Since the very first synthesizer was introduced in the 1930’s music has been transformed and revolutionized time and time again. The development and progression of these remarkable devices have empowered music makers, songwriters, sound designers, film composers, sound engineers and bedroom producers to continue to create unique, distinct and exceptional sounds for the world to revel in.
In this blog we will explore some of the differences, advantages and disadvantages of analog, digital and software synthesizers.
If you are so fortunate to have the opportunity to ever own, or even just have a play on a hardware synthesizer, such as the 1970’s Minimoog, there is something quite special and “warming” about being able to touch and manipulate the sound of the instrument with the dials. The appeal of hardware synths not only stem from the sense of touch, but also the warmth, character, noises and imperfections that you can only truly achieve with a array of capacitors, resistors, transistors and DC current. On the contrary, rare hardware synths are very expensive, need to be well maintained, and without a great deal of knowledge of synthesis – might not achieve for you the results which you desire to hear in your production.
Further developments in the Synthesizer have lead to a hybrid of digitally controlled analog synths. The “Moog Little Phatty” is a fantastic example of this. At the heart of it, the machine is analog, yet the front end controls are digital, enabling you to save presets, recall sounds, save setup time, yet still achieve the tasty character of analog technology.
Keyboard companies such as Korg, Roland and Yamaha (to name a few) have created some amazing digital synthesizers, which are software-controlled boxes, emulating some classic sounds, and birthing their very own. Digital keyboards are very popular for gigging musicians and production studios, as they carry thousands of sounds literally at your fingertips, don’t consume any of your computers CPU power, and can be recalled easily.
Software developers have done an incredible job of emulating the sounds and texture of classic synthesizers, and beyond. Soft synths have a number of advantages over analog, for example; the vast verity of sounds you are able to achieve in a few clicks, the immense variety of products available in the market, the ability to automate multiple components at once in your sequencer and most of all, the price tag being significantly lower than owning one rare analog hardware synth.
Here are some handy links to help you explore the world of Synthesizers in greater detail:
Don’t forget to browse the Prime Plugins range of soft synths now: http://primeplugins.com/