psyproduction advice


in the JUNGLE!
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Everywhere and Nowhere
hey vibration makers! i have produced some psy but was wondering if you could help me with anything?

what are the best vst instruments for psy?
the best fx?

and does anyone have any libraries of "psy" presets for synths and stuff... even the malstrom and subtractor if poss.

x. hugs. plur.

nick the acidpanda
hey nick, thaught i would jump in yer thread and say thanks for your kind comments on the mikroship track via soundclick - :drinking: cheers!!!

there were 3 synths used on that track, the logic ES2, a Z3ta and the Pentagon all of which were pushed thru a load of other plugs :Wink3:

i havent had the chance to listen in to yours yet as i am currently surfing at a mean 26.4kbps!!! :crazy: :runsmile:

hopefully broadband coming soon & downloads a plenty :party2:

:peace: imak x
The Vanguard is quite trance oriented, not always to the right side of trance tho. :Grin: The ImpOscar is a nice softsynth as well for various elements: bass, fx, pads, etc, good price too. There are lots more I could recommend like Reaktor if u fancy jumping in at the deep end, but perhaps best to have a few and get to know how to use them well. Reason can provide a lot of the elements u need, and with the new fx to come in Reason 3 the results can be better. There are quite a lot of freely available refills for presets, try googling for Peff or Doru Malaia.
Synth1 VST.
Its based on the Clavia Nord, its free, and considering its free, its not bad at all..

A lot of people use the vb1 from steinberg for basslines, but personally I don't.
I personally love the maelstrom synth in reason for psychedelic sounds, you can get some real strange fx out of it.
today i'd mostly recommend:

ohmforce plugins for really twisting stuff up, especially quadfromage (crazy filter unit), predatohm (crazy multiband disortion) and ohmboyz (crazy delay line unit)

discovery synth for making weird squeaking noises

stylus (the rmx version is out now and looks amazing) for adding some chunkyness to the beats.

just started using all of the above on my latest tune (finished at 4 in the morning last night :Grin: ) and they are all good...
i think it's important to try and pick one or two to learn properly as well. i've got loads of softsynths but really i only know how to utilise the full potential of a few... and that seems to be the key.

i found absynth, FM7, pentagon, and EZpoly useful. but then again i'm still learning to unlock all the potential of something as simple as the TS404!
seuss said:
i think it's important to try and pick one or two to learn properly as well. i've got loads of softsynths but really i only know how to utilise the full potential of a few... and that seems to be the key.

this is a REALLY good idea

BTW whats a TS404?
hi, im beginning to produce a kind of hybrid psy/euphoric trance kind of sound and the psy side of it i get mainly from any synth that has a non stepping filter (with lots of filter types) and lots of modulation options. some synths hardwire the LFOs to the oscillators (i.e. vanguard) but i found vanguard was good for evolving pads and evolving leads just using the M filter and the filter envelopes and by filtersweeping it. ill upload some sound experiments to my soundclick page and link you to it when i get the chance. zeta is a fantastic instrument but the filter behaves quite strangely. has a really resonant kind of quality to it (on the band and high pass filters, sweeping it makes this honking/high pitched screaming kind of sound). that synth does have a really hard edge though and its more suitable for instruments that dont...'move' (for lack of a better word) unless you can do it all on the LFO and mod matrix, which in zeta is very big and very scary. very complex synth. last week i got an access virus b and im finding that to be a monster psy synth because half of all the variables on the control surface can be modulated by something else. the LFO can modulate the oscillator tuning to produce these weird pitch dives, or oscillator waveforms to produce this undulating kind of wavey effect (or you can speed it up to the point where the oscillations are happenign so fast it produces this traditional gritty supersaw trance lead). the filter is also the smoothest thing in existence (like old analogue filters - no digital stepping). 90% of the music i write is made on vanguard and the virus. before i got the virus it was all written on vanguard, albino and impOSCar. i dont seem to use albino and impOSCar that much now cuz im focusing on learning how to program the virus. vanguard in itself is one of the most extensive softsynths ive ever used. you can get a mind boggling variety of sounds out of it (although the presets are really singleminded). the presets on all these synths do not do justice to what they are capable of so i recommend you get yourself a copy of vanguard and fiddle. if you can afford one, viruses are incredible but an order of magnitude more complex than vanguard because it has about 5 times as many variables many of which are dependant on the action of something else. i.e. the effect of the second filter is dependant on the cutoff point of the first filter which has an variable effect depending on how you've set the filter envelope and the whole thing can be modulated via the LFO. stuff like this gets me really confused too :huh: . it takes weeks to learn it and even get something decent sounding out of it but its worth it. its bassy and fat and sometimes a bit sludgy. virus b's go on ebay for less than £400 sterling whereas a couple of years ago it would set you back about £1,000. they are getting cheap cuz everyone is selling their old model to get the new virus TI but unless you can afford the £1,400 asking price, the older models will do just fine. highly recommended. alternatively you can get a sort of VST version of it as long as you have a TC powercore DSP card. its basically a virus b with a few things taken away and a lower polyphony but you'd be hard pushed to tell the difference. most people say they sound exactly the same. the powercore + the virus plugin costs waay more than a second hand virus c, but with the powercore you get DSP quality effects and mastering tools and you can get more of them. some of which are stupidly good (and stupidly expensive).

FX wise i use mainly fruity internal FX, although i also use Super Impulse Reverb (SIR), a free reverb plugin available here:

check out some *amazing* free impulses here:

the lexicon PCM91 impulses are in a few words, the best god damn reverbs ive ever heard. check it out. i dont use anything else for reverb.

distortion wise i use stereo greasetube (CPU load is high and turn the volume down first cuz it will blow the lid off your monitors and your ears) which is another free distortion plugin on the net. its quite grimey though. the name says exactly what it sounds like. SC_Overdrive is also free and i use that for gritty, bit reduced kind of distortion. very cold and synthetic. use sparingly.

delay wise, i use the virus inbuilt delay, which isnt fantastic but i cant afford PSP audioware 84. that plugin is an amazing delay unit that is capable of phase effects too but cuz of the virus im now skint. ahhh well. :Sad:

also use fruity compressors, parametric EQs and freeware spectrum analysyer.

you dont really need that many plugins to make most types of music though. most virtual analogue synths (like vanguard for software and virus for hardware) are capable of creating 90% of all the sounds you hear in dance music. whats important is that you push each synth you've got to the absolute limits by programming your own patches and figuring out what every rotary and slider does and how it affects the sound you are making. this takes ages though. had vanguard for a year and theres still crazy shit that i can pull out of it. amazing instrument.

EDIT: holy shit this is long :o hope its helpful anyway.
yeah, it is old... but that doesn't really have much to do with musical possibilities, otherwise i'd burn my violin :Wink3::Smile3: tis simple, but good.

i loved the ts404... it sounds like shite compared to decent hardware/software synths, but it was the first place i learnt about filters, envelopes, lfos and oscillators...

still using fruityloops/flstudio now though, and version 5 rocks :Grin:
and does anyone have any libraries of "psy" presets for synths and stuff... even the malstrom and subtractor if poss.
I have a 'library' of patches I could email you, but as already stated its best to get to know your synths really well. Here are a few things I use..

As an example with the substractor, select a standard saw type sound, and use the modulation envelope to change either oscillator 1&2, or just 2 if you've got it. This changes the pitch and you should recognise those squelchy sounds.
Load up a brassy saw sound, connect it to the distortion unit and try a few patches like concrete tunnel, you should get some nice melodic lead sounds.

On the malstrom, select the noise wavetables (i think theres one called gamenoise, or pink noise), and pitch them down, and make sure they are spread over the stereo image. Select an interesting waveform to modulate the filters, and choose a filter (ie play around). Connect the output to envelope controlled filter, and then connect the filter to the reverb unit. Now load up the matrix, and create a pattern based on the rhythm or groove of your track. Get the matrix to control the gate of the envelope controlled filter. Now you should be able to come up with some strong acid leads, or some mad ambientish pads.
and I forgot to mention you can use the malstrom as a filter for any input sound, the comb filters are good for this.
If you select one of the filter waveforms that has a decay, you can also use it for ducking. If you have a big crash or a big ambient pad sound, connect the output of the crash or whatever to the maelstrom
connect the cv of the kick in the redrum to the trigger of the malstrom. Now the kick will trigger the envelope of the malstrom, and the crash will duck on every kick. This is used a lot in tech house tracks as well.
(if i haven't explained myself that well, play around and you should be able to figure it out).
Im tempted to look into granular synthesis techniques and csound/supercollider to start making crazy psychadelic sounds from scratch - is this done much / anyone have experience with this ?

I played with crusher-x (I said granner-x in another thread but I meant crusher - but try them both anyway) and it seems pretty cool / freaked out. It would take a while to get to undertand it well though and that is still on my "to do" list :Wink3:

and I second Psilocybo that the Cubase A1 is surprisingly good (for a simple synth) with a few fx thrown on top.

RedZebra said:
I played with crusher-x (I said granner-x in another thread but I meant crusher - but try them both anyway) and it seems pretty cool / freaked out. It would take a while to get to undertand it well though and that is still on my "to do" list :Wink3:

cool thanks for that Ill chek those out - crusher looks freakin nuts ! :Smile3: Ive been given a bit of xmas $ and am quite tempted to splash out on this 'microsound' book by curtis roads and dive into the world of granular crazyness - I find the the idea of a kindof holistic approach to making all ur sounds and everything from scratch quite appealing :Grin: