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Analog Summing vs Digital Summing
Christopher Bailey: I’m guessing there will be more and more hybrid situations, analog working next to digital in various combinations. I’m all for exploring these things, and especially seeing what weird sounds and artifacts we can come up with when we push these “hybrid” situations to their limits.
In , David Ellis elaborates on the above definition of analogue: "In analog signal processing, some property of the signal, such as its voltage, magnetic field or frequency, varies continuously such that that output is analogous to the input"(228). For a vinyl LP playing on a stereo system, the needle in the tone arm follows the wavy grooves in the record surface, and this movement is translated into a continuously varying magnetic field in the pickup head. Variations in the electrical signal flow to the amplifier where they are filtered and amplified,then converted by loudspeakers into mechanical movement of the speaker elements to recreate an audible signal. At each stage, analog circuits recreate continuous analogies or approximations of the information that is carried by the electrical signal.
Answers to some questions about direct digital synthesis (DDS).
is trying to achieve the same result as Subtractive Synthesis, but approaches the method from a constructive philosophy, rather than carving. Rather than presenting a wall of harmonics and carving out the harmonic structure desired (Subtractive Synthesis), in additive synthesis multiple sine waves of varying levels and are combined together to build the harmonic structure desired. Simply put, instead of starting with everything you need and throwing away what you don’t need, you start with nothing and build harmonic structures from scratch.
We are now faced with the rapid integration of digital technologies into our lives, and the choices can be baffling. Do we trade in an excellent analogue camera for a digital camera that loads images directly into our desktop computer? Do we subscribe to the digital or analogue cellphone plan? Should we hang on to our collection of vinyl? 8-track tapes? cassettes? How do we compose music using a piece of software and a keyboard designed for typing? Does the convenience of email give us more time, or more responsibility? The answers to these and thousands of similar questions have become part of our everyday news and social interaction. As Nicholas Negroponte pointed out in his 1995 , our world is fast exchanging the trade in atoms for the trade in bits: "The change from atoms to bits is irrevocable and unstoppable," he claims (4). Many of us may feel exactly as Negroponte does--that our present is being determined by technology. However, there is also very much about human life that is not easily converted from the analogue to the digital, and it is on making that distinction that our cultural survival depends.
Analog synthesis in a digital world macprovideo ..
ME: I believe in the realm of synthesis and Eurorack gear in particular analog circuits in general sound better. That being said there are now many hybrid modules with digital and CV capabilities which sound great. As others have said, there is a warmth, richness, and sometimes juiciness to the analog sound. I’m sure it has to do with harmonics and the nature of the distortion inherent in the system itself. Also, the potentiometers that control an analog circuit react very differently than digital controls. There is a sort of sweet spot that you can ride with an extremely subtle variance that I have not experienced in the digital world. As a guitar player, it reminds me of how a great player can forge a unique voice with the use of vibrato and dynamics.
Dave Smith: In our products, specifically analog polyphonic synthesizers, analog has a huge advantage over digital. Every voice is a completely separate circuit, so they are never exactly the same. When combined with the sound of analog voltage-controlled filters, the instruments have a transparency and ability to blend in a very acoustic manner. Digital synths can (and do) sound very good also, but musicians always tell me how much better the analog instruments fit in the mix.
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Analog Synthesis in a Digital World
Augustus Arnone: Again, I don’t think blanket statements like this are helpful. I certainly would not say that tube electronics are better in every case, it depends on the device and also on the program it’s being used on. My mastering compressor has a switchable tube circuit, so I have a choice of tube or solid-state circuits for the output amplifier. I would say I switch the tubes in about 40% of the time. They do make the audio somewhat bigger sounding, and subtly inflate the mid frequencies, and also soften the timbre somewhat. Sometimes this is desirable, but sometimes I feel the transients come across more clearly without the tubes. Sometimes I feel the mids get a bit too tubby and the audio loses a touch of excitement. Since I produce primarily acoustic classical music, my preference is for fast, responsive amplifiers with a minimum of distortion, so the vast majority of my analog gear is solid-state, but I do enjoy having the option of triode tube character, if I feel it enhances the music.
Secrets Of Analog And Digital Synthesis
There is a responsiveness and tactility that is attractive and infectious. As Curtis Roads observes, “Modular synthesizers sport dozens of knobs that allow immediate access to synthesis controls. This stands in contradistinction to some poorly designed digital devices that present a series of nested menus with a single multifunction control knob, permitting manipulation of only one parameter at a time out of dozens of parameters that can only be accessed on other submenus.” ( – p.88)
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FM synthesis is not very effective at recreating acoustics instruments, but is great for electronic and digital sounds, as well as harsh bell or cymbal-type sounds.
it means digital subtractive synthesis
Robert Rich: “Analog vs. digital” is a false dichotomy, because digital is also analog, and bad analog can sound as bad as bad digital (but different). Good digital requires good analog to sound good. They are not opposites, just tools in our toolbox. For my own music, I am very satisfied with 24 bit digital through modern clocking and converters. It sounds better for my needs than the analog tape I was using for my first 15 years of recording.
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