I Think I am done with Software!
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Old 22-11-2011, 09:59 AM   #1
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I Think I am done with Software!

This is a wierd question, but what ev. So I am a computer science major, which means I spend 8 hours a day staring at a computer screen and pushing code. I love making edm, but after a long day of writing code the last thing I want to do is to confront another freaking computer screen. Right now I have ableton and some midi controllers, but I feel like such a complete tool using my mouse and clicking around to make music. That is why I am thinking of going all hardware. I know, I am a computer science guy who thinks making music with software is dull and pathetic, how weird! I was thinking of getting an mpc (dont know which one yet, the 5000 is like looking at a computer screen too) and maybe a microkorg or something. If I wanted to go all hardware what are your suggestions. Everyone is using software and I feel like it is kinda souless in a way. Call me a luddite, but I want to go back to that dirty hardware sound.

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Old 22-11-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Personally I have a mix of both Hardware and software. I love Hardware and will always use it over a plugin if I can.

I completely understand where you are coming from. I work in an I.T job and pretty much all I do is stare at a computer screen all day.

I would say if all you want to do is just produce without steering into the abyss of your monitor then why don't you start off with the midi controllers you currently have and use those as a control surface for a few synths(if you want rackmounts)?

I do think the main question here is what sound do you want to achieve? Once you have a base of what you want to get out of a synth the selection process is easier.
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Old 22-11-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

It's a brave choice.
A sequencing/sampling workstation will work quite effectively as a replacement fot Live, you will lose in the effects department but you can always overcome this by resampling.
Something like the MPC 2500 (or even 5000) or a Roland MC-909 will work perfectly for what you want to do and a microkorg (or a korg ms-2000r for fome knobs) will add some muscles in the synth section.
I'm not 100% sure you can have long audio tracks on any of those machine, but most electronic is loop based, so they might both work for you.

And you can always finish your projects on pc for that extras that you need.

I'm personally trying to decide whether I shoudl get an MPC so I would use it as sampler and sequencer for my small modular or if I should stick my hybrid hardware/software workflow and maybe add Machine or a Machinedrum.

Anyway, keep us posted on how it goes.

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Old 22-11-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I had the same exact "monitor hate" issue. I searched for the perfect "all-in-one" machine for a while. I personally tested many candidates (mpc among them) until I fully realized that's impossible to do all in hardware without incurring in major limitations. what I did is getting some good machines (synths and drum-machines) and using the computer as much as possible just as a sequencer for the machines rather than using plugins. or you should try the trinity... elektron machinedrum (drums) + monomachine (synth) + octatrack (sampler)... all hardware, more than 3000 bucks to get all of them... but then... how you'd polish sounds, eq, compress, effect, mix, sum them efficiently? you NEED a computer, just stick to machines for as much part of the process as you can!

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Old 22-11-2011, 01:00 PM   #5
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I have some questions for you:
  • What kind of music do you do?
  • How much soul and live/real time expression do you need in your music?
  • Are you happier with XOX style step sequencing or do you prefer bashing on pads?
  • Do you want to go towards analog sound sources or are you happy with digital?
  • How important are things like built in reverb and delay to you?
  • And finally how much cold hard cash do you have to spend?

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Old 22-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #6
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I know my inner gear-slut will love this thread.

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Old 22-11-2011, 01:34 PM   #7
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Just bought an analogue synth.... Never using massive again!!

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Old 22-11-2011, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shattereddreamz View Post
Just bought an analogue synth.... Never using massive again!!
See you in 4 months when you realize that your analogue synth doesn't have formant wavetables, feedback, and probably only one or two LFOs, and that routing it to do certain sounds is either hard, impossible, or reguires circuitbending the thing.

Unless it's a modular analogue synth, in which case.. Well, suffice to say that for an addiction, cocaine would've probably been more financially manageable.

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Old 22-11-2011, 04:04 PM   #9
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

An MPC 5000, 2500 or whatever is just as much a computer as any pc. With a tiny display.

I worked years with an MPC2000 as the main sequencer, staring at the tiny display for days. Luckily it's 2011 and I got my two led screens.

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Old 22-11-2011, 04:38 PM   #10
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shattereddreamz View Post
Just bought an analogue synth.... Never using massive again!!
Hehe I just downloaded [insert random free vst here], never using massive again!

What synth did you get?

Ontopic: If you go hardware all the way, you'll have to change your workflow, maybe to just jamming and recording.
First, Get instruments with lots of knobs, maybe with built-in sequence (ie: not a microkorg, rather an ms2000), maybe with built-in sequencers. Then you need a mixer, an external sequencer to hook up synths with no internal sequencer, and a recording device to record your live jams.

If you want to create tracks step by step, altering them in the process, you need a workstation too. You will be loads of cash lighter, and not even near the flexibility you can have with software, but it's cool

Last edited by steeboo; 22-11-2011 at 04:50 PM..

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Old 22-11-2011, 08:57 PM   #11
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Thanks for the replies guys. I guess your right that going all hardware could limit me by a lot. I guess I am just sick of having the music making experience be so visual, with all of its shiny GUI and waveform graphics. I think that I would make much better music if I just used my ears without any computer screens or the big LED screens that are coming out on new hardware. I was checking out the yamaha rs7000 and people generally think it is pretty dope. Maybe hook that up to a synth or something.
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Old 22-11-2011, 09:04 PM   #12
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Man I am right there with you guys. I outright blame my lack of drive at the DAW lately to staring at a computer screen for 8 hours a day. I may have to toy with this idea a bit as well.

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Old 22-11-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

get some weird boxes that make noise, or some synths, old drum machines, toy drums and microphones, bags of marbles, set up your studio so that you can use a midi controller to set up recording without turning on the monitor, sit around and record noises with the monitor off, then save the files.

do this during the weekdays, when you get home from work, on a nice lazy sunday open your daw and begin arranging your jams into tracks

the best of both worlds.

I have mine setup this way.

I have a launchpad, maschine, and remote zero sl, + mixer with a bus running into my soundcard with my hardware synths, microphones, etc running into it.

I can open ableton and turn off the monitor and still do everything I need to do as far as recording little jams goes, just arm the track on the launchpad switch to clip view record a clip of maybe a bassline, then start a beat on maschine, then make some other noises and record them into clips. When I want to arrange I just switch to that mode in my head and do it. I need to probably do that more.

Last edited by fraktured; 22-11-2011 at 09:22 PM..
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Old 23-11-2011, 12:28 AM   #14
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I'm in this same boat. Sometimes I just want to get out of the box and jam. I'm probably going to be picking up a used MPC1000 when I get a chance.
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Old 23-11-2011, 12:58 AM   #15
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I went OTB about a month ago. It's right for me. Working with the limitations of the small setup I have seems to make me more creative, it pushes you to do the most with what you have. I'm not saying that my way of doing things is better than 100% ITB production, it's just better for me, and I find it really fucking fun.
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Old 23-11-2011, 01:32 AM   #16
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Quote:
Originally Posted by recession proof View Post
Everyone is using software and I feel like it is kinda souless in a way.
This is stupid.


The rest of your post isn't. But I think this statement is just dumb. Soul is in what you make, not what you use to make it.
That being said what most people usually equate most strongly to soul is actually what is also called humanization. You can replicate it completely in the box or you can get hardware which allows you to input or manipulate your data in a more humanized way, the best example of course being drum pad controllers and other forms of MIDI/OSC/whatever control.
There are other advantages to ditching the computer completely for music, of course, which I think have mostly been touched on in this thread already. For me one of the biggest pluses is the stability factor, even the most stable computers can have their sketchy moments sometimes. Of course hardware presents other technical issues too sometimes, so it all depends on what you feel works for your workflow the best.
I personally embrace as many ways to create as I can, so even if i got the tools to create electronic music without a computer, I'd choose to do both. Sometimes I actually enjoy tweaking things with a mouse for hours, cut and pasting samples and re-sampling a whole bunch, that sort of thing. Some people never enjoy that or have to use a computer all day for other crap so, it really does depend on the person.

There've been a few other okay threads about this topic before. You should search for them, may be some useful reading there.

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Old 24-11-2011, 11:41 AM   #17
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

i have been doing the whole software thing for the past year, after years of getting nowhere with hardware. I'm now ready to go back to hardware, after having stripped my setup back A LOT (but still not as much as I'd have liked to).

My computer is still important. Sequencing, sampling, effects processing...it will be doing all of this. But i have got a nice little collection of synths which I intend on using almost exclusively, as opposed to the VSTi's i've been plodding along with. I want to get back into that whole jamming and experimenting thing. I don't want to be stuck dragging notes around on a piano roll any more. I want to experiment with textures and timbres, and I think this is the key. I know what my goal is, now I can actively work towards it. The past few weeks have been painful, but once the last bit of kit arrives (2 tier keyboard stand), I'll be back in business w00!

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Old 24-11-2011, 08:12 PM   #18
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

Liking this thread so far.

I'm a total hobbyist so take this with a grain of salt, but i got NI's Maschine a few months ago, and it has been a total game changer for me. I was using a basic keyboard controller before and i find Maschine incredibly inspiring by comparison. Of course Maschine is really still just software, but the controller is so good it feels like hardware to me. My laptop regularly "goes to sleep" while Im using it.

I've been so inspired by the hands on feel that i recently picked up my first hardware va synth. Being able to sequence that alongside my vst's in Maschine is really cool to me. I work at a computer all day too and it's fun to feel like I'm "making music" again instead of just continuing to use a computer. No hate there for software at all (i use it!), just relating my own experience.

People may correctly point out that Maschine is basically not really very different than Ableton + controllers and indeed it's not, but it sounds like you want to get away from the mouse and monitor and Maschine has done that for me. YMMV, etc.

As an aside, your profile says you're in Seattle. I live in Capitol Hill, so hit me up if you want to check it out or just talk music-making sometime.
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Old 24-11-2011, 08:27 PM   #19
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

get a sampler (sp404/mpc/other) and a 8 track tape machine... now we're talking

add any synths and sound source you can think of, turntable for sampling maybe

get some guitar pedals, grab an electribe as well to add to your creative chain

enjoy your music way more

thats my plan anyway, plus i have an NI Maschine too they are a brilliant compromise. but still.

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Old 24-11-2011, 10:50 PM   #20
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Re: I Think I am done with Software!

I was in your same boat. I kept asking myself how can working with software with unlimited limitations feel so dull? Well, once I bought my Ni Maschine, I've realized what the problem was. I'm definitely more hardware than software type of person since coming from a live instrument background. Yes, the NI Maschine does have limitations but I feel working with limitations allows one to be so much more creative, which has been the case for me. I now try to sample/resample/manipulate my own synths and instruments as much as possible and keep as much as I can within the Maschine software. For finer adjustments I would export it out into Logic. If I were you I would get either an MPC or the Maschine.

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