set piece orchestras, etc., computers can fill the gaps admirably. But again, it's horses for courses with rack gear still being most reliable.

On top of this, you won't believe the new samples until you try them, or at least see other people at work on Youtube. It's a different world now. Computers are probably as perfect as they're likely to be and romplers handle their samples far better than they used to, so much so even vast databanks are fluid.




The Alicia Keys software sounds convincingly good, even with the dulling effect of Youtube's old encoder. Yes, purists will always take a real grand but my point is the great imitation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w04qwgcqB8g
that's my opinion at least... yours may differ
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