Sign in to follow this  
Zummy

Equipment needed to start making music.

Recommended Posts

Zummy    131
I like orchestral pieces in music, and I would like to see what I can come up with. I've been playing piano for a while so I understand music somewhat, its just the technical side that I don't understand as well.
I'm talking programs, set-ups, etc. Can you guys pitch in to help me get a basic "you can make orchestra sounds and record and layer them" set up? What will I need?

Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Varine    128
If you want to do it synthetically, there are a lot of programs. The only one that comes to mind immediately is MAGIX, although I don't know why exactly as I don't know anyone that uses it. I don't think it's very good. I'll do some more research and see if I can come up with the one I'm trying to think of (it has like every instrument I can think of and them some , and you write in the notes for it to play and can control distortion and things like that).

As for recording and mixing them, all you would really need is a microphone to record and someone to play the instruments. [url="http://www.nch.com.au/mixpad/index.html"]http://www.nch.com.au/mixpad/index.html[/url] is a music mixing program that I have, but I rarely use it; you can just search Google and come up with a lot more. You will likely want a decent mic that will help reduce background noise and cut out static, although I've seen some people just cover it with tissue or something and play or talk a lot louder without much issue. I have a friend that does what you're talking about though (he plays by himself at bars and whatnot,so he records the other instruments to play alongside him for some songs if he can't find someone else to do it), I'll ask him what he uses next time I talk to him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zummy    131
Thanks much for the help Varine, I've been doing some searches myself. I've seen a lot of people use a midi controller and fruity loops, although I don't know how well that would encompass my needs. Also, I'm pretty poor at finding alternatives because I don't know what I require out of specific programs, such as various tools and sounds, or out of controlling interfaces like MIDI controllers and sound cards.

I suppose if I found out exactly what I would need to do what I want, I could hunt for programs and tutorials myself, but getting around that initial hump has proven to be a bit harder than I expected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Varine    128
Well, you can technically do a lot of that digitally I think. Sound design is a little out of my area, although I should get into it more... could be profitable to write a program like I referenced above that was fairly simple.

If you go look at places like Tallarico Studios or however it's spelled, big audio studios like that have really expensive equipment, controllers that look like the cockpit of a space shuttle, sound-proofed rooms, and tons of other things that typically people don't have the money to go buy for hobby work or learning. When you synthesize audio, it probably won't sound as good as having an orchestra playing in a room with perfect acoustics, likewise a real footstep will sound a lot better than a synthesized one just because real world frequencies are a lot more intricate than you will be able to do in a realistic amount of time. But you can also do a lot more with it (I don't know of any instruments that will make much in the way of techno, for instance, but then again I hate techno so I probably wouldn't know even if there are).

There are a lot of sound synthesizers around that I know of, but as far as I know most of them won't be of a lot of use to you, unless you're good at knowing what frequencies to set things at. I think that's what a lot of them do (I think they're designed to take sounds and distort them or something usually, but I am very impatient and get annoyed after like half an hour if I can't get something to do what I want). Audio is something I always overlook and say "I'll do it later" because of that, as there's plenty of other things I need to do.

Likewise, I'm not entirely sure of the exact term that you want. I need it as well, since fairly soon I'll have to be doing the same thing as we're running out of things for me to rationalize not spending any time on audio.

And to help me somewhat in case I run across anything, do you want like something that will let you play several music tracks together like that program I linked to, or like the one I described where you organize pre-recorded notes into sheet music that it plays, like those cool old automated pianos kinda? I know I've seen both kinds that work really well, it's just a matter of remembering what they're called.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zummy    131
What I need to accomplish:

1) Have a way of inputting notes from my piano/keyboard.
2) Have a way to organize those notes.
3) Have a way to play several tracks simultaneously.
4) Have a way to change my notes from piano to any instrument I need.
5) Have a way to do simple fade-ins/outs, slight reverb, volume control, and loops.

I'm sure I can work with a couple different kinds of software, but I want to know what I need to start and work off of that. Then I'll start judging different softwares personally as well as different methods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Varine    128
[url="http://www.sweetwater.com/feature/virtual-instrument-guide/"]http://www.sweetwate...strument-guide/[/url]

What you want is virtual instrument software. That has some info on them (Kontakt, the top one in the Sampler list, is what I was trying to think of). There are a lot of them, that's just got a few things that you might be interested in, and some descriptions. I don't know how well you'll understand all of it, as I didn't read most of the descriptions, but I've found that reading through product information tends to make me learn quite a bit relatively quickly, and you can usually get a good idea as to what it is you want.

I know that there are some free ones around (not as good as the professional things that cost hundreds or thousands obviously), although a lot of them seem to focus on one instrument. Which might be good, in that you can use them, write out what you want them to play, and then mix them all together for the final track, using things that are free, but obviously that is less preferable than having one full suite that can do it all.

Some searches of "Virtual Instruments", followed by whatever instruments you're looking for, will get you in the right direction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
herby    100
Hi Varine, I use sampltude by magix as well some of the other major platforms, depending on who I am working with. I find samplitude to be a very underated program and good value compared to others. For orchestral sounds you often need additional plugins and sample libraries which are not application specific or a external sound module which if used in conjunction with samplitude with be a good combination.


[quote name='Varine' timestamp='1307831850' post='4822191']
If you want to do it synthetically, there are a lot of programs. The only one that comes to mind immediately is MAGIX, although I don't know why exactly as I don't know anyone that uses it. I don't think it's very good. I'll do some more research and see if I can come up with the one I'm trying to think of (it has like every instrument I can think of and them some , and you write in the notes for it to play and can control distortion and things like that).

As for recording and mixing them, all you would really need is a microphone to record and someone to play the instruments. [url="http://www.nch.com.au/mixpad/index.html"]http://www.nch.com.a...xpad/index.html[/url] is a music mixing program that I have, but I rarely use it; you can just search Google and come up with a lot more. You will likely want a decent mic that will help reduce background noise and cut out static, although I've seen some people just cover it with tissue or something and play or talk a lot louder without much issue. I have a friend that does what you're talking about though (he plays by himself at bars and whatnot,so he records the other instruments to play alongside him for some songs if he can't find someone else to do it), I'll ask him what he uses next time I talk to him.
[/quote]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ambinate    100
[quote name='Zummy' timestamp='1307848845' post='4822267']
What I need to accomplish:

1) Have a way of inputting notes from my piano/keyboard.
2) Have a way to organize those notes.
3) Have a way to play several tracks simultaneously.
4) Have a way to change my notes from piano to any instrument I need.
5) Have a way to do simple fade-ins/outs, slight reverb, volume control, and loops.

I'm sure I can work with a couple different kinds of software, but I want to know what I need to start and work off of that. Then I'll start judging different softwares personally as well as different methods.
[/quote]

this stuff can all be done with a digital audio workstation (or DAW for short). there are a lot of great programs out there for this and a lot of them can be pretty expensive if you're just starting out. i've heard good things about magix (already mentioned in this thread, i think), but REAPER is another one you might want to look into. it's a great program that runs well and isn't too difficult to learn the basics of, as long as you're willing to put a little time in. you can download it at [url="http://www.reaper.fm/"]http://www.reaper.fm/[/url] - it's free for 30 days, but after that i think it's around $40 for a personal license, which is relatively cheap for this kind of program.

it's been a while since i've used it, so i don't know what kinds of sounds it comes with, but there are lots of resources online that offer free orchestral sounds that you can use with a program like REAPER or magix. [url="http://www.hammersound.net/"]http://www.hammersound.net/[/url] has a ton of free sounds, and while some aren't so great, there's also a lot of quality stuff in there if you spend some time looking around.

good luck with your search!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
nsmadsen    5584
At the base level you'll need five things:

[b]A computer[/b] - I assume you already have this. Make sure it's a fast computer with plenty of HDD space for samples as well as your audio files. Get the most RAM you can afford.
[b]A MIDI keyboard[/b] - or you can use the mouse point-n-click method but as a pianist I highly recommend getting a keyboard. It's more organic and you'll find your musical ideas will transfer over more effectively and faster. At least that's the case with me.
[b]A DAW[/b] - there are MANY to choose from.
[b]A Sample library/Virtual Instrument [/b](VST or AU depending on PC or Mac)
[b]A GOOD stereo/speaker system[/b] - don't skimp on your monitors!

DAWs I use:

Pro Tools 9 (Mac/PC) - mostly for mixing and coordinating with other studios
Logic 9 (Mac) - probably my main DAW.
Reason 5/Record 1.5 (Mac/PC) - great for electronic/dance music and I use this often in a Rewire capacity.
Reaper (Mac/PC) - although I rarely use this program now.

In the past, on other set ups I've also used:

Sonar
Acid
Digital Performer
Cubase
FL Studios

Don't fall into the trap of "which DAW is best" because, really, they're like different cars. ALL of them do something well and all of them have weaknesses. My advice would be to try out demos of programs that you think will interest you to get some hands on time with them. On top of this, watch Youtube tutorials and read up on the programs that interest you so you can figure out how to get around in the program. What I've found is once you learn one - all of them are pretty much similar. They may have a few different steps (or different order of steps) to do an action and they may call it something different... but they're basically the same at their core.

Virtual Instruments I use: (aside from the bundled samples that come with my programs)

East West - I use/own almost every package they offer. For orchestral check out their Symphonic Orchestra but they offer all kinds of other instruments too. Get the largest bundle you can afford, the added mic positions and articulations REALLY do make a difference!
CineSamples - Hollywood Winds, CineOrch
Vir2 - Acoustic Legends HD, Eletri6ity
Tons of Reason Refills (too many to list)

MIDI keyboard I use:

Roland Fantom X8 - if you don't care about on-board sounds then you can find a MUCH cheaper MIDI keyboard but I also gig so having on-board sounds helps in live situations.

From there it's more a matter of learning the software and getting use to writing with samples - which is a different approach than just writing, especially if what you produce is the final product. You have to learn how to make your sample library sound good and not "MIDI-tastic." This takes some time and involves some thinking outside of the box as well as learning the strengths of your sample libraries. Free sounds are what you'd expect from a free product - not high quality. They're fine to start off with or learn but you really need to spend some cash to get good quality samples and they're well worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you don't have money you could always use the free DAWs and VSTs.

free VSTs: http://createdigitalmusic.com/2006/11/the-best-100-free-music-plug-ins-just-add-host/

DAWs: http://synth.tk/daw/

The known free DAWs are [b]LMMS[/b], [b]Darkwave Studio[/b], [b]Ardour, [/b]and [b]MusE[/b].

You can find more other free things on http://kvraudio.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this