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Your programming habits?
Old 28th June 2009
  #1
Registered User
 

Your programming habits?

I've been sitting down lately to solely program, not really create music. What I do is listen to some of my favorite music and pick out a synth part that I really like and get as close as possible to the original sound that I'm hearing. I'm not so experienced with synthesis and programming synthesizers, but after a while of this, I've gotten frighteningly close to the sounds that I'm trying to recreate. Not 100%, but I'd say a solid 90%-95% of the way there. I was surprised.

What I want to ask is do you guys do the same thing? Go into this and program solely by 'tone' and not the actual science of synthesis? I've been doing it lately and I've began to not care what the textbooks say. I go by my ears and once I get to the desired result after turning so many knobs not even knowing exactly what they do, I save the patch.

I also want to ask how you store/archive your patches, and how you remember all of the settings. I'm programming so I can USE these patches so there's a predicament: sometimes I don't remember how I ultimately got there. Turning random knobs and listening to its effect on the tone, that's how I program, so it can maybe suck in the end if you don't know how to get right back where you were from scratch. I guess all that matters is if you got there in the first place eh?
Old 28th June 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
shadowfac's Avatar
 

I always start from an "Init" patch, which usually consists of a single sawtooth oscillator with a fully open lowpass filter and all envelopes set to full sustain and zero decay/release. Or, in the case of FM synths, a single carrier/modulator pair with a 1:1 frequency ratio.

I never tweak knobs at random. I do like to experiment and try new things, but I'm a very technical person and I have to know what I'm doing, even if I'm not sure of what the result's gonna be. Then again, I'm enjoying the Pulse's random patch feature.

Sometimes I'm in the mood for just making sounds, so I choose a synth, make a bunch of sounds, improvise a bit, and save the sounds as presets. Other times I'm working on a song and need as specific type of sound, so I'll program and tweak it until it fits my needs.
Old 28th June 2009
  #3
good question

to organise things use the name of the instrument and a short refence to a song (hard_snare_*SONG)
if that is too boring, do whatever you want heh
anyway... try to save everything of one song IN ONE PLACE as well as a copy for general use
Old 28th June 2009
  #4
Gear Nut
 

I had to do that for assignments in college, helped a lot.
Old 28th June 2009
  #5
Lives for gear
 
shadowfac's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reptil View Post
good question

to organise things use the name of the instrument and a short refence to a song (hard_snare_*SONG)
if that is too boring, do whatever you want heh
anyway... try to save everything of one song IN ONE PLACE as well as a copy for general use
Hah... I never do that. Many of my sounds are simply called "Init Patch" or "Basic Patch"... I'm sometimes too lazy to name them. Others are "Bass1" or "Pad4".

I never recreate my songs, though. Once it's finished, I'm done with it.
Old 28th June 2009
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowfac View Post
Hah... I never do that. Many of my sounds are simply called "Init Patch" or "Basic Patch"... I'm sometimes too lazy to name them. Others are "Bass1" or "Pad4".

I never recreate my songs, though. Once it's finished, I'm done with it.
mine have names like
BASSSSSSS!!ja
or
HIHAT***03b-2
or
BLOOOOBBBB

but I try heh
Old 28th June 2009
  #7
Here for the gear
 

I don't think there is anything wrong with randomly trying things, but would add when I end up with something useful this way I find it important to see why it sounds the wait it does after the fact.
Old 28th June 2009
  #8
when i was starting out, nad had my first synth poly800, and later w JX10 and JD990.. i was verx much into recreating sounds i knew in my sound memory from records ive listened to zillion times.. esp 70s stuff like tangerine dream, saga, genesis

i wasnt like listening and comparing back n forth, it was more like an impression of the original sound how it stuck in my mind.. sometimes i got close, sometimes this got me different, even more interesting results.


so all together , it sure is fun, you learn a lot, and also you end up w some very useful sounds that might later become a part of your sound.. even if they started out as an attempt of recreating someone elses.
Old 28th June 2009
  #9
I always start from scratch and create patches for that particular song I'm currently working on. I just decide what I need for the song and then do it. I don't create libraries which I could use later.
Old 28th June 2009
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
I like to start with Init/Manual, but I don't make libraries. With the Alesis Ion, I didn't even bother that much to save sounds - I'd get back where I want pretty quickly anyway. With the Juno-60 - well, it's almost permanently set to Manual. I still have to load up my old patches from 1992 one day.

I've made a recording of this to educate someone - I ended up where I intended to end up (after 5 minutes or so - slow, because otherwise you wouldn't hear the transitions and reasoning for the choices). Effects are 100% internal except for a teensy bit of reverb thanks to the TC M300.

For beginners, the advice to "just go tweak those knobs, dude" is IMHO not what they need. My experience is that they're far too impatient and miss one critical factor; it's not the synth alone that does the job; there's far more involved, and often that's as interesting (or even more!) than the initial job of the sounddesign itself.

A systematic approach doesn't keep you from experimenting; it just makes the journey faster. You yourself can control how fast, so I don't see it as an impediment to creativity.
Old 28th June 2009
  #11
I never start with an init patch - that way I'd always use the same few paths.

I prefer starting from a different patch every time I create something, but I like to start from "the opposite angle", e.g. from a pad when I need a bass, or from a 303-ish arpeggio when I need an atmo.

But when I'm really lazy or I want to concentrate on the song rather than on the sound, I take something close to the desired sound and tweak it until it fits...

And I confess to have some favorite presets I'd never change (that M1 Organ Bass thingie for example, or the 05r/W Hackbrett).

Cheers,
Bert
Old 29th June 2009
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
killedaway's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Magic Hoof View Post
What I want to ask is do you guys do the same thing? Go into this and program solely by 'tone' and not the actual science of synthesis? I've been doing it lately and I've began to not care what the textbooks say. I go by my ears and once I get to the desired result after turning so many knobs not even knowing exactly what they do, I save the patch.
i think this method is acceptable when you're first starting to learn programming and synth usage in general, but i think it will (it did for me) lead inevitably to more frustration than fun in the long run.

if you're just noodling around, randomly cranking knobs and envelopes this way and that, sort of "blind", that's one thing. but if you're consciously trying to recreate specific patches with any sort of accuracy, you really owe it to yourself to learn the basics of programming, signal flow, and specifically what each function on a given synth does. by familiarizing yourself with your synth, you will find that recreating existing sounds -- or more importantly, getting imagined sounds out of your head! -- will be easier, certainly faster, and, more likely than not, a lot more fun.

i went thru such an experience myself: i spent my first year or two buying a handful of synths, and just pushing buttons, turning knobs, and crossing my fingers. i seldom got close to the results i wanted, though of course there were a few happy accidents, here and there. more importantly, i found myself frustrated and bored when i would create "dead end" patches, where i couldn't get them out of a certain range, be it the filter, the LFO, etc... even more annoying was when i would accidentally create a great sound, and then when i wanted to take it in a slightly different direction, i would have no clue how to do that! personally, i spent a lotmore time not knowing how to do things than i did learning how to do them right.

eventually, i forced myself to learn things properly: i pored over every manual, watched dozens upon dozens of online videos of programming techniques and lessons, asked the "stupid" questions (no such thing, i know!) on forums, and spent some quality time with each synth; i would carefully going over the front panel as well as the nested or menu items, listening carefully to what each function did to the sound, and paying special attention to signal routing until i could make the darn thing do what i wanted.

so to answer your original post, nowadays, i do enjoy just randomly tweaking knobs, adding and subtracting various oscillators, warping the pitch, amp, etc., and i always start from an initialized patch. but the great thing is that when i do trip across a bit of gold now and then, i can quickly and (usually) easily fine-tune it to my needs, the "rest of the way", all the while with a firm understanding of how it gets there.

except for FM.
(but i am learning!)

as for nomenclature, i tend to give my patches silly names (if the synth lets you spell them, that is), or really colorful names, so i can quickly remember what it is later, without necessarily having to audition it (ie: KA RubberSynth, or KA 303ish, KA UglyPad). i also stick my initials in the title so i know what's mine, amongst the presets (if i haven't already deleted them). i also try to group basses, pads, leads, FX, etc., each in their own spaces, like basses in 01-24, leads in 25-51, etc.

as for remembering settings, that goes hand-in-hand with learning your synth properly. that enables you to dial up a patch, play it, and know, just by hearing, which filter type you're using, what it's set at, how many oscillators you're using, what your amp and filter envelopes are doing... honestly, once you make the effort to try to learn, you'd be surprised by how quickly you'll figure it all out.
Old 29th June 2009
  #13
Registered User
 

Thanks for all of the advice
Old 29th June 2009
  #14
Gear Guru
 
Derp's Avatar
All of my patches have names that I can't really retype here. Giving them obscene names helps me to remember the sound better for some reason. It is funny when I sell a synth and forget to initialize the patches, though. heh
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