OP-1 can sound pretty clean, but it’s not effortless like in many modern machines. One trick you can use is to lower the high-frequency bar on its equalizer by couple clicks. Feels “wrong” to use it without a specific reason, but most of the engines make so much high-pitched noise that damping it generally just makes things better across the board, unless you’re going for a specific crispy sound.
There are sweet spots in most engines that get rid of messy high-frequency content.
The hidden filter FX is great for making powerful, punchy and somewhat analog-like sounds.
One thing I still haven’t grasped, though, is what combination of mastering effects produces the cleanest, loudest output. There are just so many of them:
- Recording level.
- Individual track levels.
- Equalizer levels.
- Levels for left and right master channels.
Generally, stuff I get from Album is pretty quiet and noisy. I need to work on that.
From what I’ve learned from the sound engineering class I took once, you want to get the highest dynamic range by recording everything as loudly as possible without clipping. This gives you the highest dynamic range Then you mix things down and compress as needed. Unfortunately, aside from #6, I don’t know which parameters from the above reduce the dynamic range and which ones do some weird amplification. Theoretically, a digital synth should have dead-bottom noise floor. But if OP-1 adds dithering or does some weird analog modeling, things can more complicated. I wish they released a bit more info on their signal path/tape/album implementations. I get that engines and FX are supposed to be weird and surprising, but mastering is supposed to be more engineering than art.