Sound Development Journal of Rich the TweakMeister
the Post-Industrial CybrSound Depot
info on this cd rom)
I've decided to do it and make
an EOS only version of my Emu format sample CD Rom "Ice
Kold Tekno". I am already a week into the project. Every preset
will be re-tweaked in EOS 4.1 and more controllers (cords) will be added
to each patch to make your Emulator sing like a vintage MS20.
Plus I will be adding more samples and more presets, how many more is
still up in the air at this point, but I won't stop till I break some
boundaries. As some of you know I don't stop till I blow myself away!
(ed. note: Post Indie
turned out to be a new product entirely. I did update Ice Kold
to V3 during the course of the project, then let Post Indie go its own
Already I've got a few of the
Ice Kold Tekno Orkestras I made when doing the SoundFont version
mapped in and you will find them powerful and useful. Plus there will
be some far out space effects I learned while making Celestial Windowpane
(ACID cd rom) and there will be plenty of tempo synced loops and
tempo modulated stuff. I just have to add a few samples tweaked with
all the great plugins I have. Finally, I will be adding some Trance
'N Dance presets. ESi users should still order the original Ice
Kold Tekno 2.1 as this coming "EOS only" disk will not be compatible
with their samplers. EOS users should definitely postpone buying Ice
Kold Tekno till this update is in the can. Its going to cost a little
more, but it will be well worth it.
The Ice Kold Project moves along
with great momentum. I've sampled in about 125 all new ms20 samples
so far and the bank is now 126 megs, 602 samples and 514 programs. I'm
retweaking all the sounds to make them contemporary with an industrial
electronica edge. It's interesting to note how my own tastes have changed
in the 3 years since I published the original Ice Kold. The new disk
has a harder and softer edge to it. The dancey sounds are bright and
quick and the pads are dripping with luxurious softness. Making great
use of the morphing filters in EOS and have lots of trance like bpm
presets made up. I also am not shy about using my great plugin library
to add effects to samples before sending it to the e5000. I am at the
point of deciding to go beyond just doing a great update to the Ice
Kold project and calling it a different product. Ice Kold Electronica
perhaps, as its more trancey than techno. Debating including my great
808/909 set, which I've yet to release anywhere. Rich
Tweaking like a madman every
night since the last update, except last night when I had to update
the mp3 page.. Two of my songs hit #1 in their genres! Making
projects of this scope is intense. Time flies away so fast.
You open up something like a 128 meg bank and start tweaking then
the sun-comes-up-again and..the next night we do it again. Every
night, new discoveries, new sonic terrains explored, gems excavated
and polished in the search for the newest and coolest sounds. Sound
development is the quest for quality, something ineluctably subtle,
but powerful. I am reminded of the old book I read in college, Zen
and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and the discussion of
Quality. Added about 50 more samples. more drums to
round out the kits, 808 toms, some deep kiks, and a more authentic sounding
dance snare, more hats, snarey filters (stuff you can edit to make more
snares) a crisper and thicker handclap, more hand drums (which work
great as mallets) and of course I can't resist effects samples of the
ms20's idiosyncrasies. My old kits and new kits are retweaked
in EOS and the envelopes are made precise and exacting. Of course
I fixed all occasions of emu's translation bugs from the ESI to EOS.
I've added more analog replicas of orchestral instruments, violins,
violas, cellos, sections, and made up new woodwind waveforms.
I'm making sure the analog orchestras sound better than they do in the
Ice Kold Tekno Orkestra. That's not easy as those are tweaked
as deep as SoundFonts will go. But EOS tweaks even deeper, and
these will be great when finished! I've added most of the ms20
sourced loops that i made for Celestial Windowpane. But I
downsampled every one to make them small, munged them up, added delightful
weirdness, and placed them all in a kit so they would play together.
The kit is one of the coolest lo-fi presets I've ever made, bizarre,
yet usable, ala Mystik garage.
Last Sunday I hit the 640 preset
mark I had set for myself. We are at 726 samples in the 128 meg
bank. I've added my custom 808/909 samples tweaked out of rebirth
and have put in a multisampled 303 bassline keymap too, where every
key has a different 303 filter. The 808/909 kits give you that
classic dance/trance drum sound which you have heard before. But
what you have not heard is my ms20 kits (and there are many many all
new ms20 drums in this project) layered with the 808/909. This
allows you to get drums that are classic and crunchy with totally original
and unique colorings. You may not be able to find better analog
synth drums anywhere else.
Right now I am making demos
and just tweaked up the original Ice Kold Tekno demo "The Ogre pops
In" on the new project, to ensure compatibility between the two.
I want to make sure those of you that have the original Ice Kold Tekno
will be able to play your older songs. That part, thankfully,
is done, and I can get back to breaking new ground. There is a
(rough) demo of some of the bpm presets on my mp3 site.
The way these work is that when
you have the midi tracks running in your sequencer, you can speed up
or slowdown the tempo and EOS will automatically make these looping
sounds stay in sync. This is absolutely great for trance and dance
tracks, and it gives the project some incredible uses in diverse forms
of electronic music. I've also made sure that there are many presets
that are arpeggiator ready--i.e., short attack and release. I've
made dozens of new synths out of the ms20 samples, lots of bright Junos,
Jupiters, prophets, Moogs, Oberheims that have a dancey edge.
While there were a handful of these in the original ice Kold, now they
are here in plenitude. These work great with block chords and
with arpeggiators, and also make great synth loops if you like to construct
those. (They will be a critical part of my next acid loops project,
so i am making sure they are as loud and bright and mix cutting as possible.)
As I did with the ESi, I have found the tricks in EOS to make loud and
huge soundscapes. I think i have even found ways to make the harsh
distortion of the 'harder' filters to sound tasty. There are precious
few settings that do that and you have to hunt a long time to find them.
Probably one of the more striking
features of the bank are dozens of all new 'FX waves'. I discovered
during the original Ice Kold that i could loop and idiosyncratic blerp,
bubble, or blip on the ms20 and come up with awesome stereo synth FX.
Well I have more of those and I've gone farther down this road.
In the waveform editor I look for those miniscule moments where an ms20
patch fall in/out of sync/ tune, or completes a filter cycle and starts
another. Then I crop to just that little segment, loop, and viola,
new strange synth sample. I recorded hundreds of ms20 patches
of knob twists and scrutinized each one for novel, interesting transformations.
I found a bunch of cool stuff, and they will smoke your Emulator in
very industrial ways.
I'm not done tweaking yet.
And I'm not done thinking about ways to make this the most mind blowing
cd rom you ever loaded into EOS. Here's some ideas--tell
me what you think, OK?
1. Making the project updateable
by sysex. That is allowing you and me to create and post new
patches presets and midifiles. just like people do with synths.
After all, This is a massive bank of synth sounds, with 4 times the
memory of a typical modern module. Why not support it just like
a synth? Because SoundDiver has such an excellent EOS interface,
we could easily share small files of sysex data and completely update
the bank as often as we like.
2. Opening a station on Mp3.com
where I will post all of your songs made with the project.
I already got my feet wet doing this with Celestial Windowpane and I
like the idea of developing the community of people using the project.
This is something neither emu nor any sound developer gives you.
I think of it as unparalleled support. Tell me what you think
I'd like to think that when
you buy into my projects you really buy more than a set of sounds.
You get into a community of artists.
OK back to tweaking.
Post indie thinks out of the box
OK, I admit. I am
having a hard time putting this project to bed. That's because
I MUST blow myself away before I release and I am not there yet,
nor even close. And believe it, I am working like a madman
on this project. Decided the MS20, no matter how extensively
i tweak it, cannot deliver the Kraftwerk/Orbital type sounds I am
wanting. I can get close tweaking the EOS filters to the max, but
it's just not the same. So i have gone to the fountain of
gear and slapped a used TX7 in my rig. Just a note here: I
have tons of synths and samples here, but I will not sample anyone
else's samples. I program from the ground up. This assures
you of getting a real royalty free disk, and I can sleep better
(hah! what programmer ever sleeps!)
Now the basses sound right
and I have some wonderful FM strings. I know FM synthesis
from the years I played with a TX81Z. Thanks to the great editor
in SoundDiver, patch-making is intuitive. Yes! The editor
is that good! When you need clean and precise sounds, nothing
does it like FM! I've already made 100 patches and I've only
had it one day. I'm excited because FM is the perfect antidote for
the MS20. The ms20 is analog and sloppy, gritty, and wonderfully
imprecise. FM is clean, precise, almost surgical. So
Yep, the disk is going to have both, plus the 808/909/303 stuff.
So! This disk is going to
let you do what many of us remember from the 80's. Blending
analog with digital. Some of may remember the sounds of the
Juno and Jupiter with the DX7 and how nicely these made music.
Well the MS20 is the granddaddy of all these analog synths and when
sampled it can mimic them all. You want those brash Jupiters
and tweezy Junos? There here! I even tweaked up the
ultra cheese-mo CZ Violin on my ms20 (in addition to very warm sounding
legato strings and tons of intense analog orchestras. Now
with the TX samples making their way in there's a clean sheen on
the top. I am not gonna stop till the sound of this project
is absolutely breathtaking. We are closer. Pleased stay tuned!
We are now at 770 Samples
and 708 Presets. The big news. You guys are in for a treat,
you are going to get my newest batch of FM Noise forms. The
inspiration for these comes straight off the cutting edge, which
for me is like hyped electricity. There's 17 of these.
I was saving them for a later project, but decided they had to be
in here. These are the most interesting FM noise based waveform
I have ever heard. When you are doing industrial you need
lots of sources of noise. The Analog Noiseforms from the MS20
are in this disk too, and its a softer, richer noise. FM noise
is harsh, grating and more metallic with odd overtones and ripping
harmonics. The thing about noise harmonics is that the EOS
filters react to them as there are more frequencies present. .
For instance, put one of these in the bat-phaser and you get shards
of metal falling like snow.
Since I have the TX7 all
hot and bothered (the flat top makes a great coffee warmer) I just
had to sample in the classic DX7 piano. Ok, you tweaks, I
can just see you guys rolling your eyes. For those who are new to
this game, the DX7 classic "bell piano" is probably on more hit
records than any other synth sound ever made. Every general
sound module on the market tries to imitate it. So why did
I add it? Well, it sounds exactly like a DX7, and I think
that sonic footprint is needed to make a range of other cool ambient
sounds. Its just 4 samples, but it sounds great.
I am now focusing on ambient
sounds. Just listened to Orbital's album "Diversions" and
made a list of 20 ambient sounds I want. These are all short
little samples of a filtered bell tone. Then there is a matter
of pads with inharmonic bell qualities that create beautiful atmospheres
you have probably heard in some of Vangelis stuff and Kraftwerk.
To me this is the critical offset to analog. As we paint with
colors, contrast illumines the qualities of the opposite.
Maybe now you see why i had to add the best patch the dx7 ever made.
I am not the first person to layer it with others sounds, and when
you hear it in my bank you'll hear the ghosts of many great tweakmeisters
when FM and analog was all we had.
Also just about finished
demo 2, which demonstrates the 5 velocity layered TB303 patches.
Each of these 5 has 4 layers of velocity so you get those idiosyncratic
"squelches" when you play hard, "edges" when you back off, "glurps"
in the middle and does the classic spectral lowpass when played
light. Also note the new awesome ms20 sounds--from woodwinds
to classic synths, new outrageous filter effects, hehe, and a sharper
I still have 2 megs free from my last cleanup/relooping. Some
of those MS20 samples from Ice Kold Tekno were really long so cut
them up, more efficiently looped them and downsampled where I could
get away with it. The mystery: what will make the cut.
Looks like I am going to
take a bit longer and go the extra mile Right before finishing demo
2 I got into making up the set of space sounds out the the fm noisewaves
and fm bell tones. You'll hear 3 of them in the introduction.
Yesterday I also made up more basses and pads, and cleaned up and
fixed more stuff. I'll be making another demo soon--there's no better
way to test things. I'm making sure every preset is useful
in practice, not only good sounding. We are up to 756 Presets. I
know what some of you may be thinking "Yeah, but how many of them
are actually any good". Answer: all of them. I certainly
know the sentiment. I have a stack of cd roms 3 feet high
and about 85% of that footage has been a disappointment. I am shooting
for the top of my stack.
I now stand reminded, thanks
to Andrew from the Emusaic list, of the preset RAM limitations in
the older Emulators of 456k. This limitation is going to force
a rethinking of things, as the unfinished Master bank now sits at
1177k. So I will divide it up into smaller banks as an option
and make sure I keep it within the older machine's max bank specs.
It's possible i may simply remove all of Ice Kold Tekno yet leave
the new ms20 sounds. If i do this I'll have to remaster the
original Ice Kold CDROM adding the EOS 32 meg native master bank.
Freeing up 32 megs means more room for more stuff in a 128 meg bank
and I'm looking at my Wavestation and Ensoniq VFX and dare i say
some LA synthesis partials. Hmm might have to hook up the Atari
to review some of the many thousands of LA and WS patches I made
in the early 90s. Man that would be awesome. But it will add
significant delay to release. Your thoughts are important
to me. So you should know the Ice Kold section of the Cyber
sound depot may be axed.
We have now reached 833
presets and 824 Samples. My last clean up has resulted in
10 more megs free. Decided the longest ms20 samples had to
go. The master bank from Ice Kold Tekno is still in. Now we
have plenty of creative space left to add some powerful samples
from my synth modules. I've decided to add tweaked up stuff
from my VFX and Wavestation. Both of these are vintage PCM
synths. More than sample playback, and filling in the middle
ground between analog and FM synthesis. I am finding the truly
unique and best waveforms, tweaking then sampling. Decided
not to multisample, unless its absolutely critcal, like on strings.
This gives you a vast sound palette, a synthmaster's delight.
With these new waves in I could go on forever. With the PCM
waves in, the sound is now massive. The more I add, the more
patches become possible. I'm already looking forward to organization
and am considering a number of schemes. By the way, the true
test of any bank of samples is organization, so you can find things.
There are 8 full 88 key kits where every sample is represented,
in addition to at least 15 different drums kits. You will
find them very useful as you construct you songs.
Bank organization in progress!
I've been organizing for 5 days! Whew! Every sample
and preset is named with prefixes that tell you what kind of patch
it is, and in the case of samples the source instrument, original
key and genre. Go ahead, see how much work it is to do this
with a 850 sample and 870 preset bank. Not only is everything
named, but the samples have been successfully moved and put in order.
Yep, all the drones, kiks, and basses (and everything else!) are
now almost perfectly organized. This makes programming sooo
much simpler, you will love what I have done. I think I have
always been ahead of the pack on organization on my cd roms, now,
I am WAY ahead of the pack. Organization should be finished
this weekend, then we go on to the final creative tweak. This project
is just beginning to cross the threshold from being an all-around
great cd rom and into the realm of the fantastic! Hard work
pays off. It's starting to blow me away. Organization
does the trick.
Decided the project cannot
end yet, though its already good enough to go out. Today I
got the new pro52 VST plugin--this is a modeled replica of the old
Prophet5 synth made by Sequential Circuits. Yep, your gonna
get a dozen or so samples from this synth--I find it rounds out
the synth section of the disk rather nicely. I also am adding
some custom tweaks made in Dynamo, as in Reaktor fame. The
sound of these virtual synths is phat and awesome. I really
like the ring modulation possibilities in Dynamo. With it,
I am filling the the little gaps in the CyberSound palette of colors,
retweaking anything that sounds weak or redundant. I really
like this stage of the project as ever move I make adds value.
Having a marvelous time
with Dynamo and the Pro52 software synths. They are so tweakable,
its rather mind-blowing. The drawback with using software
synths in a sequencer is latency, the ever so slight delay from
note on to sound. The really cool thing about then is that you can
spend some energy making a waveform, sample it, and its sounds better
in the sampler. The latency problem is gone and you have a
new stack of filters and envelopes to throw at it. So
there's even more samples and presets. Looking like its going
to wind up at 912 presets and 905 samples, a very well endowed palette
indeed, and tons of fun to use. What remains is making a few
more drum kits with the new drum sounds I tweaked up, one more 88
key kit (which will make 11 for the disk). 15 more samples, the
creation of a few more performance-oriented presets, then bank reorganization#2,
the chop down into smaller banks for older eos machines, the master
burn, cd artwork and posting to the secure site, the writing of
support pages and deciding on price. I'm estimating 2 more
weeks and a few days
Still at it but can finish
a within hours if I want, but I don't want to just yet. As we approach
the finish, I am working around the clock. I filled the remaining
15 sample slots then decided I wanted more 'Orch hits'. So
I found another 3 megs by tightening some loops and re-sampled away.
Made some beautiful stuff today (err...yesterday, it 4:40am): some
really huge pads. The synth orchestras are very powerful, wispy,
bombastic, pastoral, dark, bright, hi-fi, lo-fi... There must be
over 100 pads and 50 synth orchestras on the bank, but today's are,
if i say so myself, better than any I've made, and better than any
presets in all my synths. With 930 presets, the possible combinations
seem nearly endless. Also retweaked the basses today.
Many new developments in
the project. I finally after a few years, got my d110 running
again. Went into SoundDiver and found my old patches and sampled
the heck out of them. The D110 was a Roland synth based on
the D50. it had LA synthesis, which was a combination of PCM
samples of instrument attacks attached to a analog like oscillator
with filters and resonance. It also had a facility by which
the voices could be combined, like a dx7 combines sine waves.
So you are going to get some of the best sampling from this type
of synthesis. These samples form the middle ground of the
palette. We now have the ms20 with the gritty vintage edge,
the TX with its crystalline purity, and the d110 and wavestation
and VFX in the middle. The Software synths add the modern
phatness, and there you have it: Synth Power!
As a result, the orchestras
are upped in sound quality. There is also another new drum
kit--the Cyber kit. These are tweaks out of the d110 and processed
in Sound forge and they are unusual. They don't sound like the old
d110's mushy drums. Spent hours on them to make them really
hot for DnB. I also made some discoveries about the envelopes
in EOS and tweaked the basses again. Many are now optimized for
Trance. The old Ice Kold Basses are all transformed with the
exception of 3 or 4 that could not be improved. I sequencer
tested them yesterday and they will be some of the best sequencer
basses you have played. They work in a mix. You will
like them! I'm uploading a new preset list now.
At this point, no more samples
can be added, without deleting something else. I'm in critical
mode now. If i hear anything objectionable it gets fixed or
killed and replaced.
I am tentatively closing
the Master Bank. I will be back for 1 more sampling session
and one more programming session and the final re-tweak. I
am moving to begin to create the secondary banks for older EOS users.
Happy holidays. OK,
enough of that. Back to sampling! The sample set is finished,
and yep, there are 998 samples on the bank and i cannot fit any
more. The final samples were some wicked drum samples from
my archives. Developed a new kit just for them, called the
"Hard Kore" kit. They are smokin! Now I am finally happy
with the drums! There's great variation. Also sampled in some
consonants and vowel tones using my voice. Use these as attacks
to synth tones, esp. basses. Unique and gutsy! Finally,
i am revising the bpm patches tonight. EOS is not as complete
as the proteus units for making these, but I am coaxing out the
secrets. Those of you who have not yet experimented with the
time divisors might find my presets to be of great value as you
will find out how its done.
Well I thought I was done.
The past 2 days were spent doing a "final" bank reorganization.
As always, this is a true nightmare with Emu samplers, which do
not allow the insertion of samples in a packed list. The larger
the bank, the worse it is as the more there is to be moved.
I will only say after a scsi glitch took my computer to its knees,
that I am glad I had 4 backups on 3 different drives. Man!
Samplers really need to dump scsi once and for all!
the 128 meg bank is totally reorganized again. Is a breeze
to program now, just like a great synth. So I am going to
make this great tweak machine and stop tweaking? No way.
Right now I am tuning, all the samples. This is another bit
of drudge that comes with making a sample cd rom. Tuning the
programs is not enough. Samples have to be tuned at the sample
level and again at the loop level and finally at the preset level.
With 1000 samples you can bet this is a daunting task. But the good
thing is that once tuned, problems with samples either disappear
or fully reveal themselves and as these problems are eradicated
the whole bank begins to lock into a domain of quality
Relooping and retuning gave
me yet another 4 megs. I made up a new acoustic guitar, sampled
direct to disk. Its very nice, best one I've made. Picked
out 2 snips from my Pink Floyd-ish super vox archive I made while
doing Celestial Windowpane. When I made the file I had the
best Vox in all my synths singing together in logic Awesome.
So more new samples are in, more old samples are out. Where
does it end? It ends when I am 100% confident that when you
load this disk the 1st time you will be extremely happy. So
I ask myself, if I paid $100 bucks for this would i be happy?
Answer, yes. very satisfied. Would I be blown away?
Ummm. not quite. Satisfied, appreciative, pleasantly amused, but
not blown. :) That's not enough for me, folks! So we
continue onward. What makes for a world class sample cd rom?
The way i figure it, the
cd rom is art that intends to be included in your art. To
be included in your art, I must capture your heart and imagination
with my sounds and you must be convinced that you can capture the
heart and imagination of your audience. This is the whole
point to music, is it not? Music is a message. Sounds are
the vehicle. Even the most meticulously sampled string section,
for example, has utterly no value if it can't evoke the creator
to use it. And on the contrary, I have kept old synths because
they can make one or two sounds that I cannot live without in my
music. This is what is going on in my mind. Climbing the ladder
of creativity, I'd say I'm finally near the top on this massive
project, I have seen night turn to day and day to night
all in the same session more times than can be counted.
Happy New Year! I
thought for sure this would be the final message, but it isn't.
The last few days were filled with more retuning, relooping and
adding/replacing. Just added: The acoustic guitar inspired
me to add more guitar samples, so I dusted off my vintage Ibanez
Cardinal, a dual humbucker from the 70's that is known for interesting
tonal colorations. I plugged it into my little Marshall amp
and sampled all day, coming up with 8 new samples that are to die
for. 4 of them went to getting a clean electric guitar sound
and its warm and fantastic. The other 4 are samples of distortion.
This is very tricky business sampling distorted guitars. I
believe I have found usable results that actually will work in a
sequencer environment. 95% of the synths I have heard do not
have usable distorted guitar patches. This really rounds out
the sound set and I've decided to sacrifice some longer ms20 waves
to keep them in.
Also added a few more drums
to replace the weaker of the Ms20 drums and a killer lo-fi timpani,
tweaked out of a combination of timpani's, and made an Orchestral
drum kit. Let me remind the purists that this is a synthesized
set--do not expect accurate sounding orchestral timbres. I
want everyone to understand this is a quirky, intense synthesized
orchestra that is very cool, not an attempt to capture what an orchestra
really sounds like. Got it? Cool! (I keep fearing
some purist is going to buy the disk and do me like they did the
new emu orchestral module in the newsgroups.)
Back to making demos today
and making sure all the new guitars actually will work for you.
They do. I was mildly blown away while making the sequence up--the
acoustic guitar is so pure! And I have a new flute--a combo of waveforms
from the d110 and wavestation, with a puff of of my own pan flute
added in. Evocative? Yes! Retuning
is just about complete. I will do another retweak of the 100
noise based patches. With noise stuff there is a fine line
between genius and insanity, between utter garbage and art.
So many noise effects in synths sound corny. These will not.
I already have tons of patches where noise crosses the threshold
into the modern sonic beatific realm. . I just need to make
sure they all do.