Heart/Brain of your setup?

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Walter Ego
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Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Walter Ego » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:27 pm

I searched the forums for a thread like this and didn't find one, so forgive me if this is redundant...

Having now amassed a small (very small in comparison to many members on the forum) armada of keyboards and other noise-making devices, like Dorothy and her band of misfits, I am in search of a Heart and a Brain for my operation. You can see my list of gear. A Monotribe might be added to it soon, as well as a MIDI-capable Yamaha PSS or PSR FM home synth.

I'll narrowly define "Heart" as the clock that keeps everything ticking and the "Brain" as the sequencer or composer/arranger that orchestrates everything. I realize that in many cases, these may be the same device, or in the case of DAW setups, this might be immaterial.

But if you rely on a computer at the center of your studio, what are you running and how big a role does it play?

This is practical knowledge for me, so lemme know! Not intending to start a flame war...

I realize that a number of these devices don't have clock input sync abilities, and I am not skilled enough to mod them for that...

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by CS_TBL » Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:36 pm

This "what are you running" question can result in lists of all possible DAWs (Cubase, Sonar, Ableton, Logic etc.). It's still up to you to choose the one you like best, as there is no "the best".

I run a tracker as composition source.. There!
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by cornutt » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:22 pm

The brains of my setup is definitely the compuer. It has at least some role in everything I record. Having learned my chops in the '80s and '90s, with the early sequencing software, I still do a lot of "virtual mixing" where you record most everything as MIDI, then play it all back at once and mix directly to two-track. The computer is a Mac G4 and I run Sagan Technology's Metro.

By the definitions given, I guess the "heart" would then be the MOTU MIDI interface, since darn near everything in my setup is MIDI'ed. However, to go with another definition of "heart", at this time I guess it would be the V-Synth. Although I don't have one synth in my setup that I would call my "go to" synth, the V-Synth is getting a lot of the action these days, and also it serves as my master keyboard for most things.

The "courage" would be the K5m... it is what it is and it's damn proud of it. :lol:
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Walter Ego » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:34 pm

Just to clarify, I'm not necessarily asking for "the best" (in fact I didn't say that anywhere), I'm asking for what people on this forum have found useful. Any advice from folks with similar mid 80s MIDI boards would be great too.

Also to clarify...

I realize no one but me can tell me what I like, I realize no one but me can tell me what works for me, and I realize that there is no "best" synth or setup or whatever. I also realize that there is more to music making than just the right set of sounds.

I think if someone is a true artist, they can make inventive art with whatever is available. I'm just looking for a way to start using my gear to its maximum potential.

If you use Logic, what do you like about it? If you use Ableton, what do you like about it? I have a copy of Cubase 5, but it may as well be in another language. Anything more intuitive?
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by pflosi » Tue Nov 13, 2012 6:08 pm

Ableton is my heart and brain by your definition. Among many other things, I like the flexibility in its session view and the ability to set different delays and filters for different midi outputs.

More interesting though IMO, there are a few things that are essential in my setup for the communication between Ableton and my hardware. Proper audio / midi interfaces are obvious, so I'll comment on other things:

- Patchbays. So useful to keep things arranged. I also use them for gate / triggers / cv.
- My 808. You can never have enough trigger outputs, and it gives me three (that are also hot enough to drive anything). Also crucial to trigger stuff in my modular.
- Acidlab Bassline 2 is my main cv / gate sequencer, sometimes 303...
- Andromeda. Workhorse. Nuff said :)
- There surely are some other things I might miss now... :lol:

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by tekkentool » Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:49 am

Image

Yeah, Renoise and Reaper for me.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by balma » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:04 am

Three E-mu command stations provide me with a super sequencer with 48 tracks with individual triggers, 48 programmable knobs to control external gear, 3064 patterns, 6 MIDI outputs, and 900.000 notes, plus dozens of different features to sequence, arrange, control and monitoring all mu synths. 384 polyphony.
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by griffin avid » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:10 am

Dayum, am I the only person that still works in pure audio? No MIDI unless it's a rack unit being triggered by a controller. -- Straight to multi-track recorder.
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I think that counts as a brain. I simply start recording, do what I do and keep whatever sounds good.
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by nogginj » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:28 am

classic mpc all the way - this is what they were designed for and they excel at it

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by griffin avid » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:39 am

Which MPC?
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by phesago » Wed Nov 14, 2012 1:50 am

http://www.midisolutions.com/prodqth.htm

Check out there products. f**k insane.

My command center is my tr 808, which triggers a couple of sequencers via 2 quadra thru. That's the extent of midi though, prefer CV. Do everything in real time unless the synth part i actually play(i know weak) is to difficult to do with everything else, then i just record another track.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by GameChanger » Wed Nov 14, 2012 2:40 am

MPC, any of them will do. Ones with 4 MIDI outs are the best if you have the money

My favs:
Old School. MPC 60
New School: MPC 2500

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by jeffrey1121 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:35 am

the heart of my setup is my laptop. just a cheap a*s regular laptop, loaded with software/softsynths/DAWs. this is where it all comes together.

the brain of my setup is....well, my brain. :? this is where it all comes from before it coalesces.

adding a third:

the soul of my setup is my synths though. they are the bits i think about when i think about what i want to compose. when i think my favorite moments of songwriting/composing bliss, they are usually moments where i've done something cool/unique with a piece of hardware that fits into a song/progresses it nicely. 8-)

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by ColorForm2113 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 3:51 pm

The heart is my mc505- it keeps everything moving and and in time
The brain is my voyager- it tells everything what to do, including the

..jx3p is a blocked artery waiting to give me midi heart attack/aneurysm
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by somebedroomdj » Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:45 pm

I find my MC-909 to be a great centerpiece.

I have an Axiom 49 running into the MC into an old non-usb MOTU MTP (best $30 I ever spent). This routes my midi signal out to everything else. I record output into my SP-808 or SP-505 because they have digital in and a ton of sample time available for this task. Sampled chunks can then be easily exported to PC and sequenced in Ableton but, admittedly, I don't usually make it that far. But for just sitting down messing around when I have a few minutes, I find that this setup is amazing.

My roadblock is my JX-8P. I can play and record note messages but nothing else. I need to get a BCR-whatever to control it one of these days.

I'm also working on learning my KT-76 better because it has, imo, some great rompler sounds, a capable synth engine and an 8 track sequencer. I plan on putting a second setup in my bedroom with that as the brain and various samplers and drum machines switched out now and then to use them in a more "intimate" setting so I can limit possibilities and focus on learning each machine a little better.
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