Interesting story for sure.I think @Markrs has done or is still doing the Syntoriol courses. I have learned my “chops” on many many hardware synths. First ever synthesis back in the mid eighties was Yammie FM, so that’s still kind of my go-to, but I do like subtractive and wavetable synthesis as well.
What has always amazed me and still does, is the advent of wavetable synthesis as sort of the most uniquitous “plain vanilla” type of architecture nowadays. Like it’s the starting point for many. I get why it may have evolved like this (basically once you’re conceiving a softsynth you might as well just add wavetable scanning capable osc’s, as the rest of the architecture is basically just subtractive anyway) - but back in the day it was pretty marginal.
For a long period of time, when memory became sort of affordable, we had romplers. M1, D50, AWM and all the derivatives. Never spoke to me, other than in the most practical sense (“I need a shakuhachi like sound”, browse 500 patches, found it, play track). Can’t say that I have ever programmed one of those sample based synths for fun. I do have Xpand2! and honestly… for a tenner it is a ridiculously close emulation of the entire Roland JVxxxx universe. At least to me it is.
What feels weird to me, looking at the current state of affairs, is that I may enjoy the little hardware emulations companies like Arturia and Cherry Audio (and PA) put out almost better than some of the large workhorse synths. That includes UI, but I’m a romantic sucker for skeumorphic shit. What’s even weirder is that it seems to be that’s where the money’s at. Where are the spiritual successors to Yamaha’s 1990s VL1 physical modelling synth? AAS stuff is cool. Audio Modelling, Aaron Venture: cool. But not “hey we’re 30 years in the future” cool somehow?
Anyway… yeah. Restrict yourself to a bunch of synths that you really want to LEARN and program. Buy all the rest (you know you will) for browsing presets
I grew up in the Rompler days. The M1 was my first synth and then I got a Korg O1W/FD and Roland Jv880 with some EMU drum box that I can't remember the name of. To this day because I started with that I still have better luck with Rompler style synthesis and I notice that when I'm composing I'll often create a synth sound, sample it then manipulate the sample. It just works better for me given my years of being a rompler preset tweaker.
My big passion though these days are digital synths that emulated analog. like the JD800. Somehow that's the midway point for me and was my jumping off point into software synths.
You are right about Wavetable. Somehow that became the go to for the young guns but man when I was growing up the PPG was a marginal synth that nobody owned and wavetable synths for me I only became somewhat familiar with Reason's Maelstrom that used what it called graintable synthesis.