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rustyjaw

Music Production (Tools and Techniques)

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Gosh, I would love to screw around with this stuff sometime, I think my brain would work well with it, I have none of the manual dexterity for traditional instruments.  I just have no idea where I would even start.

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Gosh, I would love to screw around with this stuff sometime, I think my brain would work well with it, I have none of the manual dexterity for traditional instruments.  I just have no idea where I would even start.

Are you talking specifically about modular synths in particular? Or electronic music production in general?

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Are you talking specifically about modular synths in particular? Or electronic music production in general?

 

 

Just electronic music in general.  I am a blank slate when it comes to the hardware, hah.

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Just electronic music in general.  I am a blank slate when it comes to the hardware, hah.

Well, you don't need hardware. Software synths sound really damn good these days. For $200 you can get Logic Pro which is a highly capable sequencer that comes with a raft of excellent software synths. One of the synths included in Logic, Alchemy, used to retail on it's own for $279 and it sounds amazing.

 

About the only hardware I would suggest you would want to start out is a MIDI controller which can be had for cheap. Getting a used one might get you a good quality controller for under $100.

 

That said, I enjoy hardware synths for the tactile feedback when programming sounds. But software is a great way to test the waters to see if you like working with sound.

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Great thread. I've been interested in getting into electronic music for a long while but, like SV, I really don't know where to start. (I get pretty far down the YouTube rabbit hole and end up in worse shape than when I started.)

 

I do however have a long and torrid love affair with real music - talking about rock guitar here. This is the music corner of my game room (I'm getting squeezed out, fellas. My corner is getting smaller and smaller as we are in a painful transition to this becoming the kids' video game room and I am powerless to stop it. Probably just going to have to Clayton Williams the whole unfortunate experience.)

 

6M3A7872-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

Here's the component rack and the Marshall stack that's way too loud for the space, which means it's perfect for the space:

 

6M3A7873-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

And, since you asked, here's my pride and joy - An ESP M-II that bites like a pitbull:

 

6M3A7610-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

On the wall it has the first chair next to the rack, followed by a mid-90s Gibson '68 Flying V reissue I got in High School, and is responsible for me at least looking the coolest at the talent show. Then there's a 500 Series Fretlight guitar because I think those things are way neat and, when paired with Fretlight-ready guitar tab software like Guitar Pro 6, really makes learning a new song easy-peasy. Then there's a down-tuned LTD for when my metal needs to be just that much more evil, followed by my first guitar ever, a Fender American Standard Stratocaster. The black guitar at the end is a bass, and like all basses, isn't really that interesting so let's move on. Across the far wall are all my Rock Band controllers, including the two Fender wooden Strats, one in sunburst and one in candy apple red, which make blaming the controllers very hard to do, but not that I don't try.

 

The rack is filled with the workhorse Avid Eleven rack, which integrates beautifully with Pro Tools (I normally have a laptop running on the left tray at the top, where the Boss DR-880 drum machine sits in the pic) and I can't speak of it highly enough (/grammar crits you for 1000). As a bonus, I still have the first effects processor I ever bought, a mid-90s Peavey Pro Fex II, that I've since upgraded with Burr Brown DACs and converted it with a batteryless mod. I switch between both with a Voodoo Lab GCX controlled by the Voodoo Lab Ground Control on the floor (which does double duty as an Eleven Rack controller).

 

The amp is a purely digital Marshall MG 100HDFX 100 watt which was chosen because I just need something to drive the 1960 Marshall speaker cab and wont' unduly color the sound with tubes since the Eleven Rack has a brilliant modeler component that I keep active. If I want that organic tube-y sound I have a Peavey Ultra Chorus combo that has a wonderful sound.

 

But, like I said, I think it's time to start exploring electronic music production gear and techniques because I'm shit on guitar and it would be fun to play with electronica when I'm not in the mood to try.

 

I'll be lurking, hoping to steal ideas.

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But, like I said, I think it's time to start exploring electronic music production gear and techniques because I'm shit on guitar and it would be fun to play with electronica when I'm not in the mood to try.

 

I'll be lurking, hoping to steal ideas.

 

Wow James, that looks like quite an investment and a fun hobby. I can't help but think of this...

 

 

And who is the drummer?

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That's pretty kickass sounding!

 

Excellent job.

 

Hey, sorry I missed this post. yeah, in the music thread I posted a couple of things:

 

A drone ambient track

 

and

 

A lighter, downtempo ambient track

 

There are some other, even lighter and perhaps even "poppier" tracks in that profile. The main unifying theme in everything I've done so far is ambient. When I got back into this hobby, I wanted to make a kind of hazy electronic shoegaze .

 

Funny you should mention lighting, I'm kicking myself for taking pics without turning on the Hue strip I have under the shelf that the computer sits on. The whole room has Hue lights and sometimes to break the monotony, I run color-shifting animations on all the lights.

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Amazing gear, James.

 

Has anyone tried the Moog Model 15 app recently released for the iPad? It's $30.

 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gGCg6M-yxmU

Holy shit, that's Suzanne Ciani in that video! I just saw her perform live on her Buchla system about 6 weeks ago. Fucking amazing quadraphonic performance. She had modules that swept the sound across the four speaker stacks, you could see the lights on those modules rotate in a circular pattern along with the sound. I took a couple of shots with my phone that night...

 

cianisetup.jpg

Those white boxes behind the Buchla are eventide H9 Reverbs

 

cianiplay.jpg

That touchpad is one of Buchla's characteristic input devices. He eschewed the standard piano keyboard.

 

It's interesting to me that there are a number of female synth and electronic music pioneers who hardly get much mention. Ciani is one, Eliane Radigue is another and of course Wendy Carlos is probably the best known, but still not exactly well known in proportion to her impact on synthesized music.

 

As far as the Moog iPad app, I heard about it on some forums yesterday, but I didn't check it out. I probably should as it might be a great way to reinforce some of the concepts in modular that I'm trying to understand. $30 is somewhat steep for an iPad synth, but damn, Suzanne Ciani likes it! :-)

 

That's pretty kickass sounding!

 

Excellent job.

That's kind of you Albert! :-)

 

I'm nearing the finish of a new track that's more stripped down, spacious and 'delicate' than any of the stuff I've done lately.

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It's interesting to me that there are a number of female synth and electronic music pioneers who hardly get much mention. Ciani is one, Eliane Radigue is another and of course Wendy Carlos is probably the best known, but still not exactly well known in proportion to her impact on synthesized music.

Indeed. There's Anne Dudley from The Art of Noise too, though she did kind of move away from synths later in her career (though I am a fan of her orchestral work too).

 

 

$30 is somewhat steep for an iPad synth, but damn, Suzanne Ciani likes it! :-)

 

It is, but then just think about what the real thing costs. :)

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Indeed. There's Anne Dudley from The Art of Noise too, though she did kind of move away from synths later in her career (though I am a fan of her orchestral work too).

 

 

 

It is, but then just think about what the real thing costs. :)

 

I'm a gigantic fan of Art of Noise, they made a huge impression on me in the 80s. I've taken note of Dudley's work since then, and am often surprised to see her name in reference to all kinds of musical work, producing, scoring, orchestration...she's clearly a huge talent.

 

Speaking of women in synth, Wendy (nee Walter) Carlos gets a nod in this crazy farce, along with Xangelix and Zogroder:

 

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That's pretty much exactly what it's like.   :lol:

 

And who is the drummer?

 

So it wouldn't surprise you to learn that my drummer spontaneously combusted.

 

(The drums are actually a full-on TD-20 rig that I mostly use as a Rock Band controller.  I jam on it as a proper v-drum kit from time to time, but to hell with that instrument and especially fuck limb independence.  It's a myth.)

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Grabbed a new module this week. It's a contact microphone called "Mikrophonie." I'd seen demos of it paired with Mutable Instruments Rings and the combo is stunning. Here is my first attempt at messing with it.

 

 

Notice it only needs a light touch on the surface to pick up a tone. That sound gets fed into the audio in on Rings which is simultaneously being sequenced by the Turing Machine (which is a semi-random sequencer). The Rings is not the only sound source here, there is a copy of the TM sequence going into another Oscillator (called the Dixie II), which is pulsing along in the same time, sort of backing up the Rings. There's a bit more detail on the signal path on the video description.

 

The Mikrophonie is sensitive enough that you can really 'play' the case itself. Tapping fingers on the side of the case will also generate spikes to the Rings. I can see, once I get comfortable with how it all works, using this to improvise parts of a sequence.

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Great thread. I've been interested in getting into electronic music for a long while but, like SV, I really don't know where to start. (I get pretty far down the YouTube rabbit hole and end up in worse shape than when I started.)

 

I do however have a long and torrid love affair with real music - talking about rock guitar here. This is the music corner of my game room (I'm getting squeezed out, fellas. My corner is getting smaller and smaller as we are in a painful transition to this becoming the kids' video game room and I am powerless to stop it. Probably just going to have to Clayton Williams the whole unfortunate experience.)

 

6M3A7872-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

Here's the component rack and the Marshall stack that's way too loud for the space, which means it's perfect for the space:

 

6M3A7873-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

And, since you asked, here's my pride and joy - An ESP M-II that bites like a pitbull:

 

6M3A7610-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

On the wall it has the first chair next to the rack, followed by a mid-90s Gibson '68 Flying V reissue I got in High School, and is responsible for me at least looking the coolest at the talent show. Then there's a 500 Series Fretlight guitar because I think those things are way neat and, when paired with Fretlight-ready guitar tab software like Guitar Pro 6, really makes learning a new song easy-peasy. Then there's a down-tuned LTD for when my metal needs to be just that much more evil, followed by my first guitar ever, a Fender American Standard Stratocaster. The black guitar at the end is a bass, and like all basses, isn't really that interesting so let's move on. Across the far wall are all my Rock Band controllers, including the two Fender wooden Strats, one in sunburst and one in candy apple red, which make blaming the controllers very hard to do, but not that I don't try.

 

The rack is filled with the workhorse Avid Eleven rack, which integrates beautifully with Pro Tools (I normally have a laptop running on the left tray at the top, where the Boss DR-880 drum machine sits in the pic) and I can't speak of it highly enough (/grammar crits you for 1000). As a bonus, I still have the first effects processor I ever bought, a mid-90s Peavey Pro Fex II, that I've since upgraded with Burr Brown DACs and converted it with a batteryless mod. I switch between both with a Voodoo Lab GCX controlled by the Voodoo Lab Ground Control on the floor (which does double duty as an Eleven Rack controller).

 

The amp is a purely digital Marshall MG 100HDFX 100 watt which was chosen because I just need something to drive the 1960 Marshall speaker cab and wont' unduly color the sound with tubes since the Eleven Rack has a brilliant modeler component that I keep active. If I want that organic tube-y sound I have a Peavey Ultra Chorus combo that has a wonderful sound.

 

But, like I said, I think it's time to start exploring electronic music production gear and techniques because I'm shit on guitar and it would be fun to play with electronica when I'm not in the mood to try.

 

I'll be lurking, hoping to steal ideas.

I missed this post. Here's my belated reaction.

 

Holy shit!!!

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Just finished something new this morning. I wanted to empty out the sonic space a little, making more room for sounds to live in. I also wanted to make something 'smaller' and quieter.

 

I started this after getting home from a weekend trip to Joshua Tree National Park. The highlight of that trip was a night we went out into a grove of trees under a full moon to shoot photos. The landscape is surreal and serene, particularly at night.

 

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I still have no musical ability. I'm just stopping by to say that I really couldn't overstate the importance of Dudley and the AoN on young me. Into Battle is one of my most formative records.

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I still have no musical ability. I'm just stopping by to say that I really couldn't overstate the importance of Dudley and the AoN on young me. Into Battle is one of my most formative records.

I'm right there with you. I found everything about them fully engrossing, and not just the music. I loved how obtuse and whimsical the verbiage on their album/CD inserts was. And I almost had a seizure when I saw the video for Close (to the edit).

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I have discovered pedals.  I've always been about effects racks, but not anymore. These things are addicting.

 

6M3A7878-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

Went on something of a spree and picked up a Pedaltrain Novo 24 and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus to power it all.  I chose an MXR Dyna Comp compressor, MXR Dark Matter distortion, MXR EVH Phase 90 phaser, MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, TC Electronic Corona chorus, and TCE Hall of Fame reverb pedals to get started.  Added those to what few pedals I had (Dunlop Crybaby Wah, Boss DS-1 distortion, and a custom Tube Screamer put together by a Texas Longhorn fanatic) and got the above.  I customized the board with Bestronics interconnects so I can easily unplug the entire board and the loop it represents and plug it into whatever electronic music instrument I choose in the future.

 

I was with a friend demoing speakers at Guitar Center and came across two that caught my eye, the Yamaha HS8 and KRK Rokit 8.  The Yamahas sounded great, but for the money the Rokit didn't disappoint.  He straight up preferred the Yamahas.  I'll probably go with a pair of Yamahas as studio monitors (I currently use a set of Audio Technica headphones), but are there any others I should check out before I make the plunge?

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I have discovered pedals.  I've always been about effects racks, but not anymore. These things are addicting.

 

6M3A7878-Edit.jpg?dl=0

 

Went on something of a spree and picked up a Pedaltrain Novo 24 and a Voodoo Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus to power it all.  I chose an MXR Dyna Comp compressor, MXR Dark Matter distortion, MXR EVH Phase 90 phaser, MXR Carbon Copy analog delay, TC Electronic Corona chorus, and TCE Hall of Fame reverb pedals to get started.  Added those to what few pedals I had (Dunlop Crybaby Wah, Boss DS-1 distortion, and a custom Tube Screamer put together by a Texas Longhorn fanatic) and got the above.  I customized the board with Bestronics interconnects so I can easily unplug the entire board and the loop it represents and plug it into whatever future electronic music instrument I choose in the future.

 

I was with a friend demoing speakers at Guitar Center and came across two that caught my eye, the Yamaha HS8 and KRK Rokit 8.  The Yamahas sounded great, but for the money the Rokit didn't disappoint.  He straight up preferred the Yamahas.  I'll probably go with a pair of Yamahas as studio monitors (I currently use a set of Audio Technica headphones), but are there any others I should check out before I make the plunge?

 

Yes Adam A7Xs, or if you can swing space for stage size big monitors the Atomic CLR's (which is what I use) are great: http://atomicamps.com/clr-reference-frfr-monitors/#tab-id-3

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It's been interesting, as I've gotten more into the modular synth world, to note that a number of module makers started as guitar pedal companies. Malekko, WMD, Metasonix and 4MS are all pretty well known in modular land and started out making pedals. There is a natural crossover. There are also modules designed for interfacing effect pedals into a modular system. I'm curious about that, but still have my head and hands full just building my basic modular system. Perhaps down the road I'll investigate more.

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It's been interesting, as I've gotten more into the modular synth world, to note that a number of module makers started as guitar pedal companies. Malekko, WMD, Metasonix and 4MS are all pretty well known in modular land and started out making pedals. There is a natural crossover. There are also modules designed for interfacing effect pedals into a modular system. I'm curious about that, but still have my head and hands full just building my basic modular system. Perhaps down the road I'll investigate more.

Makes sense, a lot of them are fairly simple circuits really. The last 5 years has been a renaissance of overpriced Boutique guitar pedals all almost almost all variations of the same basic circuits that have been around for 50 years...

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I have discovered pedals.  I've always been about effects racks, but not anymore. These things are addicting.

Is it that they just have less knobs? Or what is addicting about it? Just trying different ones?

 

I know for me my G.A.S was finally cured with the Axe-Fx II (http://www.fractalaudio.com/p-axe-fx-ii-preamp-fx-processor.php) even though you can go to town tweaking every little thing, I mostly avoid that consciously and try to just play the guitar :)

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Speaking of modules, I finally got my hands on this beauty. It was released late last year and instantly sold out everywhere. A new batch came out a month ago, and I ordered one from Europe (it's made in Poland). Just got it today. It's a quad LFO. LFO is a standard feature of synthesizers, but having 4 that can be synchronized in various ways (or totally free running) is exceptionally awesome.

 

BatumiFront.jpg

 

And because we are talking about circuitry, here is a pic of the back/side. 2 layers of PCB, and obviously a lot of jacks...

 

BatumiSide.jpg

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Is it that they just have less knobs? Or what is addicting about it? Just trying different ones?

 

I know for me my G.A.S was finally cured with the Axe-Fx II (http://www.fractalaudio.com/p-axe-fx-ii-preamp-fx-processor.php) even though you can go to town tweaking every little thing, I mostly avoid that consciously and try to just play the guitar :)

 

I think that's mostly it.  Plus, the whole notion of vintage pedals, and variances thereof, really scratch my collector's itch as well, if only just my interest in that regard so far.  My effects racks are, by their nature, limited (though I can't say I ever bumped up against any project crippling limitation is practical use) - Pedals are not, and they have, at least so far, motivated me to experiment more.  /commacrit

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Built a new patch on the modular today. I read something on a forum about connecting a clock source, pattern generating module, and a sequencer together in a way I'd not thought of before. I happen to have the 3 modules mentioned, so I tried it and was happy because the sequencer tends to generate rather random sounding melodies. This method tames some of the randomness.

 

I also used the opportunity to patch in the quadruple LFO I just got. I'm using it to slowly modulate a couple of filters and also to create sweeps in one of the sound sources that cause it's pitch to periodically "droop," making it sound a bit like a slide-guitar. 

 

Here is a video. 

The first couple knob I turns are on the pattern generator, which is feeding pulses into the sequencer (just to the left of it). The knob turns make the pattern slightly more complex. Once I move the camera up, you can see the quad LFO at the far right, the red lights on the sliders fade in and out showing each LFO's peak, you might notice how the second light glows as the pitch slides down in the sound. I open up a filter on one of the other sounds, and then at the end I run a finger across the touchplates of the sequencer which triggers a smattering of notes.

Slowly but surely, learning WTF I am doing. It's endlessly fun.

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