[LAD] Software sound

Tim Goetze tim at quitte.de
Sun Aug 31 10:21:14 UTC 2014

> Compared to the available technical possibilities of the past, software
> designers nowadays have a much easier life. A computer and a MIDI keyboard is
> all you need, you can try all kinds of sound creation, so why should you stick
> trying to reproduce the sounds of yore?

I definitely agree with the sentiment but it's not an easy task to
purely digitally create timbres as rich, complex and pleasing as
produced by analog, let alone physical (non-electronic) instruments.

For example, analog op-amp or diode saturation is quite simple to
realise and capable of producing anything from very smooth harmonic
extension to screaming distortion.  The digital equivalent needs to be
oversampled, complicating things greatly.

Another example is the stretching of the partials of a string with
non-negligible stiffness.  Wavetables need to be very large to create
a similar spectrum, while waveguide oscillators need a very high order
of allpass filters, again complicating things greatly.

The numerous imperfections and nonlinearities in real instruments and
the way they play all contribute similar effects, and while they may
often be inadvertent and/or subtle, they are vital to sonic interest.

You can of course eschew these and set out to find features unique to
the digital realm (and there certainly are a few that have some
appeal).  Yet I think that there is a deep agreement between the way
we perceive sound and the fundamental characteristics of physical
oscillation, and that is of great importance for me personally (YMMV
of course).


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