Why do I seem to like free synths better ?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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KVRist
205 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:46 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:34 pm
If that were the case nobody would have done it. Everyone did. Jupiter-8, king of vintage, doesn’t sound all that great without effects. None of them do.
You are just proving the opposite point here. You're right, things sound better with effects but that doesn't mean they have to be, or are even best placed, with the instrument itself. As Dellboy says, he can add effects himself, he doesn't need them to be part of the synth, which is why he finds freebies with no effects work well for him. It's a very simple proposition, well enunciated. I don't see how there can be any argument about it.
You're behind but you're going to argue anyhow for the sake of argument, thats what you do. I noted that even during the "golden age" everyone added effects afterwards:

"Let’s not even get into this idea that reverb/delay as part of the sound design is a bad thing. It’s no different than adding it later as everyone does, even in the “golden age” of the 80s."

He said "It is a bad thing and always was." to that statement. Then went on later to say it was OK to add effects. So quite honestly I don't know what his stance is.
BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:34 pm
Oooh you gave it a whole couple of minutes more. How generous! I’m sure in that time you got a full idea of the oscillator modes for the 4 oscillators per voice with gobs of waveform choices, the 6 filter types for the 2 filters per voice, the huge mod matrix, etc.
You say all that as though those things are desirable but what you describe to me are things that would put me off downloading the demo.
Of course it would BONES.
BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:34 pm
Drips 80’s and sounds fantastic.
Which is it? It can't be both. OK, after listening to the first minute, it's definitely very 80s, it doesn't sound fantastic.
Of course it can be both.
BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:34 pm
Diva is an analog emulation, Spire is not. I own both. Different synths totally.
Wait on, a minute ago you were saying how good it is at vintage sounds, now you say it can't be compared to a vintage emulation. Which is it? Again, it can't be both.
Actually I said they're totally different synths and once again of course it can be both. You know this is possible and want to argue for argument's sake which I am ending here because clearly you're not arguing in good faith (as always).
BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:20 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:34 pm
The only true freebie out there that really is anything like Spire is Surge which definitely gives Spire a run for its money.
Does it not occur to you that the attraction to freebies might be that they are nothing like Spire? That said, I'd be surprised if Vital couldn't mix it with Spire.
Yes it occurs to me that is possible. Fullbucket makes plenty of freebies and none of them are like Spire but that has absolutely nothing to do with my statement, which was more about Surge being both a free synth with a similar complexity to Spire and a former commercial product, now free because of the generosity of its author and the people now working on it. Can you point me to a free synth anywhere near as complex as Surge that wasn't originally a commercial product? There is a reason why freebies generally aren't.

I'm sure Vital can go head to head with Spire, its a great synth. It's also still a commercial product with a free tier. Matt Tytel gives away the base product in the hopes that people will pay a subscription for the rest of it. Roland also makes a similar product with Zenology Lite (minus the open sourcing of the code of course).

Anyhow, not carrying on this argument with you. Have a good day.

KVRian
761 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:47 am

It really depends: the way i see it, Vital is indeed free. It's just additional presets and wavetables that's payware.

I personally wouldn't mind paying for Vital as it's a synth that's almost too good to be free... if the paid versions actually had benefits for me (like actually more features, Vital FX, or something similar), but as it is at the moment, i would “just“ be paying for more presets.

It's a bit weird though as i'm aware that i would support the developer the same, as if i was paying to upgrade from a very generous “gift“, but it still feels like “just a preset package“ to me

In regards to finally also contributing to the OP's topic:
I have a couple of free plugins. Got them in addition to my paid stuff as i generally don't need much more than i already have.
Instruments wise it's Vital and Exakt Lite for me.
Got Vital, as it can easily compete with most stuff on the market. It's very professional from pretty much every perspective and you (at least i) would have never expected something like this to be free
Exakt Lite because i like to dabble more with “proper“ FM, while i don't feel like paying much for something that's definetly not my forte.
It has a great user interface and is quick to work with, that's why i chose it over Dexed, with of course is more feature packed and all in all capable.

Free stuff was always nice, but especially nowadays you can get away with a completely free software package from DAW while basically being on the same professional level as expensive payware.
You have to look harder and the choice of truly excellent stuff is of course much smaller, but the greatness is there too, just smaller in numbers.
Maybe if you insist on having the best Oberheim, or Moog emulation possible, and you probably won't find a free algorthmic reverb that truly competes with the big boys, but that's not to say that even those have to be completely awful / useless either
There's no Logic to Windows

User avatar
KVRist
205 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:55 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:37 am
Sounded like a violin to me.
I don't think anyone ever said it didn't fit the broad category of "violin sound" BONES. Cheap violins exist to teach children how to play, just like any other cheap instrument. I have a middle school band quality trumpet as well as a multi-thousand dollar Yamaha Xeno trumpet. They both sound like a trumpet. One exists for beginners and doesn't sound as good as the one that exists for professional players.
BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:37 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 5:54 pm
Watch again and listen more closely. I could hear the difference on my freaking ipad.
Both sounded like violins to me and in an orchestra with 32 of 'em in a nice big hall, the cheapo would be fine.
Would you hear one cheap violin among a group of expensive ones? Probably not in the setting of a full orchestra.
OK, so you agree with me. Nice to know.
Yes I do agree with you that one of these instruments sitting among a group of professional musicians with the rest being professional violins wouldn't be noticed. That really doesn't say anything more than that. You of course left off the part where I said if every one of the professionals had the cheap violins you'd notice:

"If you replaced every one of the violins with cheap ones? Yes you’d definitely hear it."

Because of course you agree with me but would rather play pretend argument.

User avatar
KVRist
205 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:03 am

FapFilter wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:47 am
It really depends: the way i see it, Vital is indeed free. It's just additional presets and wavetables that's payware.

I personally wouldn't mind paying for Vital as it's a synth that's almost too good to be free... if the paid versions actually had benefits for me (like actually more features, Vital FX, or something similar), but as it is at the moment, i would “just“ be paying for more presets.

It's a bit weird though as i'm aware that i would support the developer the same, as if i was paying to upgrade from a very generous “gift“, but it still feels like “just a preset package“ to me
Yeah I can see that point of view. At the end of the day it doesn't cost a dime to use the base Vital and nobody is holding a gun to your head to pay so for the end user it truly is free. But again its the base of a commercial offering that depending on the tier chosen includes support and quicker access to new features, etc. Bit of a grey area in my mind, not everyone agrees obviously.

KVRian
761 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:15 am

I'm also one of those peasants, who thinks that the difference between a “good“ standard price tagged instrument (not Toys 'R Us Ukulele vs $10.000 hand made guitar from god himself) and even iconic stuff shouldn't really matter in a song's context, but i'm of course fine to be proven wrong.
I think a great song is a great song, almost regardless of which gear has been used.
I've heard a song where the vocals were supposedly recorded with a ~$10 mic.
It still sounded good, because the song was good. And maybe the slightly “lofi“ sound was even intended, something someone would have to work hard to achieve with his recording from a $5000 mic.
A great song is basically 99% that basically everyone can recognize / aknoledge imediately (disregarding different tastes, if someone still hates that song or genre for some reason), while an ultra expensive intrument should be something only select few should be able to differentiate from a “good standard instrument“, and even then it's the question, wether the song is factually “better“ or “worse“ because of such choice, and not just a tiny bit different sounding
There's no Logic to Windows

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1694 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:49 am

jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:46 am

He said "It is a bad thing and always was." to that statement. Then went on later to say it was OK to add effects. So quite honestly I don't know what his stance is.
Its pretty simple. When a developer adds fx (fairy dust) on almost all pre-sets how are we to judge the base sound that the fx are masking ?

If I went into a posh music shop to do an A /B between a Martin and Gibson acoustic guitar do I want to mic them to an amp to drench them in delay and reverb to decide which one I like best ? The beauty of there sound is in the raw quality of timbre, not how they sound drenched in fx. The same goes for violins, which can cost huge sums of money. They are demoed in a room that is acoustically dampened so the violinist can judge the raw sound.

What someone wants to do later after making a judgement based on the raw sound of a synths filter is up to them. My personal preference is to have fx at a bare minimum. But this is basic stuff, and I am surprised that someone as knowledgeable as yourself is even questioning it.

User avatar
KVRian
1018 posts since 25 Sep, 2014 from Specific Northwest

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am

Cheap instruments don't necessarily sound worse than their more expensive counterparts, though they usually do. The big difference is in the playability. The Strads handle better, it's easier to bring out the nuances that differentiate the amateur player from the concert violinist. Same with guitars. Compare an off-the-shelf cheapo Jackson against a really good Rick. The Rick just plays better, more easily, more nuanced.

Anyway, not a really good comparison to use for free/cheep VSTs v. expensive ones. The expensive ones tend to have more modulation capabilities and MPE v. the others, although this will slowly change over time as MPE is more widely embraced.

KVRAF
6462 posts since 12 Feb, 2006 from Helsinki, Finland

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:18 am

syntonica wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am
Cheap instruments don't necessarily sound worse than their more expensive counterparts, though they usually do. The big difference is in the playability. The Strads handle better, it's easier to bring out the nuances that differentiate the amateur player from the concert violinist.
As someone who played classical violin all their youth rather seriously, I'd actually like to suggest that an amateur might even be better served by a cheaper instrument (as long as it's not junk), simply because often the most highly acclaimed instruments can be the most sensitive to the players technique (which is really the same thing as "easier to bring out the nuances"), so might just highlight the flaws in the technique of someone with less practice and a decent reasonably priced instrument could be easier to handle... not to mention it always takes some time to learn to play any specific instrument, because each of them truly responds quite differently from each other.
Preferred pronouns would be "it/it" because according to this country, I'm a piece of human trash.

AnX
KVRAF
9833 posts since 17 Nov, 2015

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:31 am

syntonica wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am
Cheap instruments don't necessarily sound worse than their more expensive counterparts, though they usually do. The big difference is in the playability. The Strads handle better, it's easier to bring out the nuances that differentiate the amateur player from the concert violinist.
playing skills or build quality..... I can make a Strad or Strat sound cheap....

User avatar
KVRian
1018 posts since 25 Sep, 2014 from Specific Northwest

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:23 am

AnX wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:31 am
syntonica wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am
Cheap instruments don't necessarily sound worse than their more expensive counterparts, though they usually do. The big difference is in the playability. The Strads handle better, it's easier to bring out the nuances that differentiate the amateur player from the concert violinist.
playing skills or build quality..... I can make a Strad or Strat sound cheap....
Amateur! :P :lol:

Yeah, anybody can make an instrument sound bad, but once you get to where you're developing your own style and expression, you need an instrument that can translate that for you. Having played a dozen different wind instruments, you can definitely tell when you're playing a cheap instrument v. a well-made one. The valves move more smoothly, you're not struggling with that one key on the side of your clarinet that you use about once a year, your sax mouthpiece doesn't feel like you're giving mouth-to-mouth through a coffee stirrer straw, etc.

Even playing actual living pianos, I can tell when I'm playing a cheap piano v. a Steinweg or a Petrof, despite not having advanced much further than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

User avatar
KVRian
1464 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 8:56 am

Dunno, the guy in the video did not use much vibrato, glissando etc. The applied effects sound usually better on a more expensive instrument.
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SKd0VII-l3A

KVRAF
29243 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:13 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 4:37 am
Neither of those things are likely. Resonant behaviour is much more about filter design. e.g. Compare a Moog Ladder filter to an Oberheim SEM filter. ZDF or not, they behave very differently.
Yes, definitely. That's why I wrote you can do good and shitty filters with any technique.

The best analog modelled filters happen to be ZDF filters though. It definitely has some advantages over "normal" VA filter design.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

User avatar
KVRian
1018 posts since 25 Sep, 2014 from Specific Northwest

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:23 am

mystran wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:18 am
syntonica wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am
Cheap instruments don't necessarily sound worse than their more expensive counterparts, though they usually do. The big difference is in the playability. The Strads handle better, it's easier to bring out the nuances that differentiate the amateur player from the concert violinist.
As someone who played classical violin all their youth rather seriously, I'd actually like to suggest that an amateur might even be better served by a cheaper instrument (as long as it's not junk), simply because often the most highly acclaimed instruments can be the most sensitive to the players technique (which is really the same thing as "easier to bring out the nuances"), so might just highlight the flaws in the technique of someone with less practice and a decent reasonably priced instrument could be easier to handle... not to mention it always takes some time to learn to play any specific instrument, because each of them truly responds quite differently from each other.
I don't disagree. However, most "student" instruments are so bad, I wouldn't wish them on my worst enemy. Imagine a violin that felt like rubbing a stick across some jute twine tied to a block of wood. That's how expressive most student instruments are. Believe me, I've been through quite a few. :lol:

User avatar
KVRist
205 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:54 pm

dellboy wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:49 am
jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:46 am

He said "It is a bad thing and always was." to that statement. Then went on later to say it was OK to add effects. So quite honestly I don't know what his stance is.
Its pretty simple. When a developer adds fx (fairy dust) on almost all pre-sets how are we to judge the base sound that the fx are masking ?
Uh, make your own sounds? That's how I do it anyhow. You know, init a preset slot, start tweaking... I don't think this is rocket science. I also don't think there is "masking" going on nor do I consider them fairy dust. I mean do you consider cross-mod between oscillators fairy dust too? Ring mod? Is a built-in sequencer or arp off-limits or you do have to play arpeggios by hand? At what do you set the cut between raw sound and fairy dust?
dellboy wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:49 am
If I went into a posh music shop to do an A /B between a Martin and Gibson acoustic guitar do I want to mic them to an amp to drench them in delay and reverb to decide which one I like best ? The beauty of there sound is in the raw quality of timbre, not how they sound drenched in fx. The same goes for violins, which can cost huge sums of money. They are demoed in a room that is acoustically dampened so the violinist can judge the raw sound.
I don't think acoustic instruments really are even in the same universe in this particular conversation. Maybe a more apt comparison, to not stretch things too far, is an electric guitar. Do you only listen to the guitar by itself thru an amp? Maybe as a first shot but as the only thing you do? I'd expect not. No guitar player I know does it that way anyhow.
dellboy wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:49 am
What someone wants to do later after making a judgement based on the raw sound of a synths filter is up to them. My personal preference is to have fx at a bare minimum. But this is basic stuff, and I am surprised that someone as knowledgeable as yourself is even questioning it.
I evaluate a synth, plugin or otherwise, with everything it provides. That stuff is all there for a reason and is part of the instrument. Doesn't mean it has to be drenched in reverb or anything else. But sometimes drenched in reverb is what makes the sound. Sometimes just a touch opens stuff up and makes a dull sound great. That stuff is just tools to be used and I'm not some purist. I always start learning a new synth with the raw sound to see what the oscillators or filters do because duh, but always do the same with the provided effects.

KVRAF
22771 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:14 pm

"The beauty of there sound is in the raw quality of timbre, not how they sound drenched in fx."/sic
or it's in a waveshaper or a certain filter, or...
No. A synthesizer is not a violin, there is no raw quality of timbre in that sense.

the main things I'd use in a synthesizer product have an FX tab or page. In my big three the FX are integral to the instrument. In two of them so much a part of the instrument I'm going to use them every time. #3, Reaktor Kontour has more usual things like a flanger and an echo, and I like to turn them off typically and see (might well be overkill). I wonder if there are synths which in their design drench it all in shite reverb, I don't recognize that personally at all.
let alone not being able to parse that in a patch.

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