Suggest me a starter setup please.

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Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby Charl313 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:53 am

Hi,

This may be a bit of an elementary request but advise or suggestions would be appreciated.

My music hobby efforts have been dormant for a long time but I'd like to revive it now.
My main goals are to play music with mostly piano related instruments, but also some other acoustic instruments, on an A-88 keyboard, connected to a DAW. Occasionally I'd like to record some of my songs, add some more tracks (like drums and bass), and even some editing of the samples if I wanted to fiddle with insert effects or ADSL envelopes. I also play bass and drums so would like to record some tracks to my music with that as well. My music styles are mostly classic, jazz, synth-pop, funk.

I come from a strict ROMpler background. Always been a Roland fan, used various Sound Canvas modules for years, along with Cakewalk, to make MIDI files.
I am not quite sold on software samples, and failing this I am thinking of acquiring an Integra-7.

Keeping the above in mind, please suggest me a DAW setup please, including some software for music production products. No idea which is best.
My thoughts would be to connect my A-88 directly via MIDI to my existing Terrasoniq TS22 PCI ASIO Sound Card which I would like to keep on using. In addition to this, I would probably need some source aggregator device, capable of switching inputs, amp, monitors, and sequencing and sampling software. Finally I need some very good instrument libraries, mostly piano and synth (must have better sounds than the Integra-7 ROMpler). Not much more is needed at this stage.
* Very important: NO latency :) (also advise what type of PC I need. Windows please).
* 90's MIDI file support also very important :) but if need be I can use my old Roland SC-88 for this.

Thanks!
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby pflosi » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:33 pm

Midi files are still the same as in 1990 :thumbright:

"No latency" is relative. Definitely you'll have to check out ASIO drivers on Windows.

I think you could use basically any DAW, pick what you like (try the demos). For a sampler / instrument libraries, I'd have a look at Kontakt et al.

Cheers!
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby CS_TBL » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:52 pm

Native Instruments Komplete 9. A complete bread 'n butter set o' samples and instruments. It includes the might powerful and often deservedly bragged about FM8, which already implies half the sounds you'd ever need. DAW could be anything, but I'd say that Cubase is the easiest to get around with.

Some months ago I bought a new PC for +/- €1200, with an I7 CPU, SSD drives (there are no classic HD's in it, and 32 GB RAM. That makes for a blazingly fast PC for music production. Add a decent audio IO and you can product whatever the hell you want. I'm into the heavy orchestral stuff and I don't think I've even hit half my memory yet. :) So, whatever people tell you: it's 2014 and you can do really big arrangements these days.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby georgemarauder » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:29 pm

Propellerheads Reason would do the trick. It's a complete package music studio in one program. You can record audio, sequence midi instruments, add effects, tweak samples, dive into sound design, the works. It's also very stable and does not use much memory (at least the version I'm familiar with, which is version 5. Not sure about the newest version which is 7). It's truly an amazing program.

Then get something like Adobe Audition for more advanced editing and recording. It's an easy to use DAW with a lot of nice features.

There are also many, many ReFills and Rack Extensions out there you can download to add new sounds to Reason. The rabbit hole goes very deep. The stock sounds are quite good, though. I use them all and also create my own sounds with the incredible synths and samplers that come with the program.

As for what PC you'll need, get yourself something with an i7 processor, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an SSD drive (the bigger the better. If money is an issue, get a decently sized SSD to house the main operating system + software and a large standard HD for the heavy duty storage). Make sure you have a decent soundcard (I use a Soundblaster Recon 3Di) and enough USB ports and you should be set. Windows 7 Professional runs quite nicely as an operating system and Reason runs flawlessly on it.

With a setup like this you will be able to as much music as you like for a long time to come. It works great for me and is an endless source of inspiration.

Good luck! Message me if you have any questions.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby Charl313 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:10 am

CS_TBL wrote:Native Instruments Komplete 9. A complete bread 'n butter set o' samples and instruments. It includes the might powerful and often deservedly bragged about FM8, which already implies half the sounds you'd ever need. DAW could be anything, but I'd say that Cubase is the easiest to get around with.

Some months ago I bought a new PC for +/- €1200, with an I7 CPU, SSD drives (there are no classic HD's in it, and 32 GB RAM. That makes for a blazingly fast PC for music production. Add a decent audio IO and you can product whatever the hell you want. I'm into the heavy orchestral stuff and I don't think I've even hit half my memory yet. :) So, whatever people tell you: it's 2014 and you can do really big arrangements these days.

The Komplete samples and instruments - are they generated analog?
The tinny sounds I get from my SC-88 ROMpler sound crap because they are not analog - and don't want the same problem with software synthesis (if that is the same).

The MIDI files I for some reasons cannot get to sound the same like Donna Summer, Rick Astley, Quincy Jones, Sybil, to name but a few. I want hardware that can sound the same, and I'm guessing that analog has a big part to do with that. Also, if I can apply EQ per track, and not global, I heard that that will also help.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby Charl313 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:11 am

georgemarauder wrote:Propellerheads Reason would do the trick. It's a complete package music studio in one program. You can record audio, sequence midi instruments, add effects, tweak samples, dive into sound design, the works. It's also very stable and does not use much memory (at least the version I'm familiar with, which is version 5. Not sure about the newest version which is 7). It's truly an amazing program.

Then get something like Adobe Audition for more advanced editing and recording. It's an easy to use DAW with a lot of nice features.

There are also many, many ReFills and Rack Extensions out there you can download to add new sounds to Reason. The rabbit hole goes very deep. The stock sounds are quite good, though. I use them all and also create my own sounds with the incredible synths and samplers that come with the program.

As for what PC you'll need, get yourself something with an i7 processor, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an SSD drive (the bigger the better. If money is an issue, get a decently sized SSD to house the main operating system + software and a large standard HD for the heavy duty storage). Make sure you have a decent soundcard (I use a Soundblaster Recon 3Di) and enough USB ports and you should be set. Windows 7 Professional runs quite nicely as an operating system and Reason runs flawlessly on it.

With a setup like this you will be able to as much music as you like for a long time to come. It works great for me and is an endless source of inspiration.

Good luck! Message me if you have any questions.

Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby Z » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:22 am

Charl313 wrote:Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.


Years of sound engineering and production will make your music sound professional. It doesn't matter which hardware or software you buy or how much you spend, there is no substitute for experience.

Check with your local university's continuing education program - many offer DAW/sound recording classes. I audited a couple of video production classes at my local junior college a few years ago to learn to edit video with Final Cut Pro.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby Ashe37 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:28 am

Keep in mind that the SC-88 had 8 megabytes of sound ROM 16-bit, 32 Khz, while Kontakt has 43 GB of samples (a mix of 16-bit, 44.1, 48, and 24-bit 44.1& 48 Khz sample sources) So yes hopefully the samples do sound better.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby georgemarauder » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:58 am

Charl313 wrote:Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.


Software is so advanced that one will have a difficult time (if not downright impossible) telling the difference between analog and software when the sounds are sitting in a mix.

In Reason's case, the synths are so high quality you would be hard pressed to find anything better. I'm not going to get into the purist argument of what sounds better, but the software I suggested sounds very good.

A professional sound is going to come more by how you use your own ears and your ability "behind the boards". It takes years of experience and a lot of practice to learn how to mix, maybe even master your own material. Whether you use software or hardware doesn't matter nowadays as much as your own experience.
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Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Postby CS_TBL » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:19 pm

Charl313 wrote:Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.


Welcome to 2014, where computers have 4000x more memory than a Sound Canvas, allow hundreds o' polyphony, virtually unlimited multi-timbrality and lots of effects!

'Analog', 'Sound Canvas' and 'tinny' in one question is gold!
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