Sound quality is not important for people, but it’s important for me. People do not even understand the difference between a dj putting mp3s on the laptop and a musician doing a live. Imagine hardware vs software
Sound quality has always been very important to me. I was interested in Hi Fi before becoming interested in making music myself (and I have spent a lot more money on my Hi Fi components).
I buy a synth because I like how it sounds, plus whatever other feature it has that I want. I couldn’t care less if it is digital or analogue.
Analogue synths do not have better “sound quality” than digital synths, although they may sound different.
In a blind test comparing 10 sounds, 5 analogue and 5 digital, I would be surprised if anyone could correctly identify the analogues from the digitals. It would also be very easy to use voices in the test such that people consistently incorrectly identified the digital sounds as the analogue sounds.
I have VSTs that, to my ears, sound “more analogue” than my A4.
I think people should use just their ears to judge sounds and ignore price, looks, method of sound generation and pre-conceptions. But I appreciate that is easier said than done.
The main advantage of NI Maschine, is in my eyes how easy it is to sample your instruments, you could make any sound you like with your external module, and then process it with its internal (or other VST) FX.
You could build a libary of sounds, which you use in your track. One does not need so many external synth, when recording with this method. For live you could layer many recordings, and sequence or play your external gear in additon. Its a deep machine, when you spend time with NI Maschine.
The difference with analog is that the oscillators and filters tend to sound more warm and musical, especially at very low and very high frequencies. The bass sounds are thicker and more organic. If you’re doing dance or bass heavy music you will get fatter bass with analog. To a lesser extent the same applies to analog overdrive . When you push the levels on an analog system you will get more pleasant harmonics than with digital (although that can be emulated pretty well). That’s it pretty much.
There is no problem with Maschine’s sound quality… it all depends on the plugins you use and your audio interface. Native Instruments stuff sounds pretty good IMO.
So presumably if you sampled the analog oscillators, the resulting sample would sound less warm, musical, organic and pleasant?
@Stickhit No not necessarily. Different samplers with different sample rates and bit depths can sound better or worse, for example if you sampled with an MPC-60 it tends to have a nice warmer organic quality. Modern samplers tend to be for the most part near enough perfectly accurate but some people still argue over whether there’s a difference or not. You could call it less musical in the sense that you lose tweakability and your pitch range is limited without sacrificing quality but if you sample an analog oscillator you shouldn’t generally speaking lose anything
NI stuff has always had this “plasticky” sound to me. Even some Kontakt sampled instruments sound that way.
It’s not all VSTs! I love the LuSH-101. That sounds fantastic. I counter the plastic with a nice compressor plug-in, or just throw SoundToys or the Analog Heat on the mix.
That said, once you learn the workflow of Maschine, it’s excellent. If I could control my Elektron boxes with it, it would be a match made in heaven!
If it is possible to sample an analogue oscillator, such that the sample is indistinguishable from the original sound, then surely there is no specific property of an analogue generated sound that cannot be replicated digitally.
It is interesting to note that people always use completely abstract terms when comparing analogue and digital. What exactly is an “organic sound”.
I have used Maschine with my A4, configured such that a Scene change in Maschine causes a pattern change in the A4.
There was a time when you needed to produce using hardware synths as VSTs were rubbish.
Those times are well and truly over. VSTs sound as good if not better these days.
The main reason to have hardware lying around these days is for those knobs.
Its just great to turn physical knobs, and hardware looks good in a studio
Literally any sound can be replicated digitally. It’s just often easier to create them by other means. It’s pretty complicated to accurately replicate the randomness of analog gear. By ‘organic’ I mean more natural sounding, by warmth I mean the subtle distortion that fuzzes up the sound in such a way that does not cause a harsh distortion. People often deem digital sounds to be less ‘organic’ due to the fact that digital sounds tend to lack this distortion, often the missing difference in the mids/lows of digitally produced sounds brings more focus to the highs which make the sounds seem brighter/harsher. This “warmth” is what makes vinyl records sound better than CDs even though it’s an inferior format. Also the MPC60 like I mentioned in my previous post accentuates this ‘warmth’ as it rolls of the highs slightly. People use words that translate how they feel about sounds, it’s opinion based so it varies from person to person and that’s where confusion comes in. But yeah, you are right, every sound ever made technically can be reproduced entirely digitally
As someone who moved from an expensive turntable/arm/cartridge setup to an expensive CD player setup, as far as I am concerned vinyl records do not generally sound better than CDs (unless you are partial to clicks and pops). I only say generally because a few recordings, made specifically for vinyl, may not have been translated as well as they could have been when transferred to CD.
A true story to ponder. When digital audio was first touted, the manufacturer of a well known Hi Fi turntable stated that he would always be able to detect a digital device in a sound system. The manufacturers of a digital converter invited him to take part in a test, which he accepted.
The test involved sending an analogue sound, in a switchable circuit, either direct to an amplifier and speakers or via an A to D and a D to A converter and then to the amplifier and speakers.
The results of the test surprised the digital guys because they expected he would be roughly 50% right/wrong. He was actually wrong a lot more often than he was right. When they checked their test setup, they realised that the operation of the changeover switch was audible. They changed the switch to make it inaudible, repeated the test and got the result they expected.
No pre-conceptions or price involved here. I don’t use only my ears to judge a sound but my whole body, my senses. They are those subtle differences that make me crazy. It’s not a battle between analog and digital, but only about feeling and needs. No wonder if after using an analog synth (I do not speak of A4 specifically) we are a bit disappointed by the software sound, especially if you expect it to sound the same. Real 808 kick sound the same as a digital one?
I don’t see why a sample of a particular 808 kick setting shouldn’t sound exactly like that setting on the 808 hardware.
Obviously to obtain all the nuances possible from the hardware you would need to record a lot of samples.
Wished there was a round robin sample selection in Maschine to emulate that. Still love it.
Because we talk about sensations, we also struggle to find the right term to explain something that is not heard by ears: D
I suppose that is why in blind tests you are forced to use just your ears.
Its like the old Hi Fi saying, “as long as I can see it I will always be able to say which is the better amplifier”.
I gave an example even before. The kick of roland 808 is your girlfriend who smiles at you, the samples are photos of your girlfriend who smiles at you. Make 100 photos you slide quickly and see your girl move, if it is the same thing for you, it means that you do not have this disease (fortunately or unfortunately, it depends)
Firstly i invest in a RYTM, tired about tuning drum sample, tired about the static aspect of sample, tired about the over processed sample … where compressed stuff are going to be compressed and re-compressed like 2, 3, 4 or 5 times
Also I would like to go further on drums obviously, be sure I’m started from RAW (exactly like photography I shoot RAW not JPEG Dammit … kidding but there’s truth here) … maybe keeping transients from the original classics (eventually) to layering on top of some more personal sound-design.
At that point I know after a few month that I keep one thing Analog it would be my LOW END range and especially Drums & Dynamics.
Note : I hate mouse programming !!! so much… but it’s ok with Maschine sure… but Elektron sequencer, micro-timing, p-locking pffff I’m so fast to make BEATS now
Btw i see an analogy with photography there (Film photo, DSLR… Hybrid without to mention paper or screen and quite honestly it’s a bit of the same with music…)
I do not want to promote, but have you tried listening to the DMD3_MD library? In those samples you hear the difference I’m talking about. I had to listen again and again, it is difficult even for a trained ear but the magic is there, it is immortalized in those samples. Btw these are things you easily hear in a professional recording studio with treated acoustics and main monitors