2016 Roundup

Ending year 2016 was quite interesting, full of ups and downs. For sure it was busy.

First and most important, I got my first track released – it’s remix of Ruska – Saimaa made for a contest. I was hoping now releases will be flying every month or so.

However, since then it was a downfall. Even though I feel I improve the quality of every new track, none of them was accepted. Some remixes were not good enough, others seemingly were off the style.

It took me a while to understand what is still wrong with the tracks and why people don’t enjoy them as much as commercial releases. And eventually I figured it out. Check the improved remix of Impellent:

The stats… we live in the world where no one cares who you are and what you do, but only how popular you are. I’m not very popular at all (especially compared to 2008), but the blog stats keep growing this year:

wordpress-stats-2016

This is with lowest post count ever. Most of visits hit Chaotic Wavetable Pack for Serum, which turned out very interesting for users even though it was made over one day and in fact is nothing extraordinary. Personally I never used it yet :P.

Growing stats may also come from the fact that I no longer post about “work in progress”, but simply finish tracks and post worthy pieces of music. Certainly it would help if I posted some tutorials and started video blog, but there are other things I need to deal with first. Neverthless, I gave some lectures on production this year so it’s not far from here. Especially earlier show on FM synthesis turned out great.

I only mixed like 9 DJ sets this year… unfortunatelly it takes a lot of time. Even though, these few sets get great number of plays, so once I get back to it someday, things should be running well.

The studio… I got quite some gear and a number of synths this year. Acually it’s more than I was able to use so far. Which doesn’t mean I don’t try to – the quest for ultimate studio drives me both creatively and at regular work. I not only need money for better place, but also need to actually make use of all the synths (yet alone gear) I gathered so far. Now the only thing that limits me is the time. Which leads to one last point…

The workflow. Earlier this year I decided to learn how to use Push for real. And I did, it just works so well. Now I’m working in Session mode, creating clips and layers one by one. Then switch to Arrangement View, create whole arrangement in one go and… voila! Track is finished. Let’s do another one. Making tracks, even very diverse, is quite repeatable process – one I know how to. And creating better track doesn’t neccessarily mean spending more time on it. It’s all about the skills and just know-how.

The future. The future is now, 2017 will be a breakthrough. Just at the end on the year I have all the pieces I need to produce great music. Just have to sort out earlier unfinished projects before getting new PC and moving on to future productions. All I need now is time – and to make good use of it. The same is true for DJ sets. These should come back in a month or two.

Happy new year 2017!

Ups and downs

I didn’t post for last 2 months, but it was busy and productive time.

First of all, I won a remix contest of Ruska – Saimaa by Black Lemon Records (details on Soundcloud).

It was only 4th place, but enough to make it. Looks like my first and only release will be progressive house. Will make another post when I get more details on this one.

It was my 3rd track this year, but 20th till date. It takes good time to learn production, but finally I’m there.

Secondly, due to this achievement I gave a lecture on how the remix was made and got free LuSH-101 plugin from D16 Group as reward. This trance workhorse is worth another post. My performance was recorded and will be avaliable on video in some months (only in Polish).

lush-101

Finally, I also took part in remix contest of Andy Groove – Impellent.

Unfortunatelly this time didn’t make it, which makes me sad. It’s a simple but huge uplifter, going to share it soon. I still believe it’s better than anything I made till date.

All in all, you can expect 3 more posts exploring both remixes and the synth in detail. Other than that, I have a bunch of real-life events to sort out for now, but once I’m back, the music will be coming quickly 🙂

Studio synth setup

Finally got all the synths I need. I’d like to share with my studio setup and explain each choice

First of all, I tried to keep synth pool as small as possible and have all sounds covered. Well, good plugins are pricey. But that’s not the only reason – to many synths can distract you from getting the actual job done.

Sylenth1

Sylenth1

Industry standard substractive. Very simple and easy to program, but with great sound quality. The main advantage of Sylenth1 is the filter section, which can withstand wildest modulation without overdrive or artifacts. Always smooth. Also, CPU usage is minimal. Used for rather simple and clean sounds – kick, psybass, supersaws, acid, random blips.

Dune 2

Dune 2

Bigger cousin of Sylenth1. Can do substractive, FM and Wavetable synthesis all at once and has great modulation possibilities. The key feature is unison section which allows you to dial up to 32 voices for any patch. Program whatever you need and just instantly make it big and awesome with multiple voices. Great at leads and pads, but also has cool acid presets. However, tends to glitch at small, fast-modulated sounds.

Serum

Serum

Wavetable monster. It would be just another substractive synth if not the impressive wavetable engine. Serum allows you to manipulate sounds in variety of ways, including wavetable scan and weird warp modes as well as more standard PWM, FM or phase distortion. Unmatched at basses and evolving arps as well as gritty FX. Great GUI makes it my new favourite.

Operator

Operator

Comes in Ableton Suite. This tiny toy can do substractive, FM and even additive synthesis. Very fast to program wih incredible sonic possibilities. Can produce some bass, but mostly practical in FX / electro / dubstep madness. Unfortunatelly it’s monophonic (or stereophonic at best), but can be easily layered thanks to negilible CPU usage.

The Mangle

The Mangle

Granular synth suited for harmonic sounds. Still in beta, but can already deliver beautiful pads as well as monstrous FX and risers. Great drag-and-drop GUI make it easy to program.

Granulator II

Granulator II

Another granular toy coming in Ableton Suite. Many custom options result in evolving pads, risers and rolls. ‘Scan’ feature will change any sample into warping monstrosity. For when you need to get dirty.

Sylenth1 and Dune 2 have custom skins.

This post will become more important once you hear tracks made with all of these 8)

Comb Filter VST updated to 2.0

It doesn’t seem like such simple plugin would need any upgrade, but it had some issues, for which I apologize.

Image

Now all the bugs with mono/stereo channels are gone.

Additionally, Comb Filter will not change it’s frequency with sampling rate. Sampling rates up to 192 KHz are supported in full range, at frequency 1 Hz. However, if you set higher frequency, sampling rate can be rised proportionally – there is no limit that could be reached in practical situation that I know of.

Download link is updated. Get it here.

1000 visits, 1000 plays

Yes! Today is a major milestone, my Soundcloud page scored 1000 tracks played in total. This ia quite a significant amount and I believe it will be growing next year. The number of “1000” is actually much more than total number of plays for all the tracks listed, as many of earlier previews were removed. Thank your for your patience and tolerance to unfinished tracks 😉

Secondly, my blog launched in January got well over 1000 visits. Suprisingly, most referers seem to look for my plugins, especially Supersaw synth. Since as I see now, they are far from polished, this hopefully indicates I can make a career of sound engineer in the future. Learning new things every day, all of them help to create better sounds. The road does not end here!

Supersaw 2 is ready!

After almost a year, new version of Supersaw synth was released. It now has all necessary and desired features and hopefully is free of bugs or glitches.

Ligaya

New features:

  • Doubled number of oscillators. Now the other pair can play octave higher or lower, and, what’s the most interesting, a decade higher. This gives perfect 5:2 frequency ratio, which is what was used in euro-dance and trance ten years ago, but just better.
  • Advanced detune features. It allows to create wide, deep and powerful spectra without artificial sound or noise.
  • Trancegate. For massive, powerful leads in the style of Nu-NRG and what not. No excuses.
  • Volume control. Yeah, that was quite a requested feature.

Fixes:

  • Reworked air reverb. Oh my, what a mess it was. Now it’s simple, clear and easy to understand. Also, it doesn’t use that much of CPU.
  • A number of glitches, saturations, discontinuities and other artifacts were removed. No more clicking.
  • Simplified flow, optimized oscillators. CPU usage was reduced, even though synth has more features now.

Get the VST plugin at KVR.

To prove that the synth is actually useful, there is a fact – my two latest tracks, Primal and Nice, utilized early version of this synth to produce some really massive leads. Feel the power and energy, enjoy the pristine sound of a supersaw.

Ah, and the manual. It is planned soon.