A Synth is only as good as its presets

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
stvrsz
KVRist
100 posts since 23 May, 2011

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:35 am

Synths that tend to be accepted or adopted more by the public tend to have great preset banks or extremely usable ones. EXAMPLE: OPX-PRO-II Has an instantly useable preset banks for eighties hits. So does Superwave P8. Sylenth has great banks as does Dune 2...and Spire.

Synths that come with few banks seem to have less acceptance. TAL Noisemaker comes with a HUGE bank and is frequently cited as the best free one.

Do you think that quality of presets, number of presets, or access to presents have anything to do with the success of certain synths over others?

imrae
KVRian
624 posts since 2 Jul, 2010

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:48 am

Some of the most popular and highly-regarded synths don't even have patch recall. If I had a model D or a Juno 6 I'd use it.

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Urs
u-he
23478 posts since 8 Aug, 2002 from Berlin

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:50 am

Define "good preset" and "usable preset". At least one synth you mention has a factory bank where hardly any preset has Velocity, ModWheel and Aftertouch assigned to about anything. In my view that's bad preset design, but it doesn't seem to have an impact for many people. To the contrary, it seems that many people prefer non-dynamic presets as it accommodates their style of production better than the other way round. Yet others praise preset banks that are very dynamically playable.

Cinebient
KVRAF
4082 posts since 16 Nov, 2014

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 5:51 am

Some of my favorite software synths just came with way under 100 presets. However, enough to get me started :)

sleepcircle
KVRian
576 posts since 28 Nov, 2016

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:00 am

this seems like an incorrect point of view somehow but i can scarcely think what to say to counteract it. presets are interesting to learn from but i like making my own sounds.

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foosnark
KVRAF
4612 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:05 am

My favorite hardware synths have no patch recall ability.

When I use software synths, I start from an init patch and do everything myself.

All presets are for, to me, is to show off a synth's capabilities when you're demoing it -- or in those cases where there are tutorial banks, to serve as examples for interesting patches that might not be obvious.

chk071
KVRAF
19402 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:12 am

foosnark wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:05 am
My favorite hardware synths have no patch recall ability.

When I use software synths, I start from an init patch and do everything myself.
Me too. I never quite for that preset dissection thing. Especially when so many ways lead to Rome.

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aciddose
KVRAF
12165 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:19 am

There has always been a huge difference between the average person looking for a "fun sound machine":

Image

Vs. the people who are actually interested in synthesizers: I call these "synthesists" or "synthists".

It has always been a 90/10 spread and nowhere near a simple black/white split. There are plenty of people in-between who would prefer presets but have wildly varied tastes in features, style and aesthetics.

The type of person who spends hours paging through presets though has always had so many fewer hours to play music.
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

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sinemotor
KVRist
207 posts since 24 Dec, 2015

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:21 am

and a preset is only as good as its sound designer.

Case closed.

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aciddose
KVRAF
12165 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:24 am

More fun music machine images and memories: :)

Image
Image
Image

Janice Allen you dullard you married a dud of a husband!

Image

Apparently Janice didn't need a seduction by Hammond.
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

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Distorted Horizon
KVRAF
1737 posts since 17 Jan, 2017 from Planet of cats

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:26 am

I hate presets.. Except init and occasionally templates.

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aciddose
KVRAF
12165 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:29 am

Distorted Horizon wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:26 am
I hate presets.. Except init and occasionally templates.
Init the truth.
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

Funkybot's Evil Twin
KVRAF
6149 posts since 16 Aug, 2006

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:30 am

I think 1) good presets, and 2) built-in effects (for preset/sound design) will help sell a synth and make it popular. What's a good preset? So subjective. I do think trying to cover as many basses as possible is key though. For instance, if we're talking about a VA, I don't think a developer should want to do just bread-and-butter, vintage synth patches, and they shouldn't want to exclusively focus on modern EDM-banger style patches either.

For instance, in the Cytomic Synth thread I mentioned that I thought the original (v1) DCAM Synth Squad patches skewed heavily to EDM or just generally harsher, more aggressive sounds, and thought that hurt the product's original launch. Andy basically agreed with that point (after he already made the point that not having built-in effects hurt).

So, yeah, I think presets are important, but they should cover as wide a range of musically useful sounds for that particular product. And the type of product is another huge factor in that. If it's a 2-osc VA, I'd expect one thing, versus a super-synth like Omnisphere or Zebra where I'd still expect all the types of presets the 2-osc VA would include (just to get users up and running with starting points), but some really out there cinematic stuff, or soundscapes, or acoustic sounds, etc. in addition.

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aciddose
KVRAF
12165 posts since 7 Dec, 2004

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:49 am

Regarding presets I've become more of the opinion that "add-on banks" are a pretty cool thing to support.

For example the latest versions of Xhip dedicate a "preset library" folder where you can install system shared banks or user-specific banks and have them show up in the menu under "load>library>..."

That's super obvious and a ton of plug-ins already have that type of feature. Shipping impressive "factory banks" is part of marketing though and functionality like additional modular banks are more a practical issue.

If there is even one person swayed by "over 9000 presets!!!" and the others aren't negatively influenced, that's one sale well worth those three words in the marketing by far unless you need to trade off that space for something better.

Everything in life obeys the "90% of everything is shit" rule. 90% of people's opinions are trash, 90% of presets you won't like and so on.

There are also negatives: a poor factory bank can under-sell the capability of a synthesizer or effect.

I'm of the opinion "let it work itself out."
Free plug-ins for Windows, MacOS and Linux. Xhip Synthesizer v8.0 and Xhip Effects Bundle v6.7.

ENV1
KVRAF
2446 posts since 31 Aug, 2011

Re: A Synth is only as good as its presets

Post Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:49 am

To me, factory or 3rd party presets are a complete non-factor in the evaluation of a synth. Couldnt care less. In fact i delete any factory presets wherever possible because i know i will never use them anyway and for the same reason i never buy or even download for free any 3rd party presets either.

Since i have a good enough understanding of how synths work i can do everything myself. Be that sounds or even building my own architectures, makes no difference to me. So when i check out a synth all that matters to me is the sound, the features, the workflow, and how well everything works. Presets, irrelevant.

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