Tue Jan 4 03:02:06 EST 2011

The analog synth myths

The consensus amongst electronics musicians that use analog gear seems
to be that it is "impossible" to replace with digital simulations.

Why is that?

  * High frequencies: discontinuous waveforms (square, saw) and signal
    envelopes contain very high frequencies that are hard to reproduce
    digitally.  Essentially there is only one trick: generate and
    process with high sample rate and downconvert.

  * Subtle and less subtle nonlinearities.  The characteristic sound
    of an analog filter is due to many "second order" effects, i.e.
    transistor non-linearities, signal modulations due to power supply
    coupling, ...

Basically I don't buy this "impossible" business.  Though it might be
prohibitively expensive to simulate analog gear up to the point where
the simulation becomes undistinguishable from the real deal.

But, going all the way of simulating circuits opens up a whole
spectrum of modifications that are physically not possible.