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Future Classics (post-2000)

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2016, 02:18:19 PM »
I neglected to add the most important reasons that the Poly Evolver merits "classic" status.  First and foremost, it sounds truly exceptional.  Strings, brass, organ, bells and chimes, FM piano, pads of both the analog and digital types, and sounds and effects of all sorts are strengths of the PEK.  The modulation possibilities are deep and varied, including a sequencer.  It has an onboard delay which can produce related effects such as chorus or flanger.  It's a pleasure to program, due to it's well-ordered knobby control panel.  It has a decent full-length keyboard with velocity and aftertouch.  It's expandable with Mono Desktop or Poly Evolver Rack versions so that a five, eight, or twelve-voice instrument is within reach.  And then there are the stereo oscillators and filter.  Last of all, it also provides an impressive if small-scale red and blue light show.

Gee, now that I've started, I could go on and on naming reasons the Poly Evolver deserves to be regarded as a synthesizer classic.

I guess that can be expanded over to the whole Evolver series.

I would have to agree with this choice, and not because this is a DSI forum. To some degree, the Evolver may earn a similar status as the Prophet VS. It was around for much longer though, and wasn't necessarily misunderstood upon arrival. In fact, I was curious one time and double-checked some reactions all over a couple of gear forums after the release of the Evolver. While reviews were almost always positive with regard to the whole series (especially the keyboard versions), so were most user reactions. It must have been the resurgence of more "purely" analog synths that might have caused a shift in the perception towards the Evolver. Suddenly, it was mostly compared to rather traditional VCO machines and all that. And by now, some of the unique features almost seem to be forgotten, like the stereo signal path for example. Even Marc Doty had no idea about the Evolver at all - I once asked him about it, since he is totally in love with his Pro 2.

More important than any of that is probably that the Evolver has a truly unique sound, which I would descibe as a sort of bastardized version of all kinds of synth sounds that appeared in between the mid-80s up to the early noughties: From pleasing analog-only sounds to nasty industrial sounds and everything in between. A lot of that has of course to do with the almost digital vintage sound of the VS waveforms and everything Sacred Synthesis has already named.

That it's becoming sought after is already quite obvious. Especially the rack version is very hard to get by these days. And if one finds one, it's usually rather expensive. Not on the nasty side, but definitely not affordable. I name especially that version, as it seems to be the one that makes most sense for those who already own either a PEK or a MEK. In fact, I believe that the combination of especially a MEK and a PER is amongst the most potent and economic portable powerhouses one could imagine. And in general, the Evolver offers quite a few features that have neither been recycled by DSI themselves nor by other manufacturers, which makes its unique selling points still valid.
Ableton Live 9 Suite & Push 2 (macOS) | Arturia BeatStep Pro | DSI Pro 2 | KMI QuNexus | Korg Volca Beats | Moog MF-104M Analog Delay | Moog Minitaur | Moog Model 15 App | Moog Sub 37 Tribute Edition | Sequential Prophet-6

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2016, 04:59:06 PM »
OK - no more cheating, here's one out of left field: Waldorf Pulse 2. In the category of Monosynths That Just Do More™, it's got 3x DCOs, 2-/4-pole multimode transistor-ladder filter, unison and 4-/8-voice paraphonic modes, CV + gate out, editable arpeggiator, excellent mod matrix, etc.

More background here: http://en.audiofanzine.com/analog-synth-rack-sound-module/waldorf/pulse-2/editorial/reviews/ace-of-hearts.html

I mention this one as it easily beats many modern multi-voice / multi-oscillator polysynths when you let it loose in unison mode, and as I've always wished that, matching the Blofeld keyboard, a three- or four-octave keyboard version had been made. Or that they had gone poly and really let it loose....

And for the poor man, you can get a taste of the same from the Rocket for less than half the cost.
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet-12 desktop, Pro-2, AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2016, 07:14:27 PM »
I would have to agree with this choice, and not because this is a DSI forum. To some degree, the Evolver may earn a similar status as the Prophet VS. It was around for much longer though, and wasn't necessarily misunderstood upon arrival. In fact, I was curious one time and double-checked some reactions all over a couple of gear forums after the release of the Evolver. While reviews were almost always positive with regard to the whole series (especially the keyboard versions), so were most user reactions.

A while back, I did the same thing.  The forum that had the greatest and most direct information on the Evolvers was the EX5Tech/DSI forum.  (The Electro-Music forum would be another excellent site.) When I last checked about a year ago, sadly, this forum had been taken offline.  My understanding was that Dave had consulted one or two members of that forum, and together they designed the Evolver's basic architecture.  Regardless, by reading the posts, one could see the very first comments after the release of the Evolver Desktop, and then of the other Evolver versions as well.  One could also read of the first excited rumors about the Prophet '08, and then the comments immediately following its release, including the first hints of encoder troubles.  It was fascinating reading, especially for a fan of these instruments.  But when I tried to update the Evolver sections of the present DSI forum with a link to the EX5Tech/DSI forum, I couldn't find it, and my old links were broken.

I'm quite certain the site is gone for good, but if you, Paul, or anyone else ever stumbles across it, I would profoundly appreciate it if you would contact me.  I would love to again pour over that rare information and to post a link to it for others here in the Evolver sub forums.

One can read all about the history of Sequential Circuits and its instruments (https://www.amazon.com/Prophet-Silicon-Valley-Complete-Sequential/dp/1512198323/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1475029859&sr=1-2&keywords=Dave+Smith+Instruments).  I would be equally interested in reading about the evolution of DSI and the Evolvers.  The EX5Tech/DSI forum is the closest one could presently come, until another book is written.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 07:48:58 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

chysn

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Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2016, 07:53:29 PM »
I'd probably only attempt to evaluate the worthiness of instruments that I've actually owned. Anything else is guesswork (for me, I mean, since I don't get to play many synths that I don't own). The problem is that I really haven't owned too many instruments that were out after 2000. I always tended to buy used synths several years after they were new, so in the 2000s, I was playing instruments from the 90s like K2000, Prophecy, SY85, and Wavestation. And in the 90s, I was playing things like Korg M1 and Kawai K1.

The Mopho Keyboard was the first synth I bought new since the K1, almost 20 years prior. This means that, according to the aforementioned filter for classic-ness (things that I've owned), the only candidates are:

InstrumentClassic?
Mopho KeyboardYes. When this analog craze dies out and gives way to another digital craze, the original Mopho Keyboard will emerge as a beacon. Musicians will want to be seen onstage with Mopho Keyboards. The SE probably won't fetch the same price.
Mopho BrickProbably not.
Desktop EvolverDefinitely. Evolvers that stay in good shape will be sought-after for the signal path.
MinitaurUnlikely. It takes a really special module to attain classic status. The Minitaur's filter is astonishing, and I think that "Minitaur" is the best synth name ever. But a lot of things work against the desktop module form factor for future desirability (the Desktop Evolver notwithstanding).
Little PhattyYes. The last synth designed by Bob Moog, and its deceptive simplicity probably works in its favor for future prospects.
Volca BeatsMaybe. It depends on whether kids born in 2016 come to appreciate its really weird unmodified snare sound. The ten-year attrition rate will be through the roof, so future DJs will have to scramble.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

chysn

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Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2016, 08:00:53 PM »
It was fascinating reading, especially for a fan of these instruments.  But when I tried to update the Evolver sections of the present DSI forum with a link to the EX5Tech/DSI forum, I couldn't find it, and my old links were broken.

Have you tried the Wayback Machine?

https://web.archive.org/web/20160409233452/http://www.ex5tech.com/

Edit: There is a site at ex5tech.com, but the discussion board is down. But the DSI section does appear to be archived, perhaps in its entirety?

https://web.archive.org/web/20150316072322/http://www.ex5tech.com/ex5ubb_cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=23
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 08:05:50 PM by chysn »
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2016, 08:03:42 PM »
Yes, I've searched that site and found only more of the same.  I've looked practically everywhere, and I do find links, but they're all broken.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 08:05:53 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

chysn

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Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2016, 08:07:37 PM »
Note that I added a direct link in my post to the DSI section. Those sections don't appear to be broken. Maybe it's not what you're looking for. But they go all the way back to 2002.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #27 on: September 27, 2016, 08:10:37 PM »
That's it, Chysn!  Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 09:35:12 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2016, 02:18:19 AM »
Thanks for bringing up Waldorf, David. I was just thinking about the Blofeld on top of that.

Others that come to my mind are:
Arturia MiniBrute
Roland V-Synth
Native Instruments Reaktor
Native Instruments FM8
Korg Kaoss Pad

Notes to follow.
Ableton Live 9 Suite & Push 2 (macOS) | Arturia BeatStep Pro | DSI Pro 2 | KMI QuNexus | Korg Volca Beats | Moog MF-104M Analog Delay | Moog Minitaur | Moog Model 15 App | Moog Sub 37 Tribute Edition | Sequential Prophet-6

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2016, 10:10:44 AM »
I'll be curious to see how history looks at the current Elektron line-up in another decade or so. Specifically the Analog Rytm and Analog Four. They both have their quirks -- in the case of the Analog Rytm the responsiveness of the pads is pretty poor, but they still have a character that's quite impressive. I suppose the DSI Tempest might find it's way in there as well, but it seems like opinions about the Tempest are a bit more polarized.

 

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2016, 10:51:53 AM »
Polarized opinions have also been good starting points for classics.
Ableton Live 9 Suite & Push 2 (macOS) | Arturia BeatStep Pro | DSI Pro 2 | KMI QuNexus | Korg Volca Beats | Moog MF-104M Analog Delay | Moog Minitaur | Moog Model 15 App | Moog Sub 37 Tribute Edition | Sequential Prophet-6

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2016, 11:43:28 AM »
I think the A4 and Rytm will not be seen as classics in the same way that the SidStation, MachineDrum and MonoMachine will be but rather seen as where it went wrong for Elektron. The OT might though but I doubt it. Time will tell.

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2016, 06:30:04 PM »
The layout of the Elektron stuff makes my head spin - couldn't they have paid someone not to jam so many knobs / buttons / legends in such a small space??
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet-12 desktop, Pro-2, AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Peter Hanes

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Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #33 on: October 17, 2016, 06:58:10 AM »
It was fascinating reading, especially for a fan of these instruments.  But when I tried to update the Evolver sections of the present DSI forum with a link to the EX5Tech/DSI forum, I couldn't find it, and my old links were broken.

Have you tried the Wayback Machine?

https://web.archive.org/web/20160409233452/http://www.ex5tech.com/

Edit: There is a site at ex5tech.com, but the discussion board is down. But the DSI section does appear to be archived, perhaps in its entirety?

https://web.archive.org/web/20150316072322/http://www.ex5tech.com/ex5ubb_cgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum&f=23

Many thanks for posting the link. The EX5Tech site was a valuable resource when I was learning the Evolver and still holds a great deal of interesting history.

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2016, 07:26:19 AM »
Yes, indeed.  It's a virtual early history of the Evolver and Prophet '08.

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2016, 11:29:13 PM »
Another interesting question would be, Which instruments do we think will eventually arrive at "classic" stature?

You mean current or more recent ones? - That's hard to tell. Mostly because the whole market situation is very different from the times when synthesizers came around for the first time. In other words: These days, there's too much to choose from in order to clearly predict a future classic. And then there are of course different categories for classics: An instrument that became a classic due to its unique sound (like Moogs and ARPs), an instrument that became a classic due to it being so revolutionary (like Moogs and ARPs as well and also Buchla and EMS instruments), those instruments that became a classic for reasons of affordibility (like all the models by Japanese companies), and so on.

There are definitely some reoccuring patterns now, most clearly to be seen with regard to pricing and affordibility. I would think of the Volca series as a future classic for example, just like the microKORG is already one. The Voyager is another classic by now on the high end side of things. Also, the Prophet '08 might have reached that status for the more recent analog poly synth market, since it has definitely become popular and is fairly widespread. And then there are all these misunderstood classics - instruments that may not have sold in tons when they first came out, but became sought after once they were discontinued and people really started to grasp what they were all about. The Prophet VS comes to my mind as a historic example, but also the Evolver series as a more recent example, although I think that the desktop version was fairly popular amongst many rather experimental musicians as well, partially due to offering a whole lot for its pricing.

I think we live in a post-classics era.  Music, and life in general, are too fragmented and specialized for many instruments to find their way into enough classic music across a broad range of styles to be considered classics.  The Moog Model D is a classic because it sounded great, had a very characteristic sound, and could be used in many of the musical styles of it's day.  So much classic music was made with it, and it's sound contributed to those songs becoming classic.  Similar with the 808, LinnDrum, Prophets, Jupiter 8, Junos, Oberheims, etc.  It also helps if they're affordable, like the 808 in its day, since that increases it's chances of getting in the hands of people who will make it a classic.  But in today's scene, NONE of those instruments would cover a broad enough range of musical styles enough to dominate their sounds and attain classic status.  Modern expectations have changed too much with quick access to a jillion VST sounds to layer on top of each other, infinite tracks, 10-deep insert effect chains on every channel plus the master...  An instrument will have to be versatile AND characterful, and somehow relevant to enough of the artists who make future classic songs in order for the instrument itself to become a classic.  And yet I think we're past that stage... forever.  Which is why I love DSI.  He makes things I love and that are wonderful for the music I like and want to make; I literally just smile every time I play any DSI synth.  They make my ears happy.  What anyone else is doing I don't really care so much about, I'm happy to let them have their place in the synthiverse.

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2016, 08:15:01 AM »
Don't discount the triumph in the end of good music and the simple well-designed instruments that can most effectively produce it.  Time is a sifter, and many things that are all the rage in one era can be forgotten in the next.  I would say the Prophet '08 could attain classic status - for what it does, but also for what it doesn't do.  Instruments that can do nearly everything tend to seem rather generic, and musicians don't care for generic.  Simple instruments are more easily personalized and become almost like a musician's third arm.  I think this is why the vast number of videos one can find of the Prophet '08 are primarily musical.  Simply, the instrument's simple and direct design encourages the making of music, where as complex instruments draw synthesists more into the domain of experimental noise and sound production.  Certainly there are examples of sound-producing synthesizers that have survived as classics (EMS Synthi A/AKS and VCS3), but the number of keyboard triggered types is much greater.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 08:26:22 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2016, 08:36:30 AM »
Don't discount the triumph in the end of good music and the simple well-designed instruments that can most effectively produce it.  Time is a sifter, and many things that are all the rage in one era can be forgotten in the next.  I would say the Prophet '08 could attain classic status - for what it does, but also for what it doesn't do.  Instruments that can do nearly everything tend to seem rather generic, and musicians don't care for generic.  Simple instruments are more easily personalized and become almost like a musician's third arm.  I think this is why the vast number of videos one can find of the Prophet '08 are primarily musical.  Simply, the instrument's simple and direct design encourages the making of music, where as complex instruments draw synthesists more into the domain of experimental noise and sound production.  Certainly there are examples of sound-producing synthesizers that have survived as classics, but the number of keyboard triggered synthesizers is much greater.

I agree that time is a sifter for the good, but "classic" isn't always an example of what's best, moreso what was most popular, available or characteristic of an age.  These days there is far more choice in both instruments and availabile music that I think the opportunity seems very slim for any one instrument to straddle what is "excellent" across all those fields.  I would flip the question around - can an instrument attain classic status if music itself is too fragmented to create "classic music"?  For example, it's hard to even name some "classic" songs from the last 15 years.  In 1989, one could have listed Purple Rain, Holiday, Walk Like an Egyptian... so many songs recorded in the 10 years previous that were already classics.  There are many reasons for how and why "classic music" has disappeared, but whatever the case, I think it's a reflection of societal changes that will preclude the same classic status for all but maybe a very few instruments.  Those will have to work across genre and be available to the people who will end up making the "classics" of their genre, and will have to do so in a way that is identifiable.  But really I think there is just too much out there now, between the explosion of hardware following on the even more massive (no pun intended) explosion of software previously.  But in the end it's not something artists even really think about.  You make what you must, with what you have.  What happens after that no one can know until it's written about by others years later.  :)

Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2016, 12:05:57 PM »
I think we're saying nearly the same things.  So much audio fill may excite people today.  Those who make it keep it alive, and much of their enjoyment comes from owning the mass of equipment that it requires.  But still, in the end, most of it will be forgotten while something else will survive. 

It's not that I'm an optimist.  It's that I think quality by nature has a long life.  The instruments that, without undue distraction, best make quality music well in the hands of good musicians will be remembered.  A person might argue that a good musician could make good music with practically any instrument, but such an instrument would still be a hindrance, rather than a help.  The good instruments that are helps to good musicians/composers will be remembered as classics.  And I do believe these tend to have the simpler more immediate designs, the Minimoog and Prophet 5 (and '08) being prime examples.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2016, 12:08:14 PM by Sacred Synthesis »

chysn

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Re: Future Classics (post-2000)
« Reply #39 on: November 06, 2016, 03:42:16 PM »
I think we live in a post-classics era.  Music, and life in general, are too fragmented and specialized for many instruments to find their way into enough classic music across a broad range of styles to be considered classics.

I disagree. Throughout history, people have thought that their era is different, and they're almost always wrong. I think we've identified several instruments here that are likely to be classics. Saying that none of today's synths are going to be widely admired in twenty years seems really unlikely. Synthesizers aren't that fragmented.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn