[LAU] ZynAddSubFX Usability Survey

Ralf Mardorf ralf.mardorf at alice-dsl.net
Fri Apr 29 16:25:15 UTC 2016

On Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:35:09 -0400, Mark D. McCurry wrote:
>The app stores are very different marketplaces and comparing to that
>arena gives little to no information.

It shows how to use a minimum of space with maximised usability and
good colour themes. And it shows what is much important, sound presets.
The ugly concept of the restricted iOS devices, shows that people are
willing to pay for sound presets, much more than for the synth. Instead
of programming sounds on their own, they like to use in app purchase to
get new sounds. Nowadays nobody is interested in another Oooh or Aaah
choir, even not as a base to create new sounds.

>I honestly don't understand why you're making this false
>In the past there have been ~2-3 who have brought up the topic of paid
>presets to me while multiple orders of magnitude more have brought up
>the issues with the current UI and the need for drastic change.

Good and new usable sounds are rare. I made this statement, because
this is what most musicians pay for. For sound design people prefer
easy to use synth, e.g. an Oberheim SEM (Oberheim provides a remake),
however, most musicians want usable sounds, so I bet that most on this
mailing list who own old synths, such as Oberheim synths, own a
Matrix-1000. I suspect less musicians would be willing to exchange it
with an Oberheim Matrix 12 and I bet, less people on this list own
such a Matrix 12 or similar. There is a reason why some synth are wide
spread and others aren't.

Some synth are very good for sound design, but most synth are basically
used with presets that allow easy to make minor changes, such as
changing attack and release times, cut off and resonance settings,
vector synthesis. All this most of the times is done by modulation
wheels, after touch, a joystick or pedals.

In the 80s it turned out that synth such as the DX7 were only
programmed by some freaks, even if people had external hard or software
to make it easier to program. We have similar situations for modern
synthesis. People play granular synth, but they prefer to program
Juno-106 alike, SEM alike synth.

Taking a look at a real Juno-106 or SEM or even at the emulations you
get for portable Apple devices, gives a good hint of what I call
ultraconservative good design of a tool. Taking a look at a DX7 editor
shows at what point it simply makes no sense to care more about GUI
design, than to care about providing good presets.


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