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Everything posted by Yoozer

  1. Yes, but this also shows how terms and definitions change over time. Anyway - it's not the so much the strictness of the definition, more that "music production" will generally yield many more usable results on search engines if you're looking for tutorials. Are you willing to go secondhand? First of all, a cheap and capable sequencer (already mentioned) is Reaper. $40 (soon $60) for individual, personal use. Even the full license is really cheap compared to bigger packages. Another option would be to get one of the "lite" versions of other sequencer packages - Cubase Essential gives you Halion Sonic which means you instantly have a neat sample-based library. There are also several cheap/free plugins but most of 'm are synthesizers, not sample libraries with orchestral instruments. If you're working with a desktop computer, get a PCI audio interface; a popular low-cost option is an E-mu 0404 or M-Audio 2496. Controllers don't have to be expensive; if you manage to pick up a cheap secondhand synthesizer without USB, hooking it up to the computer will be merely $30 for a 1x1 MIDI USB interface. Pros: it'll have sounds! Cons: you won't get lots of sliders and knobs. Pros: you can add those later anyway. Roland D5/D10, Yamaha SY22, DX21/DX27, or even a cheap Yamaha PSR or Casio CTK keyboard - won't cost more than $100 or so (secondhand). Spending that on a controller generally gets you only 25 or 37 keys, while aforementioned equipment gives you 61. Something like this has (if I recall correctly) rather disappointing quality. Since you can get lots of free synth plugins, spend the money left on a good orchestral library. http://www.garritan.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=154&Itemid=54 is perhaps a neat option. Plus, consult http://ocremix.org/forums/showthread.php?t=1468
  2. Making music (or better, music production) It's remixing if you decide to pick something existing - but the tools aren't any different. People keep using the term "remix" while they really shouldn't, because what happens here has not so much to do with remixing in the way it's used - on the other hand, the name is short, rolls nicely off the tongue, and doesn't require 3 sentences to explain the caveats. It's just that when people like you get in here and say they want to remix, what they really mean is something different. What's done here is that you take an existing piece of music and reinterpret it; in a different style, with completely different instrumentation, and perhaps even with several variations on the melody. It goes beyond remixing. But - enough about terminology, it's not worth the effort or disk space to discuss it. Older video game music sounds like it does because of a set of unique constraints that composers probably wouldn't have come up with themselves. Newer video game music is no longer tied down to limitations in music reproduction systems, so you get CD- (or DVD-) quality audio. That may seem less of a challenge until you find out that you have to make the music change to fit the mood (or location, or action) performed in-game, and this is pretty damn difficult - but a completely different constraint from writing music for a NES or something. They're called DAWs and plugins respectively. Add to that: an audio interface (soundcard for music production - that way you can record your bass and piano) and a controller keyboard (a synthesizer without built-in sounds that sends note information to your computer - it usually has sliders and knobs to, simplifying operation greatly). For realistic instruments you generally want a sampler (while other solutions exist, it's still one of the cheapest and fastest ways to get yourself strings, brass, piano etc.). For synthetic instruments, there's a never-ending list of possibilities. No, you do not need mastering hardware, and music does not become "real". It's already real the moment it comes out of the speakers. There is mixing: it simply means adjusting the volume levels of each instrument or part that you play so you get a balanced whole. This depends on the genre of music (and "remixing" is not a genre, otherwise everything on this site would sound similar. It doesn't.). There is mastering: that is to take a good mix and make it suitable for duplication. If you have a collection of songs and you want to put 'm on an album, it may mean that some decisions you made during mixing (brightness, loudness of instruments) may be altered so songs blend together better as a whole. Mastering will not fix a bad song. It will not add magic sparkles. If your mixing sucks, mastering will not be able to untangle all the separate instruments to fix your mix (if you put the bass in wayyy too loud so it's distorted, mastering will not be able to un-distort it). It may not even be necessary to do it if you mixed everything correctly. Expensive is very much relative. If you'd buy Reason, you have a bunch of tools at your disposal that would make any 80s studio (that required a million dollar investment for that) green with envy. However, if you start saying "what? $400? I can't afford that!" then you either have to get some perspective (making music never has been cheaper and it still gets cheaper every day) and save up, or go to even lower budgetary regions. However, it will generally take you more effort to make things sound polished. For instance, there's Omnisphere. Great plugin, huge library of sounds, each of 'm sounds instantly usable because they've been putting lots of experience in sound design to work. It's almost as costly as Reason by itself, though. You can make some of those sounds by combining and tweaking several cheaper (or free) plugins - but there's no quick guide explaining how that works. In fact, it's going to take you a year or so to learn how it works, and your first attempts will all sound like crud. So, it's a tradeoff between convenience and money - and since time is money, is your own time cheap? Specify your budget, and we'll see what we can do.
  3. This is a very poor basis to make decisions on. Download the trial, then decide for yourself if it's suitable or not. It also doesn't get more plug-and-play: you have a list of your plugins, and you drag them into the screen. They become directly playable and recordable (though you might want to start out using Arrangement View (horizontal) instead of Session View (vertical) first). Yeah, and everyone and their grandmother requires oxygen. Popularity is also a very poor basis to make decisions on. Anyway, I wouldn't add Reason to that list, at least not without Record. Then again, if you've already invested in your plugins and you want to keep running them it's a dead end, unless you get something to rewire it in.
  4. That depends on: - your budget - USB or Firewire - your needs for inputs (mic inputs, line inputs, digital I/O, and how many of each?)
  5. First, there's an awful lot of really quiet sound at the back. We can get rid of that. Second, we're wasting a lot of headroom. It's much more effective to store the sample at full volume and then reduce it using volume envelopes, rather than making it so quiet by default. It's not like you're going to hear those details anyway. We've got two separate channels, but we'll just discard the left channel. Saves us half the waveform. How does that sound? Well, like this: http://www.theheartcore.com/snes/002_cropped_novel.mp3 (novel stands for "No Velocity" to show how artificial the sound can get) Here's the interesting bit that is a dark art: the piano hammer makes a "thunk" noise when it hits the string (and there's the key noise), but after that initial "thunk" the waveform looks very much the same (it isn't, of course). We could chop away everything after the thunk except for a single cycle - and we'll loop that cycle. Looping is really easy! What's the result after all our mutilations? This. http://www.theheartcore.com/snes/003_snesified.mp3 You hear that the sound "rattles" a bit - that's because Ableton Live's "Simpler" plugin which I used is very inaccurate with regards to loop points. I've simply duplicated the track, panned the original at full volume 60% right, and the copy at slightly less than half the volume of the original (shifted a quarter note to the right) 60% left. The idea is that you pick that cycle based on zero crossings - you see the "0.0" in the last image marked in bold. Draw an imaginary line to the right - every time the blue waveform crosses the zero, you have a point where you could basically say "ok, this is the start of the loop" - and then when it crosses the line again and the pattern starts to repeat, "ok, this is the end of the loop". You could even help it a little bit by dragging the sample to exactly zero. Technically, I should've also reduced the waveform to 8 bit, 22khz, but I simply put a static lowpass filter over it. Good enough for government work. Audacity can reduce to 8 bit, 22k, no problem. It's an art, because not all sounds have neat looping points like this - strings and choir sounds for instance. So, there, the trick is to find the smallest loop that still sounds string- or choir-like. You'll need something better than Simpler for this - Vember Audio ShortCircuit should be able to do the job pretty well, because it can loop with sample-accuracy instead of with sloppy accuracy like Simpler. Still think it's worth it? Because your results may sound SNES-like, but not like the stock sounds - so you need to be extra careful with the composition and stylistic elements. One example is for strings - a string sound takes a while to fade in. Repeated string chords on the SNES have that fade in every time, so it doesn't sound fluid. That's because there's only limited polyphony available.
  6. 9Let's crank it up one notch with images and sound. We'll start with a wistful melody from some JRPG (if it's from a game, sorry - I just played this and tried to get something Secret Of Mana-ish) Original: http://www.theheartcore.com/snes/001_full_quality.mp3 This was played with the Concert Grand in Kontakt 4. I've quantized the melody to 16th notes - quantizing is also important, because the SNES's tracker software will have a limited resolution. Feel free to change tempo at will, though. When you open the preset, it looks like this: Each blue block is a sample. From left to right you have the notes, up-down is velocity; you can see that the blocks are joined at the edges. When I hit a note with a certain force, that sample will be played - when I hit it with more force, it'll play the blue block on top of it. If I used the same sample for the entire velocity range, the note would sound the same (just with less or more volume) - and that's not realistic, since the sound changes in quality (hitting a key with more force on a piano gets you not only louder, but also brighter notes). Now, let's look at that note in detail. With not that much memory having multiple samples per key is an absolute luxury. So, that means our piano note should be a block that's as wide as the keyboard (each note plays the same sample) and as high as the entire velocity range (hitting with more force merely increases volume). This means that instead of 88 x 9 samples, we only use one, with a penalty in realism. There it is in the file system. Let's get it and open it in Audacity, because we can reduce it even more! (OMG TABLES) This is what it looks like in Audacity. Let's see what we can do.
  7. Believe it or not: they have also been ripped from other synthesizers and all kinds of instruments. In the 90s you could compose the full soundtrack on a workstation (which is a synthesizer with an included MIDI sequencer). Then it's a matter of making that MIDI file suitable for a console (strip out all unecessary data) and finding replacement samples for the sounds you use. The alternative is using a kind of tracker so you don't have to go through all those steps - but even then, the source of the samples on a SNES would probably be a synth. It's just that when you have to reduce the quality that far to make everything fit in memory it doesn't sound much like the original anymore. Use a wave editor to reduce the quality of a recording back to 8 bits, 22kHz, snip out a piece you can loop, and you're nearly there. The tricks that were employed for Casio keyboards and early sample-based drum machines work just as well (and are used in the same way) on consoles - because those are also samplers with limited bandwidth and memory. If you can get a good idea of the available memory in a regular SPC file, simply set for yourself a goal to build a collection of samples that's just as big (or not much bigger, say, 10-20% at most). This means: - picking early loop points - you loop fragments that are merely 0.2 seconds long or so - stretching samples all over the keyboard - compressing the samples so they stay at constant volume during looping - using volume envelopes instead of full-length loops. - simulating reverberation with a low qualty algorithm (the SNES had filters for this) - simulating delay by repeating notes at lower volume - limiting polyphony to 8 or 12 voices for the entire track I'll whip up an example using a piano from Kontakt. It's good that you mention that it's about a SNES - the Genesis is also 16-bit but uses a 6-voice 4-operator FM synthesizer. In a way it's more hi-fi, but it's also not as well-suited to make the dulcet tones you hear on a SNES.
  8. You buy it because you want to run an application on OSX and don't feel like making a hack build that'll run on a vanilla x86, and because it's hella stylish. Also, having Logic AND FL Studio AND Live is having 3 beefed up sports cars - it's neat, but in practice you'll only drive one of 'm. Buy a decent audio interface, disable the on-board crap. There's no reason to choose one based on what is in both cases a lowest-bidder POS chip that's only included so grandma can listen to Youtube.
  9. Freeze just reduces the process to the push of a button; what you did is virtually identical (though since it's going out of the computer and back in you have two conversion steps). It just takes more time. If GB does not have the freeze feature - then you're indeed clever to come up with a substitute all by yourself .
  10. Nah, you don't need that kind of massive speed - you just need to be willing to freeze/render software synth tracks to audio. Back in the tape days you recorded something to tape and that was it. Result sucks? Do it all over. Or wipe a specific piece of tape and punch in/out to record just that fragment. Mostly, you'd just make damn sure that you practiced everything so that it came out flawlessly. Nowadays you can go back and redo everything. Great - but it also keeps you from committing results, so you may revisit projects over and over again to do minor tweaks that eventually just end up hurting the quality. I don't know if Garageband has a freeze option; Cubase and Logic have it. Freeze means a .wav file is rendered from that single track, so your computer doesn't have to calculate the result over and over again each time, but instead it just plays back a single wave file. If you want to change one or more things, you'll have to un-freeze (thaw?) it, change it, and re-freeze the track again. Freezing takes a little while depending on the load the softsynth puts on your system, but once it's done and you're certain that you don't want to change, it's a godsend.
  11. No, not necessarily. Audio interfaces aren't like graphic accelerators, unless you're talking about UAD or related products (a PCI card with a DSP on it that can only run very specific plugins). No, but that's the correct wording. What host you use doesn't really matter that much - some are more efficient than others - but your Juno isn't that different from say, an E-mu 0202 USB interface; a small box with a few jack inputs and a set of low-latency drivers. It's still your computer which has to do the mixing and sound and effect synthesis. With audio interfaces that have say, 8 inputs, there is usually some hardware on board to handle the incoming streams of audio efficiently. It may also mix the audio on the device, so all the computer has to do is pump unmodified audio data through. So - you'll have to find out. But you shouldn't base your choice of Cubase/Logic or something on basis of efficiency - you should base it on your requirements and needs. Both these do a lot more than Garageband does, and it's up to you to decide if you need it.
  12. Since a sound file says more than a thousand words - upload one of the things you've tried. Soundcloud, or mp3 attachment here, whatever works. Are the things you layer in the same frequency range? Do they have sequencing going on - e.g. rhythmical patterns? http://theheartcore.com/music/ni_pads.mp3 features 3 layers - kind of forgot what they were, but I think FM8, Massive and Absynth were involved. This is a pretty huge sound - so the rest of the mix has to take a backseat for a moment, if I'd use it in a song. That's an important consideration, too.
  13. Uh, what? It's exactly that phenomenon of multiplication that makes string ensembles sound unrealistic. You're not just going to make a dozen players appear out of thin air for each note. You're not going to solve it by turning the volume down, or smacking a limiter on it, or lowering the velocity - besides the volume, the timbre changes, and no tricks afterwards are going to solve that.
  14. A limiter does not work unless you turn the makeup gain to a negative amount. But in that case you might as well just use a regular gain knob. Or just turn the channel volume down.
  15. But I think you want some pianos, organs, strings - i.e. bread & butter sounds for gigging, which would rule out a Voyager in the first place .
  16. Your dad's not really nice if he won't even tell you what you should do But a 16-bit console like a SNES has limited room for samples. That means that you can easily hear them loop - and higher pitches loop faster. It's a warbling effect, and it has absolutely nothing to do with your DAW's bit depth or the sample library's bit depth but solely with programming. Play strings that lack any kind of dynamics, forget adding any positioning or room response (panning and reverb) and yes, it's going to sound fake. This does not mean putting reverb on every sample; rather, use a single reverb for an entire orchestra and position the instruments like they'd be positioned in reality. Also, keep arrangement in mind. If you let 20 violins play a single note you get a massive single note. If you let them play a chord, 7 will play the root, 6 will play the third, and 7 will play the fifth (and most likely you should not take this as a guideline at all because it's a very naive method to split - it completely ignores any other instruments that play the same note or related notes that amplify the original chord's notes). If you have a sample of 20 violins playing the same note, a single note may have 20 violins; but a chord will have 60. Of course that's not going to sound realistic. Listen to Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Allegro movement - all strings play the first part in unison, then they split up and divide roles. If you'd play that with a single kind of sample, then realism is thrown out of the window - but on a 16-bit console, you must, because there's simply not enough DSP horsepower (or memory) to play several violins separately without phasing.
  17. What kind of world do you live in that you pay 4K? They're cheaper than that, and it's easy to pick up a secondhand Voyager. No. The need to have a compact and rock solid setup that can be easily taken with you is essential. This does not necessarily involve hardware. If it weren't for its sub-par keyboard, that is, so if you plan on getting this as a controller (or for that matter any low-budget synthesizer, nowadays), think twice; you may be off better with an older machine that was top of the line back in its day. Yes, and putting them together involves quite a bit of soldering. If you don't have a scope and haven't put together succesfully smaller electronics projects, then save yourself the trouble and go for a Synthesizers.com starter set. Which is nearly 3 times as much, but with the guarantee that it works - and you can pay $120 per month in a 12-month plan, with the option to pay more at once if you have a windfall. It's only cheaper if your time is cheap. There's absolutely nothing novel about it. Let me count the ways. - top of the line workstations and synthesizers usually come with a really fine keyboard - great feel, great response. On the other hand, lots of mid-budget digital pianos do too if you want weighted keys. When you play a lot, you don't want mushy, clacking plastic POS keys; they need to feel awesome and that alone is already able to make you play better. - switching presets on a sample-based machine is virtually instantaneous compared to say, Kontakt. Of course, the numbers change when you put in an SSD, but even then, loading speeds are generally a lot faster, which makes it more suitable for gigging. Of course, part of that is because you have to load several playing methods at once with several samples per velocity zone in a decent library - but chances are people are not going to hear that on a PA anyway. - knobs and sliders are grouped and spaced (this of course won't work for workstations that also have 4 or 8 generic sliders/knobs). Compare this to any controller which has a generic grid of 'm - whee, 8 rotary encoders on a row! Gee, I wonder what the filter cutoff was and what the oscillator pitch was. Labels don't work. Schemes don't work. The fact that you can identify what you're editing by blindly grasping gives it a lot more potential for expression, and it makes it far more fun to play with. This still leaves an enormous amount of room for a laptop and controller. Forget finding anything like Omnisphere in hardware; it just doesn't exist. If you don't care about on-board sequencers (and why should you, in a studio environment - that's what your DAW is for) then by all means skip workstations. If you need versatility and a small light-weight footprint, don't drag along the Moogs, modules and whatnot but use a laptop. Voyagers are bloody heavy, Little Phatties are better, but that's still a lot of weight and room for a single voice. If you want lots of memory to play back samples, computers are a dozen times more functional than the last great samplers; and cheap enough to buy two of 'm so you're guaranteed a backup. Anything can go wrong. Blindly trusting a single piece of equipment to keep functioning is foolishness; always have backup.
  18. http://www.copyrightauthority.com/poor-mans-copyright/ Just wanted to post this before some mook barges in with "lol just mail it to urself".
  19. What did you buy for those sixty bucks? Generally you want a brand USB MIDI cable because of driver support. While audio companies generally drag their heels anyway I'd feel a bit safer with say, E-mu or M-Audio than with some vague manufacturer that only supplied Windows 98/XP drivers from a photocopied faxed page with an ftp adress pumping bits at the blinding speed of 300 baud or something.
  20. No. A DAW supports the VST standard. Some don't - Logic only supports AU, and you need an adapter, like the earlier mentioned ProTools that supports RTAS. Some VSTs (usually the free/cheap ones) on Windows are .dll files. You copy that file to the VST Plugins folder that your DAW uses, and you're done. Some are .exe files which ask you nicely where your VST Plugins folder actually is - VSTs may require one or more folders to store settings in. I've no experience with how OS X does it, but it shouldn't be that much different. A .dll file is an executable; the reason you can't just double-click it and start it up is because it doesn't do audio and MIDI management. FL Studio, Cubase, or whatever DAW you use does that for you - that's why it's called a host. You hook up your digital piano. You play a note. It travels through your MIDI/USB cable to the computer, which receives it and sends it to your DAW. The DAW receives the note and sends it to the currently selected plugin/channel/whatever; then, it no longer cares about the MIDI part. Your plugin receives the note. It does not know or care where it comes from; all it knows is "OK, I need to react to the middle C". It makes a sound, which is sent back to the DAW's internal mixer. The DAW sends it to your soundcard, which converts it from a digital bag of bits to an analog voltage, which comes out of the soundcard's output, which goes to the amplifier, which then goes to the speaker and makes it move.
  21. If the sine waveform is not available in the synthesizer itself (and back in the old days, there was a good reason for that; nowadays, not so much) you can almost always get a proper sinewave by simply turning down the cutoff frequency of a lowpass filter. Just make sure filter keytracking is set to 100% (otherwise you won't hear the higher notes anymore, and the lower notes won't sound like sinewaves anymore). It's easier however to just use Synth1 and set oscillator 1 to sinewave, then enable portamento (play mode mono or legato). If you need 2 of 'm, slightly detuned, use the Unison option and detune there.
  22. Spread that cash over those 2 years and it's basically nothing per day. Don't think of it as money at once, think of it as an investment. What you spent on fast food during that time could've bought you FL already. Plus it's not like you're going to need the XXL Ultra Deluxe Gold Happy Schoolgirl Alpha Limited Edition of a bazillion dollars anyway.
  23. Thing is, how would you go on redistributing it? You'd have to be 100% certain that the wave files that were submitted didn't violate any copyrights, and that you have permission of the software author to redistribute the plugin from another location than their own website. Imagine getting a sweet kickdrum submitted by someone only to find out that they renamed a Vengeance sample or something. Torrents come to mind as the most effective - but if you're on campus, chances are that it'll take ages to download, because they're pinched. I think the pack idea is really great and I think Nutritious' execution of the idea is really great (I honestly didn't know about it) but you'd have to iron these kinds of things out on beforehand so you can distribute it without getting the smackdown.
  24. A better idea: make a few tracks in various styles (orchestral, rock, electronic) using only free plugins and DAW or free effects. When you can show someone how that already results in something great - and give away the arrangement with annotations why you did that there - and all you need is say, the FL starter edition or Reaper and a few plugs, you don't have the noob sound problem and an incredible compelling reason to show that production on the cheap is possible and that the result hinges on skill, not equipment.
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