Who uses presets?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
necho
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by necho » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:09 pm

Silwolffe wrote:1.) Load up FM8.
2.) Select the guitar category in the browser window, then go down to 'Crunch Crusher'
3.) Play a low-octave key on your keyboard, like near C1
4.) Play it for awhile, get a feel for the sound...
5.) Then listen to this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reiSqGAQXx8
heh - yeah. Metaphysical Function (from Reaktor) is all over Starcraft II.

If I was making music for cash - churning out scores or crappy remixes - I'd definitely use presets. There's no other way.

But since I do it for fun, and I love making patches, I always roll my own. That said, I keep the process of making sounds and the process of making music quite separate: I have Kontakt and Zebra libraries of my own sounds so I always have something to hand when I'm making tunes.
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UncleAge
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by UncleAge » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:29 pm

I have no problem with using presets, though I rarely use them "as is". A lot of times it depends on the synth used. However I'd say that the only synth I don't tweak is Minimonsta. I just use the presets that are offered as they are usually what I am looking for when I pull out that particular synth. Everything else gets tweaked.

sporkles
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by sporkles » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:31 pm

Lots of interesting input, here, peeps! Let me just make it clear that I wasn't seeking a "go" from you guys, I was just
interested in other people's approach. Maybe I simply haven't been too amazed with the presets that have come with the synths
I've had access to up until now - the NI presets really are fantastic. And I just realised that I'd nearly forgotten that I
have Alchemy, and with a couple of extra sound banks, too... Definitely time to stop buying, and start digging deeper into
what I've got. :roll:

killingtime
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by killingtime » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:38 pm

If I use presets then I tend to think of the finished pice as a collaboration with a sound designer rather than my own complete composition, not that this is a bad thing, it is just a different process.

anybody human
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by anybody human » Fri Nov 26, 2010 3:50 pm

I don't have a big problem with other people using presets, but it's not for me. Just my opinion.

When u play an expressive instrument like a guitar, your own technique, emphasis, and inflections make it sound different than anyone else. Many of the modules and later parameters of synths were made to approximate the way a musician plays an acoustic instrument such as a violin (ADSR, vibrato, tremelo, etc.). Basically to make synths "playable". I program patches to make them playable the way I want, not how someone else wanted. To make them fit what I'm going for in a song, or as a starting point to inspire something else. Like someone said previously, sound design is integral to the creative process for me, not to mention it's just a lot of fun. I see presets as being like using someone else's toothbrush, less than ideal.

Piplodocus
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Piplodocus » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:13 pm

My wife ALWAYS uses presets, and doesn't know how not to. Equally she doesn't ever use arpeggiators and plays everything by hand. Editing everything is scary for her. She writes very good songs with them all that dont sound like anyone elses, and does so pretty quickly, although sometimes I cringe at her low tech methods.

On the other hand I'm the opposite, I always poke and fiddle with everything to try to get it just how I want timbre wise. I hardly ever finish any songs....
:cry:
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Piplodocus
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Piplodocus » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:17 pm

anybody human wrote:I see presets as being like using someone else's toothbrush, less than ideal.
Once you put the paste on and start scrubbing you can often forget it's not your toothbrush though, unless you borrowed a particularly funky one!!! ;)
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Etchogon
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Etchogon » Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:56 pm

I don't use presets because it's faster for me to make a synth patch from scratch than it is to search through the thousands of presets I get with my soft synths. This is why I have been moving away from soft synths and using the Dark Energy (no presets) + creative sampling. When I listen to my older stuff where I did use presets I don't get the same satisfaction as I do with the stuff where I made all my own sounds.

I don't care if someone else uses presets, they just don't fit my work flow.

necho
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by necho » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:08 pm

Etchogon wrote:I don't use presets because it's faster for me to make a synth patch from scratch than it is to search through the thousands of presets I get with my soft synths.
Yes - me too. For the kind of stuff I do, its quicker for me to make my own. If I was doing "genre" dance music or scores, it would be quicker to use presets.

For me, its all about working FAST these days - the computer/software is just what links my brain to my speakers.
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Cezband
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Cezband » Fri Nov 26, 2010 5:48 pm

It's interesting to see how many Sound Designers there are here...for me, sound design is something that I'm forced to do in order to get a song recorded and sounding good, as opposed to want to do for it's own sake - a means to an end, as it were. That's why the less I have to do of it, the better. I'm certainly getting a new perspective on it here though :)

Possibly a little bit off topic, but out of interest how many of you start your writing process with a really awesome sound you've made yourself which you then write a riff or melody with, and how many of you have the riff first which you then find or design a sound to match? I'm pretty obviously the latter, despite it's drawbacks.
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oddstep
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by oddstep » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:21 pm

I usually start with a patch, hook up some parameters to macros and play about with it untill i have an instrument that makes interesting music. This will be the basis of a track. Then i start thinking compositionally, recording melody lines and adding other intruments to the arrangement. So for me, presets are a real problem, because the exploration of a patch is an important part of the compositional process. I have created a couple of folders of patches i have made, each folder contains similar patches... bells, drones, subs etc... so when i have melodic or harmonic ideas i have a pre made selection of instruments that i know i can play expressively (because the macros and velocity sensitivity have been assigned by me). There are a few reorganised presets in there... hip hop sub frinstance... but most presets are just embarrassing and generic. Love the soniccouture samplers though.

Cyberstar
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Cyberstar » Fri Nov 26, 2010 6:32 pm

Hell if the wind emitting form me arse is in tune with my song I'll use that, so I guess a good preset from time to time is fair game :mrgreen:
Last edited by Cyberstar on Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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nathannn
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by nathannn » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:45 pm

i used to be anti presets, but there are so many synths out now with so many presets (that are really good) its like why let them go to waste?
i usually to tweak the preset a bit though.
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glitchrock-buddha
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by glitchrock-buddha » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:49 pm

The thing is, a preset is not a preset is not preset.

There are those presets that more of an instrument, which are rather uninteresting if you play a single note, but because of velocity and the range of sounds over the keyboard, yield very interesting results when played in certain styles. I would say good guitar, piano sounds, strings, or other real world instruments that are meticulously sampled are like this. Or synthetic instrument that are very dynamic in the same way and lend themselves to expressive playing. These are more instruments to me than presets (although the actual device would classify it as a preset). Playing one note and holding it does not make something that is usually considered music. I think in these cases using presets is no different from playing a guitar that you didn't make. The point is to play it. If you're super hard-core designer maybe you want to make a particular instrument but it's not really as much a part of the writing process, more of an inspiration.

Then there are presets that have so much going on and so many layers that they are small compositions in themselves. You find this especially with multi-layerd synths that have multi-stage envelopes. Pressing a single note can be make it play a song for you. This is where the sound design is really the composition as well. And of course there are infinite shades in between the two types I mention. At the end of the day, it does all depend what you want to get out of it. Is it satisfying for me to press a note and throw a bunch of stuff on top of that and call it my song? No. But I use presets all the time when I just want to play synths or keyboard. Even those presets that do have many layers and interesting textures (absynth and Alchemy pads for example) I do like to use sometimes, because they can be quite amazing. Those can also be sounds I like to create myself, so that's the gray area. I like to ask myself what the preset would sound like if someone else was using it. If I write a song on a guitar and so does someone else, they won't be recognizable just because of the instrument. With presets, if I think someone else using it will make it sound very much the same, the may affect my judgment about whether I want to use it or not.
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Saxer
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Re: Who uses presets?

Post by Saxer » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:17 am

i think, it depends on the music.

if i do dancefloor stuff, where sound is the main ingredient, i would never use unchanged presets.
sound makes the colour of electronic music, and - beside the beat - is the greatest part of those compositions.

when i do orchestral music, i look for the best orchestral samples. i could never afford to record my own and it´s not important for orchestra music. a violin is a violin, there´s a kind of ideal sound it has to cover. the sound of an orchestra depends on the composition, harmonies, orchestration. and there are so many different sound possibilitys by combining the up to 50 monophonic instruments, an orchestra will never become boring.

and there´s a lot of music in between. lots of standard sounds are needed, and if i need a pad behind a singer and a guitar, i don´t make an new pad... there are so many good pads, that i will find one in seconds.

and by the way, presets are made by sound designing artists. if i use their presets, it´s also a way of showing respect to their work.

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