Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Animmog - Hype or Game Changer

As with most things in life, I suspect that the truth about Animoog somewhere between the hype and the reality. Is Animoog a great I synth? Absolutely! I would expect nothing less from the Moog. Am I going to toss out my hard synths and soft synth and wait for the I revolution to usher in a new world of synthesizers? Don't hold your breath.

The Animoog is the best sounding I synth I have heard. I give it a 10+ for that. For creativity, also a ten plus. It makes great use of the touch pad and great video to make for a stunning performance environment. The ability to see visually what is happening with the sound and to see the waveform is a fantastic idea. Again 10+

Ok, that is as far as I go on the hype side. In terms of filters it's limited and it only has a single filter. If it were a sot synth, this would not be overlooked but I synths seem to get a pass. It has very limited filter types. When I saw the filters in Abynth, I thought I had gone to filter heaven.

The envelops are simple ADSR types and they can't be assigned. There is also only a single LFO. Being able to select continuously between shapes is nice but the shapes themselves are standard fair. As far as I can see you can't make your own and you can't see them outside the oscilloscope.

Am I expecting to much for an I synth? That's my point. I Moog wants to use I synths to compete with soft synth, IMHO they failed. If they wanted to make a fantastic I synth that raises the bar for I synths and does some really impressive things, then they have done a fantastic job. In the end, I guess it's a matter of hype or function.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Too Many Knobs

I ind it interesting when I think back to how my style of composing and playing music has changed. I used to just find a preset I like, one of my own or sometimes a factory preset, and then play music with it. The art was in the notes and a limited amount of control (velocity, pitch bend and mod wheel). Knob turning was left to tweaking presets before the performance of the music.

With a DAW like Ableton Live its certainly possible to tweak parameters in real time and have the DAW record those changes. But dealing with a large number of parameters in real time is a daunting task. For this reason, a number of software synths now offer performance controllers. A convenient set of knobs or sometimes XY pads with which certain key parameters can be changed in real time with the idea that these changes are part of the musical performance.

Native Instruments did with this Kore which I always thought was a great idea but sadely Native Instruments has decided to drop Kore. Each Kore instrument has a limited set of controls. A similar idea is built into Massive and Abynth from the same company. Camel Audio's Alchemy has a performance controller section with a controller that looks very similar to Kore's that allow you to morph between different settings of the perofmance controls. Albeton Live itself offers instrument racks with performane controllers.

These only serve as examples of a capability that I am sure has been built into many soft synths. So we see now the musican also acting as conductor. So the art of the sound designer, musician and conductor/orchestrator have now been combined.