Saturday, September 8, 2007


Synthesizers used to be interesting. When they came to prominence in the early 1970s they were made wholly from analog circuitry and you were pretty much limited to a single note at a time, with a few knobs to change the sound of the note. So you had to be creative, and good musicians could get really amazing things out of them. Fast forward 35 years and they are all digital (actually there is a retro movement countering this), with much more polyphony (simultaneous notes) than you have fingers, you could even throw a few octopi on there and the CPU would still be yawning.

Modern synths have really great sounding pianos, and most other instruments under the sun, in their sample playback banks, and if you want to get deep and break out the manual they probably have multiple synthesis architectures for you to fool around with, with more parameters than the number of indie albums being released every year. So why does music sound so much worse these days??? Creativity must have something to do with restriction of options. That means you get down to making good melodies instead of trying out all 327 violin patches looking for the "perfect" one for your idea. I'm going off on a tangent, I really just found this Japanese website of some big band over there I think, with the most crazy display of vintage synthesizers I have ever seen, presumably all owner by the keyboard player. Major drool factor for those who are into such things.

Roland Jupiter-8, 6, 4

Moog Polymoog, memorymoog

Vintage synths are gaining ground on guitars on ebay, and the pros still use 'em, no MIDI, on sessions when it would be much easier to pull up a VST virtual recreation in the computer, but even though they may be capable of loading the original patches and sounding spot-on with an original, something, a lot, seems to be missing.

No comments: