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AL-1 vs Virus question...?
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CharlesFerraro
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:06 pm    Post subject: AL-1 vs Virus question...? Reply with quote

I have to throw down a brief ramble...

Gotta say that the Kronos is starting to look very appealing indeed. I've never owned a workstation keyboard as I've always found DAW's to be top of the line when it comes to power and versatility. But this Kronos thing really seems like the be all end all so here's my dilemma. My next purchase was going to be the disputed king of VA's, the Access Virus TI2 Kayboard. Now... The OASYS used to look too big, too daunting and bottomless to wrap my head around. But I've learned a hell of a lot about sound design and production over the years and feel like I can conquer something of OASYS magnitude and along comes the Kronos, 61 key synth action (I'm a synthspert not a pianist) in the same price range as the Virus Keyboard. I feel like the Kronos may be the wiser decision as I would get my godly VA, DAW integration, PLUS a hell of a lot of other bonuses.

What it really comes down to for me though is the Virtual Analog engine.

I've heard that AL-1 excels at emulating true analog synths and in all honesty thats not my cup. Thats why I love my RADIAS more than any synth in the world, its so much more then the old subtractives of yesteryear; its a progressive mix of synthesis styles. Hence the Virus seems like the logical next step.

Then I saw this, skip to 25:50: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHV3rnkGt3E&feature=player_embedded#!

What was THAT!? AL-1 sounds incredible! Still, let me hear it from the people who have the experience with these engines. Who would win in a no-bars-held cage fight with the Virus in one corner and AL-1 in the other? Oscillator for oscillator and filter type for filter type. What are the pros and cons of each engine?

As of right now I'm probably still leaning toward the Virus because of the lifetime support promise. One company, one engine. I'll never have to cry the ululation of an abandoned OASYS repeat.
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Kevin Nolan
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a very difficult question you ask - as an OASYS owner I can tell you - AL-1 is very, very powerful. It really is. But then in Kronos you also get the MS20EX - and I can tell you - IT has attitude. It's oscillators can hurt your ears - it can be made to sound that aggressive. It's awesome. And then there's Polysix - a total breeze to program.

So make no bones about it - Kronos is a stunning, stunning instrument. It's the real deal.


But - there are several other issues you need to factor in. There is no doubt that the Virus is a very, very special virtual analogue synth. I don't own one but I remember literally melting when I heard one in Turnkey, London a few years ago.

And - you mention a point that should be addressed. Right now, us OASYS owners are feeling pretty weird about Kronos. If you look at the OASYS forum - we've noticed that Korg have not mentioned, even once, that Kronos has come from OASYS - Kronos is identical to OASYS in almost every regard except with some more synth engines. But the way Korg have released Kronos, it's as if OASYS never existed. It's just very curious. And the demo video makes it sound like all those synth engines are new - whereas I'm already hugely familiar with all of the ones found on OASYS. So we're scratching our heads as to why Korg are avoiding mentioning OASYS at all costs.

And so you also need to convince yourself of AL-1 by listening to it - because you need to ask yourself why the world has essentially ignored AL-1 over the past 6 years. Perhaps it's not as good as the Virus, period. Remember - while the price of the OASYS was the main reason people griped about it; nevertheless, despite the fact that many of us OASYS users love the synth engines; they have been around for 6 years already and not many people have taken notice.

And one thing that we've often agreed amongst ourselves - while OASYS has been massively powerful, it doesn't seem to have the sonic 'signature character' that defines so many other instruments. So again I suggest you try Kronos out before you make a decision because it's synth engines are identical to those in OASYS (its the pianos that are newer and better, not the synth engines).

While I haven’t felt this, you have picked up on something - that many other OASYS users feel utterly abandoned. After all, two years ago Korg stopped OASYS prematurely, while we screamed from the tree tops about how good OASYS was. And now we see Korg bringing the very same technology back as if it has just been invented now. It smacks of a very dubious loyalty to its user base; and if Korg are capable of that with OASYS, they will indeed be capable of abandoning the Kronos user base if sales do not materialise, Korg will NOT uphold future serious support.

That said, Kronos will be quite stable - OASYS is and it's 6 year old technology; and, everything but the kitchen sink has already been thrown into Kronos.

So you are correct to question Korg's loyalty to its existing user base - they seem to be very fickle in that regard currently; but in practice it doesn't really matter - Kronos will serve you for years and years without any further requirement from Korg. And make no bones about it - its synth engines are as good as the get, anywhere. It IS the real deal and had gargantuan depths - I mean that from hundreds of hours spent at the OASYS and Kronos goes well beyond OASYS in synthesizer and keyboard options.

But AL-1 is not Virus - the sound totally different. Virus definitely has its own very distinctive character; but AL-1 is massive. In polyphonic unison mode, I've made programs which stack 64 oscillators on one note and it sounds absolutely massive - you need to hear it to believe it.

Tough choice - but if you go for Kronos you are getting 3 very strong virtual analogue synth engines along with all the other wondrous stuff.

I have to tell you though - even though I own two OASYS, I will purchase the Kronos too over the next year to 18months. the main reason - all that synthesizer power with virtually zero latency - it puts the likes of Arturia, Korg Legacy, NI Komplete and Spectrasonics to shame w.r.t the number of notes of polyphony you get at essentially zero latency.

Kevin.
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McHale
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since the RADIAS was based on AL-1, I don't get the point of this thread. AL-1 is as good if not better than RADIAS.
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bobborries



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean to tell me Kronos is using 6 year old technology which was abandoned 2 years ago, and repackaged as NEW for around $4000? What da ?
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CfNorENa
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

McHale wrote:
Since the RADIAS was based on AL-1, I don't get the point of this thread. AL-1 is as good if not better than RADIAS.


I think you may need to re-read the OP -- that wasn't the comparison he was interested in. Wink
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Kevin Nolan
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

McHale wrote:
Since the RADIAS was based on AL-1, I don't get the point of this thread. AL-1 is as good if not better than RADIAS.


That's not correct. Radias and AL-1 are very different. Radias has a totally different architecture to AL-1. A few examples include:

- Radias implements MMT technology with formant synthesis, AL-1 doesn't
- Radias polyphony is less than 1/3 that of AL-1
- AL-1 has ultra-low aliasing oscillators

....and as said - they have totally different internal architectures. And I must say - Radias has a very vibrant sound which I feel is stronger than AL-1. AL-1 is a fantastic workhorse, but there are other virtual analogue synths with more character. Perhaps now that AL-1 is in Kronos it will get the attention of a lot more players and programmers and that it's full character will be exploited, and with good 3rd party sound sets.

Kevin.
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X-Trade
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin Nolan wrote:

- AL-1 has ultra-low aliasing oscillators


RADIAS also has these.
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Jeff Gibbs
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a long-time Oasys owner and recently obtained the Virus ti2 keyboard. Aside from the fact that having real knobs to tweak is far, far easier in terms of sound creation, to my taste the virus produces far more rich, pleasing synth sounds that anything on the Oasys including the AL-1. Can't say I dove deep into the AL-1 to see what it could become when pushed though. The AL-1 is very good, but the Virus is overall the best synth I have ever owned, aside from Moog. But as others have said, indeed the virus has a particular sonic flavor which not all will like, but the programming possibilities are so rich and responsive I find that you can get what you want from it pretty readily. The Virus also can be very fussy to deal with--clicks, pops, running quickly out of polyphony, strange OS glitches, which I have NEVER had on my very, very dependable Oasys. That said I am scoring a feature film right now and the Virus is my go to synth.
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master logic
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coming from a Detroit Techno / Sound Design background, AL-1 was always the weak link for me with the Oasys. It might "Sound" analog but it doesn't "Feel" Analog. It just never sounded fat or full to me. Go with the Virus T1 for synth bass, lead sounds, things to cut through the mix or go with the Kronos for strings, pads & experimental textures / soundscapes. I'd pay the price of this workstation for STR-1 alone. Or get both, it will be the best combination you can buy. As above though, beware clicks & pops on the Virus if you start to get crazy with combis or complex sounds. Depending on what you want, you can't go wrong with either. If you want something you can delve into, experiment for years, go with the Kronos. If you want something straight up techno / dance go with the Virus. One last point, in my opinion the Virus does create a richer, warmer sound but the Oasys/Kronos is capable of creating far more complex & experimental sounds. *please note that the demos NEVER show of the Oasys/Kronos sound design, soundscape, weird textures capabilities.
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McHale
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CfNorENa wrote:
I think you may need to re-read the OP -- that wasn't the comparison he was interested in. Wink


ooooops. brain fart. Wink
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Megakazbek
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They are not really similar synth for comparison to make sense. AL-1 is strictly virtual analog, while in Virus (I'm talking about the Ti series), virtual analog is maybe like 5% of what it can do, there are digital oscs (similar to DWGS in Radias and other Korgs), there is very extensive wavetable engine, where you can not only play with scannable wavetables, but also transform them in unique ways using granular synthesis and format shaping, and much more. Basically those two synths are so different and have so little overlap that it doesn't make sense to compare them.
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X-Trade
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It wouldn't make sense to compare just AL-1 perhaps, but KRONOS as a whole.... I don't think there's any comparison there!

As someone else stated, you've got AL-1, but you've also got the legacy instruments, MOD-7, and STR-1. And you can use any two of them in a single program!
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Megakazbek
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, even Kronos as a whole doesn't have wavetables, so nothing to compare. Kronos/Virus mostly add to each other, only a very tiny part of them is redundant.

Last edited by Megakazbek on Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Megakazbek wrote:
Well, even Kronos as a whole doesn't have wavetables, so nothing to compare. Kronos/Virus are an addition to each other, not replacement.


But HD-1 does have wave-sequencing. No need for wavetables if you have a full sampler with that amount of power.


I have a Virus B and I have to say that whilst it sounds fairly nice, I've never used it for anything. It is disappointingly lo-fi and the programming interface is painfully confusing. I've noticed that the newer Virus' do sound better but they're still awfully limited compared to say, the RADIAS.
I'm not saying its bad, but it is massively overrated.

The problem with synths with 'character' is that you're stuck with that character, its imposed on every sound you make. What I like about most of KORG's newer instruments (M3, OASYS, RADIAS) is that you start off with a more or less blank slate and can develop sounds with their own character.
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Megakazbek
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

X-Trade wrote:
But HD-1 does have wave-sequencing. No need for wavetables if you have a full sampler with that amount of power.

It has wave sequencing, which basically means, it can play waves in one direction with constant speed. You can't modulate index in arbitrary way by any mod source.
And then, can it do wave sequence FM? PWM? Grain tables? Formant shaping?
Also, probably, filters and modulation in HD-1 are not as great as VA synth engines.

X-Trade wrote:
I have a Virus B

I should clarify that I'm talking about Virus Ti series. Older Viruses are more like traditional VA synths and don't have massive sound design capabilities.
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