Presets vs/ Programming Your own sounds

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calebbrennan
Posts: 230
Joined: 16 Aug 2016

Post 13 Mar 2019

Ignoring presets is ego
Are you going to program every sound yourself?

I look at it like a painter with a palette of colors
applying a Synchronous to a Grain preset creates a new sound
Reason has tone sources you can imagine into an opus

Its like cooking I dint' have to invent asparagus yellow peppers or pesto pasta

It's how you add the ingredients that makes the meal

seqoi
Posts: 309
Joined: 12 Aug 2017

Post 13 Mar 2019

calebbrennan wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ignoring presets is ego
Are you going to program every sound yourself?

I look at it like a painter with a palette of colors
applying a Synchronous to a Grain preset creates a new sound
Reason has tone sources you can imagine into an opus

Its like cooking I dint' have to invent asparagus yellow peppers or pesto pasta

It's how you add the ingredients that makes the meal
Just so that you know i know many artist today (living ones) and i know some famous passed artists were not using commercial colors. They created their own colors. From sand, egg, earth and so on. In that sense they are not using "preset".

I also know some chefs preparing or growing their own spices, pastas and so on.

My point is - noone care if the end result is art or something satisfactory. How you achieved it is less matter. It all goes to whatever works for you. Using preset (or making your own preset) is not a problem in that context. IMHO.

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aeox
Posts: 2129
Joined: 23 Feb 2017
Location: Oregon

Post 13 Mar 2019

Presets have their place in most of my music. I use them for background ambiance/pads; things that aren't going to be at the front of the mix. Presets are always an after-thought, once the song already has a solid foundation of my own sound design.

Everyone is different of course, and many people only use presets and focus a lot of time on arrangement and composition. The reason I generally ignore presets is not because of ego, it's because making my own sounds is extremely fun and satisfying. Being able to hear something in your head or from another song and generally know how to make that sound, is a valuable skill in my opinion.

I'm not sure about an analogy on presets for it's culinary counterpart.. but I wouldn't particularly say that preset=ingredients. To me it would be more like preset=dish in a meal course. I guess it really depends on what way you're looking at it.

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boingy
Posts: 262
Joined: 01 Feb 2019

Post 13 Mar 2019

I use mostly presets with only minor tweaks.

It's been a long time since somebody released a new synth that I actually understand. I read the bullet points and in my head they say "twice as many oscillators as you need" and "we realise that you didn't really understand our hybrid wavetable synergy modulation juddery synthesiser so we've now given you two of them in the same instrument, with 73 way variations of sync. Woo hoo!.

MrFigg
Posts: 2098
Joined: 20 Apr 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

I’ve got a lot of refills. It takes a long time to find the good sounds because there are so many in there. I usually start with a preset then twist the hell out of it. Thing is I have so much fun doing that I end up doing no songs :). Ach well at least I’m having fun. :).

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aeox
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Location: Oregon

Post 13 Mar 2019

MrFigg wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ach well at least I’m having fun. :).
:thumbs_up:

That's why we're making music in the first place, right? :)

MrFigg
Posts: 2098
Joined: 20 Apr 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

aeox wrote:
13 Mar 2019
MrFigg wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ach well at least I’m having fun. :).
:thumbs_up:

That's why we're making music in the first place, right? :)
Absolutely :)

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Loque
Posts: 5400
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

Sometimes i am surprised, that ppl want to choose only one way...I use presets if they fit, but normally i choose the right synth right from the start for the sound i am looking for. Adjust to taste if necessary. Create my own if i have that specific sound in my mind.

Same for just experimenting and exploring...
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

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guitfnky
Posts: 922
Joined: 19 Jan 2015

Post 13 Mar 2019

the thing about crafting your own patches/effects settings is that it naturally leads to unique sounds. presets can be a great starting point, but if you rely too heavily on them, you risk turning otherwise good music into something that sounds bland and uninspired.

you can call that ego if you will (it’s not)—it’s really just down to personal aesthetics.

TrevaRanks
Posts: 7
Joined: 04 Mar 2019

Post 13 Mar 2019

Nothing wrong with either approach. Whilst I would love to be able to create all my synth sounds myself, making something that sounds good is hard and I don't have the technical knowledge at the moment. At the same time I don't want my music to sound like everybody else though. I'd guess a lot of people start with a preset and tweak it. They're good for learning how a sound is made.

One factor to consider is time. Sometimes you're in the moment and have a vibe going and you just want to get something down; endessing twiddling knobs can kill that vibe. I often use a preset I like then go back and mess about with it.

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reddust
Posts: 301
Joined: 07 May 2018

Post 13 Mar 2019

I also think there is nothing wrong with both ways to make music, and everything in between, then between black and white there are a bunch of colors and tones, so why choose just one color when you can use the whole color spectrum.

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Reasonable man
Posts: 334
Joined: 14 Jul 2016

Post 14 Mar 2019

Everyone i guess has a different take on it .
The problem i have with presets is becomming relient on them to 'define' your sound which isn't really your sound unless you use or find similiar presets across a wide variety of modules and keep using them.
If you dont really know how these sounds are being designed then you\ll always have that 'fear' factor and part of you will always dread getting out your fav synth or whatever cause theirs too much stuff you dont understand under the hood. I think that this alone will kind of catch up with you in the end.
i always feel that reason is different again in that learning to design all your own stuff with modules is just half the battle cause then you can flip the rack and combine them with every other module and thats still not even touching on cv/gates or the modular world!

I think the original poster mentioned syncronous and i tend to agree. Syncronous is a pain in the ass to programme as the curves are fiddley as hell and going to the presets frst and tweaking them is probably the way to go with a device like that. Its different if your navi retlav obviously ..his syncronous combies are sound alchemy as are practically all the combies designed for syncronous (and thats just one device in the reason rack!)

sleep1979
Posts: 734
Joined: 20 Jul 2017

Post 14 Mar 2019

calebbrennan wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ignoring presets is ego
Are you going to program every sound yourself?

I look at it like a painter with a palette of colors
applying a Synchronous to a Grain preset creates a new sound
Reason has tone sources you can imagine into an opus

Its like cooking I dint' have to invent asparagus yellow peppers or pesto pasta

It's how you add the ingredients that makes the meal
do you know whats funny last week i was thinking like you but this week i been looking at presets copying the settings and trying to make some of my own , getting to know one synth and i made one preset i like so far but im using that one preset , needs a bit of work

scratchnsnifff
Posts: 1237
Joined: 21 Sep 2016

Post 14 Mar 2019

calebbrennan wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ignoring presets is ego
Are you going to program every sound yourself?

I look at it like a painter with a palette of colors
applying a Synchronous to a Grain preset creates a new sound
Reason has tone sources you can imagine into an opus

Its like cooking I dint' have to invent asparagus yellow peppers or pesto pasta

It's how you add the ingredients that makes the meal
Yes, you are absolutely correct! Nothing wrong with using presets or even samples.

Maybe in Edm genres like glitch hop or dubstep it’s better to design your own sounds, however some of the basic sounds like a +3 octave sine fm’ing a -2 square is just what it is. So why not use a preset

My philosophy on the preset matter, is to try to make all of my own sounds and I love doing it. But over time I try to find my patterns and just save combinator starting points. Like an instance of expanse with the FM setup and combinator macros on the modifier knobs etc.
When it comes to effect patches, presets make even more sense there. As I don’t like to spend an hour tweaking to what amounts to being a hint of oregano or parsley XD
Mayor of plucktown :evil:

gwakefield
Posts: 8
Joined: 20 Jan 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

Lots of ideas here, so at the risk of perhaps repeating a couple, will give my own take on presets versus programming. I used to design most from scratch but after years of doing so, started to find it too time consuming, let alone at times, tedious. The last few years, I've gone more into "Pads" or " Basses" folders and loading patches until I find something in the ballpark of what I imagined for said track/part. I doubt if I've retained a single stock patch in the thousands of sounds I've gone through, as invariably I end up sculpting the sound until it sits and fits precisely in the track the way I want it to. There are times when I can hear- approximately, lol- the sound. When that happens, I'll go to one of the softsynths I feel best suits that imaging and start from scratch. Of course, it ends up being different slightly in the end, but doing that always ensures you'll have learned something along the way too. Also, if I end up with a sound I really like, I'll name it and add it to the every growing library of sounds of my own. So if it's a Zebra sound, I'll save it in a folder name Geoff's Zebra Patches. So often, when composing, I'll go to my own patch folders, then sculpt it just like I do stock patches for what I am currently needing. A great tangential benefit of doing this is that in time, you are building your own signature as a sound designer too. And in particular for we Reason users who use Combinators, given the amount of time put into many of them, I definitely think it wise to save those. One example of that might be a Kong being triggered by 2 Redrums-for all 16 sounds in Kong- then maybe into a 14:2 mixer, so it can have its own set of 4 effects too. I save something like that because they are time consuming to build. Anyway, hope this blurb gives some useable ideas.

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TheGodOfRainbows
Posts: 449
Joined: 31 Mar 2015

Post 14 Mar 2019

As others have said, some of both is good. I've learned a lot from presets. Without them, there is no way I would ever come up with some of those sounds on my own. I can deal with programming some sounds on a simpler synth like subtractor or a moog type synth. But synths like eXpanse or Zero I find sometimes overwhelming because of the infinite mod matrix possibilities. Analysis paralysis kicks in big time.

I agree with scratchnsnifff that some specific EDM genres call for more original sounds. I'm definitely the type who focuses on arrangement and composition over patch design. I feel like there's only so much time in the day, and I'd have to prioritize composition over sound design. That's why great presets are CRUCIAL to me.

WarStar
Posts: 18
Joined: 17 Oct 2018

Post 14 Mar 2019

My approach in creating music is to put all my "tools" and "palates" in a very accessable place. When ever I get a new synth or device I go through every preset to find my favorites, those that match the tone and feel of my style of sound, and save them to folders that describe the kind of patches. I do this with every instrument even those included with Reason not just REs. I do this to make my ease of writing as something that can be done fairly quickly without too much fiddling around. The presets are by no means set in stone but rather alot of times they're just a decent place holder until it's time to start the customization and fiddling around to change the presets adding efx, etc...

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Oquasec
Posts: 2315
Joined: 05 Mar 2017

Post 17 Mar 2019

You are actually supposed to reverse engineer your presets & read manuals or else you will not know what you are trying to make.
Smooth music will never require unsmooth waveforms, abrasive music usually never involves sine waves unless those sines were additive partials being used to make anything etc.

Does a song require supersaws or strings? 808's or acoustic instruments or both? simple.
Last edited by Oquasec on 18 Mar 2019, edited 1 time in total.
Producer/Sound Designer.
Avid/FLStudio/Cubase/Reason.

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gullum
Posts: 355
Joined: 15 Jan 2015
Location: Faroe Islands

Post 17 Mar 2019

If you find a preset that is what you want to use and fits perfect to your song but you decide to recreate it, because you don't use presets :D.
I make mostly Guitar music so when I add a synth or keyboard I usually use resets. I'm just not a synth guy but I play piano and there you usually don't get much chance to manipulate the sound like a synth.
making all sounds from scratch will not make your music better, only arrangement can make a song good and that holds true if your a preset person or a synth wizard

sleep1979
Posts: 734
Joined: 20 Jul 2017

Post 17 Mar 2019

gullum wrote:
17 Mar 2019
If you find a preset that is what you want to use and fits perfect to your song but you decide to recreate it, because you don't use presets :D.
I make mostly Guitar music so when I add a synth or keyboard I usually use resets. I'm just not a synth guy but I play piano and there you usually don't get much chance to manipulate the sound like a synth.
making all sounds from scratch will not make your music better, only arrangement can make a song good and that holds true if your a preset person or a synth wizard
I like this answer , but i think recreating presets i guess is like recreating songs , u learn something , im a bit torn now because i been using sampled sounds in nnxt they sound so good ! So i been tweaking them im learning thor as a side thing , but maybe only a few basic patches i will make to learn shit i dont think im gonna be the next unfinished of anything 🙂 writing songs is my thing , actually singing and writing songs is my main thing , too much sound designing will take me away from that i guess ? Small doses

calebbrennan
Posts: 230
Joined: 16 Aug 2016

Post 24 Mar 2019

Thanks Everyone for the thoughtful responses. I wanted to add that in my initial posting comment when I said "ignoring presets is ego" i was talking to myself as well as others who focus too much on creating that new amazing patch and not a great track.
I have programmed great synth sounds from scratch for many years going back to my very first synth the monophonic Sequential Circuits Pro-One. And I've created some awesome patches for Europa from scratch since I upped to RS10. I'm just pointing out it's really easy to get lost in it.

I don''t use any VST or purchased RE synths only stock RS synths because everything is there that you
need. You could create your own sound by making a combinator with a klang,Humana subtractor Maelstrum, all stock sounds. Add a few fluid filters and create your own wavetable. It might be easier than learning Grain

In the end it's about a track with a pleasing groove with some melody

A Philosopher once said " It's not the meat, it's the Motion

.

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Rason
Posts: 126
Joined: 10 Dec 2015

Post 25 Mar 2019

When I was starting I used presets, didnt have any idea what all the knobs were good for. I soon realized important things: 1) The sound triggers my inspiration for melody and arrangement. I want my inspiration to come from my sound. 2) Afterall, it is el. music. When I leave out the obvious production stuff, which is essential for most genres (mix, arrangement, idea) what is the actual technical added value for el. music compared with traditional instruments'? The synthwork. So I understand that people may get indimidated by the idea of making all instruments from scratch, however, after getting into it, it is far more entertaining than the composition itself. I mean.. it is all related. Once I got advanced in sound design, I realized I no longer actually use corrective tools like eqs and the song somehow gets created itself as a by-product of my fiddling. Its an oposite approach. Probably not that ideal for people who develop whole the song in their mind first and go for exact reconstruction.

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Jmax
Posts: 569
Joined: 03 Apr 2015

Post 26 Mar 2019

People that create their own patches still make shit music. People that use patches still make great music. And vice versa.
It's about the music and how you craft that.
The patches themselves are pretty much irrelevant as you can do an infinite amount creation with them or a patch you create.

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adfielding
Posts: 504
Joined: 19 May 2015

Post 26 Mar 2019

Preset snobbery is one of those things I've always found kind of hilarious. I roll a lot of my own sounds, but I'm not averse to using presets if they fit. If it sounds right, it is right.

sleep1979
Posts: 734
Joined: 20 Jul 2017

Post 27 Mar 2019

calebbrennan wrote:
13 Mar 2019
Ignoring presets is ego
Are you going to program every sound yourself?

I look at it like a painter with a palette of colors
applying a Synchronous to a Grain preset creates a new sound
Reason has tone sources you can imagine into an opus

Its like cooking I dint' have to invent asparagus yellow peppers or pesto pasta

It's how you add the ingredients that makes the meal
ive started only trying to proper design my own sounds just over a week now ( been learning synthesis with tutorials ) , and
i'm not going to buy more presets at the moment as im getting some ok sounds already ,( i started with thor and now i made a couple of patches with europa link down below please give advice /criticism ) but yeah i will of course still use presets because i can not make ones no where near ( or will i probably ever as , sonic underworld - the unfinished -adam fielding -navi retlav - soundcells -pinknoise etc , but even if i could there would be ones that i couldnt , please find three patches i created with europa two patches are the same here are the same here but one i've used a juno sample from a free sample pack ( what a difference that makes ) included hope i'm ok to share as its only for advice and stuff cheers http://www.mediafire.com/folder/b6jkaa7b9a4aa/Europa

oh and the free sample pack im referencing here cheers ( scroll down to classic analogue wavetables https://cymatics.fm/blogs/production/ul ... um-presets

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