Is post distortion really necessary?

Discussion in 'Production' started by Saftstein, Jul 7, 2016.

  1. Saftstein

    Saftstein Active Member

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    Hey guys!

    Want to bring up a little discussion here...
    I used to work a lot with distortion vsts, mostly fabfilter's saturn and camelphat. One thing that completely changed in the last 3 months for me is the workflow on how i tread my synths with distortion and EQ.
    This is roughly my previous workflow:
    1. Make a bass/synth sound that i like (i mostly use massive or serum)
    2. put it in my synths group -> this group has a lowcut around 100hz, so everything in this group doesn't collide with bass or kick
    3. put distortion on it until i like the sound
    4. no eq necessary because hey, it's low cuttet at 100hz anyways (this was my probably my worst mistake)
    5. done

    Now:
    1. stays the same
    2. Tweak the fx that is provided by the vst synth as long as i'm really happy with the sound
    3. Cut out harsh frequencies, low cut every synth individually so i don't have problems with my sub
    4. put on an eq that works like an analog eq and boost some freqs (mostly top freqs and where i've cut out a lot of stuff)
    5. sounds good bro, profit?

    I hope this example explains what i mean. I don't really use any kind of external distortion anymore, instead i tread the the sounds with a lot of eqing and this results in a really clear mixdown, at least for me.

    Many producers say you can't work without distortion and put huge FX racks on their synths. Is this really necessary? Would like to hear some opinions!

    Best,
    Elias
     
  2. Claus601

    Claus601 Custom Title

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    Digital distortions sound like shit , steer clear
     
  3. Saftstein

    Saftstein Active Member

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    That was 't really the answer that i was aiming for, lol. But i understand your opinion. So basically, if you have no analog distortion unit, no distortion at all?
     
  4. MARKLAR

    MARKLAR International Tracksuit Salesman

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    surely it all depends on what sound your trying to achieve
    i dont really have any workflow when it comes to distorting things just have a mess around and keep what i like.
    probly why i havent made anything in ages.lol
     
  5. Claus601

    Claus601 Custom Title

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    I use a fattner or bit of overdrive
     
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  6. mugatu

    mugatu Verva Music

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    All depending on what sound your going for, even deeper subby bass stuff ill still process a lot just to get the warmth. I used to associate distortion with grit, but it can do great to any sound its a vital element in many producers tracks and i use that overdrive/ohmicide combo on pretty much every bass i make, even if its subtle, something ive found that works with what i do.

    This fx chain was for a big stabby distorted 808 style bass, i wanted to get as much dirt out of the massive sound as possible without losing clarity, the 2nd strip is of the bass bounced down and layered with the original, where i just processed the highs of the sound a bit more, the final bass was 4 tracks, subs, lows, mids, highs
    Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 13.25.55.png Screen shot 2016-07-07 at 13.26.30.png

    The tune thats from should be going on program records in the future!
    Things to have in mind is to make sure the dry signal isnt going through each plug in the fx chain to hot, you wanna keep as much dynamics and headroom throughout the chain so that each plug is as effective as possible, you can get away with it a little but just be conscious of it. Bit crushing is a great way to 'toughen' the sound up aswell, on logic ill set it to minimal down sampling so its acting as a normal distortion rather than that typical 8 bit sound, bare in mind having bit crush with reverbs can make the tail of the reverb sound change, just muck about with the order of each plugin for different desired effects.

    Camelphat is great, ohmicide is just silly good, one of my mates uses ozone trash and he gets some real unique colours in the mix with that. Id also have a go not cutting strictly at 100hz for bass, try lower like 85 or even lower.
    edit: if you are gonna process your bass, dont sub cut straight away in the chain, you wanna do that last or later so that when distorting you create overtones from the sub, all depending on the sound, but try it out
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2016
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  7. Sinai

    Sinai New Member

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    I think marklar killed it really with the fact that its all about the sound you're trying to create. VST's in general are only good at achieving the right tone in a sound (in my opinion), the rest will come through processing. Camelphat is great, albeit too distinctive on occasion. When working with Serum i find using izotope trash to be particularly beneficial at getting further towards the sound and like Mugatu said, ohmicide is good & needs to be present in some capacity. Again it's hugely dependent on the sound/s you're trying to create, but you dont need to put too much on to get there, however i feel it's pivotal to getting to where you want to be sound-wise. Waves obviously have great plug-ins & i find that the multiband compressor they have is a great tool to adding that little bit extra. I know break & dlr etc use it for most tracks anyway. Hope this helps!
     
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  8. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Lots of beginners distort when they should be compressing because distortion makes it louder m9.

    One thing to note is that if you start with saw waves and clip them, they turn a bit into square waves. If the volume of the saw waves is varying because of detuning/filtering, then the peaks become more square when you distort them and the troughs stay more saw-like, a bit like if you were using a square-saw wavetable and modulating the index. This gives a nice shift in frequencies and enhances movement if you're distorting something that has varying volume. This is why I often distort before compressing, because you get more tone movement that way.

    I personally like digital distortion when I want things to actually be distorted rather than as a loudness increaser. Really harsh hard clipping but really low wetness is a nice effect on sounds that would otherwise be a bit clinical. Also sending to a separate bus, applying really really horrible clipping and then highpassing at like 1000Hz makes a good top end for subby basses. (if you don't want them 100% sub)
    Waveshapers are good because they can be as harsh/smooth as you like. For just increasing RMS when I need to I tend to use a limiter or soft compressor/limiter combo.
     
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  9. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

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    I personally use a shelf instead of a cut on the Bass buss. Adjust it to taste when soloing the Sub & Bass buss.

    I wouldn't do this, apparently every cut adds a little bit of resonance at the cut off point adding to rumble. What you were doing before is better practice imo.

    Do you mean on each bass? If so this is must but obvs try and get as much out of the synth as possible first. I find the more crazy I go with an EQ the shitter it ends up sounding, I scrap the EQ and go back to the synth to get it right there first.

    Totally subjective, depends on the tune like people have said. Saturation is more of a must do, gets everything warmer regardless of sub-genre you're making.

    Hope that helps bro, and send me shit on Facebook if you want me to have a listen (y)
     
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  10. RUSSLA

    RUSSLA DNBF Monarch

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    I just had to see what you posted as it's in Production and it's comments like this which makes me glad you're on my Ignore List.

    Jesus wept you utter clown, stay in Waffle ffs :p
     
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  11. Claus601

    Claus601 Custom Title

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    Yeah whatever fgt you clearly know fuck all
     
  12. wingz

    wingz everyones fav austrian

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    claus i'd love to hear one of your tunes then
     
  13. Claus601

    Claus601 Custom Title

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    Lol oh look it's this fgt again
     
  14. saganspirit

    saganspirit Member

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    The dnb producer Audio also says to steer clear of digital distortion in one of his youtube tuts.
     
  15. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Well if he did say it he's an idiot.

    We're not talking master bus clipping here. (not sure why anyone would try that in the digital realm anyway)

    Just using normal distortion plugins for distortion same as 99% of producers of all genres when they want distortion.
     
  16. saganspirit

    saganspirit Member

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    I think he said he uses Satsun for saturation distortion - can't link it at the moment as in work. Will do later.
     
  17. saganspirit

    saganspirit Member

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    Around 44:55 he mentions he's not a fan of digital distortion but in fairness he seems to be talking about the master bus which we all agree I think.

     
  18. CuriosityKilledTheCat

    CuriosityKilledTheCat MissingNo

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    I'm confused, I thought digital distortion was when your go above the 0 dB threshold ? can anyone explain ?:p

    When it comes to distortion, I usually use the same plugins (Camelphat, Fabfilter's Saturn and the Ableton Amp) but I don't think it's always necessary to add distortion, as the others said it depends on the type of sound you want to get
     
  19. smoothassilk

    smoothassilk Active Member

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    Most of this debate is about distortion that was created by a computer plugin: anything in DAW counts as digital.

    Analogue distortion you only get when you use hardware: running things over 0Db through an old mixing desk, recording to tape over 0Db, tube amplifiers etc.

    In practice these days you can recreate this kind of sound pretty well using Camelphat/ other digital plugins, although I hear in the old days the emulations were a bit crap.
     
  20. wingz

    wingz everyones fav austrian

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    sadly, i sort of expected an answer dodging the subject

    pathetic