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Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:31 pm
by killanator
I used to post here frequently when I was first getting into synths, now I am off to college and need to refine my setup. I've already decided that I am getting a 15.4" Macbook Pro(2.0ghz i7 model) with logic studio 9, and I plan on getting an 88-key hammer-action midi controller as I am primarily a piano player. The only things I am keeping from my old setup are my monitors and my roland sh-201(mainly so i have a set of synth-action keys). I am pretty set on what I am getting I just have a few questions.

1. Anyone have any good or bad experiences with particular 88-key controllers? right now I am leaning towards the Akai MPK88, but if anyone has anything to say I am open to input on this one.

2. Are the instruments that I get with Logic Studio decent enough for playing and recording? And if its instruments and stuff arent really up to par what would you guys suggest? I am eyeing the IK Multimedia Composer Trio bundle, it looks quite nice.

3. Do I really need an audio interface or could I just use the headphones jack into my monitors? And if so what is a decent but cheap(<$200) interface that you guys know is pretty good?

EDIT: I should have said what its all for. I am using this both as my studio and as my live rig using mainstage.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:04 pm
by meatballfulton
The Mac internal sound is good in terms of both fidelity and latency so you could get by for home studio use, live you might find an interface useful just for the proper I/O and volume knobs.

I own some of the IK Multimedia stuff. SampleTank came free in a bundle but I did pay recently for Miroslav CE. it's good value if you catch them on the many insane sales that pop up (paid $30 for Miroslav, misssed a $15 deal on it...regular price is $170!!!). In fact if you pay full street price for any IK product these days you're crazy.

The SampleTank and Miroslav sounds are OK but not the greatest. I actually heard somebody talking during a long sustain of one piano patch :shock: I never use SampleTank which is marketed as a "bread and butter" package because the sounds in my Motif workstation are better. The Miroslav set is cool if you need orchestral sounds on the cheap, definitely worth the $30 I paid ;) All the IK sample based packages use the SampleTank engine and have the same GUI (they change the skin look but controls are identical). You can use SampleTank itself to load the sounds from all the others and that way have one interface to 16 multitimbral parts (each parts can have it's own stereo output). Unlike some plugs, IK packages will run standalone as well.

I've never used Logic or Mainstage so can't comment.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:00 pm
by Stab Frenzy
The sounds of Logic's synths are head and shoulders above the IK stuff.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:52 pm
by killanator
Well I was just enticed to the IK stuff by the ads, if theres someone talking in a patch I might stay away haha. So I will definitely stick with Logic and Mainstage for my synths. And I suppose I can put off getting an audio interface until I start getting gigs.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:46 am
by Music Maven
I agree that Logic's own synths and instruments are WAY better than the IK stuff. Having said that, the virtual analog synths in Logic (notably the ES2) can be a little thin-sounding. But the UI's are really clever and cram a lot of very useful and powerful functionality into a compact, easy-to-use interface.

Unless you are willing to step up to something like Omnisphere, you won't get much better quality and variety of sounds than what is included in Logic.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:40 am
by condit79
I can vouch for the Akai MPK controllers. I had a mpk 49 until it got rained on and it has pretty great action and just always worked. As far as sub $200 interfaces, stick with mackie as the preamps are better than anything else in the price range and are firewire and the DAC (Digital to analog conversion) is stellar. That's one of the main reasons to have an interface to connect to speakers. The sound coming out of a macbook pro headphone output is only OK in comparison and eventually those wear out so its nice to hook up a box that can be swapped vs wearing out your headphone port by constantly pluggin in/unplugging.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:04 pm
by TheKeytarist
As far as a sub $199 interface, look for an old pre sonus, like a firebox or fire pod; they're great and you can usually pick them up for under $199 at guitar center used.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:07 pm
by TheKeytarist
Wow. this thread is from last year.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:29 pm
by sequentialsoftshock
Thread revival!

Under $200- AudioFire 2.

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:13 am
by Stab Frenzy
There are some who believe that seven months after posting about what to buy, the OP has probably already made a decision. :idea:

Re: Its been a while, but I'm back and need gear advice

Posted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:48 am
by sequentialsoftshock
Stab Frenzy wrote:There are some who believe that seven months after posting about what to buy, the OP has probably already made a decision. :idea:
Ahh I only went far enough back to see the 30 November post and figured it woulda been possible he was still looking. Wish I'd have gone to the top. :dontknow: