What direction hardware-wise should I go, based on my workflow?
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Old 10-20-2016, 03:59 AM   #1
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What direction hardware-wise should I go, based on my workflow?

I love working in DAW's because I like the limitlessness of it. I thoroughly enjoy being as unconventional as possible. I love doing things people would frown at; things that probably don't make sense. But I like it and that's mainly why I don't even want to use any controllers at all; they have a pretty set way of the way they work and although I can probably find a way to make them do things in the unconventional way I like, I can't seem to decide on one.

I have owned an electribe mx and an octatrack, I have had midi controllers but I just feel too restricted and I know that's exactly what I need to get used to but I'd like to get something I could bring on the street and I know a push 2 and my laptop wouldn't be the best idea for that. This is my homie performing on the street ([Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
) with a few standalones and hes been a really big inspiration in my life both musically and as a person, he thinks because I mostly do stuff in ableton that I should stay in it and just get a push 2, but again I want to be able to perform on the street because busking is apart of my income and general source of being connected to the outside world, and I would like to get something that isn't too flashy. I am thinking the Octatrack might be the best for what i want to do but maybe a bunch of smaller sequencers might be best, but I'm not sure which ones.

Heres 2 short clips of the sounds I did in ableton that i'd like to be able to make on the hardware:

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Maybe im not being specific enough about what I want to do, it's hard because Ive never really explained much of this to anyone. Maybe I have to sacrifice one thing over the other, I just can't seem to figure it out. Do you guys think you could help me? Is there information I can provide you that will help figure out the process? My brain just can't seem to wrap around it

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Old 10-20-2016, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: What direction hardware-wise should I go, based on my workflow?

Hi, the thing with hardware is that you have to embrace the limitations and you need to be able to use them as challenges to yourself and your creativity.

You will not do the same music with hardware, it will evolve in a different way. You don't do the same music on a piano than on a guitar, because they are different instruments with different limitations and abilities.

Hardware, it's the same, you will have different limitations and abilities than you can have with software.

On paper, software is the jackpot for any musician, because now, you can pretty much do anything.
Yet, so many of us still use hardware to a large extent, sometimes even ditching the software all together.


Using software, to me, it's like writing a book, you will express all you want in detail and length, using all the time and tools available and possible.

Using hardware is more like speech and rethoric, especially in a live or jam setup, it feels more like conversing. You can express complex ideas, but you will have to first learn how to use your "vocal cords" if you will.

Both can be deliberate, both can be done live too, but if you're not comfortable enough to work with limitations, then you will hate working on hardware.

It has, to me, a lot to do with your own self confidence, if you know you can make music, you'll be able to make music on whatever, no matter the limitations. A great school for that is to learn to play an instrument, like a guitar, the piano etc... these are even much more limited than synths, but with skills, hard word, dedication and confidence, anyone can make beautiful music on a guitar, a violin or a piano.

So I don't think that current modern musical instruments really have limitations, it's more about our own expectations, with hardware, we've been used to everything being easy and limitless, yet I don't see much new Mozarts or Wagners around, there aren't more Thelonious Monks or Charlie Parkers.

The quality of your music is within, your tools are your own, but for whichever tool you choose, you will have to embrace the limitations and be able to say, think and believe that you'll do great music anyways, no matter if it's a couple of sticks or the latest ultra powerful vst synth.

If you are interested in going hardware, embrace the challenge and you'll gain a lot of experience, you'll find a lot of new ways to create music and your music as a whole will become better, deeper, wider stylistically.


If you really want to experiment and try and beat limitations, maybe try and go modular, eurorack modules are pretty affordable.
But they make you rethink your whole way of doing music too.

In any case I don't have much recommandations, maybe begin with something easy like a Virtual Analog, Waldorf Blofeld, Alesis Ion (I got one of those, they're great), north lead etc... they are pretty versatile and very hands on.

Or, maybe get a classic analog mono synth like an MS20 mini, they're affordable too, and they will teach you how to transcend the limitations (at first I regretted my MS20, now I use it pretty much in every track, it does have a learning curve and it is not easy at first to find good sounds that don't especially scream "MS20!!!!")

In between you got the minilogue, also from korg, which is a little beast for the price (4 voices full analog synth) but also has a learning curve (I see many people selling them very fast)

In any case, get something exciting, don't look for gear that will basically be computers with a master keyboard, get something classic, something fun, and just have fun with it for a while, don't expect t make good music right away with it, build a relationship with the piece of gear, learn it, you'll eventually end up loving it, but it will take some time if you're not used to hardware stuff, especially analog synths.
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Old 10-20-2016, 11:59 AM   #3
Dhji
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Re: What direction hardware-wise should I go, based on my workflow?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmanuel G. View Post
Hi, the thing with hardware is that you have to embrace the limitations and you need to be able to use them as challenges to yourself and your creativity.

You will not do the same music with hardware, it will evolve in a different way. You don't do the same music on a piano than on a guitar, because they are different instruments with different limitations and abilities.

Hardware, it's the same, you will have different limitations and abilities than you can have with software.

On paper, software is the jackpot for any musician, because now, you can pretty much do anything.
Yet, so many of us still use hardware to a large extent, sometimes even ditching the software all together.


Using software, to me, it's like writing a book, you will express all you want in detail and length, using all the time and tools available and possible.

Using hardware is more like speech and rethoric, especially in a live or jam setup, it feels more like conversing. You can express complex ideas, but you will have to first learn how to use your "vocal cords" if you will.

Both can be deliberate, both can be done live too, but if you're not comfortable enough to work with limitations, then you will hate working on hardware.

It has, to me, a lot to do with your own self confidence, if you know you can make music, you'll be able to make music on whatever, no matter the limitations. A great school for that is to learn to play an instrument, like a guitar, the piano etc... these are even much more limited than synths, but with skills, hard word, dedication and confidence, anyone can make beautiful music on a guitar, a violin or a piano.

So I don't think that current modern musical instruments really have limitations, it's more about our own expectations, with hardware, we've been used to everything being easy and limitless, yet I don't see much new Mozarts or Wagners around, there aren't more Thelonious Monks or Charlie Parkers.

The quality of your music is within, your tools are your own, but for whichever tool you choose, you will have to embrace the limitations and be able to say, think and believe that you'll do great music anyways, no matter if it's a couple of sticks or the latest ultra powerful vst synth.

If you are interested in going hardware, embrace the challenge and you'll gain a lot of experience, you'll find a lot of new ways to create music and your music as a whole will become better, deeper, wider stylistically.


If you really want to experiment and try and beat limitations, maybe try and go modular, eurorack modules are pretty affordable.
But they make you rethink your whole way of doing music too.

In any case I don't have much recommandations, maybe begin with something easy like a Virtual Analog, Waldorf Blofeld, Alesis Ion (I got one of those, they're great), north lead etc... they are pretty versatile and very hands on.

Or, maybe get a classic analog mono synth like an MS20 mini, they're affordable too, and they will teach you how to transcend the limitations (at first I regretted my MS20, now I use it pretty much in every track, it does have a learning curve and it is not easy at first to find good sounds that don't especially scream "MS20!!!!")

In between you got the minilogue, also from korg, which is a little beast for the price (4 voices full analog synth) but also has a learning curve (I see many people selling them very fast)

In any case, get something exciting, don't look for gear that will basically be computers with a master keyboard, get something classic, something fun, and just have fun with it for a while, don't expect t make good music right away with it, build a relationship with the piece of gear, learn it, you'll eventually end up loving it, but it will take some time if you're not used to hardware stuff, especially analog synths.
Aw man thank you for the lengthy response!

Just while you read my response, I strongly encourage you to listen to this as these guys are one of the biggest inspirations for how I like to write music: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]


I've been working on a classical guitar album for the passed 11 years, I would say my favourite part of writing is transitions. I often write in a way that I would describe as going on a journey. My manager who is principal of the western board of music and is often adjudicates for the victoria conservatory of music, often remarks my music as some of the best hes heard. The way my audience reacts to my compositions is truly beautiful, when they come to talk to me I just feel so blessed that something that I did did that to someone.

However, this was 3 years ago. I have taken everything off the internet and disappeared because my struggle with mental illness has gotten more difficult and the pressure became too much. I know what I am capable of, and I tend to procrastinate whenever I get somewhere in a composition, the same way one prolongs his or her's orgasm. I feel like a chipmunk with a bunch of nuts, hoarding everything. It's awful, I feel like a kinked hose so ready to explode and I can barely stand it anymore.

To be honest I've never been this honest with someone, I've never told anyone any of this until now and I might as well say I feel a bit scared sharing such personal information so openly so on a side note I'd like to thank you for your interaction because from what I read you seem like a genuine person with a pretty good understanding of the art of art and music.



I went to computer music because I wanted to get away from the physicality of instruments. I stopped writing guitar music for 3 years and It was because I wanted to go far beyond what I could do on a guitar. (I started with Guitar Pro 5, which is a program where you write tablature or notes in as many tracks as you like). I enjoyed writing orchestrations in GP5 but then I found electronic music which gave me the desire to change the orchestral instruments into something that started using software synth presets, and now has evolved into the other side of music: Sound (design).

But now I am writing guitar again, and after nearly 7 years of making computer music: I have truly connected with sound design. And I want to perform it. The friend in the video I included really unlocked my creativity in electronic music and he is opening shows in montreal for doldrums right now, he makes it look and sound so fun and I jammed with him many times but I was just doing improv sound design directly off my laptop, and I totally loved it but I refuse to perform live standing in front of just a laptop.

He actually gave me a electribe EMX and wrote 3 loops that I could have turned into songs if I had figured out how to transition into a different sequence, but then I sold it because all my gear was stolen along with my laptop and headphones so I needed a pair of headphones to produce on a laptop I've been borrowing. I also had an octatrack which I can't remember too much about but I didn't like the screen because there seems to be a visual aspect that I like that makes me feel more connected to what Im doing.

Honestly, after writing this I have a feeling I should just go with the push 2, but I just want to connect more to something else and I am financing whatever I get at a music store and they can't get older stuff like the ESX-SD or EMX-SD, but Korg IS coming out with new ones: [Only registered and activated users can see links. Click here to register]
. I am also thinking of these too:

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Last edited by Dhji; 10-20-2016 at 12:27 PM..

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Originally Posted by Jaded View Post
I don't know either man. I kinda feel like things are heading towards talking about our feels...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blingley View Post
So, this is the time to confess my unrequited love for Dhji?
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Old 10-20-2016, 01:32 PM   #4
Emmanuel G.
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Re: What direction hardware-wise should I go, based on my workflow?

funny you mention the electribe sampler, I just got one a few days ago, being very bad at sampling, I figured it would be the best way to go, challenge myself. They're ok.

The struggle with mental illness and musicians, I know about it, I turned out ok, but it almost got bad in my late teens, I was practicing guitar like crazy and almost lost myself in it. I have a couple friends who were further down that path, one who recovered (but is stuck with pills for the rest of his life), and one who went beyond recovery.

if I may, when you talk about creating music, I get the feeling that you may be focusing a little too much on how things are done, you tell me you're "good at transitions", but it doesn't mean much, as "music" is "music", transitions are "tools" that you use. Same as instruments.

But the use of technique, ideally, must be seemless to both the composer and the listener, in my opinion.

When you write, or talk, you are not thinking about grammar rules or verbs, you just express yourself, and while it is your mastery (or lackthere of) of the tools that will allow you to speak your ideas, but you don't really think of the tools you're using, you just speak.

I've met many musicians, instrumentists, and many, if not most, tend to focus on technique, theory, structures etc... while playing or composing, but I think you want it to be natural, not intellectual, to truly express yourself.

At least from my own experience.

Now back on topic, while electribe and controllers are nice tools, maybe you want to find an instrument that feels like an instrument rather than a computer, with menus and submenus, and configurations etc... Which is why, I think maybe you want to get your hands on something "analog", a synth or maybe a drum machine (arturia is releasing a beast, that is also affordable).

Something you will use more of your "feel" than "think" to play, if you get what I mean. Something that will bring a new perspective, renew interest and force a different, more hands on approach. Something that'll be, in the end, more like a true musical instrument, rather than a tool.


From one musician to another, I want to say "take it easy", the internal struggle is a good thing when it comes to expressing it through music, it's like fuel. But when you use words to express it, you just are making it more "real". And in the end, it does hurt your potential. Be confident in yourself, appreciate your own music, it's ok.

Music is like alchemy, you turn the ugly of everyday life, into the metaphorical gold of an art piece (probably the most complete and major of all arts). your ego is your vehicle. And I think being a musician goes against what society in general expects of us, so there is stress, resistance, all the more fuel for creativity, but you mustn't let yourself affect by these too much or it will take you down for good, as it certainly can.

Surround yourself with positive and creative people who support you and ditch the rest. Get yourself a nice piece of gear every now and then, it's always fun!

Sorry for going off topic, I hope it's ok, I did certainly not mean to offend you in any way, but it feels to me that, at least to some extent, I can relate to what you may have gone through, being almost 40 myself, and a musician for most of my life.

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