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The Benificial Limitations of Hardware
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
The Benificial Limitations of Hardware

There are more than enough hardware vs software threads here that discuss sonic differences and workflow differences, but in my recent switch to an OTB setup I was surprised to find that the limitations of my hardware are beneficial to my music. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and I apologize if this is a rehash of another thread. I did a search but was not able to find anything.

I purchased a microkorg when they first came out and got hooked on synthesis. About a year later, I purchased Komplete and really delved in to Reaktor. After a number of years of in depth study, I felt that I knew enough about synthesis to start making electronic music. But while using software during the learning process was great, I found that with my background as a guitar player, trying to make music ITB just did not work for me.

So I purchased a number of synths, samplers, effects and signal processors to have a more natural workflow. But once I started to use this setup, I realize that it was not just the ITB workflow that was hampering me, but also the unlimited possibilities of all of my softsynts and VSTs were a hindrance. When I was working ITB I would spend way to much time auditioning synths, patches and effects. Once I moved OTB, it became clear that there was a huge time saving benefit to only having three chorus effects to choose from as opposed to 15.

And now that I have limited myself to a handful of synths that I know inside and out, I almost intuitively know which one will work best for a part. Also now, instead of slightly modifying or automating a preset on a softsynth, I am creating patches from scratch and experimenting, really pushing the limits of my hardware. Additionally, I find that having a limited sonic palette gives all of my songs a particular "sound". Whereas before, ITB, my sound choice was all over the place. Tonally, there was almost no similarity between my different songs.

Now certainly someone doing film soundtracks needs a huge sonic palette; but for what I do, EDM and synth-pop/punk, I think that the limitations imposed by hardware have a number of benefits in addition to better workflow. Any thoughts?
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
You can have your discipline imposed on you by your environment, or you can impose it on yourself, independent of your environment. The latter means that you can still deal with a boatload of equipment, but it's harder.

Finding a sweet balance between potential and focus is already hard enough.
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
Lives for gear
 
masaski's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamblichus ➡️
There are more than enough hardware vs software threads here that discuss sonic differences and workflow differences, but in my recent switch to an OTB setup I was surprised to find that the limitations of my hardware are beneficial to my music. I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and I apologize if this is a rehash of another thread. I did a search but was not able to find anything.

I purchased a microkorg when they first came out and got hooked on synthesis. About a year later, I purchased Komplete and really delved in to Reaktor. After a number of years of in depth study, I felt that I knew enough about synthesis to start making electronic music. But while using software during the learning process was great, I found that with my background as a guitar player, trying to make music ITB just did not work for me.

So I purchased a number of synths, samplers, effects and signal processors to have a more natural workflow. But once I started to use this setup, I realize that it was not just the ITB workflow that was hampering me, but also the unlimited possibilities of all of my softsynts and VSTs were a hindrance. When I was working ITB I would spend way to much time auditioning synths, patches and effects. Once I moved OTB, it became clear that there was a huge time saving benefit to only having three chorus effects to choose from as opposed to 15.

And now that I have limited myself to a handful of synths that I know inside and out, I almost intuitively know which one will work best for a part. Also now, instead of slightly modifying or automating a preset on a softsynth, I am creating patches from scratch and experimenting, really pushing the limits of my hardware. Additionally, I find that having a limited sonic palette gives all of my songs a particular "sound". Whereas before, ITB, my sound choice was all over the place. Tonally, there was almost no similarity between my different songs.

Now certainly someone doing film soundtracks needs a huge sonic palette; but for what I do, EDM and synth-pop/punk, I think that the limitations imposed by hardware have a number of benefits in addition to better workflow. Any thoughts?
I concur absolutely...
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
Lives for gear
 
3 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
I think it may have more to do with limiting the amount of available sound sources more than hard v soft. At the moment you have a new regime so it's inspiring. Always happens. And in 3 years after you've collected 20 old hardware synths, feel sick and sell them all keeping just one controller and 2/3 soft synths - you'll feel that exact same productivty.

It's a mix of renewed enthusiasm through change of environment and imposed limitations of a few pieces you know really well (be they hardware or software). For best results flip/flop your working ethos every 4 years

Am talking only about the productivity and renewed clarity here - not about sound or immediacy of hard v soft. I personally use both (though I give a priority to hardware and tend to do 75% of my synth tasks with hardware) and am fine with it after going from all hardware to all software back to alll hardware then finally settling on the middle ground (a little hardware and a little software).
Old 13th September 2012
  #5
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
i agree. i recently got a Vermona Kick Lancet and have been using it as my main sound source. as you can imagine i've had to dig pretty deep to make it work. I still use software instruments but working with such a limited piece of gear has helped give me a more consistent sound.
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