Author Topic: effects - old and new  (Read 483 times)

Seren

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effects - old and new
« on: December 10, 2013, 04:40:57 AM »
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

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2013, 06:55:02 AM »
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

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2013, 08:29:59 AM »
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

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2013, 10:30:28 AM »
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.
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ffcal

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2013, 11:02:59 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.

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.


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.

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

Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2013, 02:44:49 PM »
I think there's some truth to this -- processing power has increased greatly, but effects processors have not changed conceptually in a long time.


How about Bricasti M7, I think that should be added to the list, it is one of a kind reverb.

Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2013, 02:46:04 PM »


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.



Yes extensive effect chains is a art form in itself...

Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2013, 02:49:15 PM »
I think this is a very good point and I tend to share your 'negative amazement', Seren !



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.



I agree, tube emulations can bring a lot of living magic into the mix... more useful then many effects..

Tube emulations is not FX though.



Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 03:00:57 PM »
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:

Well in many ways I have to agree with you, you are actually right..

For effects still many of the old effects are still the best, such as phaser, flanger ,wah-wah, etc Eventide do a good job emulating the analog versions. When it comes to reverb,  Lexicon reverbs have been in the existence a long time... Some still use the PCM 70 with good results.. they have since then been slightly improvements, PCM 91 is up to todays standards, for sure.. and it was released a long time ago. Bricasti M7 and Eventide H8000FW have been giving good contribution to the effect world also.. but otherwise still many of the old 70s analog effects is still considering the best, and in many cases considered better then their digital emulations.  The difference is nowdays everything is more clean and more controllable, also mastering tools is the real revolution which also brings the effects to a new level in the end of the chain..

I am also little bit disappointed with development, should be more...in year 2013, I think you shouldn't have to rob a bank to by the H8000FW to get good effects, but unfortunately you do, but I wish there where tons of products with similar quality .  Same goes with reverb, it is surpring there is not more competion in this market, Lexicon have pretty much been dominting the reverb market for a very long time, it have changed a bit now because of all software reverbs. But lexicon reverbs sill considering to have a unique character which can come close with with others reverb but with a slightly different taste.... but it has been taking a long time,

Ever since Lexicon announced they would release a plugin the market did suddenly put out a lot of reverb quality plugins. 

I feel pitty for SSL, who released the X-VERB, if they only had done it one year earlier, it would had been a great success, but instead it did come into the total shadow.. I guess a very few people use it. 



Seren

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 04:12:18 PM »
Hi Immersion - my initial post was considering the lack of any 'new' kind of effect not whether old or new versions are better or not than each other.

I think I am surprised that no one has come up with something really new in the 20 years or so I was out of the loop - unless of course, as I said, people can direct me to effects I've not heard of yet.

Granular synthesis is one thing I had heard of, but not found anything recommended to start exploring with on a novice basis - any recommendations welcome people....

Anyone here building phaser effects units, pm me please.....

Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2013, 04:22:47 PM »
Hi Immersion - my initial post was considering the lack of any 'new' kind of effect not whether old or new versions are better or not than each other.

I think I am surprised that no one has come up with something really new in the 20 years or so I was out of the loop - unless of course, as I said, people can direct me to effects I've not heard of yet.

Granular synthesis is one thing I had heard of, but not found anything recommended to start exploring with on a novice basis - any recommendations welcome people....

Anyone here building phaser effects units, pm me please.....


Granular synthesis, Eventide Has those for sure, those classic "crystals" sounds I guess use this method combined with pitch shifting.

Granular Guitar - The Moog Guitar meets csGrain


btw the moog guitar is quite cool..but way too overpriced but the sustaining technology is great..
kind of like an ebow.

APK

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2013, 05:41:07 PM »
I think I am surprised that no one has come up with something really new in the 20 years or so I was out of the loop - unless of course, as I said, people can direct me to effects I've not heard of yet.
Perhaps there is only so much you can do with sound ... reverb it, echo, distort it in various ways, bit crush, rhythmic gate, slow/speed it up, and now granular treatments. What a lot of modern effects do is simply variations on these. But they can make complex things simpler, especially with more powerful CPUs. They can also give you a lot of things in one plugin (Sugar Bytes plugins for example). I'm not sure there can be a great new effect that is not a variation on the established ones. What is really new and exciting, though, is what artists and engineers get up to with those effects. There are certainly tracks and musical styles created now that were not around, or attempted, 20 years ago. It's a creative thing.

On effects, I personally like to chain effects/instruments using some sort of VST host program. You can mix effects and synths to considerable ... er, effect. To sculpt or find your own sound. And save the whole ensemble as a re-usable unit. And this ability is where CPU power really becomes important.
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mgriffin

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2013, 10:38:35 AM »
That OTO Biscuit device is pretty interesting. My first response was "ehhh, bit rate reduction... seen it before, heard it before," but the way it was set up with tweakable controls changed my mind. This could be a really useful device to add to the arsenal, especially for those of us who do a lot of improvising or live performance.
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Immersion

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Re: effects - old and new
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2013, 01:50:58 PM »
That OTO Biscuit device is pretty interesting. My first response was "ehhh, bit rate reduction... seen it before, heard it before," but the way it was set up with tweakable controls changed my mind. This could be a really useful device to add to the arsenal, especially for those of us who do a lot of improvising or live performance.

sounds exactely like the D16 stuff.