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Digital Composers: Favorite Virtual Instrument?

I know, I know. Asking about a musician's sound palette is akin to asking a magician to reveal his tricks, but hear me out.

There will be no listing of your entire collection here (unless you really want to). I think a descriptive exchange of one favorite would provide perspective to all participants without encouraging a lazy, "I'll do what he's doing" approach Smile.

The virtual instrument is typically a program that stands alone or plugs into your host software (Cubase, Pro Tools, what have you). I'm always on the hunt for new VSTs and VSTis. But what I really want to know about is sound. For the purposes of interesting discussion let's loosen the terms a bit and include hardware synths and sampled traditional instrumentation that you've digitized and processed--"freaked"--in order to make a composition work.

The only rule is that your pick should be instrumental in nature. Let's leave the effects plugins and racks for another day.

Out of all the songs you've sequenced, what was your favorite digitized sound? What was that sound's origin? What process transformed it into its final iteration?

I've gotta run, but I'll answer when I come back if the thread's alive.
I was so tempted to reply just with "hardware" Laughing

Much less robotic sound, more human. Lot of people don't get that or particually agree with it but it bugs me when I hear a sound which is blatently made on a computer. I find real synthisizers more "rich" in a way. VSTs are improving though! I don't really use soft synths, I just use VSTs for beat manipulation and filters. I'm probably not the best person to be replying to this thread actually.
I definitely can agree with some points there. It's very easy to tell when a synth is used is used in a composition "straight out the box" without any processing unique to that particular song or mix. The result is this unintentionally glossy sounding finished product that I (nine times out of ten) find unappealing.

What are some of your favorite hardware synths?

Just started work but I'll set aside time to post my favorite compositional sound sometime soon.
Favourite hardware has to be the classic sound of Acid House: the infamous TB-303. The way it can never be re-issued due to obscure components is even more appealing. I wish I owned one Crying or Very sad

Then I've got my own personal gear that I know and love very well - the Microkorg, although fairly new and cheap is an extremely flexible synthisizer that I've managed to squeeze some amazing sounds out if in the last 3 years. I also have it's older brother the Minikorg (handed down to me) so I kind of like having a comparison of 30 years of synthisizer development. The Roland Alpha Juno 2 - the incredible sound of the early 90s rave scene in the UK.

There's some other classics like the Korg MS-20 (massively flexible from what I've heard). Too many to list man, too man Laughing
While it's no true analog, Native Instruments Pro-53 is a pretty nice Soft synth, emulating various synths fairly nicely.
Got an MC-505 for my birthday a few days ago Very Happy

Brilliant machine from the 80s. Inbuilt sequencer, drum machine + synth patches. Pretty flexible, good for basslines.
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