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Hello All Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 1st January 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Hello All

I'm new to the forum and to music production (I've been learning guitar and piano for a few years) and I'm looking for a little bit of help/clarification specific to my questions.

This will probably be riddled with n00bnezz but hopefully only people willing to help will respond.

1. I recently purchased a new Macbook Pro running OSX and am looking for a user-friendly DAW to get started with. I'm interested in creating Dubstep and Tech/Electro House.

2. For beginning hardware I was thinking something like an Akai Mpk 25 or 49, is there something that would be better to begin on for what I want to do?

3. Is there a reliable and cost efficient place to get samples? And is there a way to know what's worth getting?

I looked around this subforum for any beginners rules and didn't see any so I'm sorry if this post violates any "ask before looking" rules. Hopefully I don't get responses telling me to Google it, because I have; and I'm still not getting the answers I want.

Cheers!
Old 1st January 2011
  #2
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Headphones's Avatar
1. Garage Band may be userfriendly to start with, but you may want something better but more challenging like Ableton Live

2. Not really knowing what you want to do, isn't really going to help answer this question. If you just need a midi controller hooked up to your mac, then yes, they're probably fine. If you want something better, try researching Novation, M-Audio & some others and just choose one you're willing to spend the money on.

3. If you need dubstep/electro samples, try the following:
Prime Loops | Wav Samples, Rex2 Loops, Reason Refills, Apple Loops, Mpc Samples, Acid Loops and Tutorials!
Loopmasters Pro Sample Cds, Download Samples, Royalty Free Sounds, Sample Libraries and Boutique

They're not free, but shouldn't break the bank. If you want free samples, start collecting Future Music/Computer Music/Music Tech mags, and they'll load you up full of samples. I'd get a external HD to contain them all, and so they don't clutter your main HD.

It's fine to be a noob, because everybody has to start somewhere, but try to explain in detail what your skill level is, what you're looking to do, if you plan on recording yourself/other people/bands, or just wanting to make beats, etc. If you don't know what to get, take things slow, figure out what you're willing to spend, and we can maybe help you alot better.
Old 1st January 2011
  #3
Here for the gear
 

Yeah, I need something a little more serious than Garageband I think, what about Ableton would make it a better choice than say... Pro tools?

I really want to compose dubstep, not just piece together and edit samples. Is the MPK a good choice for that? A simple controller wouldn't allow me to create notes right?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks for the help!
Old 1st January 2011
  #4
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invisiblekiduk's Avatar
 

Dont even have to use a controller, can just click in notes with your mouse.

If you're not up on the lingo, might be worth reading up on DAWs, vsts(/audio units) and midi.

Heres a start, maybe too basic though
The beginner's guide to: DAWs | MusicRadar.com
Old 1st January 2011
  #5
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Mardi Gras's Avatar
 

for dubstep and tech house you don't really need any hardware. Just get yourself a great sample bank (kicks snares etc) and a good couple of synthesizers such as massive and sylenth1. You should be able to do pretty much anything related to dubstep and house with those 2 beauties
Old 1st January 2011
  #6
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Headphones's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theghostog View Post
Yeah, I need something a little more serious than Garageband I think, what about Ableton would make it a better choice than say... Pro tools?

I really want to compose dubstep, not just piece together and edit samples. Is the MPK a good choice for that? A simple controller wouldn't allow me to create notes right?

Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Thanks for the help!
You might not be ready for ProTools, but if you think you are, get a serious ProTools compatible interface, and the software. M-Audio has a starter version you should look into. ProTools main deal is recording/editing audio, and it's okay for MIDI, but if you're mainly just going to be recording yourself, it might be overkill. If you have a band to record/mc's wanting to rap/vocalists wanting to do demos, then if you've got the budget and desire to learn it, it will reward you if you're handy at it.

Ableton Live is maybe more what you need, and they actually have tutorials to get your feet wet and learning/using right away. Get studio monitors in your setup along with your audio interface (if you want to record vocals/your piano/guitar), and a midi keyboard controller. Get one with as many knobs so you can control your software synths. It took me ages to learn Ableton's way of controlling the knobs, but once I learned how to do it, I felt dumb for not figuring it out sooner.

If you don't quite have the budget for this, then just pick up what you can afford and go from there. Once everything you have is in your studio, you can get started properly.

Good luck and go make some music in 2011!
Old 1st January 2011
  #7
Ableton and the MPK25-49 would be a good start for you. You'll be making music veery quickly. There is also Logic but its a steeper learning curve imo.



.
Old 1st January 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Hello All

Because you have some background playing, I'd suggest you get the mpk 49-for those times you want to practice/improvise with sounds from plugins. Although alot of people are down on Reason, it's a good inexpensive place to start. You can add ableton later. Protools is too much for what you want to do right now. Have fun.
Old 1st January 2011
  #9
Here for the gear
 

I appreciate all the help guys. I downloaded Ableton from the website this morning and I've been reading up on it already, seems like i'll be able to get the hang of it.

I was wondering a couple things though, can you not send samples through the operator/simpler? (only new notes created?) and is it relatively impossible to use the LFO without actual knobs to turn?

I tried using my mouse, but it really kills creativity when I have to go back and forth from my guitar and tuner to find what notes to put in. I would like to find something more fluid, composing in real time over a beat I hope.

Also someone mentioned Synths such as Massive. Is that something that I buy and it plugs directly into Ableton? and are all the sample sites listed above good for Ableton? I feel like something is missing from my Ableton library. It came with almost no preloads.

Again sorry for teh n00b but I feel like a kid in a candy store that doesn't have any hands -.-
Old 2nd January 2011
  #10
You need to build up your sample library over time, Loopmasters is a good place to start as is Goldbaby and Wave Alchemy. YOur generally better off not using many of the preset loops that come with Abelton because everyone has them...

Operator is a synth and accepts midi notes. Simpler, Sampler and Impulse can load samples.

Massive is a good synth, and very popular among Dubstep producers. But I suggest you learn the Ableton instruments first, before buying more plugins. There are also loads of free plugins out there, Ableton accepts both Vst and Audio Units, check on KVR for a full list, the TAL plug ins are great.



.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #11
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theghostog View Post
I was wondering a couple things though, can you not send samples through the operator/simpler?
What do you mean, "through"? The idea of a sampler is that you put a fragment of audio under every key, and then hit that key when you need to. It's useful for drum sounds; instead of dragging wave files onto an audio track, you use a sampler; added benefits are that if you want to change the snare drum sound you only have to change the sound once instead of for every audio file; furthermore, because it's polyphonic, the sound does not cut off (while overlapping audio files either crossfade or cut off).

Quote:
and is it relatively impossible to use the LFO without actual knobs to turn?
No, but an LFO does nothing until it's pointed to something.

Quote:
Also someone mentioned Synths such as Massive. Is that something that I buy and it plugs directly into Ableton?
Yes, but you have to keep in mind where you put your plugins. Live needs to know the folder where you put 'm - it's in Options > Preferences > File/Folder > VST Plug-In Custom Folder, so when you want to install the Massive demo you need to choose that folder to install to.

Quote:
I feel like something is missing from my Ableton library. It came with almost no preloads.
Of course not; it's a demo version.

Get your controller ASAP and then things'll be less frustrating to work with.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #12
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Headphones's Avatar
If you can afford to, get Suite so you have all their software synths/programs/effects at your fingertips, but if that's still not enough oomph for ya, then Massive might be a good addition to your soft synths. Since you're running on mac, you're able to use AU and VST, so that's one thing I love about Ableton is I never had something I couldn't use, just so long as my mac could handle it. Yes, it's possible to make the audio choppy by having too many synths/effects at once(Ableton will let you know when you've got too much for the processor to handle), so don't go overboard, or your song can slow down to a snails pace as you wait for the rainbow wheel to stop spinning. (Just supply as much memory as you can)

There's alot of free vst synths/effects worth checking out, and Ableton will load them each time you start the program. But the more you have, the longer it can take to boot up, so decide what you'll use, and maybe delete what you don't care for.
Old 2nd January 2011
  #13
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invisiblekiduk's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theghostog View Post
I tried using my mouse, but it really kills creativity when I have to go back and forth from my guitar and tuner to find what notes to put in. I would like to find something more fluid, composing in real time over a beat I hope.
Yeah, it doesnt work for everyone, at the end of the day you gotta find your own workflow.

I might add though, if youre having to use a tuner to find what notes youre playing on the guitar by ear, this might be worth learning

http://guitarsphere.com/wp-content/u.../fretboard.jpg

not saying to use it for your ableton-ing, but might help in general. I used to jam exclusively with other guitarists and bassists, so i used to just yell fret numbers. doesnt help when youre jamming with anyone else tho!

also experiment with looping sort phrases as you compose, you can tweek them until they sound right! Even if you input with a keyboard youll eventually end up wanting to transpose, edit, correct or whatever, and slight tweaks with a piano roll will be essential (and time saving vs hamering out the same stuff over and over till its right). Dunno about ableton specifically tho, but isnt there a software keyboard at the side to audition notes?

Again, not pushing one method over an other, its all about having as many tools for as many situations at the end of the day. like if youre caught without any keys when youre doodling on a laptop.

my 5 yen anyway
Old 2nd January 2011
  #14
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I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss GarageBand yet... it really is a very powerful little piece of software, and you already have it for free in your laptop... since you're starting out, why not simply really learn that first? You can always upgrade to other/better synths later.

Basically to play these days, you only need:

1. computer (you already have it)
2. DAW software or similar (you already have it, GarageBand)
3. audio/MIDI interface (do you have one yet? You can use the internal audio card on your Mac, but usually latency is much better with a dedicated sound card, and also you get better quality, 1/4" jack inputs instead of flimsy 1/8" minijacks. (This can also come built in your keyboard controller of choice)
4. MIDI (and audio if you want) keyboard controller: If you want to stay in music, I would recommend a 5-octave keyboard at least - That way, you can still program your drums and Dubstep things, but you can also play real piano / organ sounds later.
5. powered monitors (speakers). Unless you want to use headphones.

You can get samples in many places, they usually have previews of what you're getting, and typically the most established sound software houses include Zero-G, Best Service, EastWest, Ilio, Spectrasonics, AMG, Time+Space, Ueberschall, and many, many more- just simply google for dubstep and electro-house samples.

However, I would strongly recommend that before you spend any money, you play around with the synths included in GarageBand, you might be surprised with what you can do with them.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #15
Here for the gear
 

I'm getting a lot of really good info here I can tell.. I'm messing around in Ableton now with a track that I've always wanted to loop the intro to and add some things but I'm having trouble cutting the segment into a smooth loop.

I dragged the MP3 into Ableton and I'm in the Arrangement view, can I only select entire bars? The end of my intro either gets cut short or extends into the drop, is there any way to manually move the "selection line(?)" so I can grab the intro in it's entirety?

And yeah, I'll definitely check out Garageband, it may be good to get comfortable with.
Old 3rd January 2011
  #16
Here for the gear
 

Also, where do you guys get your used gear?
Old 3rd January 2011
  #17
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Headphones's Avatar
Guitar Center once in awhile, eBay once in awhile (Like when PayPal isn't so tricky to use), and a local music store that gets mostly used stuff in. I live in Seattle, so there are lots of stores that get used things here and there. I'm in if it's something I'm looking for, works, and is in tip top condition. Haven't had any bad gear except a Roland D-110 that didn't work, that I should have noticed before that it wasn't, and then the store wouldn't buy it back. Kind of my fault, but other than that, check your craigslist, pawn shops, GC, and eBay if you have nothing close by(has what you're looking for)
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