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modular synth performance without effects.
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars  
Author modular synth performance without effects.
cleaninglady
Ok , so this is a bit of a thing with me... sad banana

It seems every single time i hear a performance on modular synth from any 'name' performers in the synth world ; the entire recording or live sound is absolutely drenched in Reverb ; more often than not : Eventide Space.

I personally have a thing about wanting to get the most out of the modular that i've built (I perform on Best of CGS Panel #3 , SWAMP , MARSH and BOG).

I never use effects because i'm trying to produce the most interesting sounds i can out of a very complex machine and i prefer to present the naked sound of the instrument.

I can see that in doing this , i'm taking the hard road but i tend to find the use of effects a very easy way to make something out of very little effort.

I perform reasonably often in Melbourne AU and have also played live recently on my Modular in many cities around Japan.

Pretty much everywhere , audience reaction on given nights between performers using effects and those not ; i have witnessed to be drastically different.

I'm very interested in others thoughts on this.
archerofloaf
Since getting into the modular world, I've noticed TONS of videos using reverb afterwards. Seems like a common thing to do.

While I have had my modular connected to a PDS 20/20, LoFi E616 MKII and Chicklet for a bit now, I find myself not using them much because I really like the sounds I'm getting. The same goes for using my Polysix as well. I think I'm gravitating to the raw sounds of synths at the end of the day, but I'll still use some reverb on pads or leads if I want that extra spacial content, or using a very quick delay to split the voices and widen things up a bit.
moogboy
In my opinion (back up only by theories and unfortunately no real life experience), everything has a place musically. I'm sure there are times when drenching something in reverb has the desired effect, and other times effects and stuff aren't as appropriate. I love my Eventide Space, to use the example you mentioned, but I use it sparingly, only when I feel it makes sense. Granted, I don't use it for "traditional" reverbs, so it makes sense that it would be a less frequently used effect, but that's not the point. Every piece of gear, every type of sound and effect, has a place and as musicians/synthesists it's our job to find those places.

Just my two cents, ymmv, etc.
slow_riot
i don't use effects but have no complaints with someone else using them.

It hasn't been a conscious choice, I just naturally gravitate towards a more raw sound when using a modular. You can do so much on the modules that reverb just doensn't add anything for me. In most cases it's actually a negative effect as I stop composing in the moment and try to predict what the reverb will do and 'play into' it.

I'm starting to run a PA, and a good room set up already has natural reverberance, which sounds much more 3D and lifelike than a fookin reverb box!
cleaninglady
Some great replies ; Thanks ! SlayerBadger!

I do get on my high horse about this sometimes.

I agree that reverb etc definitely has it's place in the overall scheme of things , good points there moogboy

I have to agree with you about the right room slow_riot...

There was a warehouse venue here in Melbourne called KIPL that has recently been shut down that had amazing natural reverb ; did my first ever CGS/Serge Modular gig there a couple of years ago through a Bass Quad with an Orange Bass Terror head.

People said the windows in the cars parked outside were shaking...ahhh , good times. hihi

You all might be interested in my latest track on Soundcloud (link below).

Did it on a small amount of Euro stuff i've bulit (and a MATHS).
No effects used but very full sound through detuning and cross modulating CV's that are slightly detuned to each other.

Keen to hear what you think ; a bit of a departure from my usual noise based Serge stuff. w00t

PS

666 posts on Muff's...BROODLE. The Chewbacca Defense The Chewbacca Defense The Chewbacca Defense
doobedy
Reverb is fine. But a little goes a long way, something most people really do seem to miss.

But, along with panning, it gives you a tool to place things spatially, not sure why you'd purposely forgo it, at least on recordings. It's sort of impossible to have a finished sounding mix without it. Synths don't live in a space, and it's nice to give them one to hang out in.
anthonybisset
yeah, too much reverb is lame in that it either masks cool stuff that's going on or encourages listeners to think cool things happening on when they're not. i've seen so many boring akademic ambient electronic music shows that were basically reverb clinics.

reverb or reverblike fx on individual instruments or on stems of the mix, can add a lot of interesting interplay but reverb on the whole mix, i can't think of a faster way to get me to turn around and walk out of a performance or basically ignore just about everything associated with that artist. must be developing reveraphobia.

if someone is going for that blanket reverb thing, then at least treat my ears to something really excellent sounding like a bricasti, or a real plate, or euverb on the kyma... in my case i've rolled my own custom reverbs and can't be bothered with lexicon or eventide, but that doesn't mean i just drench the master and if I do, it's temporary... playing peoples perception of space isn't a bad thing, setting reverb up and then just playing through it is pretty awful.

springs remain cool/useful here.

IR based verbs while useful in editing just feel dead compared to algorithmic verbs...
rec.Koner
Reverb or delay is simple way to make sound "musical" if needed
filmersam
I've been thinking about this topic lately and can't say I'd hold anything against someone using (to my ears) too much reverb.
More contentious and bothering music is being performed and celebrated in (at least) the Melbourne scene. w00t

All effects have their place - of course you can tell when they're used lazily, or blatantly excessive. I've tended to hide behind a blanket of reverb for past performances, but my playing has evolved and I've learnt the hard way.

Cleaning Lady, I really enjoy your stuff. thumbs up
traveler
I like to use reverb sparingly as if I approached it as an instrument rather than just drowning the mix in it. You can do some interesting things, for instance turning the level of reverb up and then down quickly on certain parts in an 'improvised way' for interesting effect. This is a much more musical approach I take and increases the level of dynamic in a composition.
themanthatwasused
cleaninglady
You sir, should post your live set up here.
thumbs up
reppiks
cleaninglady wrote:
I never use effects because i'm trying to produce the most interesting sounds i can out of a very complex machine and i prefer to present the naked sound of the instrument.

I can see that in doing this , i'm taking the hard road but i tend to find the use of effects a very easy way to make something out of very little effort


Hello sir!
Interestingly enough, the above could very easily be a verbatim quote from me, as this is exactly my approach and my thinking to a tee. I have nothing to add!
amnesia
I went through a phase of being into dry sounds when using the modular but now I am enjoying the depth If you stand in a valley its not dry.
Obviously it all comes down to what you want to achieve.

Here I use both wet and dry
Hainbach
Isn't all about mixing it up? I usually have three spaces I create in my my music: up close, the room and the distance. Those three combined give me an interesting landscape on which the sounds can frollick.
amnesia
Hainbach wrote:
Isn't all about mixing it up? I usually have three spaces I create in my my music: up close, the room and the distance. Those three combined give me an interesting landscape on which the sounds can frollick.


I guess it depends. My thinking is Stephen (Cleaninglady) is improvising a solo sound so unless he wants to creat a picture of depth he doesnt need reverb, well there would be natural room reverb.

Stephen is an improv sax player so I can totally understand a dry sax.
Refund
amnesia wrote:
I went through a phase of being into dry sounds when using the modular but now I am enjoying the depth If you stand in a valley its not dry.
Obviously it all comes down to what you want to achieve.

Here I use both wet and dry


goddamn dude, your stereo panning w/ delicious sounds is brain meltingly good.
Steevio
i'm with you on this, i use my modular to create effects and i love the raw sound of the filters. if i'm going to spend a lot of money on quality analogue kit i dont want to disguise it with reverb all the time.
the only effect box i take out live is a lexicon reverb, which i hardly ever use, and if i do its for almost imperceptible reverb on one or two sounds.
if i use reverb, i always back it right off till the only way you can tell its there is by taking it away and noticing the difference.

very occasionally i'll put a lot of reverb on a sound just for a short burst in a build up.

i think it's good to work without reverb at all, because it pushes you to get the best out of your gear, and get deeper into the sounds. there's a lot of information and potential in envelope releases that is totally lost when you smoother it in reverb.
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