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what should i buy to help me progress as a musician?
need advice


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#1 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

EDIT: if you skip to the bolded part that might be the most important question to have answered... all the rest is fluff. but it might help. Thanks for any time!

 

 

 

 

I've got like 300 dollars right now. I'm willing to save a fair bit more.

 

I'm just wondering what I should spend it on in terms of musical equipment, that will work as an investment or something to help me "step my game up."

 

What I already have:

 

COMPUTER: macbook

SOFTWARE SYNTHESIZERS: NI Komplete (reaktor, fm8, absynth, massive, kontakt, battery)

DAWS: Ableton Live, Logic Express

MIDI CONTROLLER: APC 1000 (the bigger one)

SPEAKERS/HEADPHONES: some mid price monitors and nice headphones

 

other shit:

M-Audio 2 input Audio Interface (it's not very nice, I don't think)

a shitty Microphone (I think it was 100$)

instruments: 2 guitar, bass guitar, drumset, violin, guitar amp, bass amp

 

 

 

 

HARDWARE SYNTHESIZERS: NONE

 

So what I'm mostly eying right now are several hardware synthesizers. I've been looking at:

 

 

TIER 1:

Poly Evolver vs. Waldorf Blofeld vs. Nord G1

(if I want to save another 300 bucks)

 

TIER 2:

Nord Micro Modular vs. Mopho

(not too keen on the Mopho... doesn't look flexible at all. looks like a bunch of leads and bass synths which I don't really want that much... I need something versatile. The Micro Modular looks a hell of a lot more fun but doesn't SOUND that great from what I can tell... can anybody dispute this? Does it really sound better or add anything that my software synths don't already? )

 

 

 

TIER 3:

 

????? this is where I need suggestions I guess.

 

What else can I add? Would an analogue mixing board add to my productions?

 

 

 

This may be a stupid thread, just putting it out there

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a side note...(or maybe this part is what I really want answered!!!) I'm looking for a synth that sounds like the track called "Lubricate Your Living Room" by Bionaut... it's track 2 on the album in my avatar (LUSH LIFE ELECTRONICA). It's on Spotify. There are some synths in that track that are somehow both warm and digital at the same time, which is what I really want. Does the Blofeld do sounds like that? Can the Nord pull them off (I'm guessing not, for some reason).

 

or the synths in this track or more specifically "Do the Strand" off of the same album... which isn't on Youtube:

 

Or is it how they were mixed? Or what they were mixed on? (ANALOGUE MIXING BOARD or TAPE instead of just straight into Logic...?) Or is it the mastering that was done to it?

 

 

 

 

I'm guessing buying effects at this point would be pointless. I just want to make my music better.


Edited by vamos scorcho, 26 December 2012 - 03:32 PM.


#2 Joyrex

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:32 PM

Not trying to be funny or anything, but how about music lessons? Perhaps a class in music fundamentals or a particular instrument may bring something you think is lacking to your output, or maybe classes on mastering or recording techniques (don't know if there are classes like this)?

 

Didn't want to suggest the obvious "buy x instrument or software" response.



#3 LimpyLoo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:36 PM

If you have a MIDI keyboard and Komplete then you should be golden. You can get "analog" sounds.

 

 

Gearslutz Syndrome (n.)The condition whereby one perpetually thinks that they are one piece of gear away from making the music they want to make.

 

 

Work on your performance chops. Work on your composition chops. Work on your mixing chops. Because there are tons of cats out there making facemelting shit with gear much worse than yours.

 

Upgrade your imagination, as they say.


Edited by LimpyLoo, 26 December 2012 - 03:38 PM.


#4 Adam

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:39 PM

good headphones if you don't have them, decent sound source is the most important thing.



#5 LimpyLoo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:42 PM

Vamos, specifically what do you think is lacking in your stuff?



#6 ganus

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:50 PM

Get a better microphone, or a field recording device. If you have a good ear, and a good microphone, you will find that some of the most beautiful sounds come from the world around us. Hardware is fun, yes, but it doesn't have anything like the depth you can get from your own samples.



#7 Gocab

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 03:58 PM

I don't know that midi controller, apc 1000? Is it one of those akai midi mpc thingies? I suggest getting a controller keyboard of some kind, playing melodies on tiny drum pads isn't really the best way to do it imho, other than that I kind of agree with Limpy.

#8 Gocab

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:00 PM

Oh wait, Limpy touched on that. I must be tired.

#9 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:09 PM

Vamos, specifically what do you think is lacking in your stuff?

 

The only thing lacking anymore is the recording quality. I want my mix to sound like the Burger/Ink mix, or Mohn as a more recent example. Their mixes are full, and I can't help but feel that this was done with more than just a laptop.

 

I could probably use more advice or direct lessons on mixing, I'm not saying this is going to be some kind of "hardware fix." At the same time as improving with my skills, I feel like I seriously need some new hardware to acheive the sound I'm looking for. Warm, lush. Stuff mixed on laptops generally seems to be missing this.

 

I can't finish anything unless I feel like it's been made "hard." When stuff is just sitting on your harddrive, it has no physicality.



I don't know that midi controller, apc 1000? Is it one of those akai midi mpc thingies? I suggest getting a controller keyboard of some kind, playing melodies on tiny drum pads isn't really the best way to do it imho, other than that I kind of agree with Limpy.

 

Sorry I forgot to mention I also have a MIDI keyboard.



#10 AdieuErsatzEnnui

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:10 PM

$100 of cocaine, $100 Marijuana, $100 Psylocybin Mushrooms. Use generously and mix as needed for desired effect.

#11 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:15 PM

As much as I try, the EQs and plugins in Logic Express and Ableton are not going to give me the sound quality of something like Las Vegas by Burger/Ink. And I swear, I highly doubt it's going to happen unless I add some sort of warmtherizer... I don't want a saturator for my computer. A superficial solution. I want to put stuff on tape and bring it back into the computer. I wonder if anyone has advice on how to do this specific area of mixing.

 

I want to give my music physicality, you know? I want it to come into space. Digital files just can't do this. There isn't any "audio space." It's all stuck on the 2 dimensional or 1 dimensional plane of digital existence.

 

What is missing still is the mastering process. I am nowhere near completion, to be clear. But I feel almost no motivation to "finish" the tracks without the proper materials. And one of these materials, I think, is a "hardware" side, be it an analogue synthesizer to give the needed physicality to the music, or an analogue mixer to pass things through, onto tape (I have a pretty garbage analogue tape). Either way, I need to give it physicality, to make it feel like an object instead of a bunch of tracks placed on top of one another. Analogue sound can't just be gained by sending a digital mix to an analogue master, right?

 

No matter what you want to tell me, Loveless and Music Has The Rights to Children would not be as good if they were made entirely on a laptop.

 

 

For the final stretch of work on this album, I want to basically disassemble everything and begin a completely different stage of work on physical tape, disassembling everything from the "locked tempo" of digital production (which makes everything sterile, IMO), into a real audio space that doesn't sound like a mathematical formula. I might need both a new synth, tape, and a real analogue mixing board to pull any of this off.

 

I'm not trying to go back to the "old days." I genuinely just think in order to take this from "work in progress" to "final product" I need to turn it into a physical musical object, as opposed to files burned on a CD or transferred into a mastering program and put on vinyl. I need the music itself to be physical.


Edited by vamos scorcho, 26 December 2012 - 04:19 PM.


#12 LimpyLoo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:28 PM

You can get "warm" "lush" mixes using a laptop and freeware VST's.

 

 

It is not the gear. It is rarely the gear.

 

 

 

eedit: Learn to add 200hz and roll off ~17khz. There, I just saved you $300 worth of gear.


Edited by LimpyLoo, 26 December 2012 - 04:29 PM.


#13 Audioblysk

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:36 PM

You can get "warm" "lush" mixes using a laptop and freeware VST's.

 

 

It is not the gear. It is rarely the gear.

 

 

 

eedit: Learn to add 200hz and roll off ~17khz. There, I just saved you $300 worth of gear.

 

What he said.



#14 RadarJammer

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:51 PM

You can get "warm" "lush" mixes using a laptop and freeware VST's.

 

 

It is not the gear. It is rarely the gear.

 

 

 

eedit: Learn to add 200hz and roll off ~17khz. There, I just saved you $300 worth of gear.

 

 

i second this. i suggest looking through this thread andthe posts by user: charlieclouser, who was a member of the NIN team and who did all of the SAW movie soundtracks and a bunch of other stuff. he has gone through all the gear in the world only to find a stable consistent workflow using almost nothing but stock logic plugs for everything



#15 joshuatx

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

I'm with Limpy, I have a feeling you're not going to get noticeable improvement utilizing analog synths and hardware substitutes for softsynths, besides maybe a psychological one. You're using quality software to begin with and decent monitors/headphones. Brush up on EQing and compression by using tutorials. I'm sure some watmmers can recommend such academic sources. 

 

If you want to go the tape route, look around for either a good condition reel to reel or better yet a 3-head cassette deck. You can type II and even type IV tapes for less than $10 (or 50 cents at a thrift store) and 3-head decks for less than 50 with some luck. Record in the reds (on tape) and it should be "warmer" but it won't do any miracles. I wouldn't mess with either multitrack reel-to-reel recorders or hardware mixers either - it's too expensive and if you're used to DAWs it will be absolute tedious hell recording multiple tracks and mixing them down. There are freeware and cheap digital "tape saturation" vts available as well. 

 

I really think you have all the tools you need for the sound you're after. Proper mastering can do wonders. My friend, a talented guitar player who normally plays in local indie rock bands, recorded a demo electronic EP for fun once. He even admitted it was pretty mediocre sound wise but for the hell of it he gave a CD-R copy to the engineer who records his band's tracks. The engineer played it off of high-quality speakers, re-recorded it to his DAW (in lossless digital, not tape) and touched up the EQ and mayber the compression overall. I heard it myself and it sounded immensely better. Warmer, seemingly louder, fuller, etc. I was quite flabbergasted it was the same recording. The engineer didn't even have access to the stems or original individual tracks, just a CD-R of demo. Maybe for $300 or even less you can get your stuff mastered professionally. I'm sure you can find one that will accommodate your needs and goals (send them the same video you posted here even) with a bit of proper inquiry and research. That's the basis of their business: making your music sound the way you want it.



#16 Squee

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 04:53 PM

Practice?



#17 Goiter Sanchez

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 05:00 PM

Get this book...

 

ED11331.jpg

 

If you complete it successfully you will be an excellent musician.



#18 LimpyLoo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 06:48 PM

I just looked over the mixing VST's in Komplete and I started drooling.

 

Learn how to use compression proficiently.

 

Learn how to use EQ proficiently.

 

 

Mix-buss compression makes mixes dance. Compression on individual instruments makes them punchy and even. EQing individual channels is how you attain clarity (most cats have all the instruments occupying roughly the same frequency space and so their stuff is muddy and indistinct).

 

As far as "warmth" and "lushness": they can absolutely 100% be achieved simply with compression and EQ, but you can also look into saturation/harmonic-distortion and other such non-linear behavior modeling (i.e. the 'magic' behind tubes, tape and transisters).



#19 webby

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 06:49 PM

A ribbon microphone might satisfy your need for a warmer vintage sound that is like tape. One of the cool things about ribbon mics is they have a more limited dynamic range than condenser mics (condenser mics accentuate dynamic range) which ends up giving you a naturally fuller sound as if there is compression (like with tape) yet without any of the squeezing effects. Ribbon mics are often used for room mics with a drum kit but you can use them for anything. These days there are Chinese manufactured ribbon mics that copy the high end $2000 Royer ones. They aren't quite as good as the originals but are brilliant for the $200 or so you can get them off eBay.

#20 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:10 PM

I'll admit that I haven't thought this through enough. I'm just going to buy a new tape for my recorder, as well as the Micromodular.

 

I just need to give my music some FUNK. Everything is too perfect. Everything is in its place, the sound is all pristinely recorded. Warmth isn't what I'm looking for... I am looking for FUNK. You know, grit, filth, shit. Soul.

 

But I'm done taking advice in here. Thanks for your time. I still don't think I am going to find what I want in a fucking computer hard drive.

 

At the same time, I still remain completely oblivious as to what my process should look like. I can use the tape I already have, but I need better live instruments and maybe some kind of tube amp to pass things back and forth. Something... I don't know. Fudge.

 

I just KNOW listening to old music that I like more, that it wasn't made on a computer. And it COULDN'T BE.





#21 acid1

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:19 PM

I'm very happy with the Fabfilter suite. Been using it on all my latest mixes. Besides that, I have pretty much the same setup as you Vamos. You actually have more stuff then I.



#22 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:28 PM

I always end up buying more software instead of getting the hardware I've been dreaming about.

 

I feel like I just need to get this mixing board and 1 hardware synth before I can devote all my attention to software plugins.

 

I'm looking at Fabfilter as well as a bunch of different PSP plug ins. I have been stagnating a little too much with the shit that comes with Logic

 

I don't like Ableton generally either



#23 LimpyLoo

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 09:21 PM

Honestly Vamos, if you can't do it with the stock plugins than you won't be able to do it with better plugins.

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody ever listens to this sorta advice. Ever. And hey, It's not sexy advice, I understand that.  But it's the truth.



#24 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:07 PM

"If you can't get a good vocoder sound in Ableton then you're never going to be a good musician!"

 

yeah, great advice



#25 vamos scorcho

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 10:18 PM

Some good answers were given but the rest of the post is irritation

 

Money isn't going to help here, I agree with that. I need to work harder and more to push the programs I have and actually learn how to use them properly. I'm in almost complete agreement that the stock plugins should be enough for what I'm doing. So that is true...

 

Still I would have liked an actual answer to my question of suggstions what I should spend the 300 dollars I have on... it's Christmas money that will be spent at SAM ASH or online or wherever. It's not like my question was ever, "WHAT CAN I BUY XDXD 2 MAKE ME DO GREAT DRUMS LIKE THE MASTERS." Some people did answer this, but most people came in like, "you need to practice, you peasant amateur bastard."

 

I provided a youtube video around 3 times asking how I could get that SAME SOUND... not an appropriation of it. In other words, I was asking if anyone could give me concrete, actual, specific suggestions of something to buy or look into [in prior threads like this, people have literally identified what the musicians might have used just by listening to the recording... this is exactly what my dream response to my question would be... i will admit now that I am UTTERLY FUCKING AWFUL at communicating exactly what it is I require... I could eliminate 99% of the thread and just restate the post as "what are they using in this track" + "I am going to buy something with 300 dollars or more, and I would love some suggestions, here is where I am at, give me some ideas"... still I do like to have the 99% lying around in case we want to have other tangents to go off on, you can use that as filtration. unfortunately today's Tangents were a little bit... cliche]. I just want to be clear to LimpyLoo that his answers and several others suggesting "get a book and learn how to be a musician" or this or that have nothing really to do with what I was looking for in making this thread.

 

I don't want to confuse shit here. Some good sentences were written, floating around in hyperspace for interpretation from other sources.
 I can see how those responses would materialize from the average dumfounded moron who reads the thread title and has no background or interest in reading the thread material itself. I wouldn't read it either if I had no vested interest in giving good advice. lol.

 

 

But still, I'm not an amateur at production or music writing. For the purposes of clarification so maybe you'll know where I'm coming from in wanting to FINISH an ALBUM that will be SOLD and critiqued (not cock measuring) I've been making music for 14 years... since I was a young kid, playing instruments and learning music theory since I was a kid... for the past few years I've been making stuff and I've gotten over the initial humps of "practice EQing" and "learn about mastering and music production in general." Even beyond this, I've been working on counterpoint, constantly studying and listening to advanced music and classical composition, jazz, and esoteric musical theories.

 

but what I am concerned about mainly, is how to finish an audio recording. I Want To Make My Music Physical

 

And I am starting to think nobody reading this really understands what I mean [though to be clear there were several very helpful responses, and even the ones that I'm bitching about in this post have given me another angle to consider: that I need to be pushing the materials I have a lot farther, and that despite my feeling that I am "ready to finish this album...to another plateau" in fact, I do have more learning to do].


Edited by vamos scorcho, 26 December 2012 - 10:24 PM.