What qualities can make a filter sound good?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRAF
12699 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:01 pm

SoulState wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 11:40 am
If you want to dig deeper in that theme you should find some psychoaccoustic research, i think. But it covers theme only partly, like "even harmonics sounds pleasing and odd harmonics is not", and blah blah balh.
Yes.

Moreover, what we ascribe to the filter may be more than a function of just what's in the filter. Our perception can even be colored by how the U/I interacts with the filter.

KVRist
181 posts since 30 Dec, 2008

Post Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:04 pm

Just have to copypaste between threads, but i shoud do this inportant addition )))
Good Filter = You just turn knobs, and have that WOOW!!! :o :hyper: , you now
Simple enough, isn't? :D :wink:

KVRAF
2765 posts since 3 Mar, 2006

Post Fri Apr 30, 2021 1:02 pm

ghettosynth wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:01 pm

Yes.

Moreover, what we ascribe to the filter may be more than a function of just what's in the filter. Our perception can even be colored by how the U/I interacts with the filter.
This is definitely true - most of the modulation inputs in bitwig are measured in semitones and are INCREDIBLY WIDE which is super flexible but can make dialling in a good sound have narrower sweet spots on the knob compared to programming in a juno 60 clone or similar where most of the slider is what I'd call good and usable travel.

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KVRian
1423 posts since 10 Jul, 2008 from Orbit Sol III

Post Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:21 pm

zerocrossing wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 8:58 am
The qualities that make a filter good are oompf, smudge, velvetosity, phattness and screamo. You must have at least two of those qualities.
Absolutely! These are objective, quantifiable values we can all agree on. :)
What is good?

No, i don't think that because someone has spent a lot of time with audio that it means that they necessarily know what "good" is (perhaps they know what is most popular, and certainly they know better what they themselves like).
I can state what i think is "good", but definition that changes with my goal, sometimes i just want to cut or boost a frequency range and i have no desire for "character." Other times i'm like "listen to my filter." :)

One thing that is measurable though it that it is a character of ladder filters (for example) that depending on certain components (in a truly analog circuit) or parameters set in software (virtual world) it determines the response to resonance at lower frequencies, (thus the popularity of the Minimoog instead of so many other VC ladder filters.) So, there is a scientific point, and, in this case many, but not all, people (Bones for example) even agree on it.

Yes, it's true that non linearities in filters (virtual and otherwise) give them "character", it's just a matter of taste which kind of character one would choose. Once again for me that would depend on what i'm trying to accomplish.

To end my dissertation on filters i would also agree that which characteristics are popular at any given time, is, nowadays, quite likely dictated by marketing, hype, herd mentality, and bs in general.

Wow, sorry about the tl:dr.
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KVRAF
12699 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:36 pm

You forget wooden end cheeks. Which characteristics are popular also depends on the existence and quality of wooden end cheeks.

KVRer
29 posts since 15 Jun, 2018

Post Sat May 01, 2021 4:27 am

The main aspect that makes Moog'S filters so appealing in my ear is their behavior in the low frequency area once you start turning down the cutoff. This is Arturia's weak spot. Their filter emulations have pretty well sounding resonances, but as soon as you start filtering a bit more, the body of the sound sounds thin. Vital's filters don't behave as bad, but still have a tendency to sound harsh and thin.

The best Moog emulations (among them Monark and Diva in my opinion) achieve this low frequency behavior. The Drop does this as well.

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KVRist
301 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Sat May 01, 2021 5:32 am

ghettosynth wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:36 pm
You forget wooden end cheeks. Which characteristics are popular also depends on the existence and quality of wooden end cheeks.
True, wooden end cheeks make synths sound warmer and fuller.

KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 5:35 am

You know... thinking about it... if you need to ask what qualities make a good filter, then I don't think you should even bother about the whole thing at all. Might sound evil, but, ignorance is sometimes better than to realize that you can't hear the difference between a good and a bad filter. Or you might just not give a damn at all, which is perfectly fine as well.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 5:36 am

jules99 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 4:27 am
The main aspect that makes Moog'S filters so appealing in my ear is their behavior in the low frequency area once you start turning down the cutoff. This is Arturia's weak spot. Their filter emulations have pretty well sounding resonances, but as soon as you start filtering a bit more, the body of the sound sounds thin. Vital's filters don't behave as bad, but still have a tendency to sound harsh and thin.

The best Moog emulations (among them Monark and Diva in my opinion) achieve this low frequency behavior. The Drop does this as well.
Totally agree with this. That "oomph" you're talking about when closing the filter isn't there on the Arturia filters at all, which is especially what makes them so lacklustre for me.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRAF
1793 posts since 28 Feb, 2015

Post Sat May 01, 2021 5:44 am

chk071 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 5:35 am
You know... thinking about it... if you need to ask what qualities make a good filter, then I don't think you should even bother about the whole thing at all. Might sound evil, but, ignorance is sometimes better than to realize that you can't hear the difference between a good and a bad filter. Or you might just not give a damn at all, which is perfectly fine as well.
This is wat make these threads so amusing to me, and also why I in another thread was asking if people here don't produce any music at all, and are only listening to the plugins individually :)

In a full production, I don't believe anyone here can hear which year a certain filter or oscillator is made, as some (indirectly) claim the can. They won't even hear if it is an original Moog or an emulation either.

But no, even though I can't really hear the different between if a filter is good or bad, I don't really see it that way. All filters are good, they only have different characters which some people like, and some people don't.
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KVRAF
2411 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Sat May 01, 2021 6:34 am

If a filter is used in subtractive synthesis to remove frequencies that are generated by an oscillator, then how is it good or bad?

It removes frequencies using high pass, low pass, comb, etc. algorithms. I would guess that bad might mean the signal was processed with errors, or done improperly. But good? That implies that it is working as it should.

Maybe the real focus should be on the quality of the source signal?
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KVRAF
2966 posts since 22 Aug, 2019

Post Sat May 01, 2021 7:29 am

It just needs to sound pleasant and alive, without distortion and other noise or artifacts. If a digital, generic filter does that, fine with me, I don't need any specific filter sound like the Minimoog's. And who knows what that would sound like if it had 8-voice polyphony. It's easier to make a single voice sound good.

KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 7:35 am

e-crooner wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 7:29 am
It just needs to sound pleasant and alive, without distortion and other noise or artifacts. If a digital, generic filter does that, fine with me, I don't need any specific filter sound like the Minimoog's.
Make no mistake. If it's like in the emulations, then the Minimoog filter saturates quite a bit.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRAF
1672 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Sat May 01, 2021 8:46 am

Bad filters explode; good filters do not explode.

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KVRAF
1793 posts since 28 Feb, 2015

Post Sat May 01, 2021 8:58 am

I hate filters, snapchat filters that is. the worst kind, they don't even sound!
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