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Thread: Lots of stuff, lots of doubts, lots of hope.

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    Unhappy Lots of stuff, lots of doubts, lots of hope.

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    Hello.
    I'm new to the forums so I thought I should start posting this here. Sorry if it's too demanding or long. I hope "nobody will laugh" as stated in the board's description. I'm Brazilian so forgive any english mistakes.

    I don't want to be a professional producer. I just want to make music by myself. As stupid as that sounds, I'm a (not so good) keyboard player that has some music knowledge and the guts to learn (and spend on) music production.
    This text opens everything I've tried to do with music. I really want help in order to start doing things right and stop the Try-and-Error.
    I think I should start with what I want to do (this is not a self-promoting post).

    - What I want to do:
    This:
    This is the latest song I made. It's the farthest I can get.

    This:
    I really want to be able to produce videogame music. This is my first experience.

    I do all of that by myself. I have access to a guitar and some friends that play instruments, but I don't know if I'm ready to record-and-produce analogic sound. Well, I also don't think I'm ready for MIDI... Let's get to hardware.

    - What I use:
    M-Audio Fast Track
    (amazon link: Amazon.com: M-Audio Fast Track II Avid USB Recording Studio Interface: Musical Instruments )
    This is my "audio interface" <- I don't know if that's the right name.

    Tascam DR-05
    (amazon link: Amazon.com: TASCAM DR-05 Portable Digital Recorder: Musical Instruments )
    I use this as a portable recorder. I never used it to make music, only to record voice and interviews. It's kinda busted (mono won't work, only stereo).

    Akai Professional MPK Mini
    (amazon link: Amazon.com: Akai Professional MPK Mini 25-Key Ultra-Portable USB MIDI Keyboard Controller: Musical Instruments )
    Newest buy. I like it a lot.

    MacBook Pro Retina 13'
    I used to record music on PC but I got a MacBook for work. I still have the PC but I just use it for gaming.

    Apple iPad Retina with TouchAble
    The BEST thing to work with Ableton. I sometimes prefer to use it to play with than the MPK Mini.

    Shure SM58
    My microphone for anything —music, interview, podcasting, etc.

    I have other things that I haven't used yet.

    Alesis QS6
    ( QS 6 )
    My dad bought this keyboard used. I have it since I began learning the keyboard and I haven't turned it on for about an year. It's heavy, bulky and do not come with USB ports, only old MIDI (whose MIDI-USB cables are HARD to find in Brazil). When connected to any software, It plays with latency. I like the "sounds" it has but never really tried to record audio (and not MIDI) from it.

    A children's Glockenspiel (which I tried to record but it didn't sound OK)
    A "Melodica" (Pocket Piano)
    An Accordion, which I'm learning and not ready to record (I think).

    - SOFTWARE TIME!
    I used to edit podcasts with Audacity. It's free and nice. I fiddled with Avid Pro Tools (can't remember the edition) that came with my Fast Track. Then I got Ableton Live, thanks to some friend's advice. I watched a few videos about how to use it and the songs above are the result of my experience.

    - What's the help I want:

    1) Should I ALWAYS use the Fast Track connected to my Mac or I will it only help if I'm recording audio? For example: I'm recording stuff from my midi keyboard, just experimenting. Should I have the Fast Track connected and headphones in it or Mac, MPK Mini and headphones connected into the Mac is enough?

    2) I have an iPad and I want to be able to record stuff away from home. I'm not always with my MacBook Pro (Brazilians will understand) but I'm with the iPad all the time. I want something that works alone, not like TouchAble, and can record simple audio and midi. If it get's to be multitrack and exportable (like recording midi and exporting the midi for import in Ableton), then it's better. I'm open to pay for this app.

    3) I'm having a real hard time with mixing —That's why I don't record audio, only midi. I hate the way my voice sounds and I tend to play too much with filters and effects. Is there anything —video-courses, books, things for newbies— that I can read/see? I can't do presencial classes, so remote will have to suffice. [EDIT: Answered here]

    ISSUES:
    I live in Brazil, so anything you tell me to buy is going to cost almost three times as it costs in USA. I'm inclined to buying things, but please don't tell me to buy a US$7000 hardware. I'm about to move to a small apartment, so I can't buy too big hardware. A small mixer would do? Sure. A new keyboard? Only if I dump my old one. Thanks.

    Thank you if you read all of this. All I want to do, after all, is to be able to invite friends home, record something nice, mix it and release it. It doesn't need to be AWESOMELY DONE, but good enough for our pleasure. I don't intend to make money with music production.
    Last edited by angelodias; 12-22-2014 at 13:43.

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    Hi there,
    I can't really help with the iPad stuff, but having the interface connected doesn't really matter for mixing or for recording midi.
    At a higher level it might, but the output converters in your interface aren't going to make a huge difference over just sticking the headphones into the MBP.
    In short, don't worry about it.

    Regarding the voice, I know you have sections which are heavily effected in that sound cloud song, but the main body of the vocal sounds just fine to me.
    Sounds like you're doing well enough.

    Hopefully someone will help you out with the mobile side of things but, apart from that, just keep doing what you're doing.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    Hi Angelodias and welcome.

    You English is waaaay better than my Portugese(?) which is non existant!

    On the keyboard/ MIDI front, if and when you look for another interface make sure it has MIDI DIN ports. This....
    M-Audio M-Track 2-Channel MIDI Interface - M-AUDIO | Clas Ohlson

    Is about the cheapest AI over here with MIDI that has any recommendation (from our very own Bobbsy) but another, probably better in the same price range is the Steinberg UR22. That also comes with a "lite" version of Cubase and I would put money on the combination giving you very acceptable latency with the keyboard.

    An even better, but more expensive AI that I can guarantee will have very low latency is the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6. Cubase again and it has two extra line inputs for 4 track recording.

    Much luck and Season's Greetings.

    Dave.

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    Your SoundCloud link sounds great, I would love to know how you got all of those instruments and drums.

    Good work!

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    There's a course called Introduction to Music Production, covering just about everything you might want as a newcomer, on Coursera. You can do it for free just by signing up to Coursera. It finished recently but will be repeated in February.

    If you want to take part in the coursework and submit projects to be marked, you should start the February course from scratch by clicking the second link above. If you just want to watch the videos and read the forum posts, you can start any time by clicking the first link I gave.

    You might also like to check out the Introduction to Ableton Live that also starts in February. Maybe you could find time to do both.
    Garry Knight

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    Quote Originally Posted by JamEZmusic View Post
    Your SoundCloud link sounds great, I would love to know how you got all of those instruments and drums.

    Good work!
    Which song are you talking about? I can give you some info from my Ableton project here, I think...

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    Quote Originally Posted by garryknight View Post
    There's a course called Introduction to Music Production, covering just about everything you might want as a newcomer, on Coursera. You can do it for free just by signing up to Coursera. It finished recently but will be repeated in February.

    If you want to take part in the coursework and submit projects to be marked, you should start the February course from scratch by clicking the second link above. If you just want to watch the videos and read the forum posts, you can start any time by clicking the first link I gave.

    You might also like to check out the Introduction to Ableton Live that also starts in February. Maybe you could find time to do both.
    That's awesome!! I think I'll enroll in the february couse. That answers question 3!

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    It's the one titled "Marcha do Vento",

    That is very kind of you, I appreciate it but I don't use Ableton. It's the instrument sounds I was curious about, some of those drum samples sound just like what I am looking for, and the cello? etc sound great. Is that Symphonic Orchestra? Or is it standard stuff that comes with Ableton? If so.... I may switch!

    Thank you for that nice gesture though! Very kind of you.

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    there are limitless amounts of information on the internet regarding mixing tips from beginner to advanced concepts. subscribe to anything from PureMix or Pensado's Place. Check out Modern Mixing dot com , thats an excellent resource for beginners. This forum too. Gearslutz is another forum you can check out. Pretty much every mixing forum has a "Newbie" section.

    Remember, most of us were in your same shoes, wondering how the hell our mixes are ever going to sound better. haha. Just keep it up, and every thing you work on should sound better than the last. Audio fiends (at least the ones that hang out on forums) love to help people out, so ask away!!

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    Recording on iPad (mini retina in my case) is something I've been doing a bit more of recently...

    Get a lightning-to-usb connector (new version that replaced the CCK) from apple and there's suddenly (in some cases you'll also need a powered USB hub) a host of audio devices that'll play nice with your iPad...
    My 2i2 works - my M-Audio 'Producer' USB mic works - my new Behringer UCA222 works (got this specifically to go with my ipad to record video, taking the audio from my laptop via the 2i2)

    Check out the Auria & Audiobus forums... They'll deffo give you ideas of what can be achieved!

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