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Need some direction..

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mattcalgary, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest


    This is my first post on here so don't be too harsh :lol: I'm looking to get into recording specifically vocal trance but I really have no idea where to start. Normally I try to search as much as I can before I do something like this but I have to admit, all of this stuff is way over my head.

    I do have an E-MU 0404 USB hooked up to my laptop that came with a few software packages, Ableton being the most user friendly for me so far.

    So I must ask, is everything I need in Ableton already and I need to just spend more time with it? Or do I need to pick up a midi controller? Are there any books/links anyone could recommend?

    I'm very exciting about making music but I have to admit, my frustration of not knowing what to do is killing me!
  2. chriswalker8511

    chriswalker8511 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2009
    Im not the biggest expert on this but your genre of music is very software based obviously, so the most i think extra you would need is a midi controller. Well you don't even really need that, in logic i just use the keyboard on my macbook, but im not sure if you can do that in abelton. In Abelton i think it comes with software instruments but to what extent i don't know. Which Abelton did you get? There's one which is a freebie and might not come with software instruments. Personally I would get something like cubase or logic which have a much bigger library of software instruments, effects, loops ect. My brother is good with this kind of music as he has a degree in music tech so ill ask him which DAW he recommends. Back to the midi controller, you either need a midi keyboard or controller. Again im not not an expert on these things so before i influence any decisions you make speak to some other people on this forum!

  3. dave_p

    dave_p Active Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    i use cubase, i have no experience with ableton. if ableton supports VST, you can get a free vsti synth called crystal, and any usb midi controller that suits you (emu, maudio etc). get them set up in ableton and go to town. if you find yourself getting somewhere, you can spring for a better synth vsti if you feel the need. crytal has enough to play with to keep you busy for a while. a drum loop creator will be handy also, there are also decent canned loops already out there.
  4. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Thanks for the responses guys.

    I have the Ableton 7 E-MU edition, which means limited tracks and ,like 2/8 usable tutorials. It does have some instruments like Impulse and I can assign keys on my keyboard to activate sounds but I have to say, it's super awkward and I don't think my keys respond fast enough.

    I'll check out Cubase a little more. I'm on a PC so I don't think I can use Logic.

    Chris that would be great if you could ask your brother about that, thanks!

    EDIT: Oops forgot. I talked to a friend of mine who suggested that I try to get large sample packages and just get a cheap midi controller. I have to admit though, I'm confused about synths, midi controllers, workstations, samplers, modules in general and what they are all capable of or what I would even use from them.
  5. chriswalker8511

    chriswalker8511 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2009
    Ok basically, the software synths you get in cubase or other librarys or plugins is like a hardware synth but is in software form. Each software synth instrument will have lots of presets so you can just pick one you like or tweak and make your own. Samples are just a sample of music and you can either use them just assigning it to a sampler and then use your midi keyboard to play the samples. Samples can be anything that makes a noise e.g. voice, a synth sorta sound, drum ect. Or you could take the hardware route and get something like the korg ESX but i would just stick to software as its more practical, easier and cheaper. Then you just need a midi keyboard, plug it into your interface, set it up, maybe watch a few youtube videos on how to this kinda stuff, and your done :) Ooooo i almost forgot does vocal trance actually involve recording vocals?
  6. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Yes Vocal Trance has vocals in it. Just as an example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay43DAFAG-A

    Ok I think going the software+midi controller is the way to go. From here, there still seems like there are quite a few choices. I think I would like at least a 61 key version as I'd like to use it to practice my piano as well but a full 88 is too large for my desk.

    So far I had these in mind, just share your thoughts if you would be so kind:)



    These M-Audio units confuse me. Do I need just the basic one as everything else I need will be in cubase or what are the advantages as price goes up (as right now it's all a foreign language!). I don't have much harddrive space but I do have a 500gb external harddrive if that makes any difference.



    Same deal as the M-Audio, too much too choose and not enough knowing what the differences/needs are.
  7. chriswalker8511

    chriswalker8511 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2009
    They M-aduio ones look pretty good especially the axicom and axiocom pro, as they have midi pads which you can assign sounds or controls to. Also the keys are semi-weighted. There pretty good value also. Obviously you could do without all that and just get a basic one (i would personally get a very basic one as i would only need the keyboard), but your style of music usually could benefit from all these extra things on a keyboard. Are you going to actually record vocals? If you will you'll need a mic.

  8. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    I have an M-Audio Axiom 61 key controller. It is very flexible. The 8 pads are nice to have to map to various percussion.

    I'm not a piano player, but find that the weight on the keys feels perfect to me. You also have after touch which is nice to map to vibrato or over blow. (Being able to use that capability will depend on your VSTi)

    For samples check out ExpansionTank. You can get them for $20 when they are on sale at musicians friend. They are great for the price.
  9. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Thanks again guys :)

    What made the Axions jump out rather than the others?

    Looking at the Axion, would I record all the melodies, bass rhythm, drum rhythms, any sound effects, and things like delay, reverb etc on the keyboard and just transfer that over to say Cubase, or would I put together the notes I want to play and do the rest in Cubase? Or both?

    I came across this comparing the pro vs. non-pro but I honestly don't understand of it. http://forums.m-audio.com/showthread.php?p=27670#post27670
    It seems the pro has live mapping to the software. Does this mean if I didn't have pro I'd have to say that this button means C, D, E etc?

    The pads you mention, I'm assuming this is very similar to a drum machine? Would I be able to assign a drum sound to each button and play a rhythm just tapping the buttons to how I want it to sound?

    I will be recording vocals but quite honestly I don't see that happening right away as I need to get a few tracks together first before I have her do her part. I'm not sure if it makes a difference or not, but could I use the same mic for vocals and micing an acoustic guitar?

    Thanks again guys. I realize this stuff is probably frustrating explaining to me but honestly it means a lot to me and is helping immensely.
  10. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    M-Audio makes some good products for reasonable prices.

    The Axiom will create Midi events that you will be recorded by Cubase. These Midi events also need to be routed to a virtual instrument within Cubase.

    Each key is assigned to a note including the pads. So in your virtual instrument you map the sounds to note that corresponds to the pad you want to use.

    For an all purpose microphone you can't beat the SM57.
  11. chriswalker8511

    chriswalker8511 Active Member

    Jan 31, 2009
    Yeah, i would definatley go for the SM57, as its such good value. If you need and help with micing guitar and doing vocals just ask :)
  12. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Last post I swear!

    I just bought my Axiom 61 and Cubase software today and having a really hard time setting this up. My setup isn't using the USB as I need the ports for other things and I have an interface box. I have installed the drivers and my E-MU does recognize a midi in signal but not a midi out.

    My setup is:

    Axiom --(Midi-in from Axiom to Midi-out on EMU & Midi-out on Axiom to Midi-in on EMU)-> E-MU 0404 USB --(via USB)-> computer --(via same USB)-> E-MU --(TRS)-> Monitors

    This is how the sales guy told me to set it up. Going from the in to out and out to in seems weird but it's quite possible I don't understand.

    So I get into Cubase, new project, 16 track midi sequencer.

    Device setup. I have:
    All MIDI Inputs: E-MU 0404 USB (Active:yes) - only thing to choose from.

    Default MIDI ports: MIDI Input - E-MU 0404 USB. MIDI Output - Either: E-MU 0404 USB or Microsoft GS Wavetable SW Synth. Here I don't know what to choose.

    I've installed a MIDI device from the MIDI manager using the GM setting calling it 'Axiom 61'.

    Under VST Inputs I have:
    1) Conexant HD Audio Input - visible - yes
    2) Conexant HD Audio Input - visible - yes
    3) E-MU 0404 USB - visible - yes
    4) E-MU 0404 USB - visible - yes

    Under VST Outputs - same thing just replace input with output on 1&2
    VST System link - being able to choose any of those

    VST instruments shows up with no instruments in it.

    Cubase isn't even recognizing that my MIDI is sending it a signal. Where am I going wrong, this is driving me up the wall!
  13. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "Conexant HD Audio"

    Reboot the computer and access the BIOS and disable the onboard sound.
  14. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Got everything worked out! Opening programs and E-MU on or off is kind of finicky but I got it down. Thanks for all your help RO, I appreciate it very much....now to the music :D
  15. mattcalgary

    mattcalgary Guest

    Well back again :?

    Got my SM57 today and all setup. I'm curious how much gain is required for this mic to generate something at an audible level. For micing my guitar cabinet I have the gain around +25 and micing my acoustic is really high, like +40/+45. Something seems wrong here but I'm not sure.

    Is this normal?

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