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could music production have something "new" (tool wise) in the future?

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  • could music production have something "new" (tool wise) in the future?

    The usual compressors, EQs, Limiters, Gates, etc. are all old and familiar stuff. What do you guys think should be created to create something totally "new" to the ears. I think this could revolutionize music production and people will want to buy music again. I can't really think of what could this "new" tool be since I'm not sure music production is really missing anything (not that I know of) but it could get some upgrade. Did those tools I mentioned even existed in the beginning of when recorded music was first mass produced?

  • #2
    For the past 25+ years they have essentially been cloning tricks of the past and making them work in the digital realm. There are a few things they still haven't perfected but overall its very good.

    As far as really new audio effects - I don't see anything really breakthrough on the horizon. Reason being is the money isn't there. The effects or the past came about as a collaboration between the best creative musical artists and creative engineers. Sometimes it was accidental and sometimes intentional experimentation in a competitive atmosphere to be different then the competition.

    Right now we're dealing with a musical industry which is virtually dead. Most major recording companies either went out of business or were bought up by a few larger companies. There's no factory which turns out hit bands any more. What you have instead are independent artists having to do everything an entire organization used to do including recording, production and distribution. This affords the artists little time to do what he actually does best - create great music.

    Without the collaboration of great artists and without the funding to hire great engineers I just don't see the development of anything new coming about. There's some hope that new tools will still come about. The internet has made it possible to search back through what's been documented and small unsuccessful ideas may be rediscovered and refined by new sets of eyes and brains and made into something that is new. But also you have to take into account the economy.

    Art and technology thrive during times of plenty. Those with money are willing to take risks and fund new ventures when they can afford to gamble and take losses. They can afford to enjoy life and pay for their entertainment. Artists cant be very creative and take chances on being different when they cant even afford to earn a living. They need to be funded and free of worry, take chances musically and not be devastated if their art fails to catch on quickly. I don't see any of that reading the current tea leaves.

    I do see the possibility of collaboration on a global scale possible. Digital and internet can make for collective works of art possible in ways we've never dreamed but can artists embrace it? I'm skeptical. Artists tend to be jealous gods and protective of their work. they would need good trusted leaders to organize such things and most of all, they'd need an income from their participation. Given the history of how artists have been taken advantage of and ripped off by so many in business they have good reason to mistrust any who attempt to market their artistic work. Add to that the level of piracy in the world or both technology and music Something would need to change mans nature on a global scale where he chose not to steal the intellectual property of both artists and engineers before I could believe any real developments could happen.

    In the past big business both funded and protected new ideas and art. What could possibly substitute for that? Government? Think not. Socialist and Communist countries are the ultimate in government control and completely stifle creative thought and thinking outside the box. Art still has its roots in things that go beyond man and his expression of things that have no words.


    • #3
      I ask this topic because all those compressor and EQ products with fancy box names tend to be all one in the same. Some company may market a product being different than another product yet I think they're all one in the same. Now, a Subharmonic Synthesizer and something like a Sonic Maximizer might be something unlike the rest of those products which is why I bought both because I think they are different (not compressor or EQ).
      Last edited by samal50; 10-26-2016, 03:55 AM.


      • #4
        Yes, from a general viewpoint, effects fall into basic categories. Best way to understand them is to study their history and how they were developed.

        Compression = Are automatic volume control devices that control dynamics/loudness

        Echo = Was a result of recording natural reflections and later tape was used to store then play back a duplicate. The physical space between the record head an playback head allowed the signal to be recorded then played back with a time delay changing the speed of the motor which moved the tape changed the echo delay. Later digital did the same thing, storing the signal then playing it back.

        Phasing/Flanging/Chorus/Vibrato and Tremolo = These were originally tape effects and later done electronically. With tape you had issues moving the tape with a motor at a constant speed. Someone used that Wow and Flutter caused by a flawed tape transport and made it into an effect. From it they developed a whole variety of different sounds. The main item is a rhythmic change to the signal based on a motor rotation. The rest involve adding time and tracking changes. The problem with these being usable consistently is engineers used large tape decks and these effects wound up being highly unique. Once they developed electronic LFO (low frequency oscillators) to vary parameters and got rid of actual motors driving tape you could recreate consistent effects. Tape echoes were still the best for fidelity for a long time.

        EQ = These are frequency filters. They either block or pass selected frequencies of sine waves using the unique characteristics of how caps and coils work when AC waves change polarity.

        Harmonizers/Pitch correction = Again this has its roots in tape. record at one speed and play back at a different speed. Les Paul refined these special effects and taught the world how to multitrack at different speeds using a tape deck. Later Frequency doubling combined with analog delay allowed this effect to be done without tape and later digital sampling has refined it even more.

        Exciters = Come in two basic types. Some are EQ based and others use harmonizer technology. The harmonizer type use the natural overtones that are in the sine wave and generate a new waveform which can be mixed with the original. It can be a high frequency doubling or tripling of an overtone or the full waveform to add frequencies that didn't originally exist.

        Reverbs = Had its roots using actual room reflection and mics to record natural reflections based on sound traveling at different speeds through the air. Later solids were used like your plate reverbs using contact mics and drivers to make a solid reverberate. Liquids were also used as in oil can reverbs. Electronically - reverbs are the same as echo with simply much shorter record and playback times.

        Stereo field effects = These widen or narrow a stereo field. They may combine Filters Phasing and Reverbs to selectively widen and narrow bands of frequencies as well.

        You can break all of these out and how they've changed. Chorus vs Flanging are essentially the same. A Flanger simply uses a very short delay and a chorus a long delay as its phased. A phaser doesn't use the delays added to Chorus or Flanger it simply shifts the wave between peaks so its delay is a matter of degrees within the sine wave to create a doubling effect.

        Leslie = is essentially a rotating speaker within a room. As it does the angles of reflection off walls change, the frequency response changes as it rotates. You hear the full frequency as it faces you and hear only reflected when its pointed away. It also has a Doppler effect. As the speaker rotates towards you sound is compressed and goes up in pitch and when it rotates away the sound is stretched and goes down in pitch. There have been many attempts to recreate this sound electronically. The Rotovibe has the ability to change the LFO speed and uses a Phaser similar to a Leslie but it lacks an important element - A Stereo field and three dimensional room reflection.

        Ring modulation = This uses pitch vs amplitude to change frequency response and creates a unique ringing resonance effect. It has its basis in Radio using amplitude modulation and was simply brought down to do the same thing in the audio bands.

        There are others of course - many are simply variants or combinations of the main categories. Within compression for example you have Optical vs analog, Expanders, Upward compressors, Limiters, Noise gates, Multiband compressors filter frequencies into bands then compress each band separately. Ducking is another use of a compressor using one signal to automate the compression of another.

        Now you could say one effects does the same as another but that's like telling a painter he can only paint with the basic colors. Its the mixing of paints that generates as the other colors you need to create a masterpiece. Otherwise you simply have a basic cartoon. Of course that can be an art form too but few are going to see a cartoon colored painting the same as they do a photograph quality painting.

        There are many variances and similarities between various effects. It takes experience using them to tell the differences. Engineers are artists in their own right and any of them will argue they have more versatility making a recording sound its best when they have a variety of tools to work with then they do using a single tool. You also have the factor that musicians may want to sound unique doing their own music and sound like another artist playing cover music. You need different tools to shape the music because one tool only goes so far.


        • #5
          Originally posted by WRGKMC View Post

          Something would need to change mans nature on a global scale where he chose not to steal the intellectual property of both artists and engineers before I could believe any real developments could happen.
          Perhaps we should rethink the entire concept of 'intelectual property' and develop a system where we can stop holding ideas for ransom but, instead, share the ideas so we can co-operate in an effort to make things better for everyone.

          Taking money (and therefore greed) out of the equation is the change in human nature that I would like to see.
          Every worm, every insect, every animal is working
          for the ecological wellbeing of the planet.

          Only we humans, who claim to be the most intelligent
          species here, are not doing that. ~Sadhguru


          • WRGKMC
            WRGKMC commented
            Editing a comment
            Ideas can be copyrighted. Physical works can be patented. You simply have to record those ideas in some tangible medium which can be understood buy others. It may be putting the ideas on Paper, Tape, Disk, Film, Photograph, Schematic, Computer disk or some other method where you've detailed what that idea was.

            If you cant document record or build the idea then its probably not a fully formed concept to begin with.

            Seeing this is a music forum and the topic is music lets stay focused on that. If you have a musical idea and don't record or play it for others - it cant be stolen.

            The second you record it is in fact copy written. That's what the term means, you write or record the idea down. The reason for registering the copy at the copyright office is to date and protect that copy in a federal archive. During the process you spell out who have rights to use it or profit from its use. That's it.

            You should apply for a copyright some day and all of this is spelled out in black and white. You can register for free and download a copy of a word file that explains every detail of how you can copyright. This page explains some of the details. You should read them before you decide to invent your own ideas.

            Fighting an infringement costs allot of money with lawyers and courts. The registered copy which can simply be a recording of music, is the basis for the legal case, no more no less. The government isn't going to fight your case for you, they are simply a protected lock box which you pay for when applying for a copyright and submitting a works for storage.

            None of this does any good unless you either have the money to pay for a lawsuit or can claim damages from the parties who steal your copyright. That's where most people simply don't understand. They are so used to stealing music and getting away with it. it doesn't change the fact they are criminals. They are simply poor criminals who aren't worth the cost of suing for damages.

            The problem is compounded by the fact you have piracy on an international basis. Bringing a lawsuit against a country which blocks any legal approach to claiming your legal rights does no good if that country protects its pirates and ignores international law.

            So this all goes back to my original statement.

            Something would need to change mans nature on a global scale where he chose not to steal the intellectual property of both artists and engineers before I could believe any real developments could happen.

            This is a morality issue on a global scale. Because countries like China are allowed to import their pirated goods, and because the Government is unwilling or unable to stop the flow of illegal goods, there is a booming industry creating these illegal goods. Cut off their ability to import the illegal goods, and you end the manufacturing of them. This would need to be done on a global basis however because country A can still export to country B which exports to country C.

            None of that would be needed and open trade would be fine if countries would simply enforce their own international agreements. In order for them to do that you have to hold them accountable and that simply wont happen so long as they are bribing all of our government officials with political contributions.

            Unfortunately government runs the educational system and this kind of corruption is the last thing they want to educate people in because its a threat to how these people make their millions. Trade is the biggest economic issue we have today yet we have people who buy into it hook and sinker. They simple don't understand just how much damage their ideals hurt others and have absolutely no solutions. They would rather see civilization crumble then contemplate the results of their ideals and are completely blind to the forces that are using those ideals to enslave them.

          • onelife
            onelife commented
            Editing a comment
            That's a socialist pipe dream people who lack morals use to justify piracy.

            I take that as a personal insult. I simply belive that there are other things in life that are more important than money.

            Those who have the attitude that artist's intellectual property should be given away are highly misguided...

            I give lots of things away, including my 'intelectual proprty', in an effort to make life better in my community and hopefully in the world and it comes back to me tenfold. I do not believe that makes me 'misguided' - why do you think it does?

            Last edited by onelife; 10-28-2016, 05:13 PM.

          • onelife
            onelife commented
            Editing a comment
            Take money out of the equation and there will be nothing to bribe government officials with.

        • #6
          I'd like to see more effects (single and multi) be applied and triggered at a dynamics level, and I'd love to see more instruments get the modular synth treatment, with clocks and LFO chains triggering each other.


          • #7
            I think effects suites and DAW's using some kind of artificial intelligence will be the most likely advancement. Of course its questionable how well they might work but I can see where it might make a company allot of money.

            Given the number of home studios there are out there and amateurs trying to get decent mixes, having a program analyze, tracks, mixes, tools being used then giving the user recommendations on how to improve their mixes and even having auto adjustments would be a real money maker.

            AI would also be able to learn over a period of time too. It can compare the tracking levels to known quality recordings and tweak tracking levels. It can look at a guitar track and know if the frequency response will interfere with a bass or vocal track and set up band pass filters. It can look at multiple tracks and set expected levels based on peak and RMS levels. There's tons of other things that can be done too like have radio buttons for different genres and instrument combinations.

            Of course you'd still want to be able to override any of these items and any kind of AI would not produce the most creative mixes but I can see it getting an amateurs mix up to some kind of quality level that would otherwise take someone years to learn manually. Not everyone espiers to be a great engineer, they often simply want to hear a decent mix for learning of demo purposes.

            You could probably make a cell phone app that does similar things. The program could be used in a couple of ways. The one that comes to mind is it could plug into your guitar cord, generate guitar tones then use its mic to analyze what's coming from the amps speaker. It would be able to judge the signal strength, frequency response, DB levels, saturation levels etc then make recommendations of the best pedal settings for you.

            There's many other things t at can be done along these lines. The question is simply would someone be willing to pay for it.


            • #8
              Pop music thrives on novelty and new sounds. Every few years, there seems to be a new sound that drives pop music forward. In the late 50's early 60's, it was that crazy rock'n'roll beat, and tape echo. Then guitar fuzz, and later huge walls of amp distortion became the new sound. Then the Moog synthesizer, "scratching", sampling, and on and on...

              The most recent audio effect to make a splash in the world of pop music was Antares' Auto-tune. It was originally not intended as an effect by itself, but was intended to provide gentle and hopefully inaudible pitch correction for singers with less than perfect pitch. All it took was one producer to "mis-use" the effect in a way it wasn't intended to be uses, and voĆ­la, Cher's voice becomes even more robotic than is naturally possible.

              Computers are so powerful now that's it a safe bet any "new sounds" we hear in the future will be digital/computer based effects or sounds. It's not popular here (YET), but "vocaloids", computer-generated "vocalist" like Hatsune Miku are pretty popular in Japan.
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