Talk:Software synthesizer

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File Formats[edit]

file formats? - Omegatron 15:01, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

What about them? Oddity- (talk) 07:52, 6 July 2008 (UTC)


I think there should be a link to the article on LabVIEW, since the labview refers to its programs as "virtual instruments." I wouldn't know where to put it in the article, however.

  • what about how it works? dont you just throw two sine waves together? Spencerk 07:54, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

Okay, seriously, does anybody use LabVIEW as a softsynth? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:59, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Labview's Virtual Instruments are not musical instruments in the sense that sowftware synthesizer's are. An instrument is some sort of device, musical or not. A thermometer, for example, is an instrument, can be a Virtual Instrument (VI), and obviously has very little to do with software synthesizers. Indeed you can build a VI to act as a musical instrument by adding sine waves together, just as you can build a musical instrument from a stick, a bucket, and a piece of string.Mikeeg555 (talk) 22:02, 5 August 2010 (UTC)


Could someone please explain (in the article) the difference between this and a music sequencer? Actually, the whole article could be written more clearly. Twilight Realm 23:41, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

The article could certainly use work. I'm not sure where the answer to this question would best fit in the article. But in essence a synthesizer (software or not) is an instrument; it makes sounds in response to commands from a player. The player could be one of several things, including a human playing a keyboard live or a sequencer sending a preprogrammed sequence of commands. --Rick Sidwell 21:33, 29 October 2005 (UTC)

Some of the "popular software synthesizers" are sequencers, not synths.

Operating Systems[edit]

There is this huge list of software and no one wants to check for every one of them wether or not it will run on their operating system and if they will have to pay for it. (Unsigned)

I would agree that a trimming down on that list would be a good call. If there is an offsite page that lists these programs, we can list a couple of the prominant ones (perhaps an entry level program and then a few different professional ones and delist the rest. 18:40, 28 August 2006 (UTC)


This article is really bad. Not even any mention of the various synthesis methods (FM, PM, subtractive, additive...)? The histoy of synthesizers (Theremin, TB303, Mini Moog, DX7, VL1...)? How popular they are in modern music (Pop, Dance, Rock, Vangelis...)? Or is all this part of the Synthesizer article? And people - Cubase and FL Studio are not synthesizers! Zyxoas (talk to me - I'll listen) 08:20, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Well, it basically needs to be rewritten to (a) tie it in closer to the other synthesis related articles and (b) to have some reliable information about the differences in software synthesis. The current content could be stripped down to about two lines without losing useful information. I'll put a rewrite on my tentative to-do list. Scott.wheeler 21:44, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

The Synthesizer page talks about the various methods, history, etc that you so requested. This page is specifically for the *software* format, and so isn't the place to discuss a lot of the things you mention. More details about softsynths would be great, however. 18:40, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Some of these probably aren't software synths[edit]

Looking offhand, I see DirectSound and ReWire mentioned in this article. Neither are software synthesizers, but both are audio generation protocols. DirectSound is simply a framework with which a person could write programs using audio and ReWire is a protocol used to streamline the link between audio software and other software or hardware. I removed both from the list, which needs a closer look. Robocracy 15:35, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

I think we should put the plug-ins and the actual synthesizers in seperate sections. --Apocalypse FP 15:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

Page Edit[edit]

I attempted to expand the article a bit. I tried to clarify the common question on software vs. hardware synthesis, and to explain the types of software programs out there. The page needs a lot of work. The list of softsynths is way too long. Wikipedia does not need to be a catalog of commercial products, does it? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:59, 10 May 2007 (UTC).

From list to category[edit]

The offensively huge list here really needs to go. Not only is it inaccurate, it's so huge as to have lost any real purposefulness. There is already a category for software synthsizers, which I'll be adding to the "see also" section. I'll then go through and make sure that some of the more notable synths have been put into that category. Scott.wheeler 19:38, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Text is outdated and useless[edit]

Software synthesizers are much more advanced than S-YXG and the Sound Canvas. There are sample based software synthesizers, but also virtual analog synths, exact replicas of legendary synthesizers, outfitted with more capabilities. There are not only plug-ins available of such instruments, but also standalone versions. The aforementioned Yamaha and Roland synths are NOT designed for professional use, but are TOYS. There is not a single professional recording artist who uses either the S-YXG or the Sound Canvas. This text requires serious sweeping, multiplatform synthesizer solutions need to be addressed and also software recreations of legendary hardware synthesizers, such as Moog Modular, Prophet 5, Wavestation etc. need to be mentioned. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sgracanin (talkcontribs) 11:37, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

There are Category lists under 'See Also'. See there, and see also editing history. I totally agree that the S-YXG etc stuff ruins an already weak article. It appears to be a late contribution by someone who misinterpreted the scope of the article. It should really go altogether. (talk) 01:37, 3 October 2009 (UTC)
This article needs a major re-writing, it is completely outdated and not very accurate. Virtual Sound Canvas is a very bad example of a softsynth (it is more a soft sample player) which nobody uses anymore. Modern softsynth makers like Native Instruments need to be referenced, as well as DAWs like Ableton Live, Cubase or Logic that also include soft synth modules. Also the article needs to be more clear on what a softsynth is exactly, and the difference between that and a sample player or a music sequencer. Marsipan (talk) 17:41, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed on all of this, these are my first thoughts.
A) Get rid of the examples, the ones listed are incredibly outdated now, and any modern example will probably be outdated in 10 years time. The only paragraph that seemed relevant in the "typical software synthesizers" section is the mobile section, which probably is important enough to keep (with some of the specific examples, some of which also are outdated or irrelevant, stripped out.)
B) There is very little on the *advantages* of software, which means anyone reading this article will wonder why synthesizer based music in 2014 is so reliant on software. Sample library storage is touched upon, but perhaps should be expanded a bit: the increase in library size allows for greater realism in acoustic emulation, due to the enhanced abilities computer storage offers. Such as: enhanced velocity layering, and "round robin" sampling (a random, different sampler per struck note), among other techniques.
Modern computers are also often better able to handle the high performance demands of certain complex algorithms (such as granular synthesis or additive). In addition, complex synthesis and complex routing techniques actually have an interface advantage in software. While the knobs and sliders of physical synthesizers are faster to utilize in a performance scenario and perhaps are a bit more intuitive overall, particularly in simpler synthesis methods like subtractive... complex synthesizer methods often cannot be realized in a knobs and sliders hardware paradigm without a prohibitively expensive interface, and have often had to resort to a difficult to program LCD-and-button type interface, as seen in the DX7 etc. For these sort of algorithms, software synthesizers actually can be easier to edit.
Software also integrates very well into DAWs, which is a huge advantage due to easier parameter automation and instant patch recall (where your sound settings and all the automated tweaks are saved with the project).
C) The offline generation paragraph sounds almost like it was in the mid 1990s in the CSound days; most plugins do act in real time these days and very few require so many resources as to necessitate a "track freeze". This paragraph should either go, or should be rewritten to emphasize the distinction between the early history of software synthesizers vs. modern times. To a lesser extent the same applies to the latency question -- it is still a problem, but less so than in the early 2000s by far.
D) I think the emphasis on "emulation" plugins is overdone. While many emulation plugins do indeed exist, most of the biggest plugins out there do not specifically try to emulate a vintage synthesizer. Many contain a wide variety of synthesis techniques and thus are difficult to pigeonhole completely. EG: Native Instruments Massive has a "virtual analog" architecture but also has wavetables. Spectrasonics Omnisphere is based on a large ROM library of samples, but also contains a good virtual analog engine. Something like Camel Audio Alchemy has VA, additive, spectral, granular, and sample playback. As you can see, none of these examples emulate anything specifically (even if some have "Moog" or "Roland" etc. type "emulation" patches, they are easily their own animal). Even a by-the-books virtual analog like Sylenth1 isn't emulating anything in particular. Soundwave106 (talk) 19:34, 11 November 2014 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

Software instrument should be merged with this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

  • I concur: the two pages should be merged. (talk) 18:40, 18 April 2015 (UTC)