Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:21 AM   #1
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Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

I love sound design, I have many of my own sounds and presets. I am getting really fun and cool sounds but making sounds from scratch is so painful sometimes because it's like forcing inspiration out something that is so uninspiring. And a lot of the time the sounds I make are very strange ([Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
- Yes that is a SINGLE sound)

I have SO many plugins (Camel Audio: Alchemy. Fabfilter: Bundle. Native Instruments: Komplete 9 Ultimate. Slate Digital: VBC, FG-X, VTM, VCC. Sugar Bytes: WOW 1/2, Vogue. XFER: Serum. Izotope: Music Production Bundle 2).
And I have had a MIDI keyboard and it just sits there. I'm just tired of laptops. It is fun for here and there but... I. Just. Want. To. Make. Music!

...And then it happened. The Nord Electro 5D - As soon as I touched the keys... And heard the sounds/presets I felt a feeling I hadn't felt in 14 years. The same feeling I felt when I first touched a guitar. The quality of these sounds... Is. Exactly. What I've been looking for. "Finally" I thought to myself, "I can focus on music"... Price tag reads $3500! AHHHHHHH!!!! "I must make this happen" I thought... "I must...". But then of course here I am with The question...

What do you think... Is it cheating to get this keyboard? I've gone through the presets of my synths, and I just can't seem to find the same quality. Is it placebo? Is it in my head? Am I just so deep down the rabbit hole of computer music and sound design that I have lost my mind and I just need to keep going? Can these sounds be recreated on a computer? Should I just get a better MIDI keyboard and finish what I started or do you think I have truly found the missing piece amidst all that I have been doing?

Thoughts?... Feelings?

With love... Dhji

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Old 10-03-2017, 05:26 AM   #2
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

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Originally Posted by Dhji View Post

What do you think... Is it cheating to get this keyboard? I've gone through the presets of my synths, and I just can't seem to find the same quality. Is it placebo? Is it in my head? Am I just so deep down the rabbit hole of computer music and sound design that I have lost my mind and I just need to keep going? Can these sounds be recreated on a computer? Should I just get a better MIDI keyboard and finish what I started or do you think I have truly found the missing piece amidst all that I have been doing?

yes to all of the above.

1. cheating, yes, because there are RULES in music production and you must obey them. or else they're all going to laugh at you and know that you are a phony

2. placebo, yes, unless you find it inspiring, then... just go with it.

3. created w a computer? yes, and then some, you ALREADY HAVE THE NECESSARY TOOLS

the only one i cant answer is the last one. see answer #2


there is no magic bit of kit thats going to make it all more awesome, but again, inspiration is a BIG DEAL and if that shiny new red keyboard really floats your boat and makes you more motivated and more productive, placebo or no, go with it. worst case scenario you can sell it in 6 months for close to what you paid for it.

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Old 15-03-2017, 06:48 AM   #3
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

I hear you man, I got to mess around with a Nord Stage EX a couple weeks ago - not enough to really get too deep into it but the thing just leaks that sense of possibility when you start to play it. There's something really refreshing about getting away from the mouse and screen to get a fresh perspective. Now if only I was a better keyboard player...

Out of curiosity, have you looked at any other hardware synths? Nords are awesome, but you might want to check out some of the stuff DSI, Korg, and Rolland are putting out. Yeah sometimes you gotta try to catch the inspiration where ever you find it, but at the same time there is plenty of cool gear out there and a lot of it is a quite a bit cheaper than a Nord (if cost is what you're worried about).
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Old 29-04-2017, 02:08 AM   #4
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

I like using MIDI quite a bit, if you map everything on your software instruments and plugins and save those presets, it makes things much faster. Mapping every synth the same way, every filter and effect the same way makes it easy to just sit down and jam

You should look at the BCR2000 to use with your midi keyboard, it's made stuff a lot of fun for me and it's really cheap
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Old 30-04-2017, 04:01 PM   #5
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

The opposite is true as well, depending if you are in 'creating a track' mode or 'sounddesign' mode. I am not talking about tweaking a sound or two, but creating sounds at the same time as working on a track i find takes away energy and focus from a track idea.
So if i feel like working on music ideas i use soft synths and samples, i even use presets and tweak them slightly. As the track evolves and the idea becomes clearer a bit later that's when there is an itch to replace some sounds with hardware synths like MS-20.

When working on sounds i find one 'thinks' differently, you focus on the sound and how tweaking here and there could take that sound in a different direction, regardless of tweaking samples or making sounds for softsynths.
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Old 30-04-2017, 04:45 PM   #6
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

I can make music just fine with only a mouse and a computer. Though I'm not often compelled to work that way. Even when I'm working with hardware synths/drum machines I'm honestly doing 75% of the process in my DAW. But there is "that something" to coming up with ideas on hardware that I just don't get from working with programming MIDI.

I've used lots of my own sounds. Lots of samples lifted off other people's published music (mangled and not so much). I've used heavily tweaked presets and stuff right out of the can. I'm going to use whatever gets me where I want to go in the best way possible.

If I'm trying to write an old school sounding house tune I'm probably just going to reach for the M1 Piano preset or sample and get to writing the chord progression instead of spending a bunch of time trying to just replicate that piano sound myself. Or maybe another day I feel like its important I put my own twist on that classic house chord stab.

People who talk about the right way to write music spend way more time talking than making music in my experience.

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Old 30-04-2017, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

I don't think there is such a thing as 'the right way' of writing music. Whatever floats your boat. I was just stating that it's hard to cross the ocean and build a sailing boat at the same time. When i take too long fiddling with sounds at some point my original 'drive' to sit down and make a track is gone.

You are right, a computer and a mouse give different results than working with a hardware sequencer or a looper and generally it's more fun to use hardware synths.
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Old 01-05-2017, 04:35 PM   #8
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

Nothing in music is cheating.

Except banging on your piano keys with your dick. That is most definitely cheating.

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Old 01-05-2017, 05:29 PM   #9
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

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Nothing in music is cheating.

Except banging on your piano keys with your dick. That is most definitely cheating.
I regularly touch all my synths with my penis so that if other musicians come around they know who my gear belongs to.

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Old 01-05-2017, 05:58 PM   #10
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

hopefully not too smelly

was it Harpo Marx who played a piano solo with his nose ?
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Old 01-05-2017, 06:16 PM   #11
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

While I agree with everyone else that the process and the inspiration is the real point of this, I would also caution to think that hardware will automatically provide that. Or that it will automatically sound better. In that sense yes, I think it is a bit of a placebo. The synths won't come up with the ideas for you if you know what I mean.

Edit: as a matter of fact recently I have been doing most of my sound design in reason, why? Because I like the rack environment, I find it appealing.

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Old 10-05-2017, 09:37 AM   #12
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Re: Making Softsynth Sounds vs Using HW Keyboard Presets (Nord Electro)

It depends on you.
I've owned a lot of hardware and software. Ultimately I find myself favoring hardware due to the immediacy of it over software. There is also a sweet spot you get in hardware that takes longer to get in software, and for things like drums I always prefer hardware if I have the option.

I bought tons of 70s, 80s, and synth wave presets hoping to find in digital what I got from hardware. Yes I think analog sounds better, but I am not also think digital has its place. I'd rather work on digital hardware than software. These things will be up to you in your musical journey, but I'd say find the sound you like and stick with it.

Dive deep into genres you like, sounds you like, and tones you like. Once you do this experimenting you will probably be able to find which you personally prefer for the music you make.

It goes back to what inspires and helps you get their the quickest and the best way possible.

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