Hardware vs Software

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kinkujin
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Gee, just saw that I was quoted. Oops.

Does anyone use this? I'll check reviews, but that is more than I'd wish to spend on what really is a curiosity.

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Data_Shrine
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Post 04 Jan 2019

Faastwalker wrote:
18 Nov 2018
I've started getting more into hardware again these days. But it's not to do with sound. I think hardware V software consideration with regards to sound quality is a moot point in 2018. It's more about lack of decent (still, after all these years) MIDI control over software, having hands-on control, getting away from the screen & Eurorack GAS! Reason is still the central component & I use plenty of RE's / Reason devices + a handful of VST's. But for Acid Techno Reason is a great starting point with ABL3, some of the retro drum module RE's and maybe some suitable samples. Aciieeeedd! :D
I totally agree that the main problem of software vs hardware is the lack of immediate control in software. Even if you spend so much time setting it all up, you still won't have a dedicated controller for everything.

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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 05 Jan 2019

Data_Shrine wrote:
04 Jan 2019
Faastwalker wrote:
18 Nov 2018
I've started getting more into hardware again these days. But it's not to do with sound. I think hardware V software consideration with regards to sound quality is a moot point in 2018. It's more about lack of decent (still, after all these years) MIDI control over software, having hands-on control, getting away from the screen & Eurorack GAS! Reason is still the central component & I use plenty of RE's / Reason devices + a handful of VST's. But for Acid Techno Reason is a great starting point with ABL3, some of the retro drum module RE's and maybe some suitable samples. Aciieeeedd! :D
I totally agree that the main problem of software vs hardware is the lack of immediate control in software. Even if you spend so much time setting it all up, you still won't have a dedicated controller for everything.
I agree with this. Sound wise digital can do exactly the same things as analog, but control can be complicated and playing live with a computer is not convenient.

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DiZo
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Post 05 Jan 2019

@Com1:

its only a workflow and price question

2019: not a sound question :) (for me)

u can make really good acid sound with software now

you want play/jam in live? hardware as a good workflow for this, but software can come with hardware controlleur (but is not really the same with direct synth under the hand.

you want write/programming, software have a good workflow (machine song mode is not a good soft sequencer powerfull)

you can mix material stuff

test computer software demo, and check for visit hardware shop or friend for test hardware solution

no universal solution (my opinion)

madmacman
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Post 05 Jan 2019

Biggest advantage of hardware (IMHO): you can leave the computer turned off. Since my dayjob is all about computers, I enjoy sitting at my hardware synthesizers / Eurorack as if I would sit at a piano.

come1
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Post 10 Jan 2019

Also gotta love the limitations of hardware. When I’m on my Mac I’m constantly thinking about installing new plugins and finding new ways of doing stuff or checking emails. With hardware you have zero distractions and just focus on the music.

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DiZo
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Post 10 Jan 2019

yes and no, when i want a better mix in my groovebox im sad, and patch in hardware, is not user friendly, on mouse its only a mouse probleme ^^ ( exemple 1 drum, 1 synth, 1 sampler, 1 mixer, 1 mic ,)

and for record....

come1
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Post 11 Jun 2019

What about sampling reason into a hardware sampler? Would that make the quality better?

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dannyF
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Post 14 Jun 2019

I think no matter what one chooses there is always a compromise.

hardware units are expensive, so going down that route you need funds.

the great thing about Reason is that you don't need that much $$$ to get started.

I use both, I think digital is great for *many* things, but not all things.
Digital reverbs are good, digital delays are fine, but NOT distortion imo.

Harmonic distortion is a huge part of what can music sound good and I do not believe they can emulate this in programming land.

Do you think Beyonce ( her producers rather ) uses any of the built in reason distortion devices? Likely not. With unlimited funds ... those producers are most certainly using hardware and music at that level is what we have to compete with. How you gonna compete when your competition is using hardware like the culture vulture ?

Back to emulated distortion....my ears say no. The built in reason distortion devices make me cringe. I hear decapitator vst is good.... but I'm not willing to go there.

In my own belief system sound sources must be analog. most effects ( eqs, dynamics, reverbs etc etc ) being digital is fine.
Last edited by dannyF on 14 Jun 2019, edited 4 times in total.

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Marco Raaphorst
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Post 14 Jun 2019

I was playing on a Fender Twin Reverb this week. Weigts a ton. Sounds great but after one hour sound started to change. Hate that. Hum going on. Hate. I prefer software. Total control and super sound.

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Boombastix
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Post 14 Jun 2019

dannyF wrote:
14 Jun 2019
I think no matter what one chooses there is always a compromise.

hardware units are expensive, so going down that route you need funds.

the great thing about Reason is that you don't need that much $$$ to get started.

I use both, I think digital is great for *many* things, but not all things.
Digital reverbs are good, digital delays are fine, but NOT distortion imo.

Harmonic distortion is a huge part of what can music sound good and I do not believe they can emulate this in programming land.

Do you think Beyonce ( her producers rather ) uses any of the built in reason distortion devices? Likely not. With unlimited funds ... those producers are most certainly using hardware and music at that level is what we have to compete with. How you gonna compete when your competition is using hardware like the culture vulture ?

Back to emulated distortion....my ears say no. The built in reason distortion devices make me cringe. I hear decapitator vst is good.... but I'm not willing to go there.

In my own belief system sound sources must be analog. most effects ( eqs, dynamics, reverbs etc etc ) being digital is fine.
The thing is the experienced producers have developed their ears to dial in a snare or kick so it sits just perfect in a mix. They know how it should sound when they solo a sound. It takes many years to be able to develop the ears together with the know-how for how to do it.
DSP has come a long way in the last few years, digital filters used to be no match for analog, but once they developed the ZDF and refined the high frequency/high resonance behavior they can be quite equal. But if you listen to 10yr old DSP code, there is surely something missing.
Same on the distortion side. There are really good ones out there. Scream is old DSP, and it was designed for low CPU usage. But again it is also about know how. What distortion do you put on a kick to make it bigger? What to use on a bass so it can be heard in a small speaker with sounding fizzy, and so on. If you have the experience and seek out the plug-in you can find VSTs that are very good. Those producers bring +20yrs of experience working full time, they can pick plugins and do it in the box if they want. Now it is more a time investment, rather than money to get any sound or processing.
Reverbs, like the 80's Lexicons, were digital, so Reverbs have basically been digital the whole time in the modern music era.

That about individual sounds, mixing/mastering is a separate but kinds similar topic. ears+years...
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come1
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Post 24 Jan 2023

It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?

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dioxide
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Post 24 Jan 2023

come1 wrote:
24 Jan 2023
It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?
In the sense of how limited hardware is?
come1 wrote:
10 Jan 2019
... the limitations of hardware

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jam-s
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Post 24 Jan 2023

come1 wrote:
24 Jan 2023
It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?
Today's hardware is quite often just a µC running software. I'd say software has surpassed hardware for at least a decade now. Of course without hardware you'd not be able to run your software... So well, the question is comparing apples and elephants.

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avasopht
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Post 24 Jan 2023

The only difference we saw between software and digital hardware was who made it (and how they made the sound libraries).

There's nothing about the Korg Triton or XV5080 that prevented it from being developed as a VST from the start.

The benefit of hardware DSP accelerators is that, like GPUs, they can process much more data than a general purpose CPU of the same price for DSP.

Other than that, it's the exact same 1s and 0s.

The 32mb Korg Triton ROM sounds exactly the same in the vst, meaning that sounds was always possible with a CPU and such a small set of samples.

Air's Xpand!2 was on par with the Korg and Roland workstations at the time and like them didn't need gigabytes of ROM.

Don't believe the hype.

That being said, hardware solutions tend to come with dedicated user interfaces designed to offer a complete solution without a keyboard and mouse.

The reduced context switching frees up head space and may help you stay more focused on the music and in the zone
---

iTrensharo
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Post 25 Jan 2023

Hardware only makes sense if the value proposition is good.

Considering you can get M1 MacBook Airs for $900 and Ryzen 9 PC Laptops (with upgradable RAM and Storage) for ~$1,150... $899 is too high for something like an MPC One.

And with software, you don't have the issue of mechanical breakdown. As long as your PC works, so does the software.

I think there are valid reasons for getting hardware, though, like gigging and live performers. I think recording studios can often justify going the hardware route (harder effects, etc.).

However, a lot of the hype is driven by nostalgia and a need to feel separate from the "average Joes and Janes" of the world.

It's so easy for anyone to acquire the "gear" to produce music now, that people are constantly struggling to stand out as professionals. That's why DAW Wars and Gear Wars are such hot topics on the internet still. It's a never ending struggle.

Popey
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Post 25 Jan 2023

come1 wrote:
24 Jan 2023
It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?
Hard to say as if you take the recent minifreak it is hardware and also a vst. Not sure if they sound different as do not own the hardware.

What I would say is that there is so much great software nowadays and I can never tell if someone used a real moog or an emulation.

How is your music going? Interested as you mentioned making acid before and its a genre i like.

Have you bought any hardware or been making tracks since you first posted and do you still feel it is the gear holding you back?

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avasopht
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Post 25 Jan 2023

iTrensharo wrote:
25 Jan 2023
Hardware only makes sense if the value proposition is good.

Considering you can get M1 MacBook Airs for $900 and Ryzen 9 PC Laptops (with upgradable RAM and Storage) for ~$1,150... $899 is too high for something like an MPC One.

And with software, you don't have the issue of mechanical breakdown. As long as your PC works, so does the software.

I think there are valid reasons for getting hardware, though, like gigging and live performers. I think recording studios can often justify going the hardware route (harder effects, etc.).

However, a lot of the hype is driven by nostalgia and a need to feel separate from the "average Joes and Janes" of the world.

It's so easy for anyone to acquire the "gear" to produce music now, that people are constantly struggling to stand out as professionals. That's why DAW Wars and Gear Wars are such hot topics on the internet still. It's a never ending struggle.
Even though I have a Mac Mini-sized micro desktop with Maschine and a portable 7" touchscreen, I still found utility in getting an MPC Live.

Why? It's just a little bit more convenient (especially the MPC One, which can fit in a regular backpack).

I hit the power switch and it's good to go (plus the battery power adds some flexibility and protection against power outages or needing to move, or not having good or immediate access to power outlets, etc)

On top of that, it's just a really nice experience to use dedicated controllers offering comprehensive control and flexibility.

Bearing in mind the MPC One/Live/X and AKAI Force are all running on ARM Cortex processors that are about as powerful as a 2009-2010 iMac, it's a reminder that CPU power and 100GB+ sample libraries were never necessary.

I find myself just loading up instruments and playing with them (not to say I wasn't doing that before, but it just feels like a bunch of near-invisible steps have been removed).

It feels like I'm much closer to the instruments and the music rather than being a distant avatar trying to interface with a separate world.
---

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EnochLight
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Post 25 Jan 2023

come1 wrote:
24 Jan 2023
It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?
Serious question: have you literally been asleep the last 2 decades? Software "caught up" with hardware 20 years ago, at least as far as accurate analog synth emulations and effects are concerned. I know you've been gone a few years, but dude... come on.. :lol:

You can troll better than this, come1.

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Kilsane
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Post 25 Jan 2023

Some synths are just software on raspberries, like some recent korg

https://www.raspberrypi.com/success-sto ... thesizers/
Reason is the richest DAW, between VST and its own format (Rack Extension) which DAW can boast of having so many tools for creativity

My config
https://fr.audiofanzine.com/membres/1097104/products/

Goriila Texas
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Post 25 Jan 2023

As a a Triton Studio owner no the sounds doesn't sound the same as the vst. You have to remember although the Triton is digital it still has hardware components that the signal passes thru to the converter and out the 1'4" outputs. It's the same reason any other hardware sounds better, it's some about going thru electricity and hardware components that make them warm. I can tell you for a fact my Triton cutoff filter sounds way more analog than the vst.


avasopht wrote:
24 Jan 2023
The only difference we saw between software and digital hardware was who made it (and how they made the sound libraries).

There's nothing about the Korg Triton or XV5080 that prevented it from being developed as a VST from the start.

The benefit of hardware DSP accelerators is that, like GPUs, they can process much more data than a general purpose CPU of the same price for DSP.

Other than that, it's the exact same 1s and 0s.

The 32mb Korg Triton ROM sounds exactly the same in the vst, meaning that sounds was always possible with a CPU and such a small set of samples.

Air's Xpand!2 was on par with the Korg and Roland workstations at the time and like them didn't need gigabytes of ROM.

Don't believe the hype.

That being said, hardware solutions tend to come with dedicated user interfaces designed to offer a complete solution without a keyboard and mouse.

The reduced context switching frees up head space and may help you stay more focused on the music and in the zone

Goriila Texas
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Post 25 Jan 2023

No software hasn't lol.

EnochLight wrote:
25 Jan 2023
come1 wrote:
24 Jan 2023
It’s 2023. Still weighing up the pros and cons. Has software caught up with hardware yet?
Serious question: have you literally been asleep the last 2 decades? Software "caught up" with hardware 20 years ago, at least as far as accurate analog synth emulations and effects are concerned. I know you've been gone a few years, but dude... come on.. :lol:

You can troll better than this, come1.

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avasopht
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Post 25 Jan 2023

Goriila Texas wrote:
25 Jan 2023
As a a Triton Studio owner no the sounds doesn't sound the same as the vst. You have to remember although the Triton is digital it still has hardware components that the signal passes thru to the converter and out the 1'4" outputs. It's the same reason any other hardware sounds better, it's some about going thru electricity and hardware components that make them warm. I can tell you for a fact my Triton cutoff filter sounds way more analog than the vst.
Okay, but if you pass the VST output through the same D/A converter, it will sound just as warm, right?

And doesn't the Korg Triton have digital filters? Digital filters work exactly the same whether it's hardware or software.

That being said, is the warmth from the converters really that unique?

I must admit, the 4K mode on my SSL 2+ is pretty pleasing.
---

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EnochLight
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Post 25 Jan 2023

Goriila Texas wrote:
25 Jan 2023
No software hasn't lol.
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Goriila Texas
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Post 25 Jan 2023

The filters are digital maybe it's the converters because the MOSS board I have in it also sounds good.


avasopht wrote:
25 Jan 2023
Goriila Texas wrote:
25 Jan 2023
As a a Triton Studio owner no the sounds doesn't sound the same as the vst. You have to remember although the Triton is digital it still has hardware components that the signal passes thru to the converter and out the 1'4" outputs. It's the same reason any other hardware sounds better, it's some about going thru electricity and hardware components that make them warm. I can tell you for a fact my Triton cutoff filter sounds way more analog than the vst.
Okay, but if you pass the VST output through the same D/A converter, it will sound just as warm, right?

And doesn't the Korg Triton have digital filters? Digital filters work exactly the same whether it's hardware or software.

That being said, is the warmth from the converters really that unique?

I must admit, the 4K mode on my SSL 2+ is pretty pleasing.

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