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Viewing topic "Is the Music Production Synthesizer Past Its Time?"

     
Posted on: August 04, 2023 @ 09:35 AM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  366
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast

Is the music Production Synthesizer or Keyboard Digital Workstation past its time?  You see this question a lot.  Or it least I see it a lot. The usual declaration is that the DAW is so much more flexible, so midi controller + DAW replaces Digital Workstation Synth or Music Production Synth.

Wrong!! the workstation was never just a way to do music production! It was never just a way to record a synthesizer. Its always been simply a new kind of synthesizer!

The age of the Music Production Synthesizer is no more over than the age of the Rhodes, Hammond B3, or Digital Piano is over.

The music production synthesizer or digital workstation is an instrument in its own right.

Fairlight
Synclavier
Korg M1
Roland Fantom
Yamaha Motif
EMU Emulator

Kurzweil 2700

These are not just simply a recording technology they represent an entire genre of musical instrument!  Just like the Rhodes ushered in a new genre of electronic keyboards that will be with us always.  The Fairlight and the Synclavier introduced the concept of a music production synthesizer.  This is a genre of music instrument.  Its ridiculus to say that the age of the music synthesizer or digital workstation is over.  That would be like saying the age of the organ, or digital piano is over.  And I assure you organs and digital pianos are alive and well.

Yamaha EL-02 (Hot in some circles)

Now, at any particular time music production synthesizers may or may not be the trend for instance interest in the Rhodes cooled down for a time.  But its nonsense to think because an instrument is not popular at the time, that it is no longer a legitimate instrument.

Some viewed the music production synthesizer or synthesizer workstation as only a recording technology and not as an instrument in their own right.  These folks were wrong.  The synthesizer workstation is an self contained instrument, in the same way that a Hammond B3 is.

There will always be a demand for synthesizer workstations. That demand may ebb and tide.  But it will be around for a very very long time to come.

Keyboards such as these represent the future of workstations

Korg Nautilus

Korg PA 5x

While you can get this functionality from a DAW and a Midi controller.  The DAW + a Midi controller is just that. They provide the functions of the synthesizer workstation, but they do not replace the synthesizer workstation no more than a Hammond B3 sample + a midi controller could replace a Hammond B3, or a Rhodes sample + a midi controller replace the real rhodes.  You might get the sounds but the inspiration, attachment, fondness the actual instrument engenders can only come from the actual instrument.  And after all a big part of a musican’s magic is her/his emotional, inspirational, and spiritual connection with their instruments.  Computer + midi controller just doesn’t inspire that (for most musicians).

No the age of the music production synthesizer, or digital workstation is not over.  The music production synthesizer or synthesizer workstation has earned it place next to:

Analog Synthsizer
Rhodes
Harpsichord
Clavicord
Digial Syntheizer
Clavinet
Pipe Organ
Digital Piano
Hammond B3
Electronic Piano

These are all keyboards that have earned their place in the
keyboard pantheon and the synthesizer workstation is among them.

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 08, 2023 @ 09:00 PM
nchrist
Total Posts:  457
Joined  07-10-2009
status: Enthusiast

I don’t think hardware synth workstations will ever die. As I had mentioned in the past, computer OS update issues, etc. always prompt me to go hardware, at least partially.

A new Yamaha workstation successor to the Montage is slated to be announced this October per Musicradar.

I can’t wait...hopefully, we will have a true all-in-one like the Roland Fantom with complete sequencing, sampling and synthesis such as AWM, FM, VA in one! :)

  [ Ignore ]  

Posted on: September 09, 2023 @ 06:03 PM
lastmonk
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Total Posts:  366
Joined  12-17-2013
status: Enthusiast
nchrist - 08 September 2023 09:00 PM

I don’t think hardware synth workstations will ever die. As I had mentioned in the past, computer OS update issues, etc. always prompt me to go hardware, at least partially.

A new Yamaha workstation successor to the Montage is slated to be announced this October per Musicradar.

I can’t wait...hopefully, we will have a true all-in-one like the Roland Fantom with complete sequencing, sampling and synthesis such as AWM, FM, VA in one! :)

@nchrist here is the cold hard truth.

The Music Production Synthesizer, or Synthesizer Workstation as some call it is the apex of synthesizer evolution.

If one truly is a student of synthesizers (which I am) then it is common knowledge

that in the beginning there were:

analog modular synthesizers, then came analog semi modular synthesizers, then came analog keyboard synthesizers.  These were obsoleted by digital synthesizers (Plain and Simple).  FM Synthesis, and Sample based Synthesis Kicked Ass and shut Analog down.  Now of course there has be a romantic renaissance of Analog Synthesizers of late, but it is now waning, and the race to throw back analog is coming to a close.

Now digital synthesizers which are the most feature rich and powerful sonic synthesizers ever made started to add more features.

A full blown Sequencer with complete editing capabilities was added.  Sampling and sample editing was added.  Full computer integration was added.  These were all added to the baseline digital synthesizer. Scenes and total recall was added.

Now music production synthesizers, or workstation synthesizers represent the the state of the art for digital synthesis.  The best digital synthesizers now have, sample based synthesis (with all its variants including granular and wavetable), and physical modeling synthesis along with sequencing, and sampling.

granted not every player wants or needs the apex of synthesizers.  But make no doubt about it the complete digital workstation synthesizer is at the top of the food chain of keyboard synthesizers of any kind.  That’s just a fact.

Yamaha would be silly to surrender that market to Korg, Roland, or Kurzweil.

Analog fever is winding down, and the Analog synth dinosaur players are fading into history.  The future is the digital synth.

And the workstation synth is the apex predator.

  [ Ignore ]  


 
     


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