Heart/Brain of your setup?

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samaepstein
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by samaepstein » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:46 am

I also have been using a dr110 running into a couple of modded monotribes which spit and receive midi to a Juno 505 ms20 mini and whatnot. Forces the constant improv. I have dreamed of an a4 up in the mix but then the volca s came out!

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by garranimal » Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:03 am

For recording I use an old PC with winXP. Cubase SX3 provides master clock, sequencing, recording. I have procured an MC-50 mkII that perhaps would run master clock and backing tracks should the day come I play out. It uses floppy disks, ya gotta love that.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Jay200MPH » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:49 am

Guess I may as well make a post about this thing. It's a little side-project I've been building.

I got tired of trying to use my general-purpose PC (a 7-year-old Dell notebook, madly expanded via docking station) for sequencing. Partly because Ubuntu-based distros SUUUUUUCK for audio (I'm running Mint - yes, I know about alternatives like KXStudio but I didn't feel like reinstalling everything) and partly because swishing windows around on a 12" screen makes me feel cramped and saps my creativity.

So I got to thinking I wanted something that was strictly dedicated to writing music; halfway between a computer and a hardware sequencer. NON-multitasking with low latency and rock solid timing. I looked at Amigas and Atari STs but I was a PC/DOS guy back in the day so that's what I went with.

(I would have just grabbed an MPC2000XL at this point, but I can't bear shelling out NZ$900+ for one when they go for $350 in the states, and I don't feel like dealing with shipping/import duties on something so big / valuable / fragile. I'll pick one up eventually.)

But it couldn't be one of the horrible generic beige desktop boxes that were around back in the '90s, that would be too boring. I had to do it another way. I got this old industrial server off the local auction site; it's a single-board PC in a 'stylish' 4U rack case, with a monster ISA backplane - 11 ISA slots in total and 4 PCI, more than enough expandability for what I need.

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^^ You might laugh but this was pretty serious workstation hardware in 1999!

It needed a bit of work so I swapped the defunct hard drive for a monstrous 20 GB one, and added a CD-ROM and an IDE Zip drive. (It came with an LS120 Superdisk floppy, if anyone remembers those! For all I know it's the only working one left in NZ.) Formatted it and installed FreeDOS with no GUI or Windows whatsoever. It F-L-I-E-S. It's amazing how quick such oldschool tech goes without any modern bloat.

As far as sound & MIDI goes, it's not 100% finished yet, right now it's got a Soundblaster 2.0 for shits and gigles, and an SB16. But those aren't the permanent solution, the real high-end stuff from this era doesn't cost much but it can be collossally hard to find. A friend of mine is sending me some SB AWE64 cards (EMU8000 chipset) from Toronto, but they are base models with only 512kb of sampling RAM - not useful for much of anything.

Adapters that let you use standard memory modules on AWE64s exist, but would you order from this shockingly ugly Tripod site that was last updated before the Y2K bug was even a thing? I did! - sent them several of my hard earned dollars for a product that for all I knew could have been vapourware. But the guy replied to my emails quickly, and what do you know, these guys showed up at my office after only a couple weeks turnaround from the States:

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Colour me impressed!

I'm always on the lookout for old PC gear. Ideally I'd like to have four soundcards in this thing, but most of these are impossible to find: AWE64, GUS PnP Pro, AudioTrix Pro (OPL4) and Roland SCC-1, but I'm not holding out on lucking into all/any of those anytime soon.

So what software will I be running on this lovely box? All the classics - Impulse Tracker, Voyetra Sequencer Plus Gold, Allsound Tracker, Adlib Composer :P, and whatever else strikes my fancy. It is strictly for sequencing & sampling (and FM synthesis via the Yamaha OPL cards), for which it has more than enough horsepower; all the recording/VST/modern duties can still be offloaded to my laptop but it won't be the master brain in the setup anymore.

This thing, along with my sweet new Roland Sampler that came with a heap of SCSI gear, x0xb0x, MC202 and JV-1010 will give me a more-or-less period correct 1998~2000 setup for house, techno & trance (I would have gone a bit older but I needed a Pentium MMX to use resonant filters in Impulse Tracker.) Right now it's a bit of an experiment but I hope it'll prove to be a pretty slick way to make tunes - focused, quick, and compatible with my way of composing.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by _seph » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:16 pm

I applaud the above post... I began with electronic music in '96 with a 133MHz Pentium and I couldn't imagine again trying to work around that machine, however its roundabout awkwardness did necessitate the exploration of creative alternative paths. Yet ditching Windows and getting a G3 PowerBook opened entire new worlds, mostly thanks to MetaSynth.

My studio's brain/heart isn't anything terribly interesting. I am simply running a 2.3GHz i7 MacBook Pro with the Ableton Suite. With all of the synths, sequencers, etc... over times past and present, if I am being utterly honest with myself this laptop and a few controllers are really all that I need. Nothing compares to its immediacy and flexibility. Along with that I have Propellerheads' exceptional Balance interface and I'll probably soon pick up an iConnectMIDI2+ to better integrate the iPad/iO Dock and other bits with everything. I bought this machine primarily for live/travel use but its streamlined simplicity has caused it to eclipse my proper studio

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Mac Moog » Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:51 am

In the studio, I use Logic exclusively as the brain coupled with some external rack MOTU gear for expansion that tie in some MIDI to CV systems for the older analog sound sources.

For stage, it really depends upon the show. I've been using both Roland workstations and Alesis Andromeda for sequencing when I actually use sequences. When I do, they are usually short sequences, as I prefer to play live concerts actually live.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by tamla » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:13 am

Yamaha QY700, and a Akai MPC2000XL; I swap between the two depending on what I'm making
most crucial piece of kit I own is a Phillip Rees V10 box

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by thestreets » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:32 pm

Maschine. I like to keep it simple. All my synths, drum machines, ect. get recorded as samples into Maschine, and then I just edit and sequence from there.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by calaverasgrande » Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:42 pm

I used to run everything off of my computer. But I kind of switched from making music in the computer a few years ago. I felt like the computer influenced the kind of music I made. Now I just use it to record when I am done writing the music. I currently use an old Korg KPR77 drum machine as the master clock outputing din sync.
That gives me a knob I can grab to change the tempo on the fly.
A X0Xbox takes the DIN sync and also outputs midi time code, which keeps the connected Moog T3 and MP201 in time. I am looking in to upgrading to a Jomox drum machine or something similar that is CV/midi agnostic.
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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Jay200MPH » Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:59 pm

^^ Can the x0x handle 48 ppqn natively? Or are you running a sync converter to correct the tempo?

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by calaverasgrande » Sun Jul 14, 2013 1:17 am

calaverasgrande wrote:I used to run everything off of my computer. But I kind of switched from making music in the computer a few years ago. I felt like the computer influenced the kind of music I made. Now I just use it to record when I am done writing the music. I currently use an old Korg KPR77 drum machine as the master clock outputing din sync.
That gives me a knob I can grab to change the tempo on the fly.
A X0Xbox takes the DIN sync and also outputs midi time code, which keeps the connected Moog T3 and MP201 in time. I am looking in to upgrading to a Jomox drum machine or something similar that is CV/midi agnostic.
The X0X I have does NOT do anything to correct the Korg/Roland mismatch in sync speed. So my drum machine goes half as fast as the x0x. Or rather since it is the time master the X0X is going twice as fast!
From what I gather there is some x0x os that has an accomodation for this allowing you to switch the ppqn to 24/48 as required. Problem is I have already programmed 4 pretty elaborate songs into the KPR77/X0X.
Part of the reason why I want to get a Jomox or some other drum machine to replace the Korg is that issue.
Then there is also the fact that gigging out (or even jammin_ with 30 year old drum machines is pretty white knuckle stuff sometimes. All for that KPR77 clap sound. Nothing is as sweet.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by _seph » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:18 pm

calaverasgrande wrote:Part of the reason why I want to get a Jomox or some other drum machine to replace the Korg is that issue.
years ago I used their XBase09 as my centerpiece, I had it synced to a Roland MSQ-700 that was then sequencing a Juno 60 and Emulator II and also paired with a FR-777 and a number of other pieces I no longer have.

I really enjoyed the XBase09 and I'm sure the newer models are even better, but that MSQ-700 might also be something for you to consider as it was a great sequencer that handled MIDI, DIN-SYNC and DCB buss and aside from its sequencing abilities it also functions as a converter.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by synthRodriguez » Fri Jul 19, 2013 6:38 pm

My Motif ES8 with mLan to the PC box is mine.

Was toying with the idea of getting rid of it and going with a VAX77 unit until I modified the heavy action. Now I love it x103 with no plans to change it.

Running two i88x and Midex8 units as well, so lots of mLan and midi channels to work with in Cubase.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by calaverasgrande » Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:18 pm

_seph wrote:
calaverasgrande wrote:Part of the reason why I want to get a Jomox or some other drum machine to replace the Korg is that issue.
years ago I used their XBase09 as my centerpiece, I had it synced to a Roland MSQ-700 that was then sequencing a Juno 60 and Emulator II and also paired with a FR-777 and a number of other pieces I no longer have.

I really enjoyed the XBase09 and I'm sure the newer models are even better, but that MSQ-700 might also be something for you to consider as it was a great sequencer that handled MIDI, DIN-SYNC and DCB buss and aside from its sequencing abilities it also functions as a converter.
Yeeah those MSQ boxes are on my radar. Unfortuanately Vintage Roland is hard to find and pricey.
I'm also starting to realize that while vintage analog sounds cool, it also requires maintenance. Contemporary analog gear is easily price competitive when you factor that in. So I'm leaning more towards stuff I can buy at sweetwater or analoguehaven than stuff I pickup on CL.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by Voodoo Ray » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:07 am

Old MC-500MkII sequencer.

Would like an Akai ASQ10.

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Re: Heart/Brain of your setup?

Post by StepLogik » Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:54 pm

Nannerfan wrote:Image
I'm curious what you guy(s) using the QY-700 think of it. How is the workflow? Easy to edit note data?

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