• Hey, guest user. Hope you're enjoying NeoGAF! Have you considered registering for an account? Come join us and add your take to the daily discourse.

Electronic Musical Instruments OT : GAF Can Dance If We Want To

Jan 31, 2018
1,589
401
285
Thanks for the advice. Cubase was midi. I’m guessing I can still pick up a decent sound card and a synthesizer on the cheap just as an input device to mess around with in FL studio? I worked on Mac way back when but on windows now.
 
Last edited:

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
Dope tracks lil puff lil puff , you have quite the range. Regarding the stuff above, I'm sharing select announcements of new hardware just announced from the NAMM 2019 hardware expo with the thread to keep some discussion going, not my personal pickups, think there might be a misunderstanding there. The Sirin for example isn't in anyone's hands yet except for a select Youtube reviewer or two. It was just announced the same day of the post. That's why you haven't heard of it before. :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:
Thanks, what you call "range" I call indecision on genre and lack of direction, but I try to embrace it!

What I'd really like to have is a dedicated Orchestral virtual instrument the likes of EastWest or Spitfire, but they are way beyond my budget for how much I'd use them.
Good strings and brass sound much better from those dedicated libraries vs something you get from a multipurpose rompler or sampler.

It's like you just pull up a patch, hit some keys and the song is halfway done, no experience required, although it helps to have basic understanding of classical instrument registers and when/how to use articulation.

MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) input, which Steinberg Cubase is now supporting, is something I want to explore to get more expression and dynamics in synths that support it. I played a Roli Seaboard and got awesome sounds out of it, and I can't even play an instrument. It's very intuitive to use.

So, A Roli and an MPE supporting Orchestral instrument would be the things on my indefinite "to dream about" list.
 

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
Found this... Thought this thread would appreciate this guy not using a computer, pure analogue synth.
His mind matches his setup. lol
Now that they have modular in software form (Softube, Reaktor, VSV), it opens the door for modular synth amateurs to learn quite inexpensively at that.

Not sure if I'd get into it. I don't want to spend too much time sound designing beeps and boops, and get frustrated patching things incorrectly. Much prefer a quick analog synth and just get to the music.

I do appreciate those guys who can make actual songs (or make songs make themselves) by just sitting there and patching modules. It's cool to watch.
 

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004
23,075
21,485
2,145
Thanks, what you call "range" I call indecision on genre and lack of direction, but I try to embrace it!

What I'd really like to have is a dedicated Orchestral virtual instrument the likes of EastWest or Spitfire, but they are way beyond my budget for how much I'd use them.
Good strings and brass sound much better from those dedicated libraries vs something you get from a multipurpose rompler or sampler.

It's like you just pull up a patch, hit some keys and the song is halfway done, no experience required, although it helps to have basic understanding of classical instrument registers and when/how to use articulation.

MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) input, which Steinberg Cubase is now supporting, is something I want to explore to get more expression and dynamics in synths that support it. I played a Roli Seaboard and got awesome sounds out of it, and I can't even play an instrument. It's very intuitive to use.

So, A Roli and an MPE supporting Orchestral instrument would be the things on my indefinite "to dream about" list.
For sure. Are you familiar with Composer Cloud? It's $20/month and gives you access to all of EastWest's virtual instruments. http://www.soundsonline.com/composercloud . It's not the best deal long-term, but when you're inspired to dabble some it can keep the barrier of entry low. With some patience and keeping tabs on the major VI companies, you can score some good deals. Helps to know what you're looking for though.

This guide has solid recommendations on libraries: https://orchestralvst.wordpress.com/

Orchestral Tools and Spitfire are both top tier. EW I haven't used but composer cloud is popular and Hollywood Orchestra Gold is still used by pros and often recommended as a starting point. Obviously this stuff isn't cheap by any means, but, yeah, there's something awesome about having a virtual orchestra at your fingertips. I've been studying composing recently and it's a lot of fun.

Quick little strings sketch I did yesterday

 

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
You know, I had been tickling the thought of subbing for 1-2 months on something like Composer cloud.

Getting ALL of EastWest's instrument collection is perhaps even better, getting all of the percussion, choirs, even the word building instruments.

It's kinda like just renting a bunch of professional players! The only issue is having all that software/samples on your system when not using it.

-I'll have to take a listen when I get home!
 

plasmasd

Member
Jun 11, 2008
1,573
22
900
Teisco 110f - Hardware Synth number 68 or 69. Bad hobby to start folks. Stick with soft synths as long as possible.
 

plasmasd

Member
Jun 11, 2008
1,573
22
900
Audeze LCD-XC I got a few years ago when I needed to be able to mix with an annoyed roommate
 

嫩翼

so it's not nice
Apr 2, 2013
2,563
2,325
900
香港
I had that same issue at university. I instead rolled with the AudioTechnica M-Series... looking forward to potentially grabbing a pair of those pictured.
 

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365

that looks like a nice new synth. Bet it smells great.

I have a trick. Sometimes when doing drums, put the phones on the desk and hear if you need to adjust the transients on the snares and HH.

Tip 2: look for Limiter 6 free. And try out the HF adjuster.
 

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
Trakton, I think is a free DAW and they have been updatin it to the point where I may take a look. Bitwig has a free DAW too, for those old school Ableton folks
 

plasmasd

Member
Jun 11, 2008
1,573
22
900
Sonar is now free too if you're old like me and used Cakewalk back in Windows 98.
 

Ixion

Member
Sep 18, 2010
1,777
108
735
Well I ultimately decided to start with the MIDI Fighter Twister as my first piece of gear. I liked that it had infinite knobs that always stay in sync with the DAW, which could be used for both faders and effects, among other things. Unfortunately after trying out the controller for a while, it turns out that gripping knobs (even lightly) also aggravates my fucked up hands too much, so it looks like I can't go the traditional DJ route either in terms of adding live elements to my music.

It seems like the last avenue I can explore for adding a hands-on element would be to buy a tablet and then use one (or some) of the Ableton tablet apps, which Ableton has listed out here. These are the apps they list:
Does anyone have experience with any of those apps (or anything not listed)? I'm mainly interested in the best app to use for live DJ performance (clip-launching, knob twisting, etc).
 
Last edited:

etp_1

Neo Member
Dec 11, 2018
39
93
135
Nice thread.
Bought some stuff over the years, but hardly using any of them.

- Roland JD-Xi
- Roland TR-8
- Waldorf Blofeld
- Behringer Neutron
- Korg ER-1
- Korg Triton (le & taktile49)
- Korg minilogue
- Arturia Keystep

...and an Akai MPK mini mk2 which i cant find anymore. :messenger_anguished:
I'm considering to get a Korg Volca Drum.
 

plasmasd

Member
Jun 11, 2008
1,573
22
900
4 osc paraphonic. Love it. Best new synth they've made since the MemoryMoog. Reminds me a bit of the SX-400. Would love to hear it raw, but sounds like the grandmother, so you can't go wrong there.
 

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
Nice thread.
Bought some stuff over the years, but hardly using any of them.

- Roland JD-Xi
- Roland TR-8
- Waldorf Blofeld
- Behringer Neutron
- Korg ER-1
- Korg Triton (le & taktile49)
- Korg minilogue
- Arturia Keystep

...and an Akai MPK mini mk2 which i cant find anymore. :messenger_anguished:
I'm considering to get a Korg Volca Drum.
I was surprised at how tiny that Volca Drum was, same with similar Korg products in that range.

I used to have an MPD (forgot which one) but never used it... sold it.

There are quite a few outboard synths/controllers/sequencers that I lust for, but in the end, I know I will never use them. The more things I have, the less I use them. Weird.
 

etp_1

Neo Member
Dec 11, 2018
39
93
135
I was surprised at how tiny that Volca Drum was, same with similar Korg products in that range.

I used to have an MPD (forgot which one) but never used it... sold it.

There are quite a few outboard synths/controllers/sequencers that I lust for, but in the end, I know I will never use them. The more things I have, the less I use them. Weird.
The last part happened to me more or less...which is why im just considering buying the Volca. But then again it is that small (and by the looks of it accessible) to just jam on. Just saw some stuff on youtube and the random function is a nice feature for me.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TrainedRage

lil puff

Member
Dec 1, 2017
1,888
915
365
The last part happened to me more or less...which is why im just considering buying the Volca. But then again it is that small (and by the looks of it accessible) to just jam on. Just saw some stuff on youtube and the random function is a nice feature for me.
Paralysis of Choice, I think it's called? :D

To be honest, the Volca does look nice for jamming on a long commute, you can easily fit into a bag. I was thinking about getting one of the little calculator sized Teenage Engineer synths for that reason.

Taking a quick refresh review of the Beats, it really has some nice features. It has a step mode feature that lets you fix mistakes on the fly. It has an interesting Stutter Mode that seems quite flexible and dynamic. Kinda makes me want to go back to the store and play with it!
 

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004
23,075
21,485
2,145
Good vibes, lil puff lil puff . Not hearing noise/hissing on my end, sounds fine.


Korg vacuum tube synth leaked, apparently will be announced at Superbooth shortly. It's cool how the Volca platform is allowing for experimental directions along with reasonable price points.




Also, Behringer announced that they're doing a design study on the legendary Yamaha CS-80 and are interested in cloning it. Ohhhhhhh yeah:

 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: etp_1

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004
23,075
21,485
2,145
Some cool stuff debuted at Superbooth.

Korg Minilogue XD Module


Really like the XD's sound and digital multi-engine options and effects. Might grab it in keyboard. Can also be polychained as shown later in the vid above, for 8 voices.


Novation Summit


Effectively two Novation Peaks in keyboard form, 16 voice multi-timbral, 60+ wavetable options. I've seen a lot of good electronic musicians use the Peak as their do-it-all main hardware synth in live setups, so this looks pretty appealing.


Korg Volca Nubass:


Sounds kind of ass.


Elektron Digitone Keys:


Elektron awkwardly grafted a keyboard onto the side of the Digitone and added $550 to the price (an Arturia Keystep can be connected to a regular Digitone for $120 to get approximately the same functionality...). Those pitch and mod wheel positions, big yikes.
 

drh1691

Neo Member
Mar 9, 2017
29
4
155
Now this is a thread I can get into! I see a lot of really nice pieces of equipment listed here.

So - Past equipment:

Roland Juno 60
Roland Juno 106? I think
Roland D-10
Any one remember the old Radio Shack branded mini-moog type synth? That was cool, it had the crappy polyphony generator layered over the "real" synth stuff.

I wish I still had the D-10 and the Radio Shack.

Current Hardware:

Volca FM - Basically a Yamaha DX7 in a small box, but only 3 voice polyphony. You can load old DX7 patches into it. So far I have not found an old DX7 patch that does not work. It may not sound exactly the same as the old DX7, but pretty close I guess.

Yamaha Reface DX - Basically a mini DX7, but with only 4 operators instead of 6. Sounds good, there are a ton of patches available online using Yamaha's Soundmondo app. It is also a great portable MIDI controller. 37 key mini keyboard but build quality is very good.

there are a couple of very good third party patch editors available for the Volca and Reface on iOS that make editing MUCH easier than on the units themselves.

IK Multimedia UNO synth. This thing is an awesome analog synth. Basically an old school type subtractive synth. There is a free editor available from IK multimedia also. If you are thinking of getting into the hardware synth stuff, this might be a good entry point.

Keystation 88 MIDI controller
iRiG Keys I/O 49 key controller with a balanced audio input and preamp.

Software synths for iPad.

Basically everything from Arturia: iMini, iSEM, iProphet, I just got iSpark, this seems like a really nice drum machine/sequencer.

Some synths from YONAC: Magellan and Kaspar.

Sample Tank, iGrand Piano, and iLectric Piano, all from IK Multimedia.

One synth I cannot recommend enough. Synth One from AudioKit is awesome. It is a free, open source synthesizer. I think the source code is available to everyone. AudioKit also sells several software synths that support the making of Synth One.

I have quite a bit of guitar stuff also, but that is another topic.

:)


I generally record in Garageband and the newer iPad Pro that has the USB-C connector.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EviLore

DS_Joost

Member
Feb 16, 2018
285
185
265
I had a Novation Peak. Really cool monster of a synth. Although I still sold it because no matter how cool it was, it was largely unused in my day to day workflow. I'm now completely in the box baby! Many people see that as bad, but it ain't. I tried my computer as the biggest most badass synthesizer in existence. The things you can do with a PC are endless... It might not be as tactile, but controllers take much of that away.

Hardware synths are cool and all... but compared to Omnisphere 2.6 or UVI Falcon, all of them fall short. I do get it though. I get the feeling of turning knobs. It just hasn't bothered me as much as I thought it would. Those two synths are just natural extensions of my arms it feels like. Between those two, everything is possible.

Really stop and think about what we have from time to time... I start up my PC, then Cubase, load up a 1689 track template and get going, all instruments you can think of right there at my fingertips... if that doesn't inspire, what will?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ixion

Acidizer

Member
Jun 7, 2018
640
538
445
The problem with everything is possible can be = nothing gets done.

All depends on the individual though doesn't it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DS_Joost

DS_Joost

Member
Feb 16, 2018
285
185
265
The problem with everything is possible can be = nothing gets done.

All depends on the individual though doesn't it.
It truly depends, yes. I have found a workflow that just allows me to almost instantly translate what I hear in my head to the project. I want a 1st violins legato line. I type 1st VLN Leg inside the track search box, five different flavours of legato pop up. Pick the one you want, activate the track, press record, play, move some faders. The track sounds great out of the box because it's already routed to a bus and a pretty complex reverb setup. But just stop and think about it. In under 3 seconds I can think Legato and be playing a Legato instrument. It's insane. Plus, if you set up your template really well, nothing is set in stone. That whole reverb setup can be changed in seconds. You can change microphone positions on the instrument itself. So you can create a sound unique to a project whilst still retaining this fast as lightning workflow.

Need a drone, or a synth patch and have no inspiration? Type Omni in the search box, open it up, browse it's sample library and I garantuee that within 30 seconds I have found the basis for a patch in there, which I will then tweak to my liking. I am not talking presets here, I am talking loading up a sample as the foundation and going to town on it. I can make drums from the sound of a lightbulb turning on, pads from the keys of a burning piano. It's truly insane how lean it's gotten in the past few years. We are spoiled beyond belief. Now, what you do with that freedom, is up to the composer his or herself...

It starts with treating your PC as an instrument rather than a tool, or an orchestral emulation box. My PC isn't a sample player. It also isn't an analog synth emulator (I am gonna awaken some wolves here propably but I couldn't care less about emulating old synths, I think that game is old hat. I don't need another Juno 60 emulation. I don't need a hardware Juno. I've seen and heard that thing. Something like Omnisphere or Falcon is much much more exciting to me because they actually make use of the possibilities software provides vs. hardware. Analogue sound be damned. I think this whole analogue emulation thing will eat itself anyway. It's audiophile stuff, and the line between snake oil and real emulation is crossed so many times most people have no idea what they are talking about. What sounds good, sounds good).

To get back on topic: my PC IS the instrument. It starts with seeing what it can do. It's truly wonderful.
 
Last edited:

Ixion

Member
Sep 18, 2010
1,777
108
735
It truly depends, yes. I have found a workflow that just allows me to almost instantly translate what I hear in my head to the project. I want a 1st violins legato line. I type 1st VLN Leg inside the track search box, five different flavours of legato pop up. Pick the one you want, activate the track, press record, play, move some faders. The track sounds great out of the box because it's already routed to a bus and a pretty complex reverb setup. But just stop and think about it. In under 3 seconds I can think Legato and be playing a Legato instrument. It's insane. Plus, if you set up your template really well, nothing is set in stone. That whole reverb setup can be changed in seconds. You can change microphone positions on the instrument itself. So you can create a sound unique to a project whilst still retaining this fast as lightning workflow.

Need a drone, or a synth patch and have no inspiration? Type Omni in the search box, open it up, browse it's sample library and I garantuee that within 30 seconds I have found the basis for a patch in there, which I will then tweak to my liking. I am not talking presets here, I am talking loading up a sample as the foundation and going to town on it. I can make drums from the sound of a lightbulb turning on, pads from the keys of a burning piano. It's truly insane how lean it's gotten in the past few years. We are spoiled beyond belief. Now, what you do with that freedom, is up to the composer his or herself...

It starts with treating your PC as an instrument rather than a tool, or an orchestral emulation box. My PC isn't a sample player. It also isn't an analog synth emulator (I am gonna awaken some wolves here propably but I couldn't care less about emulating old synths, I think that game is old hat. I don't need another Juno 60 emulation. I don't need a hardware Juno. I've seen and heard that thing. Something like Omnisphere or Falcon is much much more exciting to me because they actually make use of the possibilities software provides vs. hardware. Analogue sound be damned. I think this whole analogue emulation thing will eat itself anyway. It's audiophile stuff, and the line between snake oil and real emulation is crossed so many times most people have no idea what they are talking about. What sounds good, sounds good).

To get back on topic: my PC IS the instrument. It starts with seeing what it can do. It's truly wonderful.
I'm in the same boat. As I've mentioned earlier in this thread, I have issues with my hands that prevent me from playing any physical instruments or even pinching/turning knobs (I still do this a bit when needed). So for the last year and a half I've been laser focused on just learning Ableton Live as my instrument (along with learning music theory). It's definitely amazing how software-based music production is both so convenient and powerful. Someone who is just starting out can learn music production much quicker since every parameter can be swapped out and tried out at nearly any point in the process. So trial and error is much faster and less frustrating. Also, the process of creating music is more quickly rewarding and interesting since, as you said, nearly any type of sound can be used very easily (by using presets/samples of course until synthesis is learned).

As someone mentioned above, having too many options can kill creativity, but that also applies to people who collect a lot of hardware synths. And the same goes for people who collect a ton of software VSTs. I've literally just been using Ableton, but of course I've upgraded from Ableton Lite to Ableton Standard and now Ableton Suite. Once I upgraded to Suite I then started learning synthesis using Ableton's "Analog" synth. And since I can't physically play anything, I'm instead just focused on being good at programming everything.

So on one hand I'm leveraging the incredible convenience and versatility of software, but I'm limiting myself to just stock Ableton to stay focused. Not to mention if you have Ableton Suite, there isn't a whole lot you can't accomplish. I've made 25+ songs so far.
 
  • Like
Reactions: EviLore

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
May 30, 2004
23,075
21,485
2,145
Arturia is killing it(unless they only did that rack)! That's …… I need that.
Yeah, that's the Arturia Rackbrute 3u, just the case and power supply for the modules.

I load up VCV Rack and screw around when I get thirsty for building a modular setup. Otherwise, it'd be a rabbit hole.........

 

Mamofish

Neo Member
Dec 2, 2010
38
2
495
soundcloud.com
Lot of cool synths in this thread, I've just been getting into it myself after getting an OP-1.

I use Propellerhead Reason for my DAW, I like that it translates easily for someone coming from using real hardware. I personally enjoy messing with the cv effecting gates and evenlopes into various synths to create some interesting lively type sounds you get from modular synths, a mind of it's own in a way.



Since we're posting music.. here are a few:

 
  • Like
Reactions: EviLore

Stiflers Mom

Formerly 'StifflersMum'
Apr 27, 2012
2,837
329
815
I started making electronic music back in 1995, so my equipment is a bit on the old side.
Akai MPC2000XL
Juno 60
some old effect units like a lexicon LXP 10 and a studio quad.
Elektron Octatrack MK1
Moog Little Phatty Tribute Edition
 

TrainedRage

Member
Feb 3, 2018
5,180
5,916
740
33
USA
Ok guys I need your help with my next polyphonic synth/keybord…. Needs to be under $800, must have presets and 32 or more keys. Something like.....
Behringer DeepMind 6
Wish for this....
 

TrainedRage

Member
Feb 3, 2018
5,180
5,916
740
33
USA
About to head to Guitar Center. I think I may end up getting the Korg. The sequencer just seems more user friendly. Hope they have some I can play around with. I have a hole burning in my pocket.
 

TrainedRage

Member
Feb 3, 2018
5,180
5,916
740
33
USA
EviLore EviLore Thanks so much for the minilogue XD recommendation! This is a wonderful little beast!
Light weight yet well built, great presets, nice fx stick, quality knobs, very meaty and analogue sounding.

I did have to run and buy a 3.5mm adapter to use my phones and speaker setup.
 
Last edited: