Nigel, I will have to kind of disagree with you on that one. Since each hardware digital synth model uses different hardware components (circuitry, processors, converters etc) and software it results in slight (or sometimes dramatic) differences of tone character and response (by that I mean the way the envelopes and LFOs behave. The way the filters work, bit-rates, digital aliasing of all sort etc.)
There are many things that lead to those differences. Some you have mentioned yourself. Some will take up a few pages of diagrams and schematics and endless explanations.
So even though the software Wavestation uses basically the same waveforms there are still some things that make it sound different from the original. I can say so with absolute certainty. You've mentioned FM. Well, as you know I own tons of FM stuff. Even though most FM synths (software and hardware) feature original DX7 algorithms (obviously for backward compatibility reasons) if you try to load original DX7 patches on different FM synths (FS1R, SY(77-99), DX7II, FM7) you will find that each will add their own character to the sound. In some cases the patches won't even work and respond the same way. It's a fact.
So to say that digital hardware synths and their software emulations sound exactly the same because they all use micro-processors and crunch numbers is almost as contrived as saying that everything digital sounds the same because it is digital. Truth is, there is more to the process then just numbers.
I must also say that not being able to tell the difference isn't a crime. This isn't a contest on who can hear what and who can hear better. As I keep saying, it is very individual. Some care about that stuff. Some don't.
[This message has been edited by 3351 (edited 07-28-2005).]