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 Forum index » How-tos » Production - engineering/mixing
Where do I start?
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djbisque



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 8:33 pm    Post subject: Where do I start? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have wanted tog et into creating music for a long time. The music that I would want to sort of style after is The Prodigy, Animal Collective, Crystal Castles, or MGMT. Those sort of synth rocky bands. I have no idea where to start, what is a good first synth? What computer programs do I need? Should I look into a drum kit also? Any help would be welcome.
-Thank you.
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EdisonRex
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Joined: Mar 07, 2007
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Location: London, UK
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi, and welcome

What kind of computer have you got? especially which OS do you use. Do you play an instrument? Have you got a set of headphones or speakers? Are you a DJ now?

Sorry to answer your questions with more questions, but the information is needed in order to come up with something meaningful for an answer.

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djbisque



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have a macbook pro, runnin the default system it came with. I can play guitar and read bass clef music. Im lookin at alesis microns right now.

Nah, thats just been a nickname of mine since I started high school.
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djbisque



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
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Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

and i have headphones and an amp... so yes.
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 1:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Well, you have garageband then, which isn't perfect but is certainly a good place to start with since you already have it. Once you get sick of it you can upgrade into Logic or any number of other products which run on Macs.

You will need, sooner or later, an audio/midi interface, especially if you want to use something like a Micron and have tracks from Garageband either control it via Midi or record sounds from it. The interface can use either the firewire interface or USB depending on what you buy.

One thing I forgot to ask was how much money do you have to budget for this? Used equipment helps keep the price down and get enough of what you need to be able to produce music.

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Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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djbisque



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
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Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I wouldnt want to spend over 500 dollars at first.
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andrewF



Joined: Dec 29, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Check out the Korg Electribes - early versions.
used ones are usually between $100-$200
ER1 and ES1 are great.
EA1 is the least popular.
EM1 is like a crossbreed of the ER1 & EA1, I don't like it but some people love it.

These machines are cheap, fun to use, easy to learn and very tweakable.
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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For hardware, you'll definitely want something multitimbral if you're just starting out. There are also many very good software synths. Zynaddsubfx is a classic.

I also recommend that you only spend money on hardware synths. Some software synths are great, but sometimes miss that little extra something that made the hardware version what it is/was. Sometimes that something is warmth, sometimes other things.
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andrewF



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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 10:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

audiodef wrote:
. Some software synths are great, but sometimes miss that little extra something that made the hardware version what it is/was. Sometimes that something is warmth, sometimes other things.


knobs!!!!
synths need knobs Very Happy
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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

andrewF wrote:

knobs!!!!
synths need knobs Very Happy


Absolutely. Knobs are better! That's another biggie software synths miss out on, although you can hook up a controller keyboard to a soft synth.
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EdisonRex
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

audiodef wrote:
andrewF wrote:

knobs!!!!
synths need knobs Very Happy


Absolutely. Knobs are better! That's another biggie software synths miss out on, although you can hook up a controller keyboard to a soft synth.


And watch the price of things skyrocket past the budget.

Look for used hardware. You will need a decent sequencer too, but FGB should work for now.

_________________
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Parker: Like, old and outdated.


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Acoustic Interloper



Joined: Jul 07, 2007
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Location: Berks County, PA
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Part of that hardware versus software synth decision includes, "How comfortable are you mucking with hardware versus software?"

Having once been an electronics tech, I'd be happy enough mucking with hardware, but I have way more degrees of freedom interconnecting off-the-shelf software with my own custom software. I have really no latency complaints with my MacBook Pro, and I use Ableton Live a lot, although that by itself would eat your current budget. While it is possible to get stuck in a rut with Live as with any tool, it is flexible first and foremost as a software mixer, and you can mix Live-supplied and external FX to get custom sounds. A lot of people that process acoustic instruments make use of Live. Besides acoustic banjos and guitars, I also use it for electric/midi guitar processing.

You can use Soundflower to loop signals around to apps like Live, although I also like having an 8- to 10-port audio box, because I find that Soundflower sometimes generates noise on my setup, while looping via the hardware box does not (at the cost of noticeable latency for some uses).

Knobs are not useful to me because I like to keep my hands on the banjo or guitar, but a good combination expression pedal(s) / controller pedals unit is extremely useful in controller software apps such as Live.

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djbisque



Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 5
Location: Port Townsend, WA

PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

zynaddsubfx sounds like fun to mess around with until i go out and buy some hardware,
but i cant find a port for mac..
so... issue..
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Danno Gee Ray



Joined: Sep 25, 2005
Posts: 1343
Location: Telford, PA USA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Check out this website for starters and see if it helps.

http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
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butchasound



Joined: Mar 24, 2011
Posts: 7
Location: NYC

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with the hardware thing for many reasons (sound, feel, fun). But most importantly, for beginners, it is best to really learn one piece thoroughly and deal with its limitations before moving on to something that is infinite and expandable (like ableton live). My vote is to get a used MPC1000 or 2000. With that, u will have access to any sounds you want because it is a sampler, you will have a tactile instrument you can play without having to turn on a computer, and you will have a sequencer where you can compose. Once you've made a few songs on there, you will have a good foundation for moving on or expanding. And yes, you can connect your micron to it. You can use the micron as a controller and synth module and the MPC can record all the MIDI. In fact, i have over 10 synths & drum machines connected to my MPC and it all works incredibly together. Hope this helps.
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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You should at least investigate Ardour (ardour.org) if you need a good multitrack recording program. Ardour 2.x does MIDI timecode and sync, but not MIDI track data. Ardour 3 will and they're expecting an alpha release soon. Regardless, it's fantastic software.
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YashN



Joined: Jun 27, 2011
Posts: 64
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I agree with going for GarageBand and a good MIDI + USB controller keyboard with plenty of faders and knobs for starters.

GarageBand is astonishingly good, even the included virtual analog soft synths. It will allow you to compose easily with both MIDI and Audio, add effects and re-arrange your songs, then export them as audio. [This coming from someone who has one of the best digital synths ever and recently, an okay analog paraphonic synth].

If I had had GB with a MIDI/USB controller when I started composing as a kid I would have been very happy indeed.

Keep the bulk of your budget for now, and wait till you have a more precise idea for the kind of sounds you would need in your creations. Only then go research about soft or hardware synths with the proper synthesis engines or use samplers.

If you do feel the need for a polyphonic, multi-timbral synth, the Micron has an excellent and versatile V.A. synth engine but programming is not immediate. You could get a controller for it and buy the synth in its latest, enhanced incarnation, the Akai Miniak.

DSI Mopho and Tetr4 are very good new synths, but polyphony/multi-timbrality is limited, so be prepared to record track per track with the Mopho or Tetr4 for instance (not a big deal, but for beginners, a multi-timbral hw synth is a godsend).
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