Need a compact music writing package

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kraku
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Need a compact music writing package

Post by kraku » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:13 pm

Gear lust hit me so I want to have more new toys.

I want to come up with a small and nice synth/sequencer/sampler package which I could easily haul from place to place the hook it up really quickly. I want to use this gear to create techno/house/industrial/D&B/etc. styles of music.

I already own Nemo, which is a fabulous sequencer, but I'd really like to keep it hooked up at my home studio and not move it anywhere, since it's my "precious" and I'm scared that I might break it / scratch it or something :) So including it in this setup is out of question.

Here's a couple of ideas I've been already thinking about:

Setup #1 / Korg ESX1 + Waldorf Blofeld:
- ESX1 could provide the samples / drums
- Blofeld would be sequenced with ESX1 (is this actually possible? how many tracks could be sequenced at the same time? would I lose sample-tracks from ESX1 when sequencing Blofeld with it?)
- Blofeld's outputs would be routed back into EXS1, so I wouldn't need a separate mixer
- I already own Blofeld

Setup #2 / Nemo + Laptop with software instruments:
- nope! Nemo stays home :)
- I would need a separate MIDI interface to hook Nemo to my laptop
- watching computer screen while writing music is boring

Setup #3 / ??? (I've ran out of ideas here... please tell me your ideas)


So what I'm after is this:
- a small and compact package of capable gear
- as few pieces of gear as possible
- must be able to create nice drums (sampled and/or synthesized)
- must be able to create synthesized basslines and other synth sounds
- must have quick and easy sequencing capabilities for the whole package
- has to sound good :) (I know, it's a matter of taste, but still)

Korg EMX is close to what might work for me too, but I've read that lots of people think it's too limited and not very easy to use / create tracks with.

Please give me suggestions what gear might fit the bill here :)
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otto
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by otto » Sat Aug 30, 2008 3:15 pm

monomachine
hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again

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JSRockit
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by JSRockit » Sat Aug 30, 2008 4:13 pm

Monomachine / Machinedrum combo no doubt. Radikal Spectralis. Yamaha RS7000? Whoever said the EMX-1 is hard to make tracks with is a fool. It is an electribe ie one of the most simple machines to operate on the market. Sure, it may not be the most advanced unit...but it sure is easy to use and blows away the older electribes in regards to parameters and sounds. MPC1000 and Virus desktop come to mind as well.
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by Yoozer » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:38 am

Akai MPC, doesn't get any easier than that and has no qualms about sequencing anything else than drums or synth sounds.
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:19 am

MPC1000 + Blofeld.

You already own both of these.

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kraku
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by kraku » Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:51 am

MPC1000 isn't very fast and intuitive for jotting down notes. It's a great machine, but not as a step sequencer for basslines etc. It's a fabulous sequencer for drums though.
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by Stab Frenzy » Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:12 pm

I found it pretty easy with mine, I just made a program with a chromatic scale on the pads.

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kraku
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by kraku » Sun Aug 31, 2008 5:25 pm

Hmm... You might be right. I try creating such a program and try out how the sequencing feels after that :) I usually use the MPC only as a drum machine, so didn't try that one yet...
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by JSRockit » Sun Aug 31, 2008 7:10 pm

Stab Frenzy wrote:MPC1000 + Blofeld.

You already own both of these.
Did they fix the multimap mode? or is only one multimap still saved?
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by Stab Frenzy » Mon Sep 01, 2008 2:10 am

JSRockit wrote:
Stab Frenzy wrote:MPC1000 + Blofeld.

You already own both of these.
Did they fix the multimap mode? or is only one multimap still saved?
Don't remember, I sold mine about a year ago.

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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by Blue Monster 65 » Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:27 am

Roland MC-909 works for me! Just have to spend time to program it, if you want original sounds. If you want it to sound better than the presets (which most people tend to judge it on), you'll have to take the time to learn to program it ... which is actually pretty damn easy!

The RS-7000 has already been mentioned, but I'll add it again, as there are plenty of Yamaha fans who will argue with the above.

There are others, providing you don't really need sampling, too: the MC-505, RM1x, EMU boxes (XL-7, etc) and so on.

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Post by crystalmsc » Mon Sep 01, 2008 5:42 am

kraku wrote:Gear lust hit me so I want to have more new toys.
So what I'm after is this:
- a small and compact package of capable gear
- as few pieces of gear as possible
- must be able to create nice drums (sampled and/or synthesized)
- must be able to create synthesized basslines and other synth sounds
- must have quick and easy sequencing capabilities for the whole package
- has to sound good :) (I know, it's a matter of taste, but still)
the Korg DS-10 is the compact toy that's able to do all that, with the stylus that made the difference. Just slip it in you pocket 8)
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kraku
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by kraku » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:40 pm

Actually I've been eyeing on that DS-10 :) I might very well buy it in the near future.

I borrowed my friends Korg ESX-1. So far it seems quite nice and hands-on machine. I'll try it out for a couple more days and see what happens.
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by esqoner » Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:56 pm

plus one more for rs7000.

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kraku
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Re: Need a compact music writing package

Post by kraku » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:12 pm

Things just got more complicated:

I tried my friend's ESX1 and it steals the whole show when used in conjunction with Blofeld. ESX1 is super-hands-on & fast & easy to use tweakable machine: the exact opposite of Blofeld :-/ I really want the synth part also to be equally easy and tweakable as the ESX1.

I don't think I'll include Blofeld into this portable setup anymore. I originally bought Blofeld as a temporary synth until I'll find a better synth with lots of knobs on it. I finally bought Supernova II, so officially Blofeld's job is now done and I can sell it to get some money for future HW purchases.

Theoretically EMX1 would be a perfect package for me, since it has both drums and synths in a single very portable unit, but it also has three big "question marks":
- what if I don't like the general sound character of it?
- what if it's synthesis engine is a tad bit too limited for my use?
- what if there isn't enough variation in the drum sounds?

The first and third questions can be fixed with a sampler. The second question could be fixed with a separate synthesizer. This sounds like I shouldn't buy EMX1, but have a sampler/sequencer + synth combo, which was one of my original intention anyway.

So now I have two good sampler/sequencer candidates: ESX1 and my trusty MPC1000 which I already own. This is the easy part of the setup, so let's not go there just yet. The real questions now is "Where do I get the synth sounds???"

The synth HAS to be:
- extremely tweakable
- small
- light
- good sounding
- multitimbral (two parts is enough)

The synth can be monophonic or polyphonic. It doesn't matter to me just as long as I get at least two instruments playing at the same time.

Here are some synths I've already considered, but dropped out for one reason or another. The synths are listed with their pros and cons.

Virus rack:
+ very versatile synth engine
+ has effects
- even though has lots of knobs, most of them are dual purpose knobs which tampers quite alot with it's usability and quickness/fun when tweaking live
- oscillators sound kinda thin
- sound character isn't the best one for my use
- I have already had Virus TI Polar and sold it because of the above reasons

Nord Lead 2 rack:
+ extremely fast & intuitive & tweakable UI
+ quite versatile synth
- sounds a bit thin
- doesn't have effects
- I have already owned this one also and sold it because of it's thin sound

Novation Nova:
+ very versatile synth
+ has effects
+ OK tweakability (not all functions have their own dedicated knob)
+ sounds OK
- I already own Supernova 2 and I wouldn't like to buy another synth with the exact same sound character
- Novation is known for mediocre build quality: knobs and buttons usually get broken easily on the Nova/Supernova series of synths. This isn't a good thing with a synth that will be moved around alot.

Blofeld:
+ very versatile synth
+ has effects
+ sounds OK
- VERY un-tweakable synth for live use

Monomachine:
+ very versatile synth
- sounds a bit thin

Could you give me some suggestions which other synths I should check out?
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