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Old 19-02-2018, 04:45 PM   #1
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New patches for every track?

Hello idmf,

This is partly sound desing question, but I quess this belongs to "The Studio" enough...

Something I find very odd in my current workflow is that I tend to always make new synth patches for every track I make. I mean, what's the point of saving any patches if I'm always going to start from fresh clean default patch?

Sometimes I load up some previous patch I find pleasing and just try to find ideas, but I usually end up tweaking the sound so much that it doesn't sound like the one I started with. Of course this is one way to utilize the loading feature of my synth, but I was wondering how you guys approach this?
  • Do you have a synth patch that you use (without modding that much in multiple tracks? For example, a pad sound that doesn't serve as a lead sound in a track.
  • Do you make your patches "on-the-go" or do you reserve seperate time for making synth patches?

I know I'm talking only about synths, but I'm also counting every other element that you use from track to track, for example your 100% fine tuned industry secret kick bass

After a quickish Googleing I didn't find any proper discussion about this so I'm genuinely very interested to hear what you guys have to say.

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Old 19-02-2018, 05:32 PM   #2
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Re: New patches for every track?

I usually process drums the same way from track to track and do have a few pad/chord patches I've made that I'm fond of. Outside of that, I mostly design on the fly. I have one track with 3 leads in it right now because I haven't decided which one I'm gonna use in the final version yet.One of those is designed straight from an init preset, one is a modified factory preset, and one is a straight factory preset. Sometimes I'm at a loss and focused on finishing the tracks, so I go to the same few factory presets I like and do just enough tweaking that they don't sound exactly like my other songs. I find myself doing less programming from scratch these days because I have a bank of my own sounds in most of the synths that I use, and most of my own sounds haven't been used in a track yet. I do not often carve out time specifically to do sound design unless I need it for a track or just don't feel like doing anything else.

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Old 19-02-2018, 06:02 PM   #3
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Re: New patches for every track?

For synth sounds, I have 2 workflows, either:
1 find a preset I like, change it till it’s what I wanted, as necessary, then layer and process again as necessary.
2 find a preset I like, sample it, add stuff to it in the sampler, process the crap out of it and resample.

And for mixing, I have a bunch of preset effects racks I built that I use all the time, like a stereo widener I made. I also have go to processing methods that you could call presets, but it’s more ways of working if you know what I mean. But basically I never really start sounds from scratch. Starting songs from scratch is enough for me lol!

Edit: I also have instrument racks I built that I reuse fairly regularly but not the actual sounds, but they way they are interconnected.

Edit 2: I also use preset routing for guitar, itb I go preamp (UA 610B) for a little eq and boosting, into effects, usually chorus and or tremolo and sometimes a little delay before the amp, into amp (which ever suits the sound), into compressor. Then sends will have delays and reverbs in parallel. But that’s super dsp hungry so I usually can’t run all that at once, so I use a mix of software and real pedals.

Last edited by jbvdb493; 19-02-2018 at 06:09 PM..
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Old 19-02-2018, 06:03 PM   #4
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Re: New patches for every track?

I make patches in my spare time, try to make most of the track without screwing with them too much. Then at the end I fine tune/ get freaky.

A lot of times if I have an idea ill really quickly throw together a generic lead or pad patch or whatevsz. I keep meaning to make a bunch of generic patches for this purpose but I haven’t managed to.

I’m in a constant battle with my ADD. I’m always trying to avoid hyper focusing on one element and losing sight of the big picture. So I try to get the important stuff out of the way (composition/ arranging) and save the fun sound design and mixing til the end. Maybe mixing isn’t fun necessarily but it’s something I can do compulsively for like 10 hours.

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Old 19-02-2018, 06:31 PM   #5
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Re: New patches for every track?

I'm constantly making new patches, as I'm working on a couple of libraries that will be for sale later in the year through a couple of different avenues.

That said, I re-use patches in my material ALL the time. Ain't no shame in that game, I'll often taylor them to the tune in question and the fx processing is something that gets changed from tune to tune, but I definitely have a handful of go to's, just like i do with tones for my guitars and bass when i need to track those.

I relate to the question as I used to produce IDM and the nature of IDM lends itself to unique soundsets per song but I think MAYBE 10% of the people on IDMF are making IDM at this point. That said last year around this time I wrote recorded and self released an album of Post Rock and Doom metal and I used the same drum kit and bass tones for EVERY SONG (i should be ashamed, right? nope)

I just don't know why so many are hellbent on making music production as difficult as possible.

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Old 19-02-2018, 07:46 PM   #6
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Re: New patches for every track?

Actually all my tracks are made from scratch. I don't even use templates for my DAW anymore, just that two blank audio and two blank midi tracks you always get in Live.

I save all my patches like mad, though^^Sometimes several times in row just with minors differences.

I tried once to split my music making time into dedicated sound design hours and production hours, but that didn't actually work at all, because I always ended up a few patterns and eventually with an intro and made a whole track from that.

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Old 19-02-2018, 10:13 PM   #7
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Re: New patches for every track?

I make all synth-patches from scratch, and almost never use the same patch on two different tunes. Exceptions to this would be sample-based emulation type sounds (romplers) and classic drum machines.

Creating the patch and composing the music is usually simultaneous. I create the sound and play it at once, switching back and forth, - using MIDI sequencing as an integrated extension of the synthesizer's functionality.
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Old 20-02-2018, 12:07 AM   #8
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Re: New patches for every track?

I use the same drum synth (a VST) as the basis for most tracks, but alter the drums to taste as I go, which to me is the main advantage of using a drum synth over samples.

Most synth patches in my music are presets that I'll adjust anything from not at all, to slightly, through to to severely. All to suit how a track flows and sounds to me.

I really don't think I've ever zero'd a synth and built up a patch from nothing. I also don't keep track of these changed patches, they exist in the project but I haven't made a library of them to call up in future tracks.

I'll point out that synth-wise I work completely in the box, if that affects how the OP interprets my answer

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Old 20-02-2018, 09:49 AM   #9
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Re: New patches for every track?

After all, using the same patches and presets in your tracks with some knob twisting is going to glue it all together for one hell of a nice album.
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Old 20-02-2018, 10:32 AM   #10
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Re: New patches for every track?

Oh yes, that's true. It could work well, but I guess in that case it should be done intentionally.
Also you're still leaving your signature all over the in your tracks even when starting from scratch, though. I mean, where mostly using the same tools mostly in the same ways.
My wife for example knows my 'signature' so well, I show her music everyday and she always knows when it's one of my tracks, even very old stuff. Of course she's very familiar with my stuff, but you know what I mean.
Working from scratch gives so many opportunities, I can certainly work faster when I'm not recalling patches. An already existing synth patch almost works like a stop sign for me, it disrupts my workflow.

Last edited by Schnork; 20-02-2018 at 02:28 PM..

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Old 20-02-2018, 01:58 PM   #11
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Re: New patches for every track?

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Originally Posted by pkreegi View Post
After all, using the same patches and presets in your tracks with some knob twisting is going to glue it all together for one hell of a nice album.
Using the same sounds on all tracks is no guarantee for creating a nice album. It's the same for rock bands. It's very possible to have consistent sound quality and still suck.
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Old 22-02-2018, 11:10 AM   #12
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Re: New patches for every track?

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Originally Posted by pkreegi View Post
After all, using the same patches and presets in your tracks with some knob twisting is going to glue it all together for one hell of a nice album.
no its not its just lazyness
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Old 22-02-2018, 02:43 PM   #13
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Re: New patches for every track?

Seems to me that tracks I really like all have at least one sound that’s really unique and stands out. That suggests to me that you’d probably want to find that one element and purpose build around it. Tweaking something that is close to what’s in your mind could be a way, or you just play with a synth you really know and love, or use a completely different one, such as a grain synth or additive synth. Layer FX, re-sample and so on. Record as you go about it.

Some classic sounds I wouldn’t make from scratch. A kick, snare, donk, zap, swoosh, etc.

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Old 23-02-2018, 01:03 AM   #14
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Re: New patches for every track?

One thing no one has pointed out is that this all has to do with personal priorities when it comes to making music.


You can’t treat every element of music as the most important one. Bach never had worry about synthesis, so he could focus on notes purely. Hell on his harpsichord pieces he didn’t have to focus on dynamics. Likewise, aphex twin’s music has tons of interesting sounds but is many magnitudes simpler when it comes to counterpoint and harmony. Coltrane was maybe one of the most creative improvisers of all time but he devoted very little thought to arranging compared to the previous two musicians.

If sound design is something that is your number or priority, you probably should make new patches for every track. But if you do that, you are certainly trading it for time you would spend doing other things. For some time now, i’’d say that the general trend in electronic music has been simple composition, complex sound design. Try seeing how it would hold up if you played them on a piano. Even a lot of the tunes that have little keyboard kind of riffs would sound embarrassingly simple if you were to play them on piano directly after some Debussy.

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Old 23-02-2018, 01:19 AM   #15
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Re: New patches for every track?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnkvolcno View Post
One thing no one has pointed out is that this all has to do with personal priorities when it comes to making music.


You can’t treat every element of music as the most important one. Bach never had worry about synthesis, so he could focus on notes purely. Hell on his harpsichord pieces he didn’t have to focus on dynamics. Likewise, aphex twin’s music has tons of interesting sounds but is many magnitudes simpler when it comes to counterpoint and harmony. Coltrane was maybe one of the most creative improvisers of all time but he devoted very little thought to arranging compared to the previous two musicians.

If sound design is something that is your number or priority, you probably should make new patches for every track. But if you do that, you are certainly trading it for time you would spend doing other things. For some time now, i’’d say that the general trend in electronic music has been simple composition, complex sound design. Try seeing how it would hold up if you played them on a piano. Even a lot of the tunes that have little keyboard kind of riffs would sound embarrassingly simple if you were to play them on piano directly after some Debussy.
This is probably the most cogent analysis of contemporary Techno and why some people don’t like it that I have seen.

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Old 23-02-2018, 08:24 AM   #16
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Re: New patches for every track?

I use the same recordings with different processing for my electronic stuff, because it would probably be pretty unnoticeable. Sometimes I even resample something I recorded and processed in a previous track and run different shit on it, so there's that.

At the end of the day, I end up forgetting where things came from entirely. I think keeping a cache of your own patches / samples just helps in the long term, even if shit is getting reused in cooler and more unique ways later.

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Old 23-02-2018, 11:53 AM   #17
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Re: New patches for every track?

I have the ideal world process and the real world one.

Ideal world.
If I have a short time only I work on patches/samples that I will use later.
If I have a longer session I work on a track using the sounds I already prepared.

Real world.
I start working on a patch, which turns into a loop, so I quickly build another patch from scratches and before I know I started yet another song...

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Old 23-02-2018, 12:34 PM   #18
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Re: New patches for every track?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Automageddon View Post

Real world.
I start working on a patch, which turns into a loop, so I quickly build another patch from scratches and before I know I started yet another song...
Haha yeah, hence the gazillions of project folders on my hard drive.

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Old 23-02-2018, 12:38 PM   #19
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Re: New patches for every track?

i usually start from an "init" state and build a new sound from the ground up.
i do feel like im wasting time like this though and its probably one of the reasons i never actually finish anything, but one of my favourite parts of music production is the sound design, so its all good with me as long as im having fun.

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Old 23-02-2018, 07:51 PM   #20
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Re: New patches for every track?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Automageddon View Post
I have the ideal world process and the real world one.

Ideal world.
If I have a short time only I work on patches/samples that I will use later.
If I have a longer session I work on a track using the sounds I already prepared.

Real world.
I start working on a patch, which turns into a loop, so I quickly build another patch from scratches and before I know I started yet another song...
Lmao.. I know right?

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