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Analogue or digital?

Submitted by on January 5, 2011 – 11:47 am 2 Comments

A very long time ago in high school, I bought (with my parents’ help) a Korg Poly 800. I was so proud of that synth… until a friend of mine started making fun of me because the Poly 800 was an old-style analogue synth, which was so much inferior to his new, digital Yamaha DX-7.

Since then of course the tide has turned (a couple of times, and not just with synths), but the debate over analogue vs digital never really goes away, especially considering the amazing things that digital synths can do these days.

In any case, presented with no further comment, I thought that this fortune was appropriate:



  • Both of their place and I enjoy using both. I say this, though, as I stare at the new Slim Phatty sitting next to my desk.

  • shawn says:

    In the late 1980’s people had enormously exaggerated ideas of what a computer was. I think the prevalent feeling then was that the more digital, the better. I saw a telephone answering machine at a thrift store the other day that boasted “TDT: Total Digital Technology” with no explanation why digital was any better. But there is was, with a made-up acronym making it sound all the more impressive.

    Today, certainly we know that for answering machines, digital is better. There are no stupid little tapes to buy, inevitably to get all mucked up – even if they didn’t, they eventually wear down and the tape unuseable.

    But it seemed that the idea that “total digital technology” was advertised here simply because “digital is better” and not because of any specific advantage to function or cost. Looking back on the 1980’s and early 1990’s people didn’t really seem to understand exactly what “digital” verses “analog” meant. Today these concepts are pretty well understood by the average person younger than maybe 40 years old. Digital does not mean automatically mean “better”. Cheaper. More Flexible. Smaller. More efficient. Maybe. But I think now that people have a fuller understanding of what “digital” means, we can more easily appreciate what “analog” can do without automatically concluding that the DX-7 *must* be “superior” in sound handling as compared to the Poly 800.

    Certainly if E-bay indicates anything, both synthesizers are worth something. I doubt that most people bidding on these fine instruments are just going to put them behind glass.

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