Digital and Analog Synthesizers
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that uses electrical signals to mimic the natural sounds we hear in physical instruments. It works by rapidly changing the voltage amounts in a circuit. These voltage changes (oscillations) repeat the same pattern and are referred to as waveforms. The artist shapes the sounds of the synth by controlling the structure, size, and speed of these waveforms.
Analog vs. Digital
An analog synth uses only electronic circuitry to generate and manipulate the sound. The MiniMoog Model D, Prophet Rev2, and the Yamaha CS-80 are all popular analog synths.
A digital synth is a standalone computer that recreates the physical circuitry model of an analog synth. Popular digital synths include the OP-1, Pocket Operators, and the Roland System1.
Many analog synth enthusiasts like to argue that a digital synth can never accurately replicate the sounds of it’s analog counterpart. Although, some synths use a hybrid of both analog and digital by using analog circuits and then employing digital technology to process the signal.
No matter what your preference is, analog vs digital, every synth has it’s strengths and weaknesses. To a synth enthusiast, most classic synths are easily identifiable by their signature sounds.