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Old 01-12-2010, 11:02 PM   #1
DirtyMakik
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Synths/DAWs help/discussion Thread.

Since there is quite a large group of people who wants help with electronic music/DAWs/synths/softs, let's do a thread on it!

Now, if anyone needs help with anything electro music related, or just want to discuss about their gear, this is the thread for it.

We (xaviergray, captaincrunk, Kid_Thorazine, Sid McCall and I) can help you out if you're a beginner, or if there's something wrong with your gear, or if you have question about softsynths or which DAW to use, etc...

We're gonna rock on to Electric Avenue!

I'll edit this post if there's anything new.
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Originally Posted by daytripper75
Get To Da Choppa!

Last edited by DirtyMakik : 01-19-2010 at 04:30 PM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:36 PM   #2
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The Principal Forms Of Music Synthesis


How it works.


Additive synthesis: Basically adding sine waves in order to make a more or less complete sound. Example: Hammond Organ.

Subtractive synthesis: It is the most widely used form of synthesis in electronic music today, usually very warm sounding, but it can also sound wicked.
Starting with a or multiple harmonic-rich waves (Sawtooth, Pulse and/or Square, Triangle, Sine, Noise) created by one or multiple voltage-controlled oscillators,
At this point, you can either just mix the oscillators or modulate them:
Ring modulation: It multiplies the harmonics of a wave with another, it usually sounds very metallic.
Sync: It resets one of the waves when the other reaches another cycle, usually sounds thin.
Cross-mod: Basic FM, a wave being the carrier, and the other being the modulator.
Then subtracting out certain harmonics with one or multiples resonant or non-resonant filters (Low-Pass, High-Pass, Band-Pass and/or Band-Cut), the cutoff frequency can be controlled in time and depth (by the use of an ADSR or a Low Frequency Oscillator) or only in depth (Velocity, Aftertouch, manually),
The filtered wave then goes into an amp which volume's can be changed by the use of the same type of controllers as in the filter section. Examples: The Moog Synthesizer, any "analog" or "Virtual Analog" synth.

Frequency Modulation synthesis: You have a number (usually 4 or 6) of sine waves (or, in synths like the TX81z, 8 different waveforms), and these can be combined at different ratios to "modulate" each other, hence the name "frequency modulation synthesis". I don't know too much about the technical side of this, but you can get some pretty rich tones, albeit thinner without processing. The only "keyboard synth" I've been able to get some pretty fat bass tones and some nice pads out of it, and it's got a very rich, digital quality to it. Not analog warm at all, but a different kind of warm sound. This one's got it's advantages and disadvantages, I'd definitely recommend it if you're willing to invest time into learning how to program good sounds. Examples: Yamaha DX/TX series.

Wavetable synthesis: A usually hybrid analog(subtractive)/digital(waves) synthesis, pretty much the same as subtractive but, instead of voltage-controlled oscillators, you have wavetables which are very small "samples" of a sound. Example: PPG Wave 2,3, Yamaha Motif series (though the wave is a full sample).

Linear Arithmetic synthesis: A layer of a small sample from the beginning of a real instrument's sound, and what is now seen as virtual analog. Example: Roland D-50.

Granular synthesis: A bit of a misnomer as it really isn't synthesis at all, it's more of a sampling technique. Basically take a VERY SHORT audio sample (like, milliseconds short) or "grain", loop it, and you get a tone. Shape it with an ADSR and filters and you get a basic sound, which is like a synth but a bit, for lack of a better word, buzzier-sounding. You can then layer them with the same or other grain sounds to make some pretty interesting sounds. What I like about this method is that since every audio sample is different, every grain sound you make will sound a little bit different, despite the same premise. The first "synth" you hear at the beginning of xaviergray's track "Sansnare" was made with this method, using a sample of a reverb tail from a commercial song, looping a few milliseconds of it, and processing it with reverb, a filter and some delay. This method is pretty hard to do live, although if you get a keyboard with decent sampling in it you could theoretically do it beforehand and use the sounds live. Example: mostly VST instruments.

Sampling: Samples of audio. This could be anything really, you take an audio file (or several, for different registers of pitch), set when to start, loop it if you like, shape it with ADSR and filters, and presto, you have a sound. This is the premise behind any keyboard you hear with piano sounds on it. Stage pianos aren't flexible like real samplers though, a stage piano basically does everything beforehand and lets you play with the result, a real sampler is far more fun, and far harder to master. I recommend getting a software sampler as hardware ones are pretty much either nonexistent or expensive as all hell these days. Examples: Fairlight CMI, Synclavier.

Physical modeling synthesis: This is where it gets weird and complex, computer algorithms and stuff that I don't understand are used to virtually recreate the acoustics of a real instrument. I have no idea how they work but you can get some pretty neat sounds out of them, they're a more synthetic alternative to sampled sounds if you want string and piano sounds and what not.

Phase distortion synthesis: *we don't know much about that synthesis* Example: Casio CZ series.

A Workstation is usually a keyboard with hybrid synthesis methods (for example, the Yamaha Motif ES can do Wavetable synthesis which can be turned into Virtual Analog synthesis, and it also has an integrated Sampler) and a sequencer which can be used internally or externally (controlling other synths with MIDI). In order to be called a workstation, you must have everything to make a whole song in the keyboard itself.
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funkyducky

Icing happen when de puck come down, BANG, you know,
before de oder guys, nobody dere, you know.
My arm go comme ša, den de game stop den start up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daytripper75
Get To Da Choppa!

Last edited by DirtyMakik : 01-13-2010 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:41 PM   #3
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So I'm working on a Mac, which I've recently dicovered doesn't support FruityLoops. What else can I use?

Also, I need a MIDI keyboard, don't I? As in, it's impossible without one right?

And then, how does one actually build an electronic track?
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:02 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dispreferred
So I'm working on a Mac, which I've recently dicovered doesn't support FruityLoops. What else can I use?


There are a number of DAWs available. What do you want to do with it, and what style of music are you making? (There should be a list up in the OP at some point)


Quote:
Also, I need a MIDI keyboard, don't I? As in, it's impossible without one right?


It's difficult, but not impossible. If you come from an instrumental background, it's pretty much the best way to get your ideas down fast.


Quote:
And then, how does one actually build an electronic track?


There isn't any one way, really. You can compose your synth parts, program the synths, gather drum samples, program your drums, chop breakbeats, apply effects, tweak parameters, and mix, not necessarily in any specific order. I like to start with drums first personally. Again, we'll hopefully have the basics of this stuff in the FAQs soon.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:25 AM   #5
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:35 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaviergray
There are a number of DAWs available. What do you want to do with it, and what style of music are you making? (There should be a list up in the OP at some point)
.


Dance music. I know that's too broad a term but I'm not sure of the generic subcategories of dance/electronic, but here's some/most of my favourites:
- The Presets
- Justice
- Boyz Noize
- Prodigy
- Art vs Science
- Bag Raiders

I'd also love to be able to remix.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xaviergray

It's difficult, but not impossible. If you come from an instrumental background, it's pretty much the best way to get your ideas down fast.


It's not even that difficult really, I have MIDI controllers and still sequence a lot of stuff in my DAW with the piano roll/step sequencer.


Also if you have a Mac you can use Garageband (which you should have a copy of) or upgrade to Logic which is a great all around DAW with lots of built in synths and effects.
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Old 01-13-2010, 12:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dispreferred
Dance music. I know that's too broad a term but I'm not sure of the generic subcategories of dance/electronic, but here's some/most of my favourites:
- The Presets
- Justice
- Boyz Noize
- Prodigy
- Art vs Science
- Bag Raiders

I'd also love to be able to remix.

You can always get a different DAW. In the end, there isn't much a difference. You could start with reaper, or something basic, and upgrade later if you get serious.
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Old 01-13-2010, 01:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid_Thorazine
It's not even that difficult really, I have MIDI controllers and still sequence a lot of stuff in my DAW with the piano roll/step sequencer.


Also if you have a Mac you can use Garageband (which you should have a copy of) or upgrade to Logic which is a great all around DAW with lots of built in synths and effects.


I do it that way too, maybe difficult wasn't the best way of putting it, it's got more of a learning curve if you come from an instrumental background.
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Old 01-13-2010, 02:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dispreferred
So I'm working on a Mac, which I've recently dicovered doesn't support FruityLoops. What else can I use?

Also, I need a MIDI keyboard, don't I? As in, it's impossible without one right?

And then, how does one actually build an electronic track?

You should look into Ableton Live, it's the most similar (and far superior, imo).

You don't NEED a midi keyboard if you like manually entering data into a piano roll with your mouse, then adjusting velocity manually as well.

Then, you build an electronic track by reading the manual that comes with your DAW and learning how to record various instruments, then you write the song like you would in any other situation.
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Old 01-13-2010, 11:00 PM   #11
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Thanks for all your help guys. It will take me a while to get the funds to attempt this, but you guys have been really helpful. I'm sure I'll have more questions for you all in the future. Cheers.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:04 AM   #12
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Anyone interested in joining the help team? (Kid and Sid?)
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funkyducky

Icing happen when de puck come down, BANG, you know,
before de oder guys, nobody dere, you know.
My arm go comme ša, den de game stop den start up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daytripper75
Get To Da Choppa!
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:14 AM   #13
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Hey i figured this would be the best place to ask ...

im planning on investing in a workstation keyboard and been eyeballing the roland ones. Anyone have any experience with the newer fantoms and how they differ from the old X series?
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Old 01-15-2010, 07:25 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by mexican_shred
Hey i figured this would be the best place to ask ...

im planning on investing in a workstation keyboard and been eyeballing the roland ones. Anyone have any experience with the newer fantoms and how they differ from the old X series?


I've never been a fan of the Fantom series (except for the old analog ones) the X series where pretty much just standard sampling/digital synth boards, the newer ones of course have a lot more workstation type stuff. The Korg M3 is a lot better IMO.
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Old 01-15-2010, 05:07 PM   #15
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Thanks! ill be sure to try the Korg out
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:21 AM   #16
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thanks for pointing me to this thread guys, what I'm looking for in a synth is basically something to record for trance/house stuff, but something that I could also use for live, one-man band performances, so it'd probably be best to get a real synth, and not a controller.
I honestly have no idea about any of this, but I'm going for something like Daft Punk-ish, and this


I was thinking about the MircoKorg, because sound-wise, it suffices to my needs, but thought maybe somebody knew of something in a similar price range with a vocoder and similar sounds.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:22 AM   #17
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If you're hesitating about getting a MIDI controller and likes metal with a synth in...then get one, it's awesomely fun and you can use a program like Kore Player to play trough.

For beginners like me, the M-Audio Keystation 61es is amazing and it's enough...no unneccesary bullshit, just the keys and a "whammy" thingy.

it costs 150$ and is by far the best sollution for that price IMHO.
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Old 01-19-2010, 05:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by DirtyMakik
Anyone interested in joining the help team? (Kid and Sid?)

Sure, I'm always down to help out!
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:01 AM   #19
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For beginners like me, the M-Audio Keystation 61es is amazing and it's enough...no unneccesary bullshit, just the keys and a "whammy" thingy.


You mean the pitch and wheels? Yeah also the mod wheel traditionally either works as a vibrato controller or does a filter sweep (think wah pedal) although with most computer set ups you can set it to do almost anything, very useful/
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Old 01-19-2010, 04:14 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoreysMonster
thanks for pointing me to this thread guys, what I'm looking for in a synth is basically something to record for trance/house stuff, but something that I could also use for live, one-man band performances, so it'd probably be best to get a real synth, and not a controller.
I honestly have no idea about any of this, but I'm going for something like Daft Punk-ish, and this


I was thinking about the MircoKorg, because sound-wise, it suffices to my needs, but thought maybe somebody knew of something in a similar price range with a vocoder and similar sounds.


I strongly suggest the Roland JP-8080, even though it's a rack version of the JP-8000, it has an integrated vocoder, something which the 8000 lacks, but the 8000 has an actual keyboard, I suggest those especially for trance, since it has the original Supersaw sound. You can try the software Superwave P8 to get a basic idea of the sounds and controls.

DirtyEdit: ****in' Typo.
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funkyducky

Icing happen when de puck come down, BANG, you know,
before de oder guys, nobody dere, you know.
My arm go comme ša, den de game stop den start up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daytripper75
Get To Da Choppa!

Last edited by DirtyMakik : 01-20-2010 at 03:45 AM.
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