Recording synths

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vvv
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Recording synths

Post by vvv » Mon Jun 02, 2014 4:33 pm

First of all, a shout-out for whoever sold me a Korg Monotron last year -what a trip (can be heard here).

OK, so in recording my rock band we are using a Emu Proteus and a Davis Smith mono thing (Mofo).

I have taken the EMU stereo into a cheap ART TPS and also into a VLA2 and that was OK. I just got a RNLA and look forward to trying that, also.

But I think my best sounds were having him play through and micin' a Twin-type amp (Musicman HD130-2x12" Celestions open back), close and far.

My keys-guy has the unfortunate desire to sound like a mosquito - the mic'ing of the amp/speakers serves to filter his patches much better that trying to do it with only EQ on the DI tracks. And with some judicious placement, I can even get a stereo-type signal happening.

I also note that when I DI the stereo synth, it's real hard to bring it down to mono even when that's what the song needs, as the individual stereo synth track, solo'd, can sound so spectacular, if over-bearing.

As for that Monotron above? I cloned the mono track and knocked it back 14ms for a fake narrow stereo, then ran it through a big verb. (That's not a band track, BTW, just me.)

So tell us, what are your habits/tips/bitches when it comes to recording synths.
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Nick Sevilla
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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:53 pm

I use a Radial DI that is stereo.

If I need it to be mono, I listen to the L/R signals separately, and pick the one I like best, then throw away the other one.

Older synths, especially in the early digital era (1980s) are actually mono synths with a fake Stereo output. Once you listen to one side, then the other, you realize one signal is simply delayed / chorused. I usually get rid of the more effected sounded channel.

I have no preference for any particular synth model, but I do love both the Arturia collection, and all the GForce synths.

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Post by kslight » Mon Jun 02, 2014 7:34 pm

I am a big synth nut but I have neither the time nor energy to go into that right now?


Unless a synth is proper stereo, I record mono/ditch the left or right.

Sometimes to put them in their own space, I do like some sort of chorus or doubler, such as Little Microshift, as keys are sometimes hard to pick out in a dense mix.

Recording through amps is fun, always, especially for turning a lame organ patch into something organic (ha!)? It also is a good way of bandpassing the synth into a distinct space, rather than some kind of full range beast. But even when I record direct (which is most of the time, actually), I try to accept the same philosophies of what an amp/speaker would do if its a rock mix. Otherwise IMHO synths sound too "good" to fit in most rock mixes, trashing it up just a tiny bit goes a long way.

If I find the synth used exceptionally boring, especially if it is my bandmate playing his Microkorg?(barf), I will run it through either my Sherman Filterbank 2 or Electrix Filter Queen to add a little bit more animation or texture or other sonic interest because the Microkorg (IMHO) sounds quite generic, at least the patches he chooses to play.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Tue Jun 03, 2014 6:05 am

kslight wrote: Microkorg?(barf)
The only thing I ever really liked with that one was running drums or a whole mix through the vocoder.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:15 am

Accidental double-post removed by the author...

GJ
Last edited by Gregg Juke on Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gregg Juke » Tue Jun 03, 2014 7:16 am

Well, I love the Korg stuff. I don't own a Micro Korg, but I've played with several varieties, and as with most things, I think a lot is in the choice of the performer/keyboardist/programmer/what-have-you...

I use most of the tricks listed above (although I usually don't use a direct box, but if I'm amping, I loovvee using a mini-amp that can really grit things out).

When I go direct (fairly frequently, usually in a harried attempt to avoid losing inspiration), I _do_ often use guitar effects pedals. A couple of favorites are the EHX Big Muff, and the MXR Micro-Flanger. Distortion and flange add quite a bit of depth to mono leads and basses. Distortion (and especially "live air" amping) add realism and distinct quality to General MIDI organ sounds and pads. Emulated electric bass sounds also sound much better through a bass amp!

Synths I have/use are: Main Workstation-- Roland Juno G, Vintage Mono-- Jen SX1000, Korg minis-- Monotribe, Monotron, Volca Keys, Volca Bass, Kaossilators 1 & 2. I also have a couple of Casios (I forget the larger multi-keys/"workstation" model number, but the small cheap-y sampler is the SK-1). One cool little tone generator unit I have is the EHX RTG (Random Tone Generator); this sounds great through some additional effects (delay is always good). I also have a 2000 lb. Kawai that hasn't been getting much use lately, but has a few unique/useable sounds. Also have an old E-MU half-rack module that sees limited service.

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Post by apropos of nothing » Tue Jun 03, 2014 9:07 am

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http://remaincalm.org/index.php/2008/09 ... and-floaty

Another thing I've gotten into lately is sidechained gates. Put a gate on your track, and then set it to open from the snare track. Beauty.

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Re: Recording synths

Post by jgimbel » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:32 pm

vvv wrote:First of all, a shout-out for whoever sold me a Korg Monotron last year -what a trip (can be heard here).
I know this isn't what we're talking about, but the drums on that track sound killer.
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Post by vvv » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:45 pm

Thanx.

The drums are from some random multi-track I got somewhere, what I mixed down (10 tracks) and then edited the sections to make a song.

Can't take credit for the recording, tho', and other than some compression and EQ and the static pans and the afore-mentioned edits, I did nothing to the original tracks.
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Post by Balcony Falcon » Mon Jun 09, 2014 12:43 am

I generally like recording synths in mono, and occasionally during important tripped out parts ill goose my Tascam RS-20 Spring Reverb and create a reverb'd fake stereo image...it depends on how synth dominant the track or musical vision is; I also like running my synths through my ART tube MP (horrible for most things but works great with my Moog Rogue) to warm it with a 6:1 compression ratio on my FMR RNC...

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Post by trodden » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:06 am

My Default synth set up is the instrument inputs on the API 3124, followed by my VLA with different tubes than stock. This works for stereo or mono synth outputs as well as laptop synths... That DI approach works, but I prefer the edges rounded off by an amp. I usually end up re-amping later if not tracked through an amp. I've had luck with a gritty Silvertone combo amp as well as a sovtek mig 100 or Fender PA100 head through an older, full range ampeg 18" cab, or a pa speaker with 15 and horn, or 4x10.

Mics usually used are 4047, sm7, atm25, shiny box ribbon... Either one single mic or a combo.. Depending... And at times the speaker cab is in the big room or the iso booth door is open with a room mic. Not always useful though.

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Re: Recording synths

Post by apropos of nothing » Thu Jun 12, 2014 6:03 pm

vvv wrote:OK, so in recording my rock band we are using a Emu Proteus and a Davis Smith mono thing (Mofo).

...snip...
So tell us, what are your habits/tips/bitches when it comes to recording synths.
Try the Proteus THROUGH the Mopho. You can gate the sequencer on the Mopho with its audio input.

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Post by vvv » Fri Jun 13, 2014 4:25 am

I'll pass the idear along, thanx!
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