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View Full Version : Jack, a question for you



bmack86
03-19-2007, 12:39 AM
What are a few good programs to start mixing/creating EDM tracks? I'm starting completely blind, but I want to dabble a bit. Any/all advice is open, including "Just don't fucking do it because it'll sound like shit."

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 08:35 AM
I'm not jack, but I'll interject.

If you wanna do original stuff, Propellerheads Reason is a pretty easy place to start. It's an all in one electronic studio. The only disadvantage is that you can't route audio into it. It would be best if you have a MIDI keyboard...something like an M-Audio Oxygen8.

If you wanna do DJ stuff...there's Traktor, Final Scratch and Ableton Live along with other stuff. Live is good for on the fly looping, but the other two, from what I know are more for real DJ stuff, like turntable stuff and what not.

If you wanna get real crazy there's stuff like Reaktor or MAX/MSP...but that stuff can get extremely complex due to the fact that you can create your own synths and what not if you know DSP (Digital Signal Processing).

Ask more questions, I might be inclined to answer.

gaypalmsprings
03-19-2007, 08:38 AM
I don't know jack

brycerosen
03-19-2007, 09:05 AM
if your a beginner I would get fruity loops or even better garage band(if u have a mac).

Mr.Nipples
03-19-2007, 09:11 AM
if you have a mac, just use garageband. its a great introduction and really isnt that bad. i suggest what tyler said and get m-audio oxygen 8 with a cheap controller if youre serious.

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 09:14 AM
If you're actually serious about wanting to make your own music I'd go with Live or Reason. The others are lacking in some way that will piss you off quickly. (and forget final scratch and traktor. They are not sequencer programs, just DJ tools).

Reason is a decent place to start because it's an all-in-one package (pretty much). It even contains a couple synths (and they recently announced a third one in the next release (http://www.propellerheads.se/home/namm2007/index.cfm?fuseaction=get_article&article=techpreview)). It's got everything you need including a decent sample bank. My favorite thing about Reason is the Dr. Rex player, which is a pretty powerful loop player. In order to make full use of Dr. Rex you'd need Recycle (which is another $100 if you choose to pay for it) to cut up your make your own rex loops, but most sample packages out there come in aiff, rex(actually rx2), and wav versions. The difference between changing the tempo in Dr. Rex and just letting Live change the tempo of a loop is that Dr. Rex doesn't need to resort to inserting silence to preserve pitch when time stretching like Live does (which creates the digital sounding effect when slowed down too much).
I've found one Live compatible component that sort of approximates what a Dr. Rex player does called Spectrasonics Styles RMX, but it's very pricey and I can't get it to recognize my own rex files. Definitely not worth it when starting out unless you've got someone who can figure that out.
Some people really like Reason because it has a fairly intuitive interface. The rack concept is pretty neat and you hook shit up by moving cables around.
The main complaint about Reason is some snobs say it doesn't sound very good, especially the drums. They also say the bass sucks, but I've learned at least one way to get decent sounding bass tones from it.

Live is another beast almost entirely. It's way more versatile, but comes with no synths out of the box. You can buy Ableton's own synth for another $100 (or use any one you want for whatever it may cost you).
Live is good at working with loops on the fly and its auto-warping algorithm is fantastic. It's ridiculously easy to amuse yourself with Live right from the get go. It's pretty easy to cut and paste audio clips in the arrangement view (easier than in Reason). Live's own built in tutorials are very good.
Live 6's new effects chaining ability is awesome. Now you can control several effects from one consolidated console instead of having to scroll around. The other big advantage (IMO) of Live is the intuitive automation (including master track parameters like Tempo, which Reason cannot do). This is essential for making mixes.

All in all I'd say get Live if you have access to VSTs and synths. Live's just more fun to play with, and way easier to make mixes with. That's what you'll start out doing anyway.
I'm good at manipulating audio from live, but have always been more comfortable with midi in Reason since that's what I learned first. I'm trying to kick the habit. Also I still love the Dr. Rex component. What I usually do is rewire Reason into Live and use a combination of both.

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 09:16 AM
so jack...when do we get to hear your stuff?

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 09:23 AM
so jack...when do we get to hear your stuff?

I put an original and a couple remixes I was working on in my last sporkmix.

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 09:39 AM
I put an original and a couple remixes I was working on in my last sporkmix.

lemme ask, if you dont mind...what's the method to your madness? I find myself starting something, then getting stuck in this overly long constantly looping thing that after a while turns into shit and then I can't seem to get any new ideas out. I have like 20 half-songs on my computer.

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 10:32 AM
lemme ask, if you dont mind...what's the method to your madness? I find myself starting something, then getting stuck in this overly long constantly looping thing that after a while turns into shit and then I can't seem to get any new ideas out. I have like 20 half-songs on my computer.

I know what you mean. I never finish anything either unless i'm forced to. Arrangement is the toughest part.

i'll just give you a couple tips that I've gotten myself.
Don't overindulge yourself. your music will never be as interesting to others as it is to yourself. people will get bored with the same sounds repeating and just tune them out. Try to add a new sound element every 4 bars. (i.e. a shaker or hi-hat or something). Once in a while drop out most of the drum tracks in the last bar of a 4 bar phrase and them have them kick back in with something new. Try the same thing with bassline tracks. When you've got all your tracks firing at once there's no room left to keep things fresh and keep a sense of progression in your song. if you're already leaning all the way forward you have to ease back a little before you can lean forward again.
Just listen to tracks you know and want to sound like and copy their format. You've got intro's, breakdowns, bridges, and outros. You need all of them (except perhaps a bridge if it's a short).

Also remember if you're making an EDM track to keep things organized in at least 16 bars phrases (two 8 bar phrases). Otherwise you'll never be able to mix it properly with other tracks.

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 10:55 AM
I know what you mean. I never finish anything either unless i'm forced to. Arrangement is the toughest part.

i'll just give you a couple tips that I've gotten myself.
Don't overindulge yourself. your music will never be as interesting to others as it is to yourself. people will get bored with the same sounds repeating and just tune them out. Try to add a new sound element every 4 bars. (i.e. a shaker or hi-hat or something). Once in a while drop out most of the drum tracks in the last bar of a 4 bar phrase and them have them kick back in with something new. Try the same thing with bassline tracks. When you've got all your tracks firing at once there's no room left to keep things fresh and keep a sense of progression in your song. if you're already leaning all the way forward you have to ease back a little before you can lean forward again.
Just listen to tracks you know and want to sound like and copy their format. You've got intro's, breakdowns, bridges, and outros. You need all of them (except perhaps a bridge if it's a short).

Also remember if you're making an EDM track to keep things organized in at least 16 bars phrases (two 8 bar phrases). Otherwise you'll never be able to mix it properly with other tracks.

Yeah, I've come to realize that keeping things a little more simple is sometimes a lot better. I'm not Aphex or Squarepusher and chances are I wont ever be.

Also, how do you go about using Live with Reason...I never quite got that.

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 11:02 AM
Live and Reason both share the rewire protocol. Say I had a rex loop I wanted to play from Reason and vocal track i wanted from live (like the busta rhyme remix I was working on in that sporkmix).

just open live an then open reason after. In Reason, load the rex loop and just copy and past it a long way out. Then in Live, create an new Audio track and assign the audio in source to be Reason. Live will control Reason's tempo and play marker. If you find a point where you want to change up whatever's going on in Reason just stop the playback at the point you want to in Live, then flip back to Reason and the marker will be right where you want it. It's pretty nifty.

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 11:09 AM
Live and Reason both share the rewire protocol. Say I had a rex loop I wanted to play from Reason and vocal track i wanted from live (like the busta rhyme remix I was working on in that sporkmix).

just open live an then open reason after. In Reason, load the rex loop and just copy and past it a long way out. Then in Live, create an new Audio track and assign the audio in source to be Reason. Live will control Reason's tempo and play marker. If you find a point where you want to change up whatever's going on in Reason just stop the playback at the point you want to in Live, then flip back to Reason and the marker will be right where you want it. It's pretty nifty.


and all the while you could play live synth or sampler stuff if you like?

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 11:11 AM
and all the while you could play live synth or sampler stuff if you like?

sure, you could do anything you want in either program simultaneoulsly.

Tylerdurden31
03-19-2007, 11:14 AM
thanks for the insight...one thing I have to do...get rid of all the programs I have that I never use. Too many options = too much playing around and not enough making music. I might get myself a macbook after I get my tax refund and use it solely for music. I already have protools so recording should be cake now.

bmack86
03-19-2007, 11:41 AM
Thanks Jack. My friend got me a copy of Ableton 6, and I was really hoping that would be one of your responses. So far I'm just figuring out how to work it, and I think I'm going to throw some tracks in there soon. Hopefully I can do something fun.

jackstraw94086
03-19-2007, 11:57 AM
Here' a good tribe for tips on Live (http://ableton-live.tribe.net/?_click_path=Application%5Btribe%5D.Tribe%5Be80719 a2-0ca3-4f2a-9db3-c5d31763dfca%5D)

here's another tribe with some good resources for plug-ins (http://plugins.tribe.net/?_click_path=Application%5Btribe%5D.Tribe%5Bad5763 88-fb16-40fe-83cc-363f981a0d34%5D)

and of course, the ableton forum (http://www.ableton.com/pages/forum)

kroqken
05-13-2007, 10:22 AM
What does EDM stand for?

Courtney
05-13-2007, 10:26 AM
What does EDM stand for?

go fish, ken (http://www.google.com/search?q=EDM)

Mr.Nipples
05-13-2007, 01:02 PM
9mkrj51TacY

kroqken
05-13-2007, 01:38 PM
I assume it relates to the electronic dance music term.