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software recommendations?

Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Sun, Jun 12, 2005 @ 6:46 PM
Hi,

I have around $100 to buy software now, and I need some help. The things I plan to use the software for include:

- recording vocals & potentially other sounds (so far, I used freeware with some new gear to make my first recording, and it worked fine - here’s a ‘pella I threw out there yesterday - http://ccmixter.org/file/ra...

- conventional song mixing of my vocal tracks with other people’s instrumental tracks via forums like www.artistcollaboration.com (a lot of people on those sites seem to like n-track)

- experimentation with the kinds of music people are making on this site - probably includes some midi tracking, sampling, drum loop development, etc. (FL Studio seems to rule here, along with lots of other)

Is there a single software in the $100 range that will work well enough for all these things? How would you spend the money? I’ve heard FL Studio is robust enough to do serious recording & conventional mixing work now - anyone agree or disagree? I’ve seen some thumbs up for Tracktion, and I played with that for a couple days once and liked it OK.

Thanks. I’m just starting out, and I appreciate the help.

Chris
gurdonark
admin
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permalink   Mon, Jun 5, 2006 @ 8:51 PM
I believe that you should download the freeware from IXI-software.net,
which will not do a one-stop as you ask, but will permit you to experiment at will with fun sounds. I like Slicer in particular, but the other programs ther are also very good, and often available in Mac, Windows and Linux versions. The folks who run it are open source activists, too, siding with angels and such.
teru
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permalink   Sun, Jun 12, 2005 @ 7:08 PM
You don’t happen to have an Apple do you? I hear Garageband is a pretty good all in one.

Just in case you don’t know, FL doesn’t record sound. So you’ll have to use something like Audacity to record to and edit first. To be honest I’ve never really looked into high end recording software. I am as curious as you are to hear suggestions. : )
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 11:23 AM
Garageband is free with new macs (part of iLife)

FL Studio DOES record live music, it’s just got a weird way of doing it.

You should download the demo of FL Studio and play with it. It’s by far the best bargain out there, and by far the weird user interface — should be called Faustian Loops Studio.

VS
teru
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 11:28 AM
Anyone use the recording on FL?

I’d love to hear an example. I’ve never had the patience to try. : )
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 11:32 AM
the bass and wha-wha guitar on Frame the Debate was all done that way…

VS
teru
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 11:56 AM
Do you mean that you played the guitar and bass directly on a FL song through an audio input? Without any other programs? That’s……….amazing. I guess you really have to know what your doing to be able to do that.

Does it end up being a wave form track? Can you edit? Oh jeez I’ve got a ton of questions now. I’ll go look for FL tutorial somewhere. Thanks. : )

Great track btw.



fourstones
admin
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 12:11 PM
well I can’t tell if you’re being facitious (I didn’t write the code in FL, I just click on things to make to make it work)

http://flstudio.com/help/ht...

VS
teru
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 12:53 PM
"well I can’t tell if you’re being facitious"

No. I really learned something. : )

I work mainly with samples or convert everything to samples so I’ve never had to record directly.

I use Audacity to mix if I had to edit. I know you don’t like the clipping on Audacity. But it is way easier on my computer’s processor.

Ideally my hope would be to find a program like Audacity but for professional quality recording. I would love suggestions on that. : )

I love Audacity BTW. I’m just wanting to try something else out.
Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 4:54 PM
Hi again. Great dialog today! Thanks for the recommendations. I don’t own Mac, unfortunately, so Garageband is out. I checked out the FL Studio site, and it looks like audio recording/editing is a feature starting with the Producer edition ($150) - here’s the featurelist of the different versions:
http://www.e-officedirect.c...

I think I might try using the $100 version of FL plus audio freeware like Audacity (works for Teru - will probably work for me) or Krystal (see below). I am interested in what the "clipping" issue is with Audacity.

Teru, there is another free audio recording/processing software called the Krystal Audio Engine that I’ve heard people like. I think I’m going to try it myself to see how it compares with Audacity.
http://www.kreatives.org/kr...

Chris
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Mon, Jun 13, 2005 @ 7:57 PM
hmmm, that make sense — it would also explain why teru thought it was so miraculous that I could record in FL ;)

re clipping: in my experience with Audicity, which to be honest has NOT been "all that" I’ve had several cases where the recording clipped at levels where other apps would not. I can’t explain this it’s just what happened. This clipping gets really bad when doing multi-track recording (either live or one track at a time).

I’ve also had terrible (data loss inducing) flaky-ness with Audacity — more so than most people it seems. I always thought it was a Windows vs. Mac thing but when I first called it up on my new mac a few weeks ago it crashed (forcing a reboot) on the very first file I tried to load. But people swear by it… and love it and use it every day… so what do i know?
Pat Chilla The Beat Gorilla
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permalink   Sun, Jun 19, 2005 @ 11:10 PM
Don’t forget about Tracktion from Mackie. The once free software can still be downloaded for $80. It’s a multitrack recorder that comes with a few soft synths as well. Its also a great VSTi host, so you can find some free VST’s if you need to do any sequencing. Plus, it has all the standard effects you’d expect from a modern day software package. If you need hardware to record vocals into your computer, then another possiblity would be to pick up a decent soundcard (emu 0404 or M-Audio Mobilepre) because they’re bundled with programs like Cubasis and Ableton’s Live 4 Lite. The Emu goes for $99 and the Mobilepre is listed as $149, but I picked one up for $130 at GC a couple of days ago.
Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Mon, Jun 20, 2005 @ 9:18 PM
Quote: Don’t forget about Tracktion from Mackie.

Thanks - Tracktion is a solid program. I checked out Tracktion last December, and I liked it. I thought I had it registered under the limited time free license, but I didn’t somehow (if I had, I’d probably just be using it). It looks like now the old version isn’t offered anymore and the new version is boxed, not a download (retails for about $150). As far as switching hardware to get bundled software, I’m pretty happy with the D/A & A/D converters in the Echo Indigo card I have (and it’s a great laptop solution), so I’m going to stick with it for now. Good suggestion though.

Anybody use n-track http://www.fasoft.com/)? There are LOTS of people on the homerecording bbs http://homerecording.com/bbs/) that seem to love it and at $75 for the 24-bit recording version it’s relatively inexpensive. It does audio and midi (including piano roll), but I’m not sure how well it will perform in the context of mash-ups and remixes (anyone with experience, please comment). Since both FL and n-track are rewire compatible, one could use them together (although I’ve never used rewire to know how well that works).

At this point, I’m thinking of just continuing to play with what I have, trying out demo software versions, and doing more research while seeing about about growing my software fund a little more. I can record vocals with what I have now, and that’s the only thing I really know how to do so far anyway (other than some basic guitar & keyboard skills). The options I’m looking at now are FL Studio ($100) plus freeware audio recording software, FL Studio Producer Edition ($150), n-track ($75) by itself, n-track & FL rewired together, & Tracktion v2 ($150).

One question I have regarding these options is which will offer the quickest workflows for recording, tracking, & mixing? I have painfully little time to spend on music (a few hours a week), but I want to gain a little ground each day, each week, until I’m able to use the time I DO have to efficiently produce a few tracks a month. I have a lot to learn; the workflows behind the tracks on this site are mystifying to me (and probably others at the early beginner level). But that’s a topic for another thread.

Thanks again for the software suggestions everybody.

Chris
Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Tue, Jun 28, 2005 @ 5:00 PM
Went with FL Studio 5 Producer Edition, and having a blast learning how it works. Thanks for the recommendations. Question: what have you FL users found to be the best way to keep track of all your favorite instruments, samples, etc. (& ignore the ones you don’t like) so you can efficiently audition them for the song you’re working on and then pull them in? It seems, with all the free & inexpensive sounds out there, like a sound collection could get to be like a large, disorganized record collection where you know the track you want and the album it’s on, but you can’t find it. Maybe it’s not so bad - I have a lot learn. thx - Chris
fourstones
admin
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permalink   Tue, Jun 28, 2005 @ 6:55 PM
Well, at the end of the day you don’t have a choice but to get really good at traversing folders — doesn’t really matter what the structure looks like. FL does have a nice feature where you can assign deep directories to the browser (Options|File Settings). But again, nw matter how you organize it, you really just need to get good at traversing.

On a somewhat related matter: Organizing a project is not obvious and there are many, many "hidden" functions in the app. Here’s a write up of how to keep track of instruments while in a project that folks have told me they found useful:

http://virtualturntable.org...

Getting into those habits has a made huge difference in my productivity, especially when you come BACK to a project, you know, sober.

Also they have tutorial videos at flstudio.com — I HIGHLY recommend sitting through those because the docs really don’t cover how stuff actually works.

Hope this stuff helps…
Victor
Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Tue, Jun 28, 2005 @ 7:45 PM
Quote: Hope this stuff helps…
Victor


Thanks for the ramp up tips, Victor (and thanks, BTW, for all the time you invest here!). I can sure use help "organizing a project". I dove right in tonight on a song I wrote recently, and I have stuff all over the place. I’ll hit the tutorials. —Chris
the100thmonkey
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permalink   Fri, Jul 1, 2005 @ 7:52 AM
to be honest, i’m not exactly sure what you mean by "keep track" of all the sounds and instruments you use, but the button on the top right of the wrapper window (the window that holds your VSTi display) is really useful:

click on it and it opens a little menu with "piano roll" at the top. under that is a presets menu that lets you save the preset for the instrument, or load presets for the instrument. all the presets are kept in a subfolder in the FL Studio proram folder, usually on your C drive, although you can select the target drive/folder when you save, if you’re so inclined.

i tend to keep all my samples in one place (not on the c: drive, in case i have a failure - i put them on a secondary drive that i don’t use for program installations, and burn them to CD regularly just in case)

Ran Dumb Dots...... .. .
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permalink   Tue, Aug 9, 2005 @ 9:30 PM
just wanted to post an update to say that I actually have recorded sound with FL….the interface is kinda obnoxious though (more clicks, etc. than should be required to "arm" the track for recording, record, not to mention editing the audio)

another tool I’ve mentioned before but had not tried is Krystal Audio Engine http://www.kreatives.org/kr...

I’ve used KAE on my last couple ‘pella recordings, and I have some results to share…it has some major advantages over Audacity in my opinion:
1) less prone to clipping
2) actually, you supposedly (haven’t tried) can put software compression in the signal chain prior to saving to disk
3) it has effects sends, so you can have VST effects AND keep audio tracks "dry"
4) the interface seems really good for cut up work, not that I have a lot of experience with that - if you wanted to attempt a minus-kelvin-like extreme vocal cut-up, I think it might be a fairly efficient tool to use
5) you can do punch in recording on a track that already has audio without messing up what was already recorded (i.e. you can have multiple overlapping audio clips on a single track line - pretty useful actually)
6) um…it has a mixer interface ;)

One caveat: Windows only (but you Mac people have GarageBand, so I don’t feel too bad). I do feel for the Linux users though. They would like to eventually expand to other platforms.

I recommend checking KAE out if you’re on the Windows platform and looking for another free, effective audio recording/editing tool with some unique capabilities to add to your toolset…I guess if you make money from tracks constructed using the tool, they do ask you to pay some money - seems pretty fair to me…peace….. .. .
Dex Aquaireean
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permalink   Wed, Aug 10, 2005 @ 2:21 AM
Quote: Well, at the end of the day you don’t have a choice but to get really good at traversing folders — doesn’t really matter what the structure looks like. FL does have a nice feature where you can assign deep directories to the browser (Options|File Settings). But again, nw matter how you organize it, you really just need to get good at traversing.

On a somewhat related matter: Organizing a project is not obvious and there are many, many "hidden" functions in the app. Here’s a write up of how to keep track of instruments while in a project that folks have told me they found useful:

http://virtualturntable.org...

Getting into those habits has a made huge difference in my productivity, especially when you come BACK to a project, you know, sober.

Also they have tutorial videos at flstudio.com — I HIGHLY recommend sitting through those because the docs really don’t cover how stuff actually works.

Hope this stuff helps…
Victor


Yeah, the hidden features and tricks are numerous. Read everything you can find on FL Studio. I’ve been using it for years and thought I had it down pat. Then I started using Cubase SX3 and kind forgot about old faithful Fruity. I’ve just recently found out about a whole slew of things and tricks you can do with it that I didn’t realize before. So now I got it rewired to Cubase and use them together. If you invest enough time, your options are truly unlimited.
knapjack
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permalink   Sun, Oct 9, 2005 @ 12:35 PM
I downloaded the demo for Live 5. So far, it seems pretty slick, but it’s expensive ($500 USD). Anyone using it?
 
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permalink   zikweb Mon, Jun 5, 2006 @ 10:16 AM
I’m a heavy user of Ableton since version 3. And it really did expland my capacity to produce music faster and in a much more productive way.
It was kind of ‘renaissance’ to me, after having experimented hard sequencers, soft ones (Cakewalk…)
Worth the price it costs.

If you are working with Ableton, you should pay a visit to my dedicated pages here:
http://zikweb.org/index.php...

There are tons of packs to load.
(all CC of course)
jeroensnake
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permalink   Sat, May 13, 2006 @ 3:02 PM
Nowadays, there are some pretty good (all free, all legal) audio programs for Linux. Linux and open source means freedom and no software costs at all. But, if you have some money anyway, I would recommend "Studio to go" ( http://www.ferventsoftware.... ). It is a non-free Linux distribition, bundled and configured with most linux audio/music applications.

If Linux sounds nice, but you don’t want to spend money on it and you are not willing to install it, there is still a way. AGNULA is a Linux live-cd distribution (boots from cd without installing). So you can try both Linux and some audio applications.

Linux is not that difficult anymore. It’s just different (a little). And changes scare the hell out of people…