November 24, 2008 8:55 AM

A downtempo dance tune... I think. Yep.

posted by csimpkins (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I like this. A lot. Can I ask, how does one go about putting something like this together? Synthesizers, sequencers, midi? It's all a little overwhelming...
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 2:15 PM on November 24, 2008

This sort of music always reminds me of montages of factories with like circuit boards being assembled and stuff. I have no idea why. I love the drums when they come in. They make it all good.
posted by dobie at 10:28 PM on November 24, 2008

nice arcs and flow
posted by dagosto at 2:30 AM on November 25, 2008

Yeah, it can seem a bit overwhelming to get started. There are a lot of options and different ways of going about it. But if I was going to recommend a starting point based on my personal experience, I'd say this:

Get Propellerhead Reason 4. It's a powerful sequencer and synth program for both Mac and PC with extremely modest system requirements. It comes with a bunch of different software synthesizers, effects, and mixing and mastering tools. Each synth comes with hundreds of pre-packaged patches (sounds) that you can use to get started quickly. You can add and mix the virtual hardware however you want and customize pretty much anything. It's a very powerful program that will let you make just about any sound you want, but still easy enough for a beginner to just jump in and start making music. It retails for $400.

Get a midi controller keyboard to use for input. I've been using a $100 cheapo deal for about 8 years now and have no complaints. Reason is compatible with almost any midi input. It will see the your controller, which you can use it to control the synths in the program and record your input. You can then modify what you've recorded in the sequencer.

I'd also recommend a good sound card with ASIO support. This is the most important factor in keeping latency to a minimum when using any kind of software based synths or audio tools while still getting good sound quality.

If you use any digital audio workstations for audio recording (Sonar, Logic, etc), Reason will 'hook up' to the software through an included rewire software interface. It will allow you to use both programs simultaneously while keeping them in sync and automatically sending the audio from Reason to a channel in your DAW software.

Hope that gives you a starting point, at least.
posted by csimpkins at 7:24 AM on November 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for the info csimpkins! I really love a good synthesizer sound palette, but I've always been intimidated by the thought of having to tweak an endless number of knobs. It just doesn't seem like a friendly introduction to electronic music. I've heard of Reason before, but never really looked into it. I'm going to get DAWing pretty soon, so Reason sounds like a good fit (and it's comforting to know that it still all boils down to midi), but I was hoping to make my music on a Mac laptop. Do you know anything about their factory sound cards? I'm under the impression that you can't get a replacement laptop sound card.

Did you get those drums off Reason, too? They really did make it all good (How It's Made style!).
posted by abc123xyzinfinity at 6:07 PM on November 25, 2008

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