How important are a synth's presets?

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How important are a synth's presets?

Vital.. I only use presets!
1
3%
Somewhat important.. I use presets mainly, but I tweak them occasionally to fit my taste.
10
25%
Not very important.. I mainly tweak, but use presets on occasion.
18
45%
Not even considered.. I always make my own sounds, either starting from a preset or from a "default" setting.
11
28%
 
Total votes : 40

How important are a synth's presets?

Postby briandc » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:58 pm

Here's another interesting subject explored elsewhere, I wanted to hear opinions here.

Thanks!

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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Shutoku » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:05 am

I like to go through the presets to look for ideas, but I grew up with analogs without any presets, so I am accustomed to just making my own sounds.
Even when I got my m1 (when they were the new hottest thing) I at least tweaked almost every preset, or just replaced them with my own. To this day my m1 doesn't really sound like any else's except of course they all have the same basic samples.
Still exploring presets for ideas allows you to go outside of your normal sound creation tendencies, so it is nice if there are some decent presets.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Stab Frenzy » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:22 am

Why is this in software?
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Ashe37 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:33 am

judging from his previous thread, he's probably developing a plugin.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby briandc » Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:23 am

Stab Frenzy wrote:Why is this in software?


I put it here because I only use softsynths now; so I wanted to hear from people who use softsynths, to know if they use presets or not. Some people don't even open a synth if there are no presets provided.

Of course, this poll could apply to hardware synths, too..


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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby griffin avid » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:41 am

Vitally important and I say that from a 'technical standpoint' and not a subjective one. I don't mean personal preference I mean by the synths' early perceived value by *most. And by 'most' I mean *most people that might actually use or buy it as opposed to judging it from a distance or see how it ranks in the history of synths. Although a lot of people (right or wrong) can create a sway or reputation.

I think this relates to engine or as Marc would say "tone". Where, it SOUNDS GREAT even if it's not loaded with great sounds -like the ones you would use in your compositions. But you hear what it is capable of. You can get an idea of what kind of sculpting tools you'll have on offer.

I used to be a features guy where I would ignore all else and look at the specs page and drool- until I realized that just because it can do something doesn't mean it does it well.

I don't think many separate synth designer and sound designer and figure if the creator (you know, the guy who knows THE MOST about said synth) can't coax some good sounds out of it, what chance do I have?

I'll even defer to Sonic state demos. If it sounds zippy zonky in his hands, I think when I get home I'm going to have a zippy zonky synth. So it might make sense to program some solid sounds -that sound great right out of the gate. I also think SOUND CATEGORIES is important. Some think KORG is brilliant- how if you bump one of their keyboards, a big demo kicks on. Some hate that. Every synth has show off patches, the kind you, you sort of put up front. And then you need some well-rounded grounded sounds that are musician friendly- so when I try to play the damn thing I feel like I'm in my studio or on stage.

Number of patches also seems like a big plus. A huge number of banks seems to add to the *longevity factor.
Like you can't preview them all until you get home with the synth.

For softs, I think those demo SONGS are probably more important unless your demo video is really a scroll through the presets. I would never use this kind of poll to figure out how important presets are -based on the number that prefer to use them or design their own sounds from scratch. I know many synths that are powerful and capable and some even groundbreaking that BOMBED because of poor presets. I don't know any (originals) that had great soundbanks and didn't sell well.

And some of them are talked about on here, like how could the world not know how great this is- shame really that the company didn't sell more. What they ALL have in common is; either a better sold previous version (with stellar sounds) or weak presets onboard.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Hugo76 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:31 am

Some very good points there, Griffin.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby briandc » Mon Jun 10, 2013 12:51 pm

griffin avid wrote:Vitally important and I say that from a 'technical standpoint' and not a subjective one. I don't mean personal preference I mean by the synths' early perceived value by *most. And by 'most' I mean *most people that might actually use or buy it as opposed to judging it from a distance or see how it ranks in the history of synths. Although a lot of people (right or wrong) can create a sway or reputation.

I think this relates to engine or as Marc would say "tone". Where, it SOUNDS GREAT even if it's not loaded with great sounds -like the ones you would use in your compositions. But you hear what it is capable of. You can get an idea of what kind of sculpting tools you'll have on offer.

I used to be a features guy where I would ignore all else and look at the specs page and drool- until I realized that just because it can do something doesn't mean it does it well.

I don't think many separate synth designer and sound designer and figure if the creator (you know, the guy who knows THE MOST about said synth) can't coax some good sounds out of it, what chance do I have?

I'll even defer to Sonic state demos. If it sounds zippy zonky in his hands, I think when I get home I'm going to have a zippy zonky synth. So it might make sense to program some solid sounds -that sound great right out of the gate. I also think SOUND CATEGORIES is important. Some think KORG is brilliant- how if you bump one of their keyboards, a big demo kicks on. Some hate that. Every synth has show off patches, the kind you, you sort of put up front. And then you need some well-rounded grounded sounds that are musician friendly- so when I try to play the damn thing I feel like I'm in my studio or on stage.

Number of patches also seems like a big plus. A huge number of banks seems to add to the *longevity factor.
Like you can't preview them all until you get home with the synth.

For softs, I think those demo SONGS are probably more important unless your demo video is really a scroll through the presets. I would never use this kind of poll to figure out how important presets are -based on the number that prefer to use them or design their own sounds from scratch. I know many synths that are powerful and capable and some even groundbreaking that BOMBED because of poor presets. I don't know any (originals) that had great soundbanks and didn't sell well.

And some of them are talked about on here, like how could the world not know how great this is- shame really that the company didn't sell more. What they ALL have in common is; either a better sold previous version (with stellar sounds) or weak presets onboard.


Yes, a synth may have added bells and whistles to make it "larger than life" and when a person buys it, it was because of the presets, but that probably doesn't mean they will spend time tweaking it in their free time, nor that they will get loads of good sounds out of it.

For instance, I started using one particular softsynth (amSynth for linux-based computers), and it's still putting out little nice surprises, even after making lots of sounds for it. At first, there were only about 20 presets. So I thought, "let's see what the thing can do." I've learned a lot over the past year or so with it, and I've discovered some "hidden corners" of sounds that might surprise someone who had only used the presets. Some of these "gems" are now posted on my website and Soundcloud page, and just some new ones I came across in the last day or so.

Also, there are some people who use presets, and maybe don't have the time or ability or interest to make their own sounds. So (imo) having lots of presets helps show people what the "character" of the synth is like.


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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Ned Bouhalassa » Mon Jun 10, 2013 1:32 pm

Better presets might have convinced me that The King Korg was worth more than a passing look/listen. Presets can really make a difference when you only have 20 minutes on a new synth, and can really help with sales.

Oh and as a soundtrack composer with regularly-crazy deadlines, presets have saved my ass more times than I can count on 6 hands!
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby briandc » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:34 am

Ned Bouhalassa wrote:Better presets might have convinced me that The King Korg was worth more than a passing look/listen. Presets can really make a difference when you only have 20 minutes on a new synth, and can really help with sales.

Oh and as a soundtrack composer with regularly-crazy deadlines, presets have saved my ass more times than I can count on 6 hands!


Your points are well-taken.
I agree that presets are important, and I think that's what attracts (and repels) people.

If it's true that people these days use presets for their music, then it behooves developers to make the best presets they can. And quite honestly, I think many synths don't go much beyond the "typical" sounds and sweeps, which is a pity. Yes, many people might want just those sounds, but new and unusual sounds can also "hit a note" with people. The DX7 electric piano is an example. It became a popular preset, even though it was new and unheard of previously. And it's still used today (in spite of the rather unpleasant (imo) detuning in the low end)..


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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby griffin avid » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:00 am

I think many synths don't go much beyond the "typical" sounds and sweeps, which is a pity.

You touched on a very important angle here. Do you load your synth with a contemporary soundset or go for classic and familiar tones. By the way, the two are at complete odds with each other. So, unless you LOAD that patch bank, you might be faced with a dilemma. My brand new Radikal Technologies synth has a patch called Scritti- something. It's that stabby synth sound from Scritti Politti's Perfect Way. (I actually like that song a lot)

Watch on youtube.com


And so, is that patch for a cover band?
Is it a little nod for a song the developer/sound designer likes?
Or a patch a younger user wouldn't recognize or think was worth dealing with?
In other words, a shite (borrowing the foreign vernacular) sound.

KORG did load their synths with contemporary sounds, like current trends in music..and some classics...
[Still putting the KRS one horn-shot in every hip hop drum kit eh?]
Or do you focus on the BEST SELLING records and the sound they have?

That's the Novation Ultranova II. You make current dance music, you've got tons of presets to incorporate.
Should you have a dubstep wobbly bassline in those first five bass patches?
maybe. If the guy does dub, he might think "This is the BEST synth to make dub on because..."

Or load it with weird and brand new sounds hoping to change/influence the future? [See KORG microKORG.]
Or will EVERYONE that uses you synth test its depth by listening to the "model D" patch and turning the filer knob to see what happens.

It's so tough, with so many enthusiasts being attracted to SYNTHESIZERS based on familiar songs and artists.
That's VSE in a nutshell. So you'd better be good at classic tones and well, damn, be good at adding something new to the table. So yeah, maybe that's all why 64 patches aint cutting it any more.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Bitexion » Wed Jun 19, 2013 12:17 pm

Kind of like how I always go looking for the JUMP! patch on every synth I try out.

If there isn't one, I make one.

I'm also compelled to make a swirly "Oxygene strings" sound whenever I see a phaser emulation on a workstation or synth. Happily for me, one of the Phasers in the Motif XF emulates the EHX Smallstone phaser, so that's a jackpot right there.

The Jupiter-80 was pretty damn good at that too. It got the store guys attention so they came over and chatted with me about the synth.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Ashe37 » Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:32 pm

If a synth that should be able to do classic synth sounds doesn't have any of those sounds in the presets, how can you tell? are you going to buy it and make them? spend hours fiddling with a probably crippled demo?

If a synth that is supposed to be able to make new and different sounds doesn't have any of those sounds in the presets, how can you tell? are you going to buy it and make them? spend hours fiddling with a probably crippled demo?
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby Bitexion » Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:52 pm

I bought the Alesis Ion solely on the basis of it's many presets demos they posted. There were short demo songs playing lots of famous synth sounds. And they were all included as presets with appropriate names.

Both Jump, the who, styx, the tom sawyer lead and bass sound, etc. When you make a synth with loads of vintage analogue filter emulations as its main selling point, you'd better include lots of vintage sounds in the presets aswell.
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Re: How important are a synth's presets?

Postby griffin avid » Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:11 am

I saw a weird looking keyboard with lots of faders in Sam Ash and was intrigued. I hit a few notes and stumbled across a pad patch. I wasn't even interested in getting another board, but I knew this one was it based on that sound alone. I ran home, looked it up on VSE (I kid you not) and went right back and bought it. It was decently cheap enough seeing that "Several keys just needed cleaning". I bought it as a victim of the syrup-glue-problem, but was happy enough to MIDI it up until I replaced the keybed a few years later.
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