I was thinking about the Minibrute, checking out the videos and reading the specs. Those who know me well won’t be surprised that I’m drawn to the noisy oscillator shaping and filter feedback. I’m not a fan of the keys, but it’s not a deal-breaker. Then I realised I could patch up some filter feedback with my Dark Energy (I modded it to have dual audio outputs). And then I thought it’d be fun to put my Freqbox in the feedback path. So the signal path is something like this:
Dark Energy: Oscillator + audio input -> LP Filter -> Output 1+2
Freqbox: Dark Energy Output 2 -> Input drive -> Oscillator with sync and FM -> Dark Energy audio input.
That’s some serious chaos.
And I realised that the Minibrute probably wouldn’t offer me anything substantially different to what I could already cook up with my existing gear and a bit of creativity.
Don’t believe the hype.
Learn as much as you can. Try everything out. Learn to listen carefully.
But if you can’t hear it, don’t waste your time on it. If it might be useful, you’ll probably figure it out later. You’ll discover it when your skills catch up with your ambition. Or it’s something that’s been misrepresented and misunderstood as it passed from one person to another.
The trouble is, there’s no way to tell the difference between the two until your skills improve. So don’t worry about it. If you can’t hear it, don’t waste your time on it.
And just to keep in in perspective – if it’s something you can hear, but you have to squint your ears to pick it out, chances are it won’t make any difference to your listener.
A good example is dither. I’m sure that on some music in some listening environments, crunchy digital truncation at -96dB is audible and undesirable (e.g. delicate orchestral music in Bob Ludwig’s studio). But for my music and my listeners, anything happening at -96dB is totally inconsequential. So I haven’t A/B tested a whole bunch of dither algorithms to work out which one is best. In fact, sometimes I don’t use any dither at all when I master. And I can’t tell which jobs they are by listening to them. And no-one’s noticed either.
Another example is tuning the kick drum to the key of the song. I can’t remember ever doing it. I recently released an electro-rock album where it didn’t even occur to me that the kick should be tuned to each song. And I think the songs slam.
Maybe you disagree with me. Let me know. Maybe you hear something that I don’t. As you know, I’m always happy to be wrong if it means learning and growing. But don’t parrot ‘truisms’ that you don’t have first-hand experience of. Just because you read it somewhere doesn’t make it true.