Why could some digital hardware synths sound better than software? - Page 6 - Gearspace.com
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Why could some digital hardware synths sound better than software?
Old 1st December 2013 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 10 years
Originally Posted by Deleted b598644 ➡️
i don't like staring at a monitor to make music, so i don't use software
I wish I could do everything I can within a computer without staring at a monitor. I don't think there's any getting past the fact that if you stare at a big screen you're dampening your sense of hearing and it's hard to think imaginatively as you produce, for me at least. The problem with hardware is I hate wires + patchbays or having to do ghetto workarounds with limited functionality.
Old 2nd December 2013 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Originally Posted by Blingley ➡️
There seems to be an assumption that digital hardware synthesis is just a CPU/Hard Drive and a computer in magic land that doesn't need electricity. It's not, at least in the case of older digital synthesizers. It still uses analog signals, only quantized to certain values.
No it doesn't. There are some hybrid synthesizers, but the digital parts of them, and the whole of "pure" digital synthesizers (excluding the bit post DAC) is dgital, it works with binary signals. Older digital synths like the dx7 don't use general purpose DSPs, they use custom chips, which in some cases use tricks which software synths don't usually (for example yamaha's FM chips up to the ones used in the FS1R used the addition of logarithms to do multiplications, multipliers take up a lot of chip space), but it's still binary numbers and binary maths

There can be noise issues in the circuit that create inaccuracies as a result.
No there aren't, if the noise issues are great enough to create bits which are wrong in a value, the probability of those bits being significant ones rather than insignificant ones is the same, in other words, it just wouldn't work at all.

Rather than having a continuous range, there's just a bunch of bands, where anything inside the band is fixed to a certain value.
levels are quantized, because they're represented by binary numbers, really it's no different in that respect to a software synth.
Even in binary logic there can be timing issues due to the signal path used: Computers do not really have to deal with that, as everything is synced.
So are the custom chips in a dgital synth, you'll find they all have in input marked "Clock" on the schematic.
What kind of digital electronics we're dealing with also matters. Are we in the vacuum-tube land, because those things overheat like it's nobody's business. Resistor-Transistor Logic, Transistor-Transistor Logic, Emitter Coupled Logic and CMOS Logic all work a bit differently. Even the type of RAM (Random Access Memory) used matters: New computers are running on Synchronized Dynamic RAM, which started to show up in the 1990's. Older models are going to drop that Synchronized part off, and even older ones might be running on Static RAM. There are a gazillion subtypes for each of these, too, and I don't really know enough of that rabbit hole to do a guided tour. Suffice to say that DRAM takes little space, but tends to forget if not refreshed around 15 times a second.
Now the bit in bold I agree with, because nothing you've talked about makes a blind bit of difference to sound, other than limiting older technology in the amount of processing power that can be brought to bear on the signal, and thus what you can do to it.
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