Allsorts of Stuff

To use or not to use presets, that is the question!

Well guys I’m back again

This time with more music related jibber jabber. I want to touch on something that has bothered me a lot just because a lot of people talk to me about it and we all have different opinions but on this I’m not sure if anyone has enough reason to be so big on their arguement. I myself and way too experimental to really decide for sure so I thought I’d put my cards on the table.

Are presets worth using, or should you always make your own sounds, basically go for the sound design approach. Well firstly, I will tell you what I do and why I think I do this and why I don’t do the other I suppose. Firstly I use a lot of VST’s coupled with a lot of my music containing presets, however I sometimes tweak these presets add effects and have also been known to make some sounds from scratch.


I am a big fan of the following synths, NI: Massive and GS: Renegade, I also like the Alien303 and a few freebies that you can get with computer music. I like using presets, because I know they are professionally made to a certain quality, you can often find some very good sounds in preset banks and often if they ain’t perfect they are a lot easier to tweak than starting from scratch. I get how people don’t like to use them though, it diminishes some of your individuality, because lots of people will be able to come up with sound and put it with what other presets you have and make something similar to you. This however, would benefit collaboration somewhat as if you both have the presets then you can work together if  not you can share them by sharing the project and files.


I have done little in the way of sound design, I did study a 3 level music technology course and passed the sound module with an A, I have some skills in this area, but we were taught our sound design stuff in Cubase, not a piece of software I use for my music. Admittedly some of these skills are easily transferred into the masses of options available in ableton live, but we didn’t learn about synths much and my skills have been thus far self or friend taught. I have followed tutorials online thanks to youtube and again tweaked the results to make the sound a little more of my flavour. Thanks to Tom Cosm, Dubspot and for the tips and direction.


This is by far my favourite way of working towards a new sound or element, I love to tweak the nobs and create something new. Find a preset I like and make myself love it because I added something to it or maybe took something away. For example I remember a year or maybe or so ago I had Thor from Reason4 open and was playing with a rhythmic preset, it was likable but for me I wanted more psychedelic edge to it, so I played around with a few buttons and got it sounding even better. Never be afraid to use presets as a ground to work up from, test things out and break presets, but never save over them you might need to go back to the original some day.

Anyway people I talk to are all against presets often enough, you should do your own sounds, make your own sounds from scratch, it’ll be more unique, less recognizable, less cheesy. Yeah, maybe it will be but does everyone who is making music account for everyone who listens to it? Does everyone have the knowledge that what you have used is a preset for say Renegade, or a sound from Thor. No they don’t and although the producers and musicians etc are important to you, I don’t think you should just stop using presets because someone else says to. If you can find good sounds in a preset then keep using them. If you like cheese in your tracks then go for it. If you think its awesome that killer lead you got going on then don’t change it. The music you make is yours to make not someone else so keep at it and enjoy it!

Again just a quick one to let you all know I’m working on some Psychedelic Dubstep sorta music, it’s getting closer to the finish and I hope to have it on my blog or reverbnation before the end of march 🙂 fingers crossed

Many thanks for reading!



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