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Help me hook up Headphones to my Synths!! SUGGESTIONS PLEASE! Effects Pedals, Units & Accessories
Old 13th September 2011
  #1
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Help me hook up Headphones to my Synths!! SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!

I have $30,000 worth of synths and I'm a little confused here. Do I need different headphones for analog and digital synths????????? Are analog headphones better than digital ones?




Just kidding.
Heres my real reason for posting.

I've been writing music for over 25 years. I've either written on a guitar or piano. My songs have always been structured in a way that I would say is similar to the Beatles. In other words a more standard verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/verse/chorus/outro. I usually noodle around and come up with a chord progression or a riff and then build from there. The parts come out as I play and experiment. Electronic music seems to be a completely different approach. This is one of the reasons I've been bit hard by all of this.

What I'm wondering is if any of you hear sounds/songs in your head without noodling around and are able to create the sounds and parts you hear in your head? I find this very intriguing because I'm sure there are people that can hear a sound in their head and then walk up to their synth and create it within minutes. How many of you can do this and how long did it take you to get to that point? And how many of you hear songs in your head first before playing around on an instrument and finding an idea that way? Rarely with the kind of music I've written my whole life have I come up with a song in my head first. Only a few times. But with electronic music I have a ton of ideas in my head that I know at this point I'm incapable of properly creating. It's a little frustrating not being able to capture it exactly but I'm thoroughly enjoying my journey with synthesizers and wouldn't want to skip any steps of the learning process regardless of how eager I might be. And I have to say that it wasn't until I started hearing sounds in my head and trying to figure them out on my synths that I started the beginning stages of really learning synthesis. Hours have become minutes.
Old 13th September 2011
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo Starr View Post
Electronic music seems to be a completely different approach.
Yes and no.

Trance w/ vocals, for instance, tries to adhere to the pop structure as you mentioned; but that's because in those cases you can almost always replace the kick/snare with just a 4 to the floor kick and end up with a song that works just as well.

Electronic music is pretty wide, though - so it might help a lot if you could tell us what you want to focus on first.

Quote:
It's a little frustrating not being able to capture it exactly
Use your mobile phone or buy a pocket recorder and sing/hum it. Then you at least have pinned it down, which makes the transition from sketch to working demo easier.

When I analyse sounds I try to strip them and take them apart; first you mentally remove the effects like delay, reverb, chorus and phaser. You can do this if you've internalized what several sounds sound like with those effects applied; even stuff you wouldn't normally consider. Turns out that in some cases it's the effect doing all the work; setting up a phaser with some particular settings on a single saw wave can create a morphing, almost vocal-like effect that's impossible to achieve otherwise.

Always keep in mind that you don't have to obey any laws when recreating sounds; if layering solves the problem then you should use layering. You're a sucker for punishment if you try to do it all in one patch by using parallel filters (or worse, a single filter and then asking yourself how the hell they did it while only getting frustrated).

Sounds are rarely dry. You don't even have to use the synth's internal effects - anything is fair game. There are lots of distortion flavors; you'd limit yourself (or bump into walls) if you insist on using the one that happens to be built into the synth itself.
Old 13th September 2011
  #3
Well yeah I can see why (if your talking house or techno) coming at it from the traditional song writing angle might be frustrating. Personally in my mind I usually have, not a 'song' as such but a sound, a vibe, a feeling in my head. This can be percussive and non melodic too. I try and recreate that, often its a feeling I've had on a great night out at a great club.

Maybe try getting away from the regular, chorus/verse thing. Make a jacking techno techno track with no melodies or sections as an experiment.


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Old 13th September 2011
  #4
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Zombie H's Avatar
 

What I find works well for me are two approaches

1) do not try to record a specific song at all - simply play play and play some more while emptying my head and have the record on the whole time. Then go back and pick out some good elements and use those as starting points. Some of the best stuff I get is unconscious music that just happens, you just learn to get yourself in a zone.

2) structured melodies and harmonies - hear the song in my head and then attempt to recreate that sound. Solfege training really helps with this and understanding harmony.

Another good trick is to start a basic song with one part and then add a second complementary part which plays against the first. Then remove part one and use the second bit as the actual basis for the song
Old 13th September 2011
  #5
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atma's Avatar
why not just maintain your method of composition, starting with a guitar, piano, etc., and then once the structure is there worry about the actual synthesis/sounds?
Old 13th September 2011
  #6
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Dave Peck's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo Starr View Post

What I'm wondering is if any of you hear sounds/songs in your head without noodling around and are able to create the sounds and parts you hear in your head? I find this very intriguing because I'm sure there are people that can hear a sound in their head and then walk up to their synth and create it within minutes. How many of you can do this and how long did it take you to get to that point?
Not to brag, but I can often do this. I first learned how to patch synths using things like an Arp Odyssey and 2600 and I paid attention to learning about how sound works in general rather than what a specific synth control does, what the audio waveform is actually doing and WHY some particular thing happening in a synth sounds the way it does (how harmonics work, why a sawtooth sounds like a sawtooth and why a square wave sounds like a square wave, what the filter is actually doing to the sound, what a ring modulator is actually doing to the waveform and WHY it sounds the way it does etc.)

Once you know how sound works and why things sound the way they do, you can get to the point where you might imagine a sound like 'rapidly rotating backward bells' and you can pick it apart in your head and know how to make it from scratch before you start turning any knobs.

Of course, that doesn't mean I make every sound by starting with a detailed idea. Sometimes I just mess around and see what happens, but it still helps if I know what I'm doing while I'm messing around.

It's like this - if you want to be able to reliably get where you want to be (making the sound you hear in your head), you need to understand how to read a map and how to drive. Of course, once you're on the road, you can just go straight to your destination, or you can allow yourself to explore some side roads along the way, but without the map & driving skills you're likely to get lost and never get where you want to be.
Old 13th September 2011
  #7
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Gringo Starr's Avatar
 

Thank you everyone for the good advice.

And Yoozer you pointed out some obvious things that I needed to hear. I think I have gotten stuck trying to do it all on one synth with somewhat limited experimentation with other gear etc.

Zombie, I have done the exact thing you mentioned many times. It works great sometimes. Many times a riff or idea has ignited an entire song and then at the end stages I remove the initial piece.

Thanks again everyone! One day when I get the courage I will post a song here. :-)
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