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Thread: Is it possible to make Pushbutton versions of creative processes?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Fort Wayne, IN, USA

    Default Is it possible to make Pushbutton versions of creative processes?

    Can you have a pushbutton version of a creative process? Say a Mixer plugin where you just drop in the Bass, Drums, Keys onto appropriate pre-labeled tracks and have the software do it for you? Or a songwriter app, where you just drop in keywords and it does the rest? Or a music writing program where you just enter random note sequences and it cranks out a song?

    I know technically it can be done. Many of those are already realities. Is it art? Or simply getting the job done.

    I guess if your purpose is to crank out a song in 3 minutes, then it accomplishes that goal. Or to master a song in no longer than it takes to listen to the song, sure it can be done. But what's the point?

    Your thoughts.
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Dallas, Texas


    I do think it's possible, but it will miss the subtle things that make it human.

    Think about drum machines or auto-accompanists from the MIDI and software instrument worlds. They are very good. But, there's still something (and sometimes a LOT) missing from the real McCoy. For most pop music, even rock and roll in some cases, I'm not sure the typical listener can tell. But many can, and it does matter in many genres.

    I feel the same about mastering. I do believe you can largely automate the selection of general processing. Someone likened it to the general comsumer EQ curves seen on radios: "jazz/pop/talk" I think that's an apt comparision. It's likely to help someone with no skills in mastering make some better choices that improve outcomes. But, it won't compare to the real deal, just like a drum machine doesn't. Could be good enough though!

    Art is hand-made... human "flaws" are what give it the character we cherrish.
    Jim Dugger
    Poorhouse Productions

    At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

  3. #3
    Scott Fraser is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Los Angeles


    Quote Originally Posted by 3daudioinc View Post
    I guess if your purpose is to crank out a song in 3 minutes, then it accomplishes that goal. Or to master a song in no longer than it takes to listen to the song, sure it can be done.
    Why should you need to listen to the song? Isn't 'automatic mastering' a one-size-fits-all proposition?


  4. #4
    Wireline's Avatar
    Wireline is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '08, '09, '10
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    May 2002
    Midland Tx


    Mixer plug in? Don't know, but there are entire programs, used by tons of people...

    Band-in-the-Box is one such 'app' that all you do is put chord changes where you want them, choose your drum pattern, and "POOF" instant song. This is used by way too many steel players as the backdrop music for their one-off CDs, one-man shows, kareoke bed music generation shops, and so on...

    Also 'records' audio tracks
    Ken Morgan
    2010 3d VIP

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    The Wolverine State


    It's certainly kinda / sorta possible, but not anything really useful for a professional user.

    An example would be with plugin presets. A newbie user who has no clue how to use EQ's and Comps and gates and all that could just pick presets and usually end up with a better result than what he'd manually do, since he doesn't know what to do or why he should be doing it, so that stuff is kinda made for people who don't know or don't know yet.

    Try this in just about any DAW...

    1. Load up 8 drum tracks (not your tracks that already sound pretty great by themselves, but typical consumer drum tracks that need some work )
    2. Go through each track and apply factory plugin chains like "Rock Kick", "Tight Snare", "Overheads", "Drum Bus", etc, etc.

    It will usually sound "better", but of course it won't ever sound like what a good engineer would do manually.

    It's kinda like the built in special FX sequences in consumer video editors. They're already setup, they look nice, but if you learn the editor and really dig in you can usually create something better.
    Last edited by Lawrence; 07-24-2013 at 03:36 PM.

  6. #6
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
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    Apr 2004
    Edmonton, AB, Canada


    I think with technology that allows us to more quickly do tedious processes, in order for it to be positively useful it needs to enable us to achieve "more" than we had before - whether that be a greater volume of work, a greater speed of production, greater additions of complexity - whatever.

    Some examples of where this increase of technology could be useful --> Imagine you're managing a website with frequently updated content, including daily videos, blogs, etc, and you need music backgrounds fast. This allows you to do that at low expense. Similar for live events where small musical cues are needed, it can no be provided quickly and within budget where premium quality is not a necessity.

    All that said, I'm personally all in to tedious work and getting it done right. Heck - I still do film photography for my favourite projects. But I can see a utilitarian benefit in some circumstances for these highly automated tools. Music as the primary focus of the art is not one of them (IMHO).
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Berkeley CA


    If a piece of music is that easily made it is just as easily forgotten. What's the point? Filling channels with vapid music-on-hold type tunes? I often work in a field where the (highly paid) executives really believe that "media assets" should actually be free, and cost nothing to make. Then they wonder why no one wants to watch their stuff, and conclude that any effort in that connection isn't worthwhile. So much better to make a "hangout" or chat room where people who mostly don't know anything they haven't read in other hangouts and chat rooms can display this same knowledge to other people like themselves and find argument and agreement on topics they don't know anything real about.


  8. #8
    Gio's Avatar
    Gio is offline 3D VIP 2008, '09, '10, '11
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    Apr 2008
    Mid-Hudson Valley


    The assembly line may have been a boon for the auto industry and others that followed, but it has absolutely no place in music and art.

    And I'll stick to that until the day I die. Maybe longer.
    Giovanni Fusco
    On Staff Here
    My Place

    "Real People, Real Performances."

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