ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:13 am

Guess it's not for everyone. Did you buy all the modules at once? I find that buying any more than two (unless they're something really simple like output modules or multiples) at a time means you don't get enough time exploring the new module to learn what it can really do in conjunction with the rest of your setup. I tend to need a couple of weeks at least to find out exactly what I can use something for, and even then I'm still discovering things over a year later on some modules. When I got my first few modules I was pretty disappointed with how it sounded until I got a few more VCAs and learned to look after my gain structure and modulation depths. Also trying to read all those manuals and keep that information in your head is a bit tough, and patching with a stack of manuals beside you for reference wasn't that much fun. Worth it in the long run for me at least.

I guess modulars are great for people who would rather build a sound from scratch than from a preset, who have the time/patience to RTFM and who want to make music with monosynths. Even if you're not one of those people it's still great for your workflow to just concentrate on one or two synths, as opposed to spending a little bit of time with a whole roomful.

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by nuketifromorbit » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:17 am

Stab Frenzy wrote: I guess modulars are great for people who would rather build a sound from scratch than from a preset, who have the time/patience to RTFM and who want to make music with monosynths. Even if you're not one of those people it's still great for your workflow to just concentrate on one or two synths, as opposed to spending a little bit of time with a whole roomful.
I've rarely started a patch from anything other than the complimentary default provided by most programmable synths. Its just tedious to build an extremely complex patch that is lost as soon as you decide to build a new one. The amount of depth offered by most modern synths such as the dsi evolver or emu command station is astounding, so owning a vast modular system is somewhat redundant to me. Lastly I don't own, much less want, a room full of synths ;) .

*edit
Also I know its weird, but I have a total hard on for the dark energy and the a-111-5. After owning a nord modular I expected the DE to increase my desire for a true modular system, but instead I'm now currently lusting after analog mono's, both modern and vintage.
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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by bouzoukijoe1 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:41 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:Guess it's not for everyone. Did you buy all the modules at once? I find that buying any more than two (unless they're something really simple like output modules or multiples) at a time means you don't get enough time exploring the new module to learn what it can really do in conjunction with the rest of your setup. I tend to need a couple of weeks at least to find out exactly what I can use something for, and even then I'm still discovering things over a year later on some modules. When I got my first few modules I was pretty disappointed with how it sounded until I got a few more VCAs and learned to look after my gain structure and modulation depths. Also trying to read all those manuals and keep that information in your head is a bit tough, and patching with a stack of manuals beside you for reference wasn't that much fun. Worth it in the long run for me at least.

I guess modulars are great for people who would rather build a sound from scratch than from a preset, who have the time/patience to RTFM and who want to make music with monosynths. Even if you're not one of those people it's still great for your workflow to just concentrate on one or two synths, as opposed to spending a little bit of time with a whole roomful.
same here. I've experienced that getting two (or more) powerful modules in a row creates this weird negative experience where it's harder to get to know them intimately, which inevitably results in dissatisfaction. so these days I space out my purchases and I only get one module at a time and spend like at least two weeks solid on it. it's a strange thing, but it's true I think that if you get modules more slowly, you're really able to learn them inside out and you end up happier (usually, depending on the module). or, it's also ok to binge as long as you stop buying anything for like 6 months and just focus on learning everything that you have.

I think the same goes for keyboards, sequencers, etc. if I get two instruments too quickly, I don't get that deep with them and I'm always unhappy. but since I never really get rid of my stuff, I just let it sit and come back to it later and then spend like a solid month or two on one piece of gear then I end up loving it 100 times more (usually).

currently my modular isn't big enough to be my only instrument, so I've been using a Virus along with it. but after seeing the Solvent video I wonder if I should try using only the modular for everything and just some type of multitrack instrument like an MPC or a multi-track recorder. too bad I don't have an Octatrack. or I could try to figure out the computer thing and get Ableton or something.

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:46 pm

balma wrote:You get more complicated each time you add a synth to your setup. Better sounds, more resources, but things become messy the more gear you use.
+1 :ugeek:

Stab Frenzy wrote:Guess it's not for everyone.
I spent six years working with various modulars, last one was a good sized dotcom. It sounded great, was fun to use but it just wasn't inspiring song ideas.
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by pflosi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:08 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:
pflosi wrote:I don't see why you need to 'sell everything' to be able to focus on one synth? It's a matter of self-control :mrgreen:

Especially if you're not in desperate need for the money...

And he mentioned in the other thread that he loves all those synths he has.

But yeah, maybe I'm just generally not the seller type of guy...
I found that it was a very liberating feeling to sell off a lot of stuff that wasn't being used all that much, and that feeling pushed me into a particularly creative period. I had actually been only using a few synths for over a year before selling things, stuff like my V-Synth were just sitting unused in cases, it wasn't a matter of self-control at all. The point at which the excess synths were sold was the difference, not the point when I specifically focused on one synth. It's kind of like that great feeling when you do a really good clean up of the house. :thumbleft: Even the extra space made a big difference.
Ok, letting unused stuff go is something else. I agree there. In terms of 'number of synths you are using' (i.e. you get distracted because you have too much, which I was getting at before), it doesn't make a difference though, only in terms of money, room and maybe some psychological effects. Also, Scories mentioned in the other thread he loved the snyths he had already, sounds not like they're unused to me... Also he said he only had them for some months, that's no time at all IMO. Better to dive into them properly before selling everything. And the mixture of modular / mono / poly / vintage / modern synths he proposed he might want in the other thread (here it is, since I mention it all the time I kinda started to feel the need to post the link) didn't really make the impression that he actually knows what he really wants. I'm sure that you, Stabby, did know exactly what you wanted when you started with the modular. Also, as mentioned, threads with titles like 'how to spend the next 4k' don't come over like he's in desperate need for the money.

But yeah, since...
Scories wrote:Right on! I need some fresh air. I might keep just one or two and totally change my musical mindset.
...I'm not gonna bother anymore.

Apart from that: I for myself will start building a modular soon without selling anything of my other stuff. I love all of it and use most of it on a fairly regular basis (except the MW1... but couldn't let it go yet). To each his own I guess, we all agree there

:hippie:

Besides that, yeah I agree with all those of you that think getting a lot of things in not much time leads to less enthusiasm for those things bought... (Might also be a reason why Scories already wants more and different stuff already, supposing he indeed bought all those synths in just a few months. Damn I have to stop now.) Another consequence IMO is that you might have a project that you need to finish, or a gig you need to prepare, and getting that done as fast as possible might prevent you from using that new synth as well - because you don't know it well enough already. It's a vicious circle.

Rant and off topic over, I try to stay focused now. Let's talk about drum synthesis for instance 8-) What are your favorite synths for kick / snare / hats? I really enjoy self-oscillating roland filters for kicks, MS20 noise and filter reso for snares and MS20 noise and ringmod and HPF for hats. For hats and cymbals and the like the A6 is also great :D let's hear yours

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by Moped10 » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:24 pm

all one synth + wurly + programmed drums...
http://www.moped10.com/images/dow.wav

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by Scories » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:29 pm

@pflosi : Sorry for the confusing thread, I'm getting a little confused myself these days.
Yes, ALL of my synths sounds wonderful, really! They don't push me much into some creative phases, and then they take too much space in my living area. I just feel like I should do something about it asap because composing music is part of my identity.

Anyway, if everybody gets rid of their gear at once, price will drop for real!
So I should not incite too many people to do so, until I'm done. :D

Enough about me and sorry for hijacking the thread.

I find funny to see that Solvent's most succesful tracks in recent times has been made with just a cs-5 while he has tons of gear lying around. I think his early music composed with a minimal setup was a little better.

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by stephen » Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:27 am

The problem with 'one synth'.... which one?!

Saying modular doesn't make the problem go away. Now it becomes 'which modules'?
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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by mpa1104 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:20 am

Afternoon chaps,

Been a while since I've been here, but found this thread to be quite interesting. The idea has come up a few times before on VSE, in fact I seem to recall in relatively recent time, there was a specific thread for folks to post their tryouts using one synth only.

One thing that occurred to me while reading some of these posts (and it's already been alluded to), was that there seems to be a bit of a fear of self-discipline (something that can only happen naturally in artistic and creative circles! :D ). Personally - and it's only my opinion - I find the idea of deliberately purging one's self of their gear simply to concentrate on a particular synth to be a little extreme. That sort of decision probably shouldn't be a gut-reaction either, I've known quite a few people who have sold off gear on a whim, but come to deeply regret it some time later. Granted, I fully understand the practical reasons such as space, or the fact that it might be collecting dust through not having used it for ages and no longer being able to see a time when you'd use it again.

But I have found many times in the past, by simply not turning on one of the other synths, even putting a blanket over it so I don't have to look at it or think about it, and concentrating on one particular synth, it can turn into a most rewarding experience. And you also have the satisfaction of being able to say to yourself "Yes I know that the xxxx synth over there can easily do what I'm thinking of, but what exactly can I get out of this one? How far can I push it?" without giving into the temptation. It's good self-discipline. This can also extend into the composing process. I'm often giving students exercises where they can only use the pentatonic scale or the octotonic scale for composing, the results are refreshingly diverse and the majority of them are always surprised at just how much they can get out of a small number of notes, before they go on and use all the other ones.

That's just my two cents. Certainly for synth programming, I'm far happier starting with a completely blank slate. Eg, with my recently acquired V-Synth (thanks Stab!), I always hit the Patch Init function before programming, then later (usually two or three hours later!), I've come up with something, and had a ball doing so! You do feel also like you've achieved something rather than just tweaking a preset.

@Psy Free - really liked your MS-10 track. Excellent example of knowing your gear (not to mention good to listen to also)
@Moped10 - couldn't get yours to load unfortunately but will keep trying.

FWIW, here are some of my offerings from some years back (two of them from the various "One synth only" threads that have cropped up at VSE before).

A Roman Goddess Speaks (all Juno 60)


Where Would We Be? (all Moog Micromoog)


The Ambassador (all EMS VCS 3)
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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by stephen » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:33 am

Interesting article.... one man and his poly800

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2011/10/w ... new-label/
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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:51 am

stephen wrote:The problem with 'one synth'.... which one?!

Saying modular doesn't make the problem go away. Now it becomes 'which modules'?
That's not a problem at all, you just pick the one you want/the ones you want.

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by clubbedtodeath » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:16 am

This thread very much reminds me of the ethos behind the one synth, one effect competition we had here a few years ago. Making an entry wasn't for everybody, but I'm sure those who finally entered found the process a form of liberation through restricted choice; a catharsis.

Curiously, the only limitation I found frustrating was not the one synth, rather the one effect.

Cheers

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by stephen » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:21 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:
stephen wrote:The problem with 'one synth'.... which one?!

Saying modular doesn't make the problem go away. Now it becomes 'which modules'?
That's not a problem at all, you just pick the one you want/the ones you want.
lol.... yeah... that!
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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by James Mandible » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:52 pm

stephen wrote:Interesting article.... one man and his poly800

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2011/10/w ... new-label/

That is a cool article and nice music too! I'll be keeping it in mind when I fire up my 800 later. :)

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Re: ever use only one synth for a full song? (Solvent)

Post by Rooftree » Sun Feb 12, 2012 11:17 pm

James Mandible wrote:
stephen wrote:Interesting article.... one man and his poly800

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2011/10/w ... new-label/

That is a cool article and nice music too! I'll be keeping it in mind when I fire up my 800 later. :)
+1 I'm so glad I read that article. I keep getting bogged down with my home studio for various reasons. I'm ready to stop worrying about the gear and start focusing on the music a lot more.
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