Author Topic: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)  (Read 2739 times)

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: January 19, 2014, 09:06:03 PM »
Hello, first time user, great forum!

I'm building a setup for ambient music creation.

I've decided to go hardware, my goal is to layer all the synths at same time for some long and lush ambient pads and drones, the sound is to be relaxing, meditative...

So after a year of researching in my free time I got this setup:

Synths:

Roland V-Synth v 2.0
Korg Z1
Novation Supernova II keyboard
Korg MS 2000 BR
Access Virus B desktop
Yamaha TG-33

Midi:

Edirol UM-880
Novation SL 25 MKII

FX:

Lexicon PCM 70

So any tips regarding more tools to complement/finish my setup would be appreciated!

I'm looking for:

.Good synths for ambient pads/drones to complement existing ones without too much crossing with my current material.

.Field capture recorder and mic

.Mixer with audio interface

I've been looking at this one:

01V96i | Mixers | Products | Yamaha

But other options would be appreciated

.Good microphone to capture singing bowls and other instruments (gongs, sitars etc)

.Intuitive DAW software, the yamaha 01v96i seems optimized for cubase AI not sure if this is the most intuitive DAW?

. Good speakers, been looking at these genelecs:

Genelec M040 - Dream big. Then make it happen

. Headphones, currently I have a shure SE 215 in ear phones, but I'm looking for a more practical ones easier to put on/off the head like:

ATH-M50 Professional Studio Monitor Headphones || Audio-Technica US

Thanks!

Seren

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 01:47:12 AM »
Welcome -

Nice set of synths.

If you are looking at running them all at the same time I'd suggest you could pause on getting more at the present - but maybe invest in some more effects units - so you can link the different synths to different effects in real time.

You could also consider hardware daw - either recording the different synths onto different tracks to bounce down at your leisure later (allowing you to manually mix the relative volumes to create different shifting textures) or using the mixer to get a stereo mix into the daw and then add stuff later if you want.

Headphones - good thread here - http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=3711.0

Singing bowls and microphone thread - http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=6017.0

field recorders - http://www.hypnos.com/smf/index.php?topic=2093.0

just dig through the pages of the gear threads and you'll likely find answers to many of your questions - and maybe even more questions as well.....

phobos

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2014, 05:34:20 AM »
Welcome to the forum Crossing The Threshold.
I would agree with what Seren has said, but I would look to add a dedicated sampler, either hardware or software.
Hardware samplers I would recommend are Akai S5000 or S6000 or the Akai Z4/Z8, all of these are no longer in production but I feel these are more suited to the freeform music creation of ambient music.
Software sampler would be Native Instruments Kontakt.
Samplers are great for making and manipulating your own sounds with.
http://soundcloud.com/phobos-2
http://phobos.bandcamp.com/
http://phobos-ambient.moonfruit.com/
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."Leopold Stokowski

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2014, 09:16:52 AM »
Thanks so much for the replies.

@ Seren

I'm a big fan of your work especially with Oöphoi collab (rip) Martian Chronicles, I was looking the other day for your email for some advice, so this is quite a surprise to get some advice from you here!

What hardware recording daw do you suggest?

@ Phobos

The V-Synth is a sampler/sample mangler, but yeah some software sampling might be useful too.

Seren

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 10:08:49 AM »
Hardware daws seem to be going out of fashion.....


.....but that in mind - mine are old tech - Korg D16 and Roland VS2480. The roland is the biggie with motorized faders and more facilities than you can shake a gourd at....I'm sure there are loads of things i just don't use on it.

But it is 16 tracks at 24 bit or 24 at 16bit.

You can find them on Ebay- if you do go for it get an external monitor as the on board screen is tiny......

But I think there are newer versions such as the Korg D32 (not sure of the exact number) if you are looking for soemthing still being made. I was only expressing my preference - so hopefully the guys with computer DAWS can also chip in.


Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 11:34:55 AM »
Yeah, an audio engineer here in my country was suggesting the same roland recorder, but he's a bit old school, so I had reservations, I mean I can buy a cheap 27 inch monitor for my daw tracks and add another one if needed for more controls :) So for me hardware only daw was a bit out of the equation, unless it was magic, hehe.

Any turn off with that yamaha mixer?

http://www.yamahaproaudio.com/global/en/products/mixers/01v96i/features.jsp

"To meet the increasing demand for multi-track recording and playback in live sound applications, the 01V96i now features USB 2.0 connectivity—allowing you to effectively take your studio on the road with you. With 16 in/16 out live audio streaming at 96kHz and seamless DAW integration requiring just a single connection, it has never been easier to capture, edit and produce high quality, professional level recordings. USB connectivity also provides extensive two-way communication of MIDI data allowing you to seamlessly combine the precise physical control of your console with all the capability of the latest Cubase AI software that comes bundled with the 01V96i.''

Seren

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 12:13:06 PM »
You have to do what you think is best re DAW. I have no experience re software DAWs so unfortunately can't comment or compare. I have cakewalk - but use it more for effects and morphing sounds than as a DAW.

The mixer looks good and links straight in to daw software so sounds nice - but again, you'll need advice on this from people more experienced than myself.

don't be afraid to ask any other questions.


phobos

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 01:49:24 PM »
Software Daw - I can only recommend Cubase, it is the only one I have tried, it went as a natural progression from Pro 24 and Cubase on the Atari to Cubase on the PC. So not too much of a learning curve. I suppose they can be quite daunting if you have not used one before. Lots of companies make DAWs so look for free demo versions to try, to see what best might suit you.
http://soundcloud.com/phobos-2
http://phobos.bandcamp.com/
http://phobos-ambient.moonfruit.com/
"A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence."Leopold Stokowski

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2014, 02:09:28 PM »
Thanks phobos, I think I might use as well cubase, yamaha, like I said in the previous posts has that turnkey solution with their mixer+cubase AI, so I think I will purchase this kit.

About speakers, I'm thinking about genelecs M040, they sell for 1200 euros a pair. Anyone tried these or other genelec models?

http://www.dv247.com/assets/products/106472_l.jpg

Other recommendations in this price range it would be appreciated!
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 02:15:21 PM by Crossing_The_Threshold »

jkn

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 02:17:49 PM »
Wow, for just "jumping in" you've got quite the array of synths and gear!

Honestly -  you should be able to get just about every sound you can imagine out of what you have either by layering, or different combinations - you have a wealth of awesome sitting there.

DAW - you can do so much more in a computer than you can in hardware for recording audio or sequencing... I definitely encourage you to take previous advice and read up on the various ones for your platform (mac or win) - and try them out.  We all like different ones for different reasons.  Also how yuo like to work can be a big difference - you have a ton of hardware so I'm betting you want to record audio more than sequencing or more sample based. 

Soundcards / Mixers - tons of options - again - since so much hardware you likely want more inputs / outputs than a simple stereo unit. 

Monitors... it's all in the ears and learning how they sound in your room.  You can get almost any pair - and make them work and work well for you.  You just have to dive in and make a decision.  I bought a pair of Mackie 824's well over a decade ago and love them.  I have friends with just about every different brand name and they all love theirs.  If you like the Genelecs - get 'em. 

Seren said a good thing...  instead of more synths - look into effects.  You can process what you have and really change... everything about the sound.   

Welcome to ambient - the options are limitless - and this is a good forum to ask your questions and get good feedback. 

My best advice is to start recording!


John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 05:43:04 PM »
Thanks so much jkn, indeed effects seems to be the missing part here, I got similar feedback into another forum :)

 

APK

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 05:57:47 PM »
A couple of things.
- Agree with John that you are done with synths. You have what you need. The trick is to learn to program and play what you have, not get more at this point.
- Certainly a good mixer is needed. And if you plan to record into a computer with a DAW then a number of mixer companies have mixers with a built in audio interface and can record something like 16 tracks independently/simultaneously. Starting at the bottom of the price spectrum with Behringer. In fact you might look at their newer range of digital mixers if you want to spend some money. Excellent bang for the buck:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=A400
- Effects: well, most of the synths you are using already have effects to shape the sound. Once recorded you might find that software effects are an effective way to go. Whatever DAW you get will come with some effects, and you buy more as needed. There are amazing things out there and they are very convenient to use "in the box".
- DAW: there are of course a number of good ones, and they share a lot of similarities. I ended up using Reaper after trying a few others. But it had what I wanted in a way the others lacked. The moral is that you have to start using something before you learn what you like and don't like, what you want and don't want. Reaper is inexpensive and versatile and a good starting place for those reasons.

APK
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Castleview

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 08:21:20 PM »
Your synth collection is fantastic and so is your other stuff. Just get a DAW and figure out whichever way you want to hook up your synths to your computer, and you'll be set.

Honestly, your setup is already better than mine. I don't even have a hardware synth.

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2014, 03:20:07 PM »
A couple of things.
- Agree with John that you are done with synths. You have what you need. The trick is to learn to program and play what you have, not get more at this point.
- Certainly a good mixer is needed. And if you plan to record into a computer with a DAW then a number of mixer companies have mixers with a built in audio interface and can record something like 16 tracks independently/simultaneously. Starting at the bottom of the price spectrum with Behringer. In fact you might look at their newer range of digital mixers if you want to spend some money. Excellent bang for the buck:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Category/Mixers.aspx?s=A400
- Effects: well, most of the synths you are using already have effects to shape the sound. Once recorded you might find that software effects are an effective way to go. Whatever DAW you get will come with some effects, and you buy more as needed. There are amazing things out there and they are very convenient to use "in the box".
- DAW: there are of course a number of good ones, and they share a lot of similarities. I ended up using Reaper after trying a few others. But it had what I wanted in a way the others lacked. The moral is that you have to start using something before you learn what you like and don't like, what you want and don't want. Reaper is inexpensive and versatile and a good starting place for those reasons.

APK


Hi! First I love your work, I've been listening to circular ruins lately, it's an honor to have your advice.

I forgot to mention that I listen to ambient music for about 20 years and I'm a successful artist in another art field, very obsessed when I have a passion.

I do agree, I have to program them, I don't feel connected to most patches, so I will definitely tweak those and create my own.

I think I will go with that yamaha mixer, seems the best for it's price. I don't want to start with behringer, my research makes me think their material is a bit weak? I don't want to start high end, but ''mid end'' seems cool.

So I'm looking for a mixer/audio interface/Daw control surface in the 2000 euros price tag, but I don't see a better option so far.

Speakers

I have these 3 candidates:

http://www.neumann-kh-line.com/klein-hummel/globals.nsf/resources/neumann_kh120_front_rgb_3.jpg/$File/neumann_kh120_front_rgb_3.jpg

http://www.genelec.com/products/m040/

http://www.adam-audio.com/en/pro-audio/products/a77x/description

I've been recommended in another forum a very good reverb unit, Eventide Eclipse, but reading the specs seems it doesn't process a lot of inputs at once with different presets...

So I think I will investigate first daw reverb plugins.

I've used reaper, it's very intuitive, but I think I will use cubase or protools in the end.

Thanks
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 03:22:23 PM by Crossing_The_Threshold »

Crossing_The_Threshold

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2014, 03:26:12 PM »
Your synth collection is fantastic and so is your other stuff. Just get a DAW and figure out whichever way you want to hook up your synths to your computer, and you'll be set.

Honestly, your setup is already better than mine. I don't even have a hardware synth.

I'm just starting, but I'm serious about this :) I will post some progress here when I have something to show, more than just a array of gear.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2014, 03:28:19 PM by Crossing_The_Threshold »

El culto

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2014, 04:17:16 PM »
For speakers:

Neumann KH 120

I have 2 pairs of them…in the range up to 6-inch (even would say 8-inch) speakers there is nothing beating them if you have the money to invest in it. Both, Genelec and the Adams can´t go as low as the Neumann´s….their captured bass range (for it´s size) is insane plus they have the bass-refection-port at the front making them suitable for placement close a wall….in most cases (if you are not into dub step genre) you won´t even need a sub.

Greetings,
Tomas

jkn

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2014, 06:45:19 AM »
My best advice I can give is to just sit down and record with what you have...  start making the ambient music you're wanting to make.  You have the drive and the passion and the obsessiveness that drives me.  Once you dig in and start doing it you'll find those tools and processes that you're having the most struggles with and then it'll be easy to pinpoint what type of gear you need.
John Koch-Northrup .: jkn [AT] johei.com .: owner / artist .: http://relaxedmachinery.com .: http://twitter.com/jkn .: http://flickr.com/johei

El culto

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2014, 01:07:33 PM »
My best advice I can give is to just sit down and record with what you have...  start making the ambient music you're wanting to make.  You have the drive and the passion and the obsessiveness that drives me.  Once you dig in and start doing it you'll find those tools and processes that you're having the most struggles with and then it'll be easy to pinpoint what type of gear you need.

I really don´t get it how your advice can work for hardware recommendations he particular is asking for  ???

Greetings,
Tomas

LNerell

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2014, 01:35:56 PM »
Speakers

I have these 3 candidates:

http://www.neumann-kh-line.com/klein-hummel/globals.nsf/resources/neumann_kh120_front_rgb_3.jpg/$File/neumann_kh120_front_rgb_3.jpg

http://www.genelec.com/products/m040/

http://www.adam-audio.com/en/pro-audio/products/a77x/description

You really need to sit down with your favorite music and listen to them, to see which pair works the best for you. Even better would be to try them out in your work space if you can.

I've been recommended in another forum a very good reverb unit, Eventide Eclipse, but reading the specs seems it doesn't process a lot of inputs at once with different presets...

That's what the aux sends on a mixer are for, you can send audio from each channel/instrument to an effect via the aux send, then send the output of the effect back into the mixer and mix everything together. The more aux sends your mixer has the more effects you can use.

So I think I will investigate first daw reverb plugins.

I've used reaper, it's very intuitive, but I think I will use cubase or protools in the end.

You can use your DAW as a mixer provided it has enough inputs and outputs, that's how I work these days. I use logic and all my synths and effects are connected to my computer directly via my audio interface.

But all of this stuff is really secondary to what you really need, inspiration. The tools won't be any good unless you have something to say.
Take care.

- Loren Nerell

ffcal

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Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2014, 03:14:45 PM »
But all of this stuff is really secondary to what you really need, inspiration. The tools won't be any good unless you have something to say.

I agree.  I would think it would be easier logistically and economically to start with a more basic setup and makes additions to it incrementally.  Otherwise, it may not always be clear what each component can add to the mix and in what order in the chain.  Of course, it helps greatly to have some music training to begin with and know some basics about synthesis, too.  The less prior training you have, the harder it might be for you to carry out what you are hearing in your head.

Forrest