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I Don't Know What I Need to Make Music

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Fulcanelli, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. Fulcanelli

    Fulcanelli Guest

    Hi. I'm a guitarist and want to make some recordings and have NO idea what I need. I want to compose mostly, on the computer. One of my goals is to create 'jam' pieces, simple songs I can record and give to students so they can practice pentatonic scales and soloing without me watching over their shoulder. I used to own a Boss drum machine and unfortunately I do not recall the model number, but it is no longer available. Anyway, I could on that machine program four tracks, a rhythm section, bass, and two others. It had something like 253 instrument sounds programmed into it. I could enter real-time sound via my electric guitar, or do it by note/beat manually. That definitely performed some of the tasks I have in mind, i.e. the jam CDs.

    I have no idea what I need in terms of software, but I do know whatever it is, I'm not looking to turn this into a professional project: I'm on a real tight budget. I already have a Lexicon Alpha Home Recording Studio, for getting music into my computer. I also have Finale notation software and it has the ability to create soundtracks, too. I'm still exploring that.

    What is a real economical way to get started? I tried Cakewalk Music Creator 3 and couldn't figure it out, but suspect it is not what I want. I want to enter the data, not rip it from loop CDs, or however that is done.

    I sure wouldn't be opposed to learning more about music and computers, too. If you know of a concise book that lays it out, please post a title.

    Besides my jam tracks, I'd like to actually compose music with a variety of sounds, including traditional instruments, maybe some electronic sounds, etc.

    Perhaps I am talking about two entirely different types of projects here. If you could help me understand what I need, I'd be most appreciative.

    Thanks.
     
  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    To make things simple, I'd say your best bet is an Mbox 2 MIni. They're dirt cheap, come with ProTools LE and a plethora of plugins. I don't know about symphonic instruments but there are some virtual synths included. BFG lite(drums). Amplitude LE(amp sim). Other than that you might need to get a midi controller which can be had for about $100. for a small scale keyboard(25key, 2 octave).

    That would probably get all you need done. With Digidesign products you need to check and double check that your system is compatible. Their site has a compatibility chart. ProTools is a royal pain for the home user but when it works, it works well.
     
  3. Fulcanelli

    Fulcanelli Guest

    Hmmm...that unit, digidesign Mbox2 mini is hardly 'cheap.' $329. I mentioned that I have a Lexicon Alpha Home Studio unit. Doesn't that work? I hope so because I spent $100 on it. If you're unfamiliar with it, check this http://www.lexiconpro.com/ProductIndex.aspx?ProductID=7 out. I don't want to buy two of the same thing.

    Also, rather than just tell me what to buy, can you (or whoever posts to this thread) give me an idea what I'm doing? I bought this Lexicon at a guitar shop with no real explanation of what it is. I know I can enter sound into my computer with it, directly with my electric guitar or with a microphone. I heard someone refer to it as a sound card. So perhaps it is an external sound card that allows me to enter sound. Okay. What do I need along with this? It came with some CueBase LE software, but I haven't a clue what it is for.

    Please be patient with me.

    When I open CueBase LE, I have a counsel much like one I saw in Cakewalk Music Creator. What exactly can I do with this program? It's about editing music. Okay. So let's say I enter a guitar track. What can I do with it? Can I add a drum track, or do I need something else?

    The basic problem is I don't know what exactly I have and what it can do, and what else I need to create the type of music I want to create. I've been playing music for many years but as I said, know NOTHING about computers and music.

    Once I get the hang of what it is I have, I'm sure I'll pick this up fast.
     
  4. Fulcanelli

    Fulcanelli Guest

    Hmmm...that unit, digidesign Mbox2 mini is hardly 'cheap.' $329. I mentioned that I have a Lexicon Alpha Home Studio unit. Doesn't that work? I hope so because I spent $100 on it. If you're unfamiliar with it, check this http://www.lexiconpro.com/ProductIndex.aspx?ProductID=7 out. I don't want to buy two of the same thing.

    Also, rather than just tell me what to buy, can you (or whoever posts to this thread) give me an idea what I'm doing? I bought this Lexicon at a guitar shop with no real explanation of what it is. I know I can enter sound into my computer with it, directly with my electric guitar or with a microphone. I heard someone refer to it as a sound card. So perhaps it is an external sound card that allows me to enter sound. Okay. What do I need along with this? It came with some CueBase LE software, but I haven't a clue what it is for.

    Please be patient with me.

    When I open CueBase LE, I have a counsel much like one I saw in Cakewalk Music Creator. What exactly can I do with this program? It's about editing music. Okay. So let's say I enter a guitar track. What can I do with it? Can I add a drum track, or do I need something else?

    The basic problem is I don't know what exactly I have and what it can do, and what else I need to create the type of music I want to create. I've been playing music for many years but as I said, know NOTHING about computers and music.

    Once I get the hang of what it is I have, I'm sure I'll pick this up fast.
     
  5. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Sorry. I missed that Lexicon bit. With Cubase LE you can record up to 32(?) tracks of audio and unlimited midi. $300 isn't a lot of money when it comes to audio interfaces. The Mbox 2 mini is still considered entry level. At any rate you should be able to do all you need with what you have.

    Do a search for fretted synth. They have free VSTi plugins which allow you to use your guitar as a midi controller of sorts. The tracking is VERY slow, so you won't be able to shred with it but you can get some pads and basic backing done. They even have a drum sampler plugin.

    You can create your own midi drum track in Cubase if you want but you need to find either a decent free drum sample player or buy a plugin like EZdrummer or the like. You would be limited to either step editing on screen or you would need to buy a mid controller. Korg's K25 is about $100.
     
  6. Fulcanelli

    Fulcanelli Guest

    Thanks for responding so rapidly. I bought the hardware a few months ago and ran into so many brick walls trying to understand what it does, I shelved the project for a while. Since I posted this last comment, I called the Lexicon people and told them what I wanted and they recommended getting a program like Fruity Loops or reason. Then I called a local store and they told me I'd need a controller, about $100, which is about where you priced it. Okay, the program is $100 or $150 (with more sounds), so I'm thinking probably the $150 version. The one that is more expensive yet is out of my range right now. Perhaps after I get going and know my way around...

    With a controller, and Fruity Loops, am I on the right track, or...

    Is this a decent game plan? Also, I sure wouldn't mind learning more of the basics of whatever it is that I'm getting into. So if you know good websites/books, let me know.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Fulcanelli

    Fulcanelli Guest

    Thanks for responding so rapidly. I bought the hardware a few months ago and ran into so many brick walls trying to understand what it does, I shelved the project for a while. Since I posted this last comment, I called the Lexicon people and told them what I wanted and they recommended getting a program like Fruity Loops or reason. Then I called a local store and they told me I'd need a controller, about $100, which is about where you priced it. Okay, the program is $100 or $150 (with more sounds), so I'm thinking probably the $150 version. The one that is more expensive yet is out of my range right now. Perhaps after I get going and know my way around...

    With a controller, and Fruity Loops, am I on the right track, or...

    Is this a decent game plan? Also, I sure wouldn't mind learning more of the basics of whatever it is that I'm getting into. So if you know good websites/books, let me know.

    Thank you.
     
  8. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    If you get fruity loops you won't need a controller fotr the drums. If you want to add keys yes , but drums ar done on a grid in FL and reason. Be prepared to do some reading. Cubase should have a pdf manual on the install disk by the way. Manuals are your friend. I've grown accustomed to reading them before any installs. It's a good habit to have IMHO.
     

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