Feel Guilty Using Presets

Discussion in 'Production' started by Alexi, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. Alexi

    Alexi Drench Audio

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    When I first started producing I used straight presets as sounds, then when I became more confident started adapting them slightly to my liking, but I always felt like it was cheating using sounds that were probably made by some 50 year old German sound engineer.

    I eventually learnt how to use all the Reason devices, but then moved onto Ableton, so spent a long time learning trying to figure out synthesis in general, in the hope that I could use any VST or synth.

    I now try to start patches from scratch and aim for a sound I want rather than just scrolling through til I find something that sounds good. Takes about 5 times as long, but I feel a lot more involved in making a tune.

    Now am concentrating on making full beats from scratch rather than chopping up premade breaks

    Anyone else feel this when using presets, or is it just me?
     
  2. safety

    safety double safety

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    i still use some presets, because i just can't always create the kind of sounds i want and let's not forget that this music was born out of samples, so i see no shame in sampling synths and pads and soundscapes. i make all my own bass now and for me, that's the important part, that's what gives me a real sense of satisfaction. i generally put my own breaks together for my tunes, but again, i see no shame in using parts of pre programmed breaks in them, because that why i can make them sound better than if spend 5 times as long doing it myself.
     
  3. moriaty

    moriaty Active Member

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    theres nothing wrong with using presets. you can have the absolutely best sounding drums, bass, pads, and lead synth. does that mean you have a great tune in the bag ? not at all. it all goes down on how you put them together.
    i really dont get the whole "oh, im making my own synth sounds in my tunes".
    thats akin to a butcher claiming that he makes his own knifes. does it make the meat any better ? no, it does not.
    i feel a rant rising, so i'll leave it at that. id like to hear some more thoughts.
     
  4. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    It's mostly about timing bro. I know what you mean though, I don't use raw presents because it sounds too childish. I always tweak a preset to make it sound like my own.

    Think about this, why does everyone use the same acoustic guitar, or flute, or etc... They all sound the same when you use them but the song as a structure is what makes those instruments unique. In fact, acoustic instruments are all 'presets', real musicians aren't concerned about that! They care about the structure, that is music!!
     
  5. RevTech

    RevTech Butthole=output transduce

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    If I find a preset I really like and it seems too complicated to make myself in the future, then I'll use it. But I won't use any preset if I know how to make it already. For instance, I can make killer reeces, I won't use a preset, not even look at it.
     
  6. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    presets are there to be used so why not?
    obviously it feels better makin a synth from scratch but if u can make it easier for ur self an get the sound u want it doesnt matter how u did it as long as u enjoyed yourself!lol
     
  7. DanDnB

    DanDnB Bass and Drums

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    You don't see a world class violinist make his own violin do you?

    Slash never built his own electric guitar either...

    Just sayin' :)
     
  8. luzil

    luzil Member

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    gordo and dan already said, every rock/jazz/pop band use pretty same "presets". So no reason to feel guilty. Also probably 90% of the electronic sounds are created by accident, not intentional :) There is currently no theory out tellin u how physical parameters of a synth are linked to psychoacoustical perception of ear-brain system.

    But that doesnt mean, that investing much time in sound designing your own sounds is a bad idea, especially in often faster electronic music like dnb, house, .... where u cant cause of the beat rythm create super complex unique melodies. The reason why i love artists like jarre, vangelis, aphex so much are mostly the mood loaded sounds they created with lots of synth experimenting. I mean there have to be reasons why those guys put so much time in it...

    i heard the essential mix from "sub focus", praised by the mod as hottest dnb prod at the moment. Didnt know his tunes well before, heavy basses and pretty lame drum programming from my pov, flavor, no complex patterns which i like to hear to in dnb, sound more like superb house or techno to me. But he uses some unique sounds and ways to link them. I saw him using NI Massive in a video. Also read he uses virtual analog synths. So pretty everyone seems to use massive, presets like "brutal electro" u hear in every third tune. Thats a prob with such synths with a attribute database ore genre related refills in reason. Many will just choose the dnb/reese attribute presets and wonder why their tunes sound not unique. U can also make genius dnb like 4 hero with lots of acoustic instruments, but for a laptop hobby producer who cant afford this by time and money i think u should get deeper into synth programming, and then something like fm, waveshaping, additive synth. subtractive synth is so overused and sounds mostly static.


    @alexi

    if u use ableton take a look at operator synth, a mixture of fm, additive, subtractive synth. This is really a powerful synth u can make nearly everything with it. Or put in a instrument rack and layer several instances of it. I know fm synth is not everybody fav., but one of the best synth methods to create unique moving sounds, especially by accident. U dont have to tune much knobs to create pretty new sounds
     
  9. Lucidproduction

    Lucidproduction i aint fraid of no ghosts

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    its about 10x more fulfillin if you know exactly how your sound was made from scratch! its a satisfaction thing thats why people talk about it. il admit i use pad presets atm because i cant make them from scratch yet but when i learn to i dont think i will go back, ofcourse you cant achieve alot of sounds without a sample.
    sampling is half the game aswell obviously i think it takes the best producers to encorperate samples into there tunes.
     
  10. Alexi

    Alexi Drench Audio

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    I'm not saying that it's a bad thing to use presets, I'm just saying in my personal opinion I feel more involved in a tune making it from the ground up.




    oh, and just to stir :D, it's not the equivilent of slash making his guitar, coz that would be the same as writing the software, it's the same as him fiddling around with his amp to get his crunch sound
     
  11. dafo93

    dafo93 SWITCH FUSION

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    Yeah I get this too. Then again, top producers like Liam Howlett use primarily presets so y'know...
     
  12. Alexi

    Alexi Drench Audio

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    but I don't have keith flint to distract everyone from this fact
     
  13. moriaty

    moriaty Active Member

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    Some nice discussion going on so far, keep it up (y)

    I dont disagree that making your own sounds is very satisfying and educational, as by tweaking each parameter, you get a little closer in learning your equipment inside out.
    But you have to draw the line at some point. Todays bedroom producers need to be able to tackle all the issues that surround the music making process. Composition, sound design, arrangement, mixdown, mastering; all these where once jobs of different people. Each one of these tasks is a science by itself, and professional spent years in developing their skills in one of them, let alone all of them.

    Let me point something out: most of the people who frequent this forum, including myself, are firstly interested in producing dnb, techno, dubstep or a similar formulaic rave style; and secondly are still learning the how-to of that process. The most important aspects of making this music is the mixdown and arrangement; the mixdown will create the pumping sound, and the arrangement will make people groove. Once this is cracked, then you should push yourself into learning how to make your own original sound. Just check early releases from many top producers. Cooh, proket, and noisia to name a few. All of their early tunes where very basic in terms of sound palette, but with a solid mixdown and a dancable arrangement. Once they had the foundations down, then they proceeded in making some of the most original music this genre has heard (imo of course).

    as far as using presets, im completely against the patch snobs, no offence to anyone here. But at the same time, im yet to use a preset 100% raw within a tune. I always look for something with the timbre im after, and then modulate it to my liking, or even bounce it and start chopping/mangling. Also, dont forget that using presets is extremely useful in learning how a synth works. Even the developers recommend you do so in order to familiarise yourself with their products.

    And to finish this, as ive rambled on quite a bit, i'll mention the most important things ive learned in the last year. That you should make music for yourselfs, not for anyone else. I know that this sounds pretty cheesy, but i dont think many people realise its meaning properly. Why worry about what people will say when you tell them that you've been using presets and vengeance samples on your new "crappy" tune? its a learning curve, you're not expressing your emotions, you're not breaking ground in musicianship, you're just learning. If you where releasing such music regularly, then yes, it would be a bad move to stay on that route. But if you're still trying to breakthrough, then i say fuck it, use whatever you can get hold of, samples, presets, tutorials, anything goes. Label owners will be able to see through that, and recognise your potential for good music. And once you gain the confidence of couple releases, and with the advice you'll receive from you newly acquired peers, you'll be far more comfortable in pursuing your own sound.

    and remember, just like arseholes, everyone has an opinion, and the above is just mine. ;)
     
  14. RevTech

    RevTech Butthole=output transduce

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    Gordo, I might have to quote that.

    That was beautifully said.
     
  15. Riisu

    Riisu Not the Preacher Man

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    brain may's dad made his guitar out of a washing machine though.
     
  16. T Leaf

    T Leaf Neighbourhood Sickhead

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    sorry to be on the other side of the seesaw here, i make my own sounds mainly. but that's only due to the amount of control i require from the synths. if i know how its made, then i can control it stronger from within and make something different happen :) but using presets is fine too mang (y)
     
  17. richie_stix

    richie_stix gomby plz

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    definatly sampling beats for the win... it's the very corner stone that holds up the pillar of JDB! but making your own stuff (synth wise) is definatly well satisfying.... and i also like to chop up samples (lets say of classical strings and keys for example) then re-arranging to make an intro melody, mpc stylee for the 21st century!
     
  18. Devianity

    Devianity New Member

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    Creating your own sounds is a fulfilling experience, I find it very enjoyable. I don't think you should feel guilty or cheap for using presets though, if it works then use it I guess.

    Regarding musicians making their violins & guitars etc, you don't see that too often because it's relatively impractical - not so with cpu synthesis though and as a guitarist of many years, having been stuck with essentially the same class of sound the entire time, the fact that I can now design whole new realms of instrument-sound is something that blows my mind. Why would a musician not want to take advantage of that?

    Yah true Luzil, the operator has always provided me with decent metallic atmospheric elements.
     
  19. Sweaty Teddy

    Sweaty Teddy Nob'ed

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    I sometimes edit a preset to make it suit my needs more and also sometimes just make them from scratch but thats using NI Massive which I got used to after a while.

    At the moment I am using Sytrus in FL on some shitty laptop that wont run cubase, can't use Sytrus to well so just edit presest loads. Don't feel like i'm cheating because the end result after effects and all that have been added makes it sound completely different.
     
  20. Protoplasym

    Protoplasym Nuskool

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    :interesting thread:

    I believe that one should use what works for the given tune. If a preset with zero tweaking fits in the mix 100%, then fook it, use it. If it needs to be tweaked a little/a lot, then use it. If something created from scratch is necessary, use it.

    I've never made a song comprised 100% of non tweaked presets as that would be going overboard imo.

    I think this topic can definitely relate to using samples as well... sometimes a sample in the state you find it is perfect for what your track needs and sometimes it needs to be tweaked.

    In the end, we should all just use our ears and do what sounds good to us.


    On another note... I've spent entire weekends just making patches for the helluva it.. and I still haven't used a lot of them, lol.

    There are a majority of Bread and Butter sounds that I won't bother myself with making... your standard fare when it comes to Bass, Lead, and Pad sounds.

    When I get into "lab" mode, I usually end up making crazy, evolving, Pad/Sound Effect sounds... and once in a while, weird low end sounds with tons of Modulation.

    Considering most Producers nowdays have hundreds of synths, both freebies and paid for... spanning THOUSANDS of different patches.. not to mention guys like myself who also own a lot of hardware - there's no reason we should bog ourselves down with the attitude of, "we must make our own patches always" because in the end - how much time do we truly have to make music? Considering those of us with Jobs and Families to tend to...



    Bottom Line (imo): it's all about being Creative and that boils down to using what sounds good no matter if it's hand made or born of the labors of someone else. Music and Electronic Music especially is meant to be 'free'.