Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic music?

A forum for discussing the pros & cons of buying a particular synth and for advice on buying synthesizers.

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:49 pm

Thanks, guys.

I'm now less certain the workstation is the way to go, based on the info I've received.

I also went to my local store (yet again) today and this time spoke to their keyboard guru. He made it clear that, while something like the Kronos can play DAW, it'll never be as intuitive or controllable as a PC-based DAW like Cubase simply because, well, you can't beat a mouse and keyboard, I guess.

So this reasliasion is grappling with my strong desire to be away from a PC screen.

He also showed me a Native Instruments set up. Most of it was beyond me, but that seemed cool too. Controller/synth, with a DAW on a Mac. Maschines, it was called, or something like that.

Oh what a minefield! So much more to learn, I feel.

PS I like the movie analogy; very good way of thinking about it.
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby madtheory » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:52 pm

Yay! Now we have a discussion. Great to see you guys in here :)

SO, to get back in (soz) the movie analogy doesn't work for me. While I wouldn't use a Kronos sequencer, I would definitely use everything else in that board, with a PC. It's got great synthesis in it. I feel the same about the Alesis Fusion and the Korg Triton. Each of those has several kinds of synthesis in them, and they're all pretty damn nice IMHO.

Sorry for confusing things LOL.

How about you build a PC that is music only, and is in a nice case, a nice colour and runs really quiet? Just to differentiate it from the work machine?

OR... get a Mac?
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 5056
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Cabaret Voltaire, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, thermostat, Buck Owens Moog.
Band: Minim

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:51 am

Because I'm trying to move away from screens :) It's not about the noise of the machine - it's about staring at a screen, which I already do all day.

But perhaps I'm just trying to put square pegs into round holes and the PC route is, ultimately, the right way to do this.
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby ninja6485 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 3:41 pm

As madtheory pointed out, there are some specific cases where the general observation I made about workstations doesn't apply - the Kronos probably being one of the strongest examples. Why don't you look into it? Also, don't forget about the V-synth!

Just speaking for me, a computer with software and a controller would not be an option that I would want to live with and use. I started out on software, and I don't find it very exciting. Others do, and great for them. There are advantages to having an open system, but the system you go with ultimately has to surve you. If you sit down every time and think "ugh, another program, another screen; etc" are you really going to be enjoying your time making music? Musicians have made wonderful electronic music without software for years, and in my opinion much better music before software and DAW based production took hold. It's one option, but it's not the only option, and it's not for everyone.

Be cautious about taking advice from salesmen and reviewers. Salesmen especially could have an opinion driven bias. The salesman's job is to convince you the product they have for sale is the best you can get. If a better product exists, it's their job to steer you away from following that route - if they want the sale. A few salesmen will indulge you in going after things they don't offer if they're your friends, or if they want you as a long term costomer, but these situations are not typical in music stores. They also tend to parrot whatever the easiest method is at the time.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
User avatar
ninja6485
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 2755
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:13 pm
Location: Exton/ westchester
Gear: Virus Ti, Jx-8p, Juno 60, Radias, Maschine, 101,303,606,707,727,808,909, odyssey, mirage, akai s5K/s2K/s1k, drumtraks, E6400ult, M1R, rx5, fizmo,d50
Band: Lyra, The Sun Worshipers

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby madtheory » Wed Sep 05, 2018 9:42 pm

ninja6485 wrote:Be cautious about taking advice from salesmen and reviewers.

Agreed 100%. Even those who are not trying to sell are often very much into being "right" so will tend to give advice that sounds definitive. Be wary.

Look, Korg have always made decent sequencers. A Kronos would not hold you back, and IMO is just as "intuitive" as a computer based DAW. You're a computer guy, so that thing will not be a problem for you.

If you can afford a Kronos go for it. It's a beautiful instrument. And I will never speak to you again LOL.

As for Yamaha Motif/ MOX or whatever they're calling it now... if you like that go for it. I generally feel Yamaha sequencers are counter-intuitive but that's just me. The sounds are awesome. Again, you're a computer guy, you'll figure it out :)
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 5056
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Cabaret Voltaire, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, thermostat, Buck Owens Moog.
Band: Minim

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby Ashe37 » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:34 pm

I'll add that a Nintendo DS XL stylus makes a darn good stylus for an M3, probably for a Kronos too (never tried it). I bet almost any stylus meant for a tablet can be used for the Kronos. (It really makes dragging and dropping notes and clips easier than using a finger)
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 3742
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Central VA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:51 am

Thanks, guys. Definitely agree re: being wary of salesmen.

My local store is PMT, which are well established and have a good reputation in the UK, and I'm finding them very helpful (in the right, non-pushy way).

Anyone any thoughts on Roland's FA-08? I really like the look of that, and it's less than half the price of the Kronos. As I understand it too has a DAW built in, but even Roland themselves admit it's more for ideas use, as a sketchpad, before you port your stuff out to a PC-based DAW.
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby madtheory » Thu Sep 06, 2018 3:33 pm

Again great sounds, and beautiful action. Did you try it? It's as good as the Kronos. The usual PITA Roland UI, but you'll figure it out. Also note Roland encourage you to get online with it for more sounds. Haven't used the sequencer in anger. If it's anything like a Juno D it's a PITA. O ya, I said that already LOL.
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 5056
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Cabaret Voltaire, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, thermostat, Buck Owens Moog.
Band: Minim

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:10 pm

Yeap I did check it out. Just got back from the store (I should move in there). Thoughts are:

- FA-08 - lovely, but screen is small and not touch screen, so I can only the imagine the sequencer would be horrilble to use

- Kronos - lovely screen, seems to need a degree to use it, lots of graphs, nice sequencer, dislike the design of the shell, though; buttons look poor and the lights in particular look odd

- Montage - easily my favourite bit of kit - even I, as a total noob, managed to get some good stuff going with it. Looks BEAUTIFUL. But no sequencer = pretty much ruled out.

Urgh...
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby Ashe37 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:55 pm

The Montage has a sequencer, its just a very basic one meant for sketching ideas before taking it to a DAW.
Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 3742
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
Location: Central VA
Real name: Unpronounceable
Gear: Ensoniq SD-1/32,SQR,VFX,ESQm
Virus Indigo, M3-61 , MS2000BR, Volca Bass
Emu XL-7, Matrix 6r
TG-33, K3m, Blofeld, Micron, Mopho, BS II, JV-1080
Band: Eridani V

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby ninja6485 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:01 pm

I think if you love the sound of the Montage, it might be a good idea to go for it. Is that what your gut is telling you you to go with?

Remember, you can always buy a sequencer or even use your computer or a tablet or something with a little interface for that if you really want something complex. And you can check out the Synth Mania Roland W30 to get an idea of how to work with older style sequencers. As a pianist, you may only need the ability to record onto a few tracks, and maybe not even quantization, depending on your timing.
This looks like a psychotropic reaction. No wonder it's so popular...
User avatar
ninja6485
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
 
Posts: 2755
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:13 pm
Location: Exton/ westchester
Gear: Virus Ti, Jx-8p, Juno 60, Radias, Maschine, 101,303,606,707,727,808,909, odyssey, mirage, akai s5K/s2K/s1k, drumtraks, E6400ult, M1R, rx5, fizmo,d50
Band: Lyra, The Sun Worshipers

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:13 pm

Thanks. Yes, it's the Montage I'm probably leaning towards. The sounds just seem lovely. Kronos seems to need a degree to use it even in the early stages and I actually I don't think it looks that nice, wood panel sides notwithstanding.

The only snag now is I've just discovered the Nord Stage 3, but this seems to have a much heavier focus on pianos and organs than synth. I'm finding it hard to make direct comparisons re: how good it compares as a synthesiser, number of voices etc, vs. something like the montage, but it sure is a nice bit of kit.

Oh and finally, anyone any experience of the respective firms' audio libraries? I hear a lot of good things about Korg and Roland's libraries, where you can download more sounds. Not heard so much about Yamaha's and Nord's.

Continued thanks!
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby madtheory » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:27 pm

Ooh. The Nord. Lovely. Best pitch bend and mod controller EVER. Natural vibrato FTW.

They ALL sound great. Impossible to go wrong.

Don't be misled by the complexity of the Kronos. It is DEEP. It's powerful. You can do everything you need right there on that screen. I can't even remember how many types of synthesis it has.

With the Nord, you'll have to use a PC to load the extra samples, and you'll definitely want to get into sampling... you'll have to use a PC for creating them. With Kronos, you put the WAVs in and create onboard.

So it depends on how deep into synthesis you want to go. The Nord is great- analogue, FM and sample playback, basic effects. But Kronos goes much further.
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 5056
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Cabaret Voltaire, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, thermostat, Buck Owens Moog.
Band: Minim

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby mitya33 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:37 pm

Thanks, Madtheory. So if I get you right, the Stage 3 has synthesis but not as its main feature, right? It seems to be more about the pianos and organs, with a "to some extent" synthesiser thrown in.

In layman's terms (much of the terminology is still lost on me at this point), how much would I be giving up re: synthesis if I were to go for the Stage 3 over the Kronos or Montage? Do the latter two do SO much more in terms of possibility of sound etc?

Continued thanks.
mitya33
Newbie
Newbie
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:44 am

Re: Advice for a pianist interested in making electronic mus

Postby madtheory » Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:44 pm

Yes you have it right. The Nord is really great at what it does. No sequencer. It's for playing. Would be good for starting out with synthesis. Plenty of depth in it. Kronos and Montage are also for playing, but are actually also workstations. I'm not familiar with Montage but have played with Kronos quite a bit and for synthesis it would keep showing you new things for a very very long time.
User avatar
madtheory
Supporting Member!
Supporting Member!
 
Posts: 5056
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 12:45 pm
Location: Cork, Ireland
Real name: Tomas Mulcahy
Gear: Flangebeast Mk1, Plonkotron, Morovdis Arpeggiator, Maplin My First EQ, Cabaret Voltaire, Jeff Wayne Thunderchild rack, thermostat, Buck Owens Moog.
Band: Minim

PreviousNext

Return to Buyer's Guide

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests