Beginner needs advice with PC, hardware, software


I have heard of this, but did not realize it was text to voice though. A least it is free, so if it is not what you are after there is no loss.

As someone who has recently moved over to Linux, It is not as hard as I thought it would be. Took a few attempts to find a distro that would work on my old Dell Optiplex, but I’ve been on my current one for about a year now. It is easier with a modern computer. Some things can be a bit of a pain the first time round, but once you have done it once, it is not so bad. Like today I just learnt how to Linux Play and Wine, so I can use my favourite Windows and Mac only PDF reader for when I’m printing. Can finally ditch the old Widows computer now, so I am happy about that.


TheTeknomage, Affinity software doesn’t work on Linux and I am switching from Adobe products to Affinity.


morphic, can you adjust BPM within a song gradually, with the adjustment grabbing all the midi and audio and adjusting it according to the new BPM? Adjusting BPM within a song in order to blend it with the next song is very important to me.


Is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo competitor to the Motu m4?


You can duel boot your computer to run Windows and Linux. Get Windows put on first though:

That Scarlett Solo is 2 inputs 1 for mic and 1 for guitar and no line inputs for a poly synth if you should need or midi din sockets, so you would need to plug your keyboard direct into a USB port


This question by itself probably deserves a whole topic on its own.

I also use FL Studio, but I don’t work with a lot of audio/loops, so not sure how they handle BPM changes. I can say MIDI is kept in tempo. I do not know if most DAWs will let you do this or not, but FL Studio does.

For audio adjusting with BPM, what do you want it to do? Most DAWs these days have options as to how they will handle this. The common options are as follows:

  1. The audio is just played faster or slower to fit into the new amount of time that it has to play within. This is really basic and every DAW can do this.

  2. The audio is timestretched to try and preserve it’s pitch, but still play for the correct amount of time at the new BPM. Different DAWs do this in different ways.

  3. A higher-quality version of #2 that uses more CPU and may or may not be able to render in real-time.

As for who has the best timestretching algorithm, I think most people would say it’s Ableton these days, but I don’t work with a lot of audio or use Ableton so I really can’t say. I know I can get what I want out of FL studio and the tools it includes, but I’m not blending songs into sets.


RE: Changing the BPM of a project. I just tested it (kind of) in FL Studio and you can create an automation clip for the project BPM. That being said, I’m pretty sure that is going to be CPU intensive and I’m not sure if even a super desktop could handle it in real time. If you are only using finished songs it’ll probably be OK, but if you have a bunch of multi tracks for multiple songs I think you’ll have a bad time.

I don’t know much about Live.

There is a piece of software for making “studio mixes” called Mixmeister that is ideal and made specifically for this kind of thing. I don’t know what your purpose is in making mixes but this kind of mixing isn’t generally that well received by the DJ community.

If OP is wanting to learn to DJ live I recommend actually learning how to DJ or doing live sets (clip launching) with either Live or FL Studio (which has a pretty powerful live mode a lot of people don’t talk about).


No live DJ-ing, but in-studio song-blending – yes. That’s why I want to have full control of the BPM. But at the same time I would do non-beat based music too – piano, ambient, atmospheric. I would rather not jump from one DAW to another for the different types of music.
I looked at the Mixmeister site and I see that their software has “improved time-stretching”: Just to clarify, “time-stretching” means BPM changing within a song/set, right?

By the way, I haven’t heard recommendations for Reason yet… Just by looking at it, it seems a bit above my level of understanding.


time-stretch means you can change the BPM of the tracks w/o changing the pitch, generally


Yes, that’s what I’m looking for. No pitch distortion in the time-stretch, and holding all the instruments together chained and stretching them too.


PC Hardware: Decide budget. That determines everything. PCs are lego with a power supply. If you don’t want to or don’t know how to build it, expect to spend more. External sound thing only matters if recording external sound sources cos of DA converters and the build quality of the device, otherwise onboard audio is fine. If recording external sound sources and you don’t know what you’re doing, don’t worry hard about the best of the best of the best first time out as you will get so many other things wrong this is not the biggest thing to care about, you can upgrade down the line and just go with the built in audio card, whether its motherboard or a PCI card. Seriously worry about this later when you’ve done more. Also, it spreads the cost and by then you may have decided this isn’t for you.

Software: Win10, apply updates. If going Mac, lol for even asking on here, just do what Apple tell you.

DAW: Whatever floats your boat but this is the most important software decison of all. There are demo versions of everything, find something that allows you to create a workflow how your mind works. You’ll see people endlessly arguing over details. Ignore that shit. If it works for you, it works. End of. Take pressure to this or that with a Siberian salt mine. You may change later. That’s fine too. By the time you change you’ll be making a more informed decision based on your own experience.

Hardware connectivity: Worry later. Early days all that matters is figuring how all this stuff goes togther. Learning how sound works and mixing is the biggest part of it all other than generating music itself. If you care about hardware, look at the hardware thread but good luck reading all of that before the sun goes dark. This takes us back to budget. Nothing wrong with buying some hardware devices but bear in mind you’ll spend a lot of time figuring out how to make it all go together before you get to the same starting position that software will have got you to long before that. It can be rewarding but don’t fool yourself that its automatically better. You said starter, so I’m going with that.

Music input: Decide if you wanna press pad buttons or play keys. Then go accordingly. Doesn’t matter which works better for you, if it works better for you then you made the right choice.

If going the VST route, try some free or demo VSTs before spending money.

Demo stuff but stay legal cos Malware is a cnut.

I may have missed something. Its been a long day.


Thanks Roo_Stercogburn,
I will go with some of the larger custom PC builders on the web (like New Egg)… and I will ask the customer service to help me build a PC.
No pads. I will play keys – 88 MIDI keyboard is a must because I play piano. Then as I have the beat laid out or a metronome, I will play the midi on the top of that and later dress up the midi with selected instruments.
That’s my simple vision of making the songs… even the ambient/drone songs that will have no beat will be made the same route.
So, for the beginning, other than the new PC, the hardware will be only: keyboard, headphones, microphone, portable audio recorder for experiments, and the USB interface. According to morphic I should get MOTU for the USB interface, not the Focusrite – where I would plug-in the keyboard and the mic (not the headphones I believe).
What is a VST route vs non-VST route? I don’t understand. Let’s say, I am applying some kind of non-destructive effect on the tracks – echo or EQ or fade, or some kind of sound vibrating effect – does the software come with that or I purchase it separately as a VST instrument?
I currently have Audacity on my old PC, but all the effects are destructive. I use Audacity for simple single track editing and chopping, but with a DAW it will be a whole different game with non-destructive editing.


Weighted keys are of course a good idea for a piano player and work well for a lot of instruments, but I would also really recommend to look into MPE - it’s one of the big revolutions in electronic music production and enables you to play expressively like with a string or wind instrument. So instead of velocity and aftertouch you have 5 parameters for every key or finger and can control every aspect of a sound, be it a violin, a panflute or a new synth patch you just made… A lot of MPE controllers are pad-based in one form or another, but there are new controllers coming out all the time. Some have piano layout (like the Seaboard or the one by KMI), some more non-traditional (my fav the LinnStrument is more like a guitar). Really really cool stuff. It costs a bit, but there are some relatively cheap options. Here is some more info on the topic:

These days most DAWs come with good effects that cover the most common basics and do the job. For some more exotic effects (something like Zynaptiq Morph that does spectral morphing between two sound sources or complicated playable auto-glitch and -modulation effects such as StutterEdit for instance), or for a certain specific sound or specific options (Pro-Q does dynamic EQing beside constant EQing, Pro-R has frequency curves for decay time and so on), or for workflow and UI preferences, it can make sense to buy additional VST effects, but you can do A LOT with DAW effects. Additionally, DAW effects often use less resources as some of the VST options out there.

With VSTis, the story can be very different imho since 1) synths are usually more complicated and therefore leave more room for differences and unique aspects 2) you often spend more time with synths when building sounds, therefore GUI and workflow differences are more important and 3) if you are using a lot of presets instead of or additionally to making your own synth sounds, getting multiple synths just for the different (sometimes extremely huge) factory soundbanks can make sense.


No, it’s more limited - without even looking at the technical specs, you can see there are much fewer inputs and output options.

With The Focusrite, you wouldn’t be able to plug a synth in there (no L/R inputs). looks like it’s really for plugging in a guitar (which is always going to be mono) and/or a mic (same).


Maybe this is for another thread, but since for every song that I record I also want to do a 4k video, does it mean that instead of 44 kHz 16 bit I would record at higher sampling rate – let’ say 48 kHz, 24 bit? I am reading on the web that audio for video should go higher than 44 kHz.


I think that’s a syncing issue. I know DVD audio is recorded at 48 khz, and I believe that is the standard sample rate that most video editing software expects. It should not be a big deal for a DAW to handle that, just look in the audio options for the sample rate and set it tor 48 khz and be done. For syncing audio and video there is also SMPTE, though I really have no idea what the protocols for that are.