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How much does gear control your sound?

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  • How much does gear control your sound?

    Especially in the software age, there are lots of cool programs out there, at reasonable prices, which have extensive online resources available to them. But this thought process can also apply to many hardware devices.

    I find it interesting that many people see Reason, Acid or Live as "electronic music only" tools. While granted, the loop-based approach of Acid lends itself to a certain style, I find the stereotype odd.

    Perhaps it's because I come from a guitar background, but I know lots of people that used Acid for guitar music...even stuff like blues. They would use Acid to make drum loops, and record one track at a time to build an arrangement. Other than the software and using loops to create drums, there was nothing electronic style about it.

    Reason is another example. At least with 3.0, if you check all the demo songs, in addition to the obvious electronic types, there are full orchestral/classical and soundtrack type music there. Granted, not being able to record audio directly into it prohibits it for the acoustic singer/songwriter type (although you can ReWire it into something like Cubase LE, included with numerous audio cards for free), but it seems to have capabilites well beyond how it seems perceived.

    Is part of the classification here due to maybe people just sticking with the included presets/samples of these packages?

    Now I'll admit that if you go back to the early days of soft synths, something like ReBirth was obviously more limited and directed toward a target audience. But for most of the newer packages, how much of due to the softwares capabilities itself, and how much is it the users application of the tool?

    I'm feeling a little philosophical today!
    -------------------------------------------------
    Justin Thyme

    "Of all the things I've lost in my life...
    I miss my mind the most."

  • #2
    The more responsive and adjustable the gear is, the more you can "make it your own". I would say that since the first hardware synths that had no velocity, polyphony, aftertouch, etc. and only a few adjustable parameters, things have only become more responsive and adjustable, whether its hardware or software, no?
    silentheart.com

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    • #3
      Just a quick response and I'd say if you were making pop then hardly any control. That is if by gear you meant synths. Pop always uses tons of outboard processors.

      But in electronic music, gear is everything I would imagine. Not a big softy, but your gear will often show it's face during a song moreso (than pop). Still many interesting concoctions can be made.
      ____
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      • #4
        The Fantom remains untamed.



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        • #5
          Taking your example of using acid or reason for more audio based or classical (midi) based work, I'd use cubase because it's designed for audio & midi, and the arranger is much more suited to it.

          Reason in particular I find irritating to use as anything other than a set of instruments.

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          • #6


            Reason in particular I find irritating to use as anything other than a set of instruments.


            Well, that's really about all Reason is. But wouldn't those instruments be just as good at classical or soundtracks as they would be for electronica?
            -------------------------------------------------
            Justin Thyme

            "Of all the things I've lost in my life...
            I miss my mind the most."

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            • #7
              Excellent post! I would say that most of the time, I know what I am going for, but often, I might stumble across a sound, chord, or progression which takes things in a direction I hadn't thought of before. I think one artist called them "happy accidents" or some such thing. I think as long as you can connect with the sound, and it conveys what you want it to, it shouldn't matter how you get there. Having said that, you probably have to work a bit harder to achieve a heavy industrial sound on one of those smaller Casio-type things than say a Virus, Nord, MicrowaveXT, etc., but once you got there, it could be very cool.
              stock 1974 Hammond A105 with Leslie 122RV, Yamaha CP300, Nord Electro 3 73, Novation X Station 61, Alesis SR-16, Omnisphere, NI Absynth 5, Battery 3, Reaktor 5, Massive, Kontakt, CS-80V, Moog Modular V, ImpOSCAR, GSi VB3, Sonicprojects OP-X II, SONAR X1

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              • #8
                I know what you mean.

                People look at "grooveboxes" a funny way and dissmiss them as "for dance"...

                ...but there may be an underlying point to these kinds of views.

                Some tools may be very flexable but work BEST when used a certain way. That "certain way" may make it especially well suited for a certain type of music. Look at the TB-303, when doing what it does best, it could be said that it spontaneously created a genre unto itself. Not that you can't play a blue line on it.

                A related thought I often ponder is the effect MIDI has on how we approach our tools. MIDI may not make sound but it certainly influences our tools enough to affect the very way music is concieved.

                Makes me long for a more flexable (and thus more compositionally/sonically transparent alternative to MIDI.
                A technology distinguishable from magic is not sufficiently advanced.

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                • #9
                  Man, gear control is my sound.
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