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Topic: OT: studio software...???

  1. #1

    Question OT: studio software...???

    I'm about to start my next chapter in life and through a lot of discipline and hard work I have the freedom to up and move and start off fresh and I want to pursue a career in making background music mostly via computer and in my free time I have searched high and low in my local area and near by city's for anyone who uses gigastudio, sonar, or cubase, etc and just have had 0 luck. I see everyone using Pro tools and every once in a while someone using Logic but thatĺs it...

    I have collected just about everything I would need to start my own home studio gear wise for a starter set up, but I did it prematurely because I have no background in music technology as I call it. Basically as a hobbyist I can play keyboard by ear pretty well but making music with samples and mixing it and layering using say Sonar is Greek to me. So my hope is to maybe move somewhere where there are a lot of musicians possibly Nashville for example and hope to meet someone there to give me hands on training on programs such as the Sonar I mentioned here. Is that too outlandish to do, or are most studios out there really using Protools like they all do here? I would be happy from working from my own office or home to make music but I know some people have dedicated studios different than recording studios so I'm trying to find out how to do the non-recording type of studio...

    I have found a few schools that offer a "music technology" certificate but the course description does not lead me to believe I would get any time behind a computer using the software and it would be more studio set up/breakdown and maybe connecting midi keyboards... Am I searching for the wrong type of class? What other music related classes offer training on the above-mentioned programs?

    If you are a professional musician out there or even a hobbyist could you suggest to me some avenues I could pursue? I have a physical disability that keeps me from making live music and recording that way so by using the computer I can tweak stuff and make it sound just as good I just can't figure out the sequencers without having some sort of tutor since I have no background with anything. Hopefully I can figure out how to make everything talk to one another eventually

    Thanks for your input!
    I do not regret the things I've done, but those I was unable to do.

  2. #2

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    Hi Seth,

    It's really not that hard. Just choose a program and dive in. Are you on a Mac or PC? Pro Tools is more geared to recording and mixing and Logic, CuBase and Sonar have better midi and AU, VST and DXi virtual instrument support. I use CuBase since I am on a PC. Just follow some tutorials to get you up to speed.

    Basically you just use your keyboard to record the midi information and it gets played back by your VST or sample library. If you have a decent sound card with low latency drivers you can monitor your VST and hear it in real time as you play.

    With most seqencers you can also record audio tracks for guitar and vocals. You just build up songs a track at a time and you can edit the midi information in the piano roll page.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    Seth, this is just a hunch but maybe Ableton Live or Garageband (if you are on an apple mac) would be good tools for you. All big sequencers have this thing where you must pledge so much time while these two are a pleasure to create with, and they have all you need in terms of processing and the ability to add extra software if you wish.

    It seems to me that creativity isn't aided by having to read a tome of a manual before you can create!


  4. #4

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    If you're beginning, do yourself a favor and cheakout those 2 software



    Why? because they sound better! At least better than Cubase an cakewalk.
    It's a well keapt secret, but now you know. People say all daw sound the same and that's what i tought too, but when i loaded a project i had in Cubase in Samplitude, i went wow! For the first time i felt i had a professional tool in my hands, + it's way more efficent on the cpu . And i think SAW studio might be even better. Actually, i would go with SAW if i were you cause there's a whole bunch of tutorials, + some home made tutorials for little $$. Also the SAW studio community is very helpfull and you will even have the chance to chat with the owner himself bob Lentinni who shows every day over there. If you go with SAW, i don't think you'll even need a class...The best way i can convince you is if you go watch all the promo videos on the link I've provided you, watch all of them an enjoy! ...don't worry about the look, many people say it looks ugly but there are plenty of skins and you can make up your own. An other good reason to go with SAW is that it seems that's the only daw that has tight midi sync to audio on Pc....I heard someone mentioned Mac? What's that? Don't forget Cubase and the main stream DAW hold a big chunk of the market, but that doesn't make them better.

    O.K. I think I've set the stage for a good old daw fight, ok let's have it boys!

    P.S. Don't buy protools, unless you want to run a commercial studio and be compatible with every body els. Get you're self a car instead.


  5. #5

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    crumdgeon mode on...

    in the old days, most of us made our gear selections based on experience with that gear in other people's studios. Sadly that practice seems to have dwindled.

    However, I can think of no better way to evaluate software, which is orders of magnitude more complex than a UREI 1176 or Neuman U-67, for example<G>! So if you have friends who have software based studios I would suggest offering them a meal or beverage of their choosing for some time in the driver's seat at their tools of choice.

    If that isn't possible, the next best thing is to call some local studios and see if you can visit and spend some time using their software to see how well it works for you.

    If even that is unworkable then you will be at the mercy of various on-line communities. Of the bunch, I think you've already found the best. You won't find concensus here, but neither will you find name calling, so it's a start.

    And the fact is, there is no one software tool, or sample library or plugin that suits everyone. Neither are the reasons why one chooses a specific tool going to match up very well.

    I use Sonar 5PE as my primary sequencer environment. It does everything I need to do, with one or two minor exceptions, and it is stable... for me! Why? When I switched from the Amiga to the PC all of my friends were using Cakewalk Pro Audio. I tried a couple of other platforms, but they did not impress me, probably because my friends showed me all the shortcuts in Cakewalk<G>! And now I'm used to it. No good reason to change.

    I also use Sound Forge, Wavelab, Audition, and Samplewrench for audio editing... I still haven't picked one because none of them does everything I need. I am trying to thin the heard, if for no other reason than the upgrade fees are killing me.

    I use Finale for scoring. I spent five years alternating between the demos of Finale and Sibelius, among others. When I finally had paying work that required me to create useable scores I checked the prices, and Finale was WAY less expensive, courtesy of an academic discount. Sometimes that is a valid reason to choose one over the other<G>!

    I use GigaStudio2.5 because a lite edition came with an earlier edition of Cakewalk Pro Audio, and I was blown away. I upgraded from the lite version, but I have not upgraded to V3 because, at least for now, 2.5 does what I need to do.

    If I had to pick a "most difficult to choose" category I'd select sample libraries. No way to know for sure if a library will work for you without really using it. Which is unfortunate! I've been fortunate to have friends who buy the libraries first<G>.

    One exception, Garritan Personal Orchestra, which I bought based on information from the Garritan sections here, and a very positive experience with his Orchestral Strings library, which ultimately I purchased as well. But that was at least part dumb luck I suppose.

    I have tons of plugins... some I've bought because I've used them in friends studios, some I've bought on the recommendations of friends I trust, some I've bought because the demos were so impressive. I'd say the staying power of any of them has little to do with the reason I bought them!

    So there you have it... no real answer at all I'm afraid!

  6. #6

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    thanks for the info guys my music would be midi based or sampled based and played on a PC, recorded in real time- thats why I was using Gigastudio and Sonar etc as my listings. I will check out the links listed above and see how they are for me, thanks again!

    I do not regret the things I've done, but those I was unable to do.

  7. #7

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    I've used Cubase in the past and liked it. Recently though, I have moved to EnergyXT as my main sequencer and host. It's one of the cheapest sequencers you can buy, but I find it much nicer to work with than Cubase or Logic or Sonar. All of thse programs are fantastic in their own rights though.

    I'm a keyboard and flute player, and regularly use EnergyXT to record MIDI data into tracks and sequence virtual instruments and hardware synthesizers.

    I also play flute or my own wacky homemade instruments into a microphone while recording in EnergyXT with the rest of the song playing through my headphones. Very intuitive workflow in my opinion.

    The program lacks classical notation functionality though, so that might be a drawback.

    Give it a look though, xt-hq.com has some more info. The developer Jorgen is a great guy! Good luck with whatever you choose.

    PS: I hate to contradict/oppose your opinions geronimo001, but from what I've seen, SAW studio seems to be quite a hassle to work with... a beginner might be quite overwhelmed with that application, do you think?

  8. #8

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    Hi žeth,

    First, congratulations on your decision to make music professionally. Your attitude will be the key to your success.

    Regarding tools, I think the key is to decide which hill you will be the king of. In other words, what aspect of music making will you strive to be the best at? Also, what are your weaknesses? Then find the tools that will give you professional sounding results with fast turn-around.

    From what I gather, your top skills are:
    * positive attitude
    * A good ear for melody/harmony/rhythm
    * Ability to improvise

    Your weaknesses might be:
    * Technical mastery
    * Formal music training
    * Recording live sound
    * Mixing and mastering a pro sound

    These are just rough assumptions from your posts. I may be 100% wrong. Adjust the lists as necessary.

    Anyway, based on my "guess list" above, you want the following:

    * An easy workflow that lets you record yourself playing keyboard
    * Great out-of-the-box sounds
    * Easy to learn software

    Given this, I recommend that you get ACID Pro and some good loop libraries to start with. You can quickly lay down some rhythms that sound 100% professional. You can do tempo changes and key changes really easily. The software follows standard windows conventions, so it's really easy to learn. My youngest son was able to throw together some reasonable sounding music with it when he was nine(!)

    Now that you've laid down a rhythm track and maybe a harmonic pad, you can just plug your keyboard in and play it and record it in the analog domain. Don't like the result? Record another take. And another.

    Hey, Bruce Richardson records this way into Vegas (ACID's sister software), so there's nothing second-rate about not recording into a sequencer. The key is that you need good enough chops to lay down tracks that don't need timing and bad-note tweaks.

    The next upgrade is to put a sampler between your keyboard and ACID's input. First find the libraries that have the finished sound that you want. Focus on the instruments that will define *your* sound. Get those libs. Get the sampler that plays them.

    I started out with ACID Pro 1.0, and was able to get fine results using loops and live recordings. It took me a while to get my head around MIDI sequencing after that. If I had better keyboard technique, I'd record right into ACID or Vegas myself. I would then be able to skip the whole rendering phase, which would really speed things up.

    To summarize, this approach is fast and easy, and produces high quality sounds right out of the box. It's fast and efficient, and will continue to work well as you move toward better and better samples. You blend the speed of mousing in drum loops with the ability to play custom sounds, melodies and rhythms.

    I hope this is helpful. And, again, if I made any incorrect assumptions, please correct them. I just needed to establish a starting off point, and don't mean to pass any judgements.

    And most of all... Best wishes on your new career!

  9. #9

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    Quote Originally Posted by freakmod

    PS: I hate to contradict/oppose your opinions geronimo001, but from what I've seen, SAW studio seems to be quite a hassle to work with... a beginner might be quite overwhelmed with that application, do you think?
    Honnestly, i don't know, some people say it's hard and some people say it's the easiest/fastest to work with. But if you try it or watch the promo video, you'll see that it's really easy, infact it's like a reel studio, you have everything in front of you all the time more or less... I think it's the modt efficient daw I've seen untill now. But if you're talking about midiworkshop(the midi in saw) now that's defferent story...it's so defferent from the others i almost gave up, but again, once you understand how it works i think i may prefer MWS over the others. It's more short cuts oriented than mouse etc..well it's a good balance between short cuts/mouse operation. I think I'll be happy with it but it's too early to tell right now. To sum it up, i think people get the impression it's a complicated sowftware because it's totaly deferent than what they are use too.

    Going with something easyer might be what our friend needs, that's a good point, i don't know? Anyway, i think he'll be able to juge that for himself with all the promo video etc...

    P.S. It's touchy to advise someone on the net...I hope i was able to help...

  10. #10

    Re: OT: studio software...???

    freakmod: The main idea was to let him know there are other choices than the mainstream soft. like Sonar, Cubase, etc...We don't hear about them often enought IMO...

    Seth: Of course, make sure you try the demos before you buy, espacialy midiWorkShop(midi in SAW)...I'm sur you'll find one that you like.

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