adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

How to make that sound...
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JO512
KVRist
55 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Post Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:58 pm

Many synth sounds are too consistent and lacking in interest. They often don't have the richness that acoustic instruments have. I am always searching for ways to add richness and variation to the sounds.

I've found that lots of interesting things can be done with sidechaining, using one sound source to modulate another with envelope followers. Various forms of noise, samples, granular patches with randomness, and so on, can be used to modulate such things as gain, pan, pitch, formant, EQ, filter frequencies, and so on.

But one of the best techniques I've found so far is using a vocoder. This can create more interesting results than just blending two sounds. Many people think of a vocoder as something only used to make robot voices. Vocoding can do so much more! Any sound can be used to modulate any other in a very rich and musical way!

My favorite technique right now:

Synths like Soundemote's Radar Generator and NyquistGenerator have a very rich and varied sound but these can be a bit harsh on their own and the sounds are sometimes less musical than I'd like. But I've found that they are incredible for use as a modulation source on a vocoder!

Convolution, using audio files not meant to be used as IRs, can also shape sounds in interesting ways.

What techniques do you use to make boring or cheesy synth sounds more interesting and varied?

CHOOS
KVRist
352 posts since 3 Nov, 2010

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Sun Dec 29, 2019 3:13 pm

Upload a yt video


sounds interesting but.... text....

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
55 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:38 pm

I might make a video.

In the meantime, if it sounds interesting to you, just give it a try! Your DAW may vary. In Reaper, I just create a track, put the two sound sources before my vocoder in an FX chain on that track, but with output channels 1 and 2 turned off on the instrument acting as the modulator, with outputs to 3 and 4 turned on instead. MVocoder, the vocoder I like to use, then gets it as a sidechain input. That's it. Then turn up "whitening" in MVocoder a little maybe to brighten the sound, adjust the strength of the effect with the "ratio" knob, maybe adjust the gain on the modulation source, and so on. Any vocoder should work somewhat similarly.

Or you can route audio in from another track, turning off the master send on that track and sending to your vocoder track on channels 3 and 4 instead of 1 and 2.

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Benedict
KVRAF
3225 posts since 5 Mar, 2004 from Gold Coast Australia

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Sun Dec 29, 2019 11:17 pm

Interesting thing. I talk about this quite a bit myself. How about a challenge?

This is a piece I give to students who are needing to understand Voicing:
https://soundcloud.com/benedictroff-mar ... g-tutorial

I can share the MIDI (and the drumline as a Stem) and anyone else interested can voice it and share the results. I will give my impressions on each take so showing an understanding of the musical Story will win you points.
There are Four Sections, each using some of the same sounds as the ones before. In each Section, while the same sounds are used, they need to behave a little differently so while easy to assign presets, the results will be "wooden" if the musical narrative itself isn't taken into account.
(so no you can't just change the presets - they need to be essentially the same sounds throughout)
I bet it will be a bit harder than you think ;-)

Waddya say?
:-)

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
55 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:46 pm

Waddya say?
Sounds like fun, but I'm a bit too immersed in other things at the moment!

GRUMP
KVRist
134 posts since 11 Jun, 2019 from Darmstadt, Germany

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:48 am

JO512 wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:58 pm
Many synth sounds are too consistent and lacking in interest. They often don't have the richness that acoustic instruments have. I am always searching for ways to add richness and variation to the sounds.
A Vocoder is a "Sound Generator" itself. I usually use more subtle Methods for Variations etc. I also do not know if I really understand what you mean. Interest? Variation? But anyway ... interesting Topic, although I fear that its quiet endless.

You say "They often don't have the richness that acoustic instruments have."

That is the Point for me. The first Part of the Sentence. The Lack of "Richness" which is i. m. O. frequently a Poverty in the upper Frequencys and an "unbalanced" over all Spectrum. That´s what I would talk about first.

I feel that Sounds are much more impress- and interesting, if they are are strong in the upper Frequency Spectrum - so the first Thing I usually do is to turn on my (analog modeled Neve-EQ) Channel Strip, a Shelving EQ or sth. like this to Balance the Sound a little bit (lows, mids, highs), to emphasize the higher Frequencys, to produce some "Air", "Presence" and "Clarity" (and get it out of the Mud). I have also shortly procured a so called "Master Desk" (Mastering Tool > Limiter, Compressor, EQ, ...) to quickly bring the Sound "in Shape" and check its Potential already in early Stages of the Sound Design. It really helps a lot and shows you "other Sides" of the Sound you´re just tweaking.

After that - and that is the Point - AFTER that - it starts to get interesting and I´ll consider Modulations, ModFX, Wavetable-Morphing, Layering and so on and on and on. But I must admit that I nusually don´t need many Modulations and Variations. That´s also why I am not a Master in creating them. But - you know this Tip already - many Synths like Zebra have many Presets with many Modulations and Variations that you can study easily if you are heading for a comprehensive Understanding of the Possibilities that modern Synths offer?

The mentioned Lack in "Interest" immediately reminds me of the various Exciters/Enhancers/Maximizers of all Kinds in my System by the Way. May it be a "Harmonic Maximizer", a "Harmonics" Saturation Tool or even Stereo-Exciters (!).

Here´s a little Example from my Side. A (quick and dirty) Demo of my Excursions beyond 4kHz (This one seems to have a little bit too much beyond the 20 kHz, so please apologize the Dither Noise ;-)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-n5JjC1ES2g

Looking forward for a deeper Exchange!
Sound Design - VOX, Airy, Choir

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
55 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm

Nice sound, GRUMP!


GRUMP wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:48 am
A Vocoder is a "Sound Generator" itself. I usually use more subtle Methods for Variations etc.
A vocoder can be used in a manner as subtle as you like to shape one sound with another sound. If your vocoder plugin offers some control, you can add the effect by degrees, mix in the original sound of either the carrier or modulator, control the attack, release, RMS window, and so on. The effect can range from very subtle to extreme! And much of what sort of effect it has depends on your modulation source.

Anything can be the carrier and anything can be the modulator, not just voice!

Consider how boring and overly consistent an ADSR envelope generator is. The attack and decay of a typical synth patch is much the same in most cases from note to note. You can, of course, modulate these in various ways with velocity and so on. And some synths offer more complex envelopes, with breakpoints and whatnot. Still, the variability and expressivity is nothing like what you have with a guitar, for example, where you can attack the strings in all sorts of ways, muting them to varying degrees, scratching them if you like, tilting the pick for a different sound, using your fingers instead of a pick, snapping them against the frets, and so on. And all of this can be varied at will on the fly, with no need to program anything. This makes it much more expressive! Just a simple drum like a djembe offers a huge range of ways to change the sound as you play for expressive purposes. Hit it with your open hand, brush it with your fingernails, and on and on. Even if you aim for perfect consistency with natural instruments, it will elude you. And this is more pleasing to the ear.

An ADSR by comparison is boring and tires the ear. It seems to me to be part of why synth sounds have a tendency toward sounding "cheesy". Notice that acoustic instruments rarely sound cheesy. Synth sounds that are completely cheese-free are the exception. Why? It seems to have something to do with the consistency and predictability. Consider the difference between a typical synth patch with glide or portamento versus the bends made by a good blues guitarist. Huge difference! The glides on the synth don't sound expressive. They are often cheesy. Too much the same. Too mathematical. Too little variation in speed. If you have a programmed vibrato, it will suffer the same problem. Cheesy. Hand-expressed vibrato is much better.

Many people have long thought that 80s music was pretty cheesy in many ways. And this is often associated with the overused synths of the era. The DX7 comes to mind. The Roland drum machines come to mind too. Notice the difference between a DX7 e-piano sound and a real Rhodes or Wurly. The DX7 is much less expressive and much more consistent. Things get especially cheesy when the synth tries to imitate a natural instrument!

Notice that anything that is too much the same actually becomes painful to listen to before long. Play a simple perfect sine wave at a one pitch without interruption for several minutes. Even at low volume, this is awful, nearly painful! Why? I am not sure! What is clear to me though is that too much sameness in sound is unpleasant. Play the same exact drum sample over and over, not varying the time interval. Same effect: pain. This is why much of electronic dance music is so terrible. It is the audio equivalent of looking at graph paper or wallpaper. If you look at many track arrangements for such songs, you'll often see the same sample being used over and over. Headache fuel! The brain seems to like recognizing patterns in music, but the pattern can't be too simple, and it needs some variation, some surprise. This is what most good music is about: finding the right balance between cleverly arranged, interesting patterns, and variations therein.

One thing a vocoder can do for a synth sound is change the way it attacks, decays, sustains, and so on. This "envelope" can become much more complex than a simple rise, hold, and fall. And, depending on the modulation source, it can be highly variable from note to note. In fact, if you like, you use an electric guitar to provide the "envelope" instead of an ADSR. Just set up the guitar signal as the modulator and a synth sound as the carrier. Or mic a hand drum and use that to shape the "envelope" of a synth sound. Seriously! A person can get very creative here! I got some interesting results just brushing post-it notes over my microphone with one hand while playing the keys with the left hand!

But not all is perfect in vocoder-land! Vocoders have a characteristic sound that seemingly can't be entirely overcome. And this contributes a certain cheesiness and thin-ness!

I feel that Sounds are much more impress- and interesting, if they are are strong in the upper Frequency Spectrum
Agreed! Even a bass guitar sounds better with some crisp highs!

This is also one reason I think adding some saturation so often improves a sound. It adds those higher harmonics.

GRUMP
KVRist
134 posts since 11 Jun, 2019 from Darmstadt, Germany

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:35 am

JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm
Nice sound, GRUMP!


GRUMP wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:48 am
A Vocoder is a "Sound Generator" itself. I usually use more subtle Methods for Variations etc.
[...]

Many people have long thought that 80s music was pretty cheesy in many ways. And this is often associated with the overused synths of the era. The DX7 comes to mind. The Roland drum machines come to mind too. Notice the difference between a DX7 e-piano sound and a real Rhodes or Wurly. The DX7 is much less expressive and much more consistent. Things get especially cheesy when the synth tries to imitate a natural instrument!
I feel that Sounds are much more impress- and interesting, if they are are strong in the upper Frequency Spectrum
Agreed! Even a bass guitar sounds better with some crisp highs!

This is also one reason I think adding some saturation so often improves a sound. It adds those higher harmonics.
Thx for your Reply - I´ll come back to it later...

But one Thing: Those People in the 80s were Real Musicians who played the Synths and gave their Music Colors we have never seen before - and you´ll always find some or more People who don´t like something or find it "cheesy". Take me for example - Electronic Music after 2000 is generally Bullshit to me. I know that that´s unfair, but we have heard all these Sounds before already. "It´s all stinky Cheese (Grump 2020)".

It´s simply no Comparison :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D00M2KZH1J0
Sound Design - VOX, Airy, Choir

GRUMP
KVRist
134 posts since 11 Jun, 2019 from Darmstadt, Germany

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Tue Jan 14, 2020 12:44 pm

JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm
Nice sound, GRUMP!


GRUMP wrote:
Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:48 am
A Vocoder is a "Sound Generator" itself. I usually use more subtle Methods for Variations etc.
A vocoder can be used in a manner as subtle as you like to shape one sound with another sound. If your vocoder plugin offers some control, you can add the effect by degrees, mix in the original sound of either the carrier or modulator, control the attack, release, RMS window, and so on. The effect can range from very subtle to extreme! And much of what sort of effect it has depends on your modulation source.
You should maybe know that I´m one of those Nerds who is out on predictable Results usually edits Harmonics in an Editor :/ And yeah - Vocoders are cool - no Doubt about that ... but a little bit too big for what I usually do ;-)
JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm
Anything can be the carrier and anything can be the modulator, not just voice!

Consider how boring and overly consistent an ADSR envelope generator is. The attack and decay of a typical synth patch is much the same in most cases from note to note. You can, of course, modulate these in various ways with velocity and so on. And some synths offer more complex envelopes, with breakpoints and whatnot. Still, the variability and expressivity is nothing like what you have with a guitar, for example, where you can attack the strings in all sorts of ways, muting them to varying degrees, scratching them if you like, tilting the pick for a different sound, using your fingers instead of a pick, snapping them against the frets, and so on. And all of this can be varied at will on the fly, with no need to program anything. This makes it much more expressive! Just a simple drum like a djembe offers a huge range of ways to change the sound as you play for expressive purposes. Hit it with your open hand, brush it with your fingernails, and on and on. Even if you aim for perfect consistency with natural instruments, it will elude you. And this is more pleasing to the ear.
That´s why I´d prefer a Sampler if I had to choose one electronic Instrument and absolutely true - but we should not forget that Variation is not always what we need. Electronic Music always lived from creative Solutions to hide its Weaknesses concerning Variations. If you look back to the 80s you´ll find perfect Examples for Arrangements that "fade" over at certain Points, whre your Attention is guided to other Elements or the Sond is made by its Structure. I hear a lot of Perfection today, but I really miss the Creativity that once made Tracks really Unique and showed the Skills of the Producers.

Hard to describe that, I´no native Speaker ...
JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm

An ADSR by comparison is boring and tires the ear. It seems to me to be part of why synth sounds have a tendency toward sounding "cheesy". Notice that acoustic instruments rarely sound cheesy. Synth sounds that are completely cheese-free are the exception. Why? It seems to have something to do with the consistency and predictability. Consider the difference between a typical synth patch with glide or portamento versus the bends made by a good blues guitarist. Huge difference! The glides on the synth don't sound expressive. They are often cheesy. Too much the same. Too mathematical. Too little variation in speed. If you have a programmed vibrato, it will suffer the same problem. Cheesy. Hand-expressed vibrato is much better.
True - but ... the Variability of Accoustics is also their greatest Weakness and demands Effort and Skills from the User, who will often be frustrated at the End of the Day...
JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm
Many people have long thought that 80s music was pretty cheesy in many ways. And this is often associated with the overused synths of the era. The DX7 comes to mind. The Roland drum machines come to mind too. Notice the difference between a DX7 e-piano sound and a real Rhodes or Wurly. The DX7 is much less expressive and much more consistent. Things get especially cheesy when the synth tries to imitate a natural instrument!
I want to come back to what I really meant before: the Sound was different and you could hear really big Differences in the Mastering. There was more Variation that brought us very interesting Results. 10cc - I´m not in Love for Example. You could really differ between a US, German or GB Production - just by the way the Sounds were recorded and mastered. And the Focus was on the upper Half of the Spectrum, the Mixing was powered by good Ears and Emotions. I really miss that today. Perfection everywhere. Flat Levels, nothing special anymore. How to say? Houstong "Greatest Love of All" E-Piano. Collins "In the Air tonight". I mean ... But Ok .. I have just discovred the 80s after a Decade! of 50/60s Soul and DooWop and I´m really overwhelmed by all those Colours and those catchy Arrangements at the Moment ;-)

(Try this Stuff here for some years and you´ll see Music with different Ears! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ4K-Ec-mEE)
JO512 wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:28 pm
Notice that anything that is too much the same actually becomes painful to listen to before long. Play a simple perfect sine wave at a one pitch without interruption for several minutes. Even at low volume, this is awful, nearly painful! Why? I am not sure! What is clear to me though is that too much sameness in sound is unpleasant. Play the same exact drum sample over and over, not varying the time interval. Same effect: pain. This is why much of electronic dance music is so terrible. It is the audio equivalent of looking at graph paper or wallpaper. If you look at many track arrangements for such songs, you'll often see the same sample being used over and over. Headache fuel! The brain seems to like recognizing patterns in music, but the pattern can't be too simple, and it needs some variation, some surprise. This is what most good music is about: finding the right balance between cleverly arranged, interesting patterns, and variations therein.
OK. But today we see lots of People playing around with weird Modulations and Wavetables - potentially because they can´t really balance a simple Sound to Sweetness anymore and maybe also because their Synths can do everything but nothing really good. I really dislike all those overmodulated Presets these Days and miss those simple Swetness we had in the ROMplers back in the 90s... Many Synths I have demoed didn´t even have ONE good Sound - for me and my Ears under my Headphones [...].

We should not underestimate here, that E-Music today is "quick and dirty". Nobody takes so much Time anymore as they did in the 80s or for those legendary ROMpler Sounds. Most of the People we think of were really privileged, the Companys had much bigger and more homogenous Target Groups and so on ...
Sound Design - VOX, Airy, Choir

User avatar
JO512
KVRist
55 posts since 9 Nov, 2018 from Colorado

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am

GRUMP wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:35 am

But one Thing: Those People in the 80s were Real Musicians who played the Synths and gave their Music Colors we have never seen before - and you´ll always find some or more People who don´t like something or find it "cheesy". Take me for example - Electronic Music after 2000 is generally Bullshit to me. I know that that´s unfair, but we have heard all these Sounds before already. "It´s all stinky Cheese (Grump 2020)".
There was certainly some good stuff there! But it seems that some of the new tech at the time maybe got overused a bit. I think it might be a little like special effects in movies, where techniques are evolving and so the particular time period is marked by the state of the technology, so things look dated when you revisit them later. In film, real footage of people holds up much better than special effects. The special-effects-heavy films are the ones that tend to age the least well. However, they can take on a certain charm just because of that!

It's not just synths though. 80s style guitar shredding on an Ibanez Jem along with the hairspray and codpieces and all that just doesn't sound the same today either! But I find it curious that, unlike the 80s shredders, someone like Hendrix holds up just fine. What is it that makes the difference? Is Hendrix maybe a little less kitschy somehow? Surely, it isn't just about the instruments, but how they are used and what they are used to express!

I largely agree with you about electronic music in recent decades. Mostly terrible! It's difficult for me to find any electronic music from any decade that I can really sustain an interest in listening to! I love playing with synths and learning about them, and learning about sound in general, but I also find it hard to use synths in a way that seems tasteful to me. I see a lot of potential for them. It seems that there must be some yet-undiscovered style of music that will better realize their potential, something more substantial and sophisticated than EDM! I'm trying to figure out what it might be! No luck so far! But all that four-on-the-floor stuff really needs to go already! I guess you must need to be on MDMA to appreciate it!
edits Harmonics in an Editor
I've done some of that myself!
the Variability of Accoustics is also their greatest Weakness and demands Effort and Skills from the User, who will often be frustrated at the End of the Day...
Acoustic instruments definitely demand skill! They are all hard to master and can be frustrating! I've certainly not mastered an instrument! But that skill is part of what we are appreciating when we hear masterful playing. And a lot of that skill has to do with getting the most out of that variability, doing very subtle things to best express a certain feeling. It isn't just about hitting a certain note at a certain time. All that player-expressed nuance is part of what makes it musical! The possibility of doing a lot of that just isn't there with a typical MIDI controller or piano roll. And really, it is best if that stuff happens immediately and isn't something added later with careful and tedious programming, like automating synth controls in a DAW. The instant feedback between player and instrument is critical. You need to feel the effect of what you are doing as you do it. That feedback loop is how a lot of the richness of feeling gets into the sound!

And the most expressive, variable, and immediate instrument of all is the human voice!

Synths offer many interesting possibilities that real instruments don't though. I think technology will help close the gap in expressivity over time. I am glad to see people developing products like Linnstrument and Seaboard. But those aren't really there yet either. I tried a Seaboard Rise 49 for a while and was rather disappointed with it and sent it back. I haven't tried Linnstrument, but I would like to.
And the Focus was on the upper Half of the Spectrum, the Mixing was powered by good Ears and Emotions. I really miss that today. Perfection everywhere. Flat Levels, nothing special anymore.
Part of the problem is the loudness wars and everything being "all about that bass". To get it to sound as loud as possible, people often squeeze all the frequencies against that 0dB ceiling. Or at least they emphasize pressing the low end up there. Everyone is terrified of sounding thin. And to get the average loudness up there, people tend to try to just pack the sonic space with content, making sausage instead of music!

Notice that nowadays, people often don't even bother to call what they do "making music", "composing", or "writing songs". They call it "making a beat". That's telling. No wonder it's mostly all just a headache throb!
I have just discovred the 80s after a Decade! of 50/60s Soul and DooWop and I´m really overwhelmed by all those Colours and those catchy Arrangements at the Moment ;-)
Wow! You and I are definitely on different pages taste-wise! Almost exactly the periods and styles I pay the least attention to are what you are most interested in! I'm more 60s, 70s, 90s, and early 00s, along with a fair bit of classical. For me, it's mostly psychedelic rock, alternative rock, a restricted selection of metal (I dislike much of it), a very restricted selection of 00s electronic, and so on. With a few exceptions, the 50s and 80s probably represent the biggest holes in my listening!

GRUMP
KVRist
134 posts since 11 Jun, 2019 from Darmstadt, Germany

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:54 pm

JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
GRUMP wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 7:35 am

But one Thing: Those People in the 80s were Real Musicians who played the Synths and gave their Music Colors we have never seen before - and you´ll always find some or more People who don´t like something or find it "cheesy". Take me for example - Electronic Music after 2000 is generally Bullshit to me. I know that that´s unfair, but we have heard all these Sounds before already. "It´s all stinky Cheese (Grump 2020)".
There was certainly some good stuff there! But it seems that some of the new tech at the time maybe got overused a bit. I think it might be a little like special effects in movies, where techniques are evolving and so the particular time period is marked by the state of the technology, so things look dated when you revisit them later. In film, real footage of people holds up much better than special effects. The special-effects-heavy films are the ones that tend to age the least well. However, they can take on a certain charm just because of that!
Very careful Expression for this obvious Phenomenon :wink: :ud: :hihi:
We had the same Problem in the 90s and many Tracks didn´t survive their first Month!
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am

It's not just synths though. 80s style guitar shredding on an Ibanez Jem along with the hairspray and codpieces and all that just doesn't sound the same today either! But I find it curious that, unlike the 80s shredders, someone like Hendrix holds up just fine. What is it that makes the difference? Is Hendrix maybe a little less kitschy somehow? Surely, it isn't just about the instruments, but how they are used and what they are used to express!
Uhm ... I have heard some Beatles Tracks again lately and the fist Thing I thought was "OMFG - it sounded pretty different 20 yrs ago ...". But maybe it was just the old Mastering. Have you ever compared a 90s CD/Sampler with todays Masters? I have experienced Worlds between them. It´s surely the technical Progress that expresses here, but maybe also some Kind of "Sound Taste" that you can also hear on contemporary Hendrix Medias. Along the Watchtower has alwaxys had some Bass ... but the one I´ve recently heard through my Dads High End System was something new to me...

By the way ... What do you mean with "Someone like Hendrix"? I have spent lots of Time with People like him some years ago ;-)
Colored Boxes & Jimmy2.jpg
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
I largely agree with you about electronic music in recent decades. Mostly terrible! It's difficult for me to find any electronic music from any decade that I can really sustain an interest in listening to! I love playing with synths and learning about them, and learning about sound in general, but I also find it hard to use synths in a way that seems tasteful to me. I see a lot of potential for them. It seems that there must be some yet-undiscovered style of music that will better realize their potential, something more substantial and sophisticated than EDM! I'm trying to figure out what it might be! No luck so far! But all that four-on-the-floor stuff really needs to go already! I guess you must need to be on MDMA to appreciate it!
I don´t listen anymore. It´s too boring. It has all been there already and mostly expresses a Kind of dumb Body-Culture of People who try to be something.
What´ll be next? Maybe Fusions of Accoustics and Synths as can be heard already. But hopefully no EDM or HipHop ("Trap") anymore.
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
edits Harmonics in an Editor
I've done some of that myself!
the Variability of Accoustics is also their greatest Weakness and demands Effort and Skills from the User, who will often be frustrated at the End of the Day...
Acoustic instruments definitely demand skill! They are all hard to master and can be frustrating! I've certainly not mastered an instrument! But that skill is part of what we are appreciating when we hear masterful playing. And a lot of that skill has to do with getting the most out of that variability, doing very subtle things to best express a certain feeling. It isn't just about hitting a certain note at a certain time. All that player-expressed nuance is part of what makes it musical! The possibility of doing a lot of that just isn't there with a typical MIDI controller or piano roll. And really, it is best if that stuff happens immediately and isn't something added later with careful and tedious programming, like automating synth controls in a DAW. The instant feedback between player and instrument is critical. You need to feel the effect of what you are doing as you do it. That feedback loop is how a lot of the richness of feeling gets into the sound!

And the most expressive, variable, and immediate instrument of all is the human voice!
I make Sound Design. I just like Sounds and I really Like Challenges and finding Solutions. And I´ve spent too much Time with Electronics in the 90s to let this Knowledge unused... And you know what? My Focus is VOX. Choirs. I love the Voice. A Decade of Soul and DooWop has left its Traces...
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
Synths offer many interesting possibilities that real instruments don't though. I think technology will help close the gap in expressivity over time. I am glad to see people developing products like Linnstrument and Seaboard. But those aren't really there yet either. I tried a Seaboard Rise 49 for a while and was rather disappointed with it and sent it back. I haven't tried Linnstrument, but I would like to.
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
And the Focus was on the upper Half of the Spectrum, the Mixing was powered by good Ears and Emotions. I really miss that today. Perfection everywhere. Flat Levels, nothing special anymore.
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
Part of the problem is the loudness wars and everything being "all about that bass". To get it to sound as loud as possible, people often squeeze all the frequencies against that 0dB ceiling. Or at least they emphasize pressing the low end up there. Everyone is terrified of sounding thin. And to get the average loudness up there, people tend to try to just pack the sonic space with content, making sausage instead of music!
I have recently heard about a universitarian Study from Spain that found out that Music generally gets more homogenous and "Stupid". The Loudness and Lack of "Dynamics" (Soft/Loud) was one Aspect of it. But anyway ... in the 50 "normal" People made Songs that stay in my mind and will be there for ever. Todays Music goes in and out and the only Things that remains is the Impression, taht the Artist is often Secondary and the Engineers were just trying to deliver technical Perfection.

But let´s stop that. "Good old Times" :hihi:
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
Notice that nowadays, people often don't even bother to call what they do "making music", "composing", or "writing songs". They call it "making a beat". That's telling. No wonder it's mostly all just a headache throb!
And you´ll find them everywhre! Try Youtube, try Looperman, whatever. Dull Bushdrums everywhere. I feel cold!°
JO512 wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 10:18 am
I have just discovred the 80s after a Decade! of 50/60s Soul and DooWop and I´m really overwhelmed by all those Colours and those catchy Arrangements at the Moment ;-)
Wow! You and I are definitely on different pages taste-wise! Almost exactly the periods and styles I pay the least attention to are what you are most interested in! I'm more 60s, 70s, 90s, and early 00s, along with a fair bit of classical. For me, it's mostly psychedelic rock, alternative rock, a restricted selection of metal (I dislike much of it), a very restricted selection of 00s electronic, and so on. With a few exceptions, the 50s and 80s probably represent the biggest holes in my listening!
Whut :x You have missed the 50s? One more US American that doesn´t know his Roots anymore :neutral:

Here´s one for you, tell me if you need more!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EmnSWYkrWM
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Sound Design - VOX, Airy, Choir

deastman
KVRAF
7309 posts since 7 Aug, 2003 from San Francisco Bay Area

Re: adding interest and variation to overly consistent sounds

Post Mon Jan 20, 2020 5:37 pm

I’ve never encountered the problem proposed here, of synth sounds being too static and boring. If a synth sound is to static, change it! That’s what LFOs and envelopes are for!

As for 80s music, I also lean in that direction. The emphasis wasn’t only on synth sounds with constantly shifting animation, but on performance, musicianship, arrangement, and the craft of songwriting. To a certain extent, the individual sounds are less important, compared to the overall impression of the song as a whole.
Incomplete list of my gear: 1/8" audio input jack.

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