Severian

Old Musician Taking the Plunge

16 posts in this topic

HI all I'm a long time OC Remix fan and I've decided to take the plunge and try some creating. I had an electric piano about 30 years ago that was MIDI compatible but never used MIDI. I think MIDI was new then.

I've been reading Remixer profiles and the forums learning the lingo, etc. This led me to FL Studio. So let me ask, overall what percentage of the music here is 100% sampled? I don't know if sampled is the word. The other way to ask this is what percentage of music here uses outside instruments? And, of those, what part is digital (Keyboard) vs. say, electric guitar.

We play violin, Casio keyboard, and electric Jazz guitar in my house. I'm laying the groundwork for investing and potentially mixing these instruments.

When I listen to the music here I really can't tell which is digital vs non unless I'm listening to Audix (guitar) or music with voice.

Any input would help,

Thanks-

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Well with thousands of songs here and no idea how many of all those things were all played live or sequenced in with VSTs, it would be impossible to give you the idea you're looking for.

I'd say don't worry about thinking of things like that. If you can make a quality re-arrangement with the stuff you have and mix it creatively and with high quality, that should be enough right there.

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It's tough to give exact numbers, but my feeling is that it's leaning more towards sampled than real instruments. The amount of tracks with purely real instruments is probably not that high, but there's a lot of tracks that have a mix of sampled instruments with real instruments (e.g. a rock track with real guitars and bass but sampled drums, an orchestral track with a live violin, an electronic track with vocals, you name it). Always a good way to make a track sound more lively and more human.

I second what Meteo is saying, just use what you have, play around with it, have fun with it and see what comes out. If it sounds good, it is good :)

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It *somewhat* depends on the genre(s) you wanna tackle - jazz/blues/Latin considerably harder to do w/ sampled/sequenced elements and 0% real instruments, but definitely not impossible.

As @Jorito & @Meteo Xavier say, I don't think this should be a prime concern or any sort of barrier; plenty of great music to be made with ALL live, recorded instruments, plenty of great music to be made with 100% synthesized electronic instruments, and everything in between. All modern DAWs let you mix & match sequenced parts with recorded instruments, and often the best solution involves a mix of both - nothing like a real trumpet for a jazz solo of any complexity, but if it's part of a horn section playing soft backup chords, not as essential that it be a Real Live Human Player

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I definitely concur that a minority of tracks include even one live instrument--most are 100% synths and/or samples.  But a substantial minority do include at least one live instrument, as well.  That number goes up if you include vocals.

I will add that we come down pretty hard on sequenced instruments when they lack humanization.  You can go through old judges' decisions to see for yourself: when an instrument is lead or exposed, it's much more likely to get rejected when it sounds obviously fake.  Being able to play lead violin and electric guitar yourself is a huge boon if you'd like to use those instruments--I think that as leads, those two instruments tend to trip up mixes the most when sampled.

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Well, for what it's worth, none of my music is 100% live or is 100% recorded instruments. Tends to be 95-100% sampled, sometimes including electric guitar and lead violin, usually including piano. :)

It's great if you can record live instruments (in a good room environment; dry acoustics, full sound), but it's not a strict requirement to write good music or get music onto OCR. In fact, it might actually hinder you somewhat if you can't mix well enough to save a poor recording, but once you get that handled, it's always a nice addition to sampled material, if not part of a 100% recorded ReMix. So usually, live instruments = plus, but not required per se.

As for what MindWanderer said, yeah, lead violin and electric guitar are two of the most difficult instruments to sequence, needing at least a theoretical understanding of how to play them, so if you can simply record those, go for it.

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Not quite cornered.  There's a strong jazz presence and some "orchestral lite" (~4-8 live instrumentalists and/or vocalists).  But for 100% live instruments, rock/metal is definitely the most popular supergenre.

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It does definitely vary from genre to genre, and also background to background.  For example, I have one remix posted on the site, and another in the evaluation queue.  Both use live instruments almost exclusively.  One is jazz, and the other is some other genre that I don't know how to classify.  Jazz doesn't really sound right with samples, especially with wind instruments, so it tends to work better with live instruments.  As for background, a lot of people on this site are hobbyists who learned music on their own.  Using samples or synths is what they know really well, although there is a large number of rock/metal who use live guitar.  Many people play guitar as a primary instrument.  I'm a classically trained french horn player who also does jazz extensively, so I prefer live instruments because that's what I'm more "fluent" in.
If you use what you have, and make it work, you'll fit in just fine!

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Thank you. This will at least be a good start getting my feet wet and maybe conversational. Without offending anyone I'm partial to the large sound in Disco Dan, Star Salzman and Palpable (and of course djpretzel). I'm still learning the artists/music because for years I had all this music loaded on my ipod but never payed attention to the artists/music.

Regarding the DAW, do they rely solely on VST's? Are they merely a shell/mixer? Last night I was going through all the built-in rhythms and sounds in my Casio and they don't come anywhere close to the sounds I want. I imagine like many I'll rely on the DAW as I'm no where near ready to record live sound.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Severian said:

Thank you. This will at least be a good start getting my feet wet and maybe conversational. Without offending anyone I'm partial to the large sound in Disco Dan, Star Salzman and Palpable (and of course djpretzel). I'm still learning the artists/music because for years I had all this music loaded on my ipod but never payed attention to the artists/music.

Regarding the DAW, do they rely solely on VST's? Are they merely a shell/mixer? Last night I was going through all the built-in rhythms and sounds in my Casio and they don't come anywhere close to the sounds I want. I imagine like many I'll rely on the DAW as I'm no where near ready to record live sound.

 

 

The DAW and VSTs work symbiotically

The best ones, depending on what you're looking for, do often fetch a high price tag.

My recommendation for buying VSTs is to grab what you can from www.bestservice.de as they usually have the best deals on VSTs they distribute and make a lot of great libraries themselves.

Alternatively, the Composer Cloud by East West is a great subscription based service.

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Even if the sounds in your keyboard are not up to par, you can simply use VSTs for just the sounds. Having good keyboard skills will be a big help towards a good sound, because you can record your midi performance live without having to rely too much on quantization or putting in the notes in the piano roll with a mouse. That way you can still retain some of that live, human feel without being limited by the onboard sounds.

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Okay, so my original question was about proportions and so is this one. I get that a DAW is a symbiotic product but to what level is it used for melodic creation? I've used slow downers and track isolation tools but are there melody/chord creation tools in DAWs or are musicians recording from keyboard and transferring? I'm assuming the typical remixer is using DAW/keyboard combo. 

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2 hours ago, Severian said:

 

Okay, so my original question was about proportions and so is this one. I get that a DAW is a symbiotic product but to what level is it used for melodic creation? I've used slow downers and track isolation tools but are there melody/chord creation tools in DAWs or are musicians recording from keyboard and transferring? I'm assuming the typical remixer is using DAW/keyboard combo. 

If I get what you're asking: The standard these days is to use a MIDI-controller keyboard; the keyboard records the notes you play into the DAW as MIDI information that is sent to virtual instruments as the MIDI keyboard itself outputs no sound. You can either input the data in real time or one note at a time via "step input" in any DAW worth its salt. When you hit a key, the instrument you have armed plays back its sound.

In terms of Chord Creation tools, something that specifically generates progressions as MIDI can be found in DAWs like Cubase, but it's rare to find someone who bothers with it.

Most composers and remixers these days use the DAW/MIDI controller combo for every aspect of the composition process.

 

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19 hours ago, AngelCityOutlaw said:

If I get what you're asking: The standard these days is to use a MIDI-controller keyboard; the keyboard records the notes you play into the DAW as MIDI information that is sent to virtual instruments as the MIDI keyboard itself outputs no sound. You can either input the data in real time or one note at a time via "step input" in any DAW worth its salt. When you hit a key, the instrument you have armed plays back its sound.

In terms of Chord Creation tools, something that specifically generates progressions as MIDI can be found in DAWs like Cubase, but it's rare to find someone who bothers with it.

Most composers and remixers these days use the DAW/MIDI controller combo for every aspect of the composition process.

 

Okay now I think I'm getting somewhere. I'm making a trip to a music shop this weekend so I'm taking on info. 

My Casio CTK 3200 has a "USB port for midi implementation". Does this mean it's a MIDI-controller keyboard? It ports to PC and Mac. It does not look like the other MIDI-controller keyboards when I search the term. 

And if I may add, I was wrong about my initial impression of this Casio. It has some cool synth and drum sounds as I dig deeper into this thing. 

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1 hour ago, Severian said:

Okay now I think I'm getting somewhere. I'm making a trip to a music shop this weekend so I'm taking on info. 

My Casio CTK 3200 has a "USB port for midi implementation". Does this mean it's a MIDI-controller keyboard? It ports to PC and Mac. It does not look like the other MIDI-controller keyboards when I search the term. 

And if I may add, I was wrong about my initial impression of this Casio. It has some cool synth and drum sounds as I dig deeper into this thing. 

Yes, a lot of those keyboards do also have MIDI support and can be used as a controller. I just looked yours up on Casio's website and all you should need is a USB cable to connect it and you're good. 

 

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