Pure Softsynths vs. Tube Preamping Your Synths

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
nebulae
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Pure Softsynths vs. Tube Preamping Your Synths

Post by nebulae » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:21 pm

Ok, so here's what I did. I pulled up the Dennis DeSantis demo track that came with Live 6 (or perhaps earlier). I EQed and Compressed the tracks the way I liked and added a Sylenth to it to get 5 tracks of audio over about a minute of music. Plenty of dynamic and swells.

I then mixed down each track through my tubes to 5 24-bit stereo tracks. Granted, each track will have slight variations as I adjusted the preamp knobs to get some saturation and avoid distortion. But the tracks are pretty close to being the same volume as their softsynth counterparts.

The difference is subtle but audible. If I did this over a 50-track song, the aggregate would be more noticeable. The trick then would be to make sure the noise was kept to a minimum. Anyways, let me know what you think:

http://www.nebulae.com/collect/desantis.wav
http://www.nebulae.com/collect/desantis-tube.wav
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dcease
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Post by dcease » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:24 pm

dcease wrote:neb, to me, the bass sound and the buzzing sound sound the most different- i preferred the tube versions. the higher range sounds aren't a whole lot different, and it seems like the levels are off- the itb sounds a wee bit louder, but this was a comparison in two webpages, which was a bit more of a pita than two tracks in live would have been. i was expecting more distortion on the drums with the tubes, maybe they were a little more... whats the word i am looking for? smoothed out, subdued?
nebulae wrote:^ Interesting - I'd agree with those comments. The bass is most noticeable to me because in the first version, it sounds digital. But wit tubes, it feels a lot more "airy".

The drums, especially the hats, in the tube version have more "sizzle". Also, the synths feel like they're pushing air when they do their big swells. All of that adds up to a more pleasant smoothness in the sound.

I'll admit that the non-tube version is cleaner, but I'd argue that the tube version is nicer on your ears.

More thoughts welcome :)
:lol:

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:25 pm

:lol: :lol: that's fair! hahaha

I just wanted to get out of that noise and focus on a topic that might yield a good discussion.
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xh9o
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Post by xh9o » Sun Feb 22, 2009 9:42 pm

whats a good discussion? where idiots are not revealed as such?


about the tracks. as mentioned the tubing doesn´t help the basical sound over its horrible quality. especially not in the highs, the only thing that really benefits from the rework is the bass drum which is way rounded now. but the general sound though a bit more melted/coherent remains harsh, flat, thin and sterile. the particular sound elements ignore each other, its just having some tracks running parallel.
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Chang
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Post by Chang » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:35 pm

Oh jesus. :roll:

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Post by xh9o » Sun Feb 22, 2009 10:40 pm

guess jesus won´t help you here. i mean if you don´t hear that this, compared to a sound coming from say depeche mode or even some of the better cracker team release demo sounds, is nothing but awful, what do you hear then? have you ever listened to music before you started recording your own?
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Martyn
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Post by Martyn » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:29 am

xh9o wrote:guess jesus won´t help you here.
Jesus can help you open your ears to anything, but only once you truly open your heart to new horizons. Send the love out of your chest, through some antique furniture and back in through your bass chakra, feel the warmth yet?

Mmmmm, denmark.

Chang
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Post by Chang » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:41 am

xh9o wrote:guess jesus won´t help you here. i mean if you don´t hear that this, compared to a sound coming from say depeche mode or even some of the better cracker team release demo sounds, is nothing but awful, what do you hear then? have you ever listened to music before you started recording your own?

I'm on a laptop, not in my studio so I can't listen to it properly.


But since your such a seasoned vet, why not instead of just tearing down Nebulaes mix down, be helpful and tell him the exact steps he needs to take to get it to sound pro to your ears?

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Post by nebulae » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:43 am

:lol:
Last edited by nebulae on Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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leedsquietman
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Post by leedsquietman » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:13 am

Good demo. I liked the one put the preamps best, but it was closer than I thought it would be.

I'd also like to see how sending your softsynths out into a room via an amplifier(s) or monitors and recording it with a nice mic or two would sound in contrast, this is something I do periodically to try and prevent sterile sounding synths. Of course, it's not very practical and with processing tools, you can do a lot to alleviate that, but it definately can be interesting and sound good.
Last edited by leedsquietman on Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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xh9o
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Post by xh9o » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:14 am

Chang wrote:I'm on a laptop, not in my studio so I can't listen to it properly.

priceless.



But since your such a seasoned vet, why not instead of just tearing down Nebulaes mix down, be helpful and tell him the exact steps he needs to take to get it to sound pro to your ears?

its not the mixdown, its more the elements/sources.
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leedsquietman
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Post by leedsquietman » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:16 am

I don't think he wanted a CRITIQUE on the synth patches and rhythms, just a comparison of A vs B soundwise.

If he wanted a critique on the music, he would probably have posted it in the music section and asked as such.
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xh9o
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Post by xh9o » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:27 am

hell, is here anyone dumb as shit? it wasn´t critics on the music, it was critics on the sound (of a and b) and therefore the sound elements and the mad non-sense to boost a bad sourced sound with expensive equipment.
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adventurepants_
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Post by adventurepants_ » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:33 am

please continue.

we can probably get a few more pages of comedy out of you yet.
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xh9o
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Post by xh9o » Mon Feb 23, 2009 1:35 am

boosting shit with gold and expecting pearls while that is more comedy than i ever could deliver, sorry. i magine it as a comic, neb boy and some internet honks at home doing "the big research" while just honking dead another worthless day. step by step, the cartoon is through in 10 pictures. then in the end of the episode and their done "work" their (female supersexy) boss comes for a test and they get fired again. next episode they get a new job to prove their abilities.

running gag episode by episode under the name: "honkytowns endless search for the holy grail of digital sound". one idea per episode, carried by the absolute profile desaster of the protagonists.
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