Modern Tools Are Too Powerful?

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
Topic Starter
1052 posts since 31 Dec, 2020

Post Sat Jun 10, 2023 3:07 am

I wouldn't call myself a huge Aphex Twin fan. I think a good minority of his total output is interesting, and he's clearly a bright lad :D

I lost interest with the I Care album. Recently I've been listening to SAW2 and while there's a great deal on there I would consider filler, there are moments that greatly interest me (tracks 13 and 17 are lovely). I have always wanted to find a similar ambient approach. Creating stuff that's simple yet unqiue. Then he got all dancey dancey and I switched off.

Revisiting that album inspired me to try some new ideas. I opened Pigments in the DAW and found that it wasn't really suitable. SAW2 was made decades ago without the kind of tech we have to do, even in spite of RJD's tech skills. Nowadays software like Pigments can do loads. It's a great program, but it's sound design capacity made it too 'easy'. The fact you can create any sound so easily made me feel like the art was being compromised. I don't own hardware, I just use emulations, and I have a few specific synth emulations (like Repro which I used instead).

Is it the case that many others feel the possibilities on offer these days take some of the magic away? Easy is perhaps the wrong word. But with so much potential at your fingertips, something is a bit lacking, perhaps in a contradictory way. I've no dea if RDJ uses softsynths himself these days, probably not. I don't care about the hardware, I'll never afford it. But I viw owning something like Repro as the same (or near enough) as owning an actual Prophet 5.

Funny old world. Pigments is great btw. Easy to use, has lots of options. But that may be my issue. YMMV

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7004 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Sat Jun 10, 2023 3:48 am

Different things inspire different people, at different times. To me "too powerful" isn't a problem at all, and is just a matter of perspective.

But I am not into supersynths that try to include everything. (17 kinds of oscillators! 22 filter models! 8 LFOs and 8 13-stage envelopes and 4 physics simulation modulation sources! 1000 wavetable banks! 5000 presets!) Give me a synth that has an identity, a character of its own, not just a pile of features with a GUI. If it has a somewhat limited palette that's fine, that's actually good... it's why we have more than one synth. Nobody tries to build a car that's simultaneously a sportscar, dump truck, ambulance, forklift, off-road vehicle and economy car, but that's how a lot of software synth design seems to go :hihi:

(At the same time, I do like modular. But I have kind of a theme to the modules I choose and how they work together, though I'm not sure how I would summarize that without writing a book :P)

funky lime
1462 posts since 17 Sep, 2002

Post Tue Jun 13, 2023 1:13 pm

In theory, quicker and/or "easier" sound design means more time and mental capacity to focus on composition, arrangement, and performance. Same reason some people, like me, might use presets instead of building every sound from an init patch.

So to answer your question, it depends on the user's idea of magic. Personally I don't particularly find making synth patches to be a magical experience—the magic for me is in the live performance of that synthesizer. For context, I mostly do live music these days. So when the software makes it extremely quick and easy to, say, map or modulate whichever parameters I want, however I want, with whatever hardware/software combo I want, that's where I find the magic. ReaLearn is the most "magical" plugin in I've ever used, in that regard. And there really isn't a scenario in which I think making music would be more "pure" or "magical" or "better" without that powerful piece of modern tech. On the contrary, most of my MIDI hardware would go back to collecting dust without it, and my whole damned live rig would fall apart.

33873 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Tue Jun 13, 2023 1:26 pm

I agree that too much complexity can turn you off. On the other hand, whenever I used the more simple synth, I feel like I miss out on the options something like Spire has, for example.

BTW, if you want do stuff like the early Aphex Twin, I'd recommend getting a Korg MS-20 emu. AFAIK, it was all over his early work. I frankly never was a big fan of his music (I don't know, there's always something melancholic in his tracks, which I don't like that much), but, I listened to SAW 1 and 2 quite a bit some decades ago.

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14058 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Tue Jun 13, 2023 4:32 pm

I look at a well appointed synth like a restaurant menu. Maybe you want a buffet with a bit of everything, but what you most want is choice. I tend to make fairly simple sounds, but want a large variety of options. So, my Falcon patch may just be a multi sample layer and an FM layer, but using a plugin for each layer would be more awkward.
Zerocrossing Media

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5826 posts since 22 Mar, 2009 from gent

Post Wed Jun 14, 2023 12:43 pm

Utilizing the D50 soundtrack patch to good use , it's getting nuts at the 04:00 mark , that bassline :tu:
Verdict : simple tools , great tune ...
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Soul calibrating ..frequencies

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