More harmonizing melody adjustments to Surge…

Remember when I said I would leave it for now? Yeah, apparently that wasn’t the case… I’ve fixed it a bit, but I’m still not happy with it. Going to be spending some more time on it today and see if I can’t get it to sit properly.

In this recent update I’ve also tamed the higher frequencies some. The track could be come a bit straining to listen to because of it, and hopefully now it’s a bit less so.

Surge (WIP 058)

Surge update, more trance melodic elements added

I’ve managed to add some harmonizing melody on top of the chord melody of the lead sound. It’s probably not entirely where it should be, but I’ll stop poking it for now and maybe revisit it a bit later.

Anyway, short and sweet update, here’s what it sounds like!

Surge (WIP 057)

In less exciting¬†news I’ve dropped the BPM from 141 to 140… ūüôā

Music producer pick-up lines? Sure, why not…

I want to apologize up front…

I’ll show myself out…

Studio One 3, multi instruments, plug-in delay compensation and sync problems

Listen to the audio examples at the end of this post to hear the issue.

Update 3
I realise I never actually updated this post, but the issue has been fixed. It got fixed in the very first update for version 3. As expected PreSonus was on it and knew that this issue was one of the bigger ones, so they got it sorted quickly.

Update 2
PreSonus is sending the issue to the software team as per their tweet: https://twitter.com/PreSonus/status/603214149791789057

I didn’t doubt they would – PreSonus after all seem to take customer concerns quite seriously. Thanks, PreSonus! ūüôā

Update 1
Added a sound example where the multi instrument has been created the way you would do it before, meaning 3 separate tracks routed into a bus.
It has all the same plug-ins and is 100% identical to the multi instrument, except it’s not using the multi instrument feature.

Original post
A few days back while working on the lead melody for Surge I noticed something. I’m using Studio One version 3 now, which is a pretty awesome update to an already¬†great DAW.

This new version introduces “Multi Instruments” which basically allow you to stack a whole bunch of instruments within one, meaning you don’t have to create a bunch of separate tracks for each instrument, but can play it from a single track. It allows for other fancy stuff to be done too (check out this article on Studio One Expert to learn¬†more), but for this example all I’m doing is playing 3 instruments at the same time.¬†For Surge I have 2 instances of u-he’s Hive and 1 instance of reFX’ Nexus 2.

The problem I noticed was that it seemed like my lead melody, the only thing in the track using the multi instrument feature, was slightly ahead of everything else in time. This also contributed to the melody tripping over itself, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. While some of that I believe was the melody timing itself (while the notes were quantized properly, they just didn’t fall in the best manner), compared to the rest of the track, it’s still a problem after I’ve fixed that.
I suspected a bug with the PDC (plug-in delay compensation) and multi instruments, but I didn’t really look much more into it after having briefly talked to Matt from Studio One Expert about it.

Then yesterday I saw a post on the PreSonus forum where other people brought up this exact issue, meaning I apparently wasn’t crazy thinking there was an issue, so I tested a bit more, and best I can tell there is a bug with PDC and multi instruments.

I put an Analog Delay (a Studio One built-in effect) plug-in first in the inserts chain of the multi instrument, turned BPM¬†sync off and delayed¬†the lead melody a few milliseconds. I also made a somewhat similar sound to what I had using a single instance of Reveal Sound’s Spire, meaning that would get the correct PDC as it wasn’t a multi instrument.

Below are some audio samples and I do think you can hear the different from the normal non-delayed one to the ones I have delayed. The 16ms (just a random number I picked) is probably the one closets to what it should be, but not quite fully there. The Spire version is obviously being synced up properly without issue (but it does feel a little staggered, which is more to do with the sound itself and that it’s hitting the notes rather hard).
Listening to all 4 of them playing right now, I can easily tell when it’s the non-delayed version that is playing – it just sounds a bit off.

Anyway, here are the sound samples!

Surge (WIP 048) – No delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – 10ms delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – 16ms delay on the multi instrument

Surge (WIP 048) – Multi instrument re-built the old way (separate tracks routed to a bus)

Surge (WIP 048) – Single instance of Spire, no multi instrument

Obviously all of this is a bit unfortunate because the multi instrument is a great tool, but with it being out of sync due to PDC it makes it hard to really use at this point. Regardless I’m sure the¬†PreSonus¬†software team will sort this out as quickly as possible!

Surge melody is now tripping itself up a little less

So I’ve made some timing changes to the lead melody, getting it to flow a bit better with everything else. I’m still not entirely satisfied, but I’m also at the point where I need a break, as my head is wonky from working on music too long. If you’ve ever done it, you know exactly what I mean. ūüėõ I need to learn to take breaks more often…

Regardless here’s the latest iteration!

Surge (WIP 047)

More Surge, more melody, more chords, more trance!

I bring you another update to Surge – not a whole¬†lot has changed, but one important thing that has, is that I’ve extended the chord progression of the lead sound to fill 8 bars instead of 4. That was always the plan, as an only 4-bar long melody kind of gets repetitive quite fast…

I’ve tweaked a few other bits and pieces too, for instance played around with the lead sound itself.

One thing that still needs doing is tweaking the timing of the notes in the melody. Problem is that it kind of goes out of sync with the rest of the track and it sounds weird – breaks the flow by sort of tripping over itself. It just kind of doesn’t play nice with the drums and percussion at this point.
Never the less, give it a listen!

Surge (WIP 045)

We’re breaking out the Surge! Uplifting trance is a go!

The other day I mentioned that it’d probably be a while before you’d see another update to Surge… But, uh… Nope!

As I described in my previous post things sort of clicked today and I decided to put my new-found knowledge into effect, so I opened up Surge and started creating the lead melody and sound.
Much to my surprise I had something going in about an hour… I then dragged in stuff from the intro segment to put it all into a bit of context and see how it all worked out…

Apparently quite well. I’m pretty excited for what I managed to create in such a short time, and it’s only the beginning – a first draft!

So by all means give it a listen and feedback is as always much appreciated! =)

Surge (WIP 041)

The keys to the kingdom of music theory!

Something amazing just happened… As I’ve mentioned before I’ve done a lot of poking at that music theory beast to get a better foundation to build music from, as well as just a general portion of understanding (I guess that goes hand-in-hand really).

I’ve spent the past 3 or so hours on a site called Hooktheory. This site has a huge collection of chord progressions from popular songs, but what’s truly amazing is that they’re really well visually shown together with the music playing. This means that you can clearly follow what’s happening and match it to the song.

I started out being fairly confused with what I was looking at. It was a lot of unconnected dots for me. I knew the different elements of if, but I didn’t understand how it was connected. But I just kept looking and listening to songs that I knew (mainly from the beginner category) and it slowly started to make sense. I started connecting the dots and it ended up with it finally clicking with me. Suddenly it all made sense. I now have a much bigger understanding of these elements, how to use them and how they’re connected. The things that were up in the air before and I couldn’t quite figure out how to use, because most of it was partial information, I now do. I now get it.

I am super freaking excited now. Obviously this doesn’t mean that I’ll throw out a hit tomorrow, but it means that I have a much better tool set to work with. Now I have to practice using this and getter better at it through experience – knowing is only half the battle!
Never the less, the feeling of it suddenly clicking and feeling like an entirely new world has opened up for you, is pretty damn amazing!