PRESETS & YOU

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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West_Berliner
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Post by West_Berliner » Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:03 am

I program my own sounds 95% of the time, but sometimes ill have a preset that just works, and is the sound im looking for, in which case ill use it. I also modify presets sometimes, and end up coming up with original sounds. As long as I dont use presets that I've heard before.....because if i've heard them, someone else has heard them, and someone will be able to pick them out...
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Post by crufty » Mon Jul 09, 2007 3:28 am

I like presets. I like to make my own sounds. I figure it's like paint...sometimes, it's just easier to grab that shade of grass green and go from there then try and whip it up each time you need it.

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Hmmm Presets

Post by theminestudio » Mon Jul 09, 2007 4:02 am

Well Im kinda back and fourth on this one also, having started on a Moog Prodigy which has no presets i would say I would be forced to come up with a sound each time I approached the instrument. However for live performance this can be a bit of a hassle. I like SOME of the presets in my MM6 and most in my Alesis Micron and find a happy medium between those and all the softsynths and emulators that I have. I have no shortage of sounds at my disposal and yet this can be a bit of a problem also. TOO MUCH to choose from, which is I guess ok if you have the presets organized in some fashion or another. The better you know your rig, be it virtual or Hardware this becomes less of a crutch and more of a plus. So I guess take things as they come and if you stumble on a new sound for god SAVE The MFing thing and make a preset out of it..... :D

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Post by celeber » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:21 am

i'm more of a tweaker. i don't program my synth from scratch. instead i'll go through the presets and then change parameters here and there to shape the sound.

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Post by crystalmsc » Mon Jul 09, 2007 7:29 am

I like presets, they're like snacks and most of the time it's nice to have some taste without cooking :)
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Post by supermel74 » Mon Jul 09, 2007 8:44 am

I use presets as a starting point. If I really like the way it sounds, then I might just make a few minor edits.
Last edited by supermel74 on Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

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I want blank presets!

Post by Dunewar » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:23 am

Sometimes I make sound from scratch, sometimes I adapt a preset, sometimes I'll just use the preset as it is. A lot of that depends on the synth. On my wavestation, I love programming, but on my XV-3080, i'll adapt a preset or layer them at most. And on my Juno6, it's programming every time for obvious reasons.
And what I find to be crucial in this, is the availability of a "reset" switch or a blank preset. Otherwise I'll spend half my day just erasing the patch, and then my inspiration is gone. The bassstation had a bunch of plain presets to build on. My wavestation has a "init" button to reset the patch i'm working on. But my XV-3080 doesn't, and half of the times when i'm making a new patch, there's some FX or modulation still on that makes me scratch my head : "why doesn't this sound like I expect it to?".
It's more an issue with romplers and digital synths then with analogue synths, basically because a lot is hidden in menu after menu, and it's easy to oversee some option. That won't happen on my juno6...
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Post by Underground_Circus_Jesus » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:28 am

I've found that I like to scroll through presets, and I'll find one that's neat and think to myself 'That'd be cool if I did this'. I try not to use presets though. I like being able to make a song that I built from scratch. Most presets sound cheesy to me anyway. There's something pleasing about taking a fresh, untouched program and change it from scratch, though.
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code green
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Post by code green » Mon Jul 09, 2007 9:58 am

if i'm not starting from scratch i always tweak the pres at least a little and usually a lot on my analogs. don't have an editor for my jv-1010 and wouldn't be bothered anyway (except to remove reverb on some of these patches--can you do that with sounddiver or something like it?!), as i almost always use it for piano/orchestral sounds, except for the odd atmospheric pad on there that i simply love the way it is and wouldn't be able to improve on anyway. i change rompler patches with effects. when i need a distincly "synthy" sound though, it's always quicker to create at least an approximation from scratch on one of my analogs than to scroll through dozens of dated techno sounds on the jv.

the aj2 has some cool building-block pres--flute, the bells, even basic pads, not to mention the "what the?!" patch. p600 a few too, and its "luckyman" mini is really quite outstanding. there's been some talk about wild, outlandish presets...as any evolver owner can testify, those machines have them in spades.

regarding 99% of people not really caring about whether you're using presets or sounds made from scratch...well, yes and no. most people won't care per se, but you'll generally have a better chance of knocking an audience on its a*s with a cool sound that pricks up their ears if it's one you've made and therefore hasn't been heard a million times before.

i hear what some have been saying about workflow, and there are definitely times when i want the quickest thing possible to demo something when composing...but i can also think of plenty of times when songs grew directly from creating some new sound....or grew in unexpected directions because i paused to get something really tweaky out of a synth.

mavertron, that was a cool post. i'm dealing with managing patches on a pair of p600s right now and might just have to go to the patch sheets to replicate the patches i want to keep.

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Post by totallyfrozen » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:00 am

micahjonhughes wrote:...One thing about presets on vintage synths is that they sound dated. If you are in an 80s cover band you're set but otherwise you end up sounding like your in an 80s cover band.
True.

I generally use some generic sounds (like electric piano, for example) just to get the notes down (in the sequencer or whatever) so I don't lose my idea. Then I make whatever sounds I was dreaming of originally. My music isn't about seeing what *new* bizzare sounds I can make. It's about making a song and using sounds to enhance the mood and the message of the song. Generally, I can use a sound like an electric piano or something to make the music without losing the idea or inspiration...EP is a pretty generic, harmless sound. Afterward, I change things to sound better.

Presets? Maybe...If I like 'em and they create the mood that I want. Whatever the sound is, it needs to create a feeling that carries and enhances the message of the song.
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Post by tallowwaters » Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:42 am

microkorg "tape choir" i quite enjoy.
planty of D50 (never played one) preset that seem gorgeous even if they are just stock by now.
kawai k4's vibes preset. gorgeous
kawai k5000 - tons of nice presets, i thought...
evolver - a few of those analog patches are useful, but most of them are just to show off. which is nice to see (as opposed to the c**p they put in the an1x) but not overly useful.

anyhow, i cant be arsed to do those analog emulation sounds. i use those presets on the evo, micromod, etc without a thought. i like the acoustic emulations on the prophecy too. "southern accents" and "the whistler" are f**k golden.

more often than not i make a bunch of cool a*s (to me) evolving pads, drones, and leads that fall flat in a mix... :lol:
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Post by killedaway » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:29 am

tallowwaters wrote:microkorg "tape choir" i quite enjoy.
kawai k4's vibes preset. gorgeous
i agree with both of these completely. and while it's not a question of presets per se, i love the piano sounds in the K4. that's right, i said it!

i think for me, i prefer to start from scratch almost all of the time. i build songs from patches (like some others have mentioned), so it's a good way for me to get the "blood flowing". i will use a preset on a ROMpler if it fits my needs (standard piano, choir, strings, brass, etc.) without thinking twice. on a VA/analog synth, i get that sense of guilt that's often talked about -- if i find myself liking a preset, i tell myself that i must arbitrarily alter the patch in some way to "make it 'my own'". within a few minutes, i've almost always veered completely off the original path, and my "tweak" sounds nothing like the original preset at all. :lol:

i know when something has a great preset in it though (in my opinion, of course)... that's when i build my own sound from scratch, and it ends up very close to an existing preset! then i think that the sound designers and i must have really been on the same page to be working in such close territory.
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Post by Dave Bryce » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:33 am

primative wrote:f**k 'em.
That's one way of looking at it, I suppose.

Speaking as someone who has written presets for a few synths (my programs are in Kurzweil, Alesis and DSI instruments), I can tell you it ain't the easiest thing to do. The main idea is (as has already been mentioned) to show off the sonic capabilities of the machine, and in doing so to try to appeal to the widest possble range of potential buyers. That can be a very challenging proposition. Try to do a polished, leveled bank of 128 (including names, of course) for your favorite synth sometime - it may take you longer than you think (don't forget to make sure all controllers are doing something interesting).

Now imagine what it's like to have to do a bank of 128 in a short period of time for a synth you've never seen before. :shock:

The guys who write the factory programs are usually the most familiar with the technology used in their instruments and/or highly experienced programmers, and are consequently frequently capable of producing some fairly interesting work. I'd say more often than not the programs in the factory banks are not throwaway programs - in fact, they frequently represent a significant investment of time and energy; and, while all of them will invariably not be any single user's cup of tea, I have a hard time believing that any owner of a brand new synth won't find more than a few factory programs that appeal to them.

Plus, I don't suppose anyone would argue that taking factory programs apart can be a real good way to learn some tips and tricks on your synth that you might not have though of otherwise. :idea:

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Post by tallowwaters » Tue Jul 10, 2007 4:06 pm

(not generally brown nosing mr bryce here)

i think the presets in the evolver are essential. if there werent those mad examples of all the insanity that can be achieved, i would just be sitting around modulating cutoff with the lfo. even though i cant use most of the evolver patches in my musical settings, i would believe most everybody said "how the h**l...?" to at least a dozen or so patches in there.

then again, it would make sense that a smaller company would put more time in showcasing the capabilities of their gear. i think the fellas at yamaha need to let their programmers out of whatever dark room they keep them in... :lol:
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Post by crufty » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:06 pm

What I don't get--sometimes the preset patches are fantastic, but then the demo songs are just horrible. How is that possible? Is it deliberate?

I also wish companies would release patch sets after production, but i guess time is $$$$.

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