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  1.  (11020.1)
    I have been teaching myself computer based music production over the last year or so, and I'm wondering if any other Whitechaplains have any experience and/or hilarious comic anecdotes to regale me with. I am using Ableton Live and currently am making the kind of music that only its mother could love. If and when I create something listenable, you'll be the first to know. :)

    Side-note: Sound design is really fun, and steals big chunks of my time...
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2013 edited
    Ableton user here. I use it punk-rock style - refuse to learn what any of it means, just push buttons. About the only hilarious anecdotes I have involve me crashing 3 hrs of work without saving, or clearing pubs with unregulated feedback... look forward to hearing your beats Mags, should be good if your mixcloud mixes are a yardstick :)

    Edited to add - I have a KORG PadKontrol for writing drums and a mini Akai LPK25 keyboard for synth riffs. They are both awesome fun.
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2013
    dj wanting to tip toe into production.
    currently trying to get a handle on reaper, but already failing at making it recognize my midi-controlers. yay for me.
  2.  (11020.4)
    I'm playing with garageband on the pretty, (rather like Texture, I'm not reading any instructions just kicking it about) but I also make use of beatmaker II (badly, I need instructions or a tutorial for this really as its pretty incomprehensible without it, it seems to have a right way and a doesn't work at all way), everyday looper, voice memos, djay (which is brilliant, but I had the advantage of a vodka soaked tutorial from a very pretty boy man where I learnt to use it... that seems to be a very good method for me), virtuoso, impaktor and MTdB - all those on phone/ipad. Just bought audiobus this week to fiddle with (also phone).

    Actually this makes me think that I'm long over due a noodling session. I'm also long overdue doing some stuff with other people... voice for hire/trade ;-)
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2013 edited
    Ableton for me as well. It doesn't have the best quality sound output (as people who know such things - me not being one of them - will tell you) but only Reason could beat the intuitivity and swiftness. And it's great for playing live, of course. Except for the times with the feedback, like texture had. Those times straight up suck. Much restarts, but I guess it's also to do with the external soundcard sometimes deciding to fart into the PA. Panicked stop-button-pressing follows. When the club then goes silent and you are to blame and everyone is looking at you like you ruined Christmas? Big feeling of naked shame.

    Got some old stuff up here, though I don't call myself that anymore.

    Oh, and I also doodle on my iPhone with Xenon and Rhythm, though I kinda think you need the workspace of an iPad for those apps.
    • CommentTimeMar 25th 2013
    A previous protools user. Played around with cakewalk back in the day, and I tool around with garageband and reaper most recently. Getting ready to dump cash into Logic and get some new work done. I rather enjoyed protools for some aspects, and I rather hate garageband for many things it "simplifies" into near un-usability from and editing standpoint. My brother is a 30 year vet in the hardware side of sound design and programming in electronic music. I've really been wanting to pick his brain for help in some new projects. I can't get Portishead/Massive Attack/Sneaker Pimps out of my head lately, and I want those huge sounding bottom grooves.
  3.  (11020.7)
    I've been using Ableton for so long now I probably know just about everything there is to know about it. These days I've been focused on using hardware based setups for all my electronic stuff though. Drum machines and synths ect.
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2013 edited
    I play around with Ableton, mostly I try to translate my compulsive beatboxing into kewl sound fx, but I just acquired an ancient MIDI keyboard to plonk melodies into.

    also re: awkward software crashes in clubs: it helps to have a phone or mp3 player looping a song into a muted channel on the board, for quickly fixing the horrible gazes of the thronging sodomites on the dancefloor. (especially for teething issues, new plugins, etc)
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2013 edited
    Only use Reaper, cos it's very intuitive and I only use it for recording anyway. I always reproduce stuff using hardware live, so no need for Ableton etc.

    As a result, most of my stories revolve around stomping on the wrong pedal or sth...
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMar 26th 2013
    I've sort of learnt how to do the basics on the fly, using Garageband and some fairly exotic plug-ins. I've got Logic as well and have had a look at it, but it's defeated me so far.

    After messing about with the amp and effects settings, what I mostly do is use a real guitar amp or drums and get the sound I want, then mic it up. Doing this since August and I've pretty much done a 13 track album with the band I'm in. For some of it, we've layered loads and loads of individual drum tracks, none of which really has been tweaked all that much, except to add reverb and compression.

    Here's one track I'm pretty happy with. Well, I think some of the rhymes are rubbish, but that's the singer's thing, not mine. That's me playing guitar, but fuck knows how many of me that actually is playing how many different guitars. But yeah, I've not exactly been going deep into what can be done with the tech, and I've no real clue about all the clever sound type stuff. I've just been treating it like a multi-track recorder, but getting the sound as decent as possible before it goes in, then trying out different eq and compression presets from the plug-ins.

    And then added cowbell.


    Feedback welcome (Have we done that joke yet?) as I really don't have a clue what I've been doing and have been making it up as I went along.
    • CommentAuthorFlxzr
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2013
    I used to use Ableton, but I've not touched it in a long time as I got fed up with fiddling about with the computer so now I'm using Reaper as a multitrack recorder and run everything through a mixer. I've not had that set up for long, though, but it seems to work pretty well for me.

    I make music that not even it's own mother could love, though. My high point is a one-take recording of Chariots of Fire on a Yamaha Electone organ.

    Oddcult> I aint no expert but a couple of things really stood out to me, namely the vocals and the cowbell. I'd probably try putting them a bit farther back into the mix. Possibly with a bit less reverb, particularly on the vocal.

    Also I listened to it on headphones and the extreme panning of the guitar tracks was moderately annoying at the start so I'd probably bring them back a bit towards centre.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2013
    Okay. That's easily done. I sort of like the panning, but I've been mixing with speakers and standing back from it, so it's a different effect to headphones, I suppose. I'd been planning to synch the panning a little better though, as that was just fairly randomly applied.

    CHeers for the feedback though.
    • CommentTimeMar 27th 2013
    Hi everyone. I mostly use FL Studio because Ableton frustrates the crap out of me. I really don't get it, but I use it for trigger loops when performing live? I guess my amusing anecdotes are stuff like, "I spent six hours splitting my FL files into brief chunks and importing them into Ableton to play them live and then Ableton kept crashing." Nooooooo.
    • CommentTimeApr 1st 2013
    whydoisay: Shame you're having trouble with Ableton, it really is quite fun when you get it working properly (my crash stuff hasn't happened THAT often, sometimes the problem just the adapter for the soundcard that fell out of the wall socket because the bass was too loud). Did it crash-crash, or was it more a case of not being able to read the hard drive fast enough?
    • CommentTimeApr 2nd 2013
    I suspect it's a RAM issue? It's definitely not a result of disk access being too slow, Ableton is straight up crashing. I have to totally start the program up again.
  4.  (11020.16)
    @ whydoisay - Are you using external plugins thru Live, cos that can often cause issues? This fixed things for me.
    • CommentTimeApr 4th 2013 edited
    I got into making the odd tune via learning audio production for video,so basically I got
    into audio production mixing a long time before getting into making tunes.I've used, touched,
    played with...Logic,Cubase (but that was eons ago!), FL studio is a work of Genius,
    had Abelton, rarely used it.Many others ....

    what I would say to most people starting out is learn whatever you have really well ,
    and just get on with it. I have this issue with people who argue with me over
    video editing packages, it is impossible to be able to tell what editing package
    a person used from the end video result.The same goes with music. Nobody knows
    what you DAW you used really.

    So don't let the (COUGH!) -PROTOOL USERS tell you,you are using the wrong thing.

    But if you are adamant on trying every music app out there, I would give you this
    piece of advice i worked out myself the hard way- think how you input music.

    ONE WAY....

    If you've got a good sense of rhythm, can tap out beats, got some musical chops.
    Then maybe an MPC samplers, or if you're on a budget a midi keyboard, you can tap
    music in.Midi keyboards are dirt cheap, you can get them from $15-20 up...

    "Beginners Drumming on a Midi Keyboard"

    "MPC Wizardy"

    The major advantage of this is Speed.

    Remember J-Dilla considered
    by other hip hop producers to be the best Hip Hop producer who ever lived
    (that incudes Pharrell and Timbaland , and DJ Premier !)

    J-Dilla most of his songs in 15 MINUTES on an MPC.The whole song.
    That was considered an urban legend, but it has been confirmed. he left the Mixing
    to someone else.

    THE OTHER WAY.....

    If you're not that musical.If you like laying out tunes, layering stuff, and
    even if you like micro managing the groove.and add variation like BURIAL
    Then Abelton is cool, even the audio timeline of a video editor.

    You just set it to loop 1 bar continuously , you place the separate
    audio samples(kick, snare, hi hat etc) on the timeline, and micro shift the kick,snare etc
    till you got the groove you want. Because it is looping continuously while you are doing this,
    it will be very clear just by listening when you get to what you want.

    When you have 1 perfect bar of groove,then copy everything (kick snare, etc) as a group,
    copy and paste it over again,and again onto the time line to build the other bars.
    Then by going back and tweak certain kicks and snares in the
    pasted loops and you'll start to hear a moving organic groove.

    This is a very quick way if you are not musical and can't bang it in
    on a midi drumkit like a pro-drummer.Or J-Dilla. It is also very easy to
    add complexity with very basic starting blocks in a way that's not as easy
    with an MPC. BURIAL uses very few samples, though it sounds awash
    with complexity in the way the groove shifts, samples coming in and out.

    MIXING is something that no ones really got into on this thread.
    It is a dark art! You can just be into mixing and never make a tune.
    But really mixing requires a whole thread by itself.

    "Mixing Example"

    Oh yes, this: KVR is the best music production community on the internet. I'm a member but no where as active as i am here.

    Heri Mkocha
    • CommentTimeApr 5th 2013
    @whydoisay I had some problems (processor use going into 1000%) on my previous laptop that seemed to happen every time Ableton was reading samples off the harddrive while I was using an external soundcard (Audio Kontrol 1 through ASIO). Clicking the RAM button (that loads the sample permanently into RAM) alleviated some of the trouble. But if Ableton crashes to desktop then I guess that won't really help.
  5.  (11020.19)
    If you are on a windows pc, make sure you set processor scheduling to "Background services". You see, normally your computer is set up to prioritize video tasks, so when it gets backed up, it temporarily puts aside secondary functions, such as audio, to take care of what would normally be considered first priority stuff for most people, like video. Obviously if you are doing music production, audio is more important. If you switch the priority to "background services", now when your processor backs up, all the visual stuff and UI should freeze up temporarily, but the audio should continue uninterrupted.

    It's a really good way to get a lot of extra use out of a lower performance computer. Check out some optimization stuff here:
  6.  (11020.20)
    OK, this is as good as it's got so far. Feels muddy to me, but I think this tune is as near to finished as any that I've done. It's certainly taken up a lot of the last 4 days of my life.

    Criticisms please. :)