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hello. im haptiK. got any advice for a noob?

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  • hello. im haptiK. got any advice for a noob?

    hello. im haptiK. hoping to learn how to produce my own ambient and drone music. hardware and software tips for noobs welcome.

  • #2
    Hi, welcome to Ambient Online!

    A good start would be to browse through these threads:

    https://www.ambientonline.org/forum/...ry-and-methods

    https://www.ambientonline.org/forum/ambient/tutorials

    You might also enjoy listening to some of these podcasts. There are sure to be some great tips in there...and lots of cool music too!

    https://www.ambientonline.org/forum/ambient/ao-podcasts

    Cheers,
    windspace

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    • #3
      Hey Haptic, welcome!

      The number one thing I would say is listen. Obsessively. Follow your nose, and seek out new music.

      Creativity is like a metabolism: if you want continual output you need continual input. The more music you're listening to, the better! Some people try to restrict what they listen to because they're afraid it's going to affect their originality, but usually they end up just starving themselves creatively. There's not much you can do to avoid sounding like yourself anyway.

      The more music you listen to, the more inspiration you have to draw on. You can borrow things that work in one context and apply them in a unique way in a totally different context that maybe you would have never thought of on your own. When you've heard a variety of other musicians follow a certain type of sound or section of a song in different ways, when you get into a situation like that you have all of those ideas in the back of your mind as possible ways outs if you get stuck. It doesn't mean you write the parts they wrote, but rather that you know "ok, I can pull out all melody and harmony and take 8 bars of rhythm here, and then change keys like the album I was listening to the other day," or something like that.

      But a deeper reason is that a true passion for the music itself has to be driving your creative project. If you're not independently motivated to pursue and enjoy the end product, it will be very difficult to sustain the effort and dedication that's required to make that product.

      Additionally, the very act of creating anything musically entails an act of judgement. Writing a melody, picking notes for a chord, dialing in a sound on a synthesizer or piece of software, deciding what's going to happen next in your song: all of these rely on developing your judgement in order to say "yes, this idea works" or "this sucks." To certain extent, you have to rely on your imagination to generate ideas, and your judgement to know when to keep them and when to ditch them. Every time you listen to a song, or an album; every hour you log spending time with your music collection - getting familiar with what you like, what you don't like, what works better here, better there - you're exercising and developing the same judgement that you use when you're writing your own music. Professional athletes spend time training and time at the gym; musicians spend time listening to new music and practicing their instruments (and do not, by any means, be afraid to just practice: even if nothing is "produced" during your practice).

      So for both generating new ideas when you're sitting down to write a specific part, and for developing the judgement to know which of those ideas work and which do not; they key is listening to new music... Obsessively!

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      • #4
        SubliminalSeas´s tips above sum it up very well. I would first of all start to listen actively to some premier drone and ambient music. What´s going on? Then, set it side by side with your own or someone else's (beginners) attempts at the same style. What's different, what is missing, what is too much of something? Very often great drone and ambient music is the sum of many subtle things balanced together. All the software and/or hardware in the world won´t compensate for untrained ears, so this is where to start, IMO.
        If you tell us your DAW and hardware equipment, giving tips would be easier. Budget? Free? There is so much available out there!

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        • #5
          welcome and i see you have had some great advice already , so i will just say enjoy :-)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Jan Roos View Post
            If you tell us your DAW and hardware equipment, giving tips would be easier. Budget? Free? There is so much available out there!
            Jan Roos I have a top of line gaming PC (i9 64gb RAM 2080ti, that sort of thing) that I would also use for this. I don't have any musical hardware yet. no synths. I'm looking for software to start building things in, not sure where to even begin there. I don't really have a budget, monies not really an issue that's to say I am not going to invest in anything expensive right off the bat and start throwing money and stuff just because. I need a little experience first.

            S1gnsOfL1fe has a list of his setup on twitch, which I am going through one by one to learn what those things are. I also spoke to dronehands yesterday on twitch and he offered to give me some tips and show me some things, so im looking forward to that.

            thanks everyone for the advice so far. i can already tell the community here is phenomenal so im looking forward to getting stuck in!

            SubliminalSea thank you for that awesome post. that is great advice. i will take it to heart.

            windspace thanks for the links! i will be sure to read
            Last edited by haptiK; 03-25-2020, 08:43 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by haptiK View Post

              S1gnsOfL1fe has a list of his setup on twitch, which I am going through one by one to learn what those things are. I also spoke to dronehands yesterday on twitch and he offered to give me some tips and show me some things, so im looking forward to that.
              I'll be streaming today at 11am pst. Tune in and you can ask any question you like!
              Synphaera Records
              Space | Time | Matter

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              • #8
                First of all, you need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

                Free DAWs:
                https://bedroomproducersblog.com/201...-daw-software/

                Then some free instruments and effects:
                ​​​​​​https://bedroomproducersblog.com/free-vst-plugins/

                And some free mastering tools:
                ​​​​​​https://bedroomproducersblog.com/201...ring-software/

                You´ll also need a decent soundcard and a couple of quality studio monitors. A little bit of acoustic treatment in the room you are working in is a minimum as well, meaning some studio foam like Auralex or similar, so you can trust what you hear is what is actually there, and not a result of certain frequencies bouncing back and forth from the walls, etc. This is a cost you cannot escape if you wanna try out producing music at a decent level. However, check out the excellent free tools that are available, see how you like it. I started out on free (free, not pirated) software. The majority of my first album, released on (once upon a time) well known ambient label Origo Sound, was made on open source and free software.

                I assumed that you are a complete newbie here. If you already have some music experience, the software, plugins and just want som ambient specific tips, let me know.
                Last edited by Jan Roos; 03-25-2020, 01:19 PM.

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                • #9
                  Jan Roos thank you for this. i am indeed a complete noob so the information you are providing is critical. are you Super Fata on youtube, listening to your stuff now.

                  S1gnsOfL1fe i followed you. didn't have time to watch live but i will check out the recording. thank you. also, what is your affiliation with somafm i did catch a blurb in your video about them being down and you posting to insta about it... i've been listening to soma.fm since the first launched. huge fan.

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                  • #10
                    blackivan hi! thank you

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                    • #11
                      Jan Roos what sound card would you recommend?

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                      • #12
                        S1gnsOfL1fe i followed you. didn't have time to watch live but i will check out the recording. thank you. also, what is your affiliation with somafm i did catch a blurb in your video about them being down and you posting to insta about it... i've been listening to soma.fm since the first launched. huge fan.
                        I manage the SomaFM Instagram account. Rusty, the founder and I became friends about 6 years ago and he's been a huge supporter of mine and my labels music. Our tracks can regularly be heard on Drone Zone, Deep Space One, and Space Station Soma. We also play a live show with SomaFM once a year either in San Francisco or Las Vegas at DEFCON.

                        Synphaera Records
                        Space | Time | Matter

                        Comment


                        • #13

                          Originally posted by S1gnsOfL1fe View Post

                          at DEFCON.
                          nice.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by haptiK View Post
                            Jan Roos what sound card would you recommend?
                            Hi again.
                            Yeah, I´m Super Fata.

                            Regarding soundcards, it depends on several things.
                            Are you going to use external instruments (like playing guitar) or sing? If so you need to have those connections available in your soundcard. How many? Will you have several other musicians doing live stuff, or will you be by your self working mainly on the computer and sometimes with external synths (like the majority of us here, I´m guessing)? Conversion and sample rates are not really a problem in 2020, I believe most soundcards would be able to do them at 192kHz / 24-bit and most should have low latency, so what you play when you play it is what you hear, etc. Also, if you don´t wanna shell out a lot of cash early on; a lot of the sound cards come bundled with Software and light versions of well known DAWs, so there´s that too (however I would not let that be the main deciding factor when buying hardware).

                            The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 should deliver good results, starting up:

                            https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E6T56EA...SIN=B01E6T56EA

                            Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6:

                            https://www.amazon.com/Native-Instru...954704&sr=1-33

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                            • #15
                              I like the KOMPLETE 6 interface, because it has two stereo inputs - offering more possibilities.

                              In my current setup, I feed the micro Korg and the Roland Boutiques and the iPad via a mixer into one input, and a Boss RC-202 loop station into the other. The loop station is used as a looper (as the bane implies) and also as an effects procsseor for other devices that I connect to it. And I can treat both audio channels different in my audio software. Some reverb here, some special effects there.

                              A looper might be a good idea. Also a good idea might be a field recorder (like Zoom H2n or so...) - I like to process field recordings with granular synthesizers.

                              If you have an iPad: there is an abundance of cheap and good audio tools.

                              Regarding software (Mac/PC), I would start with free synths - saves a lot of money (but only in the beginning... - sooner or later, the thing will become expensive... ), and some are really good. If you need effects, you'll find the basic ones in your DAW.
                              https://www.kvraudio.com/product/syn...ry-ichiro-toda
                              https://www.amazona.de/freeware-synt...st-au-win-mac/ (german txt, but with download links)
                              https://www.greenoak.com/crystal/dnld2.html


                              Soundcloud - Bandcamp - Youtube - Essentia Mundi

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