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Software (digital set up) vs. Hardware (analog set up)

Rock_Well
Rock_Well Members Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited May 2013 in Fresh Produce
With all the technology advances in today's beat making world, is it still not possible for a beat composed purely on a digital workspace to essentially and perfectly replicate an overall sound like that of a beat composed using analogs?

ive heard many tite FL and software based joints, but in my experience analogs = superior everytime. it's hard to describe, it's like a piece of magic is missing in the digital joints. can anyone tell me why i like the hardware composed joints better? everytime i try to describe why (either to myself or someone else)i run into trouble trying to objectively put into words what makes it better.

Comments

  • konceptjones
    konceptjones Old School Playa Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 13,139 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Let's clarify something here:

    MPC/ASR/etc = Digital equipment.

    Roland Jupiter 8, Sequential Pro5/Pro10, ARP AXXE, Roland TR-808/909/606 = Analog.

    Now...

    In theory, there's very little difference between using an MPC and FL Studio. The MPC is just a computer dedicated to this one function.

    However, an MPC and ASR do have a "feel" to them that's hard to replicate. The groove templates in an ASR-X are something I wish I had in FL Studio, but I can create my own in FL that may match it or end up having a superior feel to them.

    MPC's have software they run just like any other computer. Same for ASR's and MV's by Roland.

  • Rock_Well
    Rock_Well Members Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2013
    Let's clarify something here:

    MPC/ASR/etc = Digital equipment.

    Roland Jupiter 8, Sequential Pro5/Pro10, ARP AXXE, Roland TR-808/909/606 = Analog.
    ok so MPCs is still considered digital, gotcha. so about drums...if the MPC and other drum machines like it = digital equipment, does this means the machine use samples to make sounds? if it in fact uses samples to produce the sounds why is it that the same drums samples coming from the machine sounds more 'alive' coming from the beat machine than it does when produced from a program like FL studio? Not that the quality of the same sample is much different if any, but it's something about the drums when it's played directly from samples loaded into FL stu sound little artificial and stagnant, even when random velocity and no quantize is used. Not sure how much of this is the due to the beat maker's technique, and how much of it is the workspace. There must be something very small that's not being done in FL studio that's being done on these machines. I don't know if it has to do with how the oscillation works or what. I know it's only a subtle difference, but the subtle differences make a big difference in sound to my ear.

    And this 'feel' that's hard to replicate - are the groove templates in the Drum machines the primary cause of this feel? or is it a combination of a bunch of different aspects including the groove templates of the machine that give it the different 'feel', and if so, what's the science behind it?

    trying to figure out where the breakdown is.
  • Roster Player #99
    Roster Player #99 Members Posts: 4,237 ✭✭✭✭✭
    If you mean drum machines are producing higher quality or better sounding sounds than that of a sequencer on a DAW or VSTi, then that subtle difference might be the processors involved between each device. From a, for example, drum machine, the sound goes (viturally) from the machine's processor, through a mixer or AI, then out of the monitors. With anything soft coming from a computer, its being processed through the computers sound card at whatever bitrate, then through the mixer or AI, then out of the monitors.

    That could be your 'subtle' difference that youre hearing. But it all depends on the quality of the initial sound being emitted. I've heard higer bit depth in certain samples from the same disk on FL than on the MPC before, so if your computer has a superior build, Im sure it can out class the sound from a lot of outboard machines.

    I think a lot of the times, producers kinda have a placebic effect when it comes to 🤬 like that because we damn near train ourselves to believe outboard gear = better. Well I can personally attest and say I've heard wack across the board and vice versa, just all in the user bruh.
  • konceptjones
    konceptjones Old School Playa Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 13,139 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Rock Well wrote: »
    Let's clarify something here:

    MPC/ASR/etc = Digital equipment.

    Roland Jupiter 8, Sequential Pro5/Pro10, ARP AXXE, Roland TR-808/909/606 = Analog.
    ok so MPCs is still considered digital, gotcha. so about drums...if the MPC and other drum machines like it = digital equipment, does this means the machine use samples to make sounds? if it in fact uses samples to produce the sounds why is it that the same drums samples coming from the machine sounds more 'alive' coming from the beat machine than it does when produced from a program like FL studio? Not that the quality of the same sample is much different if any, but it's something about the drums when it's played directly from samples loaded into FL stu sound little artificial and stagnant, even when random velocity and no quantize is used. Not sure how much of this is the due to the beat maker's technique, and how much of it is the workspace. There must be something very small that's not being done in FL studio that's being done on these machines. I don't know if it has to do with how the oscillation works or what. I know it's only a subtle difference, but the subtle differences make a big difference in sound to my ear.

    And this 'feel' that's hard to replicate - are the groove templates in the Drum machines the primary cause of this feel? or is it a combination of a bunch of different aspects including the groove templates of the machine that give it the different 'feel', and if so, what's the science behind it?

    trying to figure out where the breakdown is.

    The answer lies in the way notes are quantized in FL vs an MPC/ASR, which includes utilizing groove templates. The MPC's swing and quantize are legendary for the feel they create. The ASR-X groove templates do pretty much the same thing, but they have a slightly different feel to them.

    The problem, I think, is that a lot of cats jump on FL and don't really dive into what it can do. They scratch the surface and crank out mediocre stuff using what's easily available. The good stuff requires a lot of work and reading to get to.

    The fatal flaw with FL is it's ease of use. You can fire it up, drop some 🤬 in there and have some 🤬 going in only a few minutes without ever reading the manual.

    I have the FL Studio Bible for FL6 and use it for reference a lot. Most, if not all of that book still applies to 10.x (which I currently use). When you really dive in, you learn how to extract some great sounding music from FL.
  • LUClEN
    LUClEN Absence makes the heart grow fonder of someone else Members Posts: 20,559 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I know a guy with a lot of hardware. He says he prefers it over software because of the work flow.
  • konceptjones
    konceptjones Old School Playa Guests, Members, Writer, Content Producer Posts: 13,139 ✭✭✭✭✭
    RodrigueZz wrote: »
    I know a guy with a lot of hardware. He says he prefers it over software because of the work flow.

    I feel that way myself to a degree. Hardware forces you to focus on what you're doing. Using a PC or Mac allows your mind to wander and you end up laughing at a You Tube video of a cat caught in a ceiling fan instead of making music.

    Yet another reason why I might end up buying an ASR-X and Urban Dance Kit card.
  • Rock_Well
    Rock_Well Members Posts: 2,187 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Im sure this topic been debated countless times on the net but was curious the vets here input.
    I kno one of the things a guy at guitar center explained to me about synths or analogs is that they actually creates the sound of the instrument in real time each time the note is hit, which makes for a slight different sound wave every hit. As opposed to samples, that are a freeze frame of the actual sound wave so it wouldn't have that same subtle variance I sound every time its played. Seemed to explain the most accurately the differences between the two and far as what my ears can tell.