Forum: Equipment (page 1)

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12-11-2012, 21:38 CET jagd1 (Groupee) (9 responses)

Hello I'm new to the site. Very nice and informative too. The first question that comes to my mind, and is probable a bit of oa bore, but, is what keybaords do you use, other instruments, FX machines, desk and of course what DAW'(S) and sequencers.

I don't think I'm asking trade secrets but it would be nice to know so that accessable work from you could be emulated for fun and a bit of a challenge.

Jagd1

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This article got 7 responses. This is response page 1 of 1.

12-11-2012, 23:12 CET GalbE (Galbatron) (10 responses)
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Hi Jagd,

We're always happy to talk about our gear. As we've been producing music for more than 20 years now, we've seen a lot of gear come and go. We started out with the Rolands from the eighties like D-110, U-220, RD-250, D-50 and D-20. The Yamaha Electone HS6 electone can also be occasionally heard on some of our early tracks. In the nineties we changed focus and started producing 'in the box' with only a (believe it or not) Yamaha DB50XG daugterboard. You can still find the sounds from this board in synths like Cs1x. It's not the gear, but it's what you do with it, they say . Toccata has been made almost exclusively with the DB50XG. We expanded our studio bit by bit with more adventurous gear, like Yamaha SY-85 (containing the best but hard to program internal effect section ever) and Access Virus (the Virtual Analog standard). We also tanked several useful sounds from the Yamaha S30 in those days. However, virtual VST-instruments became better and better in the 21st century until they reached the level were even hardware like the Virus could be replaced. We still enjoy the pleasure of a total recall of our complex mix setups after double clicking the Cubase of Reason-icon on the desktop or laptop these days. We will never go back to hardware I guess. To come anywhere near our sound you will nowadays need virtual synths like Sylenth1, Predator, Dune, Alchemy, Moog Modular V, Reaktor, Battery, Kontakt and Saurus, just to name a few rack inhabitors in our VST-host. Reason 6.5 is another rack that we love to explore. It depends on the situation for which instruments we pick. Inspiration comes from everywhere and from good sounds too. But don't forget to bring a lot of patience and perfectionism to the table when starting to build synth arrangements à la Galbatron. There's a reason for the fact that we sometimes work on a track for more than a year...

13-11-2012, 07:08 CET jagd1 (Groupee) (9 responses)
Quote
Hi again, thank you for your prompt reply. I started a couple of years ago putting together a complete system but due to illness fell by the wayside. So now I'm back as they say and putting everything back together.

I am remaking my computer and updating it and I have an unused copy of Pro Tools V8.xx and I hope to add Acoustica's Mixcraft 6 Pro Studio both I believe have Rewire.

With an M-Audio Axiom 61 and a Zoom RT-323 I was thinking of using a Roland GW-8 Workstation (selling quite cheaply now). All have a pretty good reputation (all or most have). I hope that this will allow my virtually non-existant playing and manipulation of electronic music gear to develop my keyboard techniques, also to develop a clearer understanding of the music and electronic music creation process.

I'm also trying to build in plenty of choice and redundancy into the kit but I also have a limit on space but not too bad. I'm also trying to sort out the audio end. I have a M-Audio Delta 1010LT and a M-Audio Fast Track Ultra which I am connecting to a a 16-2 mixer and speakers (hopefully adding a Sub). I want to have the option of plenty of manipulation post the DAW as well as in.

What would you identify as the most important part of the production process to you and the most important related equipment or software.

Thanks

Jagd1

13-11-2012, 12:17 CET GalbE (Galbatron) (10 responses)
Quote
I am remaking my computer and updating it and I have an unused copy of Pro Tools V8.xx and I hope to add Acoustica's Mixcraft 6 Pro Studio both I believe have Rewire.

OK, sounds good. That's two software workstations you're mentioning. Although Mixcraft Pro is the 'cheaper' of the two it seems better suited for producing electronic music, as there are some good synths delivered. If I'm well informed you have to buy extensions for Pro Tools to upgrade it to a serious virtual synth rack. Why make your setup more complicated than necessary using ReWire when you can do everything in one software package? Pro Tools is conceived for recording studio's. Producers of electronic music are not their first target group.
Roland GW8 sounds like a good workstation. It has build in drum sounds, so the Zoom RT-323 could get obsolete sooner or later. That is when you program your beats yourself. The Zoom could help to develop a good feeling for sensible drum patterns though.

I hope that this will allow my virtually non-existent playing and manipulation of electronic music gear to develop my keyboard techniques, also to develop a clearer understanding of the music and electronic music creation process.

It will surely give you a comfortable starting point to experiment. However developing your keyboard playing and production skills and understanding music normally doesn't come from the gear. Don't forget that too many choices (instruments, processing and other gear) can rather slow down the creative process than stimulating it. Remember our $50,- DB50XG daughterboard, which inspired Loek to marvelous achievements . He's the one who started Toccata.

My best advice: start with one keyboard, one software package and try to restrict yourself to one soft synthesizer (or hardware workstation) and a good set of drum sounds. The basic idea for a composition is the most important. When you start that way you could add extras when needed, but maybe you don't need them at all!
Taking lessons from someone who understands electronic music could give you a head start too.

GalbE

13-11-2012, 16:26 CET jagd1 (Groupee) (9 responses)
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I note what you say and agree. Since I am disabled and can't work (I'm housebound) I have plenty of time on my hands. I've only got back to any real attempts after 2 years just recently and technology ages fast.

I've had a copy of Mixcraft 5 on my laptop and have been playing with it off and on for a while. So to keep reasonably up to date I would be upgrading to the current version.

The Pro Tools v.8.xx is fairly long lived and can be pulled into the system down the line, there is a lot of free synth modules etc out there and using Rewire should give me a chance to use some of Mixcrafts resouces in it and vice versa.

In fact I've got a bit of a hotch potch of other gear as well. I seem to have ended up with a Zoom RT-223, a Yamaha DJX Mk 1 and a Mk 2 as well. I got gifted most of this stuff, including a Casio LK-300TV to keep up the keyboard learning and exercise my hands (left one is a bit injured).

So I agree one keyboard and one DAW is a good idea but I've got a few options for expansion should I choose. I must admit the Roland GW-8 is a bit over the top, but who does not like the odd treat, makes a change from having to stare at daytime TV like a numpty all day.

Thought I would take in some formal music training from the UK Open University as well, reading music, composing and the technology of music. So it seems a lot but I've got long study days which will pass the time.

Since I live miles and ferry rides away from the mainland proper, I've got to be pretty self sufficient and advice or people to practice with are pretty thin on the ground. But I grateful for your help and all I can get.

Due to their age and technical problems plus drivers they are difficult to intergrate into Windows 7 Pro. You have an issue with USB, MIDI and USB to MIDI intergration. I have a Cakewalk UM-3G MIDI to USB converter but reliable drivers mixed with either Music Interface are a problem too.

So the idea was to sell off the surplus or obsolete gear if possible and fund the odd extra gear in due course.

Thanks for your help though I'll be interested to see how you develop. I've just been listening to Hawkwind on YouTube and I realised that I saw them in 1973 when I was 18, can't remember the set though, must have been spaced out at the time, either that or as they say, if you remember it you wern't there.

Jagd1

13-11-2012, 18:08 CET GalbE (Galbatron) (10 responses)
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I've had a copy of Mixcraft 5 on my laptop and have been playing with it off and on for a while. So to keep reasonably up to date I would be upgrading to the current version.

Version 6 has three new interesting virtual synthesizers from Memorymoon and a lot of audio processing plugins.

I seem to have ended up with a Zoom RT-223, a Yamaha DJX Mk 1 and a Mk 2 as well.

Ha, those Yamahas were products of their time but very charming. A pity their keyboard is not touch responsive. Hope the knobs also send out midi controllers. The Casio should do as a midi key controller though. Maybe you can pickup a nifty controller for knob tweaking. It could even be a Phatboy (LINK), as your midi interface has 3 inputs. They should be available second hand on the net. Behringer BRC2000 (LINK) could also be useful.

Thought I would take in some formal music training from the UK Open University as well, reading music, composing and the technology of music.

That sounds like a good move! Especially as you have relatively much time to study. Don't forget YouTube. There are plenty of useful learning snippets to be found there.

I have a Cakewalk UM-3G MIDI to USB converter but reliable drivers mixed with either Music Interface are a problem too.

The Cakewalk interface is fully supported by Windows 7, according to the Roland website:
LINK
According to
LINK
your Delta should also be covered by Win7.

GalbE

13-11-2012, 18:57 CET jagd1 (Groupee) (9 responses)
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Actually I think I have the MIDI Controller covered. I have a M-Audio Axiom 61 MK I which does have a Win 7 Driver but I'm not so sure about a MIDI Map Program for it, I think they did for the Mk II but not the Mk I.

I've also found a Edriol (Roland) PC-800 which I think may be covered in the same way but I've yet to find out. I read a while back that one or two DAW's mapped back the opposite way and I'm searching specs to see if any of them do.

The Zoom RT-223 and the two Yamaha's seem to have a charm all of their own commanding some odd high prices on E-Bay. I think for the aspiring Hip-Hop and Trance musicians they are still in demand.

The Zoom RT-223 also for the same reasons you gave a reply ago about dicipline and being MIDI acessable with good outputs they can be gigged in small venues quite easily. The one I have shows evidence of that and took a week to clean the tobacco smoke out and in it.

With the Cakewalk I recall having problems with it when used with the Fast Track Ultra and the presence of both in the same system. There were also latency issues as I recall, like having a permanent DELAY effect on. I think the MIDI to USB conversion was not so hot but it may have been the drivers at the time.

I did alot of computer building and computer networking in the past and one of the continual things that surprised me was how poor and buggy the drivers were. When they were not poor and buggy then they were always late for coming out with newer operating system e.g. Win Vista to XP to 7. Not too much software development or R&D.

Alot of Mac owners got into horrible ststes with both drivers and software not to mention their own machines opertating systems.

Alot of the DAW software was pretty buggy too. In fact I would say that considering the price of some of the middling to high end software the vendors are treating their customers with less than respect.

If you get hooked into an expensive system/DAW (I think PC Tools V.8.xx cost me about £250 two years or more ago and that was on an educational licence) then they have you by the short and curlies when it comes to upgrading to the next version, adding VST/VSTi instruments and effects etc.

I think one of the best bits of advice I heard was when building a Computer System then don't use it for anything else and keep it as far off the internet as you can. Also the fastest processor and as much RAM as you can handle with quick hard disks. 8GB, 16GB and even 32GB is not all that expensive for DDR3 RAM, the slower DDR2 RAM is getting to silly prices.

I think another bit of advice somebody gave was not to keep your songs, projects etc on the same Hard Disk as your Operating System and your DAW program. You can always rebuild the DAW program but unless you are deeply religious in your back-ups then the work you created is normally the first to go or get corrupted.

Like most things the more information I get shoved in my direction then the more I remember and try to give back. Very of often I recall making music with computers was not as straightforward as it seems but with a few simple things done you could make it a bit more efficient.

Jagd1

13-11-2012, 19:59 CET jagd1 (Groupee) (9 responses)
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Just out of interest the Zoom RT-223 and RT-323 are going anywhere from £75 to £125 Buy It Now on www.amazon.co.uk and a Yamaha DJX Mk I is up to £82 and still bidding so I guess there must be some life in the old dogs yet.

I've seen a couple of used and privately vended RT-323's which have a bigger and better spec. than the RT-323 going from scratch i.e. £0-00 and just started bidding. Percussion in a box for almost nothing at the moment.

Some of the Latin Roland GW-8's (there are 4 versions (Euro, Latin, East and Chinese)are at £290 post free and used once, normally £500 to £700. Mad market for a mad world.

Jagd1

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