Author Topic: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks  (Read 22205 times)

SunDummy

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2008, 06:38:08 PM »
I don't use synths at all anymore; when I did, I stuck to a Roland JP-8000 and a Yamaha TX-802. 

My main soundpath is an Epiphone 12-string acoustic with a Dean Markley pickup (or a Fender Telecaster),  fed into a Digitech XP-100 whammy/wah pedal, a DOD distortion pedal, a DOD digital delay pedal, and into a Yamaha SU-200 sampler (sometimes through a crappy little Crate amp and a cheap microphone, but usually directl).  After sampling a few phrases and sounds, I play them as overlapping loops in the SU-200, and into a DOD D12 sampler.  After creating a few loops in the D12 this way, I play them in unison through a Microverb IV, then back into the SU-200 for sampling.  After a few rounds of this, re-processing the same original sounds, I've got quite a dense little drone.  Playing this back through the Microverb, at various frequency cut-offs, I can get some pretty deeeeep sounds, very organic sounding, no synth involved.  Fun!

I don't use software at all (I've played around with ACID, but prefer a more hands-on approach).  I don't use sequencers, MIDI, or any of the traditional electronic music tools; I prefer the random nature of out-of-phase loops and the harmonics of real strings, no matter how blurred by effects they may be.  Different strokes, I guess!
« Last Edit: January 10, 2008, 11:46:42 PM by SunDummy »
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mgriffin

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #21 on: January 14, 2008, 05:21:33 PM »
I just replaced my audio interface (Mark of the Unicorn 828) with a new Presonus Firestudio last week, in time for the latest Viridian Sun sessions.  The new interface made things much more enjoyable, with no sudden disappearances.  It was just like the way things used to work, with the 828 and my previous versions of Mac OSX.  I believe the problem is with the MOTU drivers for Mac OSX but I'm not willing to a run a less than current version of OSX just to make my old MOTU driver happy.

Also the Firestudio comes with a pretty nifty monitoring/routing application, which makes for easy monitoring and virtual patching of signals.  Very slick overall.

The interface came with a version of Cubase LE which I thought I'd try out just for kicks, because sometimes Apple Logic Studio seems like massive overkill for the simple stuff I do.  But this version of Cubase (I didn't know until I'd already installed it) is not a "universal binary" version and does not support the newer Macs with Intel processors, only old Powermac chips.  It's unbelievably lame that these huge software companies can't support the most current hardware, given that audio recording is one of those areas where people need the best computer firepower and want to upgrade to new machines as soon as they're available.  Intel Mac Pros have been around for well over a year now, and still Steinberg doesn't support the Intel chips in any of their OSX software except the top version of Cubase.  Pffft! 

I'm back to thinking that Steinberg sucks just about as much as Digidesign.
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darkenedsoul

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2008, 09:29:12 PM »
I was debating on losing my M-Audio Omni Studio breakout box + Delta66 to maybe go the UltraLite but I've read some negative things about it. What's this Presonus item running? You're using it with a laptop right? I'd have to get a firewire card since the new systems mobo doesn't have firewire. I knew that in the beginning before getting it. I wanted it for overclocking and DDR3 support.

Anyways Mike, look at Ableton Live, comes in Windows or Mac flavor ;-) and at least two of us here are using it. You can download the demo and use pretty much all of it sans saving and possibly some stuff not there, i.e. instruments like Operator, Sampler, Tension, Analog and Electric probably aren't there. But Simpler and Impulse should be (sampler and drum machine program to drop samples into). With the drum rack in Live 7 it's MUCH bigger than before, now up to 128 slots, padKontrol maps correctly now too. Pretty slick piece of software but it isn't cheap. Not sure if they are offering cross-grades. You'd have to check their website at www.ableton.com. It's worth downloading to check it out anyways. ;-)  A lot of folks use it for DJ-ing...I have no use for that side of it but lots of stuff to do in it. WAY too much IMHO, plus Quicktime video support for those into doing videos with their audio.

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #23 on: January 17, 2008, 06:06:22 PM »
Anyways Mike, look at Ableton Live, comes in Windows or Mac flavor ;-) and at least two of us here are using it.

I know... take a look at the 2nd post in this topic, on page 1.
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MarkM

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2008, 06:47:05 PM »
I love Ableton Live. It's an instrument as well as a DAW.  Reaktor and Moog Modular V are my fav softsynths. Hardware:  Moog Voyager & Phatty, Waldorf Q rack & XT, Alsesis Ion.  I recently added an Akai MPK 49 controller keyboard. 

Gemini Ambience

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2008, 08:04:39 PM »
Well possibly being the "greenest" composer here, over the last few years I was learning basic synthesis via soft-synths in Cubase SX 3. I also studied moreso books and tutorials on how to mix audio and just started learning about mastering. All the artists I truly enjoy, and signature sounds from genres I really like, tend to use hardware synths over softs. So I'm at the point where I just did a major hardware purchase to upgrade to a "serious" hobby project studio. I'm now basing the studio around a MacBook Pro 2.4Ghz lappy, the softsynths I'm most comfortable with currently are Spectrasonics' Atmosphere and Stylus RMX. I've also aquired over the last few weeks my favorite synth, a Yamaha AN1X. I also bought an Access Virus A. Rounding it off I picked up two Roland grooveboxes (mainly for live pa possibilities than for production) the MC-505 and MC-808.

I'm still a little intimidated by getting everything connected properly...but once the last piece of gear arrives (the desk) I'll be able to get everything up and running. I bought Cubase 4 last year and I have to say I'm truly a fan of Cubase. Maybe because it's what I've been learning production in, but I find the environment very logical and easy to understand and for my needs it's more than adequate. Stylus RMX is also great for using as a sampler as well as rhythm synth. I bought HALion 3, but have yet to start reading the manual. Once I get the studio put together I plan on using it frequently (HALion).

So basically, Cubase 4, Stylus RMX, and the AN1x and Virus are the core to my audio happiness right now.  :) 

jblock

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2008, 06:15:21 AM »
I've been exploring soft synths on and off for a couple of years now. Lately I've been trying some of the demos from GForce, in particular their Oddity (Arp) and ImpOSCar and their Minimoog emulation. They're all very good, especially the Arp clone, although I really find working with a mouse frustrating at times and I can certainly feel some latency with my wind synth. I end up just using my Alesis Micron, which I covers all of these sounds very well. I am interested in Gforce's new Virtual String Machine, which covers a wide range of string synths. I'm currently using Garageband 08 as the host, which despite just being bundled with Mac is actually pretty powerful. I have a copy of Logic Express that I really need to dig into.
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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2008, 09:38:35 AM »
I've been exploring soft synths on and off for a couple of years now. Lately I've been trying some of the demos from GForce, in particular their Oddity (Arp) and ImpOSCar and their Minimoog emulation. They're all very good, especially the Arp clone, although I really find working with a mouse frustrating at times and I can certainly feel some latency with my wind synth. I end up just using my Alesis Micron, which I covers all of these sounds very well. I am interested in Gforce's new Virtual String Machine, which covers a wide range of string synths. I'm currently using Garageband 08 as the host, which despite just being bundled with Mac is actually pretty powerful. I have a copy of Logic Express that I really need to dig into.

Jonathan : sounds like you should be using a midi control box with knobs to run those softsynths, so you are twiddling knobs to control synth parameters, not mousing so much. The Micron must put out midi on its few knobs, and can be used.

Its a nuisance if you noticing latency with your EWI ... it should be pretty much unnoticeable when setup properly. Friend of mine has one here and he has no trouble with its latency. He's a very good sax player.

I used to be a fan of ImpOscar, it has terrific rich filters. Haven't used it for quite some time though. But Gforce sure do some excellent work.
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jblock

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2008, 11:48:56 AM »
I'll have to check my wind synth setup. Any advice on a midi control box? The Micron doesn't seem to output MIDI other than pitch and modulation, at least I can't find anything in the manual.
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APK

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #29 on: February 19, 2008, 06:55:38 PM »
I'll have to check my wind synth setup. Any advice on a midi control box? The Micron doesn't seem to output MIDI other than pitch and modulation, at least I can't find anything in the manual.

Modern synths like the Micron (or its bigger relative) usually do send midi cc on their knobs. Maybe just connect it to your DAW, load a softsynth that will respond to midi (on its virtual knobs) and see if it will pick up movement from the Micron knobs.

But there are now loads of good, inexpensive midi boxes. Depends whether you want one with keyboard or not. Novation have some fine small keyboard midi controllers: www.novationmusic.com.  The box I use a lot is the Behringer BCR2000, has lots of rotary knobs (infinite rotation) with neat red position lights: www.behringer.com/BCR2000/index.cfm?lang=eng

But there really are a lot of these things around, made by many companies. On eBay too of course.


Maybe other people here can post what they use for a midi controller.





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APK

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #30 on: February 19, 2008, 08:12:06 PM »
Jonathan: you could also use your Electribe as a midi controller, it has a bunch of knobs that send out control codes.
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jblock

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2008, 06:33:11 AM »
Tony,

Thanks for the recommendations. It turns out the Micron knobs don't output CCs but NRPNs. I don't have the Electribe anymore, but good call on a controller with knobs, that's probably the way to go. I did try one of the Novation's a couple of years ago and liked it, I'll check out the newer ones.
Jonathan Block
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Gemini Ambience

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2008, 11:31:19 AM »
Hey Johnathan,

If you'd like a basic controller, I have an M-Audio Oxygen-49 keyboard controller I'd be happy to just give you if you'd like it (or anyone else if Johnathan doesn't want it). Since I now have the Yamaha AN1X...I plan on using that as my main keyboard and controller.

All I'd ask is that you chip in for the shipping if you'd like it.

Let me know!

Thanks,

Jim

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2008, 12:17:03 PM »
Super generous of you Jim. Its a nice little controller, i have an Oxygen and use it whenever I'm away from home and have a computer with me. Real handy.
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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2008, 02:00:46 PM »
Jim, that's a mighty generous offer! I'm looking at smaller controllers though (25 or 37 key) so if anyone wants to take Jim up on his offer, go for it.

Thanks again Jim!
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Gemini Ambience

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #35 on: February 20, 2008, 04:25:23 PM »
No problem!

It would be happier being used in a studio than being packed away in my hall closet.  :)  So again, if anyone wants it...just pay shipping and it's yours!

Thanks,

Jim

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #36 on: February 20, 2008, 05:33:40 PM »
Sorry, I'm not offering mine for free, but I thought I'd recommend the Novation Remote 25SL
as a very flexible controller. (I don't use the AutoMap feature so far, just program my own knobs, etc.)

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #37 on: February 20, 2008, 06:16:31 PM »
Scott: One day I will throw my Oxygen away and get one of them. Handsome controller !
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APK

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2008, 08:40:17 PM »

If you'd like a basic controller, I have an M-Audio Oxygen-49 keyboard controller I'd be happy to just give you if you'd like it (or anyone else if Johnathan doesn't want it). Since I now have the Yamaha AN1X...I plan on using that as my main keyboard and controller.


Jim : just thinking of reasons not to give it away ... don't you think a time will come when another keyboard would be handy for controlling softsynths, especially if it saves preset midi configurations for a bunch of them (which the AN1X won't do) ?  or you want to hold down a chord on one keyboard while playing the other ? Two can be handy.
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Gemini Ambience

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Re: Gear: what you use, how you use it, tips and tricks
« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2008, 08:16:43 AM »
Hi Tony,

I'm trying to shift from soft-synths to focus more on hardware synths. I pretty much bounce everything to audio as I'm composing, and then do arrangements in Cubase. The only instrument I play "live" during a mixdown is Stylus RMX via midi channels. The rest are all audio tracks. The only soft-synth I still use at this point is Atmosphere...but I'm hoping once I learn how to craft my own pads and textures from the oscillator up, I can stop relying on it so much as well.

I'm in no hurry to get rid of the controller, it definitely works well, I just don't have the room for more than one keyboard on my desk (if it every arrives...back-order nightmare). Living in a 12x14' studio apartment isn't all it's cracked up to be.  lol