Noobish question

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squaresprocket
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Noobish question

Post by squaresprocket » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:10 am

So, I've got a couple pretty sweet synths-Juno 106, JP 8000, Microkorg and recently a TR 606. I've been playing some cool stuff, but it's all gone the moment I stop playing. What would you recommend for me to start laying down some tracks? I'm on a tight budget (rarely spend more than 500 on an instrument). Do I need more than a sequencer/sampler like an Akai mpc 60? I'm really uneducated about electronic music, I've never consistently used music software (and I actually prefer working with individual machines). What should my next purchase(s) be?

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Post by crystalmsc » Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:50 am

It depends on what kind of track you are planning to do. It will decide wether you need a sampler or not (phrase or multisampling), a multitrack audio recorder or how many RAM memory you would need. But for around the money, you could get something like the RS7000, which has a very good sequencer, fx and phrase sampler (up to 64 mb) with two midi outs. It also has a built-in sounds with good drums and overall sound quality which is going to be a nice addition since there's no rompler in the current set-up. In the similar range, the Roland MC-909 has a much bigger RAM size and a much more flexible/powerful synth engine and a bigger screen which will come in handy for sequencing, waveform and synth editing. But to me, after seriously comparing the two, I currently prefer the RS and glad with the choice. Mind you that bigger Ram size would also be useful to bounce the track (re-sample) into stereo wav and ready for being mastered or burned to CD from a computer, since you might need a stereo recorder for the final result as well. I'm not sure if there's a proper mixer/speaker there or not. but with the RS, you can at least use the input for one of the instrument (the microkorg input may come in handy) and start making track just by using a headphone.
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Altitude
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Post by Altitude » Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:05 pm

Entry level recording sound card is about $150, Reaper is free.

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Post by roboctopus » Thu Feb 28, 2008 4:35 pm

Altitude wrote:Entry level recording sound card is about $150, Reaper is free.
I agree, the cheapest and most flexible way to lay down some tracks on a budget is computer. I got a MIA midi soundcard for $120, has two ins and two outs and a midi connection, and is dead quiet. $30-40 gets you a cheapo mixer (I've been pleased with behringer stuff, they're cheap and get the job done.) You can pick up a set of MXL condenser mics for under $100, and they sound great for the price - if you want to record vocals or live sounds.

You could also get a four or eight track machine if you didn't want to deal with computers. I really like computer recording, though.
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Post by squaresprocket » Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:04 am

Thanks for the input guys!

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Post by thestreets » Sat Mar 01, 2008 12:26 am

Yeah maybe just get something that you can have as an idea collecter. You get a good one man jam going and throw it onto something so you can refer back to it. You can make it into a real track later. Me, I got me a 100 dollar cassette 4 track when I first started out. I worked with that for about a year until my songwriting skills developed, and then I got a a better piece of hardware.

I think something like that or software would work, it just depends on whats more convenient. I got hardware because, at the time I didn't have a computer in the area where i make music. If you have one, then software might be a good idea.

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Post by squaresprocket » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:42 am

on a rompler like the rs7000 or MC 808/909, about how much time of audio sample is 1mb? I just wanna get a rough idea of how much space I would get. So basically I can record external audio samples, edit them and mix them together at varying levels, combined with loops from the device itself, correct? Thanks for all the answers!

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Post by crystalmsc » Sat Mar 01, 2008 10:39 pm

squaresprocket wrote:I just wanna get a rough idea of how much space I would get.
on the RS7000, maximum RAM is 64 mb (32 X 2). when maxed out, the internal 4 mb is disabled. 64 mb will allows a maximum sample length of 32 mb (mono), 64 mb (stereo). max sample time (mono/stereo) 6 min 20 sec at 44.1 khz. Luckily the RS able to sample at different rate, that a lower rate might give more sampling time. While it's a fixed at 44.1 khz on the MC-909. But the MC-909, when maxed out (272 mb) would still give 51 min (mono), 26 min (stereo) with no need to downsample, unless for some intended purpose. you might want to read this and the sampler handbook for more about it.
squaresprocket wrote:So basically I can record external audio samples, edit them and mix them together at varying levels, combined with loops from the device itself, correct?
yes, that's the main point of both synth/phrase sampler unit, mixing audio samples and midi. the groove re-mix in the RS is about twisting your loops/audio samples. but mind you that both unit are more of a Phrase sampler that won't do a multisampling. Also on the MC-909 there's a USB port and free editor for samples/synth. while theres only a smartmedia card (also in the MC) which is a bit rare and a Tiny Wave sample editor for transfering files through SCSI from the connected pc which is nowhere the versatility of the MC USB interface. Specwise, I prefer the MC-909 way more over the RS which I got for around the same price. But there's a vibe to the RS workflow, sounds and interface that I really like over the MC.
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Post by pricklyrobot » Sat Mar 01, 2008 11:22 pm

This is a good soundcard for $100: http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOAP2496

There are some decent free recording programs out there that people have mentioned. But if you're looking to spend a little more (and get a little more), ProTools M-Powered is fairly reasonable at $250: http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOMPOWERED and it's compatible with the aforementioned soundcard.
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Post by squaresprocket » Sun Mar 02, 2008 2:46 am

crystalmsc wrote:
squaresprocket wrote:I just wanna get a rough idea of how much space I would get.
on the RS7000, maximum RAM is 64 mb (32 X 2). when maxed out, the internal 4 mb is disabled. 64 mb will allows a maximum sample length of 32 mb (mono), 64 mb (stereo). max sample time (mono/stereo) 6 min 20 sec at 44.1 khz. Luckily the RS able to sample at different rate, that a lower rate might give more sampling time. While it's a fixed at 44.1 khz on the MC-909. But the MC-909, when maxed out (272 mb) would still give 51 min (mono), 26 min (stereo) with no need to downsample, unless for some intended purpose. you might want to read this and the sampler handbook for more about it.
squaresprocket wrote:So basically I can record external audio samples, edit them and mix them together at varying levels, combined with loops from the device itself, correct?
yes, that's the main point of both synth/phrase sampler unit, mixing audio samples and midi. the groove re-mix in the RS is about twisting your loops/audio samples. but mind you that both unit are more of a Phrase sampler that won't do a multisampling. Also on the MC-909 there's a USB port and free editor for samples/synth. while theres only a smartmedia card (also in the MC) which is a bit rare and a Tiny Wave sample editor for transfering files through SCSI from the connected pc which is nowhere the versatility of the MC USB interface. Specwise, I prefer the MC-909 way more over the RS which I got for around the same price. But there's a vibe to the RS workflow, sounds and interface that I really like over the MC.
Thanks for the info...so if you can't multisample with the 909, can you still make/edit drum kits from the 909's own sounds? Or are you stuck with one sample per kit? Right now the 909's probably my leading candidate.

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Post by crystalmsc » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:27 am

squaresprocket wrote:so if you can't multisample with the 909, can you still make/edit drum kits from the 909's own sounds? Or are you stuck with one sample per kit? Right now the 909's probably my leading candidate.
note that multisample means playing the samples of several notes across the keys. not several different samples on some keys. the MC-909 not only allows you to edit the built in drum kit in a flexible way, but the "chop" function will also let you make your own drum kit based on the audio loops. that some of the strength for such type of unit. Read here for more basic guide for the MC. The RS might also be able to do this. Mind you that I'm comparing the RS and 909 since both are in a rather similar price range. The MC-808 got a better features and some said, a better sound than the 909 that some are turned off by the converter quality. As for me, I much prefer the RS mini keys (plus two larger size velocity pads for a more human feel) rather than the MC's mini pads. But it's might not be a problem when controlled using a keyboard. Also I feel that the RS audio quality of fx, samples and sampling engine is very great. Also the 808 interface is not what I like. Just get as much info before you get one that great stuff. you may find some useful comparison between the RS/MC/MPC here.
also, I'm suggesting the groovebox solution since you didn't like to work with software and rather to work with a dedicated box. mind you that working with such box is not the easiest things or more flexible than using a PC. But it usually has more solid timing and hardware reliability and sound quality plus a more hands on interface and workflow. Which also oftenly more fun to play with. good luck.
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