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  • From software to hardware

    I'm making a transition from being fully reliant on a computer to exploring bits of hardware to play/experiment live with.

    Do you have any favourite bits of hardware to recommend? I am specifically interested in those that can be run through a mixing desk and avoid a computer completely. I do need to find a machine to create and sequence solid beats (I realise ambient doesn't generally contain beats but occasionally my works do) and I prefer knobs and flashing lights to keys.

    Am just being open to any ideas for set ups that might work.

    I have recently acquired a big mixing desk tho so anything that can be utilised with that would be great to hear about. Cheers!
    It's all an illusion.

    https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

  • #2
    Knowing your style, I think I know someone who can help you better than I. Yumah makes vocal soundscapes, so you might want to try asking her for tips. Is this the kind of thing you are looking for?
    https://yumah.bandcamp.com/releases

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    • #3
      What about an MPC live? It can operate completeley stand-alone, and can be battery powered. Knobs and pads, no keys.
      Soundcloud - Youtube - Petroglyph Music - Bandcamp

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      • #4
        The Korg voltas are good fun. Only played with them briefly but seemed to sound good and intuitive to use.

        The Beats one is a drum machine (mainly analogue voices) so you're 'limited' to the sounds it has, may or may not be what you're into. The sampler seemed fun too, obviously with that you can sample and sequence any sound so can make pretty off the wall rhythms etc. Both pretty cheap and run off batteries if need be.

        Never played one but i hear good things about the Novation Circuit, synthesised drums and poly synth parts.
        Latest release: never to be repeated

        Hearthis | Soundcloud

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        • #5
          This is such a wide open question because we all have different ways of approaching music. I prefer hardware - always have - but I grew up with hardware - 4 tracks and drum machines and synths in the 80's (my teen years).

          I bought a Roland TR-8 because I love being able to tweak on the fly. I used to love doing that in Rebirth in the computer - now I can do it with hardware. I also have a Roland Handsonic HPD-15.

          There are a lot of drum machines out there - if you have local friends - beg / borrow / try - if you can't do that - troll youtube for videos. You might prefer something like a Roland SPD-SX which apparently can trigger both samples and drum sounds - played with sticks. Or an MPC as mentioned earlier. the Volcas look fun and are price friendly. Electribes should be easier to find these days.

          The only thing I truly use my computer for anymore is recording.

          Check out my studio rebuild thread in the gear section... feel free to ask about anything in there.
          owner / artist
          relaxed machinery - organic .: ambient :. techno
          http://relaxedmachinery.com
          open creative community: https://ello.co/elloambient

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          • #6
            Originally posted by john k-n View Post

            The only thing I truly use my computer for anymore is recording.
            And that is where I wish to be!

            Thank you for the listing, will check it all out.

            It's all an illusion.

            https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GaryG View Post
              The Korg voltas are good fun. Only played with them briefly but seemed to sound good and intuitive to use.

              The Beats one is a drum machine (mainly analogue voices) so you're 'limited' to the sounds it has, may or may not be what you're into. The sampler seemed fun too, obviously with that you can sample and sequence any sound so can make pretty off the wall rhythms etc. Both pretty cheap and run off batteries if need be.

              Never played one but i hear good things about the Novation Circuit, synthesised drums and poly synth parts.
              Will do, thanks!
              It's all an illusion.

              https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by betadecay View Post
                What about an MPC live? It can operate completeley stand-alone, and can be battery powered. Knobs and pads, no keys.
                I'm liking the idea of this for sure, thank you.

                It's all an illusion.

                https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cloud Hunter View Post
                  Knowing your style, I think I know someone who can help you better than I. Yumah makes vocal soundscapes, so you might want to try asking her for tips. Is this the kind of thing you are looking for?
                  https://yumah.bandcamp.com/releases
                  Well, vocal soundscapes are a part of it yes, but only a part. Thank you and I will check out her creations.
                  It's all an illusion.

                  https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Not sure what your budget is, but I myself, who started out with hardware and four-track cassette decks back in the day- actually even earlier than that with two reel-to-reel recorders, where I did sound-on-sound and bounced the tracks back and forth- found myself stuck in the computer world with daws and midi keyboards, and software, software, software- I made the leap back to hardware bit by bit when I bought my Yamaha Reface DX, then my Korg Kronos 2 88-key synth. I highly recommend it, because it not only has a plethora of onboard sounds that you can use for ambient, but a 24-bit sampler as well as the ability to record audio tracks directly into the sequencer. I bought mine for about $2900 on a 'scratch-and-dent' sale, meaning full warranty applies from the manufacturer.

                    So if you have the money to invest in a good keyboard, this will get you where you want to go! Now, there is a bit of a learning curve on some of the functions, but if you are truly into the hardware thing, that won't scare you off.



                    I also bought a TASCAM DP24-SD 24-track recorder on an 'open box' sale for $400, and I have not yet regretted it. It uses SD cards to store the recordings, and takes up to a 32GB card, which provides about 4 hours of recording time.



                    This setup has given me room to truly expand my sound palette without having to depend on my p.c.- but I can do post-processing if I want by exporting my masters via USB to the p.c. where I have all the necessary software to do what I need to do with it.

                    I hope this gives you plenty to think about.
                    Last edited by Sonic Bodhi; 06-29-2017, 08:38 PM.
                    "All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us" - Gandalf, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sonic Bodhi View Post
                      Not sure what your budget is, but I myself, who started out with hardware and four-track cassette decks back in the day- actually even earlier than that with two reel-to-reel recorders, where I did sound-on-sound and bounced the tracks back and forth- found myself stuck in the computer world with daws and midi keyboards, and software, software, software- I made the leap back to hardware bit by bit when I bought my Yamaha Reface DX, then my Korg Kronos 2 88-key synth. I highly recommend it, because it not only has a plethora of onboard sounds that you can use for ambient, but a 24-bit sampler as well as the ability to record audio tracks directly into the sequencer. I bought mine for about $2900 on a 'scratch-and-dent' sale, meaning full warranty applies from the manufacturer.

                      So if you have the money to invest in a good keyboard, this will get you where you want to go! Now, there is a bit of a learning curve on some of the functions, but if you are truly into the hardware thing, that won't scare you off.



                      I also bought a TASCAM DP24-SD 24-track recorder on an 'open box' sale for $400, and I have not yet regretted it. It uses SD cards to store the recordings, and takes up to a 32GB card, which provides about 4 hours of recording time.



                      This setup has given me room to truly expand my sound palette without having to depend on my p.c.- but I can do post-processing if I want by exporting my masters via USB to the p.c. where I have all the necessary software to do what I need to do with it.

                      I hope this gives you plenty to think about.
                      Fabulous! Thank you very much, plenty to think about, some great suggestions from everyone in this thread really helping me to fathom how I am going to connect all these different ideas and pieces of hardware together

                      It's all an illusion.

                      https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I love my VST instruments and effects and is one reason why I am so tethered to my laptop based studio. But I do have some hardware instruments and I do my best to make use of them.

                        Another thing that tethers me to my laptop is my poor playing ability. I have a couple of hard disk recorders but I hardly ever use them because it is so easy to set up my laptop and, once something is recorded, it is, by far, easier to put things right.

                        Hats off to all you accomplished musicians though, music be great getting away from a computer for stuff like this

                        cheers

                        andy
                        https://soundcloud.com/synkrotron

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by synkrotron View Post
                          I love my VST instruments and effects and is one reason why I am so tethered to my laptop based studio.
                          Have really enjoyed being more physical around music making lately, literally getting my arse away from the computer and moving around the few bits of hardware I have got. It's much more exciting and have been making more stuff on the fly which I am really enjoying too. Plus I use a computer a lot at work during the day so getting really fed up with it. Have also found that when i go to see performances I can 'switch off' if someone is preforming too much with their mac. I can see the benefits of course and will potentially still have mac involved but only minimally. I'd rather not rely on a computer. getting the software, vst's and DAW's has been really inspiring though, it enabled me to get back into music after a long break where all we used was analog stuff (back in the 90s and early naughties) now I am seeing and craving the benefits again of producing music that way. I seem to have so many different versions of the same track floating around on the computer so it makes sense to not be precious about it and fine tune it into something final and concrete but to keep all tracks ever evolving through exploration of many different hardware devices. Just finishing off a small (intense) recorded through software collection and then I plan to be hardware only for awhile. Plus I blew my monitors up and they sound like shit now

                          Thank you everyone for the tips, I'm exploring loads, am getting to play hands on with some stuff but find most similar artists and friends locally are either still into plugging in loud guitars in a trad style (that's fine) or absorbed in software. Looking forward to a new journey with music.

                          It's all an illusion.

                          https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm all hardware except for recording on PC at 48k. And I master it onto MD that's my sorta 'tape compression'.
                            Yello - The Eye
                            https://youtu.be/XAWFWYjx38Q

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by betadecay View Post
                              What about an MPC live? It can operate completeley stand-alone, and can be battery powered. Knobs and pads, no keys.
                              This. Fits the bill perfectly! Is at the top of the wish list
                              It's all an illusion.

                              https://soundcloud.com/skyhighdiamonds

                              Comment

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