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Musicians, Songwriters and Studio Geeks Thread

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posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 06:43 PM
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Didn't see any sort of thread like this posted, so I decided to make one.

This is a thread for all the musicians, songwriters, and audio engineers out there to discuss our trade/hobby. All topics pertaining to writing and recording music are welcome.

To kick things off here are a few questions:

1) What is your favorite effect (hardware or software) and why?

2) What is your favorite music software?

3) What is your songwriting process? (i.e. what do you do before you go into the studio to get the creative juices flowing?)

4) What is your favorite instrument (hardware or software)?


I'll go ahead and answer the above questions as they apply to me:

1) This varies for me depending on what I'm working on, but at the moment: Amplitube Metal. I can't afford a room full of amps, and this is the next best thing. Also, it's a multipurpose effect: I've used it to process synth sounds, acoustic drums, and drum machine sounds as well as guitar. All around useful effect.

2) Pro Tools LE. Wouldn't know what to do without it.

3) Coffee. Lots of it.

4) This also changes pretty frequently for me, but at the moment my Juno-106 is my favorite.

Feel free to add your own questions or bring up any topic you wish that is related to the music making process. The BTS music forum is underused, and this is as good a way to use it as any. Hope all the musically inclined people out there enjoy this.


TA




posted on Aug, 27 2009 @ 07:10 PM
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Another thought on the subject:

Lately I've been trying to do something different with song structure. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus gets boring after a while, but I like to maintain some semblance of the pop song format.

I've been a William S. Burroughs fan ever since reading Naked Lunch in high school. One thing I liked about his work is the 'cut up' method he used when writing. He would write words and phrases on a piece of paper, cut up the paper and string sentences together by randomly selecting pieces of the paper.

I've been considering applying this method to outlining the structure of a song. I haven't tried it yet, so I have no idea how well it might work, but considering my boredom with pop music structure and how well the method worked for Burroughs, I figure it's worth a try.

So, at some point (probably when I start on my next song) I'm going to write "verse", "chorus", "bridge", "coda", etc. (two or three times for each word to make things a bit more random) on a piece of paper, slice and dice, select pieces and see how things turn out.

Does anyone else do things like this, or am I being a little too creative?


TA



[edit on 27-8-2009 by TheAssociate]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 03:48 AM
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1) Favorite effect, its between two: Either a Marshall Bluesbreaker guitar pedal (the old one), it just sounds superb. Or, as a studio effect, I dunno if there's a name for it, I dunno if I can describe it properly...but I asked an engineer once if he could make the end of a song sound like it was on a tape, slowing down to a stop, and so he did - if that makes sense (maybe I'll dig out the song to show ya)

2)Never really used music software. I either use a 4-tracker, or pay someone who knows what they're doing to do it on pro-tools!

3) Songwriting for me always happens in a band scenario. I need others to bounce ideas off. Someone in the band will come in with an idea, or a set of lyrics, or just a hook, and we all jam it out and it just happens.

4) A fender telecaster, or a hammond organ (with valves not transistors!)


Nice topic for us muso's mate, cheers! I'll add a question if I may:

5) What's your preference - home studio or proffessional studio?! And why?
I prefer the proffessional studio myself. I'm not really literate in computer based recording, neither have I ever had the money to splash on all the gear for the home studio. I'd rather pay someone as and when - who has the space, the knowledge, and the equipment, and know that it's gonna be done to a decent standard.



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 04:09 AM
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reply to post by Paul
 





5) What's your preference - home studio or proffessional studio?! And why?


Well, I've never had the opportunity to record in a professional studio, so I gotta go with home studio. I love recording and mixing, and I'm not entirely horrible at mastering, though I could definitely use some practice. I tend to work alone, or at most with one other person to give me an extra set of ears while mixing, so my little home studio works perfectly for me.

Good question, and thanks for sharing.



TA



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 10:26 AM
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1) I don't really have a favorite that I use. I have a Zakk Wylde Wah that I use to freshen up my leads so they cut in the mix, and a Reverb function on my amp, but that's about it.
2) Fruity Loops Studio 7, Reaper as a backup.
3) Just typical jamming. I jam to some main ideas I have and pedal around those riffs to see what I can come up with. Then I start recording them into the computer and rearranging them to see what riffs work best in what order, and then when I have decided I do a full take.
4) My 2004 Schecter C1-FR. It's my baby and it means the world to me.



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by Paul
 




4) A fender telecaster, or a hammond organ (with valves not transistors!)


Yeah, it's not a real Hammond unless it has valves






reply to post by Akherousia
 



Then I start recording them into the computer and rearranging them to see what riffs work best in what order, and then when I have decided I do a full take.

Absolutely awesome idea, man! As I mentioned above, I've always been interested in slicing and dicing as a method to create. Kind of like how Tarantino said he (used to, don't know if he still does) write out the plot for a movie and then slice up and rearrange the time line, or like Burroughs did when writing.

One thing I like to occasionally do is record a riff (guitar, synth, whatever) and either manually slice it up and rearrange it in Pro Tools or run it through Recycle to give it a nice, menacing, chopped up mechanical sound. It doesn't always work, and I try not to overuse it, but when it works it will definitely scare the elderly and small children!



TA

[edit on 28-8-2009 by TheAssociate]



posted on Aug, 28 2009 @ 08:59 PM
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reply to post by Paul
 




Or, as a studio effect, I dunno if there's a name for it, I dunno if I can describe it properly...but I asked an engineer once if he could make the end of a song sound like it was on a tape, slowing down to a stop,


There's a plugin that will do that for you. I'll try to remember to write down the name of it next time I'm screwing around in the studio.

Another way to accomplish that is to digitally slice the segment you want slowed down, load that segment into a sampler, and rerecord it into your recording program while sliding the pitch bend wheel (on the sampler or virtual sampler) down as desired. Definitely a cool effect.


TA






[edit on 29-8-2009 by TheAssociate]



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 09:17 PM
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Guitarist here...

favorite effect: Scholz R&D RockModule stage head...2 sustainors, 1 distortion generator, 3 EQ's, midi octopus, chorus/delay, 31 band dual channel rack rider EQ, vlp300 100 watt per channel power amp, 2 Marshall Lead 100 MOSFET heads, 2 slant cabs and 2 straight cabs loaded with Madison 12" Executioners, 2 SR&D Power Soaks, and the piece de resistance, my REAL 1958 Gibson Korina Flying V...it sounds AWESOME!



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 10:01 PM
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Originally posted by TheAssociate
1) What is your favorite effect (hardware or software) and why?

2) What is your favorite music software?

3) What is your songwriting process? (i.e. what do you do before you go into the studio to get the creative juices flowing?)

4) What is your favorite instrument (hardware or software)?


Huge audio engineering freak here. Guess thats why I'm currently unemployed.


1. Scream 4 for reason. So simple, so powerful. Such a powerful little plugin.

2. Logic Studio is hands down the best DAW out there. Nothing comes even close for plugins and seemlessness. I also love reason, although I typically do electronic music less often. After that, Melodyne is the most well made tuning software ever. The algorithms used are genius, so much so that I can't wrap my head around it. It beats out AutoTune any day.

3. Drinking is often involved. Also heartbreak really gets it going. But typically, regardless of what instruments will be played in the end, it always starts with acoustic guitar progressions.

4. Guitar is my go-to, but I'm mostly a Mic freak. Microphones completely change the dynamic of a track. My pipes are my favorite instrument. I also love a good midi trigger or weighted-key keyboard.



posted on Aug, 29 2009 @ 10:20 PM
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I don't record. I leave it up to this guy.

www.soundclick.com...

I like to run my acoustic/electric/fretless bass thru a sans amp driver, direct to the board or live into a Baringer 2000 1x12 mic to the PA.



posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 12:51 AM
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reply to post by ROGUESPEAR3
 



Scholz R&D RockModule stage head...2 sustainors, 1 distortion generator, 3 EQ's, midi octopus, chorus/delay, 31 band dual channel rack rider EQ, vlp300 100 watt per channel power amp, 2 Marshall Lead 100 MOSFET heads, 2 slant cabs and 2 straight cabs loaded with Madison 12" Executioners, 2 SR&D Power Soaks, and the piece de resistance, my REAL 1958 Gibson Korina Flying V


SWEET




reply to post by SantaClaus
 



1. Scream 4 for reason. So simple, so powerful. Such a powerful little plugin.

Reason is pretty cool. A lot of people say they prefer Live, and it's not a bad program at all, but I tend to work much, much faster with Reason and you can get some seriously wicked sounds with the Scream 4 module.

I've also fallen head over heels for the Thor synth. Couple that with the Combinator, and there's no sound that you can't make in Reason. Stellar stuff.

I haven't tried Logic, but I've only heard good things about it. If I ever switch to Mac, I might give it a go but for the time being Pro Tools LE works pretty well.

I agree entirely about the mics. Sometimes they're the difference between a decent track and an epic track, I just wish I could afford more.




reply to post by whaaa
 

Never had the pleasure of using anything made by SansAmp, but I hear it's great stuff.

Thank you all for sharing, I could talk about this stuff for days at a time.



TA



posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 04:14 PM
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reply to post by TheAssociate
 


Yes, Thor is incredible. Reason continues to amaze me. It just makes such pure sounds with nothing more than a laptop.

Pro Tools is what I learned on, but it didn't take me much time to realize I was saving money with Logic. The plugins are already there, and Pro Tools comes with standard, boring plugins and you have to pay for more.

And as far as mics, I've used $15,000 mics and my favorite? A $400 AKG C3000B. Best investment I've ever made.



posted on Aug, 30 2009 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by TheAssociate
reply to post by Paul
 




Or, as a studio effect, I dunno if there's a name for it, I dunno if I can describe it properly...but I asked an engineer once if he could make the end of a song sound like it was on a tape, slowing down to a stop,


There's a plugin that will do that for you. I'll try to remember to write down the name of it next time I'm screwing around in the studio.


The name of that plugin is Vari-Fi, it's made by Digidesign. It's an AudioSuite plugin, so it can't be used in real time but it's still a cool toy to have around. Also, I believe there's a plugin that makes incoming audio act as though it's being played on a turntable (you can "scratch" it, play it in reverse, etc) that will allow you to do the same thing.



reply to post by SantaClaus
 



And as far as mics, I've used $15,000 mics and my favorite? A $400 AKG C3000B. Best investment I've ever made.

I'm going to look into getting one of those, now. At the moment I'm using a ~$300 Nady TCM 1050 tube mic for vocals. It's okay, but I know there's better mics out there. Thanks for the recommendation



TA



posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 06:13 PM
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Yes, I'm a musician. =)

www.myspace.com/mimzysongs

You're MORE than welcome to add me.



posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 06:47 PM
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reply to post by Donnie Darko
 


Awesome, Donnie! Thanks for replying.

I don't use myspace, but if I did, I would definitely add you and I will check out your page when I get a chance.

Would you mind sharing a little more with the rest of us music types? (you don't have to but I would be interested, and I think the others would be too) What instrument(s) do you play? Do you record your own stuff? Got a favorite instrument, effect, or type of music software?

Keep rockin,


TA



posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 06:54 PM
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I play synth and I also program the drum beats and everything else.

i would describe my style as indie new wave.



posted on Aug, 31 2009 @ 09:59 PM
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reply to post by Donnie Darko
 

I'm a synth guy first and foremost, as well.


Guitars are great, but I can make a synth sound equally, if not more menacing than a guitar.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Paul added a question earlier in the thread. Just to reiterate:




5) What's your preference - home studio or proffessional studio?! And why? I prefer the proffessional studio myself. I'm not really literate in computer based recording, neither have I ever had the money to splash on all the gear for the home studio. I'd rather pay someone as and when - who has the space, the knowledge, and the equipment, and know that it's gonna be done to a decent standard.


And I've got some additional questions for everyone:

Do you master your own recordings, or do you have it done professionally?

If you're a DIY person, what hardware/software do you use?

If you use software do you think the sound suffers when you go the digital route, rather than using analog gear?

I've heard the last part debated endlessly, and I'd like to see what people here have to say on the subject.

As for myself: I do master my own recordings. It's both a price and control issue. I couldn't afford to have all my stuff sent to a mastering house and have it done professionally, and I like to have absolute control over every aspect of the recording process, anyway.

I use T-racks 3 Deluxe. I couldn't afford a room full of analog gear, even if i did have the space for it.

I think the sound might suffer a bit by going this route, but I also think it's negligible, and considering the cost/quality ratio, the digital way is fine by me.

Again, feel free to add your own questions, or talk about anything at all related to the songwriting/audio-recording process.

Thank you all for your replies, this is a great conversation.


TA


[edit on 31-8-2009 by TheAssociate]



posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 06:34 PM
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Lets see if I can remember all the questions asked.

I don't really have a favorite effect, I'm a big fan of raw sounds, but it all depends on what I'm trying to achieve with the sound that I am manipulating, phasers and flangers are pretty cool, I also like really nice sounding reverbs.

My go to software is Pro Tools LE, it's what I learned on and currently in the poorhouse and can't try anything else along the lines of Cubase or Sonar, but reaper is coming along quite nicely though so I mess around with that sometimes, I like how that gives me more access to VST's and the like.

For inspiration I usually just sit down and start hitting random keys or maybe pick up a guitar and see if anything can flow. Sometimes I'll start with a drum pattern sometimes I'll start with chords or maybe a lead, maybe a bass. I'll also change my routine up like the times I go to bed eat dinner in the morning with desert, etc. Things that aren't considered "normal".

My favorite instrument, don't really have one, but I favor softsynths, I have Sampletank it has some decent sounds. I would like to get some external modules like a Roland Phantom XR and Yamaha Motif es, I would also like to get some Moog synths, if I could find an original ARP 2600 that would be freaking awesome as long as it worked and wasn't in really bad shape.

As far as pro studio vs. home studio, I like the a combination of the two, pro studio equipment in a home studio.

I don't really ever get around to mastering anything sometimes hardly get around to mixing it, I'm in a constant state of learning, I do the hip-hop thing and working on R&B, so I really don't ever get around to it, but now that I'm a little older and I know what "good" sounds like I'm starting to focus more on the mix and recording aspect of things.

I do it mainly as a hobby it would be nice to make a career out it, well see what happens though. Before I get into the analog vs digital thing, a top I would give you on the song structure, what I sometimes do, when I write a complete song and not just a 4 or 8 bar loop, I'll write songs with no structure. As in like no chorus or verse just a continuous string of music and try not repeat any bars. Just for my own pleasure.

Also try mixing it up a little like start off with the chorus as the intro and build into it for 8 bars then go into the verse, also on the lower tempo stuff that I make instead of chorus bridge chorus I'll go verse bridge verse. Just different stuff that I do.

As far as analog vs digital, personally analog allows you to give things color and it gives it a fatter wider sound if it is good gear, like a Universal Audio 1176 or a LA2A, although I don't own any of that stuff, which I really wish I could afford to buy some quality vintage gear like that, it just does instantly what takes a lot of work to do in digital.

They both have their place though I like digital because of instant recalls just by loading the session, were as with analog you have to write down the settings and dial them up manually. It won't be long though before digital is on par with analog, I think it would help if a lot of companies quit trying emulate the older vintage gear and concentrated more on unique plug-ins. Although they will get close to having a perfect digital copy of vintage gear.

So they both have their place, If I could afford the vintage analog stuff I would have it, but I like digital for the ease. With computers as powerful as they are now, you can get really nice fat synth tones, when the concentrate on making their own synths and not emulating something. Once more plug-in companies start doing the same with compressors and EQ's I think it will really improve the state of digital dynamics.



posted on Sep, 1 2009 @ 09:12 PM
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post removed for serious violation of ATS Terms & Conditions



posted on Sep, 2 2009 @ 01:02 AM
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reply to post by Hastobemoretolife
 

Yup, Pro Tools LE works quite well for me, also. If you want to use VST's in it, you can get the VST to RTAS wrapper, it works on almost all the VST effects/instruments out there. That is to say, all the one's I've tried it with personally have worked, but there's apparently a list of them that aren't compatible.

I kinda work the same way. I'll come up with a nice guitar or synth riff and build from there. Sometimes the "from the ground up" method works: start with a bass line, add drums, then a harmony and melody. It all just depends on what toy I feel like playing with.


Softsynths are pretty cool. I love Thor in Reason, and Massive by Native Instruments is pretty sweet too. I wish I could afford a Moog, but I have a Juno-106 that isn't bad. It's analog, so it's got a nice fat sound to it, it's just a little bit simplistic, though. The Moog Modular softsynth (forgot who makes it) is pretty awesome. A real Moog it isn't, but it's a close second and waaaaaaay more affordable.




As far as pro studio vs. home studio, I like the a combination of the two, pro studio equipment in a home studio.


Agreed


It's just a hobby for me too, but maybe someday I'll be at least a recording engineer, or maybe a producer (I can always dream
).




I'll write songs with no structure. As in like no chorus or verse just a continuous string of music and try not repeat any bars. Just for my own pleasure. Also try mixing it up a little like start off with the chorus as the intro and build into it for 8 bars then go into the verse, also on the lower tempo stuff that I make instead of chorus bridge chorus I'll go verse bridge verse. Just different stuff that I do.


Great ideas, man! I will definitely give that a try. I'm always trying to come up with inventive ways to give my stuff a distinct sound. I don't want to be formulaic, but I still want my music to be "accessible." In other words, unique, but not too artsy. Thanks for the advice.




So they both have their place, If I could afford the vintage analog stuff I would have it, but I like digital for the ease.


Agreed, and agreed. It would be nice to have a room full of vintage analog gear, but it would be a headache and extremely expensive as well. For the time being I'm happy with being mostly digital.

Thanks for the reply, advice and a good discussion. I'm starting to like BTS.


TA





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