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  • What is the earliest synth invented? What did the Beatles use for some of their

    songs? Were they vaccum tube synths ?





    Why did everyone regard Yamaha's DX7 as so profound? Was it really that much different that it killed all the analog-synth companies? If they were so great, why can you find them for $200?





    Why were old synths so ridiculously expensive back in the late 70s? If I remember right, a stinkin Roland Juno60 was $1,300 .... and in 1981, that was like $5000 of today's money







    Why





    why





    why?







    Thank you for reading down this far

  • #2






    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Tweedbucket
    View Post

    songs? Were they vaccum tube synths ?




    They used a Moog modular, as far as I know. I believe Maxwell's Silver Hammer was their first use of a synth. (Too lazy to go confirm.)








    Why did everyone regard Yamaha's DX7 as so profound? Was it really that much different that it killed all the analog-synth companies?



    Yes, it was. It could make sounds that the garden-variety subtractive analogs couldn't touchwithout being extremely bulky and expensive. That, and I think the EP patch on that thing probably single-handedly sold it. That sound is all over 80's material.








    If they were so great, why can you find them for $200?



    Because they made a LOT of them.










    Why were old synths so ridiculously expensive back in the late 70s? If I remember right, a stinkin Roland Juno60 was $1,300 .... and in 1981, that was like $5000 of today's money



    Because they were complex machines. To recreate one of those identically today would still be ridiculously expensive. Lots of components ($), lots of wiring (labor $), lots of controls ($$), and generally none of it was made from cheap stuff. These were INSTRUMENTS, not discardable appliances.










    Why





    why





    why?



    wat
    Hurrr. Derp, derp, derp.

    Comment


    • #3
      This is the very first synth ever invented :



      Comment


      • #4
        The Telharmonium was making sounds in the late 1800's







        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telharmonium



        Also there is William Duddell's 'Singing Arc' back in 1899



        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singing...Singing_Arc.22



        A couple of decades later and we had the theremin.



        Fast forward to the early 1960's and you get this....






        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41U78QP8nBk





        This is why HAL9000 sings 'Daisy' as his mind is devolving during the shutdown process in 2001.

        Comment


        • #5
          For early synths don't forget the Novachord. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novachord

          Comment


          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by ElectricPuppy
            View Post

            They used a Moog modular, as far as I know. I believe Maxwell's Silver Hammer was their first use of a synth. (Too lazy to go confirm.)




            Yeah, Abbey Road has a fair bit of Moog Modular on it. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", "Here Comes the Sun", and "Because" (the later two pretty prominent examples) also have Moog. Not sure what was recorded first.



            It depends on how you define "synthesizer", but the theremin and the Ondes Martenot were successful enough to appear in several classical works and/or movie soundtracks. A few people have mentioned some of the less successful but still notable synthesizers.



            Of course, you could be creative with less. (See: the original 1960s Doctor Who theme, entirely realized with tape technique and primitive tone generators.)
            What I make with way too many blinky light modular items, plugins, and an Alesis Andromeda.
            Forbidden Star: home studio / melodic ambient / New Age / the deep zone
            Boney Fiend: the band, man / punk / garage / beer

            Comment


            • #7
              Cost was simply a factor of the number of components and the effort required to design and build the things. No high powered software back then to design vlsi chips, nor really the technology to make them. If modern technology was made using the same techniques as back then, then it also be inordinately expensive, as well as huge. Just look at the first mobile phones, huge and expensive.
              The further away I am, the better I sound....

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah true. I bought an old organ from the 60s that had almost 50 tubes in it and the workmanship was amazing inside. I bet it took a couple hundred hours to wire up the tone modules and snake it all down to the amp and speaker... not to mention all the keyboard mechanicals and the wood cabinet. I wonder how much that thing cost back then? I got it for $20





                Here is a thread with pics I did about it



                http://www.thegearpage.net/board/sho...highlight=conn

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think the earliest synthesizer in *wide-spread* use was the Hammond Organ.

                  It featured

                  - additive FM synthesis (drawbars control sinewave ratios)

                  - a selectable low-frequency oscillator (fixed at 6Hz -- vibrato scanner)

                  - ability to change the attack/decay envelope of the 2nd/3rd harmonic (percussion, as of the -3 series)



                  Similarly, the Leslie speaker cabinet is probably the first effects unit in *widespread* use.



                  And, just for the record, the DX7 is awesome. I want one again. If there is a $200 DX7 in your market, get it, change the battery, reset it to factory, and get out your patch editor. There is like a decade of fun hidden in that box.
                  Do daemons dream of electric sleep()?

                  Comment


                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by madprof
                    View Post

                    For early synths don't forget the Novachord. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novachord




                    Yes! For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here's a cool site with a lot of pics and details on the Novachord:



                    Novachord Restoration Project



                    Comment


                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by Ghostpaw
                      View Post

                      Yes! For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, here's a cool site with a lot of pics and details on the Novachord:



                      Novachord Restoration Project









                      THAT was very interesting!! Holy crap, who would have ever thought a monster like that was ever invented, let alone 1000+ of them?



                      Thanks for posting that! I have a friend who is into old 50s and 60s Hammonds that may find this very interesting as well.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Not the first obv but don't forget this one from Soviet Russia. Named after Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin and used on Tarkovsky's Solaris:



                        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ANS_synthesizer



                        http://www.ruskeys.net/eng/base/ans.php
                        http://soundcloud.com/liliththekitten

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Early Vocoder:








                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF77jH-BzkI
                          Kronos, Fant.G8, PC3X, K2500RS, A6, Q, M3-61, Fant.X7, Motif 8, EX5(x2), V-Synth, K2000(x2), D50, JD800, JD990, JP8080, XP30, MC909, MC505, JX-10, JX-305, TR-707, Juno 1, DR-202, Radias, Triton Pro, Wavest. SR, EMX1, ESX1, ER-1, EA-1, R3, Poly 800, RS7000, FS1R (x2), RM1X, AN200, DX200, QY70, QY100, K5000S, OB-12, Maschine,ASR10,ASR88,ASR-X Pro, EPS,Virus B, Equinox,E-Mu XL-7,MiniAK, Synthstation,X-Station, XioSynth,TG33,Venom,V50,UltraNova,Z1,Spark,Moog LP Stage II, JP8000,Tetra,Supernova 2.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What was so significant about the DX7 is it almost singlehandedly caused a lot of keyboardists to switch from being programmers to being preset jockeys. The FM synthesis on the DX7 and its interface was very hard to program but it had some really good presets. Suddenly understanding and programming synthesis was an order of magnitude harder, and at the same time you didn't actually need to program to get good sounds out of it. A lot of people saw the easy path, took it, and never looked back.



                            So the significant thing about the DX7 was it changed the overall philosophy and approach to synthesizers as far as the general keyboard player was concerned. I consider that more significant historically than it using FM instead of subtractive synthesis.

                            Martyn Wheeler (playing synthesizers/organ like it's 1973 in England)

                            now: Fredfin Wallaby
                            was: The Gonzo Symphonic

                            Comment


                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by Iamthesky
                              View Post

                              What was so significant about the DX7 is it almost singlehandedly caused a lot of keyboardists to switch from being programmers to being preset jockeys. The FM synthesis on the DX7 and its interface was very hard to program but it had some really good presets. Suddenly understanding and programming synthesis was an order of magnitude harder, and at the same time you didn't actually need to program to get good sounds out of it. A lot of people saw the easy path, took it, and never looked back.



                              So the significant thing about the DX7 was it changed the overall philosophy and approach to synthesizers as far as the general keyboard player was concerned. I consider that more significant historically than it using FM instead of subtractive synthesis.






                              I blame the modern ROM based workstation -- particularly the "combi" (combination patch) -- for the heavy reliance on presets over programming. It's a big selling point to display numerous banks of slick combis in a workstation for potential buyers to audition in the music store. Often the combi will trigger a drum beat, and it will have a split bass and upper register each with its own assigned arps. I have never, ever used them (preset combis), nor do I know anyone else who does. But I can see where they might convince someone in a music store that they're making music.



                              Also, the instrument patches in workstations are often polished and tailored to the point that many users don't want for anything more. They see no need to change much if anything, and often lack the interest or expertise to do so. It's understandable to a point. I've pulled up really good piano and EP patches, for example, that sounded nice enough that I saw no need to change much about them -- although if I'm recording with it, I'll make various adjustments.



                              As for "synths" (both VA and analog) that's another issue. Hardware and software makers have realized that there are a finite number of archetypal or classic "synth bass" sounds, "lead synth" sounds, "pad" sounds, etc. that people tend to look for. A lot of people these days will scroll through a bank of preset bass sounds, pick the one that's closest to a genre type bass sound they're looking for, and use it as it is. Many who buy MicroKorgs apparently do this, and the instrument itself seems to be built around this kind of thinking. Arturia's "The Laboratory" software also anticipates this. Its preset patches (over 3500 of them) are built around the "sweet spots" of the classic synths -- the trademark sounds that were most popular. And I have to say, there's a lot there. A person could go very far with 3500 presets emulating the "best of" the Jupiter 8, Prophet 5, Minimoog, etc.



                              But all of it discourages people from making their own sounds from scratch.



                              I also think a majority of people who take up keys today have no interest in learning anything about the physics of sound -- even though the internet and proliferation of books on the subject makes it more accessible than ever.
                              Kronos, Fant.G8, PC3X, K2500RS, A6, Q, M3-61, Fant.X7, Motif 8, EX5(x2), V-Synth, K2000(x2), D50, JD800, JD990, JP8080, XP30, MC909, MC505, JX-10, JX-305, TR-707, Juno 1, DR-202, Radias, Triton Pro, Wavest. SR, EMX1, ESX1, ER-1, EA-1, R3, Poly 800, RS7000, FS1R (x2), RM1X, AN200, DX200, QY70, QY100, K5000S, OB-12, Maschine,ASR10,ASR88,ASR-X Pro, EPS,Virus B, Equinox,E-Mu XL-7,MiniAK, Synthstation,X-Station, XioSynth,TG33,Venom,V50,UltraNova,Z1,Spark,Moog LP Stage II, JP8000,Tetra,Supernova 2.

                              Comment









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