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Annoying Synth Questioning!

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Pinny
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« on: May 29, 2009, 08:59:49 »

Alright Fambles?

I'm using a load of VSTs at the moment, I've gone through all the big ones I'm hearing about (Papen ones, Massive, Korg Legacy etc) but I always keep going back to massive. I'm still having trouble getting REALLY wicked sounds though. Everything sounds kind of flat, it's particularly hard to get a nice punchy sub bass sound.

So, am I missing out on any obvious plugins, should I be using samples, or do I just need to keep twiddling my knobs and reading tutorials and shit?

Sorry for the begging, it's getting a bit frustrating innit.

Chijack Two Thumbs
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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2009, 09:17:46 »

It's hard to say exactly, but if you're not getting a good sub sound, then I suspect the first problems are your audio interface and monitors combined with the room that you work in as any synth set to a sine wave will get a sub sound and if needs be a boost around the 100hz mark will increase the drive of the bass and a boost around 40-60hz will increase the low energy.

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« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2009, 09:41:14 »

I think the main problem is that I don't really know what that means... I mean I get what the terminology refers to, but don't really know how do do what you're talking about. I want to avoid doing a course if at all possible though Undecided

So I can do this frequency boosting with like a simple 7 band EQ thing? Or should I be using something more technical?

Sorry man, I know you're not my teacher and ting, really appreciate the response. Two Thumbs
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« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2009, 09:45:48 »

When it comes to digital EQ one ain't that different from the next if you use a fully variable one. But for ease I always use the Waves SSL EQ (expensive, but can be found "elsewhere" at a very "discounted" rate) cos the bell curves, range etc are copied from a very very musically nice hardware EQ, meaning its much quicker to get good results. I always boost my bass sounds at 40-60Hz and again at 90-130Hz, plus a bit more around 1.5k if you're going for a buzzing bass sound like a saw wave. Also for added phatness I'll often write a buzzing bassline with MS20 or whatever and lay a pure sine tone under it, an octave below the buzzing bass. Route them to the same group and compress the group et voila, much needed added sub.

FYI I use a sample-based VSTi called Spectrasonics Trilogy for the vast majority of my basslines, and (bizzarely) a theramin emulator called Spook Keys for my pure sine wave tones.
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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2009, 09:52:34 »

Great stuff V-Gnomey, respect cha.

Any more people who can help who maybe aren't so technically mind boggling? I really want to avoid having to learn stuff. Layman's terms? Or is that not possible?
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« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2009, 10:00:22 »

Great stuff V-Gnomey, respect cha.

Any more people who can help who maybe aren't so technically mind boggling? I really want to avoid having to learn stuff. Layman's terms? Or is that not possible?

Load synth - load EQ plug in on insert or use EQ on channel - Boost the low EQ until you speaker cones break = Phat bass agwan  Bad Teeth
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« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2009, 10:05:41 »

Fair do's, I don't really EQ stuff at all at the moment, so this is gonna make a big difference if I do it yeah? Should I mainly be keeping it to bass sounds or using it across everything, boosting the relevent frequencies like?
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« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2009, 10:28:35 »

Fair do's, I don't really EQ stuff at all at the moment, so this is gonna make a big difference if I do it yeah? Should I mainly be keeping it to bass sounds or using it across everything, boosting the relevent frequencies like?

EQ is a very subjective problem. Some things need boosting, usually though cutting frequencies is the way to go, but it is all dependent upon what the sounds are and how they work together. It's an art and a science.
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« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2009, 10:41:39 »

EQ is a very subjective problem. Some things need boosting, usually though cutting frequencies is the way to go, but it is all dependent upon what the sounds are and how they work together. It's an art and a science.

Definitive... So cutting frequencies is done with HP/LP filters?
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« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2009, 10:57:32 »

EQ is a very subjective problem. Some things need boosting, usually though cutting frequencies is the way to go, but it is all dependent upon what the sounds are and how they work together. It's an art and a science.

Definitive... So cutting frequencies is done with HP/LP filters?

There are HP, LP and Band Pass as well as notch filters, but you tend to find the first three on most EQ plug ins. Band Pass with variable Q (Q stands for quality, changes the shape of the "bell") are usually the most used filter when EQing, and HP and LP are often used to get rid of big chunks of unwanted audio, ie rumble from a microphone held in the hand would be removed with a HP filter set at around 150hz.

Usually with bass music, trying to seperate the energy from the kick and the bass is the biggest problem, as bass has a lot of energy and the two overlap frequencies. Having good monitoring and a treated room can help, but a lot of it is down to experience and experimentation.

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« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2009, 11:18:14 »

i tend to use subtractive EQing.. ie.. taking away parts on the eq that aren't vital to the sound.. i.e lead lines take away the low low end, and or subs and low bass cutting away the top of the EQ a bit.. not massively, and each sound will have its own amounts to take away and boost but it tends to give a clearer mix asit gives each sound spaces to breathe as it where..

make any sense?
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« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2009, 11:47:36 »

Yeah that makes sense, nice one Nags.

So basically the answer to my original post was:

Quote
I just need to keep twiddling my knobs and reading tutorials and shit

Cheers for taking the time people Two Thumbs
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« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2009, 11:52:46 »

Fair do's, I don't really EQ stuff at all at the moment

 Shocked I know you keep saying you don't wanna learn, so here's a menu of what I consider essential learning. Learn this bit and it'll up your game massively. It isn't even that complicated really, you can learn it all by buying Sound on Sound or Future Music of Computer Music for a few months, especially if they've got a tutorial special on. Plus you get a free DVD with samples and software and usually a tutorial vid from a high profile producer.  Two Thumbs

1. Signal routing - learn how to use sends, sub-busses and groups in your sequencer of choice, and how all the signals are moved around from place to place.

2. EQ - learn what all of the controls do, and a vague guide to how to apply them. As BP says its an art, but it starts best with a pinch of science. For instance there's certain frequencies where different types of sounds have their "root", "body" and "presence". Emphasising these frequencies and cutting others can make sounds phatter and leave more room in the mix

3. Compression - Can be confuddling. Read a brief description in SoS or whatever but mostly experiment with it til your brain "gets" what its doing. Its hard to put in words, but very recognisable once you're used to it. I don't know anyone who can live without a decent compressor once they've met it.


@Tekton: I use subtractives, usually. Although sometimes the shape of the bell on a +ive emphasis sounds nicer. I do always run my compression post-EQ though, so the whole thing is pulled back up after subtractive EQ in a much nicer way than straight gain boosting.
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« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2009, 12:26:08 »

Thanks man, I do use compression these days but don't really know what's happening apart from it sounding nicer.

Any more info on this signal routing malarkey would be much appreciated, it's a big old grey area for me. If anyone knows about doing all this shit with massive then that would be super rad.
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« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2009, 12:27:00 »

@Tekton: I use subtractives, usually. Although sometimes the shape of the bell on a +ive emphasis sounds nicer. I do always run my compression post-EQ though, so the whole thing is pulled back up after subtractive EQ in a much nicer way than straight gain boosting.

yeah i tend to chain the Eq > compression as well..  Then maybe a few re-tweaks if needed.. tbh my approach tends to change a little depending on if its a synth line or drums and also on different synths but was just trying to give pins here a rough idea of what subtractives about
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« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2009, 12:48:10 »

I really want to avoid having to learn stuff. Layman's terms? Or is that not possible?


This seems like an odd attitude towards production to be honest. If you want to make well produced music your gonna have to learn stuff it won't just magically sound good.
You don't need to do a course to learn it but it is worthwhile reading up a bit about audio processing and signals. I feel the best way of learning, in this respect, is through implementation and the more you do something the more you will begin to understand it, however if you don't know what your doing to start with its all stabs in the dark. If you understand what compression, EQ, gates etc do it will aid you wen thinking about how you might use it,
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« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2009, 13:35:55 »

ok im no expert but i think its a bit misleading to start talking about bass by talking about eq and compressors and the like. it should be possible to get most of the low end synth sounds you want without adding too many fx. You need to appreciate that the basis of a punchy sub ass sound is:

A LOW ASS FATTY SINEWAVE AT 30-50Hz

ie dont muckabout trying to get your subs out of square or saw waves, cos you wont.

start with that, get yr groove on and then, if you want, build it up with more low/mid tones, maybe from another synth playing the same pattern as your sub. eg for a reece, get two square waves, phase them (ie get them slightly out of sync), add a low pass filter and yr done. or for a wobble, get a square wave and lfo low pass filter it with the res at about 2 thirds. or to add different mid/lo character to yr sub, get two mid sinewaves and multiply them (ie use fm/cross mod). just muck about till you get something you like.

Then once youve got yr synths sounds sounding how you like, tweak them up with eqs. Really this goes for any sounds which are overlapping, but you want to make sure that there isnt too much 'crowding' of a certain frequency band or itll sound muddy. use a frequency analyser to workout what frequency each sound is taking up...eg if youve got two sounds which cross into 80hz, use an eq to take down the 80hz range on one of the sounds.

as someone already said, it is best to take away than to add using an eq, though subtle boosts can add a lot to the mix.
as another rule of thumb, you cant polish a turd. if your synth sounds super shit without fx then yr prob going to be tweaking for ever.

all the stuff fx chaining is fine for more complex sounds (pads, keys etc), but for goodness sake get to grips with yr instrument ( Perv, mmmhmmm, yummy *rubs hands* ) before ninnying around with too many fx.

might be helpful if you describe/post some of the kinds of sounds youd like to make and people could give tips...
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« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2009, 13:43:51 »

I really want to avoid having to learn stuff. Layman's terms? Or is that not possible?


This seems like an odd attitude towards production to be honest. If you want to make well produced music your gonna have to learn stuff it won't just magically sound good.
You don't need to do a course to learn it but it is worthwhile reading up a bit about audio processing and signals. I feel the best way of learning, in this respect, is through implementation and the more you do something the more you will begin to understand it, however if you don't know what your doing to start with its all stabs in the dark. If you understand what compression, EQ, gates etc do it will aid you wen thinking about how you might use it,

It was a flippant and jocular approach to the subject, obviously I want to learn stuff or I wouldn't even be considering asking about on here. I really want to learn it, more than I've ever wanted to learn anything probably. Sorry if I offended your sensibilities though. Welcome to the internet. Bad Teeth
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« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2009, 13:45:12 »

sorry - realised ive repeated a lot thats already been said. reading the thread again, it looks like you need to get some basic synth functions sorted ie filters, envelopes, lfos etc.

never used Massive, so i dunno, but perhaps youd be better of starting from scratch and learning the basics on something real easy like synth1:
http://www.geocities.jp/daichi1969/softsynth/synth1v107.zip
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« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2009, 13:59:16 »

ie dont muckabout trying to get your subs out of square or saw waves, cos you wont.

The lowest component (root) of a 40Hz square wave is a sine wave of 40Hz. The difference between a sine wave and a square wave is the addition of odd harmonics (3rd, 5th, 7th up to infinity for a perfect square) at decreasing volumes. So your square wave contains that elusive sine wave already. In theory if you subtractive EQ the top end of the bass a lot, boost the bottom/sub a bit, compress and gain-boost then you get all the sub you could want. Here's a slide: http://www.cs.wustl.edu/~jain/cse473-05/ftp/i_3phy/sld014.htm

Having said that I still use pure sine tones for sub as its much much easier to manage the root tone on a separate channel. Then I add a square/saw/acoustic bassline on top, but its important to remember to high-pass it so its' root tone doesn't clash with the sine tone.

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« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2009, 14:01:08 »

A LOW ASS FATTY SINEWAVE AT 30-50Hz

Nice one... So what keys/octaves or whatever represent what frequencies? I guess that's where I'm getting stuck a bit by the sound of it...
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« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2009, 14:06:49 »

A LOW ASS FATTY SINEWAVE AT 30-50Hz

Nice one... So what keys/octaves or whatever represent what frequencies? I guess that's where I'm getting stuck a bit by the sound of it...

http://www.phy.mtu.edu/~suits/notefreqs.html  Two Thumbs
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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2009, 14:31:58 »

ie dont muckabout trying to get your subs out of square or saw waves, cos you wont.

The lowest component (root) of a 40Hz square wave is a sine wave of 40Hz. The difference between a sine wave and a square wave is the addition of odd harmonics (3rd, 5th, 7th up to infinity for a perfect square) at decreasing volumes. So your square wave contains that elusive sine wave already.


of course i knew this already Bad Teeth
still, i found bass became a lot easier once i realised what i was really after ie teh sien

dunno about which notes it is pins - see how low you can go Wink
can anyone recommend our man a freeware combined spectrum analiser/eq so he can see what hes doing?
seem to recall i got one from here: http://www.voxengo.com/ but cant remember which one it was.
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« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2009, 14:35:47 »

what program are you using Pins? some have built in analyzers on the eqs. logic 8 for example
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« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2009, 16:23:38 »

I think fl has some analyzers, I just never knew what to do with 'em. Now I'm gonna end up spending all of this glorious weekend in my flat listening to the same sounds over and over Doh!

It's a bloody addiction this stuff
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« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2009, 16:25:09 »

It's a bloody addiction this stuff

I know right they should fucking tell folk before they start. Its fucking sunny outside, wtf am I doing in here? Fucking Steinberg. Cunts.
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« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2009, 00:18:55 »

ie dont muckabout trying to get your subs out of square or saw waves, cos you wont.

The lowest component (root) of a 40Hz square wave is a sine wave of 40Hz. The difference between a sine wave and a square wave is the addition of odd harmonics (3rd, 5th, 7th up to infinity for a perfect square) at decreasing volumes. So your square wave contains that elusive sine wave already.


of course i knew this already Bad Teeth
still, i found bass became a lot easier once i realised what i was really after ie teh sien

dunno about which notes it is pins - see how low you can go Wink
can anyone recommend our man a freeware combined spectrum analiser/eq so he can see what hes doing?
seem to recall i got one from here: http://www.voxengo.com/ but cant remember which one it was.

http://www.voxengo.com/product/SPAN/  Two Thumbs
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« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2009, 17:45:59 »

Noice whan
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« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2009, 11:22:36 »

I'm back!

I haven't made one decent tune since making this thread... It's doing my head in. I'm probably just over thinking it I guess, I just can't seem to get the punchyness I'm after though Sad

Can anyone suggest any other good synths or effects and stuff to use? I'm mainly using massive at the moment but whenever I get a half decent sound out of it, my computer flids out and comes with the blue screen of death!

What should I do?!
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« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2009, 11:31:28 »

I'm back!

I haven't made one decent tune since making this thread... It's doing my head in. I'm probably just over thinking it I guess, I just can't seem to get the punchyness I'm after though Sad

Can anyone suggest any other good synths or effects and stuff to use? I'm mainly using massive at the moment but whenever I get a half decent sound out of it, my computer flids out and comes with the blue screen of death!

What should I do?!

You could get a better computer. Bad Teeth Try turning on autosave, if you haven't got the ctrl+s habit down. I don't use autosave cos all too many times it tries to save whilst its already doing something intensive and causes a crash. I tend to ctrl+s every 20 minutes or so though, learned that one the hard way.

I've never used Massive but everyone else seems to have a hard-on for it, I'm sure good sounds are possible. I'd personally try the Korg Legacy stuff. Also the reFX Plasticz is quite nice, I find myself using it surprisingly much for glitch-esque synthery. Although Plasticz isn't really functionally the same as "normal" synths; its well easy to get nice sounds out of it, but it don't teach you much about standard synthesis techniques.
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« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2009, 11:37:40 »

I'm back!

I haven't made one decent tune since making this thread... It's doing my head in. I'm probably just over thinking it I guess, I just can't seem to get the punchyness I'm after though Sad

Can anyone suggest any other good synths or effects and stuff to use? I'm mainly using massive at the moment but whenever I get a half decent sound out of it, my computer flids out and comes with the blue screen of death!

What should I do?!

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan06/articles/pcmusician.htm Tips regarding the BSOD
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« Reply #31 on: July 16, 2009, 11:38:40 »

I'm back!

I haven't made one decent tune since making this thread... It's doing my head in. I'm probably just over thinking it I guess, I just can't seem to get the punchyness I'm after though Sad

Can anyone suggest any other good synths or effects and stuff to use? I'm mainly using massive at the moment but whenever I get a half decent sound out of it, my computer flids out and comes with the blue screen of death!

What should I do?!

You could get a better computer. Bad Teeth Try turning on autosave, if you haven't got the ctrl+s habit down. I don't use autosave cos all too many times it tries to save whilst its already doing something intensive and causes a crash. I tend to ctrl+s every 20 minutes or so though, learned that one the hard way.


or better still ctrl+shift+s

I have also learned the hard way..
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« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2009, 11:42:08 »

haha I've got that'un too. Its save every 15-20 minutes, then save a copy about once every 2 hours or so. Yet I'll still lose at least some small something somehow every few months. One time I thought I'd lost all my music, sample collection and everything dating back 7 years. I was fucking gutted. Got it back though.  Cheesy
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« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2009, 11:44:41 »

haha I've got that'un too. Its save every 15-20 minutes, then save a copy about once every 2 hours or so. Yet I'll still lose at least some small something somehow every few months. One time I thought I'd lost all my music, sample collection and everything dating back 7 years. I was fucking gutted. Got it back though.  Cheesy

that would probably be a suicide-inducing fail.
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« Reply #34 on: July 16, 2009, 13:02:40 »

I save all the time, it aint that... I too have been baptised in a fiery manner regarding that little gem. A better computer would be the answer I guess. Undecided

Will have to try and find a demo of that Plasticz thing... Anyone feel like sharing? Perv, mmmhmmm, yummy *rubs hands*

I've got the Korg thing but it makes my head go funny, not exactly the most user friendly of the bunch I've encountered.
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« Reply #35 on: July 16, 2009, 13:36:21 »

I save all the time, it aint that... I too have been baptised in a fiery manner regarding that little gem. A better computer would be the answer I guess. Undecided

Will have to try and find a demo of that Plasticz thing... Anyone feel like sharing? Perv, mmmhmmm, yummy *rubs hands*

pretty sure you can find it heavily discounted online man.
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« Reply #36 on: July 16, 2009, 13:49:10 »

pretty sure you can find it heavily discounted online man.

I was hoping that someone may be aware of a link to one of these "heavily discounted" locations
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« Reply #37 on: July 16, 2009, 14:25:51 »

pretty sure you can find it heavily discounted online man.

I was hoping that someone may be aware of a link to one of these "heavily discounted" locations

perhaps
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« Reply #38 on: July 16, 2009, 14:35:24 »

It's a bloody addiction this stuff
Its fucking sunny outside, wtf am I doing in here? Fucking Steinberg. Cunts.

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« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2009, 17:25:50 »

what platform you on? PC? Mac?
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« Reply #40 on: July 16, 2009, 18:37:05 »

pontoon bridge?
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« Reply #41 on: July 17, 2009, 01:33:55 »

I'm back!

I haven't made one decent tune since making this thread... It's doing my head in. I'm probably just over thinking it I guess, I just can't seem to get the punchyness I'm after though Sad

Can anyone suggest any other good synths or effects and stuff to use? I'm mainly using massive at the moment but whenever I get a half decent sound out of it, my computer flids out and comes with the blue screen of death!

What should I do?!

Pins,

There are two issues here. One is that your computer is unable to run high end softsynths. Then other is that you have jumped in at the deep end without an understanding of basic synthesis. May i suggest that NI stuff is exactly the wrong software to be using, as it is notoriously cpu hungry and generally quite complicated. If you would like to learn how to use synths to make the sounds you would like, you might benefit from doing the following:

1) Use less complicated software.

There is nothing less conducive to learning, being creative and having fun than software which teeters constantly on the brink of collapse. If possible, I would recommend switching to Ableton or Reason, as these contain lots of inbuilt instruments and effects. Using self contained environments will be a lot more stable and consistent than using dodgy cracks b2b substandard freeware. Ableton still allows you to use external VSTs if you must. Reason does not. Both are very cool and easy to use.

Do not worry that there may be slightly less features on ableton or reason synths than on Massive. As we shall see below, this does not really affect the range of sounds you can make.

2) Modularize

OK I made up this word, but it means that you should break what youre doing down into simple chunks. Massive bundles up a load of things - a couple of synthesisers, a bunch of effects, a sequencer/arpeggiator...i dunno what else, ive only watched a couple of minutes of the demo. The point is, unless you know what each thing does and how it fits into a sound design workflow, you wont be able to purposefully design your sounds.

Think of your synth sound as a smelly girl getting ready for a night out.

Now think of Massive as some high tech beauty parlour or boutique where lots of bizarre and exotic treatments are carried out. You havent got a clue how to operate all that jazzy manicuring equipment have you? You dont know which of the countless fragrances you should apply for maximum effect, what cosmetics and mudpacks to use, or how to crimp/straighten hair.

But you do know that if her legs are stubbly, they need a shave. Or that she needs a good old fashioned scrub down with some soap and water and maybe a blob of head and shoulders. And you can probably get one of her friend to put some makeup on her, some clean underwear, a nice dress and shoes and shes good to go. In a club you wont notice a pedicure anyway.       

So get your ass onto Subtractor (Reason), Analog (Ableton), Synth 1, or a real analogue synthesiser, go to one of the oscillators and load up a simple sine, square or saw wave: This is your smelly girl. Notice that while her aroma is somewhat 'natural', this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact it has many attractive qualities, many of which you would not like to obscure.   

Next comes the shaving - use the amplitude ADSR envelope to alter the shape of the note's loudness. The sound can be flat and continuous, or it can come in gradually (by raising the 'attack' value) and you can change the way it ends - abruptly, or fading away into the night...

Then the scrubdown - use the filter to control which of the frequencies (aromas) you might like to keep, and which you might want to get rid of. The resonance emphasises the point at which you have cut the frequency. The filter ADSR envelope will help you shape the way the filter acts on your raw sound as it plays.

(Many synths have a pitch envelope as well with which you can make your sound drop or rise - i cant think of a good analogy for that. More often than not, synths will also allow you to map amplitude, pitch and filter to low frequency oscillators (LFOs) letting you modulate or "wobble" these values as you see fit. While wobbling the filter is the most well known technique, subtley wobbling amplitude or pitch at high frequencies can also add a lot of character and depth to a sound)       

So thats the basics - tweaking the amplitude, filter and pitch. Sure shes not looking quite tip top and you wouldnt want her going to a club like that, but its a damn sight better than what you had before and youre most of the way there.

So far youve been selectively taking away stuff (bad smells, leg stubble etc) - now its time to add the touches to make her look really hot. The basics here are delay, chorus/flange, distortion and reverb. Now i dont know a lot about applying makeup, but it is generally understood that less is more, so go easy - You dont want to make her look like a complete tramp. You want her natural beauty to shine through, and remember that shell be on road with a group of friends (other sounds) so get her to wear something suitable. Finish off with some fine eq tweaking and compression and yr done.   

Thats kind of where the analogy breaks down - but hopefully you get the picture. if you follow that kind of workflow (oscillator -> amplitude/pitch/filter -> fx -> eq/compression/dynamics) not only will you have more control of the sound, youll find it easier to learn what everything does. Then, in a couple of years time when you have a better computer and want to go back to Massive, itll be a doddle Two Thumbs
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« Reply #42 on: July 17, 2009, 07:05:56 »

  Cheesy

/\ /\ /\
Excellent post!

I learned on a shite computer with reason, after a failed attempt to figure cubase out. I used reason for about 5 years before switching to cubase. Much much easier second time around, and found that i had a better workflow, hence did not rinse the shit out of the computer quite so badly. Another good thing about reason is how you can see it all as hardware. You learn a lot that way, what with all the cables/routing.

Nb. Isn't ni massive knackered anyway? My mate bought it without one of these 'online discounts', and his copy is apparently about as stable as a whale on a tightrope...

Nothing more to add really!

Love the analogy.
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« Reply #43 on: July 17, 2009, 09:18:15 »

Cheesy Nice one Butt Naked!

@Tekton; I'm on a PC Sad

The thought of tucking into new software frightens me, I've been using Fruity for about 4 years but only just got into using synths, I was mainly using samples and patches before. So I have an understanding of all your attack/sustain/etc, but the more technical elements of synthesis escape me at present. I really just use fruity as a sequencer these days; so would it be a big advantage for me to get onto another program and figure it all out again? Sounds long when I essentially only use it to piece together my plugins these days...

I feel like I do have an understanding of what all the bits of massive do now tbh, but it can be hit and miss and VERY frustrating when it makes my computer go aidsy, so I will def get my hands on some of these more basic synths and give the knobs a twiddle (pause).

Thanks again though Butt Naked, that post was exactly what I was after with this thread... Analogising synthesis to the pum was a stroke of genius! Grin

Oh by the way if you want to hear any of the tunes I been making prior to using all this confusing new stuff, download the link in my sig. I've got a few new tunes which are sounding  meaty which will be coming out to play before too long, but I really want to get the technical aspects locked off so I can consistently get a sound I'm happy with before inflicting my ineptitude on your collective ears for the second time. Watch this space famalams!
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« Reply #44 on: July 17, 2009, 09:18:55 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs
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« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2009, 09:30:42 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs

what do you mean by HOOK mate?  If you mean writing something catchy i'm afraid its a case of learning some scales and playing about with different note progressions, keep at it you'll find something in the end.  Two Thumbs

and for your chunkier bass, EQ, exciters etc, maybe a touch of compression sound help, basically play about with your plug ins.
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« Reply #46 on: July 17, 2009, 09:31:17 »

@Tekton; I'm on a PC Sad

nowt wrong with that!

would it be a big advantage for me to get onto another program and figure it all out again?
yes and no. FL is sweet, but its essentially a drum machine with a few bits bolted on. I used that for a while but once you get stuck in to Reason or poobase there really is no turning back imo. Just more complete, more pro sounding, easier to work with, more versatile...

Back to analogies... Think of little corner shop vs. super deluxe shopping boutique.. sure you can get tea bags and bog roll at the corner shop, and it will only take 5 minutes, but go to the boutique and you can get the top draw connoisseur shit, but it may take an hour and cost a little more...

imma out of a job at the moment so if u want to 'borrow' some softwares and do some learnings i got plenty of time on my hands.

EDIT: as this is a nerdy music tech thread, would like to point out that is is post number 909 for plodocus!  NERD ALERT!  Slayer
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« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2009, 09:44:03 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs

what do you mean by HOOK mate?  If you mean writing something catchy i'm afraid its a case of learning some scales and playing about with different note progressions, keep at it you'll find something in the end.  Two Thumbs

Man no matter how much practice you get, writing melody is always hit-and-miss. Its got so much to do with mood imo, if your head ain't in the right place you'll keep on making up hooks and melodies that sound like bad impressions of Nick Cave b2b Morrissey and, lets face it, its not a good look.
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« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2009, 09:46:38 »

imma out of a job at the moment so if u want to 'borrow' some softwares and do some learnings i got plenty of time on my hands.

That's a well generous offer mate, I got Block Party showing me some ropes next week too but more is more when it comes to learning innit... I would like to take you up on that in the coming weeks if that's cool Smiley
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« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2009, 09:47:04 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs

what do you mean by HOOK mate?  If you mean writing something catchy i'm afraid its a case of learning some scales and playing about with different note progressions, keep at it you'll find something in the end.  Two Thumbs

Man no matter how much practice you get, writing melody is always hit-and-miss. Its got so much to do with mood imo, if your head ain't in the right place you'll keep on making up hooks and melodies that sound like bad impressions of Nick Cave b2b Morrissey and, lets face it, its not a good look.

oh aye true as you say, but having a rough idea of some musical 'rules' can be of benefit. Makes things a little clearer sometimes
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« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2009, 09:51:11 »

imma out of a job at the moment so if u want to 'borrow' some softwares and do some learnings i got plenty of time on my hands.

That's a well generous offer mate, I got Block Party showing me some ropes next week too but more is more when it comes to learning innit... I would like to take you up on that in the coming weeks if that's cool Smiley

yeah man -aint exactly an expert as such but happy to help...  Two Thumbs

its mostly about using your ears tbh, and remembering how you did something that sounds cool!
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« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2009, 10:03:35 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs

what do you mean by HOOK mate?  If you mean writing something catchy i'm afraid its a case of learning some scales and playing about with different note progressions, keep at it you'll find something in the end.  Two Thumbs

Man no matter how much practice you get, writing melody is always hit-and-miss. Its got so much to do with mood imo, if your head ain't in the right place you'll keep on making up hooks and melodies that sound like bad impressions of Nick Cave b2b Morrissey and, lets face it, its not a good look.

so u been listening to my tracks av u.. nick cave / morrissey is it  Embarrassed........ i promise to do better  Bad Teeth

@ tekton -- i dont have any keyboard skills so i just press record and fuck about until theres some sort of tune then il put that in different vsts' and wot not and play with the midi notes whilst twisting me knobs ... i think its me rather than the pc or progs im using , gonna have to learn piano
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« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2009, 10:08:08 »

remembering how you did something that sounds cool!

I'm fucked then!

Nah not really. And yeah, everything I've learnt so far has been from pure experimentation and using my ears, and whilst that works great from a composition standpoint I feel like the technical aspects are where I'm letting myself down. Like I've made tunes that sound sick in my yard, but then when I hear dem in a mix or in a club it just lacks the fully manicured and mastered grunt of the other tunes around it. Not good if you're trying to get DJs to play your shit. So it's time to crack open the make up!

Thank the lord for the kind denizens of the Hijack Desk forum Smiley
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« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2009, 10:19:51 »

some good stuff in here.... im in the same sort of place as pins.. dont really have a prob building the tracks but when it comes to the b-line i just cant seem to get the HOOK or the fat punchy-ness that most tracks have, i liked the dirty bird way of doing things  Roll Eyes..  im gonna have a go at shaving her legs later  Two Thumbs

what do you mean by HOOK mate?  If you mean writing something catchy i'm afraid its a case of learning some scales and playing about with different note progressions, keep at it you'll find something in the end.  Two Thumbs

Man no matter how much practice you get, writing melody is always hit-and-miss. Its got so much to do with mood imo, if your head ain't in the right place you'll keep on making up hooks and melodies that sound like bad impressions of Nick Cave b2b Morrissey and, lets face it, its not a good look.

so u been listening to my tracks av u.. nick cave / morrissey is it  Embarrassed........ i promise to do better  Bad Teeth

@ tekton -- i dont have any keyboard skills so i just press record and fuck about until theres some sort of tune then il put that in different vsts' and wot not and play with the midi notes whilst twisting me knobs ... i think its me rather than the pc or progs im using , gonna have to learn piano

just have a look online mate, theres plenty of sites with scales and stuff on. just bookmark it or note them down and have a play mate.  Two Thumbs
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« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2009, 10:28:36 »

remembering how you did something that sounds cool!

I'm fucked then!

Nah not really. And yeah, everything I've learnt so far has been from pure experimentation and using my ears, and whilst that works great from a composition standpoint I feel like the technical aspects are where I'm letting myself down. Like I've made tunes that sound sick in my yard, but then when I hear dem in a mix or in a club it just lacks the fully manicured and mastered grunt of the other tunes around it. Not good if you're trying to get DJs to play your shit. So it's time to crack open the make up!

Thank the lord for the kind denizens of the Hijack Desk forum Smiley

yeah its mostly about mixing, that is, giving everything space to breathe...

less is often more too. If you find yourself adding yet another melody over a tune or whatnot, ask yourself why you are adding it. does it add anything to the tune, or are you adding it simply because what you already have sounds wrong...

I used to constantly write a weak drum loop and then i would put loads of other stuff over the top, layer after layer, all muddy and indistinct.
each part sounded alright, fair enough, but all together it was too much.

ideally, every single sound in a tune would occupy its own area in the frequency range, with no other sounds creeping into it. in practice this is very difficult to achieve. 'voxengo gliss eq' makes the task easier imo. you can see visually which frequency the bass resides in, for example. then when you add a melody or hook, you can try try to make sure it doesnt overlap the bass frequency.

you can set each track as a different colour in gliss eq, and thus make sure they overlap as little as possible


this means that when you mix the tune, everything has room to be beefed up and tweaked without affecting other bits.



EDIT: mastering is a different beast though. a lifetime of training and stupendously good hearing are needed to really do this well.

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« Reply #55 on: July 24, 2009, 14:03:10 »

Easy mate
 
I've just skimmed through this thread and it seems like there's some really good info and tips in it. As General Butt Naked says though (love your hot chick analagy), it's quite detailed and some of it is maybe getting a little convoluted between simple and fairly advanced studio techniques.
 
I've no idea what level you're at so this info could all be totally basic to you so apologies if so. If you're still relatively new to producing though then I wouldn't get too bogged down in things like compression (although for ease, a lot of the compressors come with presets for different sounds ie 'kick drum compressor' which is a good starting point). A lot of producers barely use any compression anyway so it's not the be all and end all. I'd worry more about just getting your head around basic synthesis - oscillators and waveforms, filtering, lfos etc. A good way I find of working out what's going on in a new synth is starting with a preset that you like and then breaking it down to it's simplest form by removing all the routing and effects it's going through. Then trying to recreate this in perhaps a blank preset on the same synth.
 
With regards to eqing, a good way of looking at it is like filling a chest of draws. Say it's got three draws in it - treble, mids and bass. You've got to be able to close all the draws at the same time so there's no point ramming all your frequencies into one draw as this wont shut (ie sound good). Therefore just try and think about this when you're selecting your sounds. If you do this in the first place there'll be less trouble later on. Then when doing your final mixdown, think about the three shelves and try and keep a balanced level of frequencies within each parcel. EQing is a pretty simple concept once you get your head around it and can make a huge difference in your sound so it's worth reading up on. A quick tip, if you don't already, is to try removing the bass on all your mids / highs (this rule can vary of course but 90% of the time is true). Takes 2 seconds and can immediately remove a lot of 'mud'.
 
Going back to your original question, I always use samples for sub (in mono) - this usually means a sine preset on EXS24 (logic sampler). I'd then layer this with some mid-range bass (with the low end filtered out) from a synth. Contradictorily to this, to perfectly layer your mid with sub it's often a good idea to use the same synth for mid and bass. In using the same vst you can set automation (lfo etc) at identical rates meaning they sync up as one.
 
Finally just thought I'd mention that I've been producing on and off for roughly 4 years. The first 3 (1 of which was spent without a computer) I really just spent my time writing music and in the process of this I got my head around the basics of sequencing, arranging, sampling, synths, effects etc. During this time I began to get the basics of equing and layering naturally. After a bit of a break the idea of 'mixing' became a lot more clear in what I was trying to achieve. I guess my point is that the engineering / mixing side of things comes with time so don't get upset if your tunes don't sound like Sub Focus's or Coki's or whoever straight away so keep at it. Time and effort is the key.
 
Good luck
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« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2009, 12:33:21 »

lately ive been trying out reason again - id forgotten how great it is, especially for someone like me who has a duff computer. absolutely sturdy as a horse, improved sound engine, amazing new synth, all the old bits, plus a combinator which allows for ridicolous routing and modulation possibilities. just made a chorus feedback synth which processes white noise hits...great fun for all the family   
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