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Where to start?
Old 25th January 2007
  #1
Deleted #27375
Guest
Where to start?

Whats up people, I am starting out in the recording industry and want to know where to start. Let me tell you a little about myself.

I studied the violin at the New England Conservatory in Boston for 15 years, took private lessons, theory classes, orchestra, chamber music, the whole nine yards. I also was a DJ for about 5 years then stopped because I wanted to focus on school. Right now I am in grad school for Computer Science. Anyways, I think I have a huge advantage over anyone else in this industry just starting out. Music is always on my mind. I'm always humming new things that I can think of that would sound good. So I think that in order to make my dreams come true I need to act on it and make the initiative. Now onto the real question.

I really want to start producing. I need to know a few things before I just start buying equipment. First and foremost I was thinking of buying a Mac G5, would this be feasible? Or should I go with a PC? Secondly is there a big difference between buying Music software and buying hardware, like synthesizers. I know there is alot more that I have not mentioned that I need. I just need a step in the right direction before I start out tracks. BTW, I have a source for getting things at a big discount.
Old 25th January 2007
  #2
LCD
Gear Addict
 
LCD's Avatar
 

To be concise:

PC or Mac.... I say Mac...

Hardware vs. Software? I'm not even gonna start that debate. You'll have 10 pages worth of thread and no answers. I suggest you go to your local Guitar Center or similar spot and mess with the synths and see if u like it. I just made the leap from software to hardware and I can say I enjoy making beats with my Fantom more.... but certain things are easier on a computer. It's all about preference.

Good luck! You'll need it. Once u figure out if you want to go hardware or software, lemme know and I can try to suggest some things to u.


-D-
Old 26th January 2007
  #3
Deleted #27375
Guest
Alright I will head down to my Guitar Center to check out a few things. As far as the MAC goes what should I get on it? 2 gb of ram, core duo processor, what type of sound card? Do I need certain inputs on the MAC for hooking up components? Thanks
Old 26th January 2007
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I suggest 2 things:

1) Listen, listen, listen. I know you've been listening to music already, but listen to the kind of music you're going to be producing, and listen for every detail of what's going on. In order to know what you need, you need to know specifically what you need it for, and what you're going for.

2) Read, read, read. When I first found these forums I read through the Hip-Hip Engineering board from the last page to the first, going though any topic that seemed like it might be helpful. I make a practice of reading interviews from my favorite artists, producers, and engineers. And magazines like Scratch, EM, Remix, etc. also have a lot of info on what people are using. You can match up what you're reading with what you're hearing, and learn what people are using to get the sounds that you like.

As far as mac vs. pc and hardware vs. software, you are going to have to make your own decision, based on what's written above. You will get a lot of different opinions from different people, but in the end the only thing that's really going to determine what's right for you is your own brain and ears.

The only thing that I can tell you that definitively about buying gear is to go slowly. You see a million people come through forums and say "alright, i need this, this, this, this, and this... I'm going to Guitar Center next week... Is this good?" It's almost always better to find a solid piece of gear first, learn it inside and out, and then get other things to fill anything that's missing. That way you'll know what you really need.

Good luck!
Old 26th January 2007
  #5
Deleted #27375
Guest
Im definitely set on getting the MAC, thing is now do I also need to buy something like Cubase or Reason, or is this the part where I decide software of hardware?
Old 26th January 2007
  #6
Lives for gear
 
No4PCs's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
Im definitely set on getting the MAC, thing is now do I also need to buy something like Cubase or Reason, or is this the part where I decide software of hardware?

Hey friend, you in advanced over majority of producers because you KNOW music.

So, i think most important too is the reference monitors, because with the monitors you will define the ammount needed of sound treatment of your room !
And the headphones too.
Old 26th January 2007
  #7
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
Alright I will head down to my Guitar Center to check out a few things. As far as the MAC goes what should I get on it? 2 gb of ram, core duo processor, what type of sound card? Do I need certain inputs on the MAC for hooking up components? Thanks
what is your DAW of preference?
did you ever try making your own beats?
what are your experiences with both platforms? (win/mac)
do you want to spill the beans all at once, because you have worked with DAW "X" and controller "Y" and audiocard "Z" and you know EXACTLY what you NEED and want OR do you want to learn things, start with a little basic setup and go from there when you reach it´s limits?
do you play the piano or are you more of a drummer guy? (keys vs pads vs keys & pads).
how important is recording vocals?
do you want to base your homestudio around the PC or do you want to have a small, transportable setup? (you said you were a DJ)

I think to answer these questions would actually be the first step.
then making a plan based on your PREFERENCES and budget.

good luck.
Old 26th January 2007
  #8
Gear Addict
 
jebjerome's Avatar
 

You need a soundcard(hardware), an audio sequencer (software: Cubase, Protools, Digital Performer, Logic, etc.) - Reason can make electronic music, but no live recording - hardware: a mic and preamp if you want to record things "in the air" and/or a DI for recording thing not "in the air". That's just a start. Keep reading, there's a ton of good info here and other places on the web.

Get the fastest Mac with the most processors and as much Ram as you can afford, but consider all these other pieces of the puzzle when budgeting. The really professional stuff gets expensive and retains its value, but if you don't have a ton of dough there's plenty of cheap stuff to get you started, but you'll likely want to get rid of it eventually. Good luck!
Old 26th January 2007
  #9
Deleted #27375
Guest
I am comfortable with both Mac and PC. I would like to start with getting my computer and software. What do you guys recommend for software? I would like to do some recording, but it isn't necessary at first. Then I would like to add different components until I master how they work and then buy more components. I have a Audigy Platinum 2 for my PC, but it is somewhat old, about 3 years. If I am going to get a MAC, do you guys recommend a sound card.
Old 26th January 2007
  #10
Lives for gear
 

computer...go dual processor or better, with 2gigs of ram or better...mac or PC is fine.

Software....Pro Tools is going to be the most compatible for you, just from the sheer amount of people who use it. Most DAWs are pretty close in quality...however, only ONE will absolutely compliment your work flow and creativity. THAT...you must find for yourself.
Old 26th January 2007
  #11
Deleted #27375
Guest
I'm sorry i'm seeing alot of DAW? What does this mean? How am I going to be able to figure out which software to get, is there a place I can demo them? I wonder if my local Guitar Center does it.
Old 26th January 2007
  #13
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
I am comfortable with both Mac and PC. I would like to start with getting my computer and software. What do you guys recommend for software? I would like to do some recording, but it isn't necessary at first. Then I would like to add different components until I master how they work and then buy more components.
right now, it´s better to go with a PC. since you are starting out, don´t have any prejudices regarding the OS, the Windows based DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a better and cheaper choice.

and I also don´t want you to spend thousands (the software game ain´t cheap at all - if you go with the household names), only to find out that you don´t need 90% of the software or should have chosen similar, equally good or even better, FREE alternatives.

my first hardware purchase 6 years ago was 50.000, my last software purchase was a year ago an it was roughly 2.000.
needless to say the options/features/workflow are ten times better.

to start out with hardware these days is like telling somebody, you shouldn´t drive a car at all, because it ain´t a Ferrari.
I prefer Porsche, you know. heh

since your main concern is being able to make HIP HOP BEATS, not track The Roots and a symphony orchestra, you should pay the most attention to the "hip hop beatmaking" options of your DAW.

you need a sequencer, some audio options, great/easy routing options, extraordinairy presets/setups/templates recall system, great sample manipulation/mangling options, easy to use and tight groove quantization.

candidates? Pro Tools, Logic, Nuendo, Cubase, FL Studio, Ableton Live, etc...

programs that REALLY have all these options, just a click away?
FL Studio and Energy XT.

programs that are modular and give you the freedom of setting everything up the way YOU want it?
Energy XT.

it´s $50, has a build in sampler with beatslicing (Recycle? what´s that?), very, very nice quantization (I use a beam controller to "play" the groove in real time ), Live Mode that the other sequencers can only dream about (yup, including the all-mighty MPC) a decent learning curve (for the first week or so: you have to understand the "modular workflow", after that, there´s no learning curve AT ALL, just instant smile heh )

my opinion? keep your PC (unless it´s really, really slow), get an all in one solution like the M-Audio Oxygen (?) or (my tip, cause it´s really well buildt and you can throw it at a wall and nothing will breake) the Alesis Photon X 25. both have buildt in soundcards and the Photon doesn´t even need power - you can use a DC adapter, power it through USB or even use batteries!!!.

that´s $200

Energy XT $50 (free of charge upgrade to the currently beta tested v.2)

external HD $100-300 (no matter if you go with a laptop or desktop, it´s usefull)

links to FREE effects, synths, samplers and GB of copyright free samples? priceless.

let´s see: that´s roughly $250 for hardware/software and optional $100-300 for an additional harddrive.

so you will only spend $250 RIGHT NOW, be able to do everything you dreamt of and if you don´t like it all, you don´t loose money at all (FL Studio and Energy can be loaded into every PC-VST compatible host.......as a VST!).
if you decide to upgrade/change your PC, you still don´t loose a buck!
that´s what I call modular

hope this helps.
Old 26th January 2007
  #14
Deleted #27375
Guest
Thanks for all of the info. Well I have a Windows and Unix workstation for my work and it seems feasible for me to get a new MAC since I will have it dedicated to just making beats. I am still in school so I still get the education prices on MACS. Out of the software that you mentioned, which is the best? Cubase, Protools, Logic...etc? From what I hear once you are with a particular piece of software this is what you use for the rest of your life.
Old 26th January 2007
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
Out of the software that you mentioned, which is the best? Cubase, Protools, Logic...etc?
preference. but since you have no experience in the field of production, you will base your opinion on prejudices/hear say/friends who "know". that´s why I mentioned a cheap and professional option, so that YOU can find out what you need.

so once again:
"programs that are modular and give you the freedom of setting everything up the way YOU want it?
Energy XT.

it´s $50, has a build in sampler with beatslicing (Recycle? what´s that?), very, very nice quantization (I use a beam controller to "play" the groove in real time ), Live Mode that the other sequencers can only dream about (yup, including the all-mighty MPC) a decent learning curve (for the first week or so: you have to understand the "modular workflow", after that, there´s no learning curve AT ALL, just instant smile )"

if you find a DAW that does all that for $50, please tell me, I´ll be switching like Will Smith heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
From what I hear once you are with a particular piece of software this is what you use for the rest of your life.
this is why most opinions are just that.......personal opinions.
unless one doesn´t look outside of the box at all, you will always (hopefully) find yourself trying out new things. trial and error.

now go make the right decision
Old 26th January 2007
  #16
Deleted #27375
Guest
What type of keyboard should I get? I think I am going to do sampling as well, so I am going to purchase an MPC and a turntable so I can sample from all the records I have. How is the MPC4000 compared to the Roland MV8000?
Old 27th January 2007
  #17
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lucab617 View Post
What type of keyboard should I get? I think I am going to do sampling as well, so I am going to purchase an MPC and a turntable so I can sample from all the records I have. How is the MPC4000 compared to the Roland MV8000?

You're not listening man... Nobody can tell YOU what type of keyboard YOU need for the specific vision YOU are hearing in your head for your style of music. You need to actually start listening to a lot of your target music, hearing the sounds they use, then picking which of those sounds you want to have in your own production... Then you actually need to go play those boards and find out for yourself what is going to work best for you.

If you just want a MIDI controller, you need to go play a bunch and see what feels the best and has the options you specifically want for your own work. And this will depend on the rest of your setup.

The MPC and the MV are both good, but if you don't know your own priority list and what you specifically want in a drum machine, how can you tell what's right for you? Or if you even really want a hardware drum machine at all?

Like markus said, if you ask these kind of generic blanket questions you will gt a thousand opinions and personal preferences, but no one can really say what's right for YOU. Do your homework and get out there and play with some gear!
Old 28th January 2007
  #18
Deleted #27375
Guest
Alright well I went to my local Guitar Center today and went to go play around with some gear. I was mad because they didn't even have an MPC4000 on display or in stock, said they were on back order for a couple of months. Well I spoke to a few of the guys there about what software I should get, and I got mixed reviews. The guy said it would be hard to test the different softwares out there, and that your limited to the demo's for ideas. I told him that I am set on getting a MAC and he suggested two, ProTools and Logic Pro 7. He said that in the long run Logic Pro 7, if you master the software, that it will be the only one that I will ever need. On the other hand he said that ProTools is much cheaper and much more straightforward. Logic costing 1000 + the interface. And ProTools costing 400 + the interface. I think once I get my MAC I am going to have to decide what software I would like to get. I think I am going to end up going with Logic Pro 7.

While I was there I was messing around with the MPC2500 which is really cool, I can just amagine what the MPC4000 is capable of....

I also opened up a Guitar Center card there, with no payments for 3 months, and I purchased an M5G turntable for my sampling, with an Ortofon Club S Cartridge. I think this will suffice for the sampling of sounds.

Anyways what are you thoughts on the two softwares. Experiences, pros cons of your own? Any help greatly appreciated.

BTW, anyone have thoughts on when the MPC4000 should be available? I know that Akai outsourced parts for the beast. Anyone have a place online where you go to buy all of your gear? I usually look at audiolines.com
Old 28th January 2007
  #19
Lives for gear
 

+1 for ProTools...

This is about to be a big debate.
Old 29th January 2007
  #20
Deleted #27375
Guest
Well I was just looking at the software that I might get, and since I am still in school I just found out that I can get Universal Binary of Logic Pro 7 for 299.99 compared to what Guitar Center is offering which is 999.99. Since I can get it for 299.99 should I go with Logic or get ProTools? I cant get ProTools from my school.
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