Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Sound Comparison Of Synths 2013 (updated)

Based on sound demos, I've compiled a list of the best sounding synthesizers available. This is based on sound quality and availability. There are some really good analogue synths that should not be ignored. Arturia has some nice sounds. The Aturia Minibrute is an interesting synth with great sounds. The Arturia Origin is a very high quality synth. I like Analogue Solutions gear. As you can see most of the digital synths really don't "pop" out of the speaker with a unique voice or have that same emotion. An exception is with Arturia. But Many sound terrible. As you can see I don't like the Virus TI sound. Why they haven't figured out how to do a nice digital sound, I'll never know.

These were demoed on very good speakers (Behringer B1031a). If you'd like to hear these you should look them up on Soundcloud or YT. One bias I have is that I don't find hard distortion or muddiness agreeable. Stick with Korg Analogs or Arturia.



Arturia Minibrute

Arturia Origin

Korg Volca BassKorg

Korg MS-20 Mini

Analogue Solutions (all)

Not recommended:

Moog Sub Phatty


Moog Little Phatty

Virus TI




Moog Minitaur

King Korg

Jupiter-50/80 (synth engine sucked, Supernatural was great)

Gaia Sh-01

Casio XW-P1

DSI Prophet 12

Elektron Analog 4

Vermona Perfourmer

Nord Lead 4

Waldorf Blofeld

Tom Oberheim SEM



Friday, July 19, 2013

Logic Pro X Review - Just OK


Logic X or Logic Ten has been released. Is it any good? I'd say its a mild upgrade. The interface has become larger to support higher resolution monitors. Everything is a little bit more clear. But some of the same niggles are still here and its past is still present.

The library window now opens on the left side. The library window still does not list 3rd party Audio Instruments! It is confusing for newbies. They dont show up in the "Library."


The options for the tracks now cover up the entire mini-mixer view when opened. A bad choice. Most of the stuff in those menus nobody ever uses however. They should have gotten rid of those options.

The track view is nicer and easier to read. The actual tracks aren't bad either. Everything is more like Final Cut or Garage Band. Top buttons have been redesigned and make more sense. Whoever was working on Logic X knew that the older versions weren't very clear as to their function. The redesigned icons are good.

The score and piano roll are easier to read and access.

Preference panes are still pretty over your head or too similar to the old versions.

I believe Logic Pro X is mostly a better interface lift which will make it easier to use. They are headed in the right direction, but it still needs some work. I've never been a fan of their Library view. It really is straight out of the iPod 2004 or something. Reading all that text and not having access to everything is confusing.

Depending on your setup, things like latency and power will always be a concern within the computer. I preferred Presonus' easy setup which covered latency a lot better than Logic Audio ever has.

Logic Pro X is not bad. I'll continue to use it occasionally.  The stock plugins still have a bad sound so its not a good tool out of the box. I'd recommend a different program if you start your projects from the ground up in a self contained program.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Using Reference Levels Essential For Translation

One reason your sounds didn't translate to other systems is because you aren't monitoring at the right reference level. The reference level is a peak SPL in the real world and not a thing on a meter. Some say it is 83db. I don't believe this is a good volume level to use as it could damage your hearing. Some use 72db for nearfield applications. You will need an actual SPL meter from radio shack or the internet and a pink noise generator to set it. Don't go so high you are messing up your ears.

With a peak level set, you will mix sounds set below the reference level. Most people do -12 or -14db below. This is a standard comfort zone for voice or most instruments. If you want to go loud you can push over that level, but its not something you do through the entire mix. Someone should have told this to the people that mix Disney soundtracks.

Equipment like T.C. Electronic BMC-2 allows you you to have a set reference level at the touch of a button.

If you use flat monitors, the mix reference level is even more important to have. I find flat monitors are easier to mix with when pushed louder. If you mix at low volumes there is a risk of over-compression, distortion, and going too far. If you back off on the meter, and increase your speaker volume you'll be able to make better sounds. If you want to be more accurate, try a set reference level with an SPL meter.