Music Software... The needs of a beginner

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Hi, I have to say before hand im a totally newbie when It comes to talk about Music software. I have been playing acoustic guitar for some years now, and I intent to buy an e-guitar for christmas. I was reading the awesome "Music Software, etc." sticky, but so much Sequencing, Tracking, Synth, made my head hurt. Seriosly. Id like to know what would be the best software for some scenarios I have in mind. I dont care how much the software is, Id like you to recommend what you think would be the best in each scenario (but free ones are always welcome). And I dont intend to buy any hardware, but a good pair of headphones. Scenarios 1. I want record some sounds with the help of my mic. (Although I highly doubt this is possible without a music studio). 2. I want to be a DJ and scratch! (FL Studio?) 3. I want to somehow take an existing partiture and convert it to an electronic format, using several e-instruments, like e-guitar, piano and else. While I know this is possible with MIDI, using for example Guitar-Pro, you know MIDI is cheesy. I want something that gets closer to the real thing. Would this be possible? (A VST plugin perhaps?) 4. I have some audio clips. I need to split 'em, join em', add all sorts of effects and stuff. Maybe this is the job for a full-blown audio editor? (The old Acid Pro, now Adobe Audition IIRC, audiacity?) Thanks a lot

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Most of your recording concerns would be addressed by a good soundcard, a good microphone, and a good piece of software. I use Sony Sound Forge and Cool Edit Pro(now known as adobe audition) for my audio editing needs. Either one alone would suit you fine.
What sound card are you using?

Digital scratching leaves a lot to be desired in my experience. Investigate a good set of tables. I'm not experienced in this realm.

MIDI is cheesy on its own. Professional sequencer/samplers use MIDI for all of their music data. The trick is what you do with it. Instead of handing somebody a MIDI file for their computer to play, you use the MIDI data to trigger your sampler/tracker, which plays soft synths like VSTi's or sample libraries, and bounce out the recording to straight audio. MIDI has played entire orchestras, and without listening very closely, you wouldnt know it wasnt real. So no, MIDI isnt cheesy, its very important to the whole process. Whats cheesy are the sounds you are used to hearing.

A set of good VSTi's might suit you well for your e-instrument question, you could probably get a decent set of free or cheap one and work with them in FL Studio. If you get more serious down the line, you should look into higher grade VSTi's or a sampler/sequencer setup with some high grade sample libraries.

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You're right that MIDI is kind of cheesy, but they do a good job in imitating acoustical instruments for a cheap prize and are relatively easy to use.
Using modern software synthesizers and VST instruments introduces a very steep learning curve, costs a lot of , and the result almost never sounds like a real instrument. (Trust me, i'm experimenting with this for years, in frustration.) Soft synths are good use for wierd sound effects and synthesizer lines, etc.
Alternatives:
- using samples of acoustic instruments (f.e. Acoustik Piano by N.I.)
- buy a decent sound card and a very good microphone, and record your own play (my advice).

good luck.

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For recording, download either Pro Tools Free (www.digidesign.com) or Audacity (sourceforge.net, search for Audacity). Either one will suit your recording needs, and both are free.

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Well thanks a lot guys for your answers. Now everything seems cleaner

Quote:
 Original post by krikkitMIDI has played entire orchestras, and without listening very closely, you wouldnt know it wasnt real. So no, MIDI isnt cheesy, its very important to the whole process. Whats cheesy are the sounds you are used to hearing.

One more thing that is not that clear. What is the difference between a Synthesizer, a Tracker and a Sequencer?

Thanks again folks.

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A synthesizer refers to a device, usually with a keyboard, that produces sound through analog means. You get those analog sounds you hear in electronica, prog, and a zillion other genres. Actual retro synths can only produce simple sounds, not pianos, drums, strings, etc. However, a lot of people mean any kind of musical keyboard when they refer to a "synth". Semantics and lingo.

I'm still not ENTIRELY clear on what a tracker is... to the best of my knowledge, it's a program that lets you take samples and sequence them to create music. Tracker file formats include both the musical data and the samples (I think....). Someone kill me if I'm wrong. :D

A sequencer is a software program that typically allows you to both record audio and sequence MIDI, and do each many times to create a song. It typically comes with effects and plugins and other special features.

Hope this helps.

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Quote:
Original post by darklordsatan
Well thanks a lot guys for your answers. Now everything seems cleaner

Quote:
 Original post by krikkitMIDI has played entire orchestras, and without listening very closely, you wouldnt know it wasnt real. So no, MIDI isnt cheesy, its very important to the whole process. Whats cheesy are the sounds you are used to hearing.

One more thing that is not that clear. What is the difference between a Synthesizer, a Tracker and a Sequencer?

Thanks again folks.

Also, krikkit brings up a very good point. A lot of people say, "MIDI sound sucks", without really knowing what that means. MIDI has no sound, it's merely performance data. The sound quality is as good as the samples you're using. So what people really mean is "General MIDI tones suck". Which is perfectly true, but that's hardly the best example of MIDI music capabilities.

Typical misconception, and probably useless in the big picture, but there you have it.

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Thanks Arglebargle. Now I get the big picture about Music Software, so I guess its time to give it a try!

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Quote:
 Original post by ArglebargleI'm still not ENTIRELY clear on what a tracker is... to the best of my knowledge, it's a program that lets you take samples and sequence them to create music. Tracker file formats include both the musical data and the samples (I think....). Someone kill me if I'm wrong. :D

Game Dictionary to the rescue! You pretty much had it down, except for that numerical input/editing interface, which is an important part of what makes it a tracker.