Suggest me a starter setup please.

For computer based music makers. Discussions about plug-ins and stand alone computer synth gear.
Post Reply
Charl313
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:40 am

Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Charl313 » Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:53 am

Hi,

This may be a bit of an elementary request but advise or suggestions would be appreciated.

My music hobby efforts have been dormant for a long time but I'd like to revive it now.
My main goals are to play music with mostly piano related instruments, but also some other acoustic instruments, on an A-88 keyboard, connected to a DAW. Occasionally I'd like to record some of my songs, add some more tracks (like drums and bass), and even some editing of the samples if I wanted to fiddle with insert effects or ADSL envelopes. I also play bass and drums so would like to record some tracks to my music with that as well. My music styles are mostly classic, jazz, synth-pop, funk.

I come from a strict ROMpler background. Always been a Roland fan, used various Sound Canvas modules for years, along with Cakewalk, to make MIDI files.
I am not quite sold on software samples, and failing this I am thinking of acquiring an Integra-7.

Keeping the above in mind, please suggest me a DAW setup please, including some software for music production products. No idea which is best.
My thoughts would be to connect my A-88 directly via MIDI to my existing Terrasoniq TS22 PCI ASIO Sound Card which I would like to keep on using. In addition to this, I would probably need some source aggregator device, capable of switching inputs, amp, monitors, and sequencing and sampling software. Finally I need some very good instrument libraries, mostly piano and synth (must have better sounds than the Integra-7 ROMpler). Not much more is needed at this stage.
* Very important: NO latency :) (also advise what type of PC I need. Windows please).
* 90's MIDI file support also very important :) but if need be I can use my old Roland SC-88 for this.

Thanks!

User avatar
pflosi
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3620
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:14 pm
Gear: more than 150 characters...
Location: zürich
Contact:

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by pflosi » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:33 pm

Midi files are still the same as in 1990 :thumbright:

"No latency" is relative. Definitely you'll have to check out ASIO drivers on Windows.

I think you could use basically any DAW, pick what you like (try the demos). For a sampler / instrument libraries, I'd have a look at Kontakt et al.

Cheers!

User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1677
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8
Location: NL
Contact:

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by CS_TBL » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:52 pm

Native Instruments Komplete 9. A complete bread 'n butter set o' samples and instruments. It includes the might powerful and often deservedly bragged about FM8, which already implies half the sounds you'd ever need. DAW could be anything, but I'd say that Cubase is the easiest to get around with.

Some months ago I bought a new PC for +/- €1200, with an I7 CPU, SSD drives (there are no classic HD's in it, and 32 GB RAM. That makes for a blazingly fast PC for music production. Add a decent audio IO and you can product whatever the h**l you want. I'm into the heavy orchestral stuff and I don't think I've even hit half my memory yet. :) So, whatever people tell you: it's 2014 and you can do really big arrangements these days.
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids

georgemarauder
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:47 pm

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by georgemarauder » Sat Apr 05, 2014 5:29 pm

Propellerheads Reason would do the trick. It's a complete package music studio in one program. You can record audio, sequence midi instruments, add effects, tweak samples, dive into sound design, the works. It's also very stable and does not use much memory (at least the version I'm familiar with, which is version 5. Not sure about the newest version which is 7). It's truly an amazing program.

Then get something like Adobe Audition for more advanced editing and recording. It's an easy to use DAW with a lot of nice features.

There are also many, many ReFills and Rack Extensions out there you can download to add new sounds to Reason. The rabbit hole goes very deep. The stock sounds are quite good, though. I use them all and also create my own sounds with the incredible synths and samplers that come with the program.

As for what PC you'll need, get yourself something with an i7 processor, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an SSD drive (the bigger the better. If money is an issue, get a decently sized SSD to house the main operating system + software and a large standard HD for the heavy duty storage). Make sure you have a decent soundcard (I use a Soundblaster Recon 3Di) and enough USB ports and you should be set. Windows 7 Professional runs quite nicely as an operating system and Reason runs flawlessly on it.

With a setup like this you will be able to as much music as you like for a long time to come. It works great for me and is an endless source of inspiration.

Good luck! Message me if you have any questions.

Charl313
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:40 am

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Charl313 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:10 am

CS_TBL wrote:Native Instruments Komplete 9. A complete bread 'n butter set o' samples and instruments. It includes the might powerful and often deservedly bragged about FM8, which already implies half the sounds you'd ever need. DAW could be anything, but I'd say that Cubase is the easiest to get around with.

Some months ago I bought a new PC for +/- €1200, with an I7 CPU, SSD drives (there are no classic HD's in it, and 32 GB RAM. That makes for a blazingly fast PC for music production. Add a decent audio IO and you can product whatever the h**l you want. I'm into the heavy orchestral stuff and I don't think I've even hit half my memory yet. :) So, whatever people tell you: it's 2014 and you can do really big arrangements these days.
The Komplete samples and instruments - are they generated analog?
The tinny sounds I get from my SC-88 ROMpler sound c**p because they are not analog - and don't want the same problem with software synthesis (if that is the same).

The MIDI files I for some reasons cannot get to sound the same like Donna Summer, Rick Astley, Quincy Jones, Sybil, to name but a few. I want hardware that can sound the same, and I'm guessing that analog has a big part to do with that. Also, if I can apply EQ per track, and not global, I heard that that will also help.

Charl313
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:40 am

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Charl313 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:11 am

georgemarauder wrote:Propellerheads Reason would do the trick. It's a complete package music studio in one program. You can record audio, sequence midi instruments, add effects, tweak samples, dive into sound design, the works. It's also very stable and does not use much memory (at least the version I'm familiar with, which is version 5. Not sure about the newest version which is 7). It's truly an amazing program.

Then get something like Adobe Audition for more advanced editing and recording. It's an easy to use DAW with a lot of nice features.

There are also many, many ReFills and Rack Extensions out there you can download to add new sounds to Reason. The rabbit hole goes very deep. The stock sounds are quite good, though. I use them all and also create my own sounds with the incredible synths and samplers that come with the program.

As for what PC you'll need, get yourself something with an i7 processor, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, an SSD drive (the bigger the better. If money is an issue, get a decently sized SSD to house the main operating system + software and a large standard HD for the heavy duty storage). Make sure you have a decent soundcard (I use a Soundblaster Recon 3Di) and enough USB ports and you should be set. Windows 7 Professional runs quite nicely as an operating system and Reason runs flawlessly on it.

With a setup like this you will be able to as much music as you like for a long time to come. It works great for me and is an endless source of inspiration.

Good luck! Message me if you have any questions.
Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.

User avatar
Z
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 3534
Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 3:08 am
Gear: Bubble wrap, Styrofoam, boxes, packing tape
Location: Docking Bay 94 (Dallas, TX)
Contact:

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Z » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:22 am

Charl313 wrote: Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.
Years of sound engineering and production will make your music sound professional. It doesn't matter which hardware or software you buy or how much you spend, there is no substitute for experience.

Check with your local university's continuing education program - many offer DAW/sound recording classes. I audited a couple of video production classes at my local junior college a few years ago to learn to edit video with Final Cut Pro.
youtube.com/zibbybone facebook.com/ZsFlippinGear

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3890
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
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
Location: Central VA

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:28 am

Keep in mind that the SC-88 had 8 megabytes of sound ROM 16-bit, 32 Khz, while Kontakt has 43 GB of samples (a mix of 16-bit, 44.1, 48, and 24-bit 44.1& 48 Khz sample sources) So yes hopefully the samples do sound better.

georgemarauder
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:47 pm

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by georgemarauder » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:58 am

Charl313 wrote: Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.
Software is so advanced that one will have a difficult time (if not downright impossible) telling the difference between analog and software when the sounds are sitting in a mix.

In Reason's case, the synths are so high quality you would be hard pressed to find anything better. I'm not going to get into the purist argument of what sounds better, but the software I suggested sounds very good.

A professional sound is going to come more by how you use your own ears and your ability "behind the boards". It takes years of experience and a lot of practice to learn how to mix, maybe even master your own material. Whether you use software or hardware doesn't matter nowadays as much as your own experience.

User avatar
CS_TBL
Synth Explorer
Synth Explorer
Posts: 1677
Joined: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:47 pm
Gear: All "In-The-Box"
Mainly FM8
Location: NL
Contact:

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by CS_TBL » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:19 pm

Charl313 wrote:Will software synthesis make my productions sound the same like Stock, Aitken Watermann productions, Quincy Jones, etc.? Or will I need hardware analog modules for that?
I'm worried if I get software synth packages like those listed, it still sounds tinny like 90's ROMplers.
Welcome to 2014, where computers have 4000x more memory than a Sound Canvas, allow hundreds o' polyphony, virtually unlimited multi-timbrality and lots of effects!

'Analog', 'Sound Canvas' and 'tinny' in one question is gold!
"You know I love you, CS, but this is bullshit." (Automatic Gainsay)
s: VSL/FM8/EWQL/LASS h: DX7/FS1r/VL70/SY77/SN2r/JD800/JD990/XV88/Emu6400/Poly61/Amek35:12:2/genelec1030 r: Violin/AltoSax/TinWhistle c: i7-4770/RAM32GB/SSD
FM8 vids

Charl313
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 11:40 am

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Charl313 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 5:46 pm

Hi,

After some time I would like to renew this "effort" again of starting some private, small-scale music production efforts again (even if it is just duplicating songs / writing covers for myself on Friday evenings on my own :D ).

I have not acquired/bought any equipment since my original question (see my first post in this thread), however, my requirements have slightly changed:
1) Compared to my first post, I'd like a more hardware approach than software. I'd ideally just want to use my PC as sequencer (of MIDI events I record from a MIDI controller) and maybe add some extra recorded sounds (not necessarily from a sampler or synth). Also, I'd like to use it for compression & mixing.
2) Sound source should be, highly preferred, some Roland ROMpler. I already have an old SC-88 but its output is poor (only 32kHz I believe). The Integra-7 sounds in line with what I'd want but it's maybe a bit too expensive.
3) I want separate effects processor modules. Something I can chain up. Some multi-effects unit (delay and reverb in one). Good value for money.
4) I'd like a good MIDI keyboard controller. 61 keys ideal. Keys must be full-size but do not have to be weighted. Ideally Roland. Must have knobs and sliders. These are to be assignable for the MIDI controllers. (e.g. 7 for pan, etc.)
5) A good monitor amp. I have some old Sony speakers.
6) Parametric EQ unit. In case I want to use that instead of doing it on my mixer or computer.

Thanks in advance!

Ashe37
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3890
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:43 pm
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
Location: Central VA

Re: Suggest me a starter setup please.

Post by Ashe37 » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:22 pm

The tinny sounds you get from your 25 year old ROMpler is because they are using samples smaller than what your cell phone uses for ringtones... honestly. The reason more modern ROMplers are either expensive or few and far between is that many people are using sample-based VST instruments as ROMplers these days... an instance already given was Native Instruments Komplete, but some people use others particularly if they are doing more composition for film/tv/etc instead of doing music for listening/dance. More modern sound sets are going to be stored as 24-bit audio which means a higher quality and better sound-to-noise floor than anything coming off a 90s ROMpler.

If you insist on something hardware and Roland, look at their Fantom line, whether keyboard or rackmount. its the predecessor to the Integra, but later than the JV/XV lines (and thus the Sound Canvas modules). I'd also look at the Yamaha Motif line, which seems to have better pianos and larger sample memory

Post Reply