Why do I seem to like free synths better ?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRAF

Topic Starter

1616 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:46 pm

jancivil wrote:
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.
You are entitled to your opinion. But the filter on my Roland SH-101 sounds pretty raw to my ears. And for someone like yourself who has been bought up on Mini Moogs etc I find it hard to believe you never noticed the rawness of the filters on one of those. Different filters on different synths have different colours. I am talking about analogue synths of course. I have little interest in digital stuff.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1616 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:47 pm

jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:54 pm
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.
Agreed.

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KVRist
181 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 3:21 pm

dellboy wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 2:47 pm
jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 1:54 pm
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.
Agreed.
OK we finally agree on something :) like I said, at the end of the day do what makes you happy because that’s all that matters in the end, free, commercial or otherwise.

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GRRRRRRR!
11875 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:21 pm

vurt wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:24 am
are you a different part of a musician?
or a different kind of arsehole?
Oh, I am all manner of arsehole, mate, just not that particular one.
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.
If you read the thread from the beginning, it started with someone saying that a lot of freebies had no effects or their on-board effects were rubbish. So that's the context it all started from. As someone who always used to turn on-board effects off but recently decided instead to use the shit out of them, I can say I don't really care one way or the other. i.e. I think on-board effects can be very useful but if they are not there or inadequate, it's no great effort to use outboard effects. So the presence or absence of on-board effects, or even their quality, makes absolutely no difference to my opinion of any VSTi, nor would it sway my purchasing decision.

I look at a synth like DUNE and scratch my head at all the effects they have put into it (x 2, FFS!!). It's ridiculous. It made sense with the great hardware workstations because it saved you money and simplified setting up on stage but when you got in to a studio, you switched all the on-board effects off and used the studio's Lexicon and Eventide stuff (which I could afford to rent with the studio but could never have justified buying for myself).
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.
But you don't understand why, do you? You equate more features with "better" but I just see needless complication. The developer does it to give the product a broader appeal in the marketplace but that broad appeal just gets in the way of the mostly specific things I want to do. I'd rather have half-a-dozen much less complicated instruments, each of which is really good at one specific task I need to do, than one synth that can do all of those tasks, even if it does them just as well. It's just a different mindset, equally valid as some approaches and superior to others.
Of course it can be both.
Not when it sounds like that, it can't. That demo is everything cringeworthy about the 80s.
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).
Maybe if you want to ignore the context in which you said it but it was quite clear what you meant and it was totally contradictory to what you had said almost immediately before. Because when I look at Diva and Spire, I see two V/A synths. Yes, they take different approaches but what comes out of 'em ain't that different at all. I could lay down 100 different sounds from each and you know as well as I do you'd be guessing which was which most of the time. Yet you want to pretend they are "totally different". It's absurd. Yes, they can sound totally different but, equally, they can sound indistinguishable from one another. It's the nature of synthesisers. I use the same synths to do my 80s covers as I do for our EBM/Industrial music. Not the same patches but very definitely the same synths. Any VSTi that can do piercing, distorted leads and/or driving basslines can also do gentle, ethereal pads and ambient atmospheres. It's just the way it is and the thought that "if you want to do this style of music, you need this particular synth" makes absolutely no sense most of the time.

You want to suggest that you can't compare Spire and Diva but if you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket I can't see any reason at all why you wouldn't.
Yes it occurs to me that is possible. Fullbucket makes plenty of freebies and none of them are like Spire
OK, I'll take a slightly different tack. Ultimately, all that matters is the end result. Is Spire a good bassline synth? Is Mono/Fury? Yes and yes, either will get you a good bassline so in that regard they are similar. Does Spire do nice string pads? Does Nabla? Yes and yes, either will get you some really nice strings so in that regard they are similar. Keep going and eventually you find that Spire can do anything that might require every one of FBM's synths to cover. But guess what? You can download and install the full versions of all of FBM's synths and still be $179 better off than if you bought Spire (if you're a cheapskate). Better still, when you want nice strings, you know to go straight to Nabla, you don't have to futz about trying to locate that nice strings patch from the thousands of Spire presets you have (I hate huge preset libraries).
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.
Vital. But here you are again confusing complexity with quality. Nobody gets out of bed in the morning and says "what a beautiful day, I really hope everything gets more complicated for me today". Everybody wants things to be simple, complications are invariably bad. Messy, Undesirable.
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.
But the free version is still capable of kicking some serious arse, so the fact of there being paid tiers is irrelevant to the discussion. You can pay for FBM synths if you want (I paid for the ones I use), so should that also disqualify them? You are just trying to frame the discussion so that you look less stupid. It's not working.
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GRRRRRRR!
11875 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:13 pm

jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:55 am
They both sound like a trumpet. One exists for beginners and doesn't sound as good as the one that exists for professional players.
Again, if one trumpet player in a orchestra had your middle school trumpet, nobody listening to the orchestra at the Opera House would notice, much less care. The reason I bring this up is to remind you that we don't use one synth in isolation, we put them in mixes with lots of other things going on. As I've said Dog knows how many times, you can listen to any of our songs, there are around 60 spread over our 5 albums available on any streaming service, and you wouldn't have a clue which parts were being played by my free SynthEdit synths and which were being played by DUNE, except maybe in one or two places. OTOH, if you were hearing each in isolation, it would be relatively easy to pick which was which. So the fact that freebies may lack the ultimate sound quality of some commercial synths is no barrier to making great music with them.

To me, the insistence that all your instruments need to be top of the line reveals your insecurity, a lack of faith in your own ability.
"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.
Actually, having now listened to those videos through my monitors, I don't know that you would notice. Ii think the acoustics of the space would have far greater influence, e.g. Indoor or outdoor performance or some old community hall versus the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. So if it was a recording and you were listening to it blind, I really don't think you'd notice at all. I definitely wouldn't and neither would 99% of the population.

The difference is probably that the professional violinist strives for perfection but I just need things to be good enough and the $69 violin sounds more than good enough to me. So if I hired a session violinist and he/she turned up with a $69 violin, I'd be fine with that. I certainly wouldn't pay an extra $10 an hour for a guy with a Stradivari because I can fix all that shit in post - a little bit of EQ to give it that little extra body of the expensive violin, maybe a little subtle saturation to add those extra harmonics, a touch of nice reverb and you wouldn't know the difference. And as those are things you'd probably do with a Stradavri, too, it's no extra effort.

Its the same with some lesser quality synths, you might need a little more EQ, a bit of saturation and some nice reverb to get it to sound as good as that expensive commercial synth that has the nice reverb built in but you'd get there in about the same time, with about the same effort. Surely you can see that?
syntonica wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:56 am
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.
What makes you think that will happen? Roli seem to have stopped making Seaboards - you cannot buy them anywhere, even on Roli's own website. Haken Continuum has been around for nearly 20 years and who knows if/when Osmose will appear? Then there is MIDI 2.0, which will probably make MPE redundant anyway.
chk071 wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:13 am
The best analog modelled filters happen to be ZDF filters though. It definitely has some advantages over "normal" VA filter design.
Says you but that list you gave didn't include any of the modelled filters I rate. e.g. bx_oberhausen or JP6K (not sure they are modelled at all but the sound is amazingly good).
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KVRist
369 posts since 7 Sep, 2012

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:17 pm

So as you suggested couple of times, I've listened to your band, and I can definitely see where you're coming from.
For synth pop with angry but funny lyrics (no, angry vocal delivery doesn't turn synth-pop into hard-rock, it doesn't work that way, it just turns it into...angry synth-pop), I also wouldn't care at all about musicianship, major instruments quality differences, songwriting ability, mixing & mastering, as it's completely meaningless for this genre, I would do exactly like you, just ignore all of these and shout into the mic.

However, for other genres these attributes are crucial, sure, listener won't be able to tell 70$ violin, from 10,000$ one, a great player from a so-so player, but in the context of the song, something will be lacking even for the casual listener.
our hearing is VERY sensitive, so the casual listener won't be to draw the difference to "it doesn't sound right to me, because the violin doesn't sound right", but going your way, and don't care just about anything, yes, the listener won't want to do anything with this music, what you put in, is what you get from it, simple as that. the listener (I know for sure) would just say "this doesn't sound good, something isn't right", you'd be amazed to notice how sensitive is our hearing.

So the mentioned casual listener might not know that a synth or a violin is being used at all at the song, but for sure the listener will notice the overall effect of a professional recording, of great sounding instruments, of great players, this will all have a direct EMOTIONAL effect.

There is a reason why people go and perfect their craft for many years.
There is a reason why U-he, Synapse audio, NI (with many of their synths) are pushing the boundaries again and again, and not settle for "who cares ? people won't notice".
There is a reason why people going the extra mile, improving their listening environment, buying better monitors, learning, and learning and learning, not being lazy, an attribute you're admittingly so proud of.

So sure, you can have it your way, it's your music after all, you can also write more than 11,000 very lengthy posts trying to prove that you don't give a f***, but had you put 1/100 of this wasted effort into learning from others here, your music would greatly benefit from it.

Don't be proud about not giving a f*** and being lazy, try to change it, your music will thank you.

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KVRAF
3573 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Post Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:48 pm

nirm123 wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 10:17 pm
So the casual listener might not know that a synth or a violin is being used at all at the song, but for sure the listener will notice the overall effect of a professional recording, of great sounding instruments, of great players, this will all have a direct EMOTIONAL effect.
Well said!
Feeling is often forgotten in kvr discussions....

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KVRist
366 posts since 27 Aug, 2020

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:08 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 6:21 pm
But the free version is still capable of kicking some serious arse, so the fact of there being paid tiers is irrelevant to the discussion. You can pay for FBM synths if you want (I paid for the ones I use), so should that also disqualify them? You are just trying to frame the discussion so that you look less stupid. It's not working.
I really don't understand why people talk about Vital being a non-free product or the free version being inferior to the paid ones. I use the free version because I like working offline and don't need the extra features offered in paid versions.

I don't need the extra presets because I design my own from scratch. You can open user wavetables taken from Serum, Massive, Virus etc., so I don't really need the extra wavetables offered in paid versions either. I don't really need text-to-speech synthesis either because I work offline and wouldn't use it too often. Other than the aforementioned features, the free version offers the exact same synthesis engine as the paid ones, which is extremely generous of Matt.

Matt has expressedly stated that his aim was to create a synth that was going to be used by everybody across the board, which is why he also offers the free version. I will probably buy one of the paid versions in the end just to support Matt and the development, getting extra wavetables in the process, don't care about the presets that much though.

That being said, I really don't get people saying that this is some "grey area case" and about it being some kind of "hidden scheme to incentivize people to subscribe" when it's patently obvious it's always been about Matt's appreciation for open source software as evidenced by Helm for instance. Helm didn't quite work out financially, so Matt has come up with an alternative pricing scheme since then and it seems it's worked out quite well in the end, good for Matt.

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KVRist
181 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:25 am

BONES wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:13 pm
jasonekratz wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 5:55 am
To me, the insistence that all your instruments need to be top of the line reveals your insecurity, a lack of faith in your own ability.
If you farted and I said damn that smells bad you'd argue it smells like a bed of roses for the sake of argument. No professional musician is buying top of the line instruments because they have some insecurity. They do it because the top of the line instruments are better, they sound better and are easier to play. If you don't understand why that is your homework to find out why. But I'll tell you this. I have two kids who both play brass instruments who switched to professional ones from entry-level as they went into high school because the band directors recommended this. Why? Because in order to increase your skill level and ability as a player you need a better instrument. They don't have an "insecurity, a lack of faith in your own ability". They do sound better on the pro instruments and their skill level has increased because the pro instruments are easier to play. They aren't any different than any other kid in band in that respect.

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KVRist
181 posts since 2 Nov, 2017

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 5:54 am

crickey13 wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:08 am
I really don't understand why people talk about Vital being a non-free product or the free version being inferior to the paid ones. I use the free version because I like working offline and don't need the extra features offered in paid versions.

...

That being said, I really don't get people saying that this is some "grey area case" and about it being some kind of "hidden scheme to incentivize people to subscribe" when it's patently obvious it's always been about Matt's appreciation for open source software as evidenced by Helm for instance. Helm didn't quite work out financially, so Matt has come up with an alternative pricing scheme since then and it seems it's worked out quite well in the end, good for Matt.
I don't think anyone said the free version of Vital is inferior. Did anyone say there was some "hidden scheme"? I didn't. I think its pretty obvious the scheme is pretty open, it's on the website and what you get if you pay, aside from good feelings, is clearly labeled on the website.

As to a "grey area" (which I did say if I remember correctly) well you just pointed out that a previous thing didn't work out financially hence a change in strategy. That change is similar to so many other things like Ubuntu Linux. I also clearly stated that Vital is completely free to use. Not sure that doesn't mean it's not a commercial product (grey area...). Will Matt continue to do anything with Vital if nobody is paying? I don't have a problem with it either way. I hope people are paying because it's worth paying for him to continue development. But if he disappeared tomorrow the source code is out there for another team to take up like the Surge team did.

Anyhow, it's one person's opinion, mine. You are obviously free to disagree with that opinion.

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KVRAF
3228 posts since 22 Aug, 2019

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:48 am

I don't like free synths, but bargain and affordable synths.

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addled muppet weed
80426 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:56 am

e-crooner wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:48 am
I don't like free synths, but bargain and affordable synths.
you should start a thread :)

KVRAF
5103 posts since 28 Dec, 2015 from Hanover, Germany

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:58 am

e-crooner wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:48 am
I don't like free synths, but bargain and affordable synths.
I like free drinks more than paid ones.
Am I strange?

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1616 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 10:13 am

vurt wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:56 am
e-crooner wrote:
Tue Jun 15, 2021 9:48 am
I don't like free synths, but bargain and affordable synths.
you should start a thread :)
"I don't like free synths, but bargain and affordable synths."

That title would be just as daft as the title I gave to this thread. :lol:

By definition a free synth is both of the things he likes.

Free synths are a bargain and affordable.

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KVRAF
3228 posts since 22 Aug, 2019

Post Tue Jun 15, 2021 10:25 am

I don't trust free stuff :hihi:

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