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Thread: what will be the next big trend in electronic musical instruments?

  1. #1


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    Default what will be the next big trend in electronic musical instruments?

    so what do you think the next big trend will be in electronic instuments?

    my vote is for hardware based synths that fuse diferent types of synthesis togehter. ie granular synthesis with vcf and vcas?
    i think that hardware manufactuers have thier work cut out for them in the next few years.

    how about a midi controller that operates on nerve impulses from your wrist enabling you to trigger sounds without actualy ever touching a piano type keyboard ?

  2. #2


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    I think the next big thing will be semi inteligent sequencers. Being able to specify (i want a drum roll here of two bars). I know stuff like band in a box exists, but something like that but with more user control.

    Hardware has outstripped the ability to be fully utilised to its full potential for 15 years now, and dosnt have much left to offer.

    Granular synthesis is a great example of this : its been around around for ages and is quite mature : controlling the grain playback is really is difficult.

    One good solution is to give you vcfs etc, as in Maelstrom in Reason.

    Another good way is to allow you to re-synthesive to FFT frames like on the farilight.

    But there needs to be a good way of integrating sequencing and control, other than sys-ex.

    I liked the Korg Karama as it was possible to have a lot of the control parameters in the patch, tempo synced to midi clock.

    It never really got used so such though, and now you get additional (PC/MAC) software with the karama algorythms in it for the triton.

    So the bottom line is : i dont think there will be a big leap in hardware of software synthesis in the forseeable future, and it will be left up to the user to get more out of what they have.

    Everything will be be cheaper though, so that is always good.

  3. #3


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    It's hard to say what'll be the next big thing...I really doubt anyone saw the big Analog revival coming until 303's started selling used for $1200.

    One thing that is starting to become more common is software-controlled hardware. There's a keyboard that runs VSTi's, there're a few modules now that have various software you can install to do various things (or "VariOS things" ha ha...okay I'm not funny), Waldorf has a software-controlled analog filter, there's the nord modular G2 now...all these synths that are essentially just user-configurable software.

    I've got a feeling this may catch on moreso...
    Eric Oehler
    wonko@nulldevice.com
    www.nulldevice.com

  4. #4
    TDOL
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    I don't remember what show it was, but this pianist had a dream about a song he was working on, and when he woke up the next morning, the song had been recorded on his tape deck (I saw this years ago, so forgive me if I've misconstrued the details). Since I can't read music, I usually create a song in my head, then try to recreate it with my synths. Now if someone were to figure out how to directly convert these mental song ideas into ones and zeros, I'd be the first in line to beta test it!

  5. #5


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    my opinion is that most hardware save a decent controller (think of the oxygen8 or something better) will become absolete. i think that standardized configurable dsp processors will be developed so you can install and run whichever synths/effects or whichever in much the way TDM works for protools. whether this come in the form of PCI (or whatever interface comes to be) cards or a box such as KYMA or even in a controller itself who knows. in my experience after using software vs hardware its so much more convenient and cost effective to use software vs being hunched over a piece of gear that can only do what it was manufactured to do. software seems so much more flexible and open-ended and to me the logical choice in pursuing future developments.

    i'm sure old vintage synths will always be adored,collected and used in moderation for original sounds, but lets face facts. they are unreliable, noisy and cumbersome to use.

    my .02

    cody - system22
    www.22music.com

  6. #6


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    Originally posted by NullDevice
    It's hard to say what'll be the next big thing...I really doubt anyone saw the big Analog revival coming until 303's started selling used for $1200.

    One thing that is starting to become more common is software-controlled hardware. There's a keyboard that runs VSTi's, there're a few modules now that have various software you can install to do various things (or "VariOS things" ha ha...okay I'm not funny), Waldorf has a software-controlled analog filter, there's the nord modular G2 now...all these synths that are essentially just user-configurable software.

    I've got a feeling this may catch on more so...
    I agree that the use of soft synths outside of their host sequencer app, is the next thing in electronic music. Being able to use my VSTi's away from Cubase, is something I have been waiting for. Being able to configure that rack of VSti's anyway I want to, is even better. The G2 is quite a phenomenal piece of gear. I would really like to have one of those!!
    http://www.drug-of-choice.com/

  7. #7
    Lead ElectroGardener cliffwalk's Avatar
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    they've been optimizing soft synths/soft synth platforms for performance for a while now...

    hell, face reality, if they invented a new synth tommorrow it would be a soft synth in a case... there's no reason to create it any other way...

    this is an awesome thing. but, i'm not a fetishist... and obviously just because soft synths will be the "technology of the future" that doesn't mean that the music of the future wont have plenty of old technology involved... it's all about the artist.

    dave
    If you\'re reading this, you have a tiny penis.

  8. #8


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    There are enough synths in the world. I really don't like these new synths that you play one note and the entire song comes out. Also, some of new synths sound like crap without any fx.
    If you leave the fx on, most of time it is a bi.tch to mix down, because feel of different room sizes in the mix. Some of ambient patches with weird fx are good when they are played by themselves, but they sound like a crap when they are layered with many things.

    *Distrubuted Network of DSP. External DSP boxes through firewire that can chained into your network.

    *Improved Sampling Tools
    1. More accurate time strech tools that can handle 128 bars of more to percision.
    2. Tone control tools that can figure out what key the sample is in and switch to whatever key you want to be.
    3. Sampling tools for vocals. Accurate pitch shifting tools with more natural formating that can be controlled through midi controllers. They have to also totally modulate a voice by adding accruate growls, breathe, smoker (rough singing), etc.

    Converter DSP emulator.
    *Since most people only have one converter in their MAC or PC,
    VST plugin filter that can create different converter feel.

    Realistic monitor/Acoustic enviornment emulator
    *Vst plugin that can be set at end of the chain so you can hear how your music can sound in the different enviornment such as bus, clock radio, car, walkman, clubs, outdoor, etc.

    That is all I can think of right now. I think most programmers hit the brick wall with the synth design. It is a time for other tools to be developed.
    www.myspace.com/pswk
    www.popstarwhokills.com (ElectroRock)
    www.myspace.com/youngjoon (Breaks)
    www.myspace.com/grep (IDM)
    www.myspace.com/requiemnoise (Industrial)

    \"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.\"
    - Pablo Picasso

    \"The world only goes round by misunderstanding.\"
    - Charles Baudelaire

    \"It is quality, not quantity.\"

    \"why is it feel like a greatful dead show here? like that hippe that constantly talks about one band and how they changed their lives.\"

    PLEASE NO MORE \"I am a robot music.\" You are not a robot. Learn to program better like human beings.\"

    Electro is House music. If you don\'t like House music, please don\'t put down Electro, because it is trendy to say it. It might suprise you that Electro and House music were invented by Gay Black Americans in the mid 80s. They weren\'t invented by the beatless people who like to coin new trendy phrases.

    I am so tired of \"I want to be Depeche Mode or Erasure for the last 25 years.\" I hope I am not the only one. 25 years is a quarter of century and about a 1/3 of human life. If a person spends a 1/3 of his or her life having the same tastes, I don\'t know if that person acquired enough information to have an interesting life or has a problem understanding he or she is no longer a teenager.

    So called artists who never change, why do you call yourself an artist again?

  9. #9


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    The next new synth? Perhaps the eko keyboard... if they ever get around to releasing it!
    Dave
    www.mp3.com/davidsgravenimage

  10. #10


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    The downside of software synths and processing on a computer is rarely is the OS optimized for it. Since the OSes are generally built to do things like word process, send email, network, etc, there's a lot of dead weight for doing audio. Which is why hardware synths (generally) have much lower latency and response times. When you've got an embedded rom-based OS that fits in an 8k processor cache, a whole lot more horsepower can be devoted to making noise and not checking to see if there's an update to MSN Messenger or whatever.

    That being said, though, the capabilites of softsynths are quickly outstripping the capabilites of hard synths. The Eko synth, if it's ever released, would be a step in the right direction running softsynths on controller hardware...but at its heart it's just an optimized windows box. At NAMM this year there was the debut of a box that runs non-GUI VST's and VSTi's natively with a very small hardware OS, so apparently it's super-fast and has good DAC's in it...and then there's stuff like the Nord G2 as mentioned above, the Creamware stuff, the Powercore, etc - all these hardware boxes that run software. I think they'll really come inot their own once the majority of them can be configured with a host and then disconnected and taken to a gig (like the Nord). While a lot of people do bring their computers to do live performance, many do not.

    Pop brings up an interesting point about the Analog/digital converter issue. PArt of the reason many synths that do the same-ish things sound different is because their output stages do slightly different things to the harmonics, fidelity, etc (this applies to non-digital amp-stage hardware too). How you'd model that in software I don't know, especially since that stuff tends to be a lot more subtle than amp or filter modelling, and would of course require one helluva good ADC on the host to make it even audible (why bother modelling a 24/96 ADC if all you've got is a Soundblaster Live?).

    The bit that always baffles me about both soft and hardware synths is the interfaces. Softsynths, unconstrained by hardware response, still model hardware knobs and sliders in ways that aren't ergonomically simple. And hardware now is modelling GUI's on teeeeeny little LCD displays in ways that aren't intuitive either. Worse, I've seen hardware that has a GUI that models hardware knobs and faders...I think users would be able to push much mroe interesting sound out of their synths if they were more intuitive to program (hell, I didn't figure out half the stuff on my MS2k until I attached it to Sounddiver...)
    Eric Oehler
    wonko@nulldevice.com
    www.nulldevice.com

  11. #11


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    Had a few beers so this might mot be coherent but here goes anyway :

    Next trend ? Who cares. What people want to pick up out of the current toolbox seems wholly important to me. It wont make better music, and software instruments will need to be able model about 500% better before they recreate the effect of hardware. The only soft-synth that has managed to make the hairs hand up on the back of my neck the way hardware does is the Moog modular emulation, and it is so unweildly and processor intensive it is unlikely to become too mainstream.

    There are technical problems with de-normalisation and efficiancy which are unlikely to be resolved in the near future with software....... its just that consumers are happy with something that sounds "impressive" so things like crystal and absynth will share a tempory market space.

    The biggest problem to overcome is how to make instruments which will allow you generate larger numbers of parallel tracks without the mixes becoming muddy and patheticly synthetic sounding.

    This will require all tracks to be generated in real time and have the ability to interact with each other in both the sonic and compositional domain.

    The Audio unit, VSTi and DXI are fundementally flawed in this respect, as the tracks cannot interact.

    Even the inability to side chain effects etc in most formats is a step backwards rather than a step forward in the virtual world.

    Bottom lines : Every thing in these threads is already possible, and is common. The next big thing will be massively -multitracked software instruments that will pass over the listners' head sounding cool , but without a coherent vision.

    The next thing after that will be instruments that know what they are producing, in terms of melody, harmonic spectrum etc , and can feed other instruments with the data so they can interact.

    Sorry for the rant : i belieive in the the future of electronic music, but i dont beleive the future is more methods to synthesive increasingly abstract noises, or the ability to recycle existing audio through sampling or derivatives. If I beleived in that sterile future was all there was , I would not continue to make electronic music
    a330n

    http://www.8inf.com

  12. #12


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    i belieive in the the future of electronic music, but i dont beleive the future is more methods to synthesive increasingly abstract noises, or the ability to recycle existing audio through sampling or derivatives. If I beleived in that sterile future was all there was , I would not continue to make electronic music
    bravo, ArronC
    I'm not a musician or singer (anymore) , but being a long time music enthusiast, someone who is constantly around music at work and home, and someone who has been visiting and posting here at egn for a while, I must say that wanting and talking about making music that is unique and interesting happens quite frequently... seeing it through more then often does not.

    Instead of worrying about when or what the next trend or fad will be - be creative and make your own sound. Why do many synthpop bands have that "formulated" cookie cutter feel?

    Synthpop to me is defined as Pop Music with Synths or Synthesized Pop. I only hear of a small handful of bands taking broad chances...off the top of my head; Pool Waitresses, Brand New Idol, PSWK, Platform one (who puts the Goth flava in traditional synthpop)

    I, as a fan of the music, am pleading with you all you EGN Bands and musicians.... Please... no more "boy loses girl and is forever doomed and lost" lyrics to DM cloned pre stocked beats! lol

    Sorry for the tough love -
    XO, Anna

  13. #13


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    I thought this thread was about the future of electronic "instruments" not the future of electronic "music". I too believe in the "future" of electronic "music", but as an electronic musician I have more than a passing interest in the tools that I might have in the future. The "future" for me is next year, the next six months.
    http://www.drug-of-choice.com/

  14. #14
    Lead ElectroGardener cliffwalk's Avatar
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    I think, to sort of echo Arron's/Annas thoughts (as well as distort them) that we've sort of reached the end of the line with synth technology... and then again, we haven't.. but... we have... see, innovation rarely happens... renovation that's another story.

    And as Null points out: Soft Synths is where it's going.. and optimized host PCs is where they'll live. So people will call it synth hardware They also think that TIVO is something other than a modified Linux Kernel.

    Sampling... yeah, how much more can we do in that department?

    Synthesis? There's always a new invention around the corner that is just another algorithm applied against the same frequency band.

    I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that new technology... even as much of a geek as I am... I'm not expecting to be impressed anytime soon

    Now, new music... that's an entirely different thing... there's someone out there with a Kazoo, three gameboys, a tin can, and a f.ucked up three octave tiny-tim sounding voice waiting to blow my mind.

    Dave
    If you\'re reading this, you have a tiny penis.

  15. #15


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    I think the next big thing in the electronic music industry is going to be specialized music computers.....soft synths on custom computing hardware optimized for the purpose. That is where the high end will be.

    For the consumer level, I think you'll see some hardware synths that run soft synth plug-ins (like Creamware Noah) and soft synths that feature custom hardware -- sort of like if Reason ever required its own special PCI sound card.

    On the low end, song creation wizards (ala Arturia Storm) will proliferate, to the chagrin of musicians who can actually play instruments everywhere.
    ====
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  16. #16


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    Originally posted by cliffwalk

    Sampling... yeah, how much more can we do in that department?
    There's a lot left to do. Well, not necessarily a lot left to come up with, but a lot left to make practical. We've only just started to scratch the surface of granular, harmonic resysnthesis, etc. IRCAM stuff does it, Kyma does it, but other than that we've only got wee little tastest of it in Reason, Kontakt, Absynth2, etc. And AFAIK no hardware samplers are touching it.

    The comment about plugins not side-chaining...well, that's not so much the plugin format's fault as the host's. I can side-chain a lot of my VST/AU plugins in Logic, if they're written to accept it, which is part of the SDK. May programmers just negelct to implement it.
    Eric Oehler
    wonko@nulldevice.com
    www.nulldevice.com

  17. #17
    Lead ElectroGardener cliffwalk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by NullDevice


    There's a lot left to do. Well, not necessarily a lot left to come up with, but a lot left to make practical. We've only just started to scratch the surface of granular, harmonic resysnthesis, etc. IRCAM stuff does it, Kyma does it, but other than that we've only got wee little tastest of it in Reason, Kontakt, Absynth2, etc. And AFAIK no hardware samplers are touching it.

    The comment about plugins not side-chaining...well, that's not so much the plugin format's fault as the host's. I can side-chain a lot of my VST/AU plugins in Logic, if they're written to accept it, which is part of the SDK. May programmers just negelct to implement it.
    I guess I was hyper-generalizing. The truth is OF COURSE there's more to do... but more specifically, most of it is just mo-bettah-granularity... I think they have gotten Audio and Imaging to a point to where they are going to be maturing around the same rate. Ever notice that imaging software and audio software work on very similar paradigms?

    As for what programmers ARE NOT doing with open architectures yet... again... I guess I have a problem getting too excited about that as innovation... It's more like a Service Pack on a rainy day..

    I guess what my biggest problem with this whole TOPIC is similar to what it was like when, for instance, the Camera Obscura was invented...

    It took a century for photography to evolve into something that even RESEMBLED a craft.

    Technology happens... and then it takes all sorts of time for people to actually figure out how to use it to its full potential.

    What's exciting for me is that we really haven't even scratched the surface with what we can do with what we already have at our finger tips.

    Dave
    If you\'re reading this, you have a tiny penis.

  18. #18


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    I don't know why everyone is so overly hyping granular synthesis. It has been around and there are plenty of synths that have that function. We are going to see more changes in sampling technology. Sampler isn't something you play back what you recorded. You can use a sampler in various ways. In our scene (EBM/SYNTHPOP), people are famous for sampling movie quotes. You can do lots of things with a sampler. We can hear the various usage by Kevin Key (SP), Haujobb, BT, and many others. Samplers are finally becoming very useful because we are no longer limited by hardware samplers. I would like to see more easier to program and more powerful K2500 based samplers. Samplers that act like more powerful synths.
    www.myspace.com/pswk
    www.popstarwhokills.com (ElectroRock)
    www.myspace.com/youngjoon (Breaks)
    www.myspace.com/grep (IDM)
    www.myspace.com/requiemnoise (Industrial)

    \"There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.\"
    - Pablo Picasso

    \"The world only goes round by misunderstanding.\"
    - Charles Baudelaire

    \"It is quality, not quantity.\"

    \"why is it feel like a greatful dead show here? like that hippe that constantly talks about one band and how they changed their lives.\"

    PLEASE NO MORE \"I am a robot music.\" You are not a robot. Learn to program better like human beings.\"

    Electro is House music. If you don\'t like House music, please don\'t put down Electro, because it is trendy to say it. It might suprise you that Electro and House music were invented by Gay Black Americans in the mid 80s. They weren\'t invented by the beatless people who like to coin new trendy phrases.

    I am so tired of \"I want to be Depeche Mode or Erasure for the last 25 years.\" I hope I am not the only one. 25 years is a quarter of century and about a 1/3 of human life. If a person spends a 1/3 of his or her life having the same tastes, I don\'t know if that person acquired enough information to have an interesting life or has a problem understanding he or she is no longer a teenager.

    So called artists who never change, why do you call yourself an artist again?

  19. #19


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    Yes, granular has been around for ages. However, it's always been terribly difficult for the average synthesist to do anything musical with it, just becasue the parameterization of it isn't intuitive. It's not one of those things where you can know what the sound is going to do if you turn the cutoff knob - what exactly will the various grainstage envelopes do to your sound? Will it make it useful? Will it turn into unlistenable noise? It's psychologically less intuitive than FM in a lot of ways, since it tends to be pretty non-linear.

    The big deal is that a lot of granular morphing techniques, graincloud manipulation, spectral resynthesis, etc are now coming down into the hands of JoeBob hobbyist, who can do something with it without requiring advanced training in psychoacoustics or electrical engineering. It's still not quite there - the *really* cool stuff is still requiring of hardware and specialized knowledge. But it's getting there fast.
    Eric Oehler
    wonko@nulldevice.com
    www.nulldevice.com

  20. #20
    Lead ElectroGardener cliffwalk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pop
    I don't know why everyone is so overly hyping granular synthesis. It has been around and there are plenty of synths that have that function. We are going to see more changes in sampling technology. Sampler isn't something you play back what you recorded. You can use a sampler in various ways. In our scene (EBM/SYNTHPOP), people are famous for sampling movie quotes. You can do lots of things with a sampler. We can hear the various usage by Kevin Key (SP), Haujobb, BT, and many others. Samplers are finally becoming very useful because we are no longer limited by hardware samplers. I would like to see more easier to program and more powerful K2500 based samplers. Samplers that act like more powerful synths.
    Well the thing with synthesis and sampling is that they merge as technologies. What you can apply to a tone you can eventually apply to a sample and then the fun begins.

    As for granular synthesis, again... it's a geek-factor thing. Bottom line we all want to be able to control our sound at the tiniest possible slice and create relationships (object oriented music)... to me that's what Granular Synthesis yields... just that: granularity..

    Good discussion in a wierd way. When you make Electronic Music there's always this fine line to where it's possible to spend way too much time entranced by technology and not enough time on the music. Acknowledging that they are mutually exclusive of one another is an important exercise.

    Dave
    If you\'re reading this, you have a tiny penis.

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