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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Soft synths
Soft synth for a young child
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lotus49



Joined: Nov 30, 2009
Posts: 4
Location: England

PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:52 am    Post subject: Soft synth for a young child Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My 8 year old son is very keen on music and has shown a lot of interest recently in electronic keyboards, so I have decided to buy him a midi keyboard for Christmas and I am looking for some advice on software to use with it.

I will readily admit my knowledge of electronic music software is almost non-existent (I am a musician but I play the clavichord and baroque flute).

I would be very grateful if you could suggest some software for him to use with the keyboard. I would like it to support a library of existing instruments (usual piano, organ, wind, string, brass etc) but also to allow him to experiment with creating new sounds.

He is bright and very computer literate as he has been using a computer almost daily since he was 2. He is also very willing to experiment so within reason he is unlikely to be intimidated but his knowledge of acoustics is (unsurprisingly for an 8 year old) limited.

His computer is a mid spec laptop running Windows XP (we had Vista on it but it sucked utterly so I reinstalled XP) so anything that requires a powerful processor is probably not going to run.

What would be ideal is something that is simple to do basic stuff (eg select instruments, basic effects etc) but is capable of more as he gets used to it.

If anyone has any recommendations, I would be very grateful for some pointers as the array of software is rather bewildering.

PS Although my interest in music is principally baroque, I am very technical so it doesn't really matter how hard the software is to setup and configure, only how easy it is to use.
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brickman



Joined: Apr 08, 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

U might try posting here as well :

http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/

The soft synth forum here can be a bit quiet .
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 01, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

brickman wrote:


The soft synth forum here can be a bit quiet .


It's because we're too busy building synths, that's why! Cool Very Happy

welcome to electro-music.com lotus49 Very Happy

Have you considered building a Soundlab with your son? I remember my Dad and I building a Sinclair ZX81 from a kit, way back in 1982 or whereabouts. It was a lot of fun!

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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

welcome to the forum, what sort of price are we looking at?
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lotus49



Joined: Nov 30, 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thanks for the suggestions.

The Soundlab looks interesting to me but my son has never shown any interest in building things in general. It's definitely the musical and creative side that captures his imagination.

He plays the guitar and plays around with my clavichord but I know he loves the idea of being able to change sounds at the press of a button (or click of a mouse).

I know there is open source musical software available as well as a vast amount of paid software ranging from relatively cheap products (~£50-100) up to mind bogglingly expensive professional software that would be both out of my price range as well as much too complex for both of us.

Once the keyboard arrives, I think I may play around with some of the free software to see what sort of features I find useful or interesting. At least that way I will have a better idea what it is I am looking for.
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BobTheDog



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well Native Instruments Reaktor was just on sale for $99, I don't know if it has run out but that would be a great buy. There is a user library with thousands of synths, may be worth a look.
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Antimon



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

There is also Reaper, which is a cheap but nice DAW with a lot of stuff included. It seems the manual PDF is free nowadays too... It's $60 for a non-commercial license. This can then be loaded with free plugins that you find on e.g. kvraudio.

/Stefan

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lotus49



Joined: Nov 30, 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:07 pm    Post subject: Thanks for helping a newbie Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I just wanted to say thank you for the help I received here.

I now know a lot more than I did when I first asked the question and I now realise that what I was after was a DAW or VSTi host but your suggestions were helpful and got me going on the right path.

I have learnt a huge amount in the last couple of weeks and I have become absolutely fascinated and intrigued by the possibilities of electronic music. As an early music specialist I had rather a blinkered view of electronic music (think stylophone Smile) and my son and I have had a great time experimenting since Christmas (when I gave him his midi keyboard).

I now wish I had asked my wife for an Akai wind controller for Christmas, oh well, there's always my birthday.
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v-un-v
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks for helping a newbie Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

lotus49 wrote:
As an early music specialist


Ahh! You like early music? Me too! Very Happy

I presume we're talking Monteverdi, Tallis, Josquin, Brumel et al?

I say Brumel, because I love 'The Earthquake Mass'. Very Happy (The only thing I know by Brumel! Embarassed )

Although only composed a couple of years back, I picked up 'Requiem' by an American composer called Mack Wilberg the other day, sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, it's pretty out there! Early music lovers tend to also like this one, despite the recording being so young (2008?)!

--> iTunes link

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ACHTUNG!
ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!
DAS KOMPUTERMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.
IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.
ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.
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lotus49



Joined: Nov 30, 2009
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Location: England

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Although I do like Tallis, Monteverdi and Josquin (I'm not really familiar with Brumel) my main interest is the high baroque and early classical period so Bach (JS and CPE), Telemann, Handel, Corelli etc.

My main love is keyboard music. I have a copy of the clavichord that Handel used towards the end of his life. The original is in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I would love a large baroque harpsichord, but lack of space (and money) means I just have to drool over other people's at the moment.

I have heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir but I'll admit I've never heard of Mack Wilberg. I shall look out for the piece you mention.

I am curious to know whether you combine your interests in early music and electronic music or regard them as separate. When I got my son's keyboard working, the first thing I looked for was a good harpsichord plug-in. The best I have found so far is the sampled one built into Logic that my brother showed me on his Mac. Most of the synthesised harpsichords I have found are disappointingly unconvincing.
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