Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

Download on the App Store

Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

Your take on ‘cheating’ - presets, samples, loops, generative etc. how much is too much?

FPCFPC
edited June 22 in General App Discussion

Interested to hear your take on this. It’s funny but I have some rules in my head about what’s allowed and what isn’t! Here are my self imposed rules…

Drum loops - audio: ok for 90’s drum and bass but otherwise must be layered with self-programmed midi beats or heavily disguised. Still naughty though.

Drum loops - midi: hang my head in shame. I have been known to use presets from Drum Computer or Pure Acid and pass them off as my own. Always 1st moving a note or two to make it worse than it was when I started!

Synth presets: fine. Just change the attack, dull down the filter and rename it. It then magically appears in the “user” presets as one of your own. Simple :) Random generated ones are also fine, especially if you tweak it.

Samples of voice / acapella vocals / film dialogue / field recordings etc: only my own genius will do. It is forbidden to use any sample packs (ok the occasional SFX or riser is allowed). Everything must be sampled from YouTube or through a mic. Extra points are awarded if you grabbed it laboriously from VHS, Vinyl, live TV or radio or sneakily grabbed from your phone into Koala etc whilst out and about.

Generative patterns from Ripplemaker / PureAcid etc: damn. Hate to end up using these but sometimes they sound perfect. Lessen the shame by changing a few notes, accents or slides I guess.

Other generative apps - a lot of other stuff like Zoa, Rozeta to me is fine because I rarely know what I’m doing so the results seem random anyway. Presets (where included) are banned but self gen stuff is fine.

Effects presets: no problem with traditional reverbs, delays etc. Presets in ‘gate’ effects like Perforator, Scatterbrain, Flux Pro etc are also ok I just wish the preset’s weren’t so good.

Klevgrand Skaka and Borsta: I know I could make these my own but they (esp Skaka) are like crack to me. Drums sounding a bit plodding? Don’t panic! A Skaka 16th tambourine preset will have the crowd dancing in no time. Too easy but I just can’t help myself!

Chord progression tools / composition stuff: never used any

Maybe I’m over thinking it / beating myself up and nobody will care or notice but I will know and that’s the point…

Not everybody wants to build their own obscure toys in Drambo but I bet it feels good :)

Anyone else have any self imposed limits of what is acceptable?

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Comments

  • edited June 22

    Pretty much same or even more stringent for the first couple of decades. No presets of any kind. Except sometimes authentic sounding rompler instruments. It was weird being into hip hop, then “Trip Hop” then Drum n Bass - all sample heavy genres - and refusing to leave samples alone. If I couldnt cut them into individual hits or shots and make my own loops or phrases from them, I didnt use them. Really fucked with my productivity and self esteem sometimes when listening to how great peoples music sounded who had no such rules or scruples. My extra, self-imposed labour largely went unappreciated by listeners and the music judged strictly by how it compared to others and/or “good” it was, or sat in a DJ set etc.
    Took a Long break, pursued domestic life and other interests for almost a decade and suddenly got old. Still wouldn't use unchopped drum loops. No problem with chord and scale tools. I have no theory skills. I would have killed for some of whats available in this department those many years ago. Luckily I have no interest in making music fit within genres now and have returned to my earliest, most naive, creative impulses.

  • Since I know how to play several instruments, I’m OK with using some degree of automation to speed the production process and avoid having to re-record certain elements later if I decide to change something later. I agree it’s helpful to work with some sort of “ethical framework” for production. It helps narrow choices which must be made at some point.

  • @NeuM said:
    Since I know how to play several instruments, I’m OK with using some degree of automation to speed the production process and avoid having to re-record certain elements later if I decide to change something later. I agree it’s helpful to work with some sort of “ethical framework” for production. It helps narrow choices which must be made at some point.

    I see. I’m envious of your musicianship then. Once I’ve settled on a part I’ll rarely change it unless it’s glaringly obviously crap. Doesn’t matter if I played it or it was app generated… but yeah, good hear someone else say that you’ve gotta have your own constraints or rules.

  • I don't care to use sampled drum loops or presets. Why invent the wheel when are are thousands of wheels already there.
    How far does one go to "make" their own sound? Don't get me wrong: I like to tweak knobs to make a sound, but when it comes to production, you don't have the time to tweak into infinity, instead you get the gear to get result.
    When it comes to personal music, your own little gem, then i understand to take the time to get your own sound and could be very learnful and inspirational.
    I think, for many people, they don't have the time to dive deep because of shortage of time or otherwise.
    Presets can be an inspiration to know what a synth is capable of, or to get ideas your never knew. You can learn from it and make your own by tweaking it.
    There a 2 kinds of people regarding listen to music:

    • Those who enjoy the music
    • Those who wonder how they produced it.
      :)
  • @BirbHope said:
    Pretty much same or even more stringent for the first couple of decades. No presets of any kind. Except sometimes authentic sounding rompler instruments. It was weird being into hip hop, then “Trip Hop” then Drum n Bass - all sample heavy genres - and refusing to leave samples alone. If I couldnt cut them into individual hits or shots and make my own loops or phrases from them, I didnt use them. Really fucked with my productivity and self esteem sometimes when listening to how great peoples music sounded who had no such rules or scruples. My extra, self-imposed labour largely went unappreciated by listeners and the music judged strictly by how it compared to others and/or “good” it was, or sat in a DJ set etc.
    Took a Long break, pursued domestic life and other interests for almost a decade and suddenly got old. Still wouldn't use unchopped drum loops. No problem with chord and scale tools. I have no theory skills. I would have killed for some of whats available in this department those many years ago. Luckily I have no interest in making music fit within genres now and have returned to my earliest, most naive, creative impulses.

    I guess that’s the issue with me too. Started prodding synths in the 80’s. The only tools available to me then we’re synth presets and TR505 preset patterns where i could steal the hi-hats. I too had a long break (15 years) so much of this newer shit seems alien or cheaty. It’s only from intently listening to professional tracks that I’ve now realised that the pros are using this stuff so why shouldn’t I - when me and some friends formed a synth band in ‘86 we didn’t even know what a sequencer was and couldn’t understand how they could be playing so fast and accurately. Nearly got arthritis trying though :D

  • This is something I think about quite a lot when writing music. I always use synth/fx presets because I don’t understand enough about sound design to do it better than the people who are good at it and I’d rather spend what time I have available getting music written rather than having yet another reason to procrastinate.

    I figure I can always come back in the future and replace instruments and there are a number of songs I have written where I know I am going to need to do this as the ones I chose at the time could be better but my motivation is always to move on to the next song. Part of this is actually to do with the fact that I normally limit myself to writing whole songs using the same synth, even when a more appropriate patch would be found in a different synth. I also find that presets can be a source of inspiration as well as a starting point for a song. I don’t use sequenced presets though as that falls into the cheating category in my mind and it annoys me when synths load up on too many of them.

    The other thing I allow myself to cheat on is drums. Much for the same reason as presets - others know better than me what a good drum sounds like and how it should be played. Very few of my songs end up with drums on them but those that do are provided by the Garageband drummers as they know what they are doing better than I would. Feed them a representative part of the completed music and then tweak their output until it sounds close enough to what is in my head.

    I need to spend more time with the chord-progression type of tools as I find those educational. I am going to get Scaler 2 when it comes out for this reason. I don’t see it as cheating to use musical theory tools to come up with progressions as that is all stuff you would learn in music education books but I have not done it myself yet and I realise that there is more to it than dragging chords to a piano roll and saying job done like the guy in the adverts.

    I don’t use samples in my music (unless you count sampled synths!) and have lots of generative apps but only use them to test new musical toys. I could not use a generated melody in my music as, in my head, the ‘tune’ is the music. Others will see the drums and percussion as the soul of the music and think me a heathen for letting Garageband do the heavy lifting there but each to their own :)

  • @MisplacedDevelopment said:
    This is something I think about quite a lot when writing music. I always use synth/fx presets because I don’t understand enough about sound design to do it better than the people who are good at it and I’d rather spend what time I have available getting music written rather than having yet another reason to procrastinate.

    I figure I can always come back in the future and replace instruments and there are a number of songs I have written where I know I am going to need to do this as the ones I chose at the time could be better but my motivation is always to move on to the next song. Part of this is actually to do with the fact that I normally limit myself to writing whole songs using the same synth, even when a more appropriate patch would be found in a different synth. I also find that presets can be a source of inspiration as well as a starting point for a song. I don’t use sequenced presets though as that falls into the cheating category in my mind and it annoys me when synths load up on too many of them.

    The other thing I allow myself to cheat on is drums. Much for the same reason as presets - others know better than me what a good drum sounds like and how it should be played. Very few of my songs end up with drums on them but those that do are provided by the Garageband drummers as they know what they are doing better than I would. Feed them a representative part of the completed music and then tweak their output until it sounds close enough to what is in my head.

    I need to spend more time with the chord-progression type of tools as I find those educational. I am going to get Scaler 2 when it comes out for this reason. I don’t see it as cheating to use musical theory tools to come up with progressions as that is all stuff you would learn in music education books but I have not done it myself yet and I realise that there is more to it than dragging chords to a piano roll and saying job done like the guy in the adverts.

    I don’t use samples in my music (unless you count sampled synths!) and have lots of generative apps but only use them to test new musical toys. I could not use a generated melody in my music as, in my head, the ‘tune’ is the music. Others will see the drums and percussion as the soul of the music and think me a heathen for letting Garageband do the heavy lifting there but each to their own :)

    I think we’re of similar mindsets then. When I read a drambo thread about someone creating a machine I’m always impressed by the their skill but I haven’t got time for that - I’ve got a loads of 8 bar loops that need to be made into finished tracks…but never will.

    I’d forgotten to mention sequenced synth patches. They often sound awesome and could easily form the basis of a whole song. They are definitely banned. Obviously (!) arpeggiated synth patches are fine though because that’s different :p

    Yup, need to get Scaler 2 when released or actually play with Tonality…

  • @FPC said:
    Interested to hear your take on this. It’s funny but I have some rules in my head about what’s allowed and what isn’t! Here are my self imposed rules…

    Drum loops - audio: ok for 90’s drum and bass but otherwise must be layered with self-programmed midi beats or heavily disguised. Still naughty though.

    In most cases, I never bother with drum loops and always program my drums. Sometimes if I hear a drum loop I like, I'll add it in for spice, but kick, clap, snare, hi hats, etc, are always programmed. (And sometimes after programming, I turn the snap off so I can create a bit of a groove/human feel.)

    Drum loops - midi: hang my head in shame. I have been known to use presets from Drum Computer or Pure Acid and pass them off as my own. Always 1st moving a note or two to make it worse than it was when I started!

    Never tried this either. I have used groove templates in FL Studio when I produced in a PC, but that's as close as I got.

    Synth presets: fine. Just change the attack, dull down the filter and rename it. It then magically appears in the “user” presets as one of your own. Simple :) Random generated ones are also fine, especially if you tweak it.

    These days I rarely if ever use a synth preset (although I'm exploring synth presets in MiRack to learn modular synthesis). I've spent years learning synthesis, which is the reason why I rarely use a preset. :)

    Samples of voice / acapella vocals / film dialogue / field recordings etc: only my own genius will do. It is forbidden to use any sample packs (ok the occasional SFX or riser is allowed). Everything must be sampled from YouTube or through a mic. Extra points are awarded if you grabbed it laboriously from VHS, Vinyl, live TV or radio or sneakily grabbed from your phone into Koala etc whilst out and about.

    This is where we differ. Freesound.org is a valuable audio resource when it comes to producing Ambient. And I often use Sounds of KSHMR packs for drums in my EDM productions.

    Generative patterns from Ripplemaker / PureAcid etc: damn. Hate to end up using these but sometimes they sound perfect. Lessen the shame by changing a few notes, accents or slides I guess.

    Nothing wrong with generative patterns, but typically I like to lay out my own as well. ;)

    Other generative apps - a lot of other stuff like Zoa, Rozeta to me is fine because I rarely know what I’m doing so the results seem random anyway. Presets (where included) are banned but self gen stuff is fine.

    Zoa, Rozeta's Particles, etc, are great for creating generative music, but for EDM, I prefer to start with my own chord progressions and melodic motifs. (I come from a Classical Music background.)

    Effects presets: no problem with traditional reverbs, delays etc. Presets in ‘gate’ effects like Perforator, Scatterbrain, Flux Pro etc are also ok I just wish the preset’s weren’t so good.

    My only effect preset I use is Alteza's Northern Lights. Then I tweak to taste. :)

    Klevgrand Skaka and Borsta: I know I could make these my own but they (esp Skaka) are like crack to me. Drums sounding a bit plodding? Don’t panic! A Skaka 16th tambourine preset will have the crowd dancing in no time. Too easy but I just can’t help myself!

    Those are pretty cool apps, but I've ever purchased them myself. I love the tambourine sound.

    Chord progression tools / composition stuff: never used any

    Same. Although maybe in the future I might fool around with a chord progression tool to see if I can create anything with it. But then again, my fear is that the chord progression tool would only generate a basic ii-V-I chord progression rather than anything advanced.

    Maybe I’m over thinking it / beating myself up and nobody will care or notice but I will know and that’s the point…

    I used to have that "I will know" mindset too. It's all about turning it off and just creating with whatever way feels right to you. Sometimes it's fun to "break the rules" (including self-imposed rules). ;)

    Not everybody wants to build their own obscure toys in Drambo but I bet it feels good :)

    I do! :lol: Someday.

    Anyone else have any self imposed limits of what is acceptable?

    As you can see in my reply above, definitely. But, then again, sometimes I break my own self-imposed rules for the hell of it. :lol:

  • In thinking about this I decided to divide music in two. Dance music and non dance music, or everything else. The difference between the two being the role of originality. Dance music requires being danceable. It doesn’t necessarily need originality at all.

    For everything else, originality is of prime importance (to me). To that end it doesn’t matter how it’s made. Does it sound original or not? Parsing which technique is allowable is irrelevant, IMO, if the result sounds non distinctive. If it has a distinctive sound with surprises, drama, etc, then it doesn’t matter to me how it’s made. If you use chocolate pudding mix to make an irresistible dessert, who cares?

    My music was good before I started with iOS. I think it got a lot better with all the gimmicks I now have at my disposal. An ARP is a great example. I think most creators would say using an ARP isn’t “cheating” and I agree. But plugging an ARP into one of my lines almost always creates something I didn’t imagine. Then I take that surprise and run with it. The gimmicks and my creativity run hand in hand. The important thing, to me, is does it sound good and is there a uniqueness to it.

    I made a whole album using Fugue Machine. Many of the tracks didn’t sound like what Fugue Machine was intended for. I think the same could be done with any generative app.

    As far as presets… never, in my wildest dreams, could I create anything like our venerable @Spidericemidas does. Similarly, I don’t think he could make tracks like I do. But putting them together has allowed me to do some of my best stuff. I mean you can make the case that if you’re building colonial style furniture some would insist you don’t use power tools… still, if you use them you get just as good a result for aesthetic and functionality. An expert eye could tell the difference, but you still have a “fake” because it wasn’t made two and a half. centuries ago.

  • No rules for me. If I'm having fun making music, I have no issues using loops, presets, sample packs, etc. I probably wouldn't want to release a song using nothing but Apple Loops as is, but that's about it for me.

    A friend changed my view on this when he said using samples and presets is no different from hiring session musicians for your album. Sure you could eventually learn to play sax if you wanted it in one of your songs, or you could just hire someone who's already good at it and get on with things.

  • My twin philosophies?

    “Whatever works”

    “It’s All Folk Music”

  • @Tarekith said:
    No rules for me. If I'm having fun making music, I have no issues using loops, presets, sample packs, etc. I probably wouldn't want to release a song using nothing but Apple Loops as is, but that's about it for me.

    A friend changed my view on this when he said using samples and presets is no different from hiring session musicians for your album. Sure you could eventually learn to play sax if you wanted it in one of your songs, or you could just hire someone who's already good at it and get on with things.

    Learning sax and playing it yourself would be more personally rewarding, but the track wouldn’t sound as good. Do you value the process more or the outcome more?

  • Never use presets for synths or effects but I like a good ROMpler. As a former drummer with no space for my kit, I’m happy to slice up a drum loop or use one-shots from a pack because I know what I would record if I could. Generative/randomizer tools are fair game because when I play guitar or keys I often just bang random chords until something sticks. Chord packs feel wrong somehow even though I’ll gladly use one-finger chord pads on a controller or DAW. How is it any different? I don’t know!

    I tried using Splice for melodic loops but it didn’t feel right; no matter how much I chopped them up, it felt like I was writing someone else’s song. But it’s a great resource for drums and found sounds. Like drums, I don’t mind using someone else’s bird or traffic noises because I know I could do it myself if I only had a bit more time.

    I suspect I know the general consensus but how do folks here feel about things like CoSo, where you’re neither creating nor editing nor even deliberately selecting the sample? They’re hyping it pretty hard but I can’t find the appeal.

  • @LinearLineman
    Everything you said makes sense to me
    You saved me a lot of typing as well
    Peace and love

  • FPCFPC
    edited June 22

    @jwmmakerofmusic said:

    These days I rarely if ever use a synth preset (although I'm exploring synth presets in MiRack to learn modular synthesis). I've spent years learning synthesis, which is the reason why I rarely use a preset. :)

    Thanks for your input.

    Do you go on a SpiderIce style patch creation spree for your synths beforehand or design a synth patch on the fly to work within a song you're making? I tend to tweak someone else's patch (sometimes drastically, sometimes not so much!) to fit the song I'm making. Sometimes I'll start with the "init" patch but usually the preset itself helps inspire the track.

  • We‘re seeing more and more generative apps - there’s a real thirst for them: riffer; piano motifs; fugue; riffler; the buds; rosetta; the drummers; beatly; playbeat; patterning; etc

    We’re kind of expecting our synths to have a randomisation button - and if they don’t we’re asking the devs to add a patch randomisation button (or an „intelligent“ patch randomisation button).

    We‘re becoming more and more like remixers imho - just the stems we are mixing are being generated by apps using AI and not by another artist or musician/band or what-have-you.

    Been thinking it for a while.

  • I’m a little iffy on using presets as so many of them become ubiquitous, plus I really love making my own. Everything else is fair game, imo. I love sampling, it’s a huge part of my workflow. Mangling a sample, or just using one in a creative way, is so fun.

    I’m also a big fan of all the generative apps. Beatly, Riffler, Piano Motifs. And sequencers like Playbeat, Rozeta, Riffer. They’re so fun and inspire me in so many different ways. Also those, and apps like Songen, Chordbot, etc are great for coming up with random royalty free stuff to sample yourself.

  • Personally, I'm generally happy to use things that I could do myself but don't have the means to do or is a time saver. For example, I have programmed many, many drum cracks from scratch. But if I find a bunch of midi files that work I'll use them.

  • FPCFPC
    edited June 22

    @attakk said:
    We‘re seeing more and more generative apps - there’s a real thirst for them: riffer; piano motifs; fugue; riffler; the buds; rosetta; the drummers; beatly; playbeat; patterning; etc

    We’re kind of expecting our synths to have a randomisation button - and if they don’t we’re asking the devs to add a patch randomisation button (or an „intelligent“ patch randomisation button).

    We‘re becoming more and more like remixers imho - just the stems we are mixing are being generated by apps using AI and not by another artist or musician/band or what-have-you.

    Been thinking it for a while.

    Good points, this is my 'fear'.

    Imagine knocking out a house/techno track with drum loops, sequenced preset for a bassline, hi-hats from Skaka, an arp for a melody or something, some generic vocals/speech samples from a sample pack and a chord pad from an autopad machine (does one exist!?).

    Would you get a proud glow from playing it to friends? Would you dare to post it on here? :D

  • Ha, @FPC good, accessible question.

    Yup, very similar feeling here, but in the end, I mess around with synth presets and fx presets and midi drumloops and fucken enjoy myself doing it, too… I mean, who cares? Why else are the presets there? It’s entertainment to me, more fun than watching telly.

    I do feel that need to protectively mangle-hide audio from other audiophiles before presentation, but in the end, the simplest expressions are often the sweetest.

  • Perfect example of this are the terms of use of apps like remixlive. From the moment your music is under non commercial use binding terms, then just play the music but do not produce it as if it were your own.
    That’s it.
    Great music parts have been sampled over and over again to produce great new hits. Thin line but still.
    Presets are tweakable and their creators have a perfect musical intention to inspire others.
    Each needs to decide for their own. If you feel you made something new and it’s yours, go for it.
    Personally I like to compose my own music from start to finsh, but I can use a bass atmo sample and slice it and transpose some slices. I can drop in a rozeta xox to trigger some extra beat toppings. But it will only complement what is already there. I always start from scratch with my own ideas. Samples and generative instances need to win a matching lottery ticket to be included. But I have to admit they do inspire and get you going when stumbling into creative blocks, something I rather take in as: leave it for now, come back to it later.

  • edited June 22

    Does it really matter for the music creator? From a listeners point of view, it could be irritating or lack lustering to hear the same sounds over again (90's house piano for example). If stuff is boring you move on. In certain electronic genres everything possible has been done already anyway.

    I can imagine that you want to create your own sound, to reflect your own identity, vision, or signature. But I think this is something else or something that goes deeper than your own set of rules or dogma. I guess you can create your own sound with presets and samples and loops, it might be a bit harder to stay consistent.

    For myself, in AUM I mostly just create instant little jams, and auto generators are nice to get things going quickly. I almost never use instrument samples and loops, or sliced REX files, I have the idea it slows me down.

  • I am proficient on guitar, bass and keyboards so I tend to record those myself. I can hear great drum parts in my head but playing them on a trap kit fails every time so I program my own drum parts. I will use generative apps occasionally for inspiration as well. I tend to record my own samples vs using prerecorded. I don't really have any hard fast rules though.

  • Am I directly ripping off someone else’s hard work? No? Cool no problem.

    Chop jazz samples and throw it over some Beatly Pro generated drums, no issue with that. I use the tools I have, it still takes a discerning ear to create something good out of it. I’m adding effects over it. And I’m not directly ripping anyone off. Someone listening to my lofi doesn’t take away from people listening to those jazz songs or people buying Beatly Pro.

  • edited June 22

    I try to MAKE stuff as much as possible. Now that we have Drambo building things has become so much easier and satisfying. Same for drum beats, synth riffs etc. I absolutely find no pleasure in using existing ideas. I use samples but try to mangle them properly in Samplr.

    I absolutely have no issues with people just mixing and matching launchpad loops or whatever but for me trying to craft stuff from zero is precisely where the fun is.

  • I’m OK with cheating up to the point of taking credit for someone else’s creative work. The doing is key for me and trying out different tools and approaches give the doing a sense of discovery I find very satisfying. Feedback from peers is icing on a very nutritious cake.

    But doing this from the “retired” category also changes motivations and expectations.

  • edited June 22

    Presets - always and with minimal to no tweaks, i do love gobs of fx at times

    Sample loops - I used to use them back in the day but don't now, mostly because I now have good synth plugins

    MIDI loops / generators / chord progression thingies etc - if I worked commercially I would use them along with AI etc but I just enjoy hamfisting my own melodies and rhythms on the Maschine pads too much, so why deprive myself of joy?

    Voice samples - sure, I like olde cliche scifi radio shows and such, sometimes a melodic voice

  • edited June 22

    @JeffChasteen said:
    My twin philosophies?

    “Whatever works”

    “It’s All Folk Music”

    Exactly
    No rules. Except have fun, don’t fuck anyone over, add cowbells to taste, and play loud as needed

  • edited June 22

    Great question mate @FPC

    I played piano as a kid, guitar and drums in my teens, then got some decks and fell in love with sample based music (hiphop, dance, dnb etc).

    iOS is the only convenient enough music making I can fit into life these days. I like to bring together as much of what I’ve learned and been influenced by over the years as I can. It has to be ‘my’ music and come from me to be in any way creatively satisfying, but I have no issue with cutting up drum breaks, using vocal samples etc. I try and take a certain phrase from a vocal sample and change the mood, meaning or feel of it, by taking the lyric out of context, or pitching up/down. Don’t care if it’s rare or well known, just has to be changed somehow and fitted into something new.

    I’m still very new to synths but have slowly grown from preset surfer, to tweaker, to making patches from scratch. Still, I don’t care which category its in as long as it sounds how I want it to and fits in the track. I’ve gone off rompers a bit though.

    Not interested in music packs really, apart from drum one shots. It’s much more fun if you find it yourself 😉

  • I’m of the “whatever it takes” school of thought. In other words, whatever suits you and helps you create the music you want to create.

    No objection to using presets: they’re there to be used, and are part of the deal. And sometimes you find one that just fits what you’re trying to do, so why fiddle with it if it works? If you buy a piano, you don’t have to take it apart and rebuild it so it isn’t using the “preset” sound it had to start with, in order to have credibility. Especially if the thing now sounds unique but awful!

    I find I’m increasingly making my own sounds simply because I’m drawn to MiRack, modular in general, and my hardware semi-modulars, and making the sounds is part of the whole process of making the music. It’s not a case of writing a song in the abstract and then producing it into a finished product (NB no criticism of that process meant or implied - I’ve done it in the past, it’s just not what I’m doing at the moment). The two go hand in hand, and how I’m working feels more like a collaboration with the machines. Plus I’m interested in historic electronic music production too, hence I do a lot of stuff with effects, Gauss etc. Manipulation, in other words. And I love creating generative systems/patches.

    I do use samples, but not really sample packs, as I can’t really be doing with a sample based workflow. I’ve watched some of Electronisounds’ live streams where he’s been making tracks with the Digitakt or the Force, and it would drive me up the wall. I find it absolutely fascinating to watch (it’s always interesting watching an expert at work), and pick up useful tips (and the end results are wonderful), but I would find it unsatisfyingly fiddly to do it. In fact, that’s the reason why I avoided things like the Digitakt and moved towards modular (also thanks to Electronisounds). Years ago I made a series of tracks using samples and loops in Acid, and it felt quite limiting, and like playing with someone else’s bricks. I quite liked what I ended up with, but didn’t really like the process.

    I find it useful sometimes to set rules for a project, eg limiting myself to particular instruments or whatever, but I don’t have any blanket policies. And I may start out with the intention to just use my hardware, for example, and then end up adding in software synths and effects because it works in the context of what’s emerging.

    Mr Pragmatic, me!

    I think I’m inherently suspicious of people who think of things as “cheating”, as one of my pet hates is people who think electronic music is inherently cheating, and it’s only “real” music if someone is playing every single note by hand on an acoustic guitar or something. Ignoring the fact that pretty much every recorded piece made in the last 50 years incorporates at least some elements of electronic music production, even if it’s just reverb or mic choice. And said guitarist couldn’t make the stuff I do in a month of Sundays (apologies to all the guitarists here’s - this is just an example). Electronic music has been around for at least 120 years, you’d think people would be used to the idea by now…

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