How often do you use presets?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
thunderkyss
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:04 pm

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by thunderkyss » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:33 am

I absolutely positively hate buying instruments that don't let you tweak the sounds. I want to be able to control every minute detail of the sound I'm going to play.

What if I don't like what the programmer "likes" what if his idea of a steinway, or a moog bass, or a brass section doesn't sound like I think it should sound??


That said, I use presets 100% of the time.

musikmachine
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 12:56 am

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by musikmachine » Sat Jun 07, 2014 10:35 pm

dominicw78 wrote:A song is more important than any of it's parts. It's fruitless and a waste of time to obsess over any one part of a track, sounds/presets are only one aspect.

You need to put things in perspective, you mentioned that you never finish a track, and that you speed too much time on programming sounds. You identified your problem yourself, you are spending too much time on your sounds.

It doesn't matter what you use in a track, whether it's presets, loops etc. It's about whether you put some thought into being creative and put in your own ideas. This will always shine through, regardless of the ingredients you use.

I would say if you're going to use presets then you should choose one quickly, within 5 minutes, and then move on to the next thing. Why? Because you may as well get the benefit of something pre-made and not have to spend time on it. If you are spending hours to find a preset, then you are losing out a bit. Those hours would be better spent learning to program at a separate time to making a track.

The other thing, that you also mentioned is that you often change sounds later in the track. There's a lesson there, as a track progresses you often change sounds of in it as you idea starts to solidify - so - knowing this will happen why spend lots of time on a sound right at the beginning when you know it might be changed later when your further in the track.

You need to implement a rule, only allow yourself a few minutes to either pick a program a sound at the beginning of a track. Then when The track is most arranged and towards the end of completion, then come back and attend to your sounds again. You will have a good idea what you actually need by then.
A thousand times this. Another thing if i get stuck a preset can provide fresh inspiration. Momentum is key though, i used to spend ages tweaking sounds but now i limit time spent on all aspects, in fact i treat composition and arrangement and mixing and sound design as seperate parts of the process, tweaking or changing sounds when the track is about 90% done.

Have you ever had an idea for a track but not been able to get it down quick enough? Inspiration is fleeting so imagine trying to design all the sounds from scratch while keeping the idea in your short term memory! Presets serve a purpose, some synths like FM8 would be too time consuming to program from scratch but i say just use whatever is needed at the time, sometimes presets inspire a track or idea and don't even get me started on sampling. :lol:

re:dream
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by re:dream » Wed Nov 12, 2014 12:28 pm

Of late I find that I have shifted from

- starting with a musical idea and looking for sounds that can carry it (which often leads to me getting stuck halfway when I know I need a certain kind of sound but get side-tracked finding it

to

- starting with building interesting sounds that contrast or relate in some kind of way and then building a track around them

So sound design / preset tweaking does not feel like a sidetrack or a waste of time. It feels like a more integral part of the process.

#justsaying 8)

Ryder17
Posts: 185
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:53 pm

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by Ryder17 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:01 pm

Presets on functional effects (compressors, eq, limiter etc) - Never

Presets on special effects - Always a good place to start, why not

Presets on synths - Again, always a good place to start.

I spend a lot of time just playing with sounds and tweaking presets i like anyway so when it comes to getting ideas down, I dont have to worry about finding things. I'll just get something along the lines of what im hearing in my head, then tweak to perfection once the idea is down.

I find it odd when people say they "hate" presets. I mean, it's just a patch that someone else has taken the time to make. Does this mean those people hate everybody else's music because they didn't write it?

tedlogan
Posts: 1344
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by tedlogan » Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:34 pm

re:dream wrote:nteresting sounds that contrast or relate in some kind of way and then building a track around them

So sound design / preset tweaking does not feel like a sidetrack or a waste of time. It feels like a more integral part of the process.

#justsaying 8)
Same here. I love building patches, especially those of the complex one-note-held down ones. I would often build tracks or big parts of a track just around that. Therefore, I wouldn't feel very good about the whole creative process if I used the abovementioned type of patch from someone else. I might as well put on Led Zeppelin and press play (one note held down equivalent), and add some trimmings on the side. Yay me! Woo hoo!!

The above is an exception though. I have no problem with other people using presets and doing whatever the hell the like. Using say, just a lead sound as opposed to an evolving song-in-a-patch preset is the same as plugging your guitar into your favourite distortion pedal and tweaking to the desired sound. Nothing wrong with that. Or using a nice n juicy bass stab preset to write your own music, nothing wrong with that either.

I just prefer to make the lot myself - mainly for the satisfaction. And just the pure joy of sculpting sound - there is, for me, nothing more fulfilling when it comes to audio.

I certainly don't hate presets, in fact the Dark Zebra presets are beautiful. But no way will I use them for my own stuff.

eyeknow
Posts: 5822
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:16 am

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by eyeknow » Thu Nov 13, 2014 1:38 am

If I can't hit one key and occupy myself for a couple of hours, it's of no use to me.

doghouse
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by doghouse » Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:05 pm

I've avoided posting to this thread before because presets are such an emotional topic.

I will stand right up and say I use presets on every single song I record. Some are used as-is and others have my own tweaks.

I seldom use more than one sound I designed from scratch in a song. Often, I use none. So the overwhelming majority of sounds in my music are presets.

The last hardware synth I bought came with 1536 presets. The last softsynth I bought came with 5000 presets. I have more than 10,000 presets across all my instruments. There will always be some usable sounds when you have so many to choose from...

I reuse my favorite sounds all the time. When I do need something different, using a category browser I can find something close enough to what I want in a minute or two. Up until the final mix, I can tweak what needs tweaking in the context of the song.

I do sound design from scratch independent of any songs. When I have no ideas on something to record, I'll use the time to create new patches instead. Those patches become more presets to choose from later, but they are tiny in number compared to all the factory presets I have.

re:dream
Posts: 4558
Joined: Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:42 am
Location: Hoerikwaggo's sunset side...
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by re:dream » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:29 pm

"Presets are such an emotional topic"

I find that such a strange thing to say - and I have no doubt that it is true

When I listen to music I don't worry about whether the artist used a standard preset or not. Some of the artists that I admire most at the moment (e.g. Lusine, Somfay) use fairly standard sounds which I am prepared to bet are standard Rhodes / keys / clubstyle sounds. And the music they make is gorgeous.

So I don't understand why it is a topic people should either be defensive or aggressive about.

My own concern at the moment is having fun. I am finding that I have a lot of fun at the moment tweaking around with the insides of Operator and Zebra. That's all 8)

uthemus
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 11:23 pm
Location: LA

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by uthemus » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:29 pm

Pshh you all have no skills. I design my own unique presets from scratch using merely a combination of a dolphin's natural sonar and tube radio.

regretfullySaid
Posts: 8913
Joined: Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:50 pm

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by regretfullySaid » Thu Nov 13, 2014 9:50 pm

I hope that's what you intended them to sound like then :lol: :P
ImageImage

eyeknow
Posts: 5822
Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 6:16 am

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by eyeknow » Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:40 pm

I love the ones though where the "innovative from scratch" guys end up sounding just like everyone else :lol:

Some people are very creative with racks though, but usually it just sounds too spacy and weird.

doghouse
Posts: 1413
Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2008 5:30 pm

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by doghouse » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:43 pm

re:dream wrote:"Presets are such an emotional topic"
I find that such a strange thing to say - and I have no doubt that it is true
I don't understand why it is a topic people should either be defensive or aggressive about.
It's simple human psychology.

The subconscious mind works hard to smooth out disconnects between hard-held beliefs and reality.

So whether the topic is synth presets, evolution, atheism, did Saddam have WMDs, did the CIA kill JFK, or who let the dogs out there will always be people who get fired up when their belief system is challenged.

tedlogan
Posts: 1344
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by tedlogan » Fri Nov 14, 2014 2:56 pm

Funny though, every post in this thread has been pretty relaxed and open-minded about presets whether the poster uses them or not. Some people expect it to be this touchy subject, but going through all 4 pages...everyone pretty much seems to live and let live.

Also, the listener won't care less if you used a preset or not.

So - are YOU happy using presets? Great, use them.

Are you unhappy using them? Don't use them. This is my camp. I have nothing against the other camp, I just really enjoy making them.

Sometimes people see conflict when there is merely different preferences.

Another morsel of food for thought - Howard Scarr made all the presets for the very talented Hans Zimmer to use for his Batman score.
Last edited by tedlogan on Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Angstrom
Posts: 14686
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by Angstrom » Fri Nov 14, 2014 3:49 pm

tedlogan wrote: Also, the listener won't care less if you used a preset or not.
So - are YOU happy using presets? Great, use them.
I agree, but there is of course the small subset who feel let down by any kind of "preset", and that weird kind of user is often the enthusiast, the creative type who owns a DAW and likes to think of musicians as being imaginative, and that's part of their enjoyment of the form. The creativity of sound.

I'll give you an example which is slightly removed, to give some perspective . If I played guitar with a tone and style entirely the same as Jimi Hendrix, people unfamiliar Hendrix might be quite impressed, but anyone who had heard Hendrix would be a little less impressed.

Art and enjoyment is subjective, many people will enjoy a perfect recreation of Beethoven Sonata 29 on the "preset" of a physical piano, but there are shades of grey. many people will not enjoy a Hendrix emulation, or a Massive preset if their musical enjoyment is partly predicated on sonic creativity in action. "this is just a Hendrix rip-off"

tedlogan
Posts: 1344
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: How often do you use presets?

Post by tedlogan » Fri Nov 14, 2014 4:27 pm

Angstrom wrote:
tedlogan wrote: Also, the listener won't care less if you used a preset or not.
So - are YOU happy using presets? Great, use them.
I agree, but there is of course the small subset who feel let down by any kind of "preset", and that weird kind of user is often the enthusiast, the creative type who owns a DAW and likes to think of musicians as being imaginative, and that's part of their enjoyment of the form. The creativity of sound.

I'll give you an example which is slightly removed, to give some perspective . If I played guitar with a tone and style entirely the same as Jimi Hendrix, people unfamiliar Hendrix might be quite impressed, but anyone who had heard Hendrix would be a little less impressed.

Art and enjoyment is subjective, many people will enjoy a perfect recreation of Beethoven Sonata 29 on the "preset" of a physical piano, but there are shades of grey. many people will not enjoy a Hendrix emulation, or a Massive preset if their musical enjoyment is partly predicated on sonic creativity in action. "this is just a Hendrix rip-off"
Indeed indeed, I agree entirely with your point. Then again, context is very important, shades of grey, etc

It being subjective - I personally will have my listening enjoyment hampered if I hear something that has a ubiquitous or very unique preset I've heard before, like you said. But I do realise my opinion shouldn't matter to the track creator and they can do what they like. I also trust people will not misunderstand that this is simply my preference, and that I am not one of those who thinks he's special or to look down my nose at others who do use such presets.

"The creativity of sound" as you put it - this I do enjoy very much as well, hence me making my own patches. With Bazille especially, you can't bloody help making your own - it's the most fun I've had with sound in a long time :D

Post Reply