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I need help with starting my darkpsy production career

Posted: Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:34 am
by aaletjern
Hi everyone. Im new to this forum, i am a hobby musician, played keyboard for about 10 years and am now thinking of evolving to the state of making electronic music via music programs like ableton, FP etc. I have to say, I have pretty much no knowledge of the subject, terminology, or how things works when it comes to making music electronically. But ill try to explain what I know and what i would like to know.

I love darkpsy and thats the genre i would like to explore. I think ill go for ableton since i have a friend that can teach me this but first i have to know what hardware i need. As i am a old school keyboardist, i would prefer to have a midi controller at hand instead of just using a DAW piano bar with mouse-clicking. In the beginning i wont buy any hardware synths but just be using whatever soft synths there is which is compatible with this ableton program. BUT i need a midi controller, which is at this moment, my only way of expressing myself musically.

But then again, im at a loss. The more reviews I read, the more confused i get. I am customed to a korg triton with 61 keys and i would need at least a midi controller with the same key amount because im gonna use the keyboard not just for music production via computer but also for recreational use with two-hand playing. I have been looking at the m-audio axiom 61 and the novation impulse-series as the knobs and handles seems convenient though i dont know shit about how those knobs and handles works contra a DAW program.

So please everyone, can you please give me a lead, an advice, an introduction to how i can evolve my interest this wast- world? Much appreciated.

Best regards, Steffen.

Re: I need help with starting my darkpsy production career

Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 9:17 am
by Mandari
hey dude :)

first welcome here, nice to meet you. well, to be honest you found exactly that forum which is that active that you can write a topic which stays unreplied for months if not years :D

so, i had a look for a thread i wrote some years ago according your issue. but sadly cant find it :/ may be on isratrance forum, dunno. anyways. your question is some matter of choice and for sure..... money ^^

i bought the xstation 25 from novation which is not produced anymore. but one may find that machine if interested i guess. reason i did that was bcause i wanted as much as i can get for my money. which is a decent synth with two dsp processing, midi controlling and audio interface in jst one case for 400 bucks (new, ordered from novation that time). best deal i ever did!

now, you already thought about that and told us the issue. that beeing said i just want to leave a shout to NEVER EVER in your ENTIRE LIFE phuk around with m-audio, behringer etc. bullshit. pls do yourself a favour and avoid those discount equipments. for the same amount i paid you get pretty decent masterkeys from wellknown manufacturers, from novation to korg, roland, doepfer etc. just a matter of choice. try to get them into your hands to get a sense for the keys, which should be important to you if you think about using it recreational. according to your flow you need some really good weighted keys or some adjustable.

i dont want to recommend anything special here, cause thats really up to you, your needs, your flow, your taste. theres surely stuff coming by like customer services, terms of warranty etc.

only thing important i give everyone one their way is to avoid at least m-audio and behringer. i dont mind ppl telling different, each piece i had in hads was just a bunch of not even good looking crap. the hardware is just some deep mountain of shit. its not worth the few bucks one saves!

for daw usage.... well, im into ableton for years now.... theres the welcome tuts at the beginning, lots and tons of material on their website, theres tom cosm and other artists showing how to get the last bit of fuckkn shit you never thjought of out of these goodies and yeahhh, theres a really really helpful manual.

but thats not the issue. you will get comfortable with it pretty fast i guess. way more fast if you´re somehow familiar with some studio hardware. its nothing more like a modified multiband recorder and sampler n such smashed into that one machine. kinda virtual studio, which you prefer is up to you. i found ableton suits my workflow most and best.

how you set up the keys is pretty easy and mostly plug´n´play. just connect and it will show up as device. controls can now be set up with just two clicks. but thats some story you can experience yourself after you bought some keys :blush i guess you will have fun experience itself, trust me theres nothing complicated and nothing you can harm. just fun.

well, getting kinda novel, might be lot to add here. sooO, feel free to ask if you got any problems. hope kinda helped. cheers

Re: I need help with starting my darkpsy production career

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:10 am
by aaletjern
Hi and thank you for the quick reply! As i already know behringer is a brand to avoid, i will add m-audio to the NO-NO-list if thats what you say. Just for information i had a behringer guitar amp 150W once during my active metal epoke but sold it soon after i discovered this was just crap giving me feedback even on low gain input. Enough of that, it seems like Novation is a safe maker, together with korg as i already know. To the next subject; please enlighten me on a few subjects;

What is a DSP? This is shortage for Digital signal processing but what does it really mean?
Audio interface! Does this mean that the keyboard has any integrated synths, like sound banks? Please enlighten me.

Another question I have been asking myself is that should i buy myself a simple synthesizer keyboard with sound banks and usb/midi-compatibility or should i just go for a 100% midi controller with knobs etc. and rely everything on soft synths via a DAW, in my case Ableton? What do you think? Opinions are always subjective, i know, but i would like to hear several thoughts on the subjects.

Money is always an issue, then again, when i invest i would like to invest in something that gives value. I would need a midi controller+soft synths OR a synth keyboard with midi that satifies my needs, which is playing psychedelic ambient etc. stoned as recreation but also gives me the option of making music tru a daw. Maybe i got a hangup on the knobs/sliders/pad-thing when im looking for controllers but thats just because i dont know whats really needed for music creation using a midi controller.

Sorry for being vague about everything but im at a loss here and would love some input about the further process.
Thank you sincerely for answering me seriously. BTW, i checked out your url's and listened to your music. I found some of the tracks really inspiring. Just avoiding the TOO fast bpm's.

Regards Steffen

Re: I need help with starting my darkpsy production career

Posted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:10 am
by Mandari
hey :)

well at first i wanna thank you for having alisten to my tunes. i had some experimental times some years ago with kinda psycore project. i rejected after first releases and locked myself into studio to work some further. the 148bpm is the more recent stuff i did ^^
had some trancy EP i worked on which is not uploaded. i dont give anything about that genre thingy. music is who i am, i try to not control whats coming out there.

anyways, according to your questions, a dsp is a signal processor right. i.e. used for processing audio and videomaterial in mostly any way. for synthesis this i.e. means the dsp calculates by 0 and 1 any given waveform. you can see that in any daw if you take a real analog waveform like a pure sine and put a digital sine next to it. now if you zoom in, you´ll clearly see the digital sine becoming edgy and more steppy. theres the difference between analog and digital visible. the analog signal will always stay smooth roundish, as it´s controlled voltage. a digital signal is nothing more than an approach to an analog signal, calculated by a dsp ;)
yeah dsp use to run in common audio interfaces for emulating D/A<->A/D conversion i.e. they just operate like any processor calculating the math behind. for interfaces this means they take the process your pc would need to calculate, i.e. any conversions and good ones even offer external dsp processed fx, which allows even more cpu usage beeing taken off your pc system. this gets pretty handy sometime....

anyways, getting deeper here. the reason i mentioned those two dsp in my xstation is simply because they can run seperate. thus the xstation runs easily as midi controlling device with external fx section that may be added to the output by one button, and that easily i can switch it to synth mode, which allows me to use it as synth. any midi routing keeps for sure, just this one button decides wther my knobs and such are used for the synth or for midi controlling. to me this is just perfect and that time i bought it, the suspended clavia g2 was the only machine offering similiar even better.

now they both suspended but are worth their money. you will never leave them thats for sure. just some sincere words according the g2. its fkkn worth every single penny, and this is the reason why its not that easy to find. sometimes there are one or two on ebay n such. but often i had no chance finding one. if i find it, i dont have the money xD
thing is, you can create your own synth. pretty easy, you learn damnin lot and you can try this here:

any patch you create there is uploaded to the g2. now imagine you got kinda synth where you dont switch patches as sounds but switch patches as synths. you will learn everything i told you here just by giving this demo a go and trying to get a sound out of it. you learn how a signal path works and really lots of basics and advance stuff. if you understand that demo, you wont have problems understanding any synth there is.

so, to me a synth was really beneficial. i bought a blofeld too when it came out and that time i learned really lot of that. its much more comfortable to have it infront of you for real and not only on screen.

been a lot, excuse the novel pls. keeping things short, an audio interface does the in/out stuff, usually cheap ones doing nothing more. so that does not have to mean your keyboard has a synth. and surely ONLY synths have soundbanks. you need an audio interface, def.! you need higher samplerates, lower latency rates , dsp power to get the calculating process off your computer. sounds weired, just easy. usually, midi keyboards DONT have built in audio interfaces. now if you want a synth too, its up to you buying three to four devices or one. while there are for sure better sound interfaces than the one built into my xstation, its way better than most 100 bucks interfaces on the market and def. way more than enough to work with.

to the clavia, that machine beeing anywhere like 1600€-2000€, which sounds a lot. but some simple math shows that a cheap synth with similiar options is min. 400€ (while similiar beeing not really that realistic, as the g2 is a modular synth), a similiar midi device somewhere 300€-400€, an similiar interface 500€-600€..... sooo, those few bucks left you pay for the extraordinary quality clavia delivers (in terms of sound and technology) and the cult status of the g2 ^^

so, for those 400€ for the xstation, i was able to solve the synth, the midi AND the interface issue.... without that beeing chaotic struggling through thousands of small menues on even smaller screen. i.e. it was really one of the best deals i ever did ;) but i wanted to keep things hand luggage size first and go for studio equipment later on. so, a 25keys version of a keyboard beeing my synth, midicontroller and interface was just fkkn what i needed ^^ so for a gig just my laptop was needed + usb cable and power supply. adding the blofeld was still hand luggage.... neat :)
if i had the bucks i anyways would def. ANY TIME go for the g2 .... but thats my humble opinion. im a modular nerd and love the analog style emulation of this synth. matter of taste.

how you go for these things is really up to you. if you want rock hard candys and solid state of the art material you dont need to replace i would at least go for good midi keys (you need to feel them, go to any music store and compare, try really expensive ones and feel the difference. if a knob feels not comfortable, leave that shit, if a fader is not running 200% smooth as you want it to move, leave it).
for the interface, if bought seperate, i´d def. go AT LEAST for a rme or motu interface. as for the synth i´d go for what suits me most. just listen to them, make the local or neaby music store your girlfriend. get kinda hobnob with it ^^

mac/pc optimized for audio
clavia g2
rme/motu interface (if things mobile, getting deeper if analog gear is preferred)
synth matter of choice (already got one to thousands with the g2)
monitoring beeing matter of choice too and depending on the size of the room, 8" woofers needed for really lowend mixing and mastering purposes.... like event, genelec, k&h etc. (for active....differs if passive preferred) id go for three way instead of two way and get small 2way nearfielders next to the bigboys.

the best equipment is useless if you cant use it.... hope it was kinda helpful. you asked some tough questions which are hard to be answered short. so pls excuse the novel. have fun between and fiddle around with the g2 demo. ^^

thats beeing my 2 cents. but this is really up to you. what you need. if you want to set up home basement and solidify things or keeping things mobile first.... sure for a studio setup id go for different things. if money and room not beeing an issue ....

cheers: stephan