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PsYcHo SaMuRai
71 posts since 7 May, 2014

Postby PsYcHo SaMuRai; Wed May 07, 2014 1:03 am Newbie with gear, now what?

I thought I'd introduce myself. I am an old blues/ rock/ metal guitar player that has discovered chill electronic music (Envio, Zero 7, etc.) as well as instrumental acoustic guitar (Andy McKee, Don Ross, etc.) in my old age.

I played with GarageBand on my iPad and had fun but now I want something more serious.

I haven't recorded much since using Cakewalk Guitar Tracks 2.0 that came with my Johnson J-Station. Before that I was using my Tascam 424 mk2 4 track recorder for awhile (which I still own). So, that gives you an idea of how out of the loop I am, so to speak. :wink:
I have a few mics, acoustic and electric guitars (I like to build electric guitars as a hobby).
I was also a tech for Kurzweil Music Systems many years ago so I have a few pieces of gear.
Keyboards/ sound modules;
Kurzweil PC-88mx
Kurzweil PC-2R
Kurzweil micro piano

I am using for my soundcard, an old Tascam US-122 (the drivers work in Vista SP2 compatibilty mode) on a dedicated quad-core Windows 7 64bit machine.

I have a rather large library of Kurzweil sample CDs but I have sold all my other Kurzweil hardware that I could load them into. I may still buy back my old K2000 so I can I use the library since some of the files use the Kurzweil's internal ROMs for sounds.

I am thinking of getting Sonar X3 for my DAW soon. I hope to convince Sugar Momma to buy me Komplete 9 as well but that's down the road.

Anyways, I am lucky enough to have all this stuff and a little bit of musical ability but my choices of how to use it are daunting and confusing. So, for now, I am just fiddling with the free Kontakt 5 player, Reaktor 5 and Guitar Rig 5 using my PC-88 as a midi controller. Eventually, I'd like to mix my acoustic playing and electric guitar samples into some more modern electronic music.

I'm not sure how to formulate a question out of all this but I guess it would be...What would you get software-wise to get the most out of the gear I have or just fun ways to experiment?

Thanks for taking the time to read my long-winded post and I hope I have posted in the right forum...it's 2am and I'm sleepy. :roll:
67 posts since 25 Jan, 2007

Postby forkol; Thu May 08, 2014 12:41 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

I would stick with Cakewalk and Sonar, if you liked them before, you'll probably like them even more now.

What to do next? Well, it's not about software acquisition, but knowledge acquisition. That is, you want to focus on what to do, and not what you think you need to do it.

If you get Sonar X3 producer, you've got pretty much everything you need initially. Try to work with that first.

I'm a proponent of when you want to learn something, then create a project. A few suggestions:

1) Try taking a modern song (or any song you know) and try imagining it in chillout. Then set about creating that in your DAW.

2) Enter a remix contest. Don't worry about winning, heck, you don't even have to submit your entry. What this does for you is force you off your game, and turn up your creative side, and helps you conform to a time period as well.

Now, it's likely your first attempts may not be good. That's ok. As usual, it gets much better with practice.

Now, as for the knowledge. The great thing about this modern age we live in is there's info, some paid but most of it free for the taking. Search on youtube on "how to make chillout music". There are some excellent tutorials there. They will not be using Sonar, but the concepts should carry over into any DAW.

You should also check out the Cakewalk and some of their other videos as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rAwiLvmshs

You might want to get some chillout samples, since I don't think Sonar comes with many of them. For free ones, search on SampleRadar on Musicradar.com to pick up lots of free ones, and then check out some companies that have some good ones. I like Sample Magic (http://www.samplemagic.com). I'm very much considering their Cinematic Chill sample sets.

That's probably more than enough to get started for now.
436 posts since 17 Aug, 2004

Postby Redmerkurii; Thu May 08, 2014 1:36 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Welcome to KvR :party: :hug: you've picked a great forum for fun, friends and opinionated prattle. Cat pics also score bonus points :tu:
Just make the music that you enjoy (failing that go for a walk, watch some porn, have a fight with a random bloke until something else happens).
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PsYcHo SaMuRai
71 posts since 7 May, 2014

Postby PsYcHo SaMuRai; Mon May 12, 2014 11:33 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Thanks, Redmerkurii!
Great advice forkol, thank you!
I think you gave me some great direction. I am already filling up a scratch pad of ideas to experiment with as I sit here in Maui on vacation with my family. Complete with some guitar licks to work from. :tu:

I decided to evaluate Reaper.
I grabbed Synth1, Strings1 and Cristal as well as TS-808 since they seemed to be rated highly for freeware. I also grabbed Shortcircuit2 since it looks like some of my Akai/Kurzweil samples can be loaded into it. We shall see when I get home.
I have a lot to learn!
267 posts since 7 Sep, 2011

Postby MadAnthony81; Thu May 15, 2014 3:00 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Here's my take. And hey by the way I love all that old bluesy metal.

Ableton for me is the way to go for EDM and a transparent not too analog sounding effects. I like mixing Ableton effects with Waves which to me are absolutely incredible and when knowing how to use them they work wonderful. All this comes in time, much time.

Ableton Live 8 Suite is what I have. You can buy Ableton Live and upgrade to most other instruments if desired but might not be the case unless you want a little bit more of a specific instrument build. Kinda eclectic or eccentric or specific if I may. For instance, it has intruments that suite the interests of EDM. (Electronic Dance music. Or EM, Electronic music.

You can still find a copy of Ableton Live 8 Suite out there with an audio interface called an Impact Twin. It is available at a smaller retailer online still. Its a real good deal for it to come with it even though you can only use probably near 10 tracks and many more clips, it would still mean that you would easily be able to learn and definitely still even record with it. The TC Impact TWIN is incredible and has what I notice to be a white SSL onboard EQ compressor and d-esser. The onboard is their TC Electronic powercore system which is highly esteemed, or used to be, but still not inferior at all except that indeed, it isn't just software.

Ableton Live is a drag and drop application that uses many dials all for similar and different types of uses. The dials are what attract me the most along with it's ease of use and spontaneity in action. Not just an EDM, EM, GUI. Layout.

For EDM I suggest looking into my 3 favorite synths.


All are very pro.

I really love my setup, and fully belive it is top notch and affordably great in expense and quality. A lot of bang for the buck. Though yes, not cheap.

Message me if you like, ill be glad to help you out.

PS if you want a guitar amp and effects simulator. I find GTR3 outstanding. Its what I use too. And its very affordable at 140 dollars.

Cheers. And peace, my brother. haha

Faith Fox
Ableton Live 8 Suite 64 Bit, Sylenth1 64 Bit,Rapture, Zeta+2,Synthmaster, Dimenison Pro, Mo' Phatt. and Waves plugs.
DELL i-3770 3.9ghz, 12GB RAM, INTEL SSD,
M-Audio Bx8 D2
Oxygen 49
TC ELECTRONIC impact twin 64 Bit
Fast Track Plus
Grace and love
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PsYcHo SaMuRai
71 posts since 7 May, 2014

Postby PsYcHo SaMuRai; Sun May 18, 2014 5:39 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

I'm getting to know Reaper a little at a time as I try to record as well as play with synth1 and cristal to build/ shape sounds with it.
Unfortunately, ShortCircuit doesn't read my Kurzweil samples so I may buy back my K2000 synth. I have too many quality sample disks to just leave them collecting dust.

So, getting to know my DAW, how to use virtual instruments and manipulating samples will keep me busy for quite some time all while expanding my playing ability and recording/ mixing techniques.
Hopefully, this process doesn't get in the way of the musical ideas that I have floating around or scratched down on paper but instead gives me more tools and knowledge to create.
Time will tell.

Can anyone here share their experiences with music production courses?
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6099 posts since 18 Jun, 2008, from Melbourne, Australia

Postby ZenPunkHippy; Sun May 18, 2014 5:55 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

The Kurzweil CDs are in a proprietary format that requires conversion to WAV format to use in Short Circuit (or any other sample playback plugin).

This app should do the job, but it's not free. Check out the demo:


... space is the place ...
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PsYcHo SaMuRai
71 posts since 7 May, 2014

Postby PsYcHo SaMuRai; Sun May 18, 2014 7:29 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

I appreciate that. It's cheaper than a couple other conversion programs I found.
I worry though, that even after conversion, some of the data will still need the internal ROM sounds in the Kurzweil synth.
So, I think my best bet is to get my old K2000 back.

I've been playing with FX on 1 track at a time just to get used to how they affect sounds and how to set parameters on each one. So far, just FX on bass and drum loops and trying to get a good mix on both before adding any synth or guitar tracks. Maybe I'm doing it in the wrong order but it has forced me to learn the software. I'm also researching mixing techniques...lots to learn.
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PsYcHo SaMuRai
71 posts since 7 May, 2014

Postby PsYcHo SaMuRai; Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:29 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

So, I've been demo'ing all the DAWs I can. I try to give them a few days each. I'm currently using a demo of Sonar X3. I didn't care for Studio One or FL Studio, Reaper is ahead so far but still not crazy about it. I'd like to combine features of Sonar and Reaper. I grabbed some of the highly rated, free VST effects and instruments (Synth1, Crystal, Strings1, Luftikus, etc.).
Playing with DAWs is bringing me back full circle to just hitting record and playing live then playing with effects during mix down. That, in turn, has me looking at mics and preamps again. /sigh :roll:
It's kind of a rabbit hole but I'm moving forward... slowly.

Not to drag anyone else on my journey down the rabbit hole but...has anyone here used the BBE Acoustimax preamp? http://www.bbesound.com/products/instru ... timax.aspx
I'm looking for something to dial in my acoustic guitar for live as well as recording settings.

I've been asked to join a band that plays music I'm not really into so I thought I would give it a go to get over my stage fright. Even just hitting the record button makes me nervous and affects my playing. :dog:
Last edited by PsYcHo SaMuRai on Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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22314 posts since 27 Jul, 2005, from the wilds of wanny

Postby thecontrolcentre; Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:55 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Most people suffer from the dreaded record button syndrome. Try recording everything you play til you get over it ;)
90 posts since 22 Apr, 2006

Postby amyhughes; Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:11 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

PsYcHo SaMuRai wrote:It's cheaper than a couple other conversion programs I found.
I worry though, that even after conversion, some of the data will still need the internal ROM sounds in the Kurzweil synth.
So, I think my best bet is to get my old K2000 back..

I hate to say it, but those sample CDs may best be left to collect dust. Virtual instruments you can buy today for not a lot of money (or get for free) are just so much easier to use, and so much more capable.

I've got a bunch of sample CDs from that era and I won't even bother converting them into something modern. They just aren't very good by today's standards.
90 posts since 22 Apr, 2006

Postby amyhughes; Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:22 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

For recording guitar, check out these free amp and cab sims before you spend money on amp modeling plugins.

LePou Plugins

You'll need a DAW to host them as they aren't stand-alone.
129 posts since 15 Mar, 2013, from United States

Postby sharke; Thu Jun 19, 2014 1:53 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Sonar X3 is an excellent choice. Spring for X3 Producer if you can because it comes with an incredible amount of top quality mixing tools. It also has the basic version of Melodyne built in which you can upgrade to Editor down the road.

You might also find that Sonar's user base has a lot more in common with you than the user bases of other DAW's. If you go on their forums you'll find loads of older guitar mad guys, and it's one of the most helpful and friendliest forums out there. An excellent community to be part of if you're just getting into DAW's.
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3589 posts since 5 Nov, 2009

Postby arkmabat; Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:18 pm Re: Newbie with gear, now what?


Another Sonar X3 Studio user here.
19 posts since 9 Feb, 2014

Postby ZiggDubstep; Fri Oct 03, 2014 11:24 am Re: Newbie with gear, now what?

Really, whatever DAW you use is reliant to which one you are comfortable with, but I recommend Ableton, because it is basically the industry standard for music production. Also, stick with Native Instrument's synthesizers. Trust me.

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