• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    150

    Question Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    Hi all,

    I would like to hear wisdom from those (if anyone) who own BOTH Absynth and Reaktor about what the difference is between the two on the ground. I own Absynth, and not Reactor. I've been to the NI website and so i'm aware that Reaktor contains additional utilities such as sequencing, grooveboxes, etc. and i've formed the impression (and it's just that) that Reaktor is sort of an exploded Absynth, with different modules segregated by function. It sounds to me like much, but possibly not all, of what comes out of Reaktor in the demos could be replicated in Absynth, albeit possibly with more effort expended.

    So is Reaktor basically an easier-to-use-Absynth with more presets and some sequencing and physical modeling thrown in? What's the skinny?

  2. #2

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    I think you are misunderstanding something here... they're two COMPLETELY different products. I wouldn't even begin to compare them. Reaktor is a graphical programming environment. Every instrument or effect created in it is constructed from low-level modules such as waveforms or even small mathematical constants and algorithms. People then use it to create synths of all kinds, effects, sequencers, beatboxes - basically, anything, because it's a programming environment. Like a programming language, you can do anything with it. It's oriented towards audio, but heck, you could program games in it if you wanted to (and people have!)

    Absynth in comparison is a traditional synthesizer in that you do not change the structure of it. It has oscillators, filters, envelopes, and LFOs. It's power is that there are many TYPES of oscillators, filters, and LFOs, and the controls are far more in depth than most other synthesizers.

    Put simply, Reaktor is inherently far more complex than Absynth if you're building things with it from scratch. If you choose to use the premade ensembles, then it simply becomes another synthesizer or effects unit. Some synthesizer ensembles might be more OR less complicated than Absynth, it's entirely dependent on what the user did with them.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  3. #3

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    Just as important to the discussion is that they SOUND completely different too.

  4. #4

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    Well.. no, they don't - at least, not necessarily. You could (as I said) recreate Absynth perfectly using Reaktor. You can recreate or model any oscillator out there, or even ones that aren't out here. Reaktor has support for just about all of Absynth's features (except maybe the exact envelopes, but its close). Since Absynth is a digital synth, there's nothing to prevent you from creating a perfect replica of it.

    Now, are there any ensembles that are EXACTLY like Absynth? At the moment, no, there aren't, but there are thousands that can produce similar sounds.
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    switzerland
    Posts
    59

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    are you bored?

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    150

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    Thanks for the info, Andrew.

    I'm just now installing the demo, so i guess i'll find out how good my object-oriented programming chops are in short order...

  7. #7

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    I'd love to see the horsepower it'd take to "perfectly replicate" absynth in reaktor.


  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    5,755

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    I don't know that you'd get "perfectly" in terms of a recreation of Absynth in Reaktor. You could certainly at least get close.

    Reaktor 5 was a big change. More design possibility exists at a lower level now, and in modules which are more CPU efficient.

    The comment that computing horsepower is an issue is a valid one. By its nature, Reaktor must allow a person to combine synthesis objects and circuitry models in unpredictable ways, therefore (as you could imagine) it is less efficient than the same design conceived as a non-alterable, single synth.

    That said, I am always amazed at how well Reaktor is tested and stabilized by the time it is released (and subsequently, when released and a larger sampling of nutty musicians begin to abuse it). By that I am not trying to take a backhand at its stability, but on occasion you can certainly design yourself into a trap and incapacitate your machine one way or another. That is simply the nature of the beast.

    To oversimplify it grossly, imagine that you could sit down and design a synthesizer in some kind of electronic CAD program, then play it. That is essentially what Reaktor brings to the table.

    In actual use, Reaktor is a multi-level environment. There are "ensembles," which are essentially empty meta-containers with MIDI and audio input coming into them, and audio/MIDI output spitting out. Within them, you can place multiple "instruments, macros, modules, and core components," each of these nesting inside the other. One drills down through a design by use of the right-click menu's "view structure" command.

    So, an Ensemble can be nothing more than a gigantic meta-instrument responding to a single input. Or it can be a group of instruments, responding to several different MIDI channels, as if it were a container application for multiple VSTis (although that functionality does not exist in Reaktor, it can contain only instruments built within its environment).

    One of the unique uses of Reaktor is live performance, since possibility exists to create wildly customized and personalized playing environments. For example, I often use an environment I have been tweaking for years in live performance. It includes a vocoder, a mouse-driven Theremin, two physical Modelers, a crazy "chaos" synth, a "drone" source, a granular synth, and a set of automated "wild loopers," similar to a Jam Man, on which I can loop anything I'm playing in real time (including input from my microphones).

    Where I personally feel Reaktor is less intuitive (although usable) is in the traditional DAW-sequencing arena. It will work, but do not count upon its function being as straightforward as the traditional "fixed" VSTi.

    One must have a bit of adventurous spirit in his makeup to love Reaktor, but if you are that kind of person, you will indeed love it. Because your imagination is largely the limiting factor, you can realize instruments that no one else would likely create. And another angle on that is that you can create instruments with niche purposes that development companies would have a hard time justifying for the financial return.

    I hope that is some helpful information.

  9. #9

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    Hey, now I never said it would be efficient to do that, just that it was very possible

    Nonetheless, in practicality, you have stuff like Carbon 2, Green Matrix, Kaleidon, Steampipe, Grainstates SP, Vectory, and SpaceDrone, right out of the built in ensemble library. Depending on what aspect of the Absynth sound you want to emulate, a lot of these ensembles will do the trick. I have a hard time recommending Absynth over Reaktor considering the staggering number of ensembles out there that can achieve the same types of sounds.

    But more importantly, not only can Reaktor do the more cutting-edge sounds, there are also some fantastic ensembles for analog-style emulations. In particular, I'm fond of Junatik, OB-1x, SH-2k, Infection (a virus emulation.. not quite analog, but still cool), and Juno-6. I also used the tutorial on the Native Instruments site to construct a serviceable TB303 synth, since I don't have the money to pick up something like Audiorealism Bassline
    Zircon Studios - Original music for media, electronica, sound design, and synthesis.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
    Posts
    5,755

    Re: Absynth vs. Reaktor: practical differences?

    That is a good overall point, Andrew. Dollar for dollar, you get a lot of sounds in Reaktor. If you are a preset junkie, you could spend the rest of your life auditioning different "instruments" from the user library alone.

    I have always said that if one considers himself any kind of electronic musician or synthesist, then Reaktor is the primary "must buy." It's easily the more for less leader in sheer scope.

    Despite the fact that it keeps the development community in ready cash (and this can be argued as a good thing), many people waste thousands of dollars re-buying the same basic synthesizers again and again and again--for sheer lack of spending six months reading and practicing basic synthesis skills.

    I have the luck of being able to take this for granted, since I pretty much learned synthesis as it was invented. I started with a MiniMoog, entered university composition study in a lab that contained two Buchla 200's and a ten-foot row of 1/2" Ampex 4-tracks, picked up a MicroMoog, Korg Trident, Prophet V, Juno-106, OB-X, DX-7, Mirage, etc, etc, etc, right up to the point that I got totally fed up with the utter CRAP that the Japanese used to kill the synthesizer and turn it into a preset-jukebox. Had I only known that I would long for my Mini, the Prophet, the OB-X...I would never have been seduced into selling them off as years went by to fund newer/hipper synths that soon revealed their sterile and narrow potential. Ultimately, I junked it all and went strictly back to Musique Concrete when ACID came out. It made me feel like a musician again to go find crazy snippets of sound and sculpt them into something unique, as opposed to the swirly, cloying mess of sameness that synthesis had become. Only when GigaSampler, Reaktor, and the dearly departed Reality surfaced did I have any desire to get back into synthesis. Things had gotten interesting again. A synth had become a synth again, rather than a goofy disposable plastic cousin of a Gilette razor (Cut to cigar smoking Marketer, who says: Give away the razor and sell the blades, boys, sell the blades...)

    So, I know what an oscillator does because I used to patch them together with patch cords (and solder the damned things back together again and again as they'd fray and wear out). I know how to edit, because I used to chop tape up into tiny bits and reassemble it, and run it through a row of tape decks. I know what feedback means when I see it written on a knob because I used to "feed" signals "back" into the first tape deck in a row to create a tape echo out of multiple decks.

    Yes, yes, and walked uphill ten miles both directions in the rain...

    Actually it was fun, and I somewhat feel sorry for younger people who never had these basic experiences--because I see so many people completely mystified about how to actually USE synthesizers beyond cycling through the presets. Once you learn the basic concepts (and there are many good books which explain them well), and actually gain a command over the sound-producing elements of synths, it is more rewarding (and so much cheaper) to invent your own sounds, rather than just being on an endless quest for more and more "VSTi" resources--buying that same technology over and over for lack of ability to use what's already in your hands.

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •