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VST(i) that doesn't sound 'loopy' Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 29th August 2015
  #1
Question VST(i) that doesn't sound 'loopy'

Hi forum-visitors from around the globe (or where-ever you may currently find yourself)

I'm looking for a soft-synth (VSTi) or FX-plugin (VST) that can make a single (musical, not sound-effect) note, when held continuously (like 5 minutes for example), sound like it's NOT a loop-on-repeat.

I'm trying to avoid the static sterile 'perfect' sound, without ending up with something that gets too spacey/scifi/all-over-the-place either.

A subtle scintillating texture, or a subtle continuously evolving texture, or just something that keeps the sound from sounding repetitive without tearing the tone completely apart or drowning it in some strange filter-effect or never-ending reverb.

(And preferably not a sample-bank, because I don't have any of the popular players for those)

Thanks


EDIT: These synths/plugins have been suggested in this thread so far (thanks for helping me out ) :
-Omnisphere
-Reaktor
-Aalto and Kaivo (Madrona Labs)

Last edited by JEL; 1st September 2015 at 05:52 AM.. Reason: adding names of suggested plugins to list to keep track
Old 29th August 2015
  #2
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Omnisphere
Old 29th August 2015
  #3
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Something that will let you modulate LFOs with other LFOs and which may also have a random modulator in it as well. Mix LFO that doesn't retrigger on each note-on with random and send to another LFO (be subtle). Then go modulate some stuff with that. Wavetables work well. Job done.
Old 29th August 2015
  #4
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Mania's Avatar
 

There's a thing called modulation that a lot of synths have, that should sort you out. Also, this cool concept called detuning.
Old 29th August 2015
  #5
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greggybud's Avatar
Reaktor.
Old 29th August 2015
  #6
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LejonBrames's Avatar
 

Even just subtle use of modulations plugins like Chorus, reverb, saturation will help give that effect.
Old 30th August 2015
  #7
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Try this, can be used with other synths:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QfkNIw_qLQ
Old 30th August 2015
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Omnisphere
Thank you
I do know that name, but I'll have to check into that one some more to see if it's for me.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ZangTumblyTumble View Post
Something that will let you modulate LFOs with other LFOs and which may also have a random modulator in it as well. Mix LFO that doesn't retrigger on each note-on with random and send to another LFO (be subtle). Then go modulate some stuff with that. Wavetables work well. Job done.
Yes... but what is that 'something' that has all this
That might just be the 'something' I'm looking for.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mania View Post
There's a thing called modulation that a lot of synths have, that should sort you out. Also, this cool concept called detuning.
Any recommendations on which synths I should check out first?
Synths that are anti-sterile (I haven't really had much luck in finding any myself)


Quote:
Originally Posted by greggybud View Post
Reaktor.
Another name that pops up here and there. I don't really know anything about this one, but I'll check it out and see what it's about.
Thanks for the suggestion


Quote:
Originally Posted by LejonBrames View Post
Even just subtle use of modulations plugins like Chorus, reverb, saturation will help give that effect.
Which plugins would you suggest?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Youn View Post
Try this, can be used with other synths:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QfkNIw_qLQ
Thank you
Old 30th August 2015
  #9
Had a look at omnisphere and reaktor, but aren't sure they're really what I'm looking for.

It's not big pads I'm after, but a sound that is void of digital sterility.

A synth or fx that brings me closer to this kind of sound:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMvBnEvuBuA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BE5a26szQc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9AD17ZOtbo

It's hard to describe what exactly is going on, but it certainly is more intricate and involved than I can achieve with standard plugins that does chorus/flanger/phaser/delay/reverb/detune.
Old 30th August 2015
  #10
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Looks like you actually want some bagpipes?
Old 31st August 2015
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Looks like you actually want some bagpipes?
As the octopus said "play them? I was trying to make love to them".... Rim Shot!

BTW, the name may be loopy but I'm not a looper. I meant loopy, like let's just say "happy".... hahaha!
Old 31st August 2015
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Looks like you actually want some bagpipes?
Yes I DO hate my neighbors...

Actually, I want the vitality and liveliness that you can hear in these performances These videos were just some of the better examples I could think of. It could be the sound of a live flute as well, or a solo human voice for that matter. I just hear something in this sound that I can't do with any soft-synth I know of yet. I don't mean how the interface is played, since a keyboard or midi-flute is obviously not responsive in the same way an actual bagpipe is. I refer to how the sound is never static, not even the drone. It has a 'fluffiness' to it, or whatever you want to call it. I'd love to get closer to that within the digital realm somehow
The same kind of 'imperfection' you'd get if you try to hum a single note with your voice for as long as you can. Even if you're the best singer, the sound will be far from the static sterility you get with a 'perfect' softsynth.

Here's another example. This time a human voice:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGmvXGBBfjs

And here's a cello full of spirit:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx8pbeNBrik

So it's not really the tone I'm trying to achieve, but the flexibility, dynamics, or perhaps even crudeness or spirit if you will (or whatever word covers it better )
A big pad on a softsynth can be great, but I'm just after some means of getting closer to the kind of lively sound you hear in those video-examples (at least as far as a VSTi will take me)


Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
As the octopus said "play them? I was trying to make love to them".... Rim Shot!
I think the octopus is on to something
As somebody once said: "If music be the food of love, play on"
Old 31st August 2015
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEL View Post
Had a look at omnisphere and reaktor, but aren't sure they're really what I'm looking for.
Omnisphere and Reaktor are 2 very different things.

Omnisphere is 1 synth vst with a huge sample library and a synth engine that varies the samples.

Reaktor is an environment that hosts "ensembles" (just like any vst instrument or effect) where you can build from scratch, or download hundreds of factory ensembles, or thousands of user made ensembles some of which are 15 years old. Some ensembles IMO sound better than the commercial VST. For example when comparing Arturias Solina to the free user created Solina in Reaktor I choose the Reaktor version every time. Some of the compressors and limiters are very overlooked...because they are free.

You can spend a lifetime in Reaktor alone building, or altering ensembles, or just loading and playing presets. In your case you either have to build it yourself or find an ensemble that is close to your audio objectives. Adding in the audio issues you have mentioned and implementing them on a totally random basis, or some type of controlled or scheduled function is something very achievable.

My best advice would be to post your sonic goals on the NI Reaktor forum where someone might suggest a user created ensemble that has been built instead of having to build it yourself. You may find something close to your sonic goals and then have to further alter that ensemble. (think downloading a sampler or synthesizer but some function or parameter doesn't work like you want or expect it, so you have to get inside the synth engine and change it.)

But ultimately this could be achieved in Reaktor. It's not a matter of "if" but a matter of how much time you want to invest learning it.

Last edited by greggybud; 31st August 2015 at 03:26 AM..
Old 31st August 2015
  #14
@ greggybud ; Thank you That certainly sounds interesting. I'll dig deeper into the Reaktor-world and see what I can find there Thank you for replying.
Old 31st August 2015
  #15
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szmola's Avatar
Madrona Labs Aalto and Kaivo! Great non-linearity but random as and like you want.
Old 31st August 2015
  #16
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All of your examples have very expressive performances. The performers aren't just holding a long note - they are performing those changes and modulations which give that rich feeling. It's not the bagpipes or cello that just do it on their own. To do this with synths you will need to understand the synth parameters and start using aftertouch, pitch benders and mod wheels to add the variations in the same way. There are quite a few exotic MIDI controllers that are designed for this kind of expressive playing if you want to learn how, or you could experiment by drawing in controllers in your DAW. Using samples as source sounds will give you some of that organic texture to begin with - that's why I recommended Omnisphere in the first place. Also, they are playing lots of notes!
Old 31st August 2015
  #17
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Ultimately though, synths aren't very good at this. You may find that you need to record real instruments and add them to your music to be really satisfied.
Old 1st September 2015
  #18
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i coulda sworn i answered this already. but back in the day we just used tape to tape down several keys on a synth and/or organ.

nowadays you can do that, record it, edit it, and load the results into a VST sampler. it's actually pretty effective.
Old 1st September 2015
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by szmola View Post
Madrona Labs Aalto and Kaivo! Great non-linearity but random as and like you want.
I just saw a few youtube videos on these. Fascinating things
I haven't demoed them yet, but judging by the videos they do sound very much alive
Thank you for mentioning these


Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
All of your examples have very expressive performances. The performers aren't just holding a long note - they are performing those changes and modulations which give that rich feeling. It's not the bagpipes or cello that just do it on their own. To do this with synths you will need to understand the synth parameters and start using aftertouch, pitch benders and mod wheels to add the variations in the same way. There are quite a few exotic MIDI controllers that are designed for this kind of expressive playing if you want to learn how, or you could experiment by drawing in controllers in your DAW. Using samples as source sounds will give you some of that organic texture to begin with - that's why I recommended Omnisphere in the first place. Also, they are playing lots of notes!
Yes, very expressive, I agree

But even if you look beyond that, and focus on the sound-qualities, you'll hear that it's not just the expressive play-style or melody that creates the liveliness of the sound. There's a multitude of things going on, all at once, that contribute to the 'organic' quality of the sound.

The pipe-drones, from the first example-videos, still sound quite different than the soft-synth generated drones I'm aware of* (even when effects are added to the soft-synths)
*(I have zero hands-on experience with Omnisphere)

One of the contributing reasons for this sound-quality may simply be that the sound is going through air into a mic, which of course could also be done as a trick with soft-synths. Output the softsynth-sound through your monitor and record it with a mic, while moving this mic around, would definitely create some subtle movement and 'imperfections'. It's just not an optimal method, and most certainly not when you're in a noisy environment haha :D

But of course, as you say, the expressive performance and the instrument being bounced around by the player is also undoubtedly a contributing factor. Bouncing a soft-synth around in a similar fashion doesn't seem to affect its sound a whole lot
And also, as you say, midi-controllers beyond traditional keyboards would allow more humanized input, which would also help.
There's certainly a lot of parameters to consider

Quote:
Originally Posted by explorer View Post
Ultimately though, synths aren't very good at this. You may find that you need to record real instruments and add them to your music to be really satisfied.
Haha yes
If only I had the voice (and talent for using it) of Lisa Gerrard... alas I do not.
My main reason for searching for soft-synths is that I'm mainly a keyboardist, so I'm somewhat limited by that


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
i coulda sworn i answered this already. but back in the day we just used tape to tape down several keys on a synth and/or organ.

nowadays you can do that, record it, edit it, and load the results into a VST sampler. it's actually pretty effective.
Hmmm, there's an idea... I haven't tried that.
I've done something similar for double-layer vocals (pitching one slightly off while recording another). But of course that was for vocals, which are already quite organic.
Thank you, I'll think a bit about this Perhaps some layering of the clean recording with a copy that has gone via an analog media could do something interesting (if I can avoid to many phase-issues)

You live and learn
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