What qualities can make a filter sound good?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRAF
28088 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:00 am

That's like saying that EQ'ing doesn't add anything to the sound, because it's the source sound which matters. ;)

Although filters can actually even have a lot more influence on the sound.
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KVRAF
6518 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:03 am

chk071 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:00 am
That's like saying that EQ'ing doesn't add anything to the sound, because it's the source sound which matters. ;)

Although filters can actually even have a lot more influence on the sound.
I didn't say it didn't add anything to the sound. Read it again. Whether it's a filter or an EQ, the source matters more than anything else in determining the "quality" of the sound.

KVRAF
28088 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:06 am

You say the source sound matters though.

If you compare the raw waveforms of different synths, you'll probably be surprised how close they all sound (at least I'm always surprised about that).

I think it's significant that it's called "subtractive synthesis". The filter plays THE major role in the sound. Apart from the general synth engine (in soft synths or digital synths) of course.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

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KVRAF
6518 posts since 7 Sep, 2006 from Roseville, CA

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:15 am

But, we're not talking only about a single, unmodified sawtooth oscillator feeding into a filter, we're talking about all filters and all uses, which includes running an entire bus or mix through a filter to modify a submix or the entire mix, or on a vocal track, etc. But, even with synthesis, oscillator sounds do sound different among different synths, they're often combined in different blends of oscillator shapes, some of which are further modified before the filter stage, etc. All of that matters a LOT in determining the quality of the sound and the way the filter interacts with it. I know you know this.

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KVRAF
18733 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:33 am

cryophonik wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 7:56 am

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.
Here is an audio example. The osc going into 2 filters are just a simple droning additive sound. Very basic and boring. The filters in series are creating all the variation and most of the timbre. The filters are modulated, one FM'ed, etc.

https://dandelionaudio.com/sound/filters1.mp3

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KVRAF
2953 posts since 22 Aug, 2019

Post Mon May 03, 2021 8:51 am

When one looks at a LP filter, for instance, below the cutoff frequency it should not remove anything, above the cutoff frequency everything, right? So, basically, the magic happens in the transition frequency range (the slope part), right?

KVRAF
2409 posts since 17 Sep, 2016

Post Mon May 03, 2021 9:16 am

Has anybody else noticed that Urs has stayed out of this one?
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KVRAF
15208 posts since 16 Sep, 2001 from Las Vegas,USA

Post Mon May 03, 2021 11:51 am

zzz00m wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:16 am
Has anybody else noticed that Urs has stayed out of this one?
That's because he's smarter than the rest of us. Certainly smarter than I am because here I go even though I know it's a pointless argument about personal preference..... :wink:
Teksonik wrote:
Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:03 am
I've seen people posting examples of what a "good" filter sounds like and the example sounds like someone standing on a cat's tail. They think it sounds good, I think it sound horrible so we're right back to square one in search for a definition of good.
Case in point...
pdxindy wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:33 am
Here is an audio example. The osc going into 2 filters are just a simple droning additive sound. Very basic and boring. The filters in series are creating all the variation and most of the timbre. The filters are modulated, one FM'ed, etc.
https://dandelionaudio.com/sound/filters1.mp3
None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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KVRAF
21318 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon May 03, 2021 11:56 am

pdxindy wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 8:33 am
Here is an audio example.
The filters in series are creating all the variation and most of the timbre. The filters are modulated, one FM'ed, etc.

https://dandelionaudio.com/sound/filters1.mp3
I like it.
as an argument to the crucialness of filters I think it pretty much works, taking your word for the uninteresting quality of the source of course.
Last edited by jancivil on Mon May 03, 2021 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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KVRist
112 posts since 24 Jan, 2021

Post Mon May 03, 2021 11:58 am

I like most of it, but wow, those high-frequency peaks are harsh on my ears. Maybe someday I’ll be old enough to develop immunity.
I hate signatures too.

KVRAF
12695 posts since 13 Oct, 2009

Post Mon May 03, 2021 11:59 am

Super Piano Hater 64 wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 11:58 am
I like most of it, but wow, those high-frequency peaks are harsh on my ears. Maybe someday I’ll be old enough to develop immunity.
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/high-pit ... an_n_98304

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KVRAF
21318 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon May 03, 2021 12:01 pm

pretty certain my like of highs and resonance is not a product of hearing loss

KVRAF
4369 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Mon May 03, 2021 2:08 pm

what you are asking is... "what sounds good?" what sounds good about a filter is a musical quality that comes from "gluing" sounds together, that's also called synthesis.

KVRAF
4369 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Mon May 03, 2021 2:11 pm

it has to sound good to the ear. musically pleasing. there is such a tremendous amount of "musically pleasing" filters about rn tho.... it has to keep up with audiorates, i can tell you that. a filter bank has to recognize the audio being passed through it.

KVRAF
4369 posts since 22 Nov, 2012

Post Mon May 03, 2021 2:13 pm

and it had to behave correctly... the "bain" of modern instruments, they don't know how to behave anymore.

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