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recursion loop

Do you mostly use software or hardware synths in your tracks?

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Padmapani    379

just a hobbyist here, but i use only software. diva wipes the floor with the analogue synths it's based on. i see no reason to use any hardware synth (except of course a real 303. up to now there's no emulation that gets it quite right). good softsynths offer much more functionality and stability while sounding just as analogue as real hardware and being much cheaper.

what i couldn't live without, but many producers — even professionals — don't have is a midi keyboard. i need to play notes to find  my melodies/progressions and like to twist some knobs to find better sounds/automation. i think that the midi keyboard offsets any disadvantages that having only softsynths brings.

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recursion loop    465

Yeah, for someone who started making music with computer the things like total recall, unlimitied instances, no cables is super important. Interesting, for the people who started with hardware years back it's the other way round, they often say that the sound is good but they can't get past the software workflow.

 

Diva is great, I don't really feel the need to get anything analogue as I have it. There were  more accurate analogue emulations released after it, like the new Synapse Audio Minimoog clone, but I don't even care - Diva is good enough. But there are still no convining emulations of Virus or Waldorf synths (there is Largo but people often say that even Blofeld sounds very different, let alone the older synths like MicroQ). Also I'm not sure how well Discovery does Nord, never owned one but I've heard a number of Nord demos online which I'm not sure Discovery could recreate. 

 

I've noted that when I was using only softsynths, my output sounded more or less similar to modern prog/full-on sound, maybe not as good mixed and mastered but with similar clarity and presence in sounds, when I switched to Virus, my tracks started to sound like mid 00's psy, not as clear and bright but subjectively more "alive".

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Padmapani    379

Yeah, for someone who started making music with computer the things like total recall, unlimitied instances, no cables is super important. Interesting, for the people who started with hardware years back it's the other way round, they often say that the sound is good but they can't get past the software workflow.

 

Diva is great, I don't really feel the need to get anything analogue as I have it. There were  more accurate analogue emulations released after it, like the new Synapse Audio Minimoog clone, but I don't even care - Diva is good enough. But there are still no convining emulations of Virus or Waldorf synths (there is Largo but people often say that even Blofeld sounds very different, let alone the older synths like MicroQ). Also I'm not sure how well Discovery does Nord, never owned one but I've heard a number of Nord demos online which I'm not sure Discovery could recreate. 

 

I've noted that when I was using only softsynths, my output sounded more or less similar to modern prog/full-on sound, maybe not as good mixed and mastered but with similar clarity and presence in sounds, when I switched to Virus, my tracks started to sound like mid 00's psy, not as clear and bright but subjectively more "alive".

exactly. i often fiddle around with patches a long time after creating them, solving mixing problems in the synth - not possible with a "oldschool" analogue synth. i copy channels to make variations of patches all the time, sometimes to try out things, sometimes because those few notes sound a lot better with more sync (or whatever); in the middle of the creative phase i often have 80 instances of zebra, 20 instances of diva plus a few others, up to 150 channels - all that is not possible with hardware. i would have to change my workflow 100%.

 

diva is pretty accurate imho. i've done a patch that sounds almost indistinguishable from the original shine on you crazy diamond synth. just a little fatter, because i don't have to worry about fitting it into a track. if i don't hear a difference then it's accurate enough for me. but that's not too useful for psytrance and not even the best thing it can do. minimoog oscillators with jupiter filters and that awesome ensemble chorus is just divine. try to do that with hardware ;)

 

i thought the virus and nord lead were digital synths anyway? so basically a softsynth in a box...

 

i honestly think that we don't have to choose anymore nowadays between precision/clean sound and warmth/alive sound (if we don't want to). 10 years ago it was different with all the digital synths sounding digital (albino with that cheap plastic sound was immensely popular), but virtual analogues have become so good in the last few years that we can have both. it might not always work out that well, but i'm pretty sure that that's due to lack of skill on my part and/or mixing errors...

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Veracohr    106

Not that I've written any music recently...but pretty equal for me. The software is much more versatile but I just get more satisfaction out of using hardware.

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recursion loop    465

i thought the virus and nord lead were digital synths anyway? so basically a softsynth in a box...

 

They surely are digital. Virus TI is a softsynth in  a box, but it was coded by a team of audio engineering and sound-design experts, while most softsynths are made by one or two coding enthusiats.  I think Virus sounds better than an average softsynth and has wider range of sweet spots. It is close to Diva in tems of overall sonic warmth and presence but has much more options for shaping the sound.

 

I never owned a Nord, but people say that DACs are important part of its sound. NL4 has better (cleaner) DACs and I've read more than once that because of this it doesn't sound as great as NL2 or 3.

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recursion loop    465

Really can't decide for myself.... Which track has better sounding synths? One is 100% plugins, another one is nearly 100% Virus TI, how do you think?

 

 

 

Both are flawed by amateurish production, ofc, but anyway:)

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Padmapani    379

i like the synths from the top track more. is that the virus? the bottom one sounds more "flat", "software-ish" and not as exciting.

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recursion loop    465

Virus is the second one

 

The first track was mastered by the label and the second one I mastered by myself, so it may also have smth do do with this, I usually do very moderate limiting and try not to make other drastic changes to the sound like exciters and stuff.

 

For the sake of more accurate comparison, another plugin track mastered by me (top cheesy fullon, lol)

 

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antic604    499

Anyone has any experience with Usine's Holyhock software?

 

It looks mindbogling - the possibilities seem endless:

 

 

 

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Padmapani    379

For the sake of more accurate comparison

i'm now listening properly with monitors and don't find any inherent difference between the tracks concerning the synth-sound. still the first one you posted is my favourite, even though the bass sounds a bit over-hyped now with monitors. but that's probably because it imho has more interesting/unconventional patches than the other two :)

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mundo    5

Virus TI is a digital synth... and sounds worse than the vsts released in the last several years (aliasing in the highs!!!)

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recursion loop    465

i'm now listening properly with monitors and don't find any inherent difference between the tracks concerning the synth-sound. still the first one you posted is my favourite, even though the bass sounds a bit over-hyped now with monitors. but that's probably because it imho has more interesting/unconventional patches than the other two :)

Thanks for listening! 

 

Actually when making sounds in Virus I guess I subconsciously copy the patches which were overused in psytrance since early 00's cause it's really easy - I twist some knobs and get exactly the same squelch or fart as I've heard in countless tracks. When working with plugins I basically try to do the same things but end up with something completely different. 

 

Well, what's good about Virus is that it's possible to make complete tracks using it as the only soundsource, it has VA, FM, sync, dedicated oscillator for these huge trance saws, various exotic wavetable modes and great filters and effects. The plugins are usually like: this one is good for this sound, that one is good for that sound.

 

Yes, Virus aliases like a pig but aliasing is not always bad and the absence of it is not always good.

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I guess both.

I mainly use two analog synths: Waldorf Pulse and Juno 106

That said, I have been playing around with Ableton's Melody -> Midi conversions with my guitar and then simply applying a soft synth internally on top of those midi notes.

I may very well route those to the Pulse or something, but for now they are chilling internally.

 

I have no problems with soft synths. I definitely use a fake 303 emulator as well. I just really love the psychedelic crisp sounds from my Waldorf and the warmth of the 106 together. They pair and accompany each other greatly.

 

And, much like the conversation in another thread about being forced to write within a framework or within boundaries, having a smaller selection of tools to use can keep things sounding cohesive and also force new approaches to reach common goals.

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recursion loop    465

Yeah, even despite these great analogue emulations owning a knobby analogue synth may be a completely different experience.

 

Sometimes I'm thinking about picking up something like a Minibrute or Basstation, I guess it would add nothing sonically but having physical knob-per-function interface may encourage other approaches to tweakig the sounds.

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antic604    499

Yeah, even despite these great analogue emulations owning a knobby analogue synth may be a completely different experience.

 

Sometimes I'm thinking about picking up something like a Minibrute or Basstation, I guess it would add nothing sonically but having physical knob-per-function interface may encourage other approaches to tweakig the sounds.

 

I toyed with this on at the shop - it's sound incredible, is very small / handy and looks absolutely lovely!

microbrute-red-image.png

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Taika-Kim    42

I used almost exclusively software for almost 15 years, but after I got some modular stuff etc five years ago or so, I realized what every softsynth is missing. And I'm not one to be impressed with hype easily. Like Diva, yeah it sounds good, but the originals sound better judging from Youtube videos that I saw. Just my opinion.

 

Then again, software can do a lot of stuff (Reaktor, Alchemy, etc...) that hardware struggles with. But this limitation is also getting dim, since a lot of new eurorack stuff is purely digital too.

 

And there is the question of interface. With stuff that has a physical control for everything, you can achieve a level of flow when tweaking, that is just impossible with software, unless you spend ages doing custom control settings for every synth.

 

But mostly: people should just use whatever they like :D I think these days the hardware marketing craze is getting out of hand. I'm in a Facebook synth group where people hoard up synths, but mostly do not have time to create music... Because they have jobs and families and whatever, and buying stuff is just another hobby to compensate for the lack of time available for music. Do not fall into this! :D

 

Also using a lot of outboard gear saves the CPU... Samples are almost processing free. Good luck using 10 instances of Diva with best settings in a project with an older computer. I don't like buying stuff that gets obsolete, but current desktop is from 2011 when I bought it used, and I have no plans to upgrade in years. A good analog synth on the other hand, will still be relevant in 30 years time. (I'm talking about quality stuff like Studio Electronics here, I'm not sure how the new mass produced stuff lines up)

 

But most of all: just make the music, you can do 100% fantastic stuff with only free software these days! And using limited options might even be better for your learning and creativity.

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Martian Arts    49

Hardware, not because it is "better" but because I don't like to look at a computer screen when I make music.

 

There's brilliant software around nowdays. U-He synths are the bomb and cover everything from old analog Roland synths, to complex digital modular soundscapes that make it to Hollywood blockbusters.

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recursion loop    465

U-He synths are hit and miss. Diva is great and so is Bazille. A bit tricky to program but I'm planning to get a license soon and then I will try to wrap my head around it. The factory presets sound great but I don't want to use them for obvious reasons.

 

Don't like Zebra, great concept but not so good sound (hope they will improve the sound engine in v3 if it ever happens, was announced in 2012 and still no ETA of release). Hive is meh, both the sound and the fetaures.

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Martian Arts    49

Fair enough, I think Zebra sounds absolutely great for bold digital sounds, but tastes and all that jazz.

With regards to programability, you can do insane evovling sequences on it, as portrayed by Hans Zimmer is the Dark Night.

 

Never tried Hive.

 

One thing to consider, is putting a soft synth through a nice pre amp with an analog filter before the output. Yes you are paying money that can buy you a very nice hardware synth for say an Elektron Heat, but it makes a night/day difference to the sound.

 

Even overdriving slightly the pre amps of the channels a soft synth is going through, on a Mackie 1604, makes a world of a difference to the sound.

 

If hardware is not an option, get Soundtoyz Decapitator and put every soft synth, through that. Different modes fit different sounds, better, so there is a bit of trial and error, but such is the nature of engineering.

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recursion loop    465

I may give Zebra another go I still have a license. Actually it was my first softsynth, I wasn't so good at programming it back then so I give up and bought another synths.

 

I love the sound of my Virus but generally I prefer software for workflow reasons. There is a Virus emulation currently in the works, I think may go full sofware when it is released,

it seems to sound close enough from the demos.

 

https://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=470486

 

I know Soundtoys make great stuff, but I don't want to deal with Ilok. I have Satin and Saturn which I think are also good for slightly warming things up.

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antic604    499

@Nactarios, I forgot to ask that in the interview, but do you really have those wave forms tattooed on your fingers like in the avatar? If so, that's so awesome!!! :) 

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Martian Arts    49

Yup these are tattoos. I forgot the noise waveform on my thumb...but I guess when I am old and wrinckly they'll all be noise ;)

 

Virus is a classic synth. Zebra can get in the same ballpark but I have used Zebra and I have had 3 Virus synths (B rack, Polar TI, C) before I ended up with the Indigo 1 which I am going to keep.

 

I always end up doing different things with the Virus which goes back to what I said, when I don't use a computer I end up programming things differently.

For example, I much prefered the sounds I made on the Virus C than I evern did on the Polar TI...cause I was using the Virus control plug in...even though the Polar TI does a lot more than the C.

 

Of course this is just me feeling more inspired when programming a physical synth with a certain tactile insteraface and has nothing to do with the any of the afformentioned being the "better" synth.

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