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BriGuy92

Am I able to remix?

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Well... I'm not exactly sure if this is the right place to put this thread, but anyway, on to my question. I want to get into mixing, but the only music stuff I have is your typical, run-of-the-mill MIDI keyboard and Anvil Studio. Can I make good remixes with just this?

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Dude, I don't even have a midi keyboard, and I make bitchin remixes.

And yes, mixing with what you have + the free stuff from the internets is definitely possible.

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The keyboard's actually optional. If Anvil Studio can use VSTs and/or SoundFonts then you've got what you need to get started. If you've never done any music composition/production/arranging/etc before, you're going to be more limited by your lack of experience than by your lack of software.

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As far as what I'm reading from the main site, you're good to get started. As you improve, I think you'll want to improve the quality of your audio samples, though.

That said, you need to have a very important paradigm shift. Usually this shift only comes with experience, but the more you practice it now, the better off you'll be: You need to have a mental image/plan of the song you're trying to put together first, then see for yourself if your hardware and software can get you there. I know this sounds simple, but it will improve your creativity and save you a lot of mindless piddling.

Btw, here is one of my early remix attempts. I sequenced it on my midi keyboard and recorded the audio directly into my computer. This keyboard has some pretty nice sounds, but its interface is such that it took an extremely long time to sequence. I don't know how good the sound banks on your keyboard are, but you're already in a better interface situation than I was.

Good luck, and remember: have a plan, and then see how your resources can get you there.

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I don't exactly like the samples that my keyboard has, so for the small bit of tinkering that I have been doing, I've been using what I would guess to be my computer's default MIDI samples. I really don't know exactly how all that works, though.

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I don't exactly like the samples that my keyboard has, so for the small bit of tinkering that I have been doing, I've been using what I would guess to be my computer's default MIDI samples. I really don't know exactly how all that works, though.

Ok no, those are awful and aren't going to cut it. You need to get some good free VST's and/or soundfonts. Check the Mixing for Free thread in the guides section of this forum for more info.

Anvil Studio does have VST support, I just checked it.

You need to have a mental image/plan of the song you're trying to put together first, then see for yourself if your hardware and software can get you there. I know this sounds simple, but it will improve your creativity and save you a lot of mindless piddling.

The "see for yourself" part kinda does require hours of piddling :P But I agree, you need to have an idea of how you want to work and what you want to create before you can really tell if your tools are adequate.

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Download a sequencer. (like reaper)

Download some VSTS (use search function or go to the free samples thread (it's stickied at the top))

Don't worry about not being good enough. Everyone starts out in the shits. Lol. As a matter of fact, I am still in the shits.

Have fun with it

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What you have is fine to get started. You can get some good VSTs at www.kvraudio.com, and you can get some good soundfonts at www.hammersound.net. (In order to use the soundfonts, you'll probably need a VST soundfont wrapper like SFZ. You can get that for free as well, and I think you can ge tit from KVRaudio)

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Here's a different question.

How well do you need to know music (not MIDI and soundfonts) to make something decent? Do you have to know chord progressions, voicing, etc?

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Here's a different question.

How well do you need to know music (not MIDI and soundfonts) to make something decent? Do you have to know chord progressions, voicing, etc?

In spite of all of the formalism and technology attached to it, music is at its core an art. As such, to make something beautiful, you don't need anything except creativity, and the patience and practice necessary to be able to translate that creativity into a finished product using what tools you have available. Formal music knowledge, or expensive toys are in absolutely no way required. They may make things easier, but the possibility of greatness is always there without them. Just have fun and the rest will follow.

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They not only make things easier, but also understandable and repeatable.

Theory is a language, and it doesn't make you rigid and uncreative unless you allow this to happen yourself.

Can I make good remixes with just this?
Don't ask, submit and see what the verdict is.

If you're afraid of criticism, choose another profession ;).

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They not only make things easier, but also understandable and repeatable.

Theory is a language, and it doesn't make you rigid and uncreative unless you allow this to happen yourself.

Don't ask, submit and see what the verdict is.

If you're afraid of criticism, choose another profession ;).

Theory makes me rigid.

huh huh-huh huh

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I didn't mean to imply that theory would make you rigid or stifle creativity; only that it is not necessary. I hate to see people scared off thinking that they have to know this or that in order to make music. It doesn't have to be rocket science...but it can if you want it to be.

Also, I'm a huge fan of understandability and repeatability, but neither is necessary to create what many consider to be great art :P

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Probably one of the most important thing when getting into music imo, is to learn how to play an instrument.

Play your favorite songs using the instruments they used so you can get the technique your looking for down, it will help get you sharp at what you like to play.

It will be the best scratchpad ever. just open up your favortite video game music, or whatever, and play along to it, so you can find what notes match the song and all that and recognize how certain notes feel and such.

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I hate to see people scared off thinking that they have to know this or that in order to make music.

Making music is a skill. Skills require effort and practice. I'll be blunt, but I'd rather see people scared off (this is not aimed at the topicstarter) than unwilling to put effort in it. Questions about which gear to get; no problem, since that's money. For the rest,

JUST DO IT

All those fears are something people impose them on themselves. Instead of jumping in the pool or even getting their feet wet, they are shivering on the edge, asking if it's safe.

It doesn't have to be rocket science...but it can if you want it to be.

And that's the trick; it's not rocket science. If you consider it from a mathematical perspective, the entire 12-tone circle-of-fifths, chords, whatnot deal is merely adding and subtracting.

Also, I'm a huge fan of understandability and repeatability, but neither is necessary to create what many consider to be great art :P

Do keep in mind that you can only do a trick like Pollock did once; doing it after Pollock did it means that everyone'll call you an imitator ;).

(also, Pollock was formally educated)

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I'll be blunt, but I'd rather see people scared off (this is not aimed at the topicstarter) than unwilling to put effort in it.
Ah cold cold Yoozer. Let the lazy people have their fun too. If learning Dance eJay* is as much effort as they want to put into it, I say have at it!...Just don't submit...please. ;-)
All those fears are something people impose them on themselves.
Maybe. But I think part of the problem is the massive amount of information that newbies get that isn't necessarily directed at them. When they decide to jump into the music world, they'll Google some stuff and come across forum after forum that says that their SoundBlater is worthless, compressors are difficult to master but they are absolutely necessary to make good music, their cheap headphones will completely screw them up, theory theory theory, bits, Hertz, decibles, blah blah blah. None of that applies to a newb. So, understandably, they may come to the conclusion that without the resources or desire necessary to understand the overwhelming amount of info out there (most of which is not needed to get started anyway) they may as well not start at all. Fear based on misinformation may be self imposed, but it's not entirely their fault. I got started before Google and I had only myself to ask questions. In many ways I'm glad that I didn't have the chance to scare myself like some people do today.
And that's the trick; it's not rocket science. If you consider it from a mathematical perspective, the entire 12-tone circle-of-fifths, chords, whatnot deal is merely adding and subtracting.
Pffft. Can't find the video interview I'm looking for, but I think BT would argue with you on that. Exponentially decaying gate effects indeed.
(also, Pollock was formally educated)
video or it didn't happen.

* Remember the eJay series?!!! Awesome.

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Ah cold cold Yoozer.

I've been helping newbies for 7 years in a row - luckily, not on a completely hopeless forum - and one's heart goes callous ;).

Yes, Google's got a lot of information. So does a music store employee. Yes, they're mostly clueless if you have to believe all the tales, but you can at least try. Even then, there'd be at least someone who'd be less clueless and maybe able to demonstrate bits and pieces. Even then, they have books on music production, too, which separate the forum chaff from the wheat.

If, however, one is of the opinion that books and people are archaic concepts, and that registering on a dozen forums asking questions that have been asked and answered a thousand times already instead of the truly interesting stuff, then disregard the previous.

Now, if you've already consulted with those people, you can at least show that you either don't have any options, or you do have options but don't trust the guy who makes a commission on what you're going to spend, so you're looking for a second opinion. That alone already shows effort, and that alone would already make a sea change in impression.

In fact, I'd say it's a lot easier now since most of the links you get in the first 10 results are Wiki articles of the sort.

Pffft. Can't find the video interview I'm looking for, but I think BT would argue with you on that. Exponentially decaying gate effects indeed.

I'm talking about pure composition, the kind you can do with a piano or a guitar. Back to basics. The rest is polish. Also, fuck exponentially decaying gate effects, micro-trigger LFO-gated reverb freezing and companding is where it's at.

video or it didn't happen.

In 1929, following his brother Charles, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York.

Arguably it may stretch "formal" but it's not "lulz can i has throw paint nao?".

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I think BT would argue with you on that. Exponentially decaying gate effects indeed.

But that's one of BT's own compositional idiosyncrasies. You certainly don't have to know anything about it to have a reasonable foundation in music theory. You don't need to write your tracks in Csound either :P

I agree with your overall thrust though, for sure. People should know that they can create good ReMixes with free software and only a basic knowledge of music theory. You won't be able to make anything very good right off the bat, but you can learn as you go.

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I've been helping newbies for 7 years in a row - luckily, not on a completely hopeless forum - and one's heart goes callous ;).

Understandable. Try judging for 7 months. Or 7 minutes for that matter! I'm surprised some of the more senior J's are still as helpful and newb friendly as they are. What they do without the form letter, god only knows
In fact, I'd say it's a lot easier now since most of the links you get in the first 10 results are Wiki articles of the sort.
Just want to remind you that I'm primarily talking about people who are not interested in music as a career, submitting anything to this site, or even music as a serious hobby. For those types that may never step foot inside a music store, there is still a world of music making open to them. That said, I agree that the information age allows newbies to get up to speed much faster than I did, and with fewer wrong turns. That's definitely a good thing. It literally took a week for me to figure out why connecting the midi-in from my keyboard to the midi-in from my PC wasn't working :oops: Nevertheless, the intarweb has opened a whole new can of worms in the form of the information overload I spoke of before. To use your pool example: What if I just want to learn to swim, but I read tons of articles about how I can't eat 30 mins before going in, and I need the proper SCUBA gear for salt water diving, and some waters are shark infested so the proper precautions are needed, and I have to ascend slow enough to prevent an arterial gas embolism or else I'll DIE! Yeah, that's a serious case of TMI and surely with all of the new people you've helped you must have seen some of these negative effects.
Nice.
In 1929, following his brother Charles, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York.
Again, only video evidence would prove to me that he didn't sleep through those studies :)
But that's one of BT's own compositional idiosyncrasies. You certainly don't have to know anything about it to have a reasonable foundation in music theory. You don't need to write your tracks in Csound either
Exactly. That's what I meant when I said it's not necessarily complicated, but it can be if you want it to be.

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So, switching back from get-off-my-lawn mode to actually-helpful mode:

I don't exactly like the samples that my keyboard has

What brand/model? Yamaha, Casio, ...

I've been using what I would guess to be my computer's default MIDI samples.

Unless your keyboard was made in 1995 or so, those should actually sound even worse ;).

I really don't know exactly how all that works, though.

All software-based options generally boil down to this. There are two pieces you're going to deal with - the sequencer which is like a conductor - it orders others around to play; and the plugin(s). There are of course some ifs and buts for this, but we'll touch on those later.

The sequencer is used to compose with. When you play a note on your keyboard and it's connected to the computer (either with a so-called MIDI interface or directly with an USB cable - quite a number of recent keyboard models feature this), the keyboard tells the computer what to play. So, if you hit the C, E and G keys, the computer doesn't know what it sounds like (since MIDI doesn't "sound" like anything, it's just the note information), but it does know you've just played those notes.

What happens then? Well, nothing, unless the sequencer knows what to do with it. Like a conductor needs at least a single musician to order around, the sequencer needs a plugin to send it to (of course there's the option to just write it down for now and choose the plugin later). The sequencer does this, and the plugin makes sound, which is then also handled by the sequencer, and then sent to your computer's soundcard.

Now, you say you don't like the sounds on your keyboard. So, you use the plugin to act as the sound source instead of your keyboard. Now we bump into our first real problem, which is - "what do I need"?

Sequencer:

If you like working with Anvil Studio, by all means, continue using it. If you don't, look for something different, because familiarity and comfort is what a large part of your choice should be based on.

Plugins:

This is the tricky part. Most Yamaha PSR and Casio keyboards have a set of so called "realistic" sounds. The General MIDI (that's the full name of the bunch of sounds in your soundcard) soundset is geared towards realistic sounds, too. "Realistic" in this case means that they do their best to imitate instruments such as pianos, organs, strings, brass, etc. These sounds are based on samples - digital recordings of the actual instrument playing. Since such recordings consume memory (and memory on your soundcard is limited), the nuances and little bits that make instruments actually realistic disappear. The same deal's with your keyboard; it has a few megabytes of memory at most and all that needs to be shared with a wide range of instruments.

A soundfont works in a similar way; it's a set of recordings that are played back if you press a certain (or a range) of keys.

Now, a lot of the free plugins you're going to find do not work this way. They generate the sound based on a (simple) mathematical formula. The sounds that come out of those generally do not sound like anything realistic (but there are ways to get close), but they're pretty great for electronic music. Those are however the ones you're going to encounter most of the time, as they're (relatively speaking) the easiest to program.

If you are looking for a more serious expansion of your gear and you have a budget in mind, do tell. If you don't, check out the "Remixing for free" topic in the Guides forum.

None of this will actually make the end result better, and at first it may even sound worse since you're learning how everything works. No problem, just keep on going and study. Upload your music so other people can hear it and give critique, and keep in mind that that's the kind of feedback that'll make you grow as a musician. Basically, first find out if you can put an original twist on an older song; then find out how you can improve on the production (the sounds, the mix and the composition).

Understandable. Try judging for 7 months.

No problem, except that I've got high standards ;).

I'm surprised some of the more senior J's are still as helpful and newb friendly as they are.

That's because they know their job and the site's content depends on the influx of new people. A part of those will already have experience, the rest will have to grow.

Just want to remind you that I'm primarily talking about people who are not interested in music as a career, submitting anything to this site, or even music as a serious hobby. For those types that may never step foot inside a music store, there is still a world of music making open to them.

Yeah, but that's the issue. Even with your example of swimming, there's still actual people to talk to, which have the advantage that they can anticipate your questions and understand a dozen ways of phrasing. Intimidating? Maybe so - certainly more than searching on the internets, but you have to deal with new people every time. Asking girls out for the prom is more intimidating.

That said, I agree that the information age allows newbies to get up to speed much faster than I did, and with fewer wrong turns.

It allows them, but despite that, a (too large part) doesn't.

surely with all of the new people you've helped you must have seen some of these negative effects.

Information overload occurred mostly after they decided to do something; they went to the music store, then got bombarded with several brands and terminology or salesmen trying to make a buck; the doubt about making music was either not there or simply not discussed.

Basically, the question in the topic of this thread is the wrong one. Yes, you're able to remix. So, that shouldn't be the question. "What should I use to remix" isn't the right question either, because that depends on budget and preference. "How can I make a remix that's going to be accepted here" isn't the right question either; it's also answered (requirements are for instance but not limited to originality and quality). So, "How do I get some good sounds because those in my keyboard suck" would be a good question; not "the sounds in my keyboard suck, but can I still make a remix with this?" (because the conditions to qualify for the word "remix" are unrelated to the sound quality).

Nitpicking, yes, but important nitpicking ;).

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What brand/model? Yamaha, Casio, ...

My keyboard's a Casio CTK-531. The weird thing is that it doesn't have a full set of MIDI tones, apparently. It has 100 tones, including the "drum kit". Therefore, a whole lot of the tones listed in Anvil Studio are changed to other tones when they're played on the piano. When I play a MIDI file through Windows Media Player, though, they sound fine.

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