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Old 20th January 2012
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by J Gabriel View Post
Hey ya'll, been making electronic music for 10+ yrs and until the past few was mainly ITB. I've been lucky in being able to acquire a mostly hardware setup now featuring:

Juno 60
Roland R-8
ASR 10
Neve 3014 EQ/pres
Summit Stereo Compressor
Apogee Rosetta

I use ableton for some midi sequencing, tracking/arranging and various VST plugs for FX and some subtractive EQ.

Gotten really great results with sampled Drums completely ITB but would love to have them in the ASR and get em tight together by recording through the signal chain above. There are 2 solutions for this that I can see, use Chicken Systems or just record the out from the DAW through the Rosetta and into the ASR. I've struggled to get chicken systems working...

How are you using your hardware sampler in conjunction with your analogue gear and what have you found to get the best results? Of course I'll be continuing to experiment and see what works best for me, but curious to see what others are using a similar setup and how you go about constructing your tracks. I'd love to have Silent Way or Volta to sequence the analogs in real time, but for now sampling/realtime playing will do.
- Joseph

Your situation is similar to mine. I started buying hardware again six months ago after working itb exclusively for ten years. So far what is working for me is this.

MPC 400 is the sequencer which drives my hardware. Its an excellent, and very very tight sequencer. I needed this becasue Im used to sample accurate timing. The 4k comes close with only 4 samples of deviation. The 4k is synced via an innerclock systems sync gen. This insures sample accurate timing between my Daw and hardware. At first I ran my outboard straight in to my sound card but it didnt feel right for my return to a hardware system.

Just got my self a half decent mixer so now everything runs through that. Excellent!, brilliant! Splendid!. I totally recommend a proper mixer with eqs, sends etc. I do not recommend one of those so called mixers that only have volume faders. You need to eq and effect stuff as you write or you have a vibeless session.. MPC output expander has just been ordered to aid me in this. The 4k will take care of all drums, any loops, and any instrument sound I care to use. Its extremely capable and is now the heart of the studio. I have it connected via its 4 midi outs to a couple of analogs, two drum machines, and a virtual analog synth, and another hardware seqeuncer which I dont really need ow, oh and an MPC2kxl which will probably go as well. I also send one of the midi outs to the Daw so I can sequence VSTs. This is working VERY WELL. However, not so well with Ableton Live but thats to much to go in to here (Im phasing out Ableton Live anyway as it has issues). Im careful not to go mad on sound sources. Really, I could do everything with one MPC and a couple of synths. To much gear can be distracting.

The aim is to be able to finish complete tracks with my hardware only (if I choose). The only thing missing is a couple of decent compressors and FX boxes. For now Im using my soundcards ins and outs as FX sends and return the Daw FX back in to the console. Sounds OK but its ot liek how I remember outboard FX sounding.

If you have any groove boxes or drum machines you use and wish to sync them to your Daw then thats an area you should look in to. You will never really get stable sync via a Daw midi. When I mean stable I mean spot on accurate all the time. You will end up having to edit the audio and thus reduce your performance and writing angle (its totally distracting) defeating the purpose of hardware to a degree. This was my major concern before I started buying hardware again. I then found a box called Sync Gen which has been the answer to that problem. Perfect sync always!, no distractions with audio editing.

Im very rusty on the hardware at the moment. I really have forgotten those little nuances of working with hardware. Makes me realise how fast I was working with a Daw. However, I have no doubt I will get up to speed and im really enjoying a latency free experience. What a fu**ing difference it is to play real instruments which literally spit the notes back at you. Even with extremely low latency in my Daw my keyboard chops deteriorated so badly over the ten years. I moused so much stuff in to the grid over those years becasue playing virtual instruments - ie the vibe, the response, the feel, whatever you want to call it was wholly unsatisfying.

The secret is to not ditch the daw.
What we have there is a massive multi fx super duper recording machine. Imagine having such a thing in the mid 90s. What we have to do is integrate the Daw with hardware effectively and have it working for you, not the other way around. The other secret is to be careful of sequencing midi from the daw. You can get good results but be prepared for potential slop and subsequent editing of audio. However if you can drive your analogs using silent way this will not be an issue as your not using midi. Silent way is sample accurate. Do it if you can.

One last thing. I've been experimenting with my favourite software drum Machine Nerve and sending out the sounds to individual inputs on my mixer. I also load the same kit in my MPC 4000. No bS, I tell the truth but the 4k is much better sounding. I really hear the difference in the hi hats, particularly when I have multiple hats going on. There's a weird, hard to define clutter going on when multiple hits trigger at the same time which I hear on high frequencies. Its not Nerves fault, its a brilliant drum machine. Its the same with any VI drum machine. Best to get your drums out of the computer if you can.

Off topic:
I've struggled to get chicken systems working...
I to have had nothing but problems with their software. In my case it was teh Roland specific format. It simply doesn't work,a nd the few times I managed to get it to translate without destroying a zip drive (2 were destroyed) the conversion is a joke. I cant recall exactly but it was something to do with the file naming structure. Their tech support is condescending and the guy will always blame you for any fault. I demanded a refund due to teh software not working in either my PC or Mac, they refused. I really feel ripped off by those charlatans. Tge majority of people convert from hardware to software. I was doing it the other way around,