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Need gear recommendation for this
Old 9th November 2002
  #1
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largeunit's Avatar
 

Need gear recommendation for this

I have a friend who posed a gear question to me for which I do not know the answer, so I've come to gearslutz seeking wisdom:

He sings and plays guitar, and wants to have a device that he can program bass and drums for all his songs into (he says about 90 songs) so when he is playing live, he can just bring up a song and press play, and it's playing.

- the main requirement is that it be very, very, very simple to program bass and drum arrangments. if it's not super simple, it will never do

- it doesn't have to be the highest recording quality sounds, but they should be pretty good. It's for live performances, not for recording

- it doesn't need to have a wide variety of sounds. If it had one drum kit that he likes and one bass sound that he likes, that would work for all the songs. I don't get the feeling he's too particular about the sounds

- he comes from a "live band" background, so drums sounds that are more like a real kit than an obvious drum machine would be best

- the problem he had with the last device he had was that once he had the drum arrangement, it did not allow him to just play the bass over the full arrangement; it made him play the bass section by section. He found it very frustrating to use because of this

- it needs to be very, very simple

Thanks!
Old 10th November 2002
  #2
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AudioGaff's Avatar
Not knowing your friends playing or performance programing skills, it is hard to be specific. First off, programming or arranging drums and bass is not something I would call simple to begin with.
For simple, it really helps if you are an accomplished and skilled bass player/drummer

My first thought is a small and cheap laptop with a sequencing program. Dozens of MIDI sequencing programs exist. Some are very simple. It is in your best friends interest in the long run to find and learn how to use one. MIDI Input can be from a mouse, MIDI keyboard, or MIDI drum pad. You may then use the laptop with an internal/external sound card or using a MIDI interface trigger or an external MIDI sound module.

Something smaller and more remote would be something like the older Roland Sound Canvas MIDI sound module and Roland Sound Brush MIDI sequencer. The MIDI file you create from the laptop can be saved on a floppy and played in the Sound Brush. The Sound Brush can be controlled from foot switch, the small remote control it comes with, or MIDI keyboard. You may also skip the PC and record MIDI events directly into the Sound Brush.
These can be found on ebay and I have one of each I've been thinking of selling.

The other idea is to have a DAT or a MDM (like a ADAT type) with the Drums and Bass already recorded and then play live to that.
Old 11th November 2002
  #3
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largeunit's Avatar
 

Thanks AudioGaff, that is very interesting and I never would have thought of it.

Are the drum/bass sounds in there super-cheesy or tolerable? How would you describe them?
Old 11th November 2002
  #4
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AudioGaff's Avatar
If you mean the sounds in the Roland Sound Canvas, I'd say they are better than tolerable as they are 16-bit samples and with a little compression & eq can become quite useable. There is at least 16-different drum kits to choose from if I remember correctly. The bass sounds are more on the cheesy side, but if you combine and layer a few different bass sounds together, you can get something useable. Once you have the drums and bass programmed in MIDI you can use any MIDI sound module or modules. Older stuff like the Roland U-110 or U-220 rack mounts are in the $150 or less range nowdays and while they don't have as many sounds or voices , they have a fater sound and direct outputs for a mixer and/or processing.
Old 11th November 2002
  #5
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Thanks Audiogaff. That might be the way to go.

But it just occurred to me: if he is going to go the computer route, maybe Reason would do the job?
Old 11th November 2002
  #6
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Your Welcome!

Ya, Reason or mabe Band-in-a-box which is as simple as they come. It allows you to input chords and lyrics/text and then will create drums and bass lines based on the template and style that you choose. Once you have something that you like or is close, you save that and export it as a MIDI file and then edit the MIDI file as needed (with a sequencer program) for levels, pan, velocity and program numbers for the MIDI sound module you choose. For the most realistic and flexable in getting the exact drum/bass sounds, you might consider one of the rack mount samplers and CD-ROM from E-mu. There are a lot of good sounding drum/bass sampler CD's to choose from. Since a lot of people are going with PC/Laptop sampler software, there are some good deals out there.

Whatever you end up with, please post and let me know what works and what doesn't.
Old 11th November 2002
  #7
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largeunit's Avatar
 

That is a really brilliant suggestion. Band in a Box. That's it. Thanks.
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