View Full Version : New Music Creation Software: Need advice

08-02-2009, 02:48 AM
Hi everyone! I've heard some awesome things about this community and my friend recommened me to this place saying that there are some really knowledgable gurus here. I can't wait to be a part of this forum.

Up till now, I've been using Magix Music Maker. It's not exactly professional, but I really only used the sampler (changing up the sf2 soundfonts inside it) and the percussion instruments provided with the software.

As you all know, this software's sound quality isnt top notch and it doesn't have too many features. So my question is this:

Which music creation software is the best for me?

I've looked everywhere for the answers but I cant seem to find them. The requirements are:

*I'm disabled and only have one hand. Because I cant play real live instruments, I need virtual samplers to create melodies which can be the basis for my tunes. If the sampler has pitch-bending, even better!
*Somewhat good interface. I'm willing to spend weeks and months to learn the program but I have no musical education. So I'm looking for a powerful software but I cant afford to go back to school for it :-P
* UNLIMITED BUDGET! This is a once-in-a-life investment so I'm willing to shell out the money for a good valuable program.

Where better to get advice than from the people who mastered these programs? Thanks and glad to be here.

08-02-2009, 03:33 AM
Given your current situation, you probably won't be getting FL Studio. If you have an unlimited budget and are willing to spend a lot of time learning the program, you'll want something a lot... better.

Unfortunately, I've never used anything other than FL Studio, so I'll let some of the other music vets floating around the forum tell you about other programs.

08-03-2009, 04:22 PM
thx for the reply dusk.

yea, i'm looking for a software which doesnt require me to plug in live instruments. i simply want to "draw" the notes. i've also heard of pitch bending and would like to have it in the software.

thx, and still waiting for the vets :)

08-03-2009, 04:35 PM
You can make awesome music in Audacity if you know what you're doing, but you'll more likely want a DAW (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Workstation), different DAWs doing things a little differently but most can do most things most others can do. Reason, FL, Logic, Live, and Cubase are some of the most common ones I've heard ppl use here on ocr.

If you're concerned about the sound, that's both a matter of skill and a matter of resources. Even if you get the best tools of the trade, you'll still make terrible stuff if you don't know what you're doing. Aside from the DAW itself, you'll want samples, sounds to go with it. There's lots of those as well, depending on what sounds you want. You'll probably get a little of everything if you get Kontakt (http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/producer/kontakt-3/), tho your budget does allow for a package with Kontakt and more. ;)

In any case, don't expect to be awesome in just a few months. Learning to mix stuff takes years, whether you have top-of-the-line resources or not.

lol at your reference to pitch bend. That's something pretty much every music tool that can work with midi comes with, since pitch bend is one of the most commonly used midi events. I don't think I've ever used "music creation software" that couldn't do pitch bends. :D

08-03-2009, 04:49 PM
I use Reason myself, but with an unlimited budget I wouldn't recommend it, personally. As much as I love it, I admit that it is rather limited.

I hear FL Studios is pretty good, and Logic is a professional grade DAW (which was pretty good, from the short time I used it). I've never used Cubase, but other people swear by it. Reaper is great AND cheap, so even with an unlimited budget it might not be a bad option.

Ultimately, your sound come down to your samples and plugins, so be sure to invest well when it comes to those. Remember, this is the type of hobby that you'll need to continually invest in as the technology gets better, so don't plan on spending a big ol' chunk of change on it and never spend another penny on it again - it doesn't work that way. Plan on investing a little bit into it here and there if you want to really get involved in it.

Not a 'professional' opinion (well, except for the opinion on Reason), but hopefully it helps.

Oh yeah, and MAGIX FTW - I loved that midi making program... I lost my program some time ago, though. I found it to be incredibly flexible considering it's price (back when I got it the program was 50$ - since they've tried going professional with it the price has gone up sixfold...). I miss my Magix :puppyeyes:.

big giant circles
08-03-2009, 06:05 PM
Well, if you have an unlimited budget, I can go nuts with some recommendations :)

But first, what kind of computer will you be using, and what kind of music will you be making?

Until then, here's some universal recommendations if you truly want a vast setup of inspiring sounds.

? (need more info first) But I'd go ahead and expect to spend up to $500



Omnisphere (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--SPCOMNISPHERE) ($479) - Simply amazing instrument. Thousands of incredible sounds right out of the box. All are super inspiring.

Stylus RMX Xpanded (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--SPCSTYLUSRMXXP) ($379) - Very powerful drum loop player and loop manipulator. Contains several of the RMX expansion kits, too.

Trilogy (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--SPCTRILOGY) ($279) - Fantastic Bass instrument. Has acoustic, electric, and synth basses.

Native Instruments
Kore 2 (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--NINKORE2) ($399) - They call it the "Super Instrument", and rightfully so. It's very well rounded, with hundreds of sounds with limitless sound variations, a super-sexy controller, and it can load any additional plugin you like. Example: say you want to use the controller to tweak parameters in Omnisphere. You can! It's not just an instrument, it's an FX plugin too. Plus, you can buy expansion soundpacks for it too, if you want more sounds (or FX)later.

Komplete 5 ($399 - 999) - If you can find it (there are a few places that have it still) though I doubt you can still get it for $399. This is the full arsenal of NI instruments, but the main thing you'll want out of this bundle is Kontakt 3, probably the best known sampler in the world. It's $399 by itself, so if you can find the bundle, it's a great deal. Also, Guitar Rig 3 is fantastic if you plan on doing any guitar stuff, but it can be used on any instrument or audio clip that you like. These sounds can all be loaded up into Kore, and most are pre-mapped to the Kore controller for maximum tweakability.

Acoustic Drums
Toontrack EZ Drummer (http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434/item--TNTEZDRUMMER) ($149) - True to its name, it's arguably the easiest way to get decent acoustic drums into your track. Has hundreds of preset midi loops that you can simply drag and drop into your song.


XLN Audio Addictive Drums (http://www.guitarcenter.com/XLN-Audio-Addictive-Drums-104491592-i1374588.gc) ($199) - More tweakability than EZ Drummer, and more variety in the drumkit itself. Slightly higher learning curve, but if you really want more options than a simple drumkit, I'd get this one instead.

OR you can just get 'em both, like I did :) I use them both on a regular basis.

So, thus far, if you buy everything listed above (assuming you get Komplete 5 and assuming you get it for $999 [even though I'm confident you can get it for less]) that brings your grand total to $2883 before the DAW software, and $3383 afterwards.

That may sound like a lot to some people, but honestly, consider that some keyboards alone used to cost much more than that, and didn't have anywhere NEAR the capabilities that you would have. Plus, the nearest equivalent to this stuff as little as 10 years ago would have cost you (literally) probably about 10 times MORE than that.

*edit* Also, I have been using FL for years. So don't necessarily base your assessment entirely on one person's opinion ;) (of course, that's not to say you should get FL, too.) I recommend grabbing as many trial versions as you can. FL Studio, Ableton Live, and Sony Acid all have free demos that you can try out for sure. Cubase and Sonar might too, I'm not sure.

08-03-2009, 06:46 PM
Which music creation software is the best for me?

Nobody can decide that for you, so you'll have get the trial versions and see which fits best.

*I'm disabled and only have one hand.
This means either learning keyboard shortcuts for common operations or a lot of mouse use, and switching between the keyboard and the mouse.

You mention clicking. Don't - clicking in a chord takes longer than simply playing it on a small (say, 37 keys or so) keyboard. You still have 5 fingers - use them! Furthermore, a decent controller takes expression pedals as input so you can put your feet to use to control sliders and knobs while playing.

It means full support for automation so you can draw knob tweaks easily, which frees up your hand for other things.

*Somewhat good interface.

No sequencer has a somewhat good interface. In fact, all of 'm suck and don't use modern philosophies to speed up workflow. DAWs are "old" software with their own idiosyncrasies and philosophy; some expect you to have/know/operate a hardware studio in software, some do away with that entirely and treat it in a more sane way, and all of 'm expect you to upgrade to the current version - and to not shock people who have been used to things on how they were done long ago, you get a certain interface weirdness. Logic and Cubase are ancient, and Live's nearing a decade, too.

* UNLIMITED BUDGET! This is a once-in-a-life investment so I'm willing to shell out the money for a good valuable program.
No, this is not a good idea.

Learn to master each instrument in time. In that way, Logic is nice since its selection of included instruments is generous enough to start with, and ditto for Ableton Live Suite.

What kind of music do you want to make?

big giant circles
08-03-2009, 06:55 PM
this is not a good idea

Depends on how unlimited his budget really is. Besides, my post above is chalk full of recommendations that are not particularly expensive, give great results, and do NOT require years of practice to achieve a good end result.

Some people say "Hey, I like to go out on the lake, so I think I'll buy a boat." So they shell out some $10-20k on something that they end up using twice a year. If he wants to shell out a mere couple thousand dollars for a hobby that he can perform and enjoy daily from home, I wouldn't discourage him from buying quality software.

Wowie, one request. If you do happen to buy any of the things I mentioned, we would be most grateful if you bought it through our affiliate link - http://www.zzounds.com/a--925434

Zzounds.com will beat any price of its competitors (like Guitar Center and Sweetwater, though they're all pretty much the same), and OCR gets a small portion of the total. So basically, it doesn't cost you any more to shop through them, and you're indirectly donating and supporting OCR as well, so very win/win :)

Best of luck in your shopping, hope all this information is useful to you!

08-13-2009, 06:57 PM
thx for your help everyone. and i will take the suggestions in your post big giant circles.

The info about my rig:
AMD Dual Core 3500+ (3.4 GHz I think)
4 GB DDR2 Ram
300 GB Disk Space

About the type of music I want to make, it varies from day to day. I move from classical orchestra music (my favorite) to simple hip-hop beats to even Chinese and Indian music (I love sitars). Based on this information, any DAW that you recommend. I know that Yoozer said investing in a keyboard and turn the knobs while playing, but I still would enjoy big giant circles' recommendations of an all-on-the-computer solution.

Yes my budget is let's say up to 10,000 U.S. dollars as long as the software is somewhat popular and there will be decent customer support or forums for it. Thanks and btw, I will definitely use zzounds when buying something.