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Help a newbie out =)

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Hey. I'm a high school student, I love music. I also love games, and it seems like becoming a composer seems like the right thing for me to do. I play a couple instruments in the school band, Tenor Sax, and Clarinet. I understand all of the technical stuff concerning notes, pitches, rhythms, etc. I don't know however some of the computer terms for programs or functions that these programs do. I don't have any recording equipment, but I would like to dive right into composing. Can someone tell me specifically what programs I should gather up, their functionality and also some helpful tutorials or guides? If the programs cost money.. that's no problem usually .. >:) Just give me some suggestions on what exactly I should get and where I should start. Thanks!! Edit: I'll also add I'm interested in more Orchestral types of music. My prefered gameplay would be RPGs & MMORPGs (I'm a big WoW-junky) So this is kind of what I'm aiming for. (The first link is probably the best example I can find) http://www.madsenstudios.com/resources/Antilia$2BListening$2BSample.mp3 http://www.bmusikaudio.com/files/Rise_of_Athens.mp3 http://www.madsenstudios.com/resources/The+Battle.mp3 http://www.madsenstudios.com/resources/VG$2BDemo$2BRGP.mp3 (( Thanks Nathan Madsen .. hehe :D ))

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I'm no audio guy, but I will suggest the one thing I do know: best tool in existence is a book, The Fat Man on Game Audio. I've read it three times, but I still couldn't tell you why it makes you great. But it will make you great. Guaranteed or your money spent!

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Original post by JBourrie
I'm no audio guy, but I will suggest the one thing I do know: best tool in existence is a book, The Fat Man on Game Audio. I've read it three times, but I still couldn't tell you why it makes you great. But it will make you great. Guaranteed or your money spent!


Quote:
Amazon.com Review
This book is categorized under games and audio and for this reason anyone looking to get into game audio may mistake it for a how-to (although George does offer a how-to section later in the book.) This duped person would probably be disappointed to find out that The Fat Man's book is more of a living history in the industry, rather than one of the "extreme" technical guides.


I guess it isn't exactly what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a list of the most recommended programs / resources. I saw the list on the sticky but it doesn't give me any indication about which is better, which is why I'm asking for some more detailed information. ;)

[Edited by - zeebo323 on June 26, 2006 12:40:25 AM]

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Right now I'm planning on getting Cubase SX v3, and an EW QL symphonic package. I think this will help start me out, but does anyone have some more information or advice for me?

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Is this your first experience with working with audio programs? Cubase may be a little hard to start out with, although it is a great Digtial Audio Workstation (DAW). The EWQLSO libraries sound great, I'm sure you'll be happy with that.

Have you looked into alternatives to Cubase, too? One great alternative is Calkwalk Sonar 5. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but if you havn't checked it out, I would give it a try. You can download it from Cakewalk's website (Although the save feature will be disabled). Unfortunately Cubase doesn't have any demo that I am aware of, but if you decide to give the demo of Sonar a spin and decide Cubase is for you, you won't have much difficulty switching over. The basic controls and interface of both programs are similar.

I personally chose Cubase SX3 over Sonar, but if you don't have a large amount of money Sonar may be the thing for you. Sonar is $100 cheaper in most stores, and it also comes with effects that are much better than Cubase. Cubase has a cleaner interface (in my own opinion), and is more compatable with VST plugins. I've read a few cases where people buy some plugin with Sonar to find out it doesn't work for whatever reason. Since Steinburg developed VST technology, it would be unlikely for you to come across that problem.

Before you buy one product, make sure you explore all options. At any rate, you'll be happy with either products.

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Wow thanks for using my works as examples!! :) I'm honored!By the way, I'm a saxophone player myself!!

I'll try and add some new info to this thread and then give you an idea of how I do things:

Books: As already mentioned, read the Fat Man's book. This book is really funny and gives good info.

An even better book though is Aaron Mark's Guide to Game Audio. This book is, for me, the best guide to the business of game audio. It outlines everything you need to know, from NDAs to how to wager a good offer and how to work several audio programs. The book even comes with a CD of watered down versions of decent audio software.

Software: I'm a cakewalk guy. There are so many good programs out there- it really depends on what you start with. I grew up on cakewalk- so that is what I feel most at home with. I use Sonar 4 Studio. This program can be expensive- but is very powerful and worth it. I also use Reason 3- which has great sounds. I also find the piano roll (a way to view your compositions) easier to edit than Sonars.

The East West sounds are simply fantastic. One warning though- you have to have a powerhouse computer to be able to run East West well. It takes alot of RAM (I have 2 gigs).

Also get a convertor plugin that can switch out different formats (wav, aif, ogg, mp3). Different projects need audio in different formats.

You mentioned terms? Well...that might take a while. I suggest getting a book. Depending on what software you get- there are plenty of guide books that will help you figure out what the lingo is. Also the two books I mentioned earlier might go over some of that as well.

You want to know which one is better- but its more of what you feel comfortable with. Since you are new to this- you have an advantage! Just learn on of the products and you'll be golden. Cubase or Sonar- both are going to be able to get you what you want. Its just a matter of learning them. Aaron Mark's book comes with several programs. For only 35 bucks- you could try out several programs on your own and read up on them and the industry. Once you're done with the book- you'll have a good idea of what program you like. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer, but its more personal taste. I like Sonar better, others like Cubase.

Best solution- try both on your own. You could also download trials of both versions and then compare both of them that way.

How I write music: I play piano well- so I usually start with some small idea on piano. Using East West, I can make this sound like any instrument I wish. I usually start a composition with Sonar and East West together. (You'll learn how to do this). Then its a matter of orchestrating things, polishing and mixing. This process can be as fast as two hours- or as long as several days or weeks.

Reason 3 is a great program that I use as a stand alone. I don't usually use all three together because my computer kept crashing. I have since purchased a new (much better) computer but just haven't gotten around to trying it again.

The most important skill is listening and having an open mind about things. Listen to your music- see what works and what doesn't. Ask yourself how you can make things more interesting- make it strong or more rememberable.

Good luck and thanks for listening to my music!

Nathan Madsen

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Quote:
Original post by nsmadsen

You want to know which one is better- but its more of what you feel comfortable with. Since you are new to this- you have an advantage! Just learn on of the products and you'll be golden. Cubase or Sonar- both are going to be able to get you what you want. Its just a matter of learning them. Aaron Mark's book comes with several programs. For only 35 bucks- you could try out several programs on your own and read up on them and the industry. Once you're done with the book- you'll have a good idea of what program you like. I wish I could give you a more definitive answer, but its more personal taste. I like Sonar better, others like Cubase.

Best solution- try both on your own. You could also download trials of both versions and then compare both of them that way.


Unfortunately, Steinburg doesn't offer a demo download of their product Cubase. If you are in the market for a keybaord controller, many of them include a 'lite' version of Cubase (Cubase LE).
Quote:

Reason 3 is a great program that I use as a stand alone. I don't usually use all three together because my computer kept crashing. I have since purchased a new (much better) computer but just haven't gotten around to trying it again.

I love Reason too, and that is easier to learn than Cubase or Sonar. Since this is your first experience with audio, you may want to consider starting a little simpler and working your way up. Although Reason can only sequence midi, it is still a really helpful tool. I constantly Rewire Reason and Cubase, then you can get the benefits of both programs.

There are lots of options to choose and paths to follow, try to explore them all before making a decision.

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I'll just echo what a lot of others have already said, and that's to try out different options before making a decision. Personally, I have a copy of Cubase LE that came with the recording preamp I bought last summer, and it serves me well for what I do (which is a lot of guitar, but also MIDI work with VST instruments). A good resource for getting collections of free/trial music software is the magazine Computer Music. Every issue comes with a DVD full of software and samples for you to use, including it's own version of a DAW. As for terms, I kinda picked them up as I went along. One book that I read was Music Technology: A Survivor's Guide by Paul White. While it didn't directly help me in computer music, it explained a lot of terms, techniques (albeit, mainly used in the analog domain), and overall was just a fun, informative read. At some point you may want to check it out.

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