Startup-tips to an old man...

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kavorka
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Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by kavorka » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:02 am

Currently I only play on my grand piano, and I am probably too old for this but I would like to start to make music by the use of my computer. I play all types of music.

Basically my question is - what do I need to get started?

I will probably use my 1980s Roland HP-3000 piano where I have midi, but not USB, (neither my Ensoniq ESQ-1 synth has USB). Also the sound by the sound module MT-32 are not optimal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_MT-32)

1. CABLE:
I guess I need a Midi-to-USB cable to connect my piano to my computer (a HP EliteBook, Intel(R) Core i5-2540M, CPU @ 2.60GHz, Installed memory: 4.00GB, 64bit operating system, Windows7). Is the following cable suitable:
http://www.webhallen.com/se-sv/hardvara ... b-kabel_2m
It supports win7 but only 32bit. Is there any point in having a cable that supports 64bits (or does such a cable exist... I have not found any)?

2. SOUNDCARD:
I have a laptop, and maybe I should buy an external Midi soundcard? What do you suggest? I do not want it to cost more than a 1000 USD, hopefully less than 500 USD.

Or don't I need a sound card? Can't I just use a SOFTWARE SYNTH on my computer? Give a suggestion for this. Is my computer sufficient for running a software synth.

3. CUBASE
There is a course that is using Cubase that I am planning to take, so for this reason I am leaning towards this software. Which version should I get? Are there better softwares?

4. Do I need something more than this?

THANKS FOR YOU TIME, AND KIND HELP! ANY KIND OF ASSISTANCE IS HIGHLY APPRECIATED!!!
Last edited by kavorka on Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by Tiger Jackson » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:17 am

People say midi cables like those are no good...when i got one at first to do some midi-controlling, it had problems. Latency, and notes would just get stuck. When i got my audio interface (m-audio fast track pro) which also has midi on it, it became much better.. people say that midi->external interface->computer connections are better than straight midi-computer

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by kavorka » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:41 am

OK, thanks for the answer!

What kind of "external interface" do you suggest that I could buy? How much does these cost?

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by Ashe37 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:55 am

depends on how many ins you need, are you planning on hooking up the HP-3000 and the SQ-80 an d the MT-32?

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by kavorka » Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:11 am

Most likely only the Roland HP-3000

Thanks for the answer!

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by Ashe37 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:58 am

you may want to pick up a $100-$150 USB audio interface. If you look around, some come with a cut down "LE" version of Cubase.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by cgren72 » Sun Jan 13, 2013 6:45 am

If you don't want to purchase an audio/midi interface, you can use something like the Cakewalk um-2g. It is out of production, but a similar model should work fine, and cost quite a bit less than an audio interface. And you don't need a different soundcard, or anything like that. Asio4all is a free sound card driver that you will want to use with your DAW. You don't need cubase over any other program, but if your course is using it, go for it. I don't use it, but it is a pretty well known and trusted program

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by kavorka » Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:25 pm

Relly sorry for asking stupid questions... but I have not used synths since the 1980s.

Wouldn't it be sufficient just to use a couple of software synths in my computer (if I only had USB on my piano)? if I understand you correctly, the reason for me to use an audio interface (which I interpret as a fancy name for an external sound card) is because I need it since I do not have USB on my piano (only midi). Do I connect the piano by Midi cables to the audio interface, instead of using a midi-to-usb cable.


So, if I need an audio interface - can I buy a cheap one (since I will primarily use the "instruments" from software synths).

Do you have some suggestions for software synths (especially for imitating a grand piano, but also for all other sounds)? Can I run many software synths on the same time?

In summary, I connect my piano (by midi) to and audio interface. I get some software synths (e.g. http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/ ... cias-keys/ and some other softwares for drums, base etc.). I will use Cubase as a "sequencer" (as it was called in the 80s).

Please give me a suggestion for the softwares and hardwares that I need (I can afford it, but I don't know what I need or want).

I appreciate your help since I am a total beginner in the area of computer music.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by cgren72 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:03 pm

you can use quite a few softsynths at the same time. with your computer, I don't see why you wouldn't be able to use 15 or so instruments at the same time. it depends on what you are doing, but only certain softsynths, like additive synths, etc, will spike the cpu. If you are running pianos and basic synths, and even a couple high-end ones, you will be able to have quite a lot of polyphony. I never run out of polyphony with my i7, and rarely do with my i3. And I am a Harmor user, which is additive and very cpu hungry too. You can, of course, sequence with cubase or what ever you end up using, and would be pretty much unrestricted by the computer.

And about the audio interface:
you don't need one. To clear up that confusion, many people get an audio interface that has midi. If you are interested in recording hardware or using a microphone, this may be a good option. But it would cost a little more than a midi interface. If you aren't interested in using a microphone, you could just get a midi interface. An audio interface is basically like an external soundcard, as you have said. It isn't necessary unless recording hardware.


All you will need is a midi interface that is from a reputable brand. the really inexpensive generic ones that sell on ebay suck.
Below are two inexpensive examples that would work:
http://www.zzounds.com/item--EMUXMIDI1X1TAB
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboard ... -interface

Personally, I would buy this
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboard ... -interface

The device was designed before windows 7, but maudio is really good about updating drivers. Below is the windows 7 x64 bit driver from their website
http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=sup ... =x107#tabs

Something in the $30-100 USD range is what you should be looking at for a midi interface. If you do want to record external audio (audio interface with built in midi), you will want to pay around 200 USD. Whatever you buy, read reviews to make sure there aren't latency issues.

And about software, Native instruments sells good stuff, and is recommended, as well as arturia, and some of Image Lines synths are decent. Just make sure you purchase a version of the software that will work with your DAW. If you are using cubase x64 or ableton x64 or whatever, you will be able to use x64 plugins (.dll) and alot of x32 (.dll) plugins also. you should download and try out the demos of plugins before you purchase them to make sure they work and sound good to you.
Also, most DAWs will come with free instruments to play around with, and they are usually decent. Play with them before you buy alot of plugins.
You will have to set up a vst folder, set up asio4all for the midi interface, and do a few other things to set it all up. If you need help with that, feel free to post or private message me

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by kavorka » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:09 am

Many many thanks to cgren72 - I am impressed by people who are helping someone from the other side of the world - for no other reason than to be nice.

I followed your advice and ordered what you recommended:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/keyboard ... -interface

but to my surprise I received the following answer:

"Dear Par,
We ship virtually anywhere in the world using UPS service. However, certain manufacturers do not permit Musician's Friend to ship new products outside of the USA. M-Audio is one such manufacturer."


As an associate professor in Econometrics, I am not surprised that there still is a financial crisis in the US when they do not want to sell their goods to Sweden... I have ordered other electronic items from Holland, Germany and England before with no problems (but maybe it is because it illegal not to have free trade within the European union). So, in summary, I am back on square 1. Well, I still have my acoustic grand piano...

I will take a look at:
http://www.pricerunner.co.uk/ (UK)
http://www.pricerunner.de/ (GERMANY)
http://www.pricerunner.se/ (SWEDEN)

If there are any suggestions for what I should buy I am happy for any suggestion.

One more thing, I also need software synthesizers (with all kinds of instruments) - do you have any suggestions?

Is there anyone who knows if Ivory or Alicia's keys in the best piano software (I play virtually any music... so you do not get any hint from that)?

Are there any Cubase tutorials that are good. Are there any finished sequencer songs in Cubase that can be downloaded (so that I can see how it works).

Best wishes from cold Sweden...

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by Hair » Fri Jan 18, 2013 5:12 pm

See if you can find a Tascam US-122 or 144 interface, it's both a MIDI and Audio interface, and it's pretty inexpensive. The Mk2 models are newer, but I don't think there's too much difference.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by cgren72 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:09 pm

That has got to be annoying! We will keep trying


This product has good reviews, and has a windows 7 driver below

http://support.creative.com/Products/Pr ... di+1x1+Tab

Hopefully there will be no trouble with that one, its on amazon.de. You could also use amazon.uk

I would recommend certain softsynths, but I only use two or three, along with hardware, so I don't have enough experience to really say. What I do recommend doing is posting a topic in the software forum asking about cubase, pianos, and other synths. It will get many more views there, and someone will be able to answer those questions better than I would be able to.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by stich » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:41 pm

Well, you can always just record the audio output of your classic synths and work with it like that in the DAW. It sounds like you are already a practiced musician, so playing the synths directly is your strong point. Many people control their synths via writing MIDI notes in the DAW or a sequencer because they simply haven't cultivated the skill to play the synths live. Straight audio is not as versitle as a MIDI track of course, since the MIDI track can be sent to any number of instruments to trigger various sounds.

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by Jorvik » Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:47 pm

You could always try Thomann -- they're based in Germany but ship pretty much anywhere. I've ordered Doepfer modules from them and even a new keyboard stand just before Christmas. They're usually pretty competitive on price compared with UK online stores (and with other German stores, I'm reliably informed) and delivery is fairly quick.

Here's a link to the Midisport on the Swedish Thomann site:
http://www.thomann.de/se/maudio_midisport_2x2.htm

Greetings from the cold and snowy UK :)

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Re: Startup-tips to an old man...

Post by condit79 » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:56 pm

YES, go with Thomann outside the US. They're very reputable and have great prices. For softsynths, look at all the different offerings from U-he, Diva especially. The sound is unreal for a softsynth. Also other favorites of mine are Massive, Aalto,and the Arturia CS-80 clone. Also, keep in mind if you buy certain Akai keyboards or things like a novation launchpad you get a free lite version of Ableton, which will be more than enough for making some good tracks and if you like it so much and want to get really deep, you can upgrade to a more expanded version for a smaller price. Having a dedicated controller that's designed with a specific DAW in mind will make your life much less frustrating when moving from playing real instruments to working on a computer, or at least that's what I've found in my moving from guitars to keys and computer edited electronic music.
soundcloud.com/lvoe

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