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My new setup. My new education in production. Desktop Synthesizers
Old 10th September 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

My new setup. My new education in production.

I wanted to get into subtractive synthesis on a budget. I wanted to get as much value for my money as possible. I went over my intended budget ($1,000), spending close to $1,400. This is what I got:

Doepfer Dark Energy. I found it to be $100 cheaper to have it shipped across the pond. I am waiting for it to arrive, and I will need to buy a power supply that will work on US mains.

Akai MPK25. I wanted a MIDI keyboard controller. I got one, and it came with Ableton Live Lite.

Yamaha MG102c. The Dark Energy manual suggests computer to synth, synth to MIDI controller, synth to mixer, and mixer to monitors. This is my entry level mixer.

KRK Rockit 6 monitor, 1 pair. It won out over the Yamaha Hs50 because I bought a package with monitor stands and cables for the same price.

M-Audio Avid Recording Studio. I bought this because while I wait for my OTB synthesizer, I wanted to play with the MIDI controller and Live's VSI, and I needed to get the sound out of my computer to my mixer and to my monitors. It also came with Pro Tools SE software.

So, I wanted to learn subtractive synthesis, and now I have to learn:

1. Live (it'll be the first DAW I learn, then I'll check out Pro Tools)

2. How to line up my DAW with my mixer (any resource suggestions?)

3. How to use the MPK25 sequencer, pads, etc.

4. And finally, How to get the sounds I want out of the Dark Energy.

For $1,400 I bought an expensive new hobby! I will proceed now by making one song at a time...
Old 10th September 2011
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Congrats. is there a question Missed?
Edit. I didn't want to come off as a d bag. Anyways the de is a great synth. Good luck
Old 10th September 2011
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elijahbrown View Post
Congrats. is there a question Missed?
More show and tell, really. Though, I do need a good reference guide for setting my audio levels in my DAW, mixer, and for my monitors. While playing with a bass-heavy pad in Live, I got a bit of a crackling noise from my monitor, and I never want to hear that again!

So, if anyone wants to answer that query, that would be cool.
Old 10th September 2011
  #4
Lives for gear
 
sftd's Avatar
 

You seem really excited and enthusiastic and thats why it hurts me so much to tell you this..

If you would have just took a moment and did a search for "instrument of eternal power" you would have soon realized that it's actually impossible to learn synthesis without owning a Minimoog model D. Had you done this, you would have saved all the money you spent on the normal tools (foolishly) and instead waited until you had to the funds to purchase the Godboard, "wielder of immortal analog power and destruction(thegoodkind)". You at this point may think to yourself "well, since they cost so much, and I've read lots of neat things, I think I'll buy a Voyager aka "sort of immortal analog power(sometimes) maybe?board".

THAT TOO WOULD BE UNWISE.

Imagine this scenario:

You are at home, playing your "Voyager" after giving into temptation and purchasing it instead of the Godboard. As you jam out to an incredible riff while tweaking parameters with a fluidity and speed that would astound any to lay eyes upon it, you suddenly think..

If a man were to approach me, synthesizer in hand, and challenge me to a synthduel, what synth among the land is powerful enough to rival my "sort of immortal analog power(sometimes) maybe?board"?? (the Voyager) There is none!

This confidence and the euphoria associated with it spread across your face in the form of a huge grin.

But then it hits you, you suddenly remember..

The Minimoog Model D....

And so, just like that, you look up and spot something on the horizon. You notice a figure, obviously burdened by some type of object held betwixt his arms approaching in the distance. It can't b...

Yes, it is. You stare upon your doom (the doom is the Minimoog Model D incase we've lost that at this point).


This very scenario plays itself out over and over again each day. You have one of two choices; buy something other than a Minimoog Model D, and eventually suffer defeat at the hands of another in the eternal rites of "phattest of tone ultimate fight combat". Or the smart choice, purchasing the Godboard, and being one of those to share in the immortal power it provides
Old 11th September 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
You seem really excited and enthusiastic and thats why it hurts me so much to tell you this..

If you would have just took a moment and did a search for "instrument of eternal power" you would have soon realized that it's actually impossible to learn synthesis without owning a Minimoog model D. Had you done this, you would have saved all the money you spent on the normal tools (foolishly) and instead waited until you had to the funds to purchase the Godboard, "wielder of immortal analog power and destruction(thegoodkind)". You at this point may think to yourself "well, since they cost so much, and I've read lots of neat things, I think I'll buy a Voyager aka "sort of immortal analog power(sometimes) maybe?board".

THAT TOO WOULD BE UNWISE.

Imagine this scenario:

You are at home, playing your "Voyager" after giving into temptation and purchasing it instead of the Godboard. As you jam out to an incredible riff while tweaking parameters with a fluidity and speed that would astound any to lay eyes upon it, you suddenly think..

If a man were to approach me, synthesizer in hand, and challenge me to a synthduel, what synth among the land is powerful enough to rival my "sort of immortal analog power(sometimes) maybe?board"?? (the Voyager) There is none!

This confidence and the euphoria associated with it spread across your face in the form of a huge grin.

But then it hits you, you suddenly remember..

The Minimoog Model D....

And so, just like that, you look up and spot something on the horizon. You notice a figure, obviously burdened by some type of object held betwixt his arms approaching in the distance. It can't b...

Yes, it is. You stare upon your doom (the doom is the Minimoog Model D incase we've lost that at this point).


This very scenario plays itself out over and over again each day. You have one of two choices; buy something other than a Minimoog Model D, and eventually suffer defeat at the hands of another in the eternal rites of "phattest of tone ultimate fight combat". Or the smart choice, purchasing the Godboard, and being one of those to share in the immortal power it provides
Oh. Okay.
Old 11th September 2011
  #6
Lives for gear
 

I think it was a joke that didn't go far enough. Or a meth bender.

You don't need the mixer (yet). Run the DE into the M-Audio and the M-audio out to the monitors. As for volume start with everything turned down and experiment until you find out how loud you can go. Then you can adjust the volume on your monitors to taste. I don't know the DE specifically, but you'll probably want to have that the loudest on account of the noise floor.

Obviously, you are going to have to multitrack the DE so you don't want 1 single track to be at maximum volume.

While recording give yourself plenty of headroom. Don't go into the red. (Sorry if this is obvious, but I see it all the time) You'll have plenty of freedom to change the volume in the digital realm. Personally, I think it's worth it to record at 24-bit for the extra dynamic range.

I'm pretty sure this is why I recommend starting with software, because now you have to learn to be an "engineer". But I guess you woulda had to learn it sooner rather than later and it shouldn't take that long to get the basics figured out. In the end I still take all my stuff to the professionals. In this economy it's surprisingly cheap.
Old 11th September 2011
  #7
Lives for gear
 
sftd's Avatar
 

I seriously hope that all that typing made at least one person laugh.
Old 11th September 2011
  #8
WDM
Lives for gear
 
WDM's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scholl View Post
I wanted to get into subtractive synthesis on a budget. I wanted to get as much value for my money as possible. I went over my intended budget ($1,000), spending close to $1,400. This is what I got:

Doepfer Dark Energy. I found it to be $100 cheaper to have it shipped across the pond. I am waiting for it to arrive, and I will need to buy a power supply that will work on US mains.

Akai MPK25. I wanted a MIDI keyboard controller. I got one, and it came with Ableton Live Lite.

Yamaha MG102c. The Dark Energy manual suggests computer to synth, synth to MIDI controller, synth to mixer, and mixer to monitors. This is my entry level mixer.

KRK Rockit 6 monitor, 1 pair. It won out over the Yamaha Hs50 because I bought a package with monitor stands and cables for the same price.

M-Audio Avid Recording Studio. I bought this because while I wait for my OTB synthesizer, I wanted to play with the MIDI controller and Live's VSI, and I needed to get the sound out of my computer to my mixer and to my monitors. It also came with Pro Tools SE software.

So, I wanted to learn subtractive synthesis, and now I have to learn:

1. Live (it'll be the first DAW I learn, then I'll check out Pro Tools)

2. How to line up my DAW with my mixer (any resource suggestions?)

3. How to use the MPK25 sequencer, pads, etc.

4. And finally, How to get the sounds I want out of the Dark Energy.

For $1,400 I bought an expensive new hobby! I will proceed now by making one song at a time...
Well ... congrats first of all.

I like your approach.

Instead of buying one expensive piece at a time, and use it like a toy, you just bought nice budget system, which will allow you to actually produce something at the end. Now i would advice you to spend some really good time to make it work as a system and learn how to operate that.

After that ... just one song at a time

Over the time, while writing songs... at some point you'll notice that some pieces of your system would become outdated for some reason. That's normal. So, you'll replace them later, one by one. As needed.

With $1400 start, you have a long way to go in terms of spending to become a real GS... don't worry about that.
Old 12th September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
I seriously hope that all that typing made at least one person laugh.
Well, I did like the idea of a synth duel...
Old 12th September 2011
  #10
Lives for gear
 
blinky909's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sftd View Post
If you would have just took a moment and did a search for "instrument of eternal power" you would have soon realized that it's actually impossible to learn synthesis without owning a Minimoog model D.
don't listen to this fruitcake. the Mini has no real LFO, a better choice for winning the synth duel is an Oberheim Four Voice. heh

looking forward to hearing what you come up with - my first synth was a Juno 106 and i wrote about 100 tracks with just that and a sampler (in the early 90's)
Old 12th September 2011
  #11
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by foodeater View Post
I think it was a joke that didn't go far enough. Or a meth bender.

You don't need the mixer (yet). Run the DE into the M-Audio and the M-audio out to the monitors. As for volume start with everything turned down and experiment until you find out how loud you can go. Then you can adjust the volume on your monitors to taste. I don't know the DE specifically, but you'll probably want to have that the loudest on account of the noise floor.

Obviously, you are going to have to multitrack the DE so you don't want 1 single track to be at maximum volume.

While recording give yourself plenty of headroom. Don't go into the red. (Sorry if this is obvious, but I see it all the time) You'll have plenty of freedom to change the volume in the digital realm. Personally, I think it's worth it to record at 24-bit for the extra dynamic range.

I'm pretty sure this is why I recommend starting with software, because now you have to learn to be an "engineer". But I guess you woulda had to learn it sooner rather than later and it shouldn't take that long to get the basics figured out. In the end I still take all my stuff to the professionals. In this economy it's surprisingly cheap.
Well, it took me a moment to realize that some of the synth pads in Ableton Live were steadily building as I held a chord, and that caused some discomfort for the monitor, I am sure. So, I adjusted the level (I am assuming headroom refers to setting a limit well below the red line to account for this kind of problem). It seems that every pad or voice will have to have its own adjustments.

Some synth voices are relatively weak.

I bought the mixer for the DE, and I bought the M-Audio so that I could connect Ableton to the monitors. I may not have bought the mixer had I known I could have used the M-audio for both the synth and the DAW.

Thanks for the suggestions!
Old 12th September 2011
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blinky909 View Post
don't listen to this fruitcake. the Mini has no real LFO, a better choice for learning about synthesis is an Oberheim Four Voice. heh

looking forward to hearing what you come up with - my first synth was a Juno 106 and i wrote about 100 tracks with just that and a sampler (in the early 90's)
Thanks. I hope to have at least 10 tracks in a year! I have a lot to learn yet about pretty much everything!
Old 12th September 2011
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Yoozer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Scholl View Post
Akai MPK25. I wanted a MIDI keyboard controller. I got one, and it came with Ableton Live Lite.
While that's good, a bigger one would've served you better in the long run

Quote:
M-Audio Avid Recording Studio. I bought this because while I wait for my OTB synthesizer, I wanted to play with the MIDI controller and Live's VSI, and I needed to get the sound out of my computer to my mixer and to my monitors. It also came with Pro Tools SE software.
Yeah, that's kind of a bummer in that sense; just the interface alone would've been cheaper, because you already have Live Lite.

Quote:
For $1,400 I bought an expensive new hobby! I will proceed now by making one song at a time...
You know what the worst part is? That's peanuts heh It gets way worse than this.

Quote:
I bought the mixer for the DE, and I bought the M-Audio so that I could connect Ableton to the monitors. I may not have bought the mixer had I known I could have used the M-audio for both the synth and the DAW.
If you're using a computer anyway, below a certain number of pieces it makes more sense to buy a bigger audio interface than a separate mixer. Thing is, this one doesn't have separate outputs so you'll keep muting channels to record stuff - something you already have to do when you multitrack the Dark Energy. So basically, now it's not doing that much. However, if you ever want to set the computer aside the mixer does the job - and it's also a cheap mic preamp.
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