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What's the difference

J.Lang
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permalink   Mon, May 30, 2005 @ 3:54 AM
I use a lot of hardware to do my tracks and remixes. What’s the difference between using my hardware as opposed to a lot of software. I use a roland1680 to mix. I get my sounds from my mpc200xl and a few keyboards. Has anyone here used both software and hardware? If so is there an advantage to using one or the other. I see on this site so many people use many different software programs. What is a good start off program to use? I’m thinking of coming over to the other side, but would like a little info.
Thanks. J.Lang
teru
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permalink   Mon, May 30, 2005 @ 8:31 AM
http://www.flstudio.com/

There is a bit of a debate as to which program sounds the best but for price, ease of use and compatability nothing beats FL. IMHO. It’s a good place to start.

But just so you know, before I got my computer. My set up was an MC303, SU10 and a VCR. I’m not exactly a pro but I have demo-ed almost all of the programs out there. I used to work w/ Cubase but I just couldn’t afford to keep upgrading. FL is updated regularly for free.

Reason is also a popular program. I’d ask Pat about that one. He obviously knows how to use it.

Hope this helps. : )
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Mon, May 30, 2005 @ 11:24 AM
FL Studio is the best deal on the market. It also happens to be the best sounding sw mixer that I’ve found. It’s also the craziest most convoluted user interface (often to point of being unproductive) that I could imagine.

In general the thing that shocks most folks who switch over from hw to sw is the instability of the system. If you don’t save often you are bound to lose some project data some time some where sooner or later. When you have a box that’s built to do one thing and one thing only (like the mpc) you get used to having the thing "just work" no matter what. You lose that when you go to music sw that runs on a box that doubles as a web browser and gaming platform.

In return you get some amazing benefits from going to software — mainly flexibility and price. You average about 1/10th of the price for software for roughly 95% of the quality of hardware.

You can nearly the same quality as a $10,000 rack of fx goodies for less than $1000. Or $100 if you’re not doing radio-ready material. Or FREE (seriously) if you’re just posting to the web and doing demos.

How much does an AKAI Z4 sampler cost? $1,500? The sfz SoundFont plugin is free and there are 1000s of free sound fonts on the web — including some that are used in AKAI boxes.

If you spend $150 for pro soundfonts you’re literally using the same technology in the Z4.

If you don’t like FL Studio, you can get ACID, or Traktion or if you like: hook them all together (yes, it’s easy to do, flaky but when it works it’s magic) — and you still haven’t spent $300 for THREE hosts.

Check out all the goodies at http://kvraudio.com — this is a site devoted to free and cheap plugins with customer reviews of the big expensive ones.

Hope this helps,
Victor
J.Lang
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permalink   Mon, May 30, 2005 @ 6:45 PM
Thanks Victor and Teru the info helps a lot. I’ll do some checking on the web and look at some programs. I love the ideal of free stuff.
teru
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permalink   Wed, Jun 1, 2005 @ 7:32 AM
Hey Doc,

I’d wait for Victor’s answer for this one. But in the meantime here’s my 2 cents.

The trouble w/ most demos is they tend to focus on the sampler part of the programs. Because it sounds the most impressive.

Acid and Traktion both give you samples to fool around with in the demo but IMO lack in the VSTi department. There’s only so far you can go with one drum machine. Which leads me to think that these two programs were built to focus on whole samples and loops. Not so much on sequencing. Check out the bottom of this page.

http://virtualturntable.org...

I think you can find a lot more sound(VSTi) use with FL or Reason. IMO I think they built these programs focusing a bit more on individual notes not just whole sample loops. Allowing for more detailed sequencing with VSTi plug-ins. Anyways that’s the way it sounds to me. Possibly all in my head.

Saving MIDI is a great way to go back and change stuff. If you’re into that sort of thing. ; )

fourstones
admin
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permalink   Wed, Jun 1, 2005 @ 8:24 AM
FL Studio is aka Fruity Loops (after a suit from Battle Creek because I guess people were confusing the dj software with breakfast cerial and buying one thinking it was the other)

ACID Pro is several $100 but they have entry level versions that give you an idea of it’s sample manipulation power for a fraction of the cost. If Tracktion is really that expensive then shame on Mackie (they just bought it and repackaged it).

If you never, ever stretch a sample’s tempo or change keys and always play in time then MIDI might not be of any use. I’ve known plenty of folks who can do that, I’m NOT one of them.

SoundForge is NOT a synth, it’s a wav editor — used to tweak loops/samples before using them in a sampler/host and used to master the final resulting mixdown.

Just about every host now does both samples and MIDI instruments. The good ones combine them allowing you to trigger samples via MIDI. If you’re mainly doing your own recordings you might want to look at one that makes recording multiple takes/tracks easier like HomeStudio or Cubase.

I’m not a big synth/sound shaping guy, I’d much rather start with a Memphis horns sample than fiddle with sawtooth ocsilators filters. For me the most valuable piece of technology in the last 10 years has been soundfonts. (If you need more info what that’s about let me know…)

The problem I have with Reason is that it’s a closed system — there’s plenty of support for its various proprietary formats and it does connect to other apps using ReWire but I wouldn’t want to call up a whole other app just because I want to use a particular Reverb plugin they don’t support.

Besides, Pat is a hack.
MarcoRaaphorst
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permalink   Fri, Jun 3, 2005 @ 9:07 AM
I hear good things about Fruity.

Here are a few of my hints:
- Ableton Live: fantastic for quick arranging and vsti recordings. My favorite tool at the moment for audio.
- Reason, I am a fan and … sound designer for the program
- Nuendo… I have a hate relationship with that German program. My expensive 2.2 will probably never be upgraded but well… if you need to sync up some video… Nuendo can do it, but I don’t like it’s workflow, the amount of bugs and pricetag

.. hopefully someday I will be able to run Ardour and some Jack goodnesses… we’ll see!
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Sat, Jun 4, 2005 @ 9:29 AM
start here:

http://google.com/search?q=...

download this:

http://rgcaudio.com/sfz.htm

browse here:

http://hammersound.net/cgi-...

go crazy!

Peace,
Victor
MarcoRaaphorst
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permalink   Sun, Jun 5, 2005 @ 4:21 AM
but sfc’s cpu usage is enourmous. at least in Live. sound is good though.
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Sun, Jun 5, 2005 @ 7:32 AM
Quote: but sfc’s cpu usage is enourmous. at least in Live. sound is good though.

ime that totally depends on the sound font. e.g. loading the full ns-kit (198MG) crashes my machine. sfz/+ has tons of CPU controls but by time you need them it’s probably too late.

The majoirty of soundfonts I use are less than 1MG, with the occasion 10MG and a couple of GM fonts that reach 40MG. These are no problem. In fact, it’s funny you should mention sfz in Live — I’m about to deliver a whole album to Magnatune of my renditions of Weird Polymer compositions.Almost 100% of it was using sfz+ in Live, often multiple instances with all 8 channels blazing.

(sfz+ is the 8-output for-pay version of the free single outputl sfz)
MarcoRaaphorst
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permalink   Sun, Jun 5, 2005 @ 11:01 AM
maybe sfc+ is better. just tried Nuendo 2.239 this evening and using an Akai sampled piano and Nuendo’s cpu meter is hooting up high. Reason3 stays super low on the same soundfont though.

SF2 files are cool. I like the fact that they embed everything into one file. Only the filter differences between apps can be difficult sometimes.
bobhellbringer
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permalink   Wed, Jun 22, 2005 @ 6:43 AM
or if you want a cheaper program and have a mac get Garageband, it has good loops and easy interface and like 30 virtual instruments for the midi loops. I mainly import new samples and acapellas for remixes because some of the samples that come with it sound cheap.
Pat Chilla The Beat Gorilla
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permalink   Wed, Jun 22, 2005 @ 7:22 PM
Quote: I’m not a big synth/sound shaping guy, I’d much rather start with a Memphis horns sample than fiddle with sawtooth ocsilators filters. .

I would have never guessed it!!! I just knew your were a patch from scratch tweak!!

Quote:
Besides, Pat is a hack.
………:)
No arguments there.

djlang59,
Come to the other side!!!! I was a 10 year ASR-10 fanatic and MPC junkie. I went through a few programs until I found one that I was comfortable with, but once I did……I’ll never go back to a hardware system as my main tool for produciton, but its always nice to keep the dust off your MPC skills in this era of music. The key is finding something that works for you. My old setup was a Mackie 1604 mixer, ASR-10 61 key, an original TR-808 and eventually a Roland JV-1080 with four soundcards. (It should now be obvious why I’m so fond of Reason. I’ve been using it for years!!!!) There’s nothing I cant do in Reason that I could do with my hardware setup and I can do it faster with a virtually endless amount of options. …….Like mentioned before, soundfonts are great!!! You can buy the sounds from an entire module for $20-$30. Emu sells the Vintage Keys, Proteus, Planet Phatt and Orbit modules and they are the same exact sounds as the modules. Like Victor said, 1/10th of the hardware prices.

I think Fruity Loops is a good place to start (and possibly a permanent place to stay) mostly because of the price and the functionality of the program. Its no secret I’m not a real big fan of FL, but its just personal taste. Its an incredibly versatile sw that can sequence, host VSTis, and playback samples. Because its Rewire capable you can add an inexpensive multitrack like Tracktion or N-Tracks (which I hear is decent). I mean for $200-$300 you can have a full blown production suite. Of course there’s that whole issue of buying a capable computer, but I put a cheapo together and bought a used monitor for around $250 (gotta love Frys) and It was good enough to handle most tasks until I was able to beef up my computer power.

Soundfonts, refills, vst’s and sample libraries are what make sw programs superior to hw units IMHO (particularly due to lower costs, availability and cross platform usage). The third party support is tremendous and there are hundreds of low cost and no cost sounds and tools available for your consumption. Do let it take you 10 years to find that out.
Pat Chilla The Beat Gorilla
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permalink   Wed, Jun 22, 2005 @ 7:31 PM
BTW, the www.soundfonts.com stuff is now located here:
http://us.creative.com/prod...
J.Lang
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permalink   Thu, Jun 23, 2005 @ 2:18 PM
Again i want to thank every one for all of your information. I’m currently looking for another computer or a lab top. There is a very good chance i won’t have a new lap top for myself until october or so. It seems my daughters need for a new lab top for school is the #1 priority.
I have read a little about Reasons, Pro tools and Cakewalk, but i guess it all comes down to taste. I would like a program that i can do everything with, mix, sequence, edit, efx and master.
I love my MPC, but i know i can adapt. It took me a while to go from mixing records to mixing cd’s but i got there.
Pat, Vic, Doc and who ever else i can think of, school will be in session this fall and i hope you all will be my teachers.
Thanks Jay.
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Sat, Sep 17, 2005 @ 10:21 AM
Quote: maybe sfc+ is better. just tried Nuendo 2.239 this evening and using an Akai sampled piano and Nuendo’s cpu meter is hooting up high. Reason3 stays super low on the same soundfont though.

SF2 files are cool. I like the fact that they embed everything into one file. Only the filter differences between apps can be difficult sometimes.


I was reminded of this thread now that I’ve started trying out Reason: I think Reason does so well with SoundFont is because it seems to only load the bank that you want to use into memory — if this is true this is quite different than the way most SF players work, which load all samples in the SF2 on boot, whether they are used or not.

Or I could be completely full of it ;)