Is all this power helping us make better music?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
beatz01
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by beatz01 » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:24 am

I think this kind of endless tweaking of sounds for many people is a way to distract themselves from the main problem: That the main musical idea is missing.

Just as irrelevant as to tweak a certain sound to death is the question of how super realistic a specific analog synth emulation VSTi sounds or not - because in the context of a full mix it most of the times simply doesn't matter and nobody (rightfully) cares anyway as most music nowadays is mainly consumed on mobiles, desktop speakers etc.

Long story short: You either have a strong musical idea or you don't.If you have one, you can express that idea with ANY sounds.If you don't, then all the sound tweaking in the world won't help you.

Simple as that.

Tone Deft
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by Tone Deft » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:37 am

The Finn wrote:Cool and impressive as the pad I eventually generated sounds, it is going to be hard as hell to make any actual music with it, it is so complicated and layered. And a lot of the stuff that was going on - noise generators, frequency shifters, whatnot, were actually making differences so small that my tin ears could hardly hear them. I spent the best part of twenty minutes tweaking the settings on the comb filter before realising that it was basically making very difference.
decades ago we went down this path with guitar pedals and fancy multi-effects boxes. all those tones and crazy effects, fun to tie one on and have run but as you say here:[/quote]
It struck me that one of my favourite pieces of music that I made in the last while was a simple piece in which I play one chord over and over, modulated by a simple low pass filter and some bit reduction.
was ultimately true. pick up the acoustic and play. with an electric put on your dialed in distortion tone, set the reverb to the same old level and play.
I wonder what the experience is of other people on this forum about the balance between technical innovation and music making. How much of all the new capabilities of all this software is actually making a difference to the music we make? And when does it make a difference? When and under what conditions does all the money and expertise we are spending on the technical side of things pay off in better, different, more interesting or more fun music making?
this is why I harp on the notion that people need to play instruments and put the f-ing mouse down. there are definitely Live users that are just dorks that download software, then there are musicians that actually make music. it's usually the former that talks the most about how awesome they are (esp. DJs!) while the latter are more humble, they stfu and keep towing the line, practicing, learning new tunes, occasionally writing their own.
Or is what I have been doing all evening - making skronking sounds on my computer, none of which will ever figure in a piece of music -- somehow an end in itself?
if you had fun then hell yeah it's worthwhile. beyond that, actually playing music on a piano keyboard, guitar, wind instrument, whatever is really good for your brain and IMO a life skill that's very much worth pursuing. you only have yourself to answer to, and whatever hype/excitement you spread to others (walk the talk!)
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

eyeknow
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by eyeknow » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:23 am

mr.ergonomics wrote:
Is all this power helping us make better music?
no. I was one of the GAS driven people... but when I have learned something in the last 10 years it's that it makes no difference if you have the highend stuff or not. It's just your skill that matters.

with other words.... music technology is fun, but it's only slightly related to making good music.
True except for one thing. When something isn't working then it doesn't matter. For me personally, tech has made the diff between getting something working and spending time googling solutions. I'm personally not a really good musician but I appreciate good tools.

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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by re:dream » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:35 am

oblique strategies wrote:It can be easy to get lost, & not be able to see the forest through the trees.

My question to you: did you have fun on your sonic journey?
Indeed I did. 8)

And I also learned something:

If someone tells me to put a noise generator on as the fourth oscillator on a track, set the volume at 5 percent, and put it through a phase shifting filter set at 90% dry, I will ignore him.

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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by re:dream » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:37 am

stringtapper wrote:
The Finn wrote:Or is what I have been doing all evening - making skronking sounds on my computer, none of which will ever figure in a piece of music -- somehow an end in itself?

Just wondering 8)
Were those sounds music?

8)

It depends. Are you a a resident of the criminal state of Amerika?

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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by re:dream » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:40 am

stringtapper wrote:
Playing live music with other humans on instruments has to be a part of my musical equation or it's over.
Now you have got me thinking 8O

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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by re:dream » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:44 am

I guess it is a bit like learning scales and music theory. It can take a lot of time, but with luck and effort I am expending my musical vocabulary. Which would enable me to be more confident and 'in the flow' about what I want to do and where i want to go.

Tarekith
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:19 am

beatz01 wrote:I think this kind of endless tweaking of sounds for many people is a way to distract themselves from the main problem: That the main musical idea is missing.

Just as irrelevant as to tweak a certain sound to death is the question of how super realistic a specific analog synth emulation VSTi sounds or not - because in the context of a full mix it most of the times simply doesn't matter and nobody (rightfully) cares anyway as most music nowadays is mainly consumed on mobiles, desktop speakers etc.

Long story short: You either have a strong musical idea or you don't.If you have one, you can express that idea with ANY sounds.If you don't, then all the sound tweaking in the world won't help you.

Simple as that.
Well said. Being a good musician or producer is about being able to get good results no matter what you have to work with.

I hear you on the emulation thing too, that always bugs me. Older things aren't better. Analog isn't better. Tape isn't better. They're all different, that's it. Different ways of making different sounds. People get too hung up on trying to make things like they used to be, instead of realizing how much more potential we have at our disposal now.

eyeknow
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by eyeknow » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:24 am

Tarekith wrote:
beatz01 wrote:I think this kind of endless tweaking of sounds for many people is a way to distract themselves from the main problem: That the main musical idea is missing.

Just as irrelevant as to tweak a certain sound to death is the question of how super realistic a specific analog synth emulation VSTi sounds or not - because in the context of a full mix it most of the times simply doesn't matter and nobody (rightfully) cares anyway as most music nowadays is mainly consumed on mobiles, desktop speakers etc.

Long story short: You either have a strong musical idea or you don't.If you have one, you can express that idea with ANY sounds.If you don't, then all the sound tweaking in the world won't help you.

Simple as that.
Well said. Being a good musician or producer is about being able to get good results no matter what you have to work with.

I hear you on the emulation thing too, that always bugs me. Older things aren't better. Analog isn't better. Tape isn't better. They're all different, that's it. Different ways of making different sounds. People get too hung up on trying to make things like they used to be, instead of realizing how much more potential we have at our disposal now.
I disagree. Considering what I mostly hear from "musicians" I'd hardly think that "they" are the only thing that inspires. Inspiration comes from a variety of things. In the end, we all have our paths, just because it doesn't fit the mold of "x" doesn't mean it's not valid.

stringtapper
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by stringtapper » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:37 pm

The Finn wrote:
stringtapper wrote:
The Finn wrote:Or is what I have been doing all evening - making skronking sounds on my computer, none of which will ever figure in a piece of music -- somehow an end in itself?

Just wondering 8)
Were those sounds music?

8)

It depends. Are you a a resident of the criminal state of Amerika?
:P
Unsound Designer

beats me
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by beats me » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:51 pm

I started getting to know Massive a few months ago. I made some presets from scratch following some step by step instructions. Some sound great but I don’t know what I would personally use them for. Others I would use but I haven’t come up with a song for them yet. But a happy side effect has been when I bring up a Massive preset I didn’t make I now have a better idea on how to adjust it to my liking and what might be causing the weirdness that doesn’t fit what I am working on.

I haven’t had a song in my head before I write it in forever. So for my songs it almost always starts with some sound(s) I like. I don’t have a problem using presets I didn’t make, but if that is going to be the first source of my inspiration I shouldn’t always rely on what some other developer came up with for the masses. As long as I’ve been composing music I’m still at the baby steps of this realization.

login
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by login » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:13 pm

I compose first and get in to sound design later. I leave mixing for the end.

I also found important to commit to sounds fast to avoid endless tweaking.

Tarekith
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:17 pm

Agreed, that's the main reason I always record straight to audio and skip MIDI if I can. Too easy to endless tweak the life out of something.

beats me
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by beats me » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:57 pm

I rarely commit MIDI tracks to audio, but I also rarely make slight adjustments to the preset. The main reason I keep the MIDI is for the notes, either for layering more sounds or changing the original sound completely.

su
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Re: Is all this power helping us make better music?

Post by su » Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:05 pm

there are many ways to go down a tech abetted rabbit hole and I've personally experienced many 8)

Re: the original post, I'll openly admit I'm preset tweaker. I see the value of being able to design sounds from the ground up, to be able to create, with my own hands the exact sound that precisely fits a musical need. But in practice I've found that treating presets as starting points that I tweak to serve a present need in the midst of songwriting works best for me. When tweaking presets I lay hands on nearly the same number of parameters as "sound designers" - osc waves, amp and filter envelopes, filters, lfos, etc. I'm just not starting with a raw osc. I don't really understand the act of preset design as an abstract activity, where you're creating presets for some future song.

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