"Defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music
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Old 03-09-2015, 10:39 PM   #1
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"Defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

sup partay people of the internets.

since i recently had the joy of a) buying gear and b) experiencing how it changed my whole creative process, i would like to hear similar stories.

but i will show you mine first. my penis, that is.

my standard setup so far consisted of old (and somewhat faulty) midi controllers hooked to old (and somewhat faulty) software. bcr2000, a cme keyboard hooked to the bcr since cme drivers are really really bad, and an apc to launch clips (rarely used it, didnt have foot controller in and the pads dont have velocity/are way too small). also, guitar, bass, a microphone.

software was ableton 8 intro upgraded from an old live lite license.

with this i was staring a lot at screens because my gear didnt have any form of direct feedback, so i had to memorize pots (or use a lot of duct tape and edding markers) which made live stuff feel kinda stiff.

then, i got a killer deal for live suite 9 and push, an ableton controller, and since then i have actually been playing my setup like an instrument. rarely do i even look at the screen anymore. i have to put samples into my racks before jamming, sure, but if any of you recalls the tedious preloading of samples into a hardware sampler you would agree that drag-dropping a few samples in ableton surely beats the minutes you were staring at a small lcd screen until your samples were finally loaded.

i am still working my way into the new soft/hardware setup (and noticed stuff i really want in it, like parameter locks, but those are coming with the next upgrade).

i wish there were a way to make a keytar-like thing out of the push controller! i have actual back pain from playing it standing up/spazzing out....

tl;dr - what was you defining piece of gear that changed your way of making noises fundamentally?

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Old 03-09-2015, 11:19 PM   #2
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

It wasn't my first piece of hardware but the ESX (Electribe Sampler) totally changed how I made music.

Many fine records have been made with a mouse and clicking a DAW. But with the ESX I felt like I was playing an instrument. I was twisting knobs, doing live takes, I was standing and moving to the music I was making. I was playing an instrument.

I learned about how limitations can be a good thing. The ESX is so far from being a modern DAW, but oh my gosh! I can arrange whole tracks on this thing and record different live versions?

Since then its been a path of discovery, rediscovery, changing setups every few albums, buying and selling and getting to know more and more what I works best for me. I'd been writing music on computers for...six years before I bought that ESX and hardware never seemed to make sense. I'd tried MIDI controllers, but in my experience they were finicky and they are not immediate as you need a slew of them to control many functions at once.

I won't tell my whole story here, but as I've said my setup has gone through many incarnations since the ESX--from trying to go all hardware to going almost completely back in the box and finally really digging into a hybrid setup.

I'll mention Maschine as a huge game changer of the functionality it adds to my DAW, the way it sequences and samplers hardware. Its a bit like Push in that the connection between software and the controller makes it very hardware-like.
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:30 PM   #3
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

first i have to ask
did you say there will be parameter locks implemented into a new firmware of push?
where did you hear that? that sounds too cool!
back on topic i have to admit push has been awesome for me as well
and breaktweaker also although it hasn't revolutionized anything per say it certainly made thing much easier and funner. now if i could find a way to use the step sequencer in BT with the push my social life would be over i would never leave home!
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:40 PM   #4
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

Looking back... for me I think it was the Roland R-8 Rhythm Composer


Through that I started changing how I constructed sound and composed. All the time I would build beats on it and sample them, beatslice, distort to hell, etc. It got me thinking a lot about "impact", as it can be such a hard-hitting machine. It also over time flipped my method around completely backwards. Instead of making cool beats and then messing with them until it sounded good, I started thinking about the kind of sound I was looking for and working backwards to understand how I could construct it, in a sense. Afterwards, this way of doing things extended beyond just percussion, of course. Hard to explain, exactly, I suppose. However, even though I don't use it anymore (I bought it with my best friend, and then roommate, and when he moved out we each kept one of the two drum machines we bought together, as I preferred the Machinedrum and he preferred the R-8.) a lot of the processes I adopted while working with it still stick with me to this day.

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Old 03-09-2015, 11:42 PM   #5
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

thanks you two

the p-lock is hearsay via 2 forums, theres a post on create digital music dot com that i cant find because i switched computers inbetween (also, if you dont want to wait, theres a m4l machine that has p-locks [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
(havent tried it yet5, i am still fiddling with the "normal" automation curves)

aint defining since you can automate the shit out of stuff anyway

short jam, rather friendly, this evening, just crreating stuff from tabula rasa - with many many errors because i was too stupid to find the proper tracks etc. also, we have sunshine here!
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Old 03-09-2015, 11:45 PM   #6
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

also, i have noticed that even push limits me in some way. theres no absolute freedom any more, naturally, i have no clue how that is gonna affect what i do (apart from the apparent limitation to rather even meters because of the step sequencer)

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Old 03-09-2015, 11:46 PM   #7
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

EQ's with builti-in limiters (or limiters with built-in EQ) changed my game up a LOT. Suddenly I could start attaining levels of clarity and impact and was able to use EQ to sculpt the sound. But more specifically, it's the technology of VST's that allows chaining of effects that accomplished it.

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Old 03-09-2015, 11:51 PM   #8
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

are you speaking of soft- or hardware eq/limiter things? hardware afficionados seem to like to have them apart. since i only use native mastering chains, those things are inherently interwoven for me anyways

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Old 03-10-2015, 12:08 AM   #9
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

In the last few years my gear game changers have been maschine which stopped me thinking in terms of layering tracks and more in terms of creating chunks of a live experience to be played back manually.

Then the MPC 1000 which thought me tons about sound design, stealing and manipulating "found sounds" for fun and profit, layering and the fact that synthesis is only a very minor part of how I like to make things work for me.

Getting into the 16 pad layout and via that finger drumming has me feeling more like a musician and less like a "producer (I now actively hate that word) again.

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Old 03-10-2015, 12:18 AM   #10
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

i heard so many good things about maschine, and in some ways its superior to push

an mpc1000 on the other hand feels like returning to the 1990s, whats that about? i dont care too much about building up sounds from a square wave either, but what makes this machine different? (the mpc seems to be a machine that does all the push does without feedback)

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Old 03-10-2015, 12:27 AM   #11
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

For me it was a Levin acoustic guitar model 123, with a pair of John Pearse (Thomastik PJ116) folk nylon strings. I got it when I was 19 or so. I wrote so many songs on it. Still have it close-by.

Other than than, Jeskola Buzz opened up a universe of sounds for me around 2001. Insanely vast sound design tools, light on the CPU, quick workflow, fun and inspiring. Just blew me away. I had not encountered anything like it. To this day it still amazes me (and am puzzled why "bigger companies" don't take on some of the great features found in Buzz).
Not many people know about it, or care about it. I'm fine with that.

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Old 03-10-2015, 12:33 AM   #12
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

buzz is the shit man!

sad i cant download your guitar tho.

also, you didnt mention cheesecake (which apparently played a big role in your achieveing your final form)

you still doing stuff in buzz? i recall your fantastic feedback chains there. havent downloaded buzz on the new machine yet, link me to your packs/chains if you have them somewhere!

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Old 03-10-2015, 01:23 AM   #13
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

Not really gear, but Audiomulch
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Old 03-10-2015, 01:31 AM   #14
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

that would be "gear", in my book

i have been tempted by what it can do, but the almost 200 bucks scared me off man

i doubt it can do a lot more than what buzz can do, but it probably has other advantages

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Old 03-10-2015, 05:03 PM   #15
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nystagmus View Post
EQ's with builti-in limiters (or limiters with built-in EQ) changed my game up a LOT. Suddenly I could start attaining levels of clarity and impact and was able to use EQ to sculpt the sound. But more specifically, it's the technology of VST's that allows chaining of effects that accomplished it.
can't you put a limiter after an eq in your daw?
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Old 03-10-2015, 06:35 PM   #16
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

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Originally Posted by ab View Post
buzz is the shit man!

sad i cant download your guitar tho.

also, you didnt mention cheesecake (which apparently played a big role in your achieveing your final form)

you still doing stuff in buzz? i recall your fantastic feedback chains there. havent downloaded buzz on the new machine yet, link me to your packs/chains if you have them somewhere!
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I think I have eaten cheesecake about 4 times in my life, but I love candy. I also blame my hypothyroidism for being a bit plump. Yoga is the shit! Summer, here I come.

I still do some stuff in Buzz, mostly for sound design. Not so much writing/tracking these days. I use Cubase for that.

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Old 03-10-2015, 10:19 PM   #17
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

For me I have to say the Axis 49. I always hated playing the keyboard mainly because I was no good at it . The layout of the keys on this just made total sense to me but recently I bought myself an Ableton Push and I have not touched the Axis since. It's the best thing since sliced bread.
I not much of a fan of Ableton tho
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Old 03-10-2015, 11:42 PM   #18
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

Quote:
Originally Posted by ab View Post
(and noticed stuff i really want in it, like parameter locks, but those are coming with the next upgrade).
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbvdb493 View Post
first i have to ask
did you say there will be parameter locks implemented into a new firmware of push?
where did you hear that?
You can already make per-step automation in Push just hold the step and twist the knob similar to how it's done in the Elektron stuff...


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Old 03-10-2015, 11:58 PM   #19
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

yes, i thought that it was just for a few parameters. you are right, i wonder why i didnt see that at first! (found it out myself not long after i posted this XD)

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Old 03-11-2015, 01:12 AM   #20
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Re: "defining gear" - gear that changed your way of making music

I'll also add that FX units like the OTO Biscuit and Korg Kaoss Pad 3 really made me rethink what an FX unit can be. Sure you can draw linear and curved automation. You can use "random" LFOs to control FX parameters. But both of those units really taught me about that Dub Reggae technique of playing an FX unit like an instrument.

Don't get me wrong, computers are fantastic. My music wouldn't be what it is w/o a modern DAW. But musicians have never lived in a better time to take advantage of the best of both worlds. Cheap and usable real-world instruments combined with even cheaper and options heavy digital tools mean literally anyone with some spare change can get into a hybrid setup.

I'm done having the argument about hardware versus software with people--clearly the budget route is going all software and is a fine option. And while I respect people who want to use all hardware (sometimes I do it myself just for fun and immediacy), I simply can no longer support an argument that all hardware or even all analog is the only way to make music--that seems archaic for the sake of it and dare I say sometimes even an excuse for a sub-par product.

back on topic...

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