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Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice
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nobody



Joined: Mar 09, 2008
Posts: 1687
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PostPosted: Wed May 14, 2008 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I think the cautionary posts are the best advice here. If you find yourself constantly fiddling with a beat-up little cheap-o Casio and trying to pull cool things out of that, chances are you're really into it.

If you are truly into it, then expect to take a good amount of time building up your "studio". Take the cautious path, going back to the stores repeatedly, checking things out. Don't worry about annoying the sales people. You want to make the best decisions for your needs. Keep in mind that the search doesn't end when you find one. Bring your first one home and keep looking. Over time, as your budget permits, you'll find that you're developing a good range of equipment. Before each acquisition, reassess where you are and where you want to go. I'm finding that variety in equipment really enriches my music. Every time I get a synth, I try to find one from a company I haven't tried yet - or at least one that has an architecture none of my current synths have. Beyond a certain point, this gets pretty hard, but it's fun to try.

Also, pick up a copy of "Electronic Music" by Allen Strange. This book, way back when - waaaay back when - helped me understand all I needed to understand to use pretty much anything out there. Strange breaks it down to basics, using modular analog components. I've found that just about everything ever made is some variant of the basics he talks about.

Most important of all - do not take yourself too seriously. Have fun. Laugh at yourself. Electronic music is mean to be enjoyed on all levels, from the somber to the hilarious.
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Per



Joined: Jun 09, 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2008 3:30 am    Post subject: 2nd hand Roland, bang for the bucks Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My best advice for low budget is to buy old Roland synth modules in the JV or XV series as part of the synth rig.
They where top of the line when they arrived, 10 years later they are sold very cheap, and there are lots of sounds in them, all the bread and butter sounds, but also some fun things. The XV series had a useful computer interface for editing the patches.
With a software sequencer programmed for dance music, they sound outdated and boring, but inbedded in more complex and odd electronica, or heavy treated by other gear, they can sound great. Try to find one that is full expanded as the basic sound library is limited it the older JVs.
And the price is equal to one single Doepfer or Plan B module. I have two of them, as the 2nd hand prices are very low compared to what they can deliver.
And even though i use a lot of analogue modular sounds, there is always room for a Roland choir or string quartet voice in the mix.
Per
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Sound Maniac



Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 46
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: 2nd hand Roland, bang for the bucks Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

1.Warldorf Q

2.Modular G2

3.Virus C

If where talking electronic music, this is what ive feelt wrong or right dont have a idea..
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galaxiesmerge



Joined: Jan 05, 2009
Posts: 5
Location: Alexandria

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Clairvoyance wrote:
Hi, I love listening to trance, electronica, and new age music, and I decided that I want to try out producing it myself because often when I listen to tracks, I like some aspects but feel like I could do it even better. Unfortunately I really have just about zero experience in the field of electronic music, except I have some experience with playing piano and I have basic note-reading skills. I asked a couple of friends who play guitar and they said all I need is a keyboard and music software which acts like a mixer.

I looked on Amazon but there are several different types of instruments, and I have no idea which one to get. Fortunately they are all under $5,000 and so is the software, so it looks to be comfortably within my budget. However I could use some advice as to which instrument is highest quality and best for my purposes. I also looked on Guitar Center's website and they also have several keyboards and softwares to choose from, so I could use some help in narrowing my choices down. I am unfamiliar with a lot of the terminology used in the product descriptions as well. Any help or advice would be appreciated.


My suggestion is get a decent computer, like a Mac Pro (laptop) with about 4GB Ram (thats about $2200). Then get a control keyboard and a a decent VST set (like the Native Instruments bundle). Get good powered monitor speakers and, Ableton Live 7.0 (loaded) and an M-Audio interface (for midi and I/O). That totals about 5K and you have a studio better than what Jean-Michel Jarre had when he wrote "Oxygene".

Good luck!
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hyperion



Joined: Jan 21, 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 7:15 pm    Post subject: Midi or Proper Synth? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Don`t know what to choose between E-MU - Xboard 49 http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?category=532&subcategory=533&product=13558 and Casio CTK-800 http://www.mcmusic.ro/product_view.php?BrandsID=28&BrandCategsID=186&BrandProductID=1084 (both have the same price).
Now I can buy a midi to connect it to pc (ex: reason software) to get the synthetiser i need... Or should I go with a proper synth (somehow cheap) like Novation - XioSynth 49 http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_control/xio/#details ?
If I save some money, I could be able to buy the rest of the gear I need...

Any suggestions, please?
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Cathbard



Joined: May 17, 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 10:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Of course there's always Ubuntu Studio. Wink
As long as you are willing to spend a bit of time learning how to drive linux it's a very cheap way to a very powerful setup. All the software is totally free and there are some very impressive apps amongst it.
Just another option you may want to consider. It's a big and varied world out there.
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hugues_bc



Joined: May 15, 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This is a really old thread. But I thought if any beginners end up here and want to buy a hardware instruments to learn synthesis, I'd suggest the Roland Sh-201. Easiest synth to learn the basics of synthesis and very low price. The audio engine is of higher quality than most software instruments. It's sound is definitely techno oriented though, typical Roland VA like the jp8000/8080 not a faithful analog modelisation.
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sounddoctorin



Joined: May 09, 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 2:15 am    Post subject: Re: Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Clairvoyance wrote:


.... I am unfamiliar with a lot of the terminology used in the product descriptions as well. Any help or advice would be appreciated.


Hi,

There are a lot of good resources out there. On my sounddoctorin.com page I've attempted to put a lot of educational stuff up. I'm even building tables that compare features on old analog synths.

Since you are new you probably don't know what I mean by analog. and..of course to confuse matters most synths have digital and analog aspects to them. But concisely analog refers to a device that is based on the use of circuits which act in directly analogous ways to mechanical phenomena. Like a vibrating string as compared to an oscillator circuit that is vibrating with a given set of harmonics built into the vibration. A wooden piece placed over a sound source can be analogous to a low pass filter circuit, muting the higher frequencies in the sound source.

Whereas a digital synth is purely arbitrary in what it can do. This *sounds* like a good thing. However it really isn't in a way because the analog unit has the ability to accurately manipulate a *real physical phenomena* whereas the digital synth may attempt to do that. But will usually fail at some point because the phenomena is so deep and complex that the programmer usually takes a short cut at some point and they don't finish probing the depths of nature so as to make an accurate model.

OR of course you can begin doing arbitrary things that...don't emulate anything natural at all with digital. I mean you can say 'well the chip is part of nature and..' yeah yeah Smile. But the fact is this is such an abstract connection that the human soul gets lost in the transition and music made in this way will always sound like crap to 99.9999999% of the people (ie. pretty much everyone but the person who made it and their buddies Smile )

So my recommendation is always to at least diversify your approach so that you can have a baseline of reality along for the ride. You'll want an all analog polysynth, an all analog monosynth with some more options than afforded on the poly, and possibly a full poly divide down type synth.

The Korg Polysix is one of my favorites and I rebuild them for people often. Just sold another on ebay and have another two in the cue that are ready to go with restored contacts etc. (I have a unique solution for these old contacts which fail on many of these old machines..I totally made the one I sold like new.) It's a 6 voice synth with a nifty arpeggiator. You'll be blown away by some of the smooth transitional things you can do with these units once you learn the ropes and it's pretty easy because it's all knobs. THere are no complex menus to navigate etc.

And that's where computers fall down in my opinion. So many options that it actually gets in the way of creativity sometimes. To be able to move as the passion leads and cohesively interact with the machine you are using to express yourself. that is how great music is made.

Prophet 5 is also very nice but quite a bit more expensive for the little more it really offers. They were the first so they go for a bit more just for collector value and appearance with the nice wood on front. THe Polysix with it's arpeggiator, extra voice (though only 1 vco/voice instead of 2) and it's effects section is a lot of bang for the buck.

Others like the Oberheim OBx, OBXa, and OB-8 are about twice as much or more and they are about twice the machine or more Smile So they're also a decent deal but more trouble prone and difficult to repair in my observation. The Rhodes Chroma is very rare now and expensive. Alesis Andromeda is also a good value but around 2000 dollars instead of the 750 or less the polysix usually brings in good shape. I have one with a few dings I'd let got for a bit less yet.

There are many monosynths to choose from. I need to fix my extra arp axxe up. They're real nice though somewhat limited with just 1 vco. I loved my octave cat when it was working..gotta get it going again. They are pretty great for options. Yamaha CS series units tend to get quite a bit for what they do but they are great sounding. btw I didn't mention CS polysynths but they are great too. They just don't have much storage ability (alternate sliders) and they are quite expensive as well. Nice control features though and great sound when they're in tune. Maintenance pigs often.

Anyway there is a class of synth also that uses 'divide down' which usually means one oscillator is used to generate a top octave and then each note is divided in half again and again for the lower octaves (an octave is a doubling of frequency). Electronic organs use this approach unless they're Hammond tone wheel organs usually. The Polymoog is the first velocity sensitive keyboard synth and the first fully polyphonic synthesizer, though settings had to be done by changing resistors inside on the fully polyphonic part Smile Well some settings like Low frequency oscillators (LFO) and dynamics and things that didnt' have to do with the polyphonic nature were all adjustable on front panel.

Anyway they aren't real reliable and are fairly expensive but unique in sound (think ELO etc.) The Korg Lambda however is fairly reliable and not as expensive and also is a fully poly machine. 192 envelopes as I recall. 3 VCO's that divide down for independent control of the percussion and a couple parts in the Ensemble section. Very rich flowing uninterrupted string play. Nothing quite like it. I also have a spare of these right now I'll probably sell. They have a lot of chip and key value so I don't see these instruments dropping in value in the future. They've all been good investments over the last decade.

Many other machines are called 'paraphonic' because while all the notes sound at once when you hit them, they share typically one envelope/filter. ANd it either triggers when you release all keys then hit another key, or it retriggers every time you hit keys. Some like Korg Delta have option switch so they can do either. ARP Omnis are nice sounding and have that definitive synth bass sound as well Smile

Anyway a few ideas to bat around there. There are some nice computer programs now for sure but having something real gives a lot of perspective I think. The 80's analog synths usually have some aspect of digital built in. Most commonly the envelope generation was done by digital stepping. The very smooth transitions is really one of my favorite aspects of analog so I'm not a big fan of this. But there are still some great synths that use it. I have an Akai AX73 which is a 73 key velocity sensitive synth I may sell also and it's all analog except those digital envelopes. They still sound great as long as you don't sweep slow with high resonance Smile. Then you get zipper effect which can be used creatively sometimes but generally doesn't sound good in my opinion. ANyway sounddoctorin.com is my website if you want to dig for more info on things.

-Bob
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tgwotr



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

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renevanderwouden



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PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Is there anyone you know who has some equipment that you could borrow/use?

I would recommend if you are using an Apple computer to buy Logic 8/9 studio and one of those M-Audio keyboards. Or maybe Cubase 5 (but I don't have experience with that). Logic comes with 55 gb of material/sounds and virtual instruments. That will do for the coming months.

Reason 4 = good too.

And if you can afford buy one of the Kurzweils you mentioned.

Don't go or buy a 2nd hand:
- Yamaha RM1x
- Roland MC303 or 505

because it demotivates you rather quickly because of the outdated sounds.

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nobody



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2009 12:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Midi or Proper Synth? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No Casio. Bad cop. No doughnut.

Novation is pretty good. I have a Supernova and it's a very basic part of my setup.

hyperion wrote:
Don`t know what to choose between E-MU - Xboard 49 http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?category=532&subcategory=533&product=13558 and Casio CTK-800 http://www.mcmusic.ro/product_view.php?BrandsID=28&BrandCategsID=186&BrandProductID=1084 (both have the same price).
Now I can buy a midi to connect it to pc (ex: reason software) to get the synthetiser i need... Or should I go with a proper synth (somehow cheap) like Novation - XioSynth 49 http://www.novationmusic.com/products/midi_control/xio/#details ?
If I save some money, I could be able to buy the rest of the gear I need...

Any suggestions, please?
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WakeOfDestruction



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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you're gonna make electronic music might I suggest just getting a mac and logic 9 and a M-Audio Axiom 49 keyboard controller then maybe sylenth1 plugin instead of a hardware synth.. Between the standard synths and plugins Logic comes with and the added synthesizer capabilities of sylenth1 I'd say this is a GREAT place to start.
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SugarRatz



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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

for moderate expense: electribe emx-1 does a lot for the buck
The core of my music is this little set up: Cwejman S1 Mk2 semi modular and the Doepfer MAQ 16/3 i love them both
(but the cwejman more, sorry doepfer)


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patrickvf1976



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you're on a budget, and want to go really cheap, you could go for a casio HT series synth and maybe use something like a TR-505 and a yamaha QX-21 sequencer, if you want to go all hardware.

This is just the casio HT-700 with some delay (not my vid)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehn1f3OfSh4&feature=related

Perfect as a starting point for someone with next to no experience.
You don't have to start with pricey gear that you as a beginner can barely understand what it does.

I am always next to broke, so I use a Debian based linux distro and use free software such as ardour, hydrogen, audacity, AddZynSubFX, etc, which could rival with studio software such as cubase, fruityloops, etc and the only gear I have right now other than a PC and cheap 6-channel mixer is said casio ht-700, casio CZ-101, Korg EX-8000. Total price: $500 or less.

Keep in mind that you need extra gear/software for post-processing to get the sound you like and are used to hear.

Expect failures in your attempts to make music, it takes a lot of practice and some time to wrap your head around this. Every piece of gear has it's own set of features that you need to learn to understand.

Perhaps a lot of this has already been said in this thread, but I think I should put this up anyways.
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MarkMosher



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

First off - great post DimensionFour! I agree with DJ Carter, that software is a really great way to start. Reason would do the trick. Another option which I use is Ableton Live.

Basic Live versions come with sample-based sound libraries which are played back through two built-in instruments called "Simpler" and "Impulse" along with audio and MIDI fx. Live can also be a host to other software synths, and act as a mixer and full production studio for external gear. In other words with Live, a low cost controller and a basic sound card you could make music now and grow into the system.

There are three version of Live 1) Intro $99 2) Live $499 3) Suite $699 and you can start with the option that works for you and upgrade as you go. Another inexpensive way to get into Live is to buy a controller that comes bundled with the software. For example, if you get a Novation keyboard or a Launchpad, they come with an OEM light version. You can then upgrade from this version later.

There are a ton of online educational resources out there for live as well. I documented some popular ones in a mindmap here http://www.mindmeister.com/102132508/ableton-live-education-resources]. There are also local user groups for Ableton in many cities.
Posted Image, might have been reduced in size. Click Image to view fullscreen.

There are also a lot of free and commercial "Live Pack" refills to extend the range of sounds. For example, I created a free pack here http://outpostexperiment.com.

The other cool thing about Ableton Live is it's designed to use in live performance so with one tool you can compose, arrange, produce, and perform.

Learn more about Ableton Live here http://www.ableton.com/products. Note all Ableton Products are 25% off till Jan. 15th

This page a nice summary video showing you make a track with Live
http://www.ableton.com/live?a=what_is

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ikarus



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2012 2:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Interested in producing electronic music, looking for advice Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i personally would go 100% software just to try the game out , enjoy the process and be free to explore.If you like it then invest in a hardware synth or 2 if needed.

regards this comment....

>I like some aspects but feel like I could do it even better.(regarding other peoples music )

your biggest enemy will be self criticism , if you find fault in others work often and think ' it should not be like that ' or ' i would have done that differently ' then my advice is dont bother trying to write music yourself as your already suffering from over criticalness and that will never work for you , you will hate everything you do and the reason you see flaws in others work is because your not seeing things from their angle , only yours and that will work against you.

To make music well you need to find a sense of ' acceptance ' .Ive written for 30 years and the selfcritcial element is destructive , yes you need a quality meter and some taste but in equal measure and acceptance of things as perfect as they are on some level.In others work ive noticed that accomplished and fullfilled artists often find positives in a work when they listen and people struggling to succeed in releasing or making music suffer a much higher degree of both self criticism and also criticism of others work as ' not how i would do it' which to my mind is very small minded.

The flaws are the art and its true beauty.

Thats enemy no1 for any artist , that ego centric self criticalness that makes them also see nothing but flaws in others work or suffer this delusion they can do it ' better ' .

We can do things different to others but never better as there is no better in art , just different.

I would just have some fun.Sorry if i sound like freud but really this mentality that you can do a work better than someone did or that you would not have done a thing that way or done it another way indicates wrong thinking.

Accept all things as perfect and they will be.
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SugarRatz



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

iterate like crazy
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SugarRatz



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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

oh and iterate like crazy
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revtor



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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

My thoughts on this situation (A total newb wants to try out making e-music)

-What is the SIMPLEST way to begin putting together tracks? This should be the recommended start. Because that's what the guy supposedly wants to do. If he loves banging tracks together, then he will dive in and come back with more focused questions.

As a first step I'm fully against dropping for a full blown DAW (Waaaay too deep/overkill)

Simplest way to put tracks together.. hmmm
My first choice would be a knobby or basic or just plain cheap synth + digital multitrack. Going to be very flexible and fun. Immediate. Can share his "tracks" w/others. Our E-Newb will learn mixing, terminology, synth programming etc. Easy to expand by buying effects, another synth, seq, a mixer etc.

Option B would be a workstation. - All in one, great if he's got piano chops at all and is not too into knob tweaking. (at this point.. he'll get there soon enough! Smile

Option C would be if there are no piano chops, or he's more of a beats kinds person - A groovebox. Not the most flexible or powerful, but FUN, and will give the guy a chance to learn about workflow, and terminology.



my 2 cents.
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Patchmouse



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Danno Gee Ray wrote:
I would recommend a Korg MicroKorg keyboard as a place for you to start. It has numerous presets which would fit the styles you mentioned, is inexpensive (comparitively), and has knobs to tweak and play with in order to come up with your own sounds.


I totally agree with Danno, start simple, the MicroKorg is great, I heard someone busking with just this keyboard alone, and it sounded fantastic, capable of producing some very inspiring results, but the guy had obviously took the time to explore it in depth, and you will have to do that as well, but it would be worth it, whatever you decide to buy. Learn one instrument well, instead of getting lot's of complicated gear all at once, which can be overwhelming.
The last thing I would recommend you to do is to go to a music shop, they will try and sell you everything, including the kitchen sink, even though you probably don't need it, the last thing people in music shops want to do is sell you what "you" want. So know what you want before you go, and don't be persuaded otherwise.

Start simple, and get an idea of what you really want to do, and how the equipment can help you, that way you can figure out what it is you "don't" need. Come to places like this and get advice, and go to clubs, concerts etc, get talking to people, that's the best way you can spend your time, also you can make some good contacts in the process.

Patchmouse.
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SamGalaxy



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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 4:07 pm    Post subject: Get a Cheap MPK to start off Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When I first experimented with producing I got a cheap (relatively) MPK like this one...

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboards-midi/akai-professional-mpk-mini-laptop-production-keyboard?src=3WWRWXGP&kpid=mfH68164.001&gclid=CJ3Nu8rLgrcCFWNxQgodlH8AJA

Mine was just the keyboard but the pads are crucial, I found out later. The key is to get one piece of equipment at the basic level and then master it before moving up to something more complex.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: Get a Cheap MPK to start off Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

SamGalaxy wrote:

The key is to get one piece of equipment at the basic level and then master it before moving up to something more complex.


Idea Quite right Idea

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Manuel Marino



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Location: Italy

PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

When I start producing music in 1993 I was having a Korg M1. This machine was a kind of breakthrough in music production, with so many good sounds and a workstation setup to begin to compose something.

I kept it for years. Today I don't have it anymore but I still think about it, my first love.

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Manuel Marino, Music Soundtracks and Multimedia. Visit my Portfolio at ManuelMarino.com
I'm searching for singers for my music productions.
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