The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Recommended gear for sound design/ambient
Old 4 days ago
  #1
Recommended gear for sound design/ambient

Hi all,
I'm a hobbyist musician and a computer programmer. Making music in my free time is a hobby.

I usually write computer programs in Haskell to generate SuperCollider programs (and I write SuperCollider at times); and I am very interested in sound design in particular. I really like music with deep, evolving pads, arps, breakbeats, and in general things that are somewhat dark but yet rich in harmonic content. Good sound design is a great hobby.

Apart from that, I'm also a Linux user, and I'm now setting things up for audio production at home. I already own the nifty Korg Minilogue XD; and I love what that little synth can do.

Recently I started thinking of investing in yet more gear, and something that can really enhance my workflow: which currently is:
- write some sounds in SuperCollider or Csound (rarely)
- Sample them; and compose them with other sounds to experiment; and in the process start coming up with tracks.
- Write programs to compose tracks together
- Experiment on the minilogue; route the audio to my computer in case I'd like to sample something and play with it.

I bought (to try out) the Electron Octatrack Mk2 recently; and it is an impressive machine. I wanted something that can double up as a sequencer/sampler (and even a mixer!) so the Octatrack really fit the bill there. However, I find that it doesn't really satisfy the itch to design sounds; something similar to what the Minilogue does for me (although one may argue that the Minilogue, speaking of synths in general, is also quite limited). The Octatrack is a great tool as a central control unit; something that can wire in audio from other instruments and such (it is really handy for sampling sounds from the Minilogue, for example); but it is expensive. And it is a machine that doesn't particularly interest me from a musical perspective. It deals more with ad-hoc synthesis and experimentation rather than deliberate sound design: that is; knowing the kind of sound you want instead of happy accidents.

Given that I'm a complete noob when it comes to picking a good synth, I was thus wondering: given my approach to this, what synth would be recommended if I were to return the Octatrack and get a synth instead?

Thanks a lot in advance.
Old 4 days ago
  #2
Quote:
Originally Posted by asheshambasta View Post
deliberate sound design
... mostly depends on in-depth familiarity with the synthesis engine of choice. The better you know the synth, the easier you will be able to get close to the sound you desire from it.

Then there is a tradeoff in immediacy versus depth. Deep synths will give you a wider pallette to eventually draw upon, but will take more time invested to develop the capacity to wield them deliberately and efficiently. So, you need to decide on a balance point between deep-complex-hard versis immediate-limited-easy.

You also don't really give us much to go on in terms of the sounds of synthesis you do and don't like. FM is quite different to additive, compared to wavetable and pure analogue for example. You also don't say much about how important effects are in the synthesis process for you, nor about what sort of interface you are after (keys? sequencing? patch memory? etc).

So ... the scope of your question is therefore so wide that I don't know where to begin.

Here is some food for thought - which of these are in your ballpark? Which are anathema to your preferences?

Also, lurking in the wings of any 'sound design' objective is modular ... just waiting to eat up all of your disposable income for the rest of time ...
Old 3 days ago
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambiguous signal View Post

Then there is a tradeoff in immediacy versus depth. Deep synths will give you a wider pallette to eventually draw upon, but will take more time invested to develop the capacity to wield them deliberately and efficiently. So, you need to decide on a balance point between deep-complex-hard versis immediate-limited-easy.
Yeah, good point. I'm not that keen on immediacy: just something that I can tinker with and then trigger using a midi signal (via a keyboard or computer); is fine. And that, ofcourse on a limited budget.

Quote:

You also don't really give us much to go on in terms of the sounds of synthesis you do and don't like. FM is quite different to additive, compared to wavetable and pure analogue for example. You also don't say much about how important effects are in the synthesis process for you, nor about what sort of interface you are after (keys? sequencing? patch memory? etc).

So ... the scope of your question is therefore so wide that I don't know where to begin.
Fair. I think given I'm not an expert and I'm far from a professional; I'd say I'm interested in all kinds of synthesis at this time. My likes are not specific enough yet.
Having said that, I do find Granular synthesis very interesting: it is not that difficult to come up with dreamy soundscapes with granular synthesis; and something more focussed on that could be nice.

Quote:

Here is some food for thought - which of these are in your ballpark? Which are anathema to your preferences?

Also, lurking in the wings of any 'sound design' objective is modular ... just waiting to eat up all of your disposable income for the rest of time ...
I will look at the options in that link and see. About modular walls, I will say I have a hard limit on my budget when it comes to music. The budget is for time and for money. Both of them are quite limited at the stage; so I will keep myself to smaller digital synths.
I also don't imagine myself with the patience to patch things, and remember that; and all the cleaning a modular synth will need :-).
Old 3 days ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 

What's the budget exactly?
Old 3 days ago
  #5
Gear Addict
 

You already have a good analog synth maybe it's good to look for something digital to cover some other ground.
Best cheap synth for ambiënt is a Waldorf Blofeld, very deep engine and good for sounddesign too, have a look on youtube for Blofeld ambiënt to get a good impression.
A Novation Peak or a Hydrasynth if you can stretch your budget a little more would be great for ambiënt and sounddesign.
Old 3 days ago
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToyBox View Post
What's the budget exactly?
Something under a 1000€. I'd like to buy something instead of the Octatrack mk2 that I have under a trial period at the moment.


Quote:
Originally Posted by willem1958 View Post
You already have a good analog synth maybe it's good to look for something digital to cover some other ground.
Best cheap synth for ambiënt is a Waldorf Blofeld, very deep engine and good for sounddesign too, have a look on youtube for Blofeld ambiënt to get a good impression.
A Novation Peak or a Hydrasynth if you can stretch your budget a little more would be great for ambiënt and sounddesign.
The Waldorf Blofeld sounds pretty great! So do the rest of the synths! These soundscapes are immense.
Old 3 days ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Sharp11's Avatar
 

You could, with just your miniloque, make a solid ambient album by pairing it with different types of delays and reverbs, distortion generators and for bonus points, processing real sounds through those items (usually plugins these days), exploring the sophisticated automation of the modern DAW - you'd be amazed and impressed by the results, and the stereo spread.

I have a couple of pieces where I've generated pads using a piano and electric guitar as sources, then taking the reverb return (recently using the free plugin Valhalla's Supermassive) , sampling it, and using it as a bed - adding distortion, and filtering.

I love ambient because if you can dream it up, you might actually be able to do it, or at the very least, do something else that's unexpected.
Old 3 days ago
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by asheshambasta View Post
Hi all,
I'm a hobbyist musician and a computer programmer. Making music in my free time is a hobby.

I usually write computer programs in Haskell to generate SuperCollider programs (and I write SuperCollider at times); and I am very interested in sound design in particular. I really like music with deep, evolving pads, arps, breakbeats, and in general things that are somewhat dark but yet rich in harmonic content. Good sound design is a great hobby.

Apart from that, I'm also a Linux user, and I'm now setting things up for audio production at home. I already own the nifty Korg Minilogue XD; and I love what that little synth can do.

Recently I started thinking of investing in yet more gear, and something that can really enhance my workflow: which currently is:
- write some sounds in SuperCollider or Csound (rarely)
- Sample them; and compose them with other sounds to experiment; and in the process start coming up with tracks.
- Write programs to compose tracks together
- Experiment on the minilogue; route the audio to my computer in case I'd like to sample something and play with it.

I bought (to try out) the Electron Octatrack Mk2 recently; and it is an impressive machine. I wanted something that can double up as a sequencer/sampler (and even a mixer!) so the Octatrack really fit the bill there. However, I find that it doesn't really satisfy the itch to design sounds; something similar to what the Minilogue does for me (although one may argue that the Minilogue, speaking of synths in general, is also quite limited). The Octatrack is a great tool as a central control unit; something that can wire in audio from other instruments and such (it is really handy for sampling sounds from the Minilogue, for example); but it is expensive. And it is a machine that doesn't particularly interest me from a musical perspective. It deals more with ad-hoc synthesis and experimentation rather than deliberate sound design: that is; knowing the kind of sound you want instead of happy accidents.

Given that I'm a complete noob when it comes to picking a good synth, I was thus wondering: given my approach to this, what synth would be recommended if I were to return the Octatrack and get a synth instead?

Thanks a lot in advance.
Check out the Korg Wavestate. I would get that one plus a decent effects unit for the Minilogue.
Old 3 days ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
namnibor's Avatar
Any instrument through lots of reverbs, delays, slow attack long releases gets you there.
Old 3 days ago
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Bignatius's Avatar
Wavestate + H9 Max
Old 3 days ago
  #11
Would also recommend the Blofeld . Add Effects ( OTO ; Strymon ... ) if you don t have some yet ; and dive . Very powerfull engine ; loads of modulations ; deep programming posibilities .


PEACE


MORDICUS
Old 3 days ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 
fiddlestickz's Avatar
Just buy a good poly synth and dig in deep.. a VA or analog or digital doesn't matter, Korg prologue is amazing, so is Prophet 6, REV 2 and OB6, a Nord lead or even the Analog keys will suit you well, the later is an amazing machine fro sound design, you get everything, keys, sequencing, effects, poly etc etc..
Old 3 days ago
  #13
Lives for gear
 
Moonwhistle's Avatar
 

If you’re fond of granular I’d look into iOS. Lotta good granular instruments on there.
Old 3 days ago
  #14
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by namnibor View Post
Any instrument through lots of reverbs, delays, slow attack long releases gets you there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MORDICUS View Post
Would also recommend the Blofeld . Add Effects ( OTO ; Strymon ... ) if you don t have some yet ; and dive . Very powerfull engine ; loads of modulations ; deep programming posibilities .
MORDICUS
Yes, with some good delay and other effects it's easy to get an ambiënt sound with almost everything.
In software Valhalla is great, in hardware one of my favourites is the GFI Specular Tempus; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoUH5gkX8uY

Some clips of the possibilities of a Blofeld in different areas;
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...feld+multimode
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ObFreJvrhk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIwymCjoDxc
Old 2 days ago
  #15
Lives for gear
 
polybonk's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by asheshambasta View Post
I'd say I'm interested in all kinds of synthesis at this time. My likes are not specific enough yet.
Having said that, I do find Granular synthesis very interesting: it is not that difficult to come up with dreamy soundscapes with granular synthesis; and something more focussed on that could be nice. I will keep myself to smaller digital synths.
The Waldorf Iridium fits exactly your needs.
Old 2 days ago
  #16
Gear Addict
 
John Difool's Avatar
 

Korg Wavestate or a used Access Virus
Old 2 days ago
  #17
Indeed, out of the budget constraint, but it's hard not to say Iridium.


seems pretty much perfect for what you want to do, considering your interests.
Old 2 days ago
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by clusterchord View Post
Indeed, out of the budget constraint, but it's hard not to say Iridium.


seems pretty much perfect for what you want to do, considering your interests.
Quote:
Originally Posted by polybonk View Post
The Waldorf Iridium fits exactly your needs.

The Iridium looks fantastic; thanks for suggesting. I found myself lost in some of its demo videos and it does seem like the synth can do incredible things.
It is, however, at the current time, way out of my budget.

Another thing I keep thinking about with these hardware synths is when compared to something like SuperCollider, they still seem to be a subset of the functionality you can get out of SuperCollider code. But I guess immediacy has its price.

SuperCollider can be paired with midi controllers though; and you can pair the controls with whatever you like.
📝 Reply
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
🖨️ Show Printable Version
✉️ Email this Page
🔍 Search thread
♾️ Similar Threads
🎙️ View mentioned gear
Forum Jump
Forum Jump