Tuesday, February 26, 2013

D16 Lush For Mac OS X Is Not Recommended

Update: Its an OK soft synth, but I'm just a bigger fan of U-he.

D16 Lush had all the components to be a good soft synth but it suffers from the same problems as other synth plugins: It is too bright sounding and my CPU can't handle it.

I have a new-ish Mac Mini i5, and it doesn't seem like I could get it going fast enough forD16 Lush. I don't know what mac computer I'd have to buy to run this. Some presets are okay, but most crackle and clip my speakers pretty quick. I have no problem running other soft synths.

The brightness of the presets is very common when programmers aren't really using their sounds in music. On a soft synth the brightness can be especially noticeable. I believe D16 Lush is brighter than my V-Synth over SPDIF. Its just one of those things I am too lazy to adjust. I think they could have made a slightly better preset bank. There are some good sounds that just need some tweaks.

The overall sound of D16 Lush is similar to generic Roland but it doesn't quite nail the analog part. It is just another soft-synth. If you want more flexibility with filters and such, DIVA is a much better option (although Diva has no super-saw).

I'd say this is an average soft synth, and I can see a lot of work went into this thing, but I can't recommend it. Maybe if they had put more filter types in and made it more competitive. Thumbs down.

Note: I reviewed the Mac OS X Demo.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Roland Synth Chronicle

Roland has updated their "synth chronicle" and since I'm a Roland fan, I thought I'd link it also. They also have the PDF of every significant synth (2010). Basically they just added their current products. I think Roland is the only company that is proud of their past releases, and I think they know that they hold up more or less. Here is the LINK to the article.


5 Electronic Music Production Tips & Techniques

1. Start with amazing sounds.

You will need to start off with at least two amazing sounds that have some kind of relationship with the other. Contrasting, yet complimentary is often musical, like a pad and synth lead, or a bass and a lead. What matters is that these sounds are what you want to hear in your end product. The sounds must have something to say to the listener. Human's don't want to hear the same thing over and over again. If the sounds can talk to the listener and to other sounds, you'll be able to create a valid musical composition.

2. Integrate the drums.

A big mistake in dance music is not integrating the rhythm of the drums with the melody or bass.  Within the standard 4/4 time there can be endless variation. Drums are not just for keeping the time signature or creating a lead up. The groove of the drums indicates groove of the song but can do so much more. Rests provide space for other instruments to get in and creates anticipation for the human. The best dance music is drum heavy, but it is not all 4/4. There is usually a lot of extra magic going on, and it would be stupid to neglect how you program your drums in any genre.

3. Reduce annoying frequencies & conquer Loudness

So many recordings are broken by tonal imbalances. EQ can remove unwanted brightness. Remember that you want the listener to be able to turn up your music loud. Its good to test music at both loud and quiet levels.

Cutting with very narrow Q setting and boosting with a wide Q setting does the least amount of damage.

When it comes to loudness, check your dynamic range. Low dynamic range is similar to distortion and fatigues the ear. Some genres can get away with it by clever mixing. You do not need to use compression on every sound. Compression is overused and poorly by the inexperienced. Today's samples are already compressed or normalized, so it might be a mistake to go loud.

4. Try a different Plugin

Sometimes plugins just don't work well for us. They can increase the time we spend messing around to get the sound right. The best plugins have the best presets. A plugin should save us time! The myth that you shouldn't slap on a preset and expect magic is false. If it works, it works. I've fixed lots of tracks by using a preset, and then maybe one or two minor tweaks. You don't have to follow every step in a tutorial.

5. Have a goal in mind when composing.

Its really easy to get carried away. If you have a target of how you want your songs to sound, its much easy to break up the recording into smaller goals. If you keep progressing you will start to feel creative bursts and keep going.

Music is an emotional journery, not a hobby. You don't need to keep buying corporate synth gear. You can do it all in the computer and with your creative mind!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Do Old School Breakbeats Sound So Good?

When listening critically to the Amen Break or the Apache break, you start to realize that these sounds are just not possible in real life. You tuned your drum set, you got your best mics and set everything just like they told you in every tutorial. You set everything up and realize the sound is clean and vanilla. Its not bad, but you will never achieve the breakbeat sound this way. Its not about vinyl, the analog days, or tape effects, or sampling.

The biggest reason why old school breakbeats sound awesome compared to real life drums is because of their preamp. Overdrive your tube preamp and you are halfway to the breakbeat sound. Drums sound ridiculously good with an overdriven preamp. Cymbals sizzle and snares start to scream. All sounds start to take on a new timbre. The room reverb compresses and you hear every detail. The truth of the matter is that many old school breaks were horribly recorded compared to today.

GreenDay recorded drums with a tube preamp and used reverb. Their early albums have a coveted drum sound. The truth is that there was a reasonable amount of distortion in every part of the signal chain starting with the preamp. It was inevitable that distorted breakbeats would become very famous in the same way an as overdriven TR-909 would be used on every recording out there. Distorted drums scream!

How to Use Amp Distortion To Rebalance Brightness In Synth Patches

Amp distortion can help you set the brightness in your patches to reduce ear fatigue and enhance mixability when a sound is played back at high volume. If you have trouble setting the cutoff filter or mixing loud sounds, this tip can help.

Choose a guitar amp effect or overdrive that is set relatively flat. Use your nastiest, but best sounding amp model with medium or high gain. Send your sound through it. Certain frequencies become dramatically enhanced. Sharp brightness is heard in the high ends of the distortion. With this overemphasized you can find an exact cutoff point for the synthesizer's filter that won't cause ear fatigue when the distortion effect is removed. Just sweep the filter cutoff to the point that feels right to you while the sound is under distortion. You can adjust the envelopes as well. Next turn off the distortion effect and enjoy your non-fatiguing sound.

This trick works by simulating a cheap amplifier and speaker setup thats being played way too loud. You don't have to increase your monitors actual volume, use a power system, or suffer ear fatigue. With the right amount of gain and right model, you can rebalance your synth patch. There is a risk of watering down your sound however. This should not be done with every sound, but when you want a softer effect. It seems to work well with pads and leads.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

29 Free Alesis Fusion FM Patches - "Alice FM"

Now free for a limited time. Alesis Fusion FM patches

Download the Pack here.

This is for existing Alesis Fusion owners.

You can learn more about the pack by reading information here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I Want in A New V-Synth

  1. Reloads Legacy Presets (Even if they don't sound the same)

  2. Guitar Amp / FX algorithms from the JP-80

  3. 2 Layers like the GT

  4. Color Touchscreen (I don't own an ipad)

  5. Modifier Knobs like the original V-synth

  6. Structure Switches like the original V-synth

  7. Ribbon controller

  8. New Filters

  9. Supernatural Piano or Organ engine

  10. Patch Palette buttons

  11. SSD - Solid State Drive

  12. USB 3.0

  13. Built in Vocoder

  14. 16 Track Midi Sequencer

  15. At least 128 Polyphony

  16. Brain module pulls out of keyboard for racking.


NAMM 2013 Signaled the End of Hardware.

There was almost nothing new to be seen at NAMM 2013 unless you assert that any analog product whatsoever is better than a new digital one. Synths were revised, rereleased, copied and cloned. Lets review here.

Roland - Absolutely Nothing

Yamaha - Absolutely Nothing

Korg: King Korg - A compilation of existing products.

MS-20 MINI - A direct clone of something nobody was really looking to buy.
More Kaoss Pads.

Dave Smith: Prophet 12, another polysynth which is probably pretty good, but only if you are into polysynth keyboards.

Studio Electronics Boomstar: Another set of cloned analog hardware.

The Rest:

A Crap ton of cheap midi controllers nobody wanted.

Wow, good job guys in the music industry. That was totally boring. Maybe I will start reviewing software instead. I think its really over. Perhaps nobody wants to see a keyboard player on stage either. I think synth sounds are mostly over and creative sampling will become a trend again.

I hate mini keys. If I ever see another mini key I will explode.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Abandonware: Redmatica Autosampler

Redmatica Autosampler seemed to be abandoned or bought out this year by Apple. But that means there is no current method to sampling midi instruments on the mac. Only if you scour the web its possible to find it. (on 4 shared).

It seems like there should be a VST sampler on the mac also...