Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Making the switch from software to rack equipment. Should I even?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse







X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Making the switch from software to rack equipment. Should I even?

    For the past few years, I've just played casually using a Yamaha KX8, Axiom 49, and a Macbook Pro. Originally I was using tons of soft synths, but over time gradually simplified and now just stick with Omnisphere, Kore 2, and Kontakt for the most part.

    I've been jamming with friends a lot lately and may take things further, playing shows. At times I have found my setup to be a hassle outside of my studio space. If the software bugs out, or I stumble into any other new problem, it can put a major damper on the creative flow of myself and others. Having to stop playing and spend time troubleshooting is not fun.

    I'm at a point now where I'm ready to make a change to rack equipment, replace my midi controllers with real synths, or continue on with software but learn how to make it reliable.

    At the moment, I have limited funds, and so if I were to replace my midi controllers with synths, they would need to be sold during the process. I'm comfortable with the keys and controls of both of them, and so am leaning towards the rack route.

    What kind of equipment should I be looking at to achieve the capabilities of Omnisphere and Kore 2 in hardware form? Starting with a budget of around $300, what would be the first thing I should purchase to begin the transition? I almost bought a JV-1080 last night, and am now considering a Waldorf MicroQ. I know both are capable of most of the vintage synth sounds I use currently, but I do also like to use some of these complex layered instruments found in Omnisphere and Kore 2. I don't want to be limited to just 80s/90s sounding music.

    What do you guys think?

    EDIT: Figured I'd mention what type of music I play, in case it helps with the advice given. I mostly play blues and classic rock when jamming with the usual group, and on occasion take it spacey with some prog rock when they allow it. On my own time, I like to make music with no restrictions, synth'd pads, leads, soundscapes, synth and sampled strings, wind instruments, etc. I also play guitar (primarily acoustic) and like to blend real instruments with digital yet real sounding synths.

  • #2
    If you are on a tight budget the jv1080 should not be ruled out. It will give you alot of (pardon the cliche') "bread and butter sounds" that will come in handy. They are pretty cheap these days. You have already invested in your controllers so you could use those with the jv1080 or other. Also, take a look at the blofeld for a good va or the new venom from maudio.

    Comment


    • #3
      Put your softsynths on a reliable rack hardware player like the Receptor.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Moe<br><br>---<br><br>It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.<br><br><a target="_blank" href="http://www.hotrodmotm.com">http://www.hotrodmotm.com</a></div>

      Comment


      • #4
        One small but overlooked advantage of using hardware is that you respect each bit of equipment and treat it as a distinct instrument, which (in my view) leads to more sensible choices in your composition and arrangement. That is to say, if you find that in switching to hardware your songs are clearer, more intelligible etc, this could be in part because you're making better arrangements. Software - with it's *seemingly* limitless possibilities doesn't provide that discipline. On the other hand if you happen to keep using software, then consider how trimming things back can help your sound.

        Comment


        • #5
          no just stick w/ Software & just get a faster CPU.
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><div style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px">
          <div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px; width:852; height:26">
          <input class="button" type="button" value="Show Spoiler" style="font-size:12px;marginpx;paddingpx;" onClick="if (this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName(' div')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display != '') { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('d iv')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display = ''; this.innerText = ''; this.value = 'Hide'; } else { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('d iv')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display = 'none'; this.innerText = ''; this.value = 'Show Spoiler'; }">
          </div>
          <div class="alt2" style="margin: 0px; padding: 6px; border: 1px inset;">
          <div style="display: none;">
          <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /> <b>good trades:</b> NITEFLY182 <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /><br />
          <br />
          <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /> <a href="http://www.musician-central.com/forum/" target="_blank"><font size="4"><b><font color="Black">MCFX</font></b></font></a> <font size="5"><b>+</b></font> <i><b>check out</b></i> <a href="http://www.totallygrossnationalproduct.com/bands/albert.html" target="_blank"><font color="#000000"><font size="4"><b>ALBUERTZ</b></font></font></a> <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /><br />
          <br />
          <div class="bbcode_container">
          <div class="bbcode_quote">
          <div class="quote_container">
          <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

          <div class="bbcode_postedby">
          <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Dr.Pain-MD</strong>
          <a href="showthread.php?p=41105475#post41105475" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
          </div>
          <div class="message">You forgot the Powerstack...</div>

          </div>
          </div>
          </div>
          </div>
          </div>
          </div></div>

          Comment


          • #6
            If you're playing out, think about simplifying your rig. Judging from the styles you play, think about a used Electro 2 or 3, a used Stage EX.

            Comment


            • #7
              If you're used to Omni, Kontakt and Kore, then something like a JV-1080 will be completely uninspiring to you. How do you think 8Mb of sounds compare to your 200Gb or so?

              I would just upgrade your processor, like someone said, and make sure you have your full 4Gb of memory if running 32-bits, more if you're running 64. Remove non-essential apps from the computer, and definitely take everything you can out of the Startup load process. And you should be glitch-free.
              <div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="verdana"><a href="http://www.reverbnation.com/christianschulze" target="_blank">http://www.reverbnation.com/christianschulze</a></font></div>

              Comment


              • #8
                Tons of great feedback! Thanks guys!

                If you are on a tight budget the jv1080 should not be ruled out. It will give you alot of (pardon the cliche') "bread and butter sounds" that will come in handy. They are pretty cheap these days. You have already invested in your controllers so you could use those with the jv1080 or other. Also, take a look at the blofeld for a good va or the new venom from maudio.


                I was actually also looking at the blofeld, going to continue keeping my eye on both. I tried out the venom the other day in store, and was not that impressed. Especially after seeing a video of sounds stuttering in certain cases when your switching patches on the fly.

                Put your softsynths on a reliable rack hardware player like the Receptor.


                Looked into the Receptor, and it seems like a good option, but unsure about how good it would be for controlling soft synths, without a monitor connected.

                One small but overlooked advantage of using hardware is that you respect each bit of equipment and treat it as a distinct instrument, which (in my view) leads to more sensible choices in your composition and arrangement. That is to say, if you find that in switching to hardware your songs are clearer, more intelligible etc, this could be in part because you're making better arrangements. Software - with it's *seemingly* limitless possibilities doesn't provide that discipline. On the other hand if you happen to keep using software, then consider how trimming things back can help your sound.


                This is one reason why I have begun moving into the hardware direction. With software and such an endless choice of plug-ins and patches within them, I often find myself over thinking things and getting lost in the options, taking my focus away from creating melodies. I think limiting myself to the restrictions of a piece of hardware, and building my capabilities as I feel a need for them, will make for a more natural / creative flow.

                Because I'm able to recognize this, I do also feel that I can trim things back, continue with software, and focus more towards playing, but still don't see it being quite the same as working on hardware.

                One thing I'd like to mention, is that I work behind computers A LOT more then I'd like to. I do graphics, web design, and cnc machining, which all involve working behind a computer with software. This is another reason why I'm trying to break away and go with traditional hardware, my eyes and mind need time to escape the digital saturation I'm used to.

                no just stick w/ Software & just get a faster CPU.


                I don't think my CPU is really restricting me at the moment. Though I could use more memory and a larger hard drive, which I will probably order this month.

                If you're playing out, think about simplifying your rig. Judging from the styles you play, think about a used Electro 2 or 3, a used Stage EX.


                Was just watching some videos of these keyboards, and wow are they tasty. Definitely something I'm going to be considering, right now a little out of my budget.

                If you're used to Omni, Kontakt and Kore, then something like a JV-1080 will be completely uninspiring to you. How do you think 8Mb of sounds compare to your 200Gb or so?

                I would just upgrade your processor, like someone said, and make sure you have your full 4Gb of memory if running 32-bits, more if you're running 64. Remove non-essential apps from the computer, and definitely take everything you can out of the Startup load process. And you should be glitch-free.


                Already running a 64 bit processor, and its a notebook (MacBook Pro) so swapping the cpu isn't an option. The memory and hard drive I will be upgrading soon. Because I'm using Mac OS X and only have essential applications installed, its a very stable platform for the most part. In the past 100 times I've jam'd with others, I've only had software crash on me maybe twice (unexpected bugs with the plug in itself), but those times are enough to make me nervous about using software playing a real show.

                Comment


                • #9
                  First the negatives: A lot of rack gear you're going to want to edit on a large screen and you might want to get MIDI Quest XL. You're going to have to rely on external mixing if you aren't now which can take more time to set up and trouble shoot. You might have to get a rack mixer. Lastly, The rack gear for live use I would buy to start isn't sexy at all, but a power conditioner...

                  Still if you are going to put in the investment, there are lots of interesting racks that don't go for much. Korg Trinity TR-Rack or Triton have lots of good sounds and could easily work for prog among other things. The Trinity especially is no fun to program from the front panel though. The Oberheim Matrix 6 or Matrix 1000(must use software editor) are real analog synths and have a glorious vintage sound and it should be good for some eras classic rock and of course space sounds.

                  I'm not sure it's the best option and you'd have to save for longer, but what about a second computer? When the new mac minis come out they should be pretty spiffy. If you use Logic you can use it as a node at home to get more power. There are tools to share keyboard, mouse and screen control. With your controllers I think you should be able to use a MIDI through box, but this might be a whole other can of worms.

                  I totally understand about wanting to get away from the screen and too many options though. To be honest, you sound like the perfect candidate for a Korg Kronos. It probably won't come out in rack form, but we can hope!

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    can make your choice between soft synths and hardware

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Because I'm able to recognize this, I do also feel that I can trim things back, continue with software, and focus more towards playing, but still don't see it being quite the same as working on hardware.


                      Right. The point I made is really a psychological thing, and as far as actual capability is concerned, then there's no reason why one can't learn good composition and arranging on a DAW. Indeed that's how a lot of the most recent generation have started out, for reasons of cost and availability, etc, etc.

                      Also, I should add that there are (of course) features in the DAW which enable a special sort of production - mainly to do with automation and editing - arguably this represents the present-day zeitgeist in modern music making (see this clip for more talk about the matter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FVbeH75TKjQ&feature=player_embedded ). Modern DAW editing makes possible a certain sort of sound which simply wasn't around much more than about a decade ago (well, in its infancy maybe, and not really on a large scale).

                      In other words, how much you rely on the cold hard instruments (be they traditional or modern electronic) and how much you utilise the special capabilities of the DAW is very much a balancing act. But the real potential is in recognising these things and knowing where your sound sits among it - the sound you hope to achieve will affect this balance.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        what software do you have that's bugging out that making you make the switch to Rack Gear ???
                        <div class="signaturecontainer"><div style="margin:20px; margin-top:5px">
                        <div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px; width:852; height:26">
                        <input class="button" type="button" value="Show Spoiler" style="font-size:12px;marginpx;paddingpx;" onClick="if (this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName(' div')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display != '') { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('d iv')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display = ''; this.innerText = ''; this.value = 'Hide'; } else { this.parentNode.parentNode.getElementsByTagName('d iv')[1].getElementsByTagName('div')[0].style.display = 'none'; this.innerText = ''; this.value = 'Show Spoiler'; }">
                        </div>
                        <div class="alt2" style="margin: 0px; padding: 6px; border: 1px inset;">
                        <div style="display: none;">
                        <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /> <b>good trades:</b> NITEFLY182 <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /><br />
                        <br />
                        <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /> <a href="http://www.musician-central.com/forum/" target="_blank"><font size="4"><b><font color="Black">MCFX</font></b></font></a> <font size="5"><b>+</b></font> <i><b>check out</b></i> <a href="http://www.totallygrossnationalproduct.com/bands/albert.html" target="_blank"><font color="#000000"><font size="4"><b>ALBUERTZ</b></font></font></a> <img src="http://img3.harmony-central.com/acapella/ubb/smile.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Smilie" class="inlineimg" /><br />
                        <br />
                        <div class="bbcode_container">
                        <div class="bbcode_quote">
                        <div class="quote_container">
                        <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

                        <div class="bbcode_postedby">
                        <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Dr.Pain-MD</strong>
                        <a href="showthread.php?p=41105475#post41105475" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
                        </div>
                        <div class="message">You forgot the Powerstack...</div>

                        </div>
                        </div>
                        </div>
                        </div>
                        </div>
                        </div></div>

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          what software do you have that's bugging out that making you make the switch to Rack Gear ???


                          I think both crashes I've experienced were with Kore 2 running standalone. I've been stressing my Macbook Pro the past two days and viewing activity monitor, to see how my CPU / Ram usage is during my usual application of software. My CPU load seems to be fine, but my memory comes very close to all being used. Perhaps hitting my memory limit has caused some of the funky issues I experienced in the past.

                          I've decided because of my current budget and having already become so knowledgeable on these soft synths. Today I'm going to order more ram and a faster hard drive for my Macbook Pro. I'll also get a nice pair of monitors within the month, and continue working with what I've got. I've been meaning to get some of my recent songs I've written, polished and presented online. I figure this should be my first priority, and not let myself get too distracted by changing hardware.

                          Once I've got the cash, I think the first piece I'll buy will be a true analog synth, currently considering the Dave Smith Tetra or Moog Little Phatty which I'll use in combination with my Hammond M3 organ. Eventually I will then get a nice lower keyboard, perhaps a Nord Electro.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Really wanted to get an SSD, but they are so expensive at the moment, its not an option. I was wondering, playing live with a regular hard drive, should I be concerned about the vibrations from high sound levels, messing up how well the drive works? The Macbook Pros can detect movement, and prevent the head inside drive from crashing with the platter. Would sound be enough to stop it from functioning correctly?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I feel the same way that you do about not wanting to have to sit in front of a computer in order to work on music. I also have a MacBook Pro and just finished doing the latest updates, 8 gigs ram and WD now has a 750 gig 7200 HD. My biggest problem is that my laptop is my main computer and I hate having to stop everything else I'm doing on it in order to hook up my music gear.

                              The biggest problem that I'm currently running into with trying to get away from using my laptop is my mixer set up. Mainly the fact that I don't really have one that works for all of my gear. I have a couple of Alesis IO26s and they're all right when hooked up to my mac, but in standalone mode they won't daisy chain together and it defaults from 4 stereo channels to 8 mono channels with no ability to pan. Seriously considering getting a 16 track mixer and being done with it. Just keep in mind all the hidden expenses that come along with hardware, but personally I think it's the right thing to do.

                              Give the SSD market another year or two to come down in price and remember that they can fail just like a conventional HD. As for vibrations from live performances, I've seen a ton of MacBook Pros used on stage and in DJ booths and never once seen or heard of one having problems due to sound levels. Some of the crappier hard drives out there will probably vibrate it worse than the monitors ever could.
                              <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">lots of gear and not a computer in sight.</font></div>

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X