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Getting into electronica and need gear advice etc.

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Marvinisbass, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. I've decided to start making electronic music (with me on an actual bass at times) that will span the entire range of sampled and synth stuff so I need to start learning about gear. I know I will be using a Mac, software, a keyboard, plus a D.I. for instruments. I'm hoping there is some kind of site for people to talk about this area of music. My search is just starting so please help me if you can.
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Speaking as someone who makes electronic music with his mac and his bass. I can say this much. I use garageband for practically everything. I also have reason 2.5 and a roland jp-8080 synthesizer, but primarily, GB is all I need/use. I have gotten great results with it, and while I will eventually upgrade to logic audio, GB was invaluable for cutting my teeth with.

    As far as software. Reason is pretty extensive. It can do just about anything. The stock sounds are pretty weak, but there are lots of them and lots of things to do with them so if you're really keen, you can make them work. But, built in, Reason has extensive MIDI handling, a drum machine, 2 synthesizers, 2 samplers, a loop handler, a handful of effects, and a couple sequencers. Many electronic musicians, even pros, use it almost exclusively.

    One perk of Reason is that it can be used as a 'slave' program within other programs like Pro Tools, Logic, and even Garageband. So, you can get all its benefits in a working environment you are more familiar with.

    The big downside of reason is the learning curve is pretty steep, and it can do so much that it's kind of overwhelming for a beginner, also, some of the tools are unintuitive and the whole program is very proprietary and kinda weird. But once you get the hang of it, you can really do some neat things.

    That's software.

    Hardware is a whole different story. There are many school of thought about this re: electronic music.

    On the one hand, you have modern synths and workstations that have pre-programmed digital synthesis with loads of parameters, features and doodads. In other words, companies like Korg, Roland and Yamaha have put in millions and millions of dollars to make **** easy enough to use for consumers to make awesome sounding ****, but still powerful enough for pros to indulge.

    Alongside, and often going against that, is the analog school of synths. Historically speaking, analog synths predate digital synths, and as such a strong sense of history, pride and elitism often comes from analog purists. With good reason too! lots of old analog synths were truly works of art, and were capable of doing things modern fancy digital synths can only dream of emulating poorly(digital is getting way good these days, but it still falls short in many places)

    Another factor to the analog side of things is that there is a greater sense of being connected with the machine, with the electricity, and with the root of this medium for making music. Similar to driving a beat up old stick shift car compared to a modern, streamlined automatic comfort car. The latter is a great ride and you don't really need to think about it, it works and it works well, the former requires more knowledge, skill, and while it may not work quite the same, can still haul ass.

    The interesting byproduct of these things is that, there is a wide debate about the nature of electronic music. A lot of electronic musicians, aren't really musicians as much as they are programmers. They are nerds, dorks with no real musical inclinations. They love the complexity that computers enable music to have, and the revel in creating intricate and technical 'music' that, while very interesting in many ways, can fall short of being all that artful or creative.

    On the flip side though, you have people that are real musicians, thru and thru, they know music, whether or not they are actively trained, they have the ear and mindset for it. They could utilize anything and make music out of it, when they touch electronic mediums, it's just as real of music as anything else.

    Ugh... I'm ranting... hehehe this is a topic that I have a lot to say about.

    So to break it down real quick.

    A computer, some software and a midi keyboard is really all you need to make some awesome ****. If you feel compelled to get a workstation or synth keyboard, I have a personal bias towards the roland fantoms, I've always thought they had the best sounds and expansions. If you really get into this, try and get your hands on some analog gear, if nothing else it will help you to appreciate the creation of electronic music a lot more.

    helpful? sorry for the rant :p

    Oh yea, and www.osxaudio.com has some good resources, including a big forum with lots of users.
  3. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PHL
    good stuff, robo,

    and yea, Reason is the bombs. IMHO, few other programs touch what it can do, does, and cant possibly do.
  4. Tom Crofts

    Tom Crofts

    Mar 15, 2001
    Listen to squarepusher.