The factory preset conundrum

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by CS_TBL » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:18 pm

pflosi wrote:Where's the big deal? Are you guys really complaining that you don't like the factory presets in synths? What's the point?
Right, but:
  • If people want to create sounds, yet there's very little user voice storage, then this is a point.
  • If people aren't capable to create sounds, the factory presets better be good (or useful in a practical context) - which they often aren't so that is a point.
  • If people wan't to know the capabilities of a synth, the factory presets better show this - which they often don't, so that is a point.
Naturally I'm not bothered by any of this, I make my own stuff, virtually. I can imagine that for some these points do matter though.
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by pflosi » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:55 pm

Well, all three options can be answered with: "do your research, learn your synth"

Seriously, what do people expect from synths? Synthesis is something that needs to be learned. If one wants an instant gratification preset box, get a ROMpler or something... If one wants to sculpt sounds, there's no way around learning how to program a synth. (Just for safety: not directed at you CS, I know you merely tried to explain.)

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by madtheory » Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:52 pm

meatballfulton wrote:If you actually look at the names of people who design synth presets, an awful lot of them design for multiple companies. It's a relatively recent phenomenon (only the last decade, really) that mfrs started using the names of their designers for marketing purposes.
Ya back in the day no one heard of these guys! :) After the DX-7 set the benchmark, Casio Had Andrew Schlesinger do the Casio VZ-1, but they didn't use entirely his sounds (they should have!). Roland hire in programmers for the D50, it was mainly Eric Persing did those I think. Robby Kilgore is a name that comes up a lot, he started as a Fairlight programmer and was on the Korg M1 team (as was Schlesinger). I think Korg still use the same guys.

Pretty much all of these guys (no gals AFAIK) were/ are session keyboard players or sales reps who did trade shows for the companies, mostly US and UK. Paul Wiffen is one with a history- helped develop the Wasp and the Oscar, sold it to a few people, did a lot of EII session work, did the Yamaha TX16W UK library also made the famous Elka Synthex Laser harp, among other things.

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by griffin avid » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:25 pm

Making sounds and making music are the same . At least that's the way I see it. Or, looking it in another way, programming sequences and programming sounds are not separated processes, but part of the same thing: composing music with synths.

Yes, the equivalent of watching TV while doing your homework. You THINK you are doing both at the same time, but you are not. When something cool happens in the show, you STOP doing your homework and watch that scene. During commercials and lulls in interest, you focus fully on your homework. Parents seem to understand this and teenagers don't.

If one wants to sculpt sounds, there's no way around learning how to program a synth.
Sculpture can be additive or subtractive (no pun intended). You can buy preformed clay or in painting terms, base colors. From there you start the process. Doesn't mean I have to create my clay or colors from raw materials.

Yes, master painters may start with the color red when moving towards reddish tints.
Yes, a master sculptor may start with a block close to the size and shape of his finished work and avoid the dynamite and rock quarry.

If one wants an instant gratification preset box, get a ROMpler

So lets follow this path to it's fullest nonsensical ending.
Synth verse ROMpler
S-guy 1) Decides he wants a bass sound and dials up a waveform.
R-guy 1) Decides he wants a bass sound and dials up a bass sound.
S-guy 2) Decides it's too bright so he routes the signal to his Low Pass Filter
R-guy 2) Turns the LPF knob

They arrive at the same place and either make something musically interesting with that bass sound or they don't.

BUT WAIT GRIFFIN! You skipped some MAJOR, major...MAJOR important steps in there.
Synth guy....synth guy he, he Mixed waveforms and he detuned and used unison and he modulated the bass using the LFO attached the keyboard and...and...he turns knobs while playing!!!!!!!!! He wins!!!!! He wins.....

Except ROMpler guy picked a preset called "Bass 368 Detuned Horse and Ladder"
which had all that (and probably more) already in there. And he also turns knobs and cool things happen to the sound.
------------------------------------------------------------

This is about the differences and lines of division between the Journey and the Destination.
EVERYONE has sensibilities about this. Is it the shortest distance between A and B or the fun and exploration of the scenic route? Depends.
100% Journey = leans towards a Modular
100% Destination = leans towards an Arranger

Is it about creating sounds or creating music...?
Is music an idea or a collection of sounds?
Which part more defines the artist, the sounds he makes or the music he uses them in?
What if you don't make music and only make sounds?
What if you make music, but don't make sounds?

What if I can program, but can't/don't play?
What if I play, but can't/don't program?

Where should the judging begin? At the start of my creative process or at the end?
Journey or the destination?
Who should judge me and my art/process/slant/sensibility/direction/approach?

A DJ?
A young person who loves music?
An old person who knows music?
A music critic?
A sub-culture Blogger?
A producer?
A collector?
An artist with greater accomplishments?
An artist who's anti-establishment?
Radio spins?
Record sales?
Me mum?
God?
A god?


You?
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by pflosi » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:26 pm

Griffin, how does any of that contradict what I said? Go back to my post before the one you quoted, I pretty much wrote "use whatever you want". If you don't like something, don't use it instead of complaining. It's also not just a black and white thing, you can have a modular and an arranger.

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:33 am

Rezisehtnys wrote:In this day and age there's not much more to be made new as far as sounds go, especially when we're talking about analogue subtractive.
The limitations of analog synthesizers are imposed by the designers of the synthesizers. Analog synthesizers are capable of any sound... as long as they have enough functionality.
The problem with synths that are considered "analog subtractive" is that they have been so horribly hobbled by consumers who want synthesizers that are cheap, small, and sound like their favorite hits from the 80s, that they truly are limited in scope. But that's not because of "analog subtractive," that's because of limited functionality.
Full-functioned analog synthesizers are eminently capable of new sounds. You just have to pay some cash and learn about synthesis.
Also, analog need not be "subtractive." It's only subtractive because people can't let go of their filter sweep addictions.
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by Rezisehtnys » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:33 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
Rezisehtnys wrote:In this day and age there's not much more to be made new as far as sounds go, especially when we're talking about analogue subtractive.
The limitations of analog synthesizers are imposed by the designers of the synthesizers. Analog synthesizers are capable of any sound... as long as they have enough functionality.
The problem with synths that are considered "analog subtractive" is that they have been so horribly hobbled by consumers who want synthesizers that are cheap, small, and sound like their favorite hits from the 80s, that they truly are limited in scope. But that's not because of "analog subtractive," that's because of limited functionality.
Full-functioned analog synthesizers are eminently capable of new sounds. You just have to pay some cash and learn about synthesis.
Also, analog need not be "subtractive." It's only subtractive because people can't let go of their filter sweep addictions.
Of course, you have analogue additive as well a la the earliest electronic organs. Sure in theory analogue is capable of making any sound, but there's yet to be such a machine made. The size and cost would be ungodly. Or if at any rate it's no longer truly analogue because it has a digital modulation matrix, and quite possibly digital envelopes and LFO's. Analogues are my favourite, but I'm not starry eyed when it comes to them either. I suppose the closest things to such capable analogue would be in the virtual world.

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by balma » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:24 pm

I don't distinguish between programming user patches and sequencing tasks, since I consides musical notes and their positions inside a context as any other parameter of the Sound, like amp volume or pitch or velocity or LPF filter's values. There are sounds wich sound like sequences, some LFO or ADSR tricks can emulate a sequences, and sequences using several tracks/MIDI channels can sound like a single patch when played together. Sounds can be intimately linked to an specific type of sequence, and a sequence can be made to perform well only and specific type of sound. This is easier to understand after using a DSI Tempest. You can't distinguish between Sequencing and programming patches. A patch is a track and viceversa.
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by Automatic Gainsay » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:55 am

Rezisehtnys wrote:Of course, you have analogue additive as well a la the earliest electronic organs. Sure in theory analogue is capable of making any sound, but there's yet to be such a machine made. The size and cost would be ungodly. Or if at any rate it's no longer truly analogue because it has a digital modulation matrix, and quite possibly digital envelopes and LFO's. Analogues are my favourite, but I'm not starry eyed when it comes to them either. I suppose the closest things to such capable analogue would be in the virtual world.
There is no reason that additive synths can't be made with analog components. It's called "modular."
There are people working on this concept. :) The size and cost is only ungodly if you want to take it to infinity. But you don't have to. :D
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by CS_TBL » Thu Apr 17, 2014 5:49 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:There is no reason that additive synths can't be made with analog components.
I'm miles behind on the latest in electronics, but are analogue oscillators stable these days? (stable as in: additive-stable and FM-stable)
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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by Rezisehtnys » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:04 am

Automatic Gainsay wrote:
Rezisehtnys wrote:Of course, you have analogue additive as well a la the earliest electronic organs. Sure in theory analogue is capable of making any sound, but there's yet to be such a machine made. The size and cost would be ungodly. Or if at any rate it's no longer truly analogue because it has a digital modulation matrix, and quite possibly digital envelopes and LFO's. Analogues are my favourite, but I'm not starry eyed when it comes to them either. I suppose the closest things to such capable analogue would be in the virtual world.
There is no reason that additive synths can't be made with analog components. It's called "modular."
There are people working on this concept. :) The size and cost is only ungodly if you want to take it to infinity. But you don't have to. :D
I know, that's pretty much what I just said...? Those early electronic organs used additive synthesis to derive their sounds, but with analogue circuitry. So technically they're analogue additive synths. The best way of making an affordable additive analogue synthesizer would be to use that same kind of technology in those organs. At least 32 sine waves, 64 or 128 would be better though. Then at least a group of four envelopes to assign them to, though independent envelopes per oscillator would be nice... Then we ask ourselves why? Kawai did this digitally eons ago. I will say some of my favourite sounds from analogue synthesizers involve no use of the filter. It's amazing what you can do with just the oscillators, LFO's, and envelopes. Ring mod, cross sync, and frequency modulation always add fun to the mix as well.

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by Rezisehtnys » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:05 am

CS_TBL wrote:
Automatic Gainsay wrote:There is no reason that additive synths can't be made with analog components.
I'm miles behind on the latest in electronics, but are analogue oscillators stable these days? (stable as in: additive-stable and FM-stable)
Ever since the 80's and the dawn of digital clocking, yes. Though VCO's just here really recently got to that level such as what's used in the Moog Sub Phatty and upcoming Sub 37.

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by madtheory » Thu Apr 17, 2014 7:06 am

AG seems to be on an idealistic crusade with this one. Unfortunately one needs stable oscillators for additive work, and analogue is not. So there IS a reason, and it's not some kind of synth designer conspiracy. Maybe if you ran the whole thing from batteries inside a Faraday cage you might achieve it- but then it would sound just like FM8, and everyone would complain that it wasn't "fat" ;)

There's an interesting demo on Wendy Carlos's site, where she shows (using the ARP 2500 I think) how the instability becomes a problem when you want lots of orchestral instruments. It's just too fat. I think it's a Bach piece? Funnily enough, her studio is in a Faraday cage :)

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by sensorium » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:37 am

pflosi wrote:I really don't get this thread :dontknow:
Is it the direction of the THREAD you do not get? Or the original question? Because the thread has gone way off topic. My intention was simply to spark a debate about why it seems presets fall short of truly showcasing a synth's most unique features.

I always program my own sounds. But with the vast majority of consumers flipping through presets in a store, it seems odd to me that the presets seem to utilize 50% of a synth's horsepower at most. Presets seem to be the ideal time to brag about a certain synth's unique potential, but they always fall short.

It would be like selling a sports car with a V12 engine, that is factory set to only use 6 cylinders. First impressions are everything, and the point of sale is the best time to show off, so why not dive in and show us what it's got?

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Re: The factory preset conundrum

Post by ninja6485 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:50 am

sensorium wrote:
pflosi wrote:I really don't get this thread :dontknow:
Is it the direction of the THREAD you do not get? Or the original question? Because the thread has gone way off topic. My intention was simply to spark a debate about why it seems presets fall short of truly showcasing a synth's most unique features.

I always program my own sounds. But with the vast majority of consumers flipping through presets in a store, it seems odd to me that the presets seem to utilize 50% of a synth's horsepower at most. Presets seem to be the ideal time to brag about a certain synth's unique potential, but they always fall short.

It would be like selling a sports car with a V12 engine, that is factory set to only use 6 cylinders. First impressions are everything, and the point of sale is the best time to show off, so why not dive in and show us what it's got?
I think the skyline was a sportscar like this at one point, although the limiting was not cylindrical. I seem to remember there being a famous yellow wire that you could cut and instantly give the car a huge horsepower boost. I think there was a gentlemans agreement in Japan at that time not to produce a car with over a certain amount of horsepower. Anyway, I digress... Just interesting stuff really.
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