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When You Can Call Your Plugin Instrument “Analog Sounding”

December 19th, 2011 by Fitz, Music Synths, Gear, & Tips, 1 Comment

“When you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.” – Master Kan

In the vintage TV show “Kung Fu” a young student was told his training would be complete when he developed the celerity and precision to snatch a pebble from his master’s open hand. I would like to propose a similar challenge for all plugin manufactures claiming their virtual instruments sound “just like an analog synth”. It goes like this:

Bass sounds don’t count.

Sound effects don’t count.

Lead sounds don’t count.

In fact, the ONLY sounds that will count are synth brass, strings, and “comping” patches played between C3 and C6 and WITHOUT ANY EFFECTS (reverb, chorusing, etc.). That’s it. When a user can create one of these patches on your instrument, grab a handful of keys in the aforementioned range, and have it sound as warm and rich as a real analog polysynth, you will have succeeded.

Anything less, and you fail.

I’ve tried just about every virtual synth out there and this is their crucial area of sonic compromise. Everything else they’ve pretty much got down but their mid-range comping noises are invariably thin, plasticky, and somehow very unmusical compared to their hardware counterparts.

One Response to “When You Can Call Your Plugin Instrument “Analog Sounding””

  1. Jay says:

    Maybe the emulation is fine. The amplification and impedance of the output might be what you are hearing. We are more sensitive to midrange since we are geared towards understanding human speech. Impedance mismatches alone can produce wide tonal variation.

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