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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Sequencers
Microbeat percussion, how to do it?
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:12 pm    Post subject: Microbeat percussion, how to do it? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I must say I've learned a bit about this genre we've called IDM in the past month or so. My exposure has come from many of the members of electro-music.com. I've heard a lot of new music in that style; great stuff. The percussion parts are much more interesting than traditional dance, both the timbres (sounds) and the rhythms themselves.

When I ask people who are doing this kind of music how they generate the percussion, I hear most often either Reason or Reaktor, both soft synths. I don't use any soft synths myself, but I believe it would be difficult to make this kind of music with hardware devices.

I wonder, are we seeing the soft synths push the music into a place where it wouldn't go by itself, or should I say, where it wouldn't go without these instruments? Up until now, I thought these programs were nice cheap emulators of hardware devices. I wonder if that is underestimating them.

Any thoughts?
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seraph
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 4:28 pm    Post subject: Re: softsynths Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I wonder if that is underestimating them.

Any thoughts?


From my experience with Reason (I am a registered owner of Reaktor too but it's a behemoth and I am not using it much) I can say that I have been able to do things I had only dreamed of doing with hardware synths, not because it would be impossible to replicate but because the process is MUCH simpler: all the patching only takes seconds, if it does not work you can repatch everything in a matter of few more seconds. you do not have to crawl beneath your rack with a flashlight to see if the patching is correct, everything is so quick the it does not stop the flow of ideas (if any Shocked ).

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Cyxeris



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use softsynths a great deal, and I am willing to attest to them being able to commonly move into territory that is not possible with hardware.

Now, allow me to explain what I mean. There is not hardware available that can do things commonly possible in softsynths. Try using a drum loop as an operator in an FM patch, or a vocal part as well. Simple in Reality. Then there is polyphony, and there is price (Just because it can be done on a Fairlight doesn't mean you can afford a Fairlight to do it on.) Then there is program interoperability, and non-existent noise floor, and soft routing capabilities, and so on and so forth. I use hardware synths in almost every track of mine, but I work primarily in the virtual. When your time is finite, and whose isn't, convenience, cost and usability are paramount factors.

Cyx

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seraph
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

let me elaborate a little bit more about it:
I find that everything regarding automation is much much simpler on virtual synths. It's easy to set up a controller controlling anything you want.
Howard, you use a Nord Modular. Doesn't it qualify as a "virtual" synth?
Programming/patching is done on a PC (DSP is outboard but....)

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egw



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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The Nord Modular has the best of both worlds.
A virtual environment where you can create your patches, with complete flexibility. And a reliable hardware box with knobs that you can carry around and tweak while performing.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I see nothing cheap about softsynths in general. Of course there are some very bad and stupid softsynths out there, but most are very good. I see some find latency issues a problem, but I suspect many of the guys who complain about that have never really used traditional analog synths much. Many analog synths did have latency issues.. and some were pretty obscure.

The main problem at the moment is a consistent resource management... which is about how traditional hardware synths work.. and how softsynths work.. Processing load is dynamic.. depending on the patch.. a problem you would not easily encounter with analog synths. ..Well.. not completely true... some synths.. and some modules.. could be patched in a way that would make a mess of slew rates etc.

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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:

Howard, you use a Nord Modular. Doesn't it qualify as a "virtual" synth?
Programming/patching is done on a PC (DSP is outboard but....)


Yes and no. It's a hybrid. It's very powerful, but it isn't anything as versatile as Reason, at least from what I can see on their web page. The Reason drum machine seems pretty powerful, more than the Nord Modular sequencers in some ways.
Cyxeris wrote:

There is not hardware available that can do things commonly possible in softsynths. Try using a drum loop as an operator in an FM patch, or a vocal part as well.

Yes, this is what I'm talking about. Using a step or MIDI value is not a problem with hardware synths, but using a sample, that's quite different. That's what I'm thinking, there are things that people doing music on soft synths are doing that aren't being done on other instruments.

I just saw you can download a demo version of Reason. I'm going to do that now... Smile
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mosc
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

egw wrote:
The Nord Modular has the best of both worlds.
A virtual environment where you can create your patches, with complete flexibility. And a reliable hardware box with knobs that you can carry around and tweak while performing.

Yes, I love it. I don't think it is the best of both worlds though. Basically, it is a modular synth. There is more... Wink
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seraph
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
I just saw you can download a demo version of Reason. I'm going to do that now... Smile

if you need help just let me know. I'll see what I can do Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

I NEED HELP!

I got it and it fired up fine. Is there a good tutorial to get you started. I was able to get the MIDI and the audio working pretty easilly. I do NOT like the sample songs they included. I was able to get some sounds to play from MIDI control via my 88 key keyboard. I was playing some bell like sounds that came from where I have no idea. There was latency. The sounds had delay and reverb. I could see these units in the rack, and I could adjust the mix on the virtual mixing board. I set the audio latency down as far as it would go with the ASIO driver, about 63 ms.

Do you use this as a keyboard synth?

At first blush, the interface to the sequencer and the drum machine and the matrix thingie are not intuitive, but they look very powerful. How does one approach this?
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:


Do you use this as a keyboard synth?

At first blush, the interface to the sequencer and the drum machine and the matrix thingie are not intuitive, but they look very powerful. How does one approach this?

for example you could go to the Propellerhead Reason Song Archive and download a few songs and analyze them to see how they are built.
One of the excellent things about Reason is that, as long as 2 people share the same sound library, they can exchange songs very easily because the files are very small.
Try downloading my songs (artist name: seraph) then let me know Very Happy

I do use it playing it live. no latency (translation= PowerMac G4 Very Happy )

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2003 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have actually never gotten into Reason. The softsynths I commonly use are Reality, Absynth, FM7, Vaz, and Terra, and all of these I have on a dedicated synth machine. Also Gigastudio, of course. I've worked with Reason a little, but the topology of it isnt really to my liking. One of these days I'll probably give it a serious try. I have Rebirth, and it is nice, but I have found that even that I use very little anymore. I have virtually no experience with step sequencers. I've always used Cakewalk/Sonar, and with the complexity and detail of my sequences, I've never really branched out. It might be fun to give a step sequencer a try sometime. It's always fun to try new things.

Cyx

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zynthetix



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 05, 2004 9:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I don't think microbeats are limited to software synths...they can be created with hardware but the limitation has been controllers. A computer proves to be a very fundamental controller when designing microbeats with hardware, because theres a lot you can do with the midi or sysex to get those sounds out of the hardware. However, this can be pretty tedious work, involving the input of every note and every modulation by hand within the sequencer/controller (and going down to midi tick size resolution more often than not). The result of this method is something that is not very playable live though...I think the G2 has taken a step toward providing an alternative solution to both the problems of a controller that is not computer based and also provides live flexibility. A microbeat can be created with a fast LFO signal or high bpm sequencer triggering various oscillators, and the parameters are all there to tinker with live. In short, I don't think microbeats are a hardware or software issue, but a controller issue.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I see this is a very old topic... but just thought I'd throw this in here anyways...

Autechre, arguably the masters of IDM... use almost all hardware now (almost...)

machine drum, monomachine, modular g2, and mpc

see them live if you can... the make all of those pieces of gear rock the fuck out
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 1:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i was just gonna say the same... machinedrum is pretty much the way to go... and then there's always abelton live. personally, some of the more interesting stuff happens on modulars and then gets edited and re-sequenced (re-played) in the post. I know that Otto Von Schiarch and Richard Devine are both very software-heavy on the post end. Otto is all software and Richard's got a lot of stuff...hardware and software...

but yea...check out the machinedrum/monomachine. We've got both in the studio and it's very simple to generate this kind of stuff. When you process it in the post you can hit that kind of terrain. Especially if you are running it through something like a Kyma system Wink

-matia
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opg



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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I use Fruity Loops, and I'd say it's quite perfect for microbeats. My percussion samples are either from vintage machines, my own hardware synths, or completely pure waveforms via Stomper. Sometimes I'll take a waveform from a hardware synth and create percussion samples within Fruity Loops out of that. I never use VSTi drum machines/synths.

Lately, I've been triggering hardware within Fruity Loops. I have FL triggering a Yamaha RX-11 drum machine (that has individual outs for each sample) that in turn trigger Tama Techstar TS-202 analog drum modules. You could certainly use an Akai MPC this way as well, I guess, but I've never looked into using one.

Like I mentioned though, my favorite sounds are from vintage machines, especially from old organs and rhythm boxes (Gulbransen, Watford, Wurlitzer, etc). I doubt there's much I could do if I actually had all those instruments! Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ar2jr wrote:
When you process it in the post you can hit that kind of terrain. Especially if you are running it through something like a Kyma system Wink


Matia, are you using a Kyma system?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 11:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

howard, i think travis does this kind of thing very well with his nm setup...his approach is likely a little differant as well.

deknow

edit:..and what he does _is_ well suited for live performance...patches designed to be played live vs complex sequences per se.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yes, I haven't seen Travis in a while, he moved to NYC. Good for him, too bad for me. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
Yes, I haven't seen Travis in a while, he moved to NYC. Good for him, too bad for me


So thats where he went ?? Travis is such a great guy !

Anyhow .. I use Abelton LIVE with D-Blue Glitch plug-in and Abelton's built in sample slicers to get my glitchy beats. Also, using "Recycle" to create REX files from drum loops helps. The drum loops are "sliced" up into tiny samples and each slice is then assigned a MIDI note by recycle. Now, with my MIDI sequencer (an Ableton MIDI track) , I can sequence the beats any way I like and effect them any way I want also. I can use MIDI effects OR audi FX and a combination of both. The signal routing ability in Abelton is very comprehensive.

A new feature of version 7.02 is that I can set up an FX chain on a track with a bunch of software FX and righ smack in the middle of the chain, I can INSERT and external bit of hardware. I am running this on a QUAD core machine and must say, the latency is very low .... It's very cool ! Abelton now takes advantage of multicore processing so I felt it was the best time to upgrade my music computer. I have also decided to add two 24" wide screen monitors to my setup as well. Plenty of virtual KNOB space !! Wink

BTW: IDM is probably my favorite type of electronic music. I am also a minimal and glitch fan as well ...

There are so many methods out there do get similar results as you well know. Very Happy

Bill
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
use Fruity Loops, and I'd say it's quite perfect for microbeats


Yes, that works good also. Lots iof my early music used Fruity Loops, now called "FL Studio" ... Very Happy

Bill
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:

Matia, are you using a Kyma system?


I have used a Kyma Capybara. We had one at the studio I worked for. I tried it out a couple of times and it was basically the same problem I have with things such as Max or SuperCollider-- the time needed to invest into learning the interface in order to get the most out of it. My problem is that I am a sound programmer and really have a hard time using other people's patches but at the same time don't have enough time to really learn the interface. The kyma was interesting and definitely sounded better than most of the alternatives. The interface was also a lot cleaner and did not involve the kind of computer programming associated with the results it generated. However, the SMS and the Serge Modular were just more appealing, immediate, and playable and as such, I spent most of my time working within that domain. Completely different and nothing like the Kyma, but just more of my aesthetic. I recently acquired a Kurzweil K2000 and a Nord Modular G2 and I think that when I need to delve into some of the more abstract and digital terrain, these boxes will suffice.

And to jump back on topic. When we were working with Richard Devine he showed us quiet a bit of interesting stuff in Reaktor and another completely text-based program that is as old as time itself. It's DOS based if I recall, and had a timestretch that was simply fucking great for some weird rhythm fuckery. It's name escapes me at the moment but I'm sure someone around here knows what I am talking about; and the interface, albeit entirely text-oriented, was very straightforward.

As far as the Machinedrum and Monomachine, it is really really simple to get stuff that is dead on Autechre land (amongst other, original aesthetics) in a quick and eloquent fashion. Because every step on the sequencer can contain different parameter settings (ie you hold down the desired step key and tweak a bunch of knobs and then let go of the step key) you can practically glitch the fuck out of the sounds. Using the User Wave version you can re-trigger the samples at different rates per step and also shift other parameters such as decay time, effect sends,...etc. The other cool bit is that this will work over MIDI as well, so if you have a software sampler or something of that sort which will allow you to assign retriggering of the sample you can use this same method with cc's and the machinedrum sequencer. Very, very cool, and suited towards live manipulation. Also worth mentioning is that within the song sequencer it is also possible to do tempo changes per step (if i recall correctly). They really are good boxes and have such a refined interface that is, put simply, like playing video games (meaning fun, intuitive, immediate, and often an exercise in escapism [when needed]) as my bandmate says.

Anyhow...when I get my head around the Nord a bit more maybe I'll post some patches pertaining to this context. Anyways... as you can tell I am nearing the end of my semester and have been writing long, verbose papers... it's hard to switch that off sometimes Smile

-matia
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ar2jr wrote:
It's name escapes me at the moment


C-sound?

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

i think it was c-sound. I haven't played with it in literally about a year but it might not be bad to reunite with some line-coding.

correction. it was not csound that richard showed us. It was CDP or composers desktop project. That was really really archaic but interesting Smile

-matia
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

ar2jr wrote:
That was really really archaic but interesting Smile


Just like csound Laughing (just kidding, glad you found out)

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