Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

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Daniel_S
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Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:14 pm

I'm keen to hear how you guys go about using hardware monosynths when writing a new track - especially when you are in the ideas phase.

I'm very new to using hardware and as you know a hardware monosynth is fairly limiting - especially one like the Waldorf Rocket (which is what I'm using), that doesn't store any patch information.

So I have a little bassline going from the synth into an External instrument... I like it and wish to keep it, however I know that later on, I will be wanting to work on it further (automation etc).

Then I would like to create a lead patch from the same synth. Obviously, I cant have both running at the same time, yet I don't want to lose the bass patch or commit to audio because that stops me from being able to manipulate further down the line.

This is just one of the major limitations of using such a basic hardware monosynth I know, however I'm keen to hear how you guys go about tackling this limitation.

Do you keep freezing/unfreezing the synth tracks as and when you want to work on them before committing to audio later on?

Overall, I'm loving the hands on feel with using hardware but it has slowed down my workflow massively compared to using software vsts.

This thread is more for discussion on your hardware workflows rather than trying to solve the specific issue I highlighted above, but do feel free to comment on my issue if you like :)

Richie Witch
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:11 pm

Hey Daniel,

I have two suggestions that may help. My monosynth (a Novation Bass Station Rack) fortunately has memory for patches, however, I recently bought some Eurorack FX modules to expand/warp/mutilate the sound pallet of my existing hardware synths. And of course, the modules *don't* have the ability to record patches.

The trickiest part is recreating the cool sound you once had, so try this:

1) When you figure out a patch you really like, make a "patch map", that is a list or a drawing of all the knob and switch settings on your synth. Most synth owner manuals include blank patch maps in the back that you can photocopy for just this purpose.

2) Record a little bit of audio using that patch. You can route the audio output of the Ext Instrument to an audio track and just make a brief recording. This will allow you to hear what you created a week from now and confirm that you really were able to duplicate the sound, because no matter how good your patch map looks, it will never be exact.

Good luck with the Rocket! I always thought that thing was cool--came very close to buying one.
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Schmidi
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Schmidi » Wed Mar 04, 2015 1:55 pm

Another option is recording a sample and opening it in Simpler or Sampler. I realize it feels like you won't be able to manipulate it any more, but in reality Sampler has deeper synthesis options than a lot of hardware synths. Plus, you'll have a real analog tone to build upon and layer.

Here are two nice articles on the process:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_ar ... ynths.html

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul11/a ... synths.htm

Daniel_S
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:04 pm

Richie Witch wrote: 2) Record a little bit of audio using that patch. You can route the audio output of the Ext Instrument to an audio track and just make a brief recording. This will allow you to hear what you created a week from now and confirm that you really were able to duplicate the sound, because no matter how good your patch map looks, it will never be exact.

Good luck with the Rocket! I always thought that thing was cool--came very close to buying one.
Some good advice there, thanks.

Something you mentioned in your second point... I can record to an audio track from External Inst when recording an existing recorded clip from within EI, but I can't seem to be able to live record into an audio track because as soon as I arm the EI track to play the synth, it stop the audio track from recording.

So I have to record live into the EI first. Then play that clip and record it into an audio track.

Is that correct? I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Cheers

Daniel_S
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:06 pm

Schmidi wrote:Another option is recording a sample and opening it in Simpler or Sampler. I realize it feels like you won't be able to manipulate it any more, but in reality Sampler has deeper synthesis options than a lot of hardware synths. Plus, you'll have a real analog tone to build upon and layer.

Here are two nice articles on the process:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_ar ... ynths.html

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul11/a ... synths.htm
This is something I thought about and definitely something I need to experiment with. It does feel like I'm missing the point of having a hardware synth if I'm just going to sample it but then if it gives me more overall options and flexibility then maybe that's the way to go? Especially with monosynths.

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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Richie Witch » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:23 pm

Daniel_S wrote:I can record to an audio track from External Inst when recording an existing recorded clip from within EI, but I can't seem to be able to live record into an audio track because as soon as I arm the EI track to play the synth, it stop the audio track from recording.

So I have to record live into the EI first. Then play that clip and record it into an audio track.

Is that correct? I just want to make sure I'm not missing anything.

Cheers
Hold CTRL while you arm the second track, and the third, and the fourth... :wink:

You can have as many tracks simultaneously armed to record as you like.

I use this technique all the time when I'm auditioning presets. I will just make one long audio recording of whatever I did on the instrument, changing presets on the fly, and capturing any magical moments. I could do it in just MIDI, but that wouldn't tell me what patch I was using while I was wandering around the controller keys.
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by störgeräusche » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:24 pm

you can press ctrl or cmd when arming the next track to arm more tracks simultaneously or go to the preferences and set record to non exclusive (there is also an option for solo).
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Daniel_S
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Wed Mar 04, 2015 2:29 pm

Excellent, thanks :)

manimal
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by manimal » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:23 pm

I had the Rocket for a few months and found this very useful
http://www.monstrummedia.com/product/rocket/

It lets you save and load patches and works in standalone or VST
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Daniel_S
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:01 pm

manimal wrote:I had the Rocket for a few months and found this very useful
http://www.monstrummedia.com/product/rocket/

It lets you save and load patches and works in standalone or VST
Just watched the YouTube vid for this... looks like it will save some time. I like how I can automate the parameters within arrangement view much like a software synth :)

Airyck
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Airyck » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:04 pm

Creating multisamples to use in a sampler is always a pretty good option.
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ImNotDedYet
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by ImNotDedYet » Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:05 pm

I get my MIDI sequenced, play it on a loop and get the sound design on the synth.

Then, I set it up to record on a track and record it dry. Then I may throw it through a hardware effect/pedal and record. Then I might take the original dry and record it again, this time automating some of the synth parameters live. Do the same with the effect/pedal engaged. You can then layer these sounds as well as do additional processing automation in your DAW.

Cymer
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Cymer » Thu Mar 05, 2015 4:08 am

It really depends on the synth I'm using. For example with my volcas which have no patch storage I will use a pnp map I draw out for any sounds I like, then I will record a long bit of audio modulating it as I please so I have a few bars of every kind of tweak I might want to use. With my DSI mopho on the other hand, it has patch storage but I don't really care for much of the modulations. In that case, I will record the audio in a shorter loop and modulate it itb with plugs and whatnot. Or just leave it dry. When it comes to the subphatty, I perfer it sequenced so I use it in an external instrument and usually I'll record that in one take instead of a few bars and tweak live. Also, with the volca's I sometimes use midi cc's to do the tweaking with automation to lock it in a little tighter. The beauty is in finding the sweet spot for each piece of gear IMO.

Daniel_S
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Daniel_S » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:59 am

Some great advice here, record and move on seems to be the general consensus when dealing with hardware. Something I'm just not used to but certainly willing to try - sounds more fun if nothing else :)

Timbeaux
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Re: Using hardware monosynths - whats your workflow?

Post by Timbeaux » Thu Mar 05, 2015 12:27 pm

and for the lazy one's: just make picture of the settings :)

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