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The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)

chysn

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2018, 04:09:59 PM »
So maybe the lesson here--or the answer to "why don't people remember Synclavier fondly?" and "why aren't there any modern equivalents?"--is that the all-in-one system wasn't a very good idea.

I've always had a hard time with workstations. I've owned a few, and never really bonded with them. I always preferred one or more synths and an external sequencer (historically, an MMT-8). There are so many choices out there, and so many of them are good, that the odds of one instrument having the synth engine you like + the sampling engine you like + the sequencer you like + the effects you like are pretty slim.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

dsetto

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2018, 04:45:20 PM »
tumble2k, when Yamaha went Montage, Ableton was also the reason I figured. And I figured it was because of the ďnewĒ ability to easily & successfully change time. Ö And while my primary workflow is simply audio, MIDI sequencing maintains unique creative approaches. So, while itís generally secondary for me, I prefer intra-instrument sequencer for tightest capture. But, thatís nitpicking. Each different arranging platform is one more thing to learn.

Lobo, I agree there is no single instrument that does it. And I concur that a powerful synthesizer, powerful sampler, & powerful production sequencer in one instrument with top-notch action, and action choices is nice. But, I would also need it to be a ďplatformĒ. Something that has been around for a while, and I feel will stick around for a while. And will be supported long after that. My time investment matters. So, if a Modern Synclavier came out tomorrow - first off, it would be too expensive. Then, I wouldnít trust it until I knew it had no perceptible latency, even under sequencer duress. Itís one thing to have no perceptible latency when itís a simple voice; another thing when itís got a full sequence going.

Based on where I was, when I was ready, the Motif XF was the choice for me at that moment in time. It was pre-Kronos, pre-Kurz PC3K, & Forte. I considered Kronos, but I could perceive lag when disk streaming light was on for piano. Forte literally just got a sequencer a few months ago. Iím way too entrenched and pleased where Iím at.

XF has its pedigree. Excellent action, both kinds. No lag for what Iíve done thus far. Excellent build. Something I can sink my time investment into.

chysn, generally speaking, I do tend to be suspicious of all-in-ones. Itís a funny paradox I suppose that I do appreciate sequencers in instruments. (Be they keyboard or pads.) Ö But, with those comes file management, and learning. Luckily, thereís a running old-school theme in file management across these sequencer-instruments. Ö And the sequencer can lay dormant till called upon.

dsetto

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2018, 05:46:32 PM »
LoboLives, out of curiosity, what's your primary creation DAW?

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2018, 07:17:29 PM »
I think you are all hitting the nail on the head in regards to workstations. My thing with the Synclavier is it wasnít just a powerful synthesizer but it had amazing sampling capabilities and on board sequenceing. If that wasnít enough it had dedicated software for further editing and sequencing. What Iím saying is I donít think there is a single unit that can do all this. You would essentially have to have different pieces of gear and software to make up various elements. For me what makes the Synclavier so remarkable was it was a dedicated system.

https://goo.gl/images/kiVZvk

A modern PC / Mac does all of this, keeping in mind of course that most of the original instruments mentioned here were, in fact, computer-based: the Fairlight CMI used Motorola DOS with light-pen extensions, the Synclavier used Scientific XP/L (and later Mac OS), and the Crumar / DK Synergy used a Kaypro II running CP/M.

There are modern equivalents which run Windows Embedded or Linux, and QNX!
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, TORAIZ AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2018, 08:51:39 PM »
I think you are all hitting the nail on the head in regards to workstations. My thing with the Synclavier is it wasnít just a powerful synthesizer but it had amazing sampling capabilities and on board sequenceing. If that wasnít enough it had dedicated software for further editing and sequencing. What Iím saying is I donít think there is a single unit that can do all this. You would essentially have to have different pieces of gear and software to make up various elements. For me what makes the Synclavier so remarkable was it was a dedicated system.

https://goo.gl/images/kiVZvk

A modern PC / Mac does all of this, keeping in mind of course that most of the original instruments mentioned here were, in fact, computer-based: the Fairlight CMI used Motorola DOS with light-pen extensions, the Synclavier used Scientific XP/L (and later Mac OS), and the Crumar / DK Synergy used a Kaypro II running CP/M.

There are modern equivalents which run Windows Embedded or Linux, and QNX!

But they donít come with an actual keyboard that has on board synthesis and sequencing. You are speaking about the software part. Unlike the Fairlight CMI the Synclavier could be played stand-alone without the need for a computer. In fact it was a primary instrument for Tony Banks for Genesis. He didnít bring the whole system with him.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 08:53:14 PM by LoboLives »
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Oberheim Two Voice Pro, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #25 on: May 17, 2018, 08:54:05 PM »
LoboLives, out of curiosity, what's your primary creation DAW?

Right now Iím warming up to Ableton but I currently use Studio One.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Oberheim Two Voice Pro, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

dsetto

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2018, 08:57:43 PM »
Why are you interested in the sequencer integrated with a sound-generating keyboard?

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2018, 09:25:22 PM »
@dsetto Ah it's the pitch/time shifting that put Ableton on the map! That makes sense. I should look at the Motif XF to see if it suits my needs. I'm a little gun shy after my experience with the MoXF. Do you like the sequencer on the Motif?

@chysn That makes so much sense that all in ones fail because they need to be stellar at all they do. There are exceptions. I have the Teenage Engineering OP-1. It's pretty lame as a sequencer, audio recorder, sampler, synthesizer, and beat maker. But the fact you can do all of that in an airplane seat without a manual makes it amazing. I will never part with it, partly because of its size, but also partly because it's so damn cute and fun to create on. The Synthstrom Deluge looks interesting too. It's a world class sequencer that can generate probably mediocre tones, but it can be thrown into a backpack.

On the other side of the spectrum is the Ensoniq ASR-10, that is still coveted today because of its unique sound, easy-to-use linear sequencer, and quality effects. The UI is conceptually simple but cumbersome compared to a computer.

I love workstations. I think it's because my first serious keyboard was an Ensoniq MR-76. I just started recording music as soon as I got it.

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2018, 10:35:58 PM »
Why are you interested in the sequencer integrated with a sound-generating keyboard?

For me I think that thereís something unique about it. Especially in todayís market. I almost never use my DAWs sequencers, I almost always use the internal sequencers on my synths or an external midi sequencer.

However, stuff like the Fairlight And Synclavier And even more obscure stuff like the Waveframe Audioframe really peak my interest. Most manufacturers skip on board multitrack sequencers as they expect other companies to figure that area out with their own products. Rightfully so I suppose but the idea of a high quality hardware synthesizer that not only has re synthesis and sampling capabilities but on board multitrack sequencing and a dedicated software program. I think there would be something really special about a dedicated DAW program that works exclusively with a specific hardware synth (which can also operate stand-alone).
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Oberheim Two Voice Pro, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

jok3r

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2018, 11:05:25 PM »
Sitting in the train, I just hat time to read about the Synclavier.

Am I missing something? But I can't see what this sing does, that a Kronos couldn't do? A Kronos has a Sequencer, it can do Sampling, FM, you could produce Songs with it to that point where you burn your title on a USB-CDROM drive.

I really don't get it. Please enlighten me ;-)
Korg Kronos 2 88, Kurzweil PC 361, Yamaha S90ES, Novation Peak, Akai MPK 261

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2018, 04:35:21 AM »
I think you are all hitting the nail on the head in regards to workstations. My thing with the Synclavier is it wasnít just a powerful synthesizer but it had amazing sampling capabilities and on board sequenceing. If that wasnít enough it had dedicated software for further editing and sequencing. What Iím saying is I donít think there is a single unit that can do all this. You would essentially have to have different pieces of gear and software to make up various elements. For me what makes the Synclavier so remarkable was it was a dedicated system.

https://goo.gl/images/kiVZvk

A modern PC / Mac does all of this, keeping in mind of course that most of the original instruments mentioned here were, in fact, computer-based: the Fairlight CMI used Motorola DOS with light-pen extensions, the Synclavier used Scientific XP/L (and later Mac OS), and the Crumar / DK Synergy used a Kaypro II running CP/M.

There are modern equivalents which run Windows Embedded or Linux, and QNX!

But they donít come with an actual keyboard that has on board synthesis and sequencing. You are speaking about the software part. Unlike the Fairlight CMI the Synclavier could be played stand-alone without the need for a computer. In fact it was a primary instrument for Tony Banks for Genesis. He didnít bring the whole system with him.

The Synclavier processor keyboard has no onboard synthesis; it connects to this:



like this:



or this (VPK shown, using Prophet-T8 pressure-sensitive keybed):



The difference between this and the Fairlight was that it _was_ possible to travel with the Synclavier II without bringing along a monitor (serial terminal with keyboard), but the core IS in fact still a computer, and boots off floppies.

http://www.synclav.com/about-Synclav.html

The Hartmann Neuron also falls into this category, but that does not make it any less a PC on the inside, simply because an external monitor is not required.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 05:27:03 AM by DavidDever »
Sequential / DSI / Pioneer stuff: Prophet 12 Keyboard, Mono Evolver Keyboard, TORAIZ AS-1, Prophet-600 Gligli, Prophet 2000

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2018, 06:09:43 AM »
I think you are all hitting the nail on the head in regards to workstations. My thing with the Synclavier is it wasnít just a powerful synthesizer but it had amazing sampling capabilities and on board sequenceing. If that wasnít enough it had dedicated software for further editing and sequencing. What Iím saying is I donít think there is a single unit that can do all this. You would essentially have to have different pieces of gear and software to make up various elements. For me what makes the Synclavier so remarkable was it was a dedicated system.

https://goo.gl/images/kiVZvk

A modern PC / Mac does all of this, keeping in mind of course that most of the original instruments mentioned here were, in fact, computer-based: the Fairlight CMI used Motorola DOS with light-pen extensions, the Synclavier used Scientific XP/L (and later Mac OS), and the Crumar / DK Synergy used a Kaypro II running CP/M.

There are modern equivalents which run Windows Embedded or Linux, and QNX!

But they donít come with an actual keyboard that has on board synthesis and sequencing. You are speaking about the software part. Unlike the Fairlight CMI the Synclavier could be played stand-alone without the need for a computer. In fact it was a primary instrument for Tony Banks for Genesis. He didnít bring the whole system with him.

NED's core product was always a discretely built computer. Synthesis was based on AM and FM, later sampling was added if you paid for the upgrade (first in mono, then in the mid-80s in stereo). Tony Banksówho was mostly a preset-only user of any synthónever paid for the sampling upgrade, as Syco originally promised him that it would be included for free in a future update when he paid the immense sum for his Synclavier II. Slightly pissed off by that, he became an Emulator user instead for sampling purposes ever since the Emulator I had been released.*

All by itself, the Synclavier keyboard is nothing but a dedicated hardware controller. Most people kept using the system for its audio quality. Therein lies the only difference to modern DAW setups which process audio at 64 bit resolution, as the system (not the keyboard controller) was basically operating in a hybrid manner, meaning that all audio processing and mixing happened in the analog realm. NED used so-called multiplying D/A converters, which are also used in SSL mixing consoles for volume automation to compensate for the 16 bit resolution (of the sample audio signal; loudness EGs were based on 12 bit resolution for the sample engine, and on 8 bit resolution for the FM engine) and to guarantee the output of a fully dynamic range, no matter how quiet the original digital signal was. They did that basically because analog technology was much higher developed for those purposes at that time than the still extremely expensive digital technology with its bit depth limitations.

*
Quote
'I've had a basic Synclavier system for a long time. I bought it instead of the Fairlight originally because it was promised that they would have the sampling section out in a couple of months, and I thought the basic synthesiser part was better than the Fairlight's. As it transpired, it didn't come out till about four years later and when it did you had to mortgage your house in order to put a down-payment on it, so I avoided it.

'At the same time E-mu brought out the Emulator 1 which was nice 'n' cheap by comparison and was pretty good. I had such trouble with the Synclavier ó it was about two years before I could really use it properly. There was lots wrong with it and I couldn't get anything done about it. I got extremely angry: it was depressing, having an instrument that represented such an incredible outlay lying there useless. Since then, I've always thought that the more expensive a piece of equipment is, the more likely it is to go wrong.

Source: http://www.muzines.co.uk/articles/and-then-there-was-one/1926
« Last Edit: May 18, 2018, 06:53:24 AM by Paul Dither »

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2018, 06:48:49 AM »
I see. I guess the Synclavier is much to do about nothing.
Prophet 6, Prophet X, Oberheim Two Voice Pro, Moog Sub 37, Tempest Drum Computer, Roland V Piano,Kurzweil K2600XS, Roland FA-08, Baldwin Upright Piano, Fender Stratocaster, Fender Telecaster, Gibson Chet Atkins SST, Jackson King V, Ibanez Jem, Roger Linn Adrenalinn iii

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2018, 06:59:48 AM »
I see. I guess the Synclavier is much to do about nothing.

Well, I would believe people saying it has its own sound due to the multiplying D/A converters, but that's of course completely unrelated to the workstation aspect, which you'll find covered for much less money and weight these days.

Edit: I added a source to my previous post.

dsetto

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2018, 10:50:10 AM »
But, the question "What is the future of the Synclavier Legacy?" is interesting. Especially in light of such an intriguing real-time, deep, hi-fi sampler synth in the instant'n'good time-stretch era.

The greater pointed details were enlightening, DD & PD. And awesome photos.

I maintain the anachronistic position of valuing a no-lag sequencer capture of a no-lag sound source. There are other reasons others value higher. These include: an enclosed entity, that if kept working, will stay working together.

Lobo, what is that you find intriguing about having a production sequencer integrated with a sound-producing keyboard?


The main reason Iíve committed to my workstation is because:
- no-lag playing of samples on a great action.

dsetto

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2018, 11:17:20 AM »
tumble, The OP-1 seems awesome. Like the old awesome analog Casio of the same size, but evolved as a minimalist fun workstation. (At least thatís my impression of it from a quick glance.) From what I know today, and not really knowing a MOXF, I would use a MOXF with an editor. That will get you a better sense of under the hood. Do you still have yours? Capability-wise, the MOXF is very similar to the XF. Itís mainly a more constrained UI in a wonderfully more portable package. If you have specific questions, Iíll gladly give Ďem a shot.

I'm uncertain about casually recommending a Motif XF to someone. Conceptually, I know it fairly well. I know if I stick with it, my time investment will pay off. It comes at a cost, but with a benefit I believe in. And, I enjoy the process and discovery.

At this time, I find recording audio as my preferred capture & arrangement approach. Because Iím fastest with it. Ö But, every time I check out the on-board sequencer I dig it.

As alternatives were released, I stuck with my motif xf because I knew it and enjoy it. The reason I gave myself was because of itís no-lag playback of 4GB of open-ended, user customizable sound with satisfying action on a instrument thatíll have spare parts for a while.  Ö In theory, it could go 128 levels deep, and could have 8-wide round robin. But, that is a task & half to manage. Big   time   . The rest was tasty gravy, on the side. (The sequencer, the user arpeggiators, the sampler.)

With each passing year, I learn more, gain greater command of it, and by now, Iím committed. Ö Iím writing so much I think because I really am captivated by the X - but, Iím out to sea. And, I found this threadís question very interesting, here, on this forum, amidst the X. Ö Full circle really. I began reading forums, and reading The Analog Organist searching for a new polyphonic analog in a time of scarcity - while a new Andromeda had just turned to mist. And the Synclavierís legacy was fading. Well, weíre on a different point of this synced wave.

chysn

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2018, 07:22:22 AM »
I've always loved the idea of the OP-1, but I've never been able to justify it to myself. My experience with trying to be portable started with the Yamaha QY-10. That thing was weak in just about every area, but it could be carried anywhere, well before anybody had cellphones or tablets.

Nowadays when I go on trips, I have an iPad Mini and a QuNexus. I'd speculate that any hard-core Synclavier user in 1982 would have gladly put the Synclavier on the curb in favor of an iPad with Korg Gadget and a QuNexus.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2018, 07:34:01 AM »
I'd speculate that any hard-core Synclavier user in 1982 would have gladly put the Synclavier on the curb in favor of an iPad with Korg Gadget and a QuNexus.

Either that or about any laptop-driven DAW environment or something like the Kronos.

chysn

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Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2018, 07:38:16 AM »
I'd speculate that any hard-core Synclavier user in 1982 would have gladly put the Synclavier on the curb in favor of an iPad with Korg Gadget and a QuNexus.

Either that or about any laptop-driven DAW environment or something like the Kronos.

Oh, without question, that. But I'm saying that they'd have tossed their Synclaviers for something that, by today's standards, is a pretty chintzy setup.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Arturia MicroBrute
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore2
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: The Synclavier (are there any modern equivalents?)
« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2018, 07:53:03 AM »
I'd speculate that any hard-core Synclavier user in 1982 would have gladly put the Synclavier on the curb in favor of an iPad with Korg Gadget and a QuNexus.

Either that or about any laptop-driven DAW environment or something like the Kronos.

Oh, without question, that. But I'm saying that they'd have tossed their Synclaviers for something that, by today's standards, is a pretty chintzy setup.

Yes, I think so too. I wouldn't even call it chintzy, though, just practical. One reason being that every single iPad provides tons more computing power than any Synclavier.