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Old School Ambient artist looking for New World advice

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Hello all; I'm new to this forum, and new to the "new world" of technology, but I'm old-school ambient, and I'm looking for some answers.
My history: with music started with writing avante-garde music back in the days just before midi and computer music because accessible and affordable....back in the mid 70's, one of my composition teachers showed me how he spliced the two ends of reel tape together to make a loop...and I was off.

In the 80's I did a number of theater "scores" on tape (music conctrete, we called it then) and I was into the sounds of Eno, Fripp, Jarre, TD, etc.   Further love of early music, too, for it's open sounding harmony and drones.   So I'm not new to doing's just been a long time.
Life happened, kids happened, jobs happened, etc etc.   But I sort of dropped away from the technological side of music.
Thru that time I did a lot with Folk and acoustic music, but sort of left the technology out of it.
Ok, so flash foward to now....I'm coming back to ambient, and the world has changed.   For the past several months, I've been trying to get my head around MIDI and a couple of DAWS.  About two years ago, I did a Native American Flute recording, all in Audacity....but for the past few months I've been working hard in FLStudio and Reaper.
But I'm not sure these are allowing me to experience the workflow in a way that is copascetic with all seems very beat/tempo based...which is fine, when I bring in a drum or ostinato pattern...
...but personally, I'm sorta improv based, and "conventional recording wisdom" sez leave out all the FX and put them in later....but that sort of changes the way I perform.   It might be nice to generate sounds/samples/sequences in real time and "capture" them.   
But I'm also highly into the "less is more" ethic when it comes to complications like chasing down hum, figuring out why the software isn't doing what it SHOULD be doing, figuring out routing, etc etc.   I'd rather be making music happen than all of that, and by the time I get it all working right (for this one pass), I'm exhasuted from the frustration, and there goes my desire to make music.   
It is getting better.
But I'm just wondering if some software is more suited to streamlined flow....and if I'm using a DAW that is too beat based.   Maybe I should be going a hardware route and "performing" the music from synths, sequencers, samplers, and "capturing" what I do.   
There is so very much to learn, in the areas of recording, midi, sequencing, synthesis, mixing, mastering (don't even get me started on that one...)
I don't know...maybe a little advice?   
I am basically wanting to do what I'd call "organic ambient" with natural sounds/instruments/samples along with my flutes, keyboards, and hand percussion sounds.  I also play a pimped electric autoharp that plays hundreds of chords and pentatonic scales (called the Prizim Zither).   
I'd love to be able to do it live....I perform with my flutes in bookstores, art galleries, coffee shops... but streamlined workflow would be required.   Groove boxes?   THey seem beat based as well.


--- Quote from: Immersion on April 29, 2014, 10:28:40 AM ---Some people prefer TC electronic reverbs I know Opphoi did like them, I know Robert Rich and I think also Loren Nerell like Sony reverbs.
--- End quote ---

I like them all.  ;D
In my studio I have TC Electronics, Sony, Lexicon, Ursa Major, Roland, and Alesis reverbs. I have hardware and software tools. To me whatever works is worth using. So old school is fine, if you feel comfortable working that way then go ahead. Recording FX with the instruments is fine if that's how you like to work, that's how some people like to do it, nothing wrong with it.

As for DAWs, none of them are really designed for doing ambient music, and most of us use whatever we feel comfortable using. I mainly use Logic Studio, if I am doing a long drone piece then I just turn off the metronome and let it go. I've never used FL Studio but most of the people I know who use it are doing more beat driven stuff. Some people are just not comfortable with computers, A Produce mainly used ADATs or burned stuff directly to CDr, his concession to hard disc recording was purchasing a Korg Oasys keyboard workstation. So if a DAW is just too much then go with something else.


From reading your post I gather that the workflow issue is probably most important to you at this stage. I've used FLStudio for years and like any DAW, the learning curve can be frustrating. My suggestion is to forget about it's beat based background and just record or put audio clips into the playlist without worrying too much about them snapping to a grid or anything. The tempo setting will just be effecting things like the sync of delays and the like. It's a much deeper program than it has been given credit for once you start to really explore it. As I said, all DAWs are very featured these days and require a lot of time to get into. For example, I've got Reaper but I only use it on occasion as I know it would take me a long time to alter my workflow to suit it (even though I hear it's a great program).

The search for reverbs and FX may be more relevant once you've got a workflow you're comfortable with, there's so much great stuff out there now. I too studied electroacoustic musics and had to work with tape slicing and VC3s and the like many moons ago.

Another possibility (if you really dislike computers as some of us do) is to get a non computer based recording system - such as the Korg, Tascam or Roland digital recording studios.

e.g Korg D16 or D32.

Tascam DP24 or 32

Roland VS 2480 etc

You can get versions of these on ebay or other second hand places.

You can use mics to record your flutes dry or add effects as you do it.

If you have hardware effects you can use these too as part of the signal flow.

They also use CD burners so you can put to CDR - if your DAW has effects you like you can then import the sounds from the CDR and play with them again there.

Iunderstand your confusion - I stopped making music before CDs came into existence and the improvements in recording technology and the capacity of synths to make astounding sounds and music when I came back was just mind blowing - I've never got into midi yet......

FWIW, I've been using FLStudio for over a decade, and wouldn't use anything else to create my stuff. Like Pete said, just ignore the beat grid and drop in audio clips or midi data via the piano roll. Nothing snaps to the grid unless you want it to.


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