What qualities can make a filter sound good?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:01 am

Unaspected wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 8:46 am
Bad filters explode; good filters do not explode.
Waldorf Largo's filter explodes, but, I still like it. ;)
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRian
896 posts since 25 Jan, 2017

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:08 am

Practical example of a synth with bad filters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFIF3hWJSa8

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Urs
u-he
25633 posts since 8 Aug, 2002 from Berlin

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:15 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.
We're adding leopard print and brushed metal options.

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KVRAF
1672 posts since 4 May, 2012

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:19 am

chk071 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:01 am
Unaspected wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 8:46 am
Bad filters explode; good filters do not explode.
Waldorf Largo's filter explodes, but, I still like it. ;)
You mean it breaks up or steps when modulated? I would hope it doesn't achieve a state whereby it starts feeding back infinitely. Otherwise I absolutely would avoid using that.

That's another point of course: If you want to modulate the filter and it breaks up or can't handle the rate of modulation that you require, that might be a bad filter to choose.

Otherwise I would suggest that a good filter will change the tone of the sound you are processing in a desirable manner - which is not only subjective but entirely dependant on program material and expected or desired results.

Niowiad wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:08 am
Practical example of a synth with bad filters:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFIF3hWJSa8
:hihi:

Also reminds me of early reverb experiments.

KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:21 am

Unaspected wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:19 am
chk071 wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:01 am
Unaspected wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 8:46 am
Bad filters explode; good filters do not explode.
Waldorf Largo's filter explodes, but, I still like it. ;)
You mean it breaks up or steps when modulated? I would hope it doesn't achieve a state whereby it starts feeding back infinitely. Otherwise I absolutely would avoid using that.
The volume "explodes" at some point when you crank up the resonance (meaning, it gets really high). I thought you meant this. And, I think that's what is generally considered as "the filter explodes".

Also happens in Cakewalk Z3TA.

I know what you mean though. The things you described also suck.
Last edited by chk071 on Sat May 01, 2021 9:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

KVRAF
12699 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:21 am

Urs wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:15 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.
We're adding leopard print and brushed metal options.
Those will definitely sound cooler and more modern. And by that I mean in a statistically significant way.

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KVRAF
18752 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:23 am

zzz00m wrote:
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?
Filters don't just subtract. They also add in some different ways. They can saturate when driven. Resonance on the verge of self oscillation can impart wonderful characteristics to the original sound. Modulate the cutoff with a quick drop and some filters thump in pleasing sounding ways. Audio rate modulation of the cutoff (filter FM) also can add timbre that wasn't in the original source.

I like to push filters cause I like sounds that live at the edge of instability. In this regard, analog filters are my favorites. So when it comes to digital filters, the best sounding ones for me are the ones that come closer to the qualities I like in analog filters. This of course is all subjective based on my own aesthetic interests.

KVRAF
12699 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:24 am

pdxindy wrote:
Sat May 01, 2021 9:23 am
I like to push filters cause I like sounds that live at the edge of instability. In this regard, analog filters are my favorites. So when it comes to digital filters, the best sounding ones for me are the ones that come closer to the qualities I like in analog filters. This of course is all subjective based on my own aesthetic interests.
I was going to post something like this, you saved me from writing too many words. Exactly so!

KVRAF
28116 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 9:26 am

Yes. Another +1 here. Even though I also enjoy some typical "digital" sounding filters (think Waldorf, Virus, or Roland).
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KVRist

Topic Starter

372 posts since 28 Nov, 2013 from Germany

Post Sat May 01, 2021 10:50 am

Thanks for all the input and feedback so far! (See what I did there? :wink:)
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.
I know that this is in part tongue in cheek but I translate this to:
  • Oompf: Should sound nice when the filter comes back flying into the low frequencies.
  • Phattness: Should have nice distortion characteristics.
  • Screamo: High resonance should not just pierce your ears but still be usable in some way, e.g. self oscillation.
  • Smudge: ?
  • Velvetosity: ?
I guess it also helps if resonant peaks have harmonic spacings because inharmonic spacings will sound metallic.
Passed 303 posts. Next stop: 808.

KVRAF
12699 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Sat May 01, 2021 8:34 pm

Perhaps red end-cheeks are the way to go, since red trains are louder than green ones.
However, in each experiment about one third of the subjects did show shifts in their loudness judgements which depended on the presented colours. The relative shifts were in the order of 2 to 9%, with c1 (“bright red”) and c7 (“bright pink”) often causing an increased loudness rating, and c17 (“grey”) and c19 (“light green”) associated mainly with lower loudness ratings. For the experiments involving coloured trains, subjects could be identified who consistently either did or did not show colour related effects
https://www.acoustics.asn.au/conference ... s/p175.pdf

KVRAF
1622 posts since 26 Aug, 2012

Post Sun May 02, 2021 12:48 am

why daa-you need ta know dat for?

KVRist
164 posts since 4 Jun, 2020 from USA

Post Sun May 02, 2021 11:42 pm

The Korg M1 and 01/W have a terrible filter.

KVRAF
2411 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Mon May 03, 2021 7:17 am

Those Korg models are digital synths. The filter is supposed to be bad.
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KVRAF
6533 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Mon May 03, 2021 7:56 am

Having big knobs always helps.
Teksonik wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:03 am
I think it's just fashionable for people to complain about filters these days without even understanding what it is they're complaining about.
:tu:

Also, let's step back and consider a basic principle: the filter itself (yes, with some exceptions) is not making sound, it's only altering the sound passing through it, so the primary "quality" that makes a filter sound "good" or "bad" is the source sound that's being filtered.

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