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#1326949 - 12/16/09 07:14 PM Music Software Question
pixels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Toronto
Quick search on the topic didn't return what I was looking for. I guess this is a HUGE subject matter but I was wondering if someone could point me in the right direction.
I am looking for a very user friendly, intuitive software for recording music. This is for my personal enjoyment only. I have never used music software before.

It seems like there are different SW for notating music and recording music and composing music. Can these exist in one software?

What I am after is the ability to record multi tracks and being able to visually see where I am in a piece. Then the aility to record it as MP3 and have it play back on my keyboard.
So what would be a good starting point. Thanks very much.

Peter

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#1326966 - 12/16/09 07:35 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: pixels]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
If you own an Apple Mac then you can already do all the things you describe. They are shipped with this software pre-installed. It's called "Garage Band". Look for it in the applications folder.

If you are still using Windows then you will need to buy a USB audio/MIDI interface in order to hook up your instruments and microphone. Look for an interface that comes bundled with "Cubase". This software is likey the third most commonly used software for what you want. And getting it bundled for free is the best way to get it.

Here is one example of the kind of USB device you'd need and this one does come with cubase
http://www.tascam.com/products/us-144mkII.html

but you'd need one input per instrument or mic that is to be recorded. drums alone can use 8 mics, pianos three and some people mic acoustic guitars with two mics. You may end up with something like this
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/FireStudio/?gclid=CJqR3Zuf3J4CFR4Hagod9U8GKQ

See here for software
http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/musicproduction/cubase5_product.html

http://www.apple.com/ilife/garageband/

In professional studios the two most common softwares ar "Pro Tools" and Apple's "Logic". Both have a steep learning curve.

If you want to see how this all works watch the training videos on the above software titles at http://www.macprovideo.com/
Spend the $25 for a subscription and watch the tutorials for Logic, Protools and Cubase. 30 hours later you will be the expert.
As you will find out this stuff tkes so long to learn you will never want to switch later. So don't chose based on something trivial like a $100 price difference.

And then of couse yu need microphones. That is another subject.


Edited by ChrisA (12/16/09 07:48 PM)

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#1327011 - 12/16/09 08:39 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
pixels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Toronto
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your detailed reply. I should have been more specific. First, I am on windows so I will need the software. Or maybe this is a good time to invest in a Mac. grin
When you say microphone, I won't be needing any as all my sounds will come from my keyboard (Casio PX330). This is one of the reasons I went with that piano, for its 250 sounds. And there won't be any vocals so if there are any other reasons for a mike, please let me know.
What are the price range for these software? Thanks again.

Peter

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#1327012 - 12/16/09 08:39 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
setchman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/06
Posts: 166
Peter,

Here are some links to what would be considered "entry-level" recording software. It's by no means all-inclusive but it's a start. Some support both PC and MAC and some are PC only.

http://www.notionmusic.com/products/protege.html

http://www.cakewalk.com/products/musiccreator/

http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/musicproduction/sequel_2.html

http://flstudio.image-line.com/

http://www.reaper.fm/

http://www.magix.com/us/music-maker/

Here are some freeware DAWs you could try:

http://www.kreatives.org/kristal/index.php

http://www.mutools.com/products.html
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#1327033 - 12/16/09 09:08 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: setchman]
pixels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Toronto
Thank you setchman. I will look into these.

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#1327177 - 12/17/09 01:15 AM Re: Music Software Question [Re: pixels]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: pixels
Hi Chris,
Thanks for your detailed reply. I should have been more specific. First, I am on windows so I will need the software. Or maybe this is a good time to invest in a Mac. grin
When you say microphone, I won't be needing any as all my sounds will come from my keyboard (Casio PX330). This is one of the reasons I went with that piano, for its 250 sounds. And there won't be any vocals so if there are any other reasons for a mike, please let me know.
What are the price range for these software? Thanks again.

Peter



OK no microphone is required if you will be recording from the line out jacks. But you WILL still be needing an audio/MIDI interface. Those I used as example are are good as any. The software is free when you buy the interface, and you WILL need one. The audio that is built into most PCs is not good enough and you certainly do not have MIDI.

Which to get? Think about training. The learning curve is very steep if you are new to all of this. So buy software that has third party training support like books and videos you can buy. Merging mutiple "takes" and fixing mistakes in post production is not as easy as seems if you want the effect to be seamless. Video and books will take months off the learning curve.

It is easy to spend half the cost of a Macbook on PC software. That would be kind of a waste, may as well have bought the macbook. This is why I suggested selecting an audio interface that has a good software bundle, the software is otherwise expensive.

Take the time to watch those tutorial videos. You will see how it all comes together.

Prices? Bundled software is free, The full up version of Pro Tools has a four digit price tag. Apple's "Logic Express" is $199. I think thefull version of Cubase is about $500. So prices range from free to about $2,000.

Although you can record the audio line out from the Casio DP, I bet that you will find recording the MIDI data works better. Then you can use the much better sounds that are available on the computer and also editing is MUCH easier with midi than with audio. It's actually easy to record both midi and audio at the same time. this gives you the most options for mixing later.

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#1327322 - 12/17/09 09:17 AM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
pixels Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/08
Posts: 50
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

The software is free when you buy the interface, and you WILL need one.



That's a great deal! Thanks Chris.

Peter

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#1327339 - 12/17/09 09:46 AM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

OK no microphone is required if you will be recording from the line out jacks. But you WILL still be needing an audio/MIDI interface. . . . The audio that is built into most PCs is not good enough and you certainly do not have MIDI.

That's debatable (10 years ago I would totally agree). Depending on the PC, some of the integrated sound cards are more than adequate to get started for an enthusiast. Also the Casio PX330 has USB midi. Reaper is free to try and only $60 and has a great support forum. So you can pretty much get your feet wet for $0 with the ability to record midi and audio simultaneously.

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#1327427 - 12/17/09 11:38 AM Re: Music Software Question [Re: Triryche]
EdenResident Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 65
If you already like the sound coming out of your piano, recording from the line out is fine if you have a decent sound card with a good analog-to-digital converter. The advantage with recording via the MIDI out is that you can manipulate the recording much easier, from rendering it with different sound patches to fixing your mistakes. I know sound cards have come a long way but I'd still recommend recording via MIDI out. That way, you eliminate one "middle man" (the A-to-D converter).

Line-out: Digital (your piano) -> Analog (your piano) -> Analog (your sound card) -> Digital (your sound card) -> Audio file on your PC.

MIDI: Digital (your piano) -> Digital (MIDI file on your computer) -> Analog (sequencing software like Ivory) -> Audio file on your PC
(Plus you get to keep the original MIDI file that can be manipulated later. Think of it as the "negavtive" of your recording.)

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#1327458 - 12/17/09 12:31 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: Triryche]
ChrisA Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 3841
Loc: Redondo Beach, California
Originally Posted By: Triryche
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

OK no microphone is required if you will be recording from the line out jacks. But you WILL still be needing an audio/MIDI interface. . . . The audio that is built into most PCs is not good enough and you certainly do not have MIDI.

That's debatable (10 years ago I would totally agree). Depending on the PC, some of the integrated sound cards are more than adequate to get started for an enthusiast. Also the Casio PX330 has USB midi. Reaper is free to try and only $60 and has a great support forum. So you can pretty much get your feet wet for $0 with the ability to record midi and audio simultaneously.



The investment with the software is not so much in money. (Logic Express for example is only $199.) but in TIME.

It can take weeks and months to come up to speed and the concepts and how the audio edits work and the midi editors and how to convert to music notation. How virtual channel strips are assembled. You want to pick the software that you will continue to use down the road and not set your self up to be forced to switch later.

I'm not saying what to get, but just what to think about. Don't decide based on what saves you $100 now.

The most future proof software is Pro Tools. It is the de facto world wide "standard" in recording studios. "logic is maybe a strong second.

But maybe you never intend to go near a studio or work with anyone who does. Then you don't care what is the standard but you do have to pick one you can live with for a long time. Look at 3rd party support and all the secondary factors. All of the software can do the basics

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#1327477 - 12/17/09 12:52 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
EdenResident Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/09
Posts: 65
ChrisA, between Pro Tools and Cubase, which one is easier to learn (but still has room for expansion later)? I mainly look to record and sequence my MIDIs and record some vocals. Thanks.

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#1327488 - 12/17/09 01:06 PM Re: Music Software Question [Re: ChrisA]
Triryche Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 1451
Loc: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Originally Posted By: ChrisA

The investment with the software is not so much in money. (Logic Express for example is only $199.) but in TIME.

It can take weeks and months to come up to speed and the concepts and how the audio edits work and the midi editors and how to convert to music notation. How virtual channel strips are assembled. You want to pick the software that you will continue to use down the road and not set your self up to be forced to switch later.

I'm not saying what to get, but just what to think about. Don't decide based on what saves you $100 now.

The most future proof software is Pro Tools. It is the de facto world wide "standard" in recording studios. "logic is maybe a strong second.

But maybe you never intend to go near a studio or work with anyone who does. Then you don't care what is the standard but you do have to pick one you can live with for a long time. Look at 3rd party support and all the secondary factors. All of the software can do the basics

ChrisA,
Those are all great points and things to consider.
However, you state as fact "you WILL need audio/MIDI..." and I am just debating that aspect.

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