One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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schiing
KVRist
376 posts since 27 Oct, 2015

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:24 am

A one-off, one-track challenge without effects would be really cool with the right synth, basa - although possibly a bit pointless with something as basic as a simple subtractive synth?

But I don't think it's a great idea for a permanent limitation in OSC. A soft synth is a music production tool, and for my own part I want to hear what it can do in the context of a *music production.* I don't think that's a disservice to the "core/soul/spirit/sound" of the synth at all.

Same as with drum machines, acoustic guitars or any other instrument, I suppose. They may sound lovely on their own, but you only get to know the full capabilities of the instrument by putting them in a mix - like how the Linn drum blends so well with a certain kind of instrumentation as opposed to some early-80s Korg competitors - or how *that* acoustic guitar cuts through the mix so much better than the other one.

Incidentally, I actually ditched my very first OSC attempt because it was basically just a triangle wave with a piano ADSR solo :D

basa333
KVRist
86 posts since 26 Apr, 2019 from CZ

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:25 am

Tj Shredder wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:20 am
I always had the idea to propose a SSC a Single Sample Challenge. In the past I made some pieces with single samples and it was successful for its artistic outcome.
https://soundcloud.com/ondes-memorielle ... -the-voice
Maybe we should start one in the sampler thread... That would be fun, I would not impose any technical restrictions on it, but evaluation should consider how much of the original sample still shines through. (If you just grab a single waveform and use it as oscillator wave, you‘d not hear a connection, it would sound like any synth sound)

ok, why not? the same sample for all participators? your track is impressing, wow! one sample or one preset, it doesn't matter.
Single Sample Challenge - sounds very good.

basa333
KVRist
86 posts since 26 Apr, 2019 from CZ

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:46 am

schiing wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:24 am
But I don't think it's a great idea for a permanent limitation in OSC.
sure, I have wrote about "challenge within challenge" or "separate category", not about a permanent limitation in OSC. I'm absolutely on your side.
If it should be a "two or three preset" challenge, why not? but please not "sixtyfive presets"! it should be a challenge for musically experiments, according defined style - styles maybe like classical instruments (guitar, piano, oboe, orchestral drums, sure in "synthvoice", whatever, maybe specially wood instrument, or brass, you know, what I mean, or string instrument generally etc., one or two presets). no flangers, no delays, no distortions, but only one (ok, maybe two) preset(s) of a concrete synth in one (ok, wenn it must be, in two) DAW-track(s).

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aciddose
KVRAF
12312 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:48 am

In the #trax OHC (one-hour-compo) style competition a tracker (sampler + sequencer) was used with a predefined set of samples. Since it's possible to actually synthesize various sounds; for example a kick can be roughly made from a bass guitar using a fast pitch slide; that did not impose as much of a limitation as it seems.

It really depends upon the aims of the competition. In OSC it seems the intention is to focus on a single freely available plug-in instrument. So adding additional rules or changing the aim of the competition would make it another competition, really.

It is called "One-Synth-Challenge" after all.
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

Local Man
KVRian
678 posts since 31 May, 2017

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:42 am

It seems many here are suggesting further limitations for the OSC but I would like to make a somewhat counter suggestion.
I'm sure it's been suggested before but I think it would be great if the competition allowed the use of dedicated drum machines and drum samples aside from the One Synth. That is, the One Synth is used for everything but drums.

Some synths are conducive to making great drum and percussion sounds but most are not.
Making drums from scratch (with often less than stellar results) not only makes the production process tedious but it also makes it a slog to have to listen to a bunch of tracks with weak and basic drums.
Even the best synthesists in the competition often create drums that are passable at best and it is almost always the weakest part of their tracks. Everything else will be stellar and without compromise, but the drums will sound like something from a children's toy (and not necessarily in a good way).

This is the sole reason I almost never participate in this competition. And the main reason, to be honest, is that if I am going to put a lot of my time into making a great track, I am going to want to have a work that I am proud of regardless of the context in which it is created. But always having to use "synth drums" often makes for songs that sound like novelty tracks unless you are privy to the knowledge of how they were created.
If we where allowed to use actual, dedicated drums, this competition, we could create more tracks that could stand on their own as great works, without explanation.

I think trying it for at least one round would be fun.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3375 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:03 pm

Local Man wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:42 am
I'm sure it's been suggested before but I think it would be great if the competition allowed the use of dedicated drum machines and drum samples aside from the One Synth. That is, the One Synth is used for everything but drums.
This would make the results more boring. There seems to be an idea that music needs drums. No, it doesn't. If you limit yourself to one style, you won't make interesting music even in that style!
The best music in any style is made by musicians who either invented that style or move through different styles or both...
I would love to hear more tracks without drums at all. That was the main complain from basa. If a synth is not good for drums, it will still be able to be used for good music, that is the basic idea of a challenge! Look for interesting new sounds, and do not try to recreate what you know already...

Local Man
KVRian
678 posts since 31 May, 2017

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:33 pm

Tj Shredder wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 1:03 pm
Local Man wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 9:42 am
I'm sure it's been suggested before but I think it would be great if the competition allowed the use of dedicated drum machines and drum samples aside from the One Synth. That is, the One Synth is used for everything but drums.
This would make the results more boring. There seems to be an idea that music needs drums. No, it doesn't. If you limit yourself to one style, you won't make interesting music even in that style!
The best music in any style is made by musicians who either invented that style or move through different styles or both...
I would love to hear more tracks without drums at all. That was the main complain from basa. If a synth is not good for drums, it will still be able to be used for good music, that is the basic idea of a challenge! Look for interesting new sounds, and do not try to recreate what you know already...
I agree with you and I would love to hear more tracks without drums as well.
And if I decide to participate again, I will definitely make a track sans drums (OBXD would be a great time to jump in now that I think about it).

That said, I still think it would be interesting to have a "use whatever drums you want" month. Because inevitably, many are going to use drums in their tracks. And in my opinion, those drums that are made by just one synth are more often than not going to bring the track down to whatever degree.

Anyway, I'm sure mine is a minority opinion and many will think that it is contrary to the spirit of the contest. Maybe so, but I'd love to see how it would turn out.

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Dirtgrain
KVRist
354 posts since 12 Jan, 2019

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sat Oct 05, 2019 3:03 pm

Well, it's a good part of learning how to sound design, making drums. While I've made some crappy ones, a few were nice, and others have excelled at it. I really dig the drums on this OSC 127 entry: https://soundcloud.com/thepresentmusic/ ... 127-zebra2

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aciddose
KVRAF
12312 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:52 am

One solution you could use is to create your track with no limits on how you use drums or samples, but ensure you dedicate specific tracks/channels to those parts. You can then mute those and either replace them partially with synth parts that emulate the drums/samples, or just submit the synth-soloed tracks.

You can then after the competition release the full version of the track alongside your OSC version. This way you won't feel limited during composition and arrangement, so you might feel more free and inspired to do things differently than if you were only limited to a single synthesizer.

There is no reason not to produce a guitar + vocal track for OSC... just that those parts can't be entered and only the additional synth backing or other parts limited to that one synthesizer can.
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

rghvdberg
KVRian
702 posts since 11 Mar, 2014 from Netherlands

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:56 pm

I've made a sample slicer plugin so a One Slicer Challenge would be fun ;-)

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TrojakEW
KVRist
326 posts since 21 Mar, 2012 from Slovakia

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:59 pm

basa333 wrote:
Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:46 am
If it should be a "two or three preset" challenge, why not? but please not "sixtyfive presets"! it should be a challenge for musically experiments, according defined style - styles maybe like classical instruments (guitar, piano, oboe, orchestral drums, sure in "synthvoice", whatever, maybe specially wood instrument, or brass, you know, what I mean, or string instrument generally etc., one or two presets). no flangers, no delays, no distortions, but only one (ok, maybe two) preset(s) of a concrete synth in one (ok, wenn it must be, in two) DAW-track(s).
Consider yourself lucky. You can do that without changing existing OSC rules and without forcing others to do the same. I done this for #127 but I never bother others to do the same. There is no limit to how many instances you can use. You are also not forced to use any external effects. It is up to you. Surprise us. :tu:

basa333
KVRist
86 posts since 26 Apr, 2019 from CZ

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:07 pm

well, I acknowledge, that I alone don't have much chances. I thought, my idea would be more resonant.

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reusenoise
KVRian
890 posts since 23 Oct, 2009 from Italy

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:25 pm

Maybe add a side prize for the best single synth track

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exponent1
KVRist
240 posts since 10 Nov, 2018

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:43 pm

basa333 wrote:
Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:07 pm
well, I acknowledge, that I alone don't have much chances. I thought, my idea would be more resonant.
Your idea is nice, but I think it won't be very exciting for most of the participants, at least not for me. I will very rarely, in a real world scenario, make a song using just one sound (instance or preset, whatever you want to call it), unless it's a classical composition or arrangement.

The thrill and excitement of this challenge (atleast for me) is being able to produce a full bodied track using just one synth for all the sounds. It gives us all a fair chance to learn and showcase abilities in sound synthesis, arrangement, composition and mixing among other things. All of this knowledge is very valuable to me, since I'm a beginner in all of this.

As BlitBit pointed out earlier, almost every musical style or genre comprises of more than one instrument in some way and using more than one 'instance' of the synth is just an approach to try and realistically model those instruments. For some, a kick can take more than 2 instances, while some can model a kick using just 1. The truth is that certain styles of music are extremely difficult to make using just a few sounds and forcibly trying to do that is quite counterproductive, as this challenge is hard as it is.

As I said earlier, everyone has different motivations to do this challenge and hence they focus on/prioritize different aspects of music making. If you're more interested in just 'Songwriting' than sound design as a challenge, you could try out the 'Songwriting Competition' instead https://mix-challenge.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=11

All the best and hope to hear more of your music!

rghvdberg
KVRian
702 posts since 11 Mar, 2014 from Netherlands

Re: One-Synth-Challenge: General discussion thread

Post Sun Oct 06, 2019 11:48 pm

reality check : osc isn't a song writing contest, it's a display of technical ability
and that's awesome

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