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Shtbag667

Creating music

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What processes do you go through when making music? What I mean is how you actually put together a track. I'm looking for more effecient ways of creating music. I'm not talking about MIDIs, but MP3s, WAVs, ect..

Heres an example:
I make a MIDI a measure or two long at a given tempo using Cakewalk. I sequence it to my synthesizer and at the same time record what my synthesizer creates from the MIDI signal.

I'm using a creative soundblaster with that front faceplate attachment with all those different inputs and outputs (it has a 1/4" microphone jack). I'm using Acid Pro to record.

As for the actual recording, I start recording right before I start playing the measure. First thing I do is make sure the tempo in Acid matches the MIDI tempo. I Stop recording after the measure is over. Then I use Acid Pro to zoom in on the WAV I recorded and chop it down to size of the measure or two (whatever the case my be).

I then render this WAV into a loop that I can later use with Acid Pro or Fruity Loops. I repeat the process till I have enough samples/loops to make a track. As you see, its a pain in the ass and not practical if I want to change something very basic (like changing the pitch of a single note in a sample).

I am curious as to what other methods there are..

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I do all my composing in MIDI before I start converting to WAV and adding effects and such. I have a Pod for my guitar which gives it some pretty accurate amp effects while I'm using the line-in. As for recording itself, I go into the properties of the Volume Control to set the recording to Stereo Mix. Then I press Play on the MIDI and Record on CoolEdit. Granted, General MIDI isn't too versatile, so adding atmospheric effects and doubling up instruments is pretty much standard in the process.

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I do a lot of different things.

First is typically a group brainstorm. I'll get together with some people, we'll take different instruments and play a bunch of random crap with no real direction whatsoever. Once that's done, we'll listen and laugh, then begin picking out cool melodies from here and there and try to work them into something tolerable.

It's good to get the song properly organized in MIDI format, but I have yet to find a good MIDI editor where you can just place notes on a staff and be done with it. (First person to mention Cakewalk goes to losers). I should say that I haven't spent excessive time looking, because MIDI and melodies aren't my fortitude and I like to specialize in a few things rather than learn a little about a lot of things.

Drumming, programming, recording and mixing are what I do, and for that I have some hardware and some software. The hardware drumkits I have are a Korg Electribe and Boss Dr. Groove. The Korg is great for making odd noise processes and creating raw wave samples and the Boss is loaded with general drum samples. It has bassline musical capabilities as well, but such house/groove/jungle music is not my style thus I rarely use it. I also have a Korg Trinity ProX 88-key keyboard, which I'm looking to pawn off for their new Triton Extreme model, at which point I'll begin learning a whole lot more about MIDI :P Then a Mackie 10-channel mixer, which I don't really need since I rarely record more than 4 or 6 channels at a time, but the preamps are nice to have.

I have ACID Pro, but I wasn't aware it was geared for recording. It comes packaged with SoundForge, which is what I use for recording. I'll record live drum samples or beats and mix them together in ACID Pro.

Beyond that, I don't do much composing. One reason being this keyboard is a pile of crap. I think that'll turn around once I get the Triton Extreme. I have a lot of projects in mind, a few of which actually have potential to reach a considerable audience. But I'm going to have to learn [im]proper song composition soon if I want them to go anywhere.

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I do it in Cakewalk's WRK format (basically MIDI). What I do is write the song in Cakewalk, using my hardware synths for sound. I've got a Roland JV-1010 and Boss DR-202 I use for sound generation (probably will be adding a TR-909 soon once I find one).

Then, after I finish the song, I record each MIDI channel seperately to a WAV file in Goldwave (I have a Sound Blaster Audigy card hooked up to a hardware mixing board to do this...works well enough for me).

I then take these into ACID Pro, line up the tracks, and start the process where I tweak volumes, EQs, reverbs, and such until I get the track how I want it. Then I export the final song to a WAV format and archive it on CD. I usually keep a 320kbit mp3 on my HD of it as well. If I'm DJ mixing the track with others, I also do this in ACID Pro.

While I was in Japan where I didn't have my hardware, I used Propellerhead's Reason 2.5 to do all my composing. And...that probably won't happen again since I hate software synths with a passion.

Even though I hate them, I'll probably be hooking up my Prophet-5 emulator program thingie (forgot the name) into my setup soon. I think through a software MIDI router of some sort. It's software, but I don't have the money to buy a used Prophet-5. And I need hoovers badly.

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I like to get loaded and howl into a microphone. The rest is pure magic.

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I use a similar process to what DJ_Haruko uses. I make a .WRK file with Cakewalk and record each track separately, for the same reason as DJ_Haruko.

The only thing I do differently is leave all the MIDI's patches set to 'none.' Then I start up the Korg Triton LE and assign each track to an instrument on it in sequencer mode (it has alot more instruments to choose from then the 256 or whatever from general MIDI).

I've seen Reason on sale for around $300. How good is this program? I was aware that it had a built in software sythesizer, but for $300? I'll check into Cooledit, that seems worth it.

I see that no matter what method I use it will still be around the same amount of work. OK, now I have to find ways to fine tune a WAV to exactly the way I want it.

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I use Reason 2.5 to import the midi files (midi files created with Harmony or Sibelius 2), for mixing the Wavs files I use Cubase Sx2 (with Halion 2 plugin).

Cubase sx2 also can be connected with reason (rewire mode) I used it sometimes.

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Since i'm such a lazy shit, i just make stuff purely in Fruityloops. I just use a library of misc sounds that i rounded up throughout the years for the tracks. When i make stuff in Cakewalk I don't bother putting it into fruityloops cause my midi music quality is pretty damn realistic and good so i just keep it in cakewalk. So basically I make music in both .wav/mp3 and .mid seperately.

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Umm... Me and the band goes to our place and just improvise and play...

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Shtbag667 said:

I've seen Reason on sale for around $300. How good is this program? I was aware that it had a built in software sythesizer, but for $300? I'll check into Cooledit, that seems worth it.


Reason has some nice features in it. For one, it has a subtraction synth module and a graintable synth module. The sequencer in it is a bit sad (I hate piano rolls), but soundwise it's pretty snazzy. Has some good samplers and effect units as well. The quality of the soft-synths combined with the number of different modules in it is probably why it's $300. Still isn't hardware, though, so I don't like to use it that well.

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I write all the music in MIDI. From there import the .mid to FLStudio's MIDIOut plug-in and designate each channel to whatever port our synths/drum-machines are assigned to. The audio outs from the hard-ware synths go to a small mixer with an FX loop (Digitech S-100). The main outs from the mixer go into a USB mobile pre-amp. 99.9% of the time we just sample and patch things together in a sequencer, but it's very possible to go old-school and record a whole song in real time. Guitars are all recorded direct with 3 over-dubs compressed down to give that Ministry/Megadethish 'wall of sound' effect. For bass, we record with a instrument compressor mic. Bass is probibly the hardest instrument to record/produce because everyone has a different idea of what a good bass sound is.

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I have no idea why that would be interesting.
But to answer your question, I always use a multiple of 5.

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Lüt said:

It's good to get the song properly organized in MIDI format, but I have yet to find a good MIDI editor where you can just place notes on a staff and be done with it.


I had this same problem. Fruityloops solved it fortunately. It doesn't use a staff, rather a piano roll. Very similar and extremely effective and fast. Best musical invention ever

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We usually stay between 150-200 bpms. Trying to go a notch or two higher than Ministry in terms of speed, heh.

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Shtbag667 said:

if I want to change something very basic (like changing the pitch of a single note in a sample).

I am curious as to what other methods there are..


There's this really shitty program called modplug tracker. It's the only music program I ever use and it let's you play any wav in any pitch on the chromatic, uh, spectrum.. and then organize them via a visual pattern interface into a cacophony of crap.

By the way, I suspect most of you are of the metallica/guitar etc musical taste like the John's.. but since you're into doom/videogames, you might appreciate music that is about the most computationally sophisticated around today: aphex twin is one of the most popular (try "come to daddy"). But a really weird and wicked album is "8000 bc" by otto von schirach. Eccentric, complex and insane in the extreme.

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w M w said:

By the way, I suspect most of you are of the metallica/guitar etc musical taste like the John's..


ohhh man I hate that kinda music :(. I usually make strange gay assed childish high pitched/reasonably slow paced music.

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When actually creating music? Usually I wait for something to piss me off or make me really depressed. Then I get extremely drunk (I think I play my guitar better when I'm drunk, and my friends agree!) and write a song about it. Some of my best songs have come out this way. Unfortunately, I've only got midi samples of it, till my spoon player moves up to playing drums and I grow extra arms to play bass and lead guitar at the same time.

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When making music, i use Cubasis VST 5 as a sequencer and a Yamaha PSS 60 for the midi input, as well as a couple of guitars (my bass and my dad's electric). I work at the default tempo, whatever that is (probably 120). Really need a synthesizer...

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