1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Whats the difference?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by sirchick, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Wales, Uk
    Whats the differences between

    Workstations/Synthesizers/Electric Keyboards?
  2. natural

    natural Active Member

    Jul 21, 2006
    WORKSTATIONS - Usually have in addition to various keyboard and synth sounds, a sequencer, maybe some drums and a way to put all of that into a song format, so that in the end, you can hit play and have an entire music arrangement play back.

    SYNTHS- Are typically synthetic sounds, Some also have sample sounds as well. The synthetic and sampled sounds can be mixed to create new sounds. Most have the ability to be accessed on multiple midi channels and can be used to record into or be played from a workstation.

    ELECTRONIC KEYBOARDS - This could be a grey area, but in general, this would emulate mostly pianos, organs, electric pianos, Clavinet, Harpsichord, and other 'Real' keyboards. Some may have added other non keyboard sounds to the sound set, or even things like Melotrons.
  3. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Wales, Uk
    So is workstations basically Synths and Electrionic Keyboards put together?

    Or should i just go for a synth i want one for recording on my DAW. But wasn't sure which is the right one.
  4. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    the workstation usually has a sequencer built in

    splitting synth and electronic keyboard is not as clear cut

    An electronic keyboard is an older term to show a difference to a mini piano or an electrified piano ... perhaps Clav ... electric clavinova
    clavinova may have been a Yamaha word

    Organ (pipe) and then the Electric Organ is an electronic keyboard but people tended to cal them organs ... (Hammonds)

    Synth and Synthesizers became the word when units used more elaborate electronics to imitate sounds that went further than the simple Strings and Horns of the Organ
    Subtractive synthesis
    Additive synthesis

    in the early days this was done with analog circuits to provide sine and square and saw signals that when combined

    later this is done digitally and control of pitch was easier

    Wave Table
    a digital sample of wave forms to do the above
    this then expanded to more complex waves forms beyond the simple sine, square and saw signals

    and so on

    not definitive
    and not gospel

    the words are not copyright or trademarked ??? perhaps Clavinova and Hammond are

    Keyboards and Synths are expensive
    IF you have a DAW then a Software Synths may be the best place to start
    they can potentially cover ALL of the above
  5. sirchick

    sirchick Active Member

    Aug 31, 2007
    Wales, Uk
    Well i have lots of plugins with my DAW but i want to learn more with synths and manipulating them.

    So is synthesizer my best option? Im going to guess it would have every sound i need + raw midi so i can manipulate it with software synths ?
  6. Kev

    Kev Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    it is not that simple

    they never have every sound
    and this is pointed out by the simple piano and organ ... turns out these things are not all that simple
    years have been put into making electronics and digital imitate a piano
    as great as they are ... there are people that are still disappointed

    dialing in a synthesizer is a skill that takes a great deal of time
    many people just use the presets

    soft synths are a great way to learn
    go for it
  7. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Nov 30, 2008
    Lake Ki-Chi-Saga, Minnesota USA
    There are many types of synthesis and endless possibilities. Its really not even close to that simple, sometimes I sure wish it were.

    A synthesizer by definition is an electronic means for creating a musical, or non musical sound and manipulating it with a controller such as a keyboard.

    Now, there are many forms of synthesis and there is also something most all of us know as sampling.

    Synthesis is usually created at first with a waveform generator. Its typical for a synth to have two or more of these. An analog synthesizer makes a waveform through a circuit that is usually controlled by a keyboard or MIDI. A sampling synthesizer will allow you to take any sound you feed it and run it through the synthesis engine, just as if it were a waveform generator.

    Analog synthesizers are typically dubbed king of the studio for their ability to maintain a more fluid and warm tone, this is why they are sought after. The warmth that everyone is talking about is typically mostly a reference to the analog Filter.

    Back in the early days of electronic synthesizers analog synthesis was all that was available. You had a few choices to choose from, depending on what you could afford. Through the late 70's and early 80's the technology really started to be developed into more advanced instruments. Today cutting edge VI's are trying to emulate their sound, some of which are quite convincing. The lesson I have learned is that not all VI's are created equal. The best way to judge a good analog emulation is to own an analog synthesizer/sampler.

    Back in the early days of sampling, the analog circuitry used to amplify and filter the sample was also a means for its warm sound. The EMU Emulator I, II, II+ and III were the more affordable versions of the Kuzweil and the notorious Fairlight and Synclavier systems that could cost $100,000+ at the time they were introduced.

    Now there are Mono synths, they have only one note possible at any give time, and their is poly synths. The poly synth is by far the more popular and offers more than one note, depending on the synth.


Share This Page