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Recently I was reading a topic on this forum about how "bad" it was using preset patches (I think the name of the topic was Hypocritical something??) Anyhoo, that got me thinking that it really shouldn't and doesn't matter. Ive heard some great, great music made up entirely of Reason patches (I recognize specific patches that I personally use too) and to me its really about the notes/rythyms etc. that you use, and not so much how it sounds that makes a good song. I've made some musical garbage recently that sounds really cool, but theory and technical-wise is an absolute mess, and that doesn't help any musical growth. What I'm trying to say is, we shouldn't focus on the instruments used in a composition, but the composition itself. What do you guys think??
Keep reading the thread, and you'll find out that the point is that preset patches AREN'T as frowned upon as you think. Personally, I'm all for them, especially for new producers.
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I agree with you to some degree, but when you say it doesn't matter how it sounds, it seems like your saying all that matters is the notes, and thats just not true. I do believe though that its fine to use presets, because lets face it, you dont critisize a rock band for not hand building each piece of equipment themselves.
Your opinion may be more valid if you said that a century ago...
Nowadays, composition is just half the battle. Mixing/Clarity/Sound Design/Instrumentation/Timbres are just an equally important factor in the music appeal.
I don't think presets are a form of cheating or "an easy way out". Most would agree that presets are there for your advantage and to use them but not in their raw form. They can take away from appeal in terms of originality. I would rather hear some unique sounding synths instead of the same overused Sytrus saw and bell presets. I guess it also matters from your perspective, I might not find it generic if I was unfamiliar with FL, the same way I wouldn't notice a reason preset now.
another thing newcomers tend to do which put presets in a negative light is find 3 or 4 really cool presets that they like, combine them together, when there sounds interfere and clash with another messing up their mix. Once you learn how to tweak and polish your synths, you will have more control over your work and make your creative process flow more smoothly.
it's also depends on the genre of music- part of electronic sound production is designing your own synths and tweaking your own sounds. on the other side, If you make orchestral music, the instruments are already made for you, and are technically "presets" (of course, if you play guitar, you will probably tweak your amp settings and whatnot, but you get the idea, its not nearly as complex in most cases)
Personally I think using raw presets and sounds (keyword is raw, i.e. untweaked, unchanged) usually only gives a generic, even if slightly better, feel to your tracks. The sounds aren't yours, and depending on said sounds, are heard in plenty of other tracks, hence the generic feel. It often kills the track (at least for me), especially if the composition (both melodies and drumwork) is great.
It's important to focus on both sounds and composition. You can take it easy in either area if you're starting out and want to take smaller steps, but by the time your standards go up, you can't leave either one out, or else you'll either get a very boring but well-produced track, or a moving track that's a pain to listen to.
Rawmin - true enough. Thing is, in rock (I'm not a big rock listener so I might be wrong on this), it's often not what sounds you use, but how you use them - for example, there are plenty of different amps/amp settings and playing techniques for a guitar. This is my philosophy as well. My favorite (and only :P) VSTi I use is ReFX Nexus, which is entirely presets that often sound really generic due to being used time and again in multiple tracks. I don't use them raw, instead, I tweak them beyond recognition, layer them, or use them creatively - I've used synths out of the Bass section for leads, for example. ;D
now that I think of it- I'm contradicting myself. Why can't using presets be considered cheating?
You're not allowed to upload a midi into your track, and replace with synths, even if they are your own designed ones.
Yet you can make a half assed composition, use raw presets, and it's acceptable.
I just said both aspects were equally important....so, I guess in this case it is not.
At 8/12/08 11:21 PM, Karco wrote: I've used synths out of the Bass section for leads, for example. ;D
And I think this is the general thing you should be aiming for, tweaking what you have and miking it fit the composition. I've got a compact, easy to use reese bass VSTi, and I find that a few tweaks here and there, and that gritty bass sounds like a pretty sweet lead, or a more interesting bass. I often change between using presets slightly tweaked and laden with effects and starting from default and getting something a bit more basic, but more my own.
People also get the idea that presets are bad from all the complaints about fatkidwitajetpak. I haven't heard much of his music, but in an ambient track, using preset pads to make the song seems like the wrong thing to do. The composition is made to fit around the presets, rather than the other way around, and made entirely from presets? Long preset pads strung together into a song doesn't really take a lot of effort.
I think that using presets as a learning tool is fine, using presets because they fit with your composition is fine, tweaking presets is fine. Provided that you've put the effort into the composition, and put thought into the arrangement of the preset instruments, I think that's fine also. ;D
We're mostly amateurs here, so I think it's not a huge deal, so long as you're not just completely depending on the presets and riding on the coat-tails of those who made them.
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It would be great if we all were sound designers and could make epic and glorious sounding pads and soundscapes from nothing but sine waves. However, as is the case with most musicians, we need a starting point. If I've got an idea in my head about what I want to hear, I'll gladly accept a preset I find and then start from there. Let's say I find a really sweet pulsing pad, but the rhythm is all wrong. Well, let me adjust the sequence a bit. Oh and wait..the attack is way to fast...cut that down a bit so it swells up longer. And maybe I need it to glide a bit from one note to another. Crank up the portamento setting. A good musician will take what other's before him have given and adjust it to fit his style. Presets are many times the building blocks to a moving, original piece of music.