MUSIC, AMBIENCE AND SOUND ART > Music Gearheads Tech Talk

effects - old and new

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Seren:
I'd like to tease a theme out of the middle of another thread.....

....after almost 20 years of neither listening to recorded music, nor recording music I was very surprised when I started dipping my toes back in to the river again.

In some ways I was positively amazed - the things digital synths and DAWs can now do would have taken a building the size of Rockfield recording studios in the 70's and 80's (when I was recording) to achieve.

In other ways I was negatively amazed - despite all the advancements, effects units appeared to be basically the same, more complicated, more powerful, but still focussed around the same set of processes that had been around for years - reverb, phase, flange, echo, filters, ring mod etc.

I know I may not have looked hard enough or in the right place, but I am surprised about this - I would be very happy to be corrected and guided to interesting effects or other sound processing

Please discuss:

petekelly:
I think this is a very good point and I tend to share your 'negative amazement', Seren !

On the subject of synths:
Not being a decent keyboard player myself, I find the VA instruments pretty uninspiring. Of course, if you can play something interesting, they're great, but simple waveform sounds don't excite me terribly. Granular synthesis is the interesting one for me.

An example of re-inventing the wheel is all those emulations of tube style overdrive / distortion - a technology that is pretty ancient in itself. As regards FX in general, I think thats a more interesting area these days.

For me, the biggest advantage of modern (computer) music making technology, is the sheer ease and integration of a DAW and plug-ins. FX automation comes to mind as a great thing that wouldn't haver been possible previously. Perhaps it's too much to expect real innovation in a relatively small period of time ? I'd say most of the 'innovations' are actually marketing.

Julio Di Benedetto:
a lot of the fx these days do tend towards distortion, glitch and grunge such as.....OTO Biscuit.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7Bs9jDw3Mw&feature=player_embedded#at=15

In some ways I feel that musicians, certainly in this genre are looking to the recording process as FX...that is where it is recorded, natural reverb etc.  Old school put the amp in the stairwell type of thing.

Also the way individual tracks come together with in the DAW can often create an unexpected sense of processing when the actual tracks are clean and dry.  Im finding this a lot personally.

Forrest recently mentioned Audiomulch.......I dont use it but know of it.   Something I want to like into http://www.audiomulch.com

I do use Iris From time to time which I think of more as an fx processor which it actually is not.....http://www.izotope.com/products/audio/iris/

I do agree the power has increased but the fx remains the same and not always better.

Good post Seren......interested to see what others think.

mgriffin:
I think there's some truth to this -- processing power has increased greatly, but effects processors have not changed conceptually in a long time.

I agree about things like Audiomulch, and other processors like it that sort of chew up and digest your original signal and leave you with something completely different.

One possibility opened up by all this processing power we have now is the use of complex multi-effects configurations built by the user. You can build all kinds of crazy sound processing machinery using systems designed for this purpose like Max or Pure Data, or systems designed to be synthesizers with audio input options, such as Reaktor or the Nord Modular.

Something I've enjoyed doing from time to time for experimental purposes is wiring up a crazy, complex signal chain all through my studio, creating feedback loops along the lines of the things I've seen Eno set up. You have to include compressors or limiters in the loop so the setup doesn't just feedback on itself into an ever-increasing racket. Often this just creates a hum, or a throbbing oscillation, but sometimes it can be useful.

ffcal:

--- Quote from: mgriffin on December 10, 2013, 10:30:28 AM ---One possibility opened up by all this processing power we have now is the use of complex multi-effects configurations built by the user. You can build all kinds of crazy sound processing machinery using systems designed for this purpose like Max or Pure Data, or systems designed to be synthesizers with audio input options, such as Reaktor or the Nord Modular.

--- End quote ---

It's nice to see more options in this area, though I could see how difficult it would be to troubleshoot an increasingly configuration like this, especially in a live setting.


--- Quote from: mgriffin on December 10, 2013, 10:30:28 AM ---
Something I've enjoyed doing from time to time for experimental purposes is wiring up a crazy, complex signal chain all through my studio, creating feedback loops along the lines of the things I've seen Eno set up. You have to include compressors or limiters in the loop so the setup doesn't just feedback on itself into an ever-increasing racket. Often this just creates a hum, or a throbbing oscillation, but sometimes it can be useful.

--- End quote ---

I've done this, too.  I started with the two open reel "Frippertronics" delay approach very early on.  It was fun to do, but the real work came in having to decide on playback what small portion of it might be salvageable.  Sounds generated from internal mixer/effects-related feedback is interesting, too, but your noise floor can ramp up pretty quickly.  One of pioneers in the mixer feedback area was David Myers, who went by the name Arcane Device.  I thought he created some great industrial soundscapes with just a mixer, an occasional effect  and feedback.

Forrest

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