Dedicate yourself to one softsynth only for the next 3 weeks

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SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
edited July 1 in Making Music
Voting thread 
https://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/184704/voting-for-softsynth-challenge-1?new=1

I often don't get a chance to really learn a certain sound library or softsynth before I get distracted and move onto something else. This is the unfortunate result of option overload, i.e. having too much software. So I've set myself the challenge over the next 3 weeks to work with one synth, and one synth only to compose the majority of my music. This month's candidate is the CMI V, Arturia's simulation of the CMI Fairchild.  

https://i.postimg.cc/QCX4jX9X/cmi-v-image.png

Your challenge, should you choose to accept: choose one softsynth or sound library. You don't have to stick to just that instrument, but it should form the core sound of your song. Explore every function, and automate the parameters in a musical way. Ideally choose something quite complex (incidentally the CMI seems quite straightforward but i'm going to challenge myself further with Zebra next month.)

Even if what you produce is shite it doesn't matter - just get to know how it all works. Then on the 1st July, post one of your tracks to this thread. 
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 10
    I'm up for having a go. I choose NI Massive X, which is cheating a bit because I've come to the conclusion it's the synth that can do pretty much anything that any other algorithmic synth (i.e non sample based) can do, apart from some of the AAS physical modelling such as String Studio and Chromaphone.

    During lockdown I've been going through Groove 3 synth tutorials including Synths Explained, NI Monark (analogue) , NI FM8 (FM) , uhe Diva (analogue), NI Razor (additive), plus a couple of Massive X tutorials.

    I've come to the come to the conclusion that Massive X can do anything that other analogue and FM synths can do plus some additive sounds , apart from some of the NI Razor additive and vocoder stuff. Although Massive X is billed as Wavetable, it's even more powerful than Diva (analogue) and FM8 for FM (well strictly PM) synthesis.


    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 11
    Good choice... I never could get my head around the original, though I like its sound, so maybe I’ll add that to my list. Is X a significant improvement on the original, I.e more user friendly?
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 11
    Good choice... I never could get my head around the original, though I like its sound, so maybe I’ll add that to my list. Is X a significant improvement on the original, I.e more user friendly?
    I only dabbled with the original Massive, making minor edits to presets. It's only recently that I decided to really get to grips with synths. Despite its power and complexity, I find Massive X the most user friendly amongst the synths I mentioned earlier. I think having the Routing view helps a lot, combined with the drag and drop modulators.

    In addition to a couple of Groove 3 Massive X tutorials, I also had to go through the Groove 3 FM8 tutorial on FM (strictly PM) synthesis, then translate that to the PM aspects of Massive X. Massive X has actually got more oscillator/operators than FM8.

    I'm broadly OK with the analogue and PM aspects of Massive X, but the Wavetable mode settings are still something of a mystery and more trial and error for me. When I was going through the Uhe Diva tutorial I discovered the oscillator sync sound and it took a bit of googling to find out how to do it in Massive X, until I discovered it was in one of the Wavetable settings.

    I can put entries up on SoundCloud btw.
    It's not a competition.
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    edited June 16
    I got a new PC recently and drastically slimmed my VST library down. Well, that was the plan...…..I'm sure VSTs reproduce.....
    I've almost used only Omnisphere 2 and nothing else. I'll try to get a track sorted. Got something half done already. Are drums and guitar and bass allowed though?

    Fairlight CM1 - last year at Synthfest, I went to a seminar on the CM1. It was fascinating. The guy who did it was a Fairlight nut, really well informed, and he had Steve Levine as a guest. That was so interesting, he had some amazing stories, especially talking about production wars with Trevor Horn in the 80s, battling the Fairlight vs the Synclavier. They were so massively expensive. 
    And he had a Fairlight on the stage - it seemed so old fashioned! Very nostalgic hearing these iconic patches being played. Stuff from so many big hits from ages ago. 
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 16
    @stratman3142 ;;;;;;; I just picked up the Massive X Crossgrade in the current sale for only 60 quid  Had a quick mess around with it and was quite impressed so i'll be making this the focus for next month's challenge. Yeah let's use soundcloud to post entries. 

    @Snap it's a fascinating bit of gear - I have been tempted many times to buy an original off ebay but I feel it's not worth it due to maintenance costs - there aren't many people in the world who specialise in CMI maintenance. The first version cost 18 grand... same as what it cost to buy a house during that time! 

    regarding guitar and bass - sure you could incorporate those so long as Omnisphere forms the core basis of the track
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    @stratman3142 ;;;;;; I just picked up the Massive X Crossgrade in the current sale for only 60 quid  Had a quick mess around with it and was quite impressed so i'll be making this the focus for next month's challenge. Yeah let's use soundcloud to post entries. 


    I can recommend these two tutorials for Massive X.


    It's not a competition.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 16
    Email the tracks in mp3 format to Compositions@theFB.co.uk

    Then I'll upload them to theFretboard soundcloud account and post a playlist.

    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 16
    Thanks stratman for the tutorials....I was actually thinking of signing up to their subscription service as it seems a good deal, and I can cancel whenever.

    I’ll send you a wav rather than an MP3 as that’s twice they’re being compressed - by the MP3 export + soundcloud servers!  As someone who’s a novice mixer I could do with all the help I can get in getting a decent sounding track and I find uploading MP3s just turns everything to shit 
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132


    I’ll send you a wav rather than an MP3 as my tracks sound bad enough without being compressed twice by the MP3 export + soundcloud servers!  :)
    If it's a Wav can you send me a link to a file sharing site if possible (i.e. Dropbox or whatever). I've generally found rendering mp3s at 320 kbps is OK. But maybe my ears are shot and I can't hear the difference.

    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    Sure no problem. 
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720


    @Snap it's a fascinating bit of gear - I have been tempted many times to buy an original off ebay but I feel it's not worth it due to maintenance costs - there aren't many people in the world who specialise in CMI maintenance. The first version cost 18 grand... same as what it cost to buy a house during that time! 

    regarding guitar and bass - sure you could incorporate those so long as Omnisphere forms the core basis of the track
    Rob Puricelli was the chap who did the seminar. 
    I wouldn't fancy buying one these days, I think it would be pretty full on keeping one going and you'd have to be really into it. Quite a temperamental bit of kit. And bulky.
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  • equalsqlequalsql Frets: 4215
    I often don't get a chance to really learn a certain sound library or softsynth before I get distracted and move onto something else. This is the unfortunate result of option overload, i.e. having too much software. So I've set myself the challenge over the next 3 weeks to work with one synth, and one synth only to compose the majority of my music. This month's candidate is the CMI V, Arturia's simulation of the CMI Fairchild.  

    https://i.postimg.cc/QCX4jX9X/cmi-v-image.png
    I upgraded my Arturia collection last year and got this plug-in. I was (am) so impressed with it. The sounds are just iconic, I spent the first day just reliving my favourite Prefab Sprout and Trevor Horn moments. It is a wonderful beast.
    (pronounced: equal-sequel)   "I suffered for my art.. now it's your turn"
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 20
    equalsql said:
    I often don't get a chance to really learn a certain sound library or softsynth before I get distracted and move onto something else. This is the unfortunate result of option overload, i.e. having too much software. So I've set myself the challenge over the next 3 weeks to work with one synth, and one synth only to compose the majority of my music. This month's candidate is the CMI V, Arturia's simulation of the CMI Fairchild.  

    https://i.postimg.cc/QCX4jX9X/cmi-v-image.png
    I upgraded my Arturia collection last year and got this plug-in. I was (am) so impressed with it. The sounds are just iconic, I spent the first day just reliving my favourite Prefab Sprout and Trevor Horn moments. It is a wonderful beast.
    It’s a magnificent beast. one thing I’ve been experimenting with today is sending 30 sec guitar samples into it, then mapping different segments of that sample to various keys on my midi keyboard. Pan them around, process with fx, pitch up/down and you have some surreal soundscapes. Sounds pretty neat played over the top of the guitar solo that’s being sampled (I.e. prior to sending through the CMI sampler)
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 21
    Making progress. I'd better get a move on if the 1st July is the deadline. It's a mixture of edited presets and sounds built up from scratch at the moment. Just using Massive X but I'm up to 11 instances so far.

    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 21
    Nice one...is it quite light on the cpu then? 
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    Nice one...is it quite light on the cpu then? 
    I'll check tomorrow.

    In the meantime here's my entry in the playlist below. I'll add the other entries as they arrive.

    https://soundcloud.com/thefretboard/sets/synth-challenge-1

    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 21
    Groovy! Has a detroit techno vibe to it which I like. good choice of sounds. You could easily extend this - have a break where it ends, then build it back up again, this time with more rhythmic elements and more impactful drums.  
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 21
    Groovy! Has a detroit techno vibe to it which I like. good choice of sounds. You could easily extend this - have a break where it ends, then build it back up again, this time with more rhythmic elements and more impactful drums.  
    I might come back to it but I need to do my entry to the Riff of the Month challenge, plus create a backing track for next month's Solo of the Month Challenge.

    I'll get back to you on the CPU usage tomorrow as I'm not on my music computer, which I've shut down for the night.

    It's all Massive X including the drums and all the FX. The only other VST I used was Voxengo Elephant as a master limiter. Plus there was a bit of automation (just panning) in Reaper.

    It's not a competition.
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    I like your track, some cool nods to Kraftwerk in there too. Neat stuff.
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 22
    ...is it quite light on the cpu then? 

    I'm not sure that it is compared to other synths.

    The CPU usage is obviously dependent the synth patch and the computer. The following figures are taken from the Reaper Performance Meter.

    I did a crude comparison with u-he Diva set to 'divine' accuracy (i.e. the highest CPU load). For Diva and Massive X, I used three Saw oscillators, a polyphony of 16 and a stack of 6 voices. The CPU load of both synths was about 2.5% on my computer.

    In my track there were 18 instances of Massive X (not all playing at the same time). The CPU usage was generally below 30% and peaked at about 34%.

    It's not a competition.
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720


    This was all done in Omnisphere 2, except for some bass guitar, and drums which are Battery. Cheers for listening!
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 25
    @Snap it sounds excellent. If you send an mp3 (or download link if it's WAV) to the following email address I can add it to the playlist.

    Compositions@theFB.co.uk 

    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 25
    Snap said:


    This was all done in Omnisphere 2, except for some bass guitar, and drums which are Battery. Cheers for listening!
    I loved it - nice build up - I detect a John Carpenter vibe in a few parts 
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 27
    Here's my ambient / new age track. The idea was to have a repetitive motif with various stuff fading in and out over the top during the course of 5 mins. Whether it maintains interest for that long is another matter. The CMI V forms the bulk of the track but I fear i may have taken a few liberties with the guitar. The whole vibe of the track however is very much centred around the typical CMI sound, and in a few cases, the guitar parts were sampled back into the software and triggered by midi. 

    https://soundcloud.com/fc1985/message-on-a-wave-1/s-XlKtfBWeGZD

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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    Cheers! I can’t open your link for some reason so will have a listen later. Will sort a file out too, thanks .
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    edited June 25
    Here's mine...

    Added to playlist below. Sounds great.

    https://soundcloud.com/thefretboard/sets/synth-challenge-1

    It's not a competition.
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  • FreebirdFreebird Frets: 4558
    edited June 25
    Here's a bit of compositional inspiration for those who are struggling ...  :)


     "For a man to conquer himself is the first and noblest of all victories."
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    @Springywheel and @Snap plus whoever else has a view.

    Do you want to have a voting thread at the end, like we have for the SotM and RotM challenges? It at least serves as a catalyst to get some comments and discussion going. Or should we just comment as we go?

    We could make this a two or three monthly event. I think monthly might be too often, given the other challenges. I'm open to suggestions.

    Any thoughts?
    It's not a competition.
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  • SpringywheelSpringywheel Frets: 150
    edited June 27
    Yeah I’d be up for having a voting thread.

    Hopefully we’ll have a sudden influx of entries before the deadline  

    a three monthly event sounds good if everyone else is game for that. 


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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 1132
    Yeah I’d be up for having a voting thread.

    Hopefully we’ll have a sudden influx of entries before the deadline  

    a three monthly event sounds good if everyone else is game for that. 


    Do we extend this past 1st July, or just go with the three we've got?
    It's not a competition.
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