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Thread: Remember your first time opening your DAW?

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    Remember your first time opening your DAW?

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    Hey there guys,

    Do you still remember the first time you opened up your DAW to make your first "song"?
    I do and I still remember how confusing and disenchanted I was trying to get "something" done.

    Last week I felt sick and had some freetime so I decided to launch a website that tries to help beginners to get along and to archieve faster results in their music producing.

    This is where you guys could really help me out! What do you think wants a newbie to know when he starts making music? Any ideas what topics should be taken care of? I would really appreciate your input!

    A first draft of the page can be found here: Music Production Infos - An orientation for beginners

    Thank you for your time in advance!

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    Okay, I'll bite.

    One of the first things a newb should know is the different options they have for recording. Standalone, software based, analog, etc.

    The next thing is what they can and can't do. That's a huge list.

    Then they need to know the overall process flow from microphone to spotify, itunes, etc.

    Then on to details.

    What is an audio interface and why they should use it for software based recording.

    What is multitrack recording

    What is MIDI and why is it different from audio.

    Why they absolutely need to acoustically treat their monitoring spaces.

    All the different processing gear and how they are replicated in software plugs.

    Recording different instruments. Mic placement, vocal booths (and why not to use them), sound isolation. Recording space.

    Mixing

    EQ, compression, reverb/delay, when and how to use.

    Timeline editing in software.

    Bouncing for analog and standalone.

    Mixdown and file formats, converting formats, bit depth and sample rates, etc. Options for analog and standalone

    Mastering - what it is and what it isn't.

    Copyright, Royalties, licensing

    Distribution

    Promotion

    And all the little holes in between.

    Check out TWEAKHEADZ (click for link). It is a website built for newbs. Tweaks passed on several years ago and the site hasn't been updated, but most of the information there is still valid.

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    I always suggest Home Recording for Musicians for Dummies, this gets the basics. The DAW is the least of one's problem until one understands the fundamentals.

    If they read that book (or some fundamental book), once understood then the DAW is a matter of function. But the fundamentals of recording, that is the hard part IMO.
    DM60 Tunes: The Collection

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    I remember my first time using a computer to make music - 1994 Cubase on an Atari. No books, no friends doing it, so you had the mega thick manual and your time. I found it exciting, and this was the first time with a graphical interface on the screen too!

    If you're looking for comments on the site - Music Production Infos?? Surely just Info - you don't normally pluralise info, at least not in the UK. Your choice of the three packages is a little 'interesting'. Perhaps you need to explain that unless you're into loop based stuff - working with beats, then these might not be the most appropriate? I've never used any of the drum loop type components my setup has buried inside it. No problem with the selection of applications, but for somebody wanting to record or sequence keyboard based music, they might not be quite right - or get rid of that type of musicians and not try to do everything?

    There are quite a few typos, but you'll find those when you go for the full site. Some bits, though - don't read right at all. "Monitor speakers are designed to provide a flat frequency response so that that the audio signal is reproduced linear" - might need a little explanation? The other bit "As a studio microphone, they’re very powerful." - not sure what that means. The strangest comment is about ribbon mics - "These are the most sensitive mics around, so they’re meant to be used on softer sounds, like voice or strings." My ribbon's not particularly sensitive at all, and I don't use it on voice very often because of the tendency of some of my clients to sing damn loud. I smiled at the VST and plugins - I have Reactor and Massive X - and never ever use them - mainly because I'm old and record old fashioned music, but all those other plugins I'd never consider buying at all. I hoped you'd include the Kontakt Libraries in the sample section but you went for the odder stuff again.

    You say that if you want to create music, you go to the site - "It doesn’t matter what genre you like to produce" - it really does, doesn't it. There's nothing for creators like me at all.

    I think it's a great start - but you need to point out the genres of music you are thinking about and who your visitors will be, because for people like me, you click away quickly. I also think you might want to research youtube videos a little more - if these three are the best, we're in trouble. The first is OK, but the second with the awful computer voice is cringeworthy. The last one, I gave up quickly with. If these are the best to compliment your website we're in trouble.

    One thing that always needs to be said before going anywhere in music production. Are you musical? If so, how much? What can you play and how well. You might think that to create with Fruity Loop style DAWs you don't need to be musical, but you do - and those that aren't can create music fine, but they cannot analyse how good it is.

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    Mou

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    Props to you starting a site for newbies.

    So you had some free time and started a site? You better be prepared to have all of the information. I been doing this for decades and don't have all the answers.

    Best to you, but you should probably get a job. Not trying to be a dick, but there is too much information and experience needed to just one off a site. There is one right here already.
    PC Win7-64-24G i7-4790k/Cubase 10 Pro 64-bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/ADAM A7x/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne 4 Studio/Other things that don't mean anything if a client shows up not knowing what it wants.

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    DAW? You mean Windows 95 Sound Recorder? Cool Edit Pro came soon after... Saw Studio didn't work properly for me with Full Duplex... but N-Track did! Those were the days!

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    No problems but then I came from tape and took the time to read the Pro Tools Reference manual cover to cover before I started using the DAW.
    Win 7 Ult Dell i7 4core 6700ghz 32 GB, 1,2x2, 4 Tb Barracuda HD's running Pro tools 2019 through Allen&Heath Qu-32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    Okay, I'll bite.

    Why they absolutely need to acoustically treat their monitoring spaces.

    Recording different instruments. Mic placement, vocal booths (and why not to use them), sound isolation. Recording space.

    Mixing

    EQ, compression, reverb/delay, when and how to use

    Copyright, Royalties, licensing

    Distribution

    Promotion

    And all the little holes in between.
    Wow thats quite a lot! Thank you so much! I see this site needs a lot of work! In generally I didn't think about the "How to" techniques at all at this point! Even though they are so important! Will definietly work something out these days! Royalities and Promotion is so important as well! So many good points thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rob aylestone View Post
    I remember my first time using a computer to make music - 1994 Cubase on an Atari. No books, no friends doing it, so you had the mega thick manual and your time. I found it exciting, and this was the first time with a graphical interface on the screen too!

    If you're looking for comments on the site - Music Production Infos?? Surely just Info - you don't normally pluralise info, at least not in the UK. Your choice of the three packages is a little 'interesting'. Perhaps you need to explain that unless you're into loop based stuff - working with beats, then these might not be the most appropriate? I've never used any of the drum loop type components my setup has buried inside it. No problem with the selection of applications, but for somebody wanting to record or sequence keyboard based music, they might not be quite right - or get rid of that type of musicians and not try to do everything?

    There are quite a few typos, but you'll find those when you go for the full site. Some bits, though - don't read right at all. "Monitor speakers are designed to provide a flat frequency response so that that the audio signal is reproduced linear" - might need a little explanation? The other bit "As a studio microphone, they’re very powerful." - not sure what that means. The strangest comment is about ribbon mics - "These are the most sensitive mics around, so they’re meant to be used on softer sounds, like voice or strings." My ribbon's not particularly sensitive at all, and I don't use it on voice very often because of the tendency of some of my clients to sing damn loud. I smiled at the VST and plugins - I have Reactor and Massive X - and never ever use them - mainly because I'm old and record old fashioned music, but all those other plugins I'd never consider buying at all. I hoped you'd include the Kontakt Libraries in the sample section but you went for the odder stuff again.

    You say that if you want to create music, you go to the site - "It doesn’t matter what genre you like to produce" - it really does, doesn't it. There's nothing for creators like me at all.

    I think it's a great start - but you need to point out the genres of music you are thinking about and who your visitors will be, because for people like me, you click away quickly. I also think you might want to research youtube videos a little more - if these three are the best, we're in trouble. The first is OK, but the second with the awful computer voice is cringeworthy. The last one, I gave up quickly with. If these are the best to compliment your website we're in trouble.

    One thing that always needs to be said before going anywhere in music production. Are you musical? If so, how much? What can you play and how well. You might think that to create with Fruity Loop style DAWs you don't need to be musical, but you do - and those that aren't can create music fine, but they cannot analyse how good it is.
    Thank you very much for your input! I will do some additional research on the equipment section! You said you have a different opinion on the vst list! I hoped somebody would jump at this! What kind of plugins would you recommend? I am searching for new plugins by myself!

    Thanks for the tipp with the genres! I really appreciate your feedback!

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    For me, it's really reverbs - all sorts, but to be honest, I have just a few I really like, and they came free with the DAW. I've got a few limiters and a vocoder - and of course I have a big collection in the section where Cubase moves non-supported or out of date ones. View plugins like your music collection. It's really just 'you' - mine won't appeal at all. I also get emails every day from people I have bought VSTi instruments from - synths and sample based doesn't matter. I often click on these and if what they offer fills a hole, I buy it,.

    For me, the biggest improvement has been Kontakt. Two years ago, I had a studio full of synths and modules, and now my studio is mixerless and everything is produced inside the computer. The other big advance is the Kontakt S61 keyboard - I'm finding new sounds I didn't even know I had every day, and output has gone up. It also shows me with coloured LEDs where things are on the keyboard and again, on my favourite VST based packages, there are sounds I've never heard. I loaded up massive the other day - I always zipped past it in the list, and I did find something I could use, but I can't see me going to it.

    The big problem with using computers is that once you get good and creative with something, you are trapped into that platform for ever. I use macs and windows now, and this is far, far less important, but the DAW is like learning your language when a child. If you are brought up speaking something less common, you probably learn English too. Somebody who like Ableton probably is a decent musician but has an interest in a particular genre of music. They probably have little interest in reading music based on 5 line staves, or creating the perfect basoon sound in a cathedral. The real thing though is DAWs do things in different ways. I started with Cubase 25 years ago and pretty much it's clearly the same thing. Friends with Macs started with Logic. Fruity Loops brought loop based sequencing to those who needed that for their music. Cakewalk, Sonar and plenty of others appeared and waxed and waned as music changed. Protools was very popular in bigger studios, and I spent a fortune on a Soundscape system with dedicated hardware (that yesterday went to the land fill). Protools was in the early days really useless with MIDI, so MIDI folk who could afford it, avoided it. Thankfully the snobbery has now gone. It's been replaced with cost, where the full packages are still serious money, but they've now layered them. all the big packages offer startup versions you can try, and once you're hooked, you stay with them for ever. I cannot imagine ever moving away from Cubase, not because it's the best DAW, but because it's the best for me!

    One thing to consider. How well does your own favourite cope with music from a different genre. If you need to create music outside your normal comfort zone, how capable is it?

    For what it's worth, Sound on Sound Magazine is probablly the only one I trust - and each month they do tips for the popular DAWs. Worth checking their most popular DAWs with your list.

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