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Tsabo

what would you recommend?

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Tsabo    122
hi! i have always been very facinating by the music and sound-effects of games. Tho i am a musician ( guitar, piano ) i have no idea, how to start composing my music on the computer. Nor do i have a clue what program(s) to use, i've seen the stickyd list, but i don't know which program is good, which is not. So i'd like to ask: What tracker/sequencer/program do you recommend to start with, when you have no knowledge of composing "with" the computer, but with the knowledge of music itself etc. I am willing to spend money ( ~€200 ) on equipment and programs. but i see it as a waste to buy something from that amount of money without any knowledge whatsoever. Another thing i was wondering: is it mandatory to have a keyboard with midi input or something? or does it make it easyer, or doesn't it. If not how do you get you music files so far i have read you need to do this with samples and trackers (again i have seen the sites/links but which of those samples are "mandatory"?) i understand these are kinda "noob" questions. please answer them seriously... you have to start somewhere. Thanks in advance Tsabo

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Dorvo    272
I don't know a whole lot about music; but, I have friends that do. [smile]
One of them told me about a free tracker called ModPlug. It looks decent. With it, you can create and reuse patterns of notes, as well as lots of other stuff.

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samuraicrow    325
If you get ModPlug Tracker I'd recommend that you get the latest release candidate of Open MPT to use with it since it supports the use of MIDI maps better than the original. That way you don't have to find a lot of samples until you really need the quality.

Trackers are almost always cheaper than MIDI-based programs and the latest Open ModPlug Tracker supports some primative MIDI importing capabilities as well.

Another Tracker that comes with tutorials on how to get started is Skale Tracker. The downside of it is that it doesn't support MIDI maps for your instruments so you'll have to download samples for it.

For example tunes to examine and instruments try looking at Mod Archive.

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Kalemika    122
For the most bang for your buck, I'd recommend FL Studio. For a relatively low price you get a powerful sequencer with gazillions of features, built-in synthesis capabilities and a fairly good sound (with some coercing, compression and EQ tweaks.) Even with a modest FL Studio setup, you can make pretty good music using samples you scrounge up from around the internet and the versatile synths included. Reason is also a great package as it comes with very powerful synths, though the interface for actually tracking your notes is a little more clunky, in my opinion.

As for a midi controller, I produced music for a very long time without one, but once I got one I realized how much easier it made life and haven't gone back. If you're just starting, though, you can always just get the software and track with your mouse. FL has a neat little option that makes your computer keyboard function like a midi keyboard, though how easy it is to do I do not know as I've never used it.

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Haydn    122
I have a MIDI keyboard but I rarely use it.
If you are a pianist it makes sense that a keyboard would help you compose much more efficiently, I think the vast majority of (computer) composers use MIDI controller keyboards.

People often recommend Fruity Loops as being a great capable sequencer for a low price.

Try looking through the forums at www.kvraudio.com , threads are often created on the subject of the best software to buy on a budget, you might get some ideas.

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In-Coded    122
If you're familiar with notations, I would get something other than FL Studio, though FL Studio is not a bad start.. I use FL Studio for techno-kinda musics; I think Sonar is better for the notation view recordings and more precised stuff. If you can get bundled softwares like Sonar LE (which is free with 32 tracks), it would be nice too.

You're Pianist. I would totally recommend to get MIDI keyboard controller (76 key or 88 keys), or synthesizer that has MIDI in/out ports.

I say getting a M-Audio soundcard or audio interface with 1 MIDI interface. I dunno how much you have for US dollars, but it won't cost you a fortune, and M-Audio has very strong driver support especially for the price range.

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Miszou    122
Quote:
Original post by Kalemika
For the most bang for your buck, I'd recommend FL Studio.

I second that.
Quote:
Original post by Haydn
People often recommend Fruity Loops as being a great capable sequencer for a low price.

Fruity Loops? What's that? oooooooo FL Studio you mean. =)

FL is great; you can write any type of music you want, plus it's much cheaper than the alternatives (Reason, Cubase, Sonar...), which leaves some money open for orchestral sample libraries or whatever you may choose. Check out my site www.soundclick.com/silverlineproductions for some examples of what FL combined with EWQL silver can do.

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romer    323
It somewhat depends what kind of music do you want to make. You said you play guitar and piano, so I can see one of two different routes you can go.

If you want to focus more on making music for the guitar, you'll more than likely need some audio interface, which essentially allows you to capture an audio signal and record it on your computer via either USB or Firewire. If this is what you want to do, and assuming you have a Firewire port on your computer, I'd recommend looking into the Presonus Firebox. It'll have the inputs you need to be able to record guitar music on to the computer, in addition to doing any work with MIDI you may want to do. Plus it comes with a free copy of Cubase LE, which is good sequencer for anyone who's starting out. If the guitar you're using doesn't have a pickup installed on it (ie, you're using just a regular old acoustic), then you're going to need to also get a microphone. The Shure SM57 is a solid pick. Both of these would more than likely go over the budget you've set, but you really do get a lot of bang for your buck, even with just the Firebox alone.

If you're not interested in doing much audio recording, but want to dabble more with piano, synthesizers, and sampled instruments, then you won't even need an audio interface to get started. As others have already said, FL Studio is a solid sequencer for a real attractive price tag. It'll allow you do MIDI and audio recording (of course, you still need some means of routing the audio signal into your computer in this case). With some choice virtual instruments, which you can find a lot of free ones on KVR, you can get yourself set up in no time. At this point, your imagination and creativity is basically the limit. In time you'll probably want to shell out the money for some good sampled instruments to achieve a more realistic sound, but again, this is all dependent on what you want to do, and it is by no means mandatory for starting off.

As far as whether a MIDI controller is necessary or not, you can write out all your music using the mouse, but I found it to be real tedious after about the second or third session. However, maybe with a couple of exceptions, your budget MIDI keyboard controllers aren't going to have the action anywhere near that of a real piano, but if you can get used to the feel of your typical controller's keys, then definitely look into getting one, even if it is just a small one (32 or 49 key). I know I'm much more productive now than I was before I purchased mine. Nowadays they're making them so you can connect them to your computer via USB, so you don't even need a sound card with MIDI ins/outs or an external MIDI interface to get going with a controller.

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Tsabo    122
thanks for all the reactions :D

I don't have fully decided yet which sequencer to use.
i've been thinking alot about Cubase SE, but i didn;t really know if it was good for beginners, but hey, you have to start somewhere.

i now also know that a midi-keyboard isn;'t mandatory but makes it more productive/"easyer" to compose music.

Also people have been reccomending me Girattans personal orchestra (GPO)
with this VST library i'll have an archestra VST etc, but also a more slimmed down version then Cubase SE. it's a start for €225 :P

anybody have experience using GPO? and it is a good way to start?

For a keyboard i dunno what kind of keyboard i should buy, as long it has a pitch wheel and a midi out it should be fine, any recommendations?

thanks again
Tsabo

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Kalemika    122
Midiman (AKA m-audio)'s controllers are GREAT. I use an Oxygen8, which, while it's only 2 octaves, is perfectly fine for what I need. 8 assignable knobs, a fader, a mod AND pitch wheel and a bunch of easily programmable parameters. They build all manners of keyboards and they're relatively cheap and run off USB. If you're looking to go all out on a controller, novation builds a delicious one designed to work with their V-Station VSTi but that also works with other VSTis as well. As for the orchestral plugin, I have no experience with that particular one. My orchestral plugin is edirol orchestral and I implore you NOT to waste your time on it. While the samples are good, the outputted sound quality is AWFUL and full of glitches. I don't bother with it unless I need good cinematic strings in a pinch.

As for cubase, it's a good sequencer, too. I'd say go for it if it has the features you want.

[Edited by - Kalemika on March 17, 2006 3:12:49 PM]

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romer    323
In my opinion, GPO is a very good orchestral library considering its price. I've had it for a couple of months, and I haven't had a whole lot of time to play around with it because of school and work, but from what I've played with, I've been quite happy with it for writing orchestral pieces.

One thing with GPO is that it presupposes you have a MIDI keyboard given the way how the default play controls are set up. You use the keys to trigger the sounds and vary the attack, but you use the mod wheel on your controller to control volume and expression. Thus, getting a controller is all but a necessity when working with GPO.

As far as which controller, there's a multitude out there, all of varying in terms of quality, features, and price. I personally own an Edirol PCR-M50. It's 49 keys and has a good number of rotary pots, sliders, and buttons so that I can do much of my MIDI programming without having to resort to using a mouse. The action of the keys is decent, I suppose. I don't mind it and have gotten used to it, but there are others out there who can't stand it. If you can, I'd go down to a local music store that sells MIDI controllers and play on a few of them to get an idea of what you like in terms of feel. Other controllers you'll most likely see in this price range are Maudio, Alesis, Evolution, and Behringer.

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Brian Timmons    256
I got the Garritan library around Christmas. I also got a midi controller around the same time. Both are fun, but I've figured out how to utilize the GPO without relying on my keyboard's mod wheel. If you compose with "Overture", one of the sequencers that GPO comes bundled with, you can control dynamics and attacks within the software with no need for a hardware controller. There's a graphic window you can use to visually edit note velocity and modulation. Since I figured that out it's been an absolute breeze to use. I highly recommend it.

Brian

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Tsabo    122
After some internet surfing i got some names which sound interesting to me

Emu xboard 49
Esi keycontrol 49

anybody has experience with one of these 2 keyboards? what's good about them? what isn't?

on http://www.thomann.de/de/midi_masterkeyboards.html are some nice keyboards too.

i'm specificly looking for a "49" keyboard since "66" midi-keyboards become too expensive

anybody has more sugestions, please say!

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Kylotan    10011
I have an E-Mu XBoard 49. It feels good to me, nicely weighted and quite sturdy. You get one expression wheel suited for pitch bends and one more suited to volume changes and the like, plus 16 assignable knobs. It supports USB or MIDI so it's easy to get connected. I like it, although I am not much of a keyboardist so I can't really comment very authoritatively on its qualities as a playable keyboard. As a controller for writing and mixing music in Fruityloops however I am finding it invaluable.

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