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  • Essential Software

    If you use software instruments and effects, what do you consider your essential tools?

    For me, it's Alchemy and Zebra2. They're just so versatile for my music, being able to automate each of the parameters to achieve movement and evolving soundscapes.

    I also recently purchased Tone2's Warmverb multi-effect, which has given my sounds a new life. It's possible to completely change a sound, yet it still be musical.

  • #2
    I was going to start a thread just like this!!! Oh let's begin...

    So my two "go to" synths right now are...the same! Alchemy and Zebra2. Soooooo amazing. But I've also got a new Diva who has captured my attention. That's not all...there's also Vanguard in my arsenal (some killer plastic sounding arps in that synth!), Granite Synth, and oh yes...my staple, BORDERLANDS GRANULAR for the Mac! People don't even realize this is my secret weapon. Guess it's not so secret anymore?

    I'm also hugely into Numerology from Five12 and you'll find me talking about it alot on here. It's basically the ultimate step sequencer with so many possibilities for ambient it's not even funny...it's always been Mac only, but maybe in time that will change.

    Anything else? On the effects side I use Uhbiks on nearly every track...I also like Camel Space and Phat in the mix if I turn the mix knob down for a drier signal than the preset is designed for. My delays often come from MFM2...oh and my DAW? Pro Tools 10! But that's for another thread.

    Can't wait to talk about software we WANT to use!!! So many tools...so little time. ;)
    Synphaera Records
    Space | Time | Matter

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    • #3
      One instrument that hasn't been getting enough of my attention, but I have a feeling that's going to change, is Absynth. I won a soundset for Absynth today that's perfect for Ambient. I got lucky that I was the first to answer a question, which I'm really happy about, because I was planning on buying it anyway. It's called Heliopolis by synaesthesia on KVR: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=365341

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      • #4
        I saw that!!! Congrats DAX IX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D As soon as you posted your answer I knew you were right...I still don't have Komplete, I think I'm waiting for 9 and a magical thousand dollar bill to come flying into my pocket! Let us know how Synaesthesia sounds!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Synphaera Records
        Space | Time | Matter

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        • #5
          I've gone through all of the presets in Absynth Heliopolis, and they all sound great. I can tell a lot of work went into that bank. I just know it's going to end up on my next album. :tu:

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          • #6
            I think I'm coming from a different angle, I like to start with really small simple sounds and see where I can take them. No disrespect for the Omnispheres etc of this world but I'd rather build my own textures; take a simple synth like Charlatan then add delays, reverbs, distortions etc and see where I end up.

            Having said that, Reaktor has some amazing ensembles that really are ambient-in-a-tin. One key for a couple of minutes and you're pretty much done.

            I've tried recently to really par my plugin folder down to the essentials (avoid overlap etc), synth-wise I'm down to:

            Rhino - Stalwart for me, great sound quality and equally good for simple sounds or massive, evolving patches.

            Scanned Synth Pro - When I want a weird texture, it'll be in here.

            Z3ta+ - I know it, can't sell it and it has some decent sounds so may as well use it. ;)

            Dune BE - Great presets in a nice easy to use package, getting a lot of use from me.

            Tyrell N6 - Only 'analogue' I need really.

            Charlatan - Oh and that one.

            Xhip - and that one..............

            And of course Reaktor which would be my 'one' app if forced to make a choice because of it's versatility.

            Also have Wusik, Eve and Dimension LE installed for generic sounds (strings, keys etc) though don't use them so much. And a couple of quirky freebies that just do something nice I can't replicate anywhere else (Feldspar!)

            Yeah, minimalism, I has it!
            Latest release: never to be repeated

            Hearthis | Soundcloud

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            • #7
              Oh, effects...

              ADs EOS for most of my reverb needs (often a couple in series for loooong reverbs.........) with Voxengos Old Skool Reverb and Reaktors Spacemaster for quirkier stuff.

              Delays: ADs Ronin, TAL Dub 3, a couple of custom Synthmaker built units (including Tapatiki in the KVR DC12 challenge! Not too late to vote... ;)) and the valhalla freebie (hell, freqecho... something... )

              Also PSP Nitro, ADs Bigseq2 (yeah, AD groupie), Reaktor ensembles for most other things...
              Latest release: never to be repeated

              Hearthis | Soundcloud

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              • #8
                Originally posted by GaryG View Post
                I think I'm coming from a different angle, I like to start with really small simple sounds and see where I can take them. No disrespect for the Omnispheres etc of this world but I'd rather build my own textures; take a simple synth like Charlatan then add delays, reverbs, distortions etc and see where I end up.

                Having said that, Reaktor has some amazing ensembles that really are ambient-in-a-tin. One key for a couple of minutes and you're pretty much done.
                I have to agree. Over on KVR there are some amazing people developing awesome soundsets/patches/presets, but they are so....complete (to me). If I were Simon Stockhausen, I wouldn't have time to release all those soundsets, I'd be recording 5-10 minutes of each and call them finished works! The guy is truly gifted.



                The main softsynths I am currently working with include (in no particular order):

                Arturia's V3 collection (notably the CS80V, Arp2600V, J8, and SEM)

                Camel Audio Alchemy

                Izotope Iris

                AAS Tassman 4

                AIR: Xpand2, Hybrid, DB33, Vacuum, Velvet, Structure

                DCAM Synth Squad


                Processing:

                2CAudio Aether, B2

                Valhalla FreqEcho, Shimmer, UberMod

                CSR Classic Reverbs

                Etch

                La Masque Delay

                TL Space

                PSP 608MD, Echo, N2O

                SFX Machine Pro

                And all the wonderful Digidesign/Avid stuff that was in Pro Tools.

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                • #9
                  I really like valhalla stuff, especially shimmer for those nice reverbs (already mentioned but mentioning them again proves how important they are :

                  http://www.valhalladsp.com/

                  For creating generative music, Noatikl:

                  http://intermorphic.com/tools/noatikl/

                  And this synth is ace for ambient because of the nice routing options Loomer Aspect:

                  http://www.loomer.co.uk/aspect.htm


                  http://silentfrill.bandcamp.com/

                  https://manducator.bandcamp.com/

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                  • #10
                    One synth I forgot was Imagelines Harmless.

                    Kind of a subtractive synth with an additive oscillator. Very nice sound quality, very smooth but detailed and bright too.

                    I bought it in the intro period for €9, think it goes for something like €60 now but well worth it if they have a sale.
                    Latest release: never to be repeated

                    Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                    • #11
                      I'll add some of the amazing bargain plugins I have found that do incredible jobs with Ambient design.

                      - UHE Zebralette : A great freebie.. This is basically the heart and soul of Zebra and is an amazing sound source to feed into an array of effects.
                      Last edited by V0RT3X; 12-08-2012, 05:37 PM.
                      -=| (Youtube)|(Bandcamp)|(Ambient Online Forums)|=-

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                      • #12
                        If we're talking bargains the I'd still recommend a copy of Computer Music mag to anyone (especially now you can download the DVD content).

                        SpectrumWorxCM and DiversionFX are worth the price alone, massive amount of sound mangling potential between them two.

                        Also the va synth Dominator, amazed this isn't more widely touted. And a whole slew of decent bread & butter processors that really are all you need until you really know what you're doing (or grow golden ears ); DDMF EQs, Martin Eastwoods Compressive, KR Delay and Reverb etc etc....
                        Latest release: never to be repeated

                        Hearthis | Soundcloud

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                        • #13
                          Dominator has featured on quite a few of my tracks too.
                          Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                          • #14
                            For me it the most essential tools for composing, producing, sampling and mixing are:
                            Logic (my main DAW) - I only use Studio One because SpectrumWorx is only available as vst and not AU
                            ----
                            Metasynth (for creating raw samples which are then furtherly processed inside the DAW or other sample manglers and granulators) - it sure has the best resynthesis algos out there
                            Alchemy
                            Padshop Pro
                            Iris
                            Kontakt
                            Reaktor
                            Absynth (also as a FX unit)
                            VSL extended libraries with Ensemble Pro 4
                            Tremor
                            Chromaphone
                            -
                            EDIT: I forgot to add Zebra which isn't fair...
                            ----
                            crusherX - the coolest Granulator out there, since version 4 it now can also import samples which you can ply on your Keyboard using all the Controllers assigned to all possible parameters
                            Melda MBandGranular
                            GRM Tools (especially Evolution, Pitch Accum, Grinder, Shuffling, Warp)
                            Paulstretch (buttersmooth stretching algos)
                            Vroom
                            Übermod
                            Shimmer
                            B2
                            Aether
                            Logic's Space Designer for Convolution and Delay Designer (which is awesome)
                            Melodyne (for sounddesigning and time/pitch correction purposed)
                            SoundToys Native Bundle (I don't use the Filterfreaks anymore though)
                            Etch
                            Trash 2
                            Spectron
                            RX 2 (for sounddesigning and repair jobs)
                            PitchFunk
                            Permut8
                            Amplitude 3
                            -
                            EDIT: I forgot to add u-he's MFM2, Uhbik and Filterscape which I use frequently
                            ----
                            Sonnox Dynamics (still one of my favourite compressors)
                            Fabfilter - Pro-Q (my main EQ), PRO-C/PRO-L and the fabulous Saturn
                            Sonalksis - the dynamic EQ and dynamic Compounder mainly
                            Ozone 5

                            The other stuff just collects dust...so do most of my Hardware synths and the outboard gear these days.
                            Last edited by Sampleconstruct; 12-01-2012, 01:42 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Hey Simon, glad to see you here!

                              Your list is ... :eek: impressive! Then again so is all of the work you have done.
                              -=| (Youtube)|(Bandcamp)|(Ambient Online Forums)|=-

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