Posts by TortoiseTree

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TortoiseTree says

Reason oh reason. If you’ve been on the forums for a while then you’ll know I have a special relationship with reason lol.

First of all, you need to upgrade to at least Reason 6 or 7 (probably seven) to really be able to compete here. Some of the sounds from even Reason 4 are still pretty awesome (Piano, oboe, pop fingered bass) are still really up there for me BUT to really take advantage of Reason and still get stuff accepted on AJ you need to go up to Reason 6,7 or 8.

Ok Pros:

Reason, for me, has one of the smoothest and most reliable interfaces. Your workflow will be really fast and it’s quite unbeatable for getting ideas out quickly. Also the interface is not too thirsty on your CPU and a crash almost never happens, I’ve been a dedicated Reason user for years now and have only ever had one crash. Also some of it’s sounds are pretty damn good, as I mentioned earlier).

Also Reason is fun, almost too fun. The music comes out seamlessly, it’s colourful and it’s so easy to add and replace plugins. Some of it’s house brand plugins and gear are also pretty damn awesome, Dr. Rex is one of the easiest to use loop manipulating plugins around and the combinators are also a nifty gadget for producing sounds.

Cons:

Those good sounds can always be used on another DAW via ReWire so on the other hand you can just use Reason as source for samples and sounds. Also Reason is great for certain genres, but sometimes it’s hard to get certain very specific ideas out on Reason. Especially since Reason is mostly limited to it’s own ReFills (samples and sounds) no matter what you do there are certain limits to the sound produced. You are stuck with their compressor, their distortion, their reverb. And it’s all very good but sometimes you want to use different companies’ gear. Now, in Reason 6+ there are certain plugins available from other manufacturers but it’s not like in Pro Tools or Logic where the world pretty much is your oyster in terms of what you can use with the program.

Also, as I discussed in another post, you can’t use their factory preset synth sounds too much as they re somewhat overused and do sound dated, I’m sure due to the relatively easier entry level Reason has, reviewers must be hearing the same synth sounds again and again and again.

Anyway, those are my two cents on Reason, not really the full depth analysis I’d give over long coffee but I think enough to set you on your way!

Cheers!

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TortoiseTree says

Kind of in between things myself so for now full time composer lol. Looking to buy some better gear so I’ll probably take up something else for a while to help me build on that.

I’m actually away from Sydney living in another city whilst I’m in between things and have discovered how much further money goes when you’re not in one of the most expensive cities in the world! Of course salaries in Sydney are pretty sweet so if one does land music work here then you’re ok.

But yeah, something you’ll all notice is that the composers here who do this full time rarely live in super expensive cities as this type of work can be done more and more remotely so cost of living has become an option again.

Note that I emphasised cities and not countries, I used to live in a small city in the UK and cost of living there was so much cheaper than London, I can imagine one could do this full time with a part time job to help pay the bills (assuming your portfolio has developed enough to have a steady income here at AJ).

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TortoiseTree says

If you already have all those synths including Massive you don’t need another synth at the moment to make the standard pop synth stabs and leads that are used these days. Massive is excellent at modern dance/pop sounds.

It’s about the mix. Making the sounds sit well together. Layering sounds and getting the tone you’re after.

I presume you’re talking about sounds like you hear in BlueFox music and so forth. Why not name the tracks? Makes it easier. Only way to learn is to take examples, analyze them and reverse engineer them. It’s not about copying their tracks. It’s about learning how to get a certain sound.

For instance the massive stabs I use in Why Oh Why are layered Massive synths. Some of the sounds are 3-4 Massive sounds layered. Separate sounds for top, mid, bottom.

Had a quick listen to Ronald Jenkeens’ music. Funky. Most of the sounds are just layered saw/square sounds with bubbly filters using modulation. Together with clav and e-piano sounds. In his case it’s more about arrangement, how well played the melodies are and making the sounds sit well together.

Wow! That’s a pretty awesome analysis. You must have a really good ear and tons of experience as you were able to pick it apart so quickly. Yeah you hit it right on the head with BlueFoxMusic and the track I was referring to was “Midnight in Tokyo” another track I really like on the jungle is “Into the light” by Matt Harris (AKA AlumoAudio/AlumoMusic). On the subject of dubstep, your featured track “Open the Sky” is absolutely killer and is 100% spot on when I mean “the expensive synth sound” so having advice from you is pretty damn sweet.

Congrats on the feature btw, 100% deserved and I hope you get tons more sales on it!

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TortoiseTree says

Also, I liked the film scores of:

Oblivion

Lego Movie

Wreck-it-Ralph

all very electronic soundtracks and very interesting indeed!

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TortoiseTree says

Of course we all like new synths. Although, if you already own synths like Absynth, FM8 and use Reason which has Thor, an excellent synth. I think it’s more a choice of sounds, mix and so forth that makes your music sound dated. If that is the rejection reason, which I find a bit odd because of how in demand 70s/80s style soundtracks are.

If you’re a pure preset user I would take some time to get to know your synths.

I kinda dislike the “buy a new synth, it will save you” ordeal. I’d say, take some time to learn the synths you got. Of course a new synth can inspire, but so can old synths if you learn to use them.

What synths do you have and what kind of sounds do you want to make? Except FM8 and Absynth.

Synchotron, thanks for the advice!

I currently (also) own Massive (but never used it), the 3 synths that come with Reason (THOR, Subtractor and Malstrom).

That’s it really. As I mentioned in another one of my replies, I was considering buying an outboard synth (I even had a thread about it before) but decided against it at the end (but could be tempted if I came into some money later in the year).

As for the sound I wanted, I was listening to Ronald Jenkees’ new album and that got me thinking on doing some electronic stuff. I’d also like that really fat synth sound that they you hear tons in pop records now. Actually there are some guys here who do that sound really well, but I’m a bit embarrassed about calling them out as it’s almost like I’m asking for their secrets lol!

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TortoiseTree says

Hi there! Generally speaking I do not believe in synth sounds being “dated”: ‘80 synthesizers are the most sought-after for how awesome they sounded (search for the price of a restored Yamaha CS-80, one of Vangelis’ most beloved machines, and you’ll know what I’m talking about).

What lacks in today’s virtual synths like the above mentioned Absynth is the warmth and depth of the old analog machines – but in my opinion we have no choice: an old Moog is expensive, hard to maintain, a nightmare to repair and needs time to be tuned (and forget total recall, of course).

For improving your VST synth sounds I would suggest you 3 things:
  • be selective in purchasing virtual instruments: for example, U-he Diva has replaced 90% of the VST synth I used before. Try to understand what your needs are, and search for the best synth in that field.
  • warm them up to taste with saturators or tape simulators (there’re plenty on the market)
  • use a harmonic enhancer like Loomer Mainfold to make the sound bigger and fatter, but be careful not to overuse them as you can easily loose clarity and mess up with the stereo image.

hope it helps…
Cheers,
Pietro

These are great and super detailed tips!

Thanks a lot Pietro! I was considering buying a synth to use as an outboard synth and maybe even performance every now and then.

Quick question, what does a saturator/harmonic enhancer do? It sounds a bit like magic!

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TortoiseTree says

Hi Antonio – I just used Zebra2 (u-he) on a recent project and was blown away with what I could do with it. It sounds superb and I was able to find a sound for every mood I was after.

I highly recommend this synth paired with sound sets from “The Unfinished”

http://www.theunfinished.co.uk

You can dig in and create your own patches relatively easily, and there are stacks of ways to mutate and mangle your patches and sounds. Hans Zimmer used this synth extensively on The Dark Knight soundtracks. There is even a version of Zebra2 called The Dark Zebra which comes with a huge soundest of patches used in the movie and a modified version of Zebra with features the original does not have.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rBMb2oijyo
http://www.u-he.com/cms/118-tdz-news Sylenth1 looks fun but I’ve not purchased that yet. Good luck mate in your quest for the ideal soft synth! Let us know which one you opt for.

Hi Jaime!

This is pretty sweet and well priced too. This is even better than what I wanted as these are presets for Synths I already own. I didn’t know people sold these!

I probably will be buying these in the near future, and maybe some of the other synths the other guys recommend later in the year. This is definitely a nice short term solution till I learn more about how these synths work!

Thanks so much man!

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TortoiseTree says

Erick! Thanks a lot for the detailed replies!

It’s been pretty consistent that all my synth stuff gets hard-rejected so I don’t blame the reviewers for that one. Some of my work also got turned down by this production house for the same reasons as they said that all my synth sounds sounded way too old fashioned, so I took that as a sign that it was time to do something about it.

That production house did mention using filters and gates, but they had me lost there. I’ve been trying to learn this technical stuff recently but It’s always been something I’ve been averse to. I always figured by buying these pre-made sounds I could then just compose freely, but it seems that isn’t good enough anymore.

Anyway I’ll check your links now, thanks so much dude!

Also, no I don’t have Camelspace? Is it something very useful?

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TortoiseTree says

Great example! Even more so if you insert the New Coke hiccup starting in 1985. People hands down preferred New Coke in blind taste tests, but ultimately rejected the New Coke product because in America at least the original Coke brand was so emotionally ingrained. Anyway, I changed my logo because I wanted to have something consistent on all sites where I post and because I was tired of looking at my old one. I don’t think it made a difference either way in the amount of sales or revenue. Monophobia, for whatever it’s worth I’ve always liked your avatar and I think your profile page looks clean and professional. But if you want to change, I’d say go for it.

Joel, I really like your new site design. It’s a great logo as it’s simple yet really gets to the point of what you like to do!

I also really liked your old site design too. The photo on the beach and this bee next to a flower… it was so random! But also awesome!

Anyway good to hear sales haven’t been hurt!

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TortoiseTree says

So as of late, I’ve been noticing that any synth-predominant track I upload here gets hard rejected. Initially I thought it was a fluke but I soon began to notice that it was a trend. Initially this was when I was using some of Reason’s combinator patches and pre made synths and the reviewer said the sounds sounded dated (on numerous occasions) so I got the message and stopped using those patches. As of late, even synth tracks that heavily feature some of the synth sounds I use from Absynth and FM8 are getting hard rejected too.

So here is my question, is there a really nice (and probably expensive) VST/program for synths or is it (gulp) about knowing how to tweak these programs and synths to make them sound nice?

Or is the answer in buying outboard synths?

If it’s about tweaking do you know any good guides?

I try tweaking them myself but rarely does any of it sound nicer than the pre-made patches made by the company that made those VSTi’s.

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