Why do I seem to like free synths better ?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
KVRAF
22362 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 3:06 pm

My own creative juices happen in action, mostly. I will spend what some would likely find an inordinate amount of time setting the stage, and orchestration up; to where things are a lot more likely to happen or are inspiring ideas through the sound of it. Hitting one note and getting a real buzz. Once I'm in it, I will imagine things in bed or hear a section in my dreaming but away from instruments is pretty barren for me, I've found. It's like Stravinsky said, he needs to touch the notes, wrote at the piano.

For me personally a very rich - at this point what I have before me is just nuts - palette is just highly conducive.
OTOH, I have used exactly three synthesizers [in the narrow sense] in a year, and one of them I barely did anything with.
So it's middle path, not idealist or either extreme. This template has grown over most of this year, and it does so many different things I don't have a lot of reason to start from less or rethink for the next project. BUT at a key stage in this one's developement I introduced several things brand new to me, very unusual things with a lot of sound design baked in and that was a process.

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GRRRRRRR!
11984 posts since 14 Jun, 2001 from Somewhere else, on principle

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:23 pm

Inspiration is tough, it's not a tap you can just turn on when you need it. Instruments definitely work for me. If I find something I really like, it will encourage me to use it and the more I use something, the more likely I am am to stumble upon something that inspires a new idea, that might eventually become a song. But if I'm not in front of the gear these days, nothing is going to come to me.

It used to be different - there was a time when ideas would just pop into my head as I was walking down to the shops but those were long ago days when my head was mostly empty. These days there is so much worthless bullshit swirling around in there, 24/7, that ideas can't find their way to the top. They have to be dragged out, kicking and screaming, in the light.

Interestingly, that only applies to musical ideas. These days I rarely have too much trouble with lyrics. I just need that first connection between a phrase and the music I am writing for and a song will generally fall out of my head pretty quickly. Back in those old days, I always found music much easier than lyrics but these days it's mostly the other way around.

To drag this back on topic, because I find newly discovered instruments can be very inspiring, I tend to try out quite a lot of demos, lower priced and free plugins, in search of that elusive spark. What I generally find is that big, complicated instruments like DUNE or Zebra don't elicit that kind of spark. It's the more immediate, simpler synths that tend to get my creative juices flowing and those tend to be the cheap and free stuff. e.g. I bought JP6K and Viper, both from Adam Szabo, at the same time. JP6K clicked with me almost immediately and I use multiple instances of it in pretty much everything I have worked on since I got it, whereas the only time I have done anything with Viper is when I have forced myself to try and get some use out of it. It's a nice synth, one I had wanted to get my hands on for a while (waited for a sale), but the reality is that I find the stripped back JP6K not only more inspiring, but actually far more useful.

Of course, the flip-side of that situation is that simple synths can run out of fresh/new ideas quite quickly but, in the end, I'd rather work through $179 worth of free and low cost synths than try to squeeze the same amount of inspiration from a single $179 synth.

That said, the way you can recall presets for so many components in Thorn makes it very easy to take a few disparate elements and come up with something totally new. In that regard I find it quite unique among the bigger, more complex synths, and uniquely inspiring. That you can regularly get it for $29 at PA is almost an insult to what the thing has to offer.
NOVAkILL : Zenbook Duo, Core i7, 16GB RAM, Win10, UR44C | Studio One | JP6K, Union, Hexeract, bx_oberhausen, Odyssey, TRK-01, Vacuum Pro, Invader, Concept, GR-8, Viper, Equator, VG Carbon | Uno Pro Desktop, Uno, Rocket.

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ATS
KVRAF
7003 posts since 21 Dec, 2002 from MD USA

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:22 pm

dellboy wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:15 am
Its not that I do not have commercial synths. I have NI Komplete - SampleTank - etc, but I rarely use those, its nearly always free synths, or very cheap, almost free ones.

And the same goes for DAWs. I have a licence for Cubase Pro and Studio One Pro but spend most of the time in an obsolete DAW "Energyxt 2" which is almost free.

I just seem to feel more at home with free and very cheap stuff. Strange - eh ?

Am I the only one ?
you might be like me and just prefer very simple straight forward things. Like I rather use 3 very simple effects in a chain that one complicated one.
my music: http://www.alexcooperusa.com
"It's hard to be humble, when you're as great as I am." Muhammad Ali

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KVRian
504 posts since 4 Feb, 2021

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 9:55 pm

With the quality of synths like Tal Noisemaker, Tyrell6N, FB ModulAir, Surge and Vital, there is not that much difference between payware and freeware to point at apart from the price. That these are free should be reason enough to prefer them if you are on a budget, a scrooge or a GASer looking for a free fix. Not really a mystery worth 18+ pages (but for internet socializing, anything goes, I know).
Tribe Of Hǫfuð https://soundcloud.com/user-228690154 "First rule: From one perfect consonance to another perfect consonance one must proceed in contrary or obligue motion." Johann Joseph Fux 1725.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1624 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 10:13 pm

BONES wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:23 pm

That said, the way you can recall presets for so many components in Thorn makes it very easy to take a few disparate elements and come up with something totally new. In that regard I find it quite unique among the bigger, more complex synths, and uniquely inspiring. That you can regularly get it for $29 at PA is almost an insult to what the thing has to offer.
Wow, thanks for mentioning "Thorn" !

I have never used it, but the name triggered a memory, and I dug out an old Computer Music CD, and, sure enough, there is a free CM version on there.

The first pre-set I tried blew me away, "Pad Brass". I turned off the fx and it still sounded great. All the other pre-sets do not disappoint either.

The sound of this synth is not dissimilar to the paid synth "Spire" that I tried out the other day - but free. Great find.

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KVRist
246 posts since 9 Jun, 2020

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:23 pm

Teksonik wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:05 am
AnX wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:09 am
i can create every sound i need with prob just one, but use a few (of course, you comeback will be "it must be a limited/boring palette...it isnt)
The key point there? Every sound you need. Everybody makes different music and so we have a different definition of "every sound". If a Saw,Square,Sine,or Triangle wav makes all the sounds you need then more power to you. I bought my first simple synth decades ago and have expanded the range of sounds I use.
AnX wrote:
Thu Jun 17, 2021 7:09 am
(sample playback/libraries not included, as we are talking synths)
Look I'm not saying that someone can't be creative with a single simple synth I'm simply pushing back against the notion that using a single simple synth makes you more creative than having several or more complex synths.

Just like a painter having only one color on their palette does not make them more creative than having the entire spectrum at their disposal.

But again everybody should use what works best for their music. It's just when someone says "limitations make you more creative" I'm going to respond with "no they don't" and around and around we go. :wheee:
"limitations stimulate creativity" means the same thing as "limitations make you more creative"? 🧐 Okay.

But just to nail down the "why?" part of the debate:

A limitation forces you to find a different solution to a problem. Finding the solution can lead you to a new technique or tool which unlocks other creative opportunities.

Synthesisers are themselves proof of this. Part of the motivation for synthesis was to create the means to mimic other instruments. A string patch is a way for one person to overcome their limitation of not having access to a string section. A drum machine was a response to the limitation of not having a drummer, or not being able to record one. The electric guitar was created because guitar players needed to be amplified to be part of early 20th century orchestras.

The entire basis of modern music is the result of creative solutions to those limitations.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

1624 posts since 28 Mar, 2007

Post Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:58 pm

ATS wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:22 pm


you might be like me and just prefer very simple straight forward things. Like I rather use 3 very simple effects in a chain that one complicated one.
I should never have listened to "Take me to the Sun", I will have that going around in my head for days.

Makes me feel happy though

"One more time" :)

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KVRian
1441 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 12:32 am

Limitations create nations.

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KVRist
188 posts since 4 Nov, 2019

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:33 am

Double Tap wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:23 pm
"limitations stimulate creativity" means the same thing as "limitations make you more creative"? 🧐 Okay.
The connotations may differ, but at a literal level it's kind of the definition of what it means to stimulate a process, is it not? When you stimulate a process, you increase activity in the process. A person undergoing more creative activity is more creative in that moment.

I think the problem comes more from making a blanket statement like "limitations stimulate creativity" rather than "limitations can stimulate creativity". Is anyone here actually arguing for the position that limitations always stimulate creativity?

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KVRian
1441 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:10 am

Limitations activate creativity. Otherwise we would not be human.

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KVRist
246 posts since 9 Jun, 2020

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:05 am

FrogsInPants wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:33 am
Double Tap wrote:
Fri Jun 18, 2021 11:23 pm
"limitations stimulate creativity" means the same thing as "limitations make you more creative"? 🧐 Okay.
The connotations may differ, but at a literal level it's kind of the definition of what it means to stimulate a process, is it not? When you stimulate a process, you increase activity in the process. A person undergoing more creative activity is more creative in that moment.

I think the problem comes more from making a blanket statement like "limitations stimulate creativity" rather than "limitations can stimulate creativity". Is anyone here actually arguing for the position that limitations always stimulate creativity?
Well I think you can look at a problem and not find a solution that's creative, or you can use the same solution as you've always used, or you can give up because it's too hard, so absolutely: not all limitations generate a creative solution. But the argument was really about the claim that limitations actually hinder creativity. But that only works as a straw man if you take an extreme version of what people mean when they say limitations stimulate creativity, rather than what they actually mean.

The most generous interpretation of Teksonik's argument I can come up with is that without the right tools, a job become almost impossible. I can't make a DnB track with just an egg shaker and a triangle and nothing else. Having a bad tool can just put people off and stop them creating anything. But that's not really why people talk about introducing limitations to stimulate creativity.

And I don't think the problem is with people making blanket statements - it's the tendancy towards pedantry that infects everyone on the internet, including me :D

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KVRAF
5839 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:15 am

FrogsInPants wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 1:33 am
Is anyone here actually arguing for the position that limitations always stimulate creativity?
For a creative person yes, if you are trained in welcoming limitations and if you love challenges. This state of mind doesn’t come on its own. And its not for everybody, it could also turn you down. If you are not forced to deal with a limited situation, you might just let it go. For the ongoing OSC, the synth wasn’t that inspiring for me, I probably let it pass and take other challenges…

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KVRAF
5839 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:23 am

Double Tap wrote:
Sat Jun 19, 2021 4:05 am
The most generous interpretation of Teksonik's argument I can come up with is that without the right tools, a job become almost impossible. I can't make a DnB track with just an egg shaker and a triangle and nothing else.
One obvious and creative solution to the DnB problem would be to make music in a different, maybe never heard genre.
Mainly for problem solving you need creativity. Just because the usual solutions for creating a DnB track definitely don’t work. You start to look at your problem from different perspectives and analyze the problem at its core by questioning everything including the aim or goal you where after.
A creative solution to the DnB problem could also be to go swimming instead, as your deeper aim was just to have fun…

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KVRian
1441 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:03 am

I don't understand why there is a discussion. There was a time when orchestras were popular, a time where "supergroups" were popular. The first supergroup was a "power trio." Cream. A drummer, a guitar player and a bass player.
So it's all relative, I suppose.

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KVRAF
4015 posts since 6 Nov, 2009

Post Sat Jun 19, 2021 5:35 am

Easier to teach, knowing everyone has access to it.

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