A Synth is only as good as its presets

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:22 am

I don't think the title is true.

Unfortunately most modern synths are aimed at EDM, so it would be foolish of me to rule out any synth just because 95% of its factory presets are crap in my view. That applies even to my favorite synth. I think I tried a few dozen random presets when I bought it and then I gave up because it was a waste of time, I never use any of its factory presets. Nor do I know and buy other people's sound sets for it.

But even non-EDM synths often have odd factory presets that are useless in my view, more like sound gimmicks. Not to mention silly patch names that don't mean anything to me.

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egbert101
KVRAF
2289 posts since 13 Jun, 2014

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:32 am

True up to a point I guess. And the same applies to the musician or artist who uses presets in their music in a non creative way.
<list all your stupid gear here>

Martin Simon
KVRist
61 posts since 19 Apr, 2010 from Amsterdam, Holland

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:33 am

For me there is a huge difference in playing the synth and using the synth in a production.

For playing and showcasing, good presets are nice.

For production the init preset is my best friend. Lush sounds with fx are hardly usable in a production.
Its possible, yes. But then the rest of the sounds will have to fit in.

i also tend to make a bank with just raw osc sounds, just to check if its basic sound fits the production.
And a bank with just short attack sounds for layering.

anomandaris1
KVRist
269 posts since 26 Nov, 2009

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am

I've never found any use for drone/ambient noise type presets. I guess they are useful for chill/cinematic type people, but you can use any type of sound with lots of reverb and get something usable for these styles...
I guess I'm not the only that thinks that - see Absynth - a very capable synth that has a reputation for only making such sounds. It's almost abandoned and there are almost no third party presets for it.
Arpeggiated or sequenced/too complex modulations with lfos,envelopes etc/self playing (like lots of Reaktor stuff) presets - also completely useless for me. You can't use them in a original composition without changing everything.
Give me a sound with assigned some midi CC (new Fxpansion stuff+Roli keyboard), XY morphing (like Alchemy/Kore and some others) - these are great.

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harryupbabble
KVRAF
1542 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:21 am

Does it have to be about synths only?
I have the demo version of Guitar Rig. I might buy that if it had "built-in" presets like:
Jimmy Page - Heartbreaker - Solo
Jimmy Page - Heartbreaker - Rhythm
Jimmy Page - Dazed And Confused MSG73 - Intro
Jimmy Page - Dazed And Confused MSG73 - Bowed

Heck, why doesn't Guitar Rig have a "built-in" bank named "Jimmy Page - Entire Catalog"?
On second thought maybe Guitar Rig already asked Jimmy Page and maybe Jimmy said no.

I have no idea if replicating Jimmy Page's guitar sounds is easy or hard even for pro sound designers.
But I bet such a "built-in" Jimmy Page preset bank would increase Guitar Rig's total sales.

Just now, it occurred to me that Jimmy Page outlived David Bowie and John Lennon.
But maybe not Keith Richards. And maybe not Guitar Rig. But who knows?
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

ENV1
KVRAF
2445 posts since 31 Aug, 2011

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:41 am

wagtunes wrote: When I demo a synth, I start with INIT (if the synth has one as not all do) and then start programming. If I don't like what I'm hearing, I don't get the synth. It's that simple.
Thats it in a nutshell.

Only i even make the INIT myself :hihi: because no synth ever has one that i would consider a real INIT.

(Everything, and i mean everything, has to be zeroed/off/neutral except for 1 osc and the sustain of the amp EG so you hear something when you press a key.)


Teksonik wrote: I've never understood the snobbery of people who won't use patches made by other people.

Perhaps it's because I've actually been in bands where the free exchange of musical ideas and inspiration is quite common. :shrug:
Cant speak for others, but here its not 'snobbery', just part of the whole creative process and one of the most fun parts.

(I always loved to syntheticize.)

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aMUSEd
KVRAF
30715 posts since 14 Sep, 2002 from In teh net

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:53 am

anomandaris1 wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:10 am
I guess I'm not the only that thinks that - see Absynth - a very capable synth that has a reputation for only making such sounds. It's almost abandoned and there are almost no third party presets for it.
There are some good ones, just not much recent apart from Anomaly - The Unfinished for example made loads, also Leap into the void, Camel/biolabs made a couple of the best packs before they went by bys.

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:55 am

My init patches are not neutral/zero on all parameters, but usually use the settings I tend to use. For instance I always have a tiny velocity -> pitch modulation on all my patches.
And I also have default EQ settings that are anything but neutral.
Also, what is the neutral value for filter keytracking?

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1716 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:59 am

Btw.. Even though I dislike presets, I do love random button :hihi:

imrae
KVRian
618 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:03 am

Martin Simon wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:33 am
For me there is a huge difference in playing the synth and using the synth in a production.

For playing and showcasing, good presets are nice.
This is a good point; quick access to decent bread-and-butter sounds is very useful in a band practice/jam/writing session.

sleepcircle
KVRian
576 posts since 28 Nov, 2016

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:08 am

Teksonik wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:53 am
I've never understood the snobbery of people who won't use patches made by other people. Unless you are the greatest sound designer in the world and no one reading this thread is then we can all benefit from the talents of others. I love making my own patches and consider myself fairly good at it but if I find a patch made by someone else musically inspiring then I'll use it in a heartbeat without a bit of guilt.

Perhaps it's because I've actually been in bands where the free exchange of musical ideas and inspiration is quite common. :shrug:
In my case it's not snobbery, it's usually more like "i have a specific idea of the sound i want, in my head, starting out"

sometimes it'll work the other way around, and a particular sound or preset will inspire me--or i'll know i can't make anything as good myself, so i might as well use the patch--in which case i do without much guilt.

what usually inspires me more than a preset though is when i hear a synth sound in an EXISTING song, and i like it so much that i want to use it myself, but i mean there's no preset, so i have to reverse engineer it.

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AutoMotto
KVRist
84 posts since 7 Jan, 2015 from The white cliffs of Dover..

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:10 am

A synth is only as good as it's programmer ;)
Korg Legacy Collection
Arturia Jupiter 8V / ARP2600 V2 / CS-80 V2 / Matrix 12V.
G-Media
ImpOSCar2.
TAL UNO-LX V2 / Bassline 101.
And many freebies too.

fluffy_little_something
KVRAF
12922 posts since 5 Jun, 2012

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:17 am

AutoMotto wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:10 am
A synth is only as good as it's programmer ;)
Programmer as in developer or sound designer?

sleepcircle
KVRian
576 posts since 28 Nov, 2016

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:20 am

i think he meant sound designer but both works

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1716 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:28 am

At least they should. Otherwise there'd be no synth.

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