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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » OSX as a music workstation
Creative DAW studio arrangements or concepts?
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dualphin



Joined: Jan 25, 2008
Posts: 105
Location: Vermont
G2 patch files: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:08 pm    Post subject: Creative DAW studio arrangements or concepts?
Subject description: share your ideas
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I am still new to the idea of using a computer DAW. I have owned pretty interesting, higher end synth gear, tried to use it, but never had a real studio to use it in. So that was really frustrating. I am trying to arrange for myself a useful, productive environment, without overemphasizing any one area to the point that I cause snags in my workflow in another area.

I know that the computer itself is the center of a DAW. But I would rather think of it as a tool, rather than an immersive environment. I would like to think of my Mac as a piece of hardware, if you will. So that when I build a patch in Max/MSP, I could almost feel that it is a physical synth. I think the smaller screen, smaller footprint, even the slower CPU of a MB, vs. a MBP, might help me arrive at that sensation. The larger the screen, the more immersive the visual experience. I would like to forget that the computer is there, even when I am working on it. Of course, one might argue that a better-spec'ed computer allows for exactly that transparency.

Though perhaps, I am not seeking transparency, but rather, presence. When I worked on videos on a G3 iBook, with only 10GB to spare (so about 4 minutes of recording time? I don't remember exactly so let's not dispute that.) I really felt the laptop was a piece of hardware. I felt it was there, on the table before me. I just wished it wrote DVD's! Now, writing this post on a 500GHz G4 powerbook, the 15-inch screen feels like it is swallowing me in.

I am going for the hardware experience, I guess.

For a long time I was considering going with an MPC/MV8000, and a multitrack recorder, but when I discovered Max/MSP and Metasynth, and when I started considering Ableton Live, I was kind of won over to the idea of a Mac-based DAW. But I still don't love the idea.

So, any creative thoughts as to DAW/studio arrangements?

d

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CJ Miller



Joined: Jan 07, 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:52 am    Post subject: Re: Creative DAW studio arrangements or concepts?
Subject description: share your ideas
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IMO it is good to have a computer which *can* be immersive when setup is needed, but then can used as an instrument without needing to see it very much. Especially for Max/MSP, it can take minutes, hours, or days to create and refine patches. This time is much more productive if one can easily see what one is doing. My main DAW, when I use one, is usually Logic, which also benefits from a large monitor.

For me, the most important thing which makes a DAW feel interactive is the right controllers. I am not really a keyboard player, so this means - at least - pots and switches which can be used to initiate events or change parameters. It helps also if your DAW can use MIDI information sent to it as a substitute for mouse and key combinations. This way you can play/stop, mute/unmute, select tracks, overdub, shuttle - and just about anything else - from your MIDI controller without needing to even look at or touch the computer.

Lastly, I think that as many things in your studio should be interconnectable as possible. I use a lot of custom hardware, so for me this means converting MIDI <-> CV, MIDI <-> triggers, triggers <-> CV. Also MIDI and CV activated switches and pedals which can be hit remotely in real time or synchronized via sequencer. All these last things I am still working on, but the good news is that the electronics are of a very easy type.

This all results in a setup which is immersive in a tactile way. As to say that the instrument surrounds you, and a given action can be performed in different ways. As opposed to a visual immersion one-way into your computer screen, where inspiration can be lost in an endless maze of screens and menus.

YMMV!
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dualphin



Joined: Jan 25, 2008
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Location: Vermont
G2 patch files: 4

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You say, "when I use one". What do you use when you are not using a DAW?

d

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CJ Miller



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When I am not using a DAW I might just be using other equipment, or other software environments. There are times when I will improvise or try compositional ideas with Max/MSP, Numerology, BP2, or other software - but only use the results in a DAW to combine with other bits to sculpt a finished piece. More for mixing and mastering, in my own weird way. I might run a DAW for recording and plugins of material coming from live performance on other computers, or other software on the same computer.
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Jyoti



Joined: Mar 07, 2008
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Location: Derby, UK
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 10:01 am    Post subject: Re: Creative DAW studio arrangements or concepts?
Subject description: share your ideas
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dualphin wrote:
I know that the computer itself is the center of a DAW. But I would rather think of it as a tool, rather than an immersive environment. I would like to think of my Mac as a piece of hardware, if you will.


Me too.

My studio used to have Logic Pro at its centre and I was veering towards doing everything in the box. Even though I had fabulous real analogue synths behind me, I'd end up using softsynths as they were quicker and easier.

But the last few years, I've moved away from that for two reasons:
a - not happy with Logic's timing lately
b - not happy with the sound of the stuff I was making.

So, I've moved back to using a lot of external hardware and using my Mac as a vast digital mixer (72 ins and outs!) and recorder. I'm currently still using Logic but am considering switching to DP as I'm too annoyed with Apple over various issues too tedious to go into here.

Most of my sequencing is now done on my Elektron gear or MPC or, occasionally, MC-202 / JX-3P / 808.

I feel I'm using the computer for what it's best at: as a nexus and relatively transparent audio recorder. I don't think, for me personally, it's very good at being an instrument or sequencer. And, to my ears, my external hardware instruments, reverbs and other effects sound nicer than plugins. But that's just my personal opinion, others may differ!

That's my 2p! Very Happy

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