Whats your story ? How did you get started with Computer music ?

Anything about MUSIC but doesn't fit into the forums above.
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324 posts since 4 Dec, 2021

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:24 am

I wonder what the statistics are for people who stick it out over the years. I imagine learning this stuff for some people is easier than it is for others, but i think it's still a very huge endeavour.

For myself I remember Rebirth coming out and demoing it back in the late 90s and thinking how awesome it was to have. I was a big chemical brothers and Aphex Twin fan and wanted to know how they made all those crazy sounds! Of course this was all pre-internet so I didn't really have anything apart from magazines to even point me in the right direction.

Rebirth completely confused me at the time so I didn't really ever get past just playing with the controls and generating sequences. I didn't bother learning how to sequence or anything like that. It was a good start though!

Reason 2.5 at a media school i attended was my next exposure to this stuff and after playing a few demo songs i was very much sold on computer music production. It was just trying to understand how it all worked which was insanely frustrating. Most of the time I would just give up and figure I was too inept to figure it all out. Furthermore since I was never musically trained "properly" it was like reverse engineering some kind of weird machine trying to figure out what did what.

I kind of figured you had to be some kind of musical genius to figure out this stuff so more times than not I just gave up. However i ended up always coming back.

Most of these early experiments with Reason were similar to rebirth, i just messed around with the midi keyboard and played patches or demoed the demo songs.

If there was ever a battle for me this was it. I had a real long pattern of messing around with stuff, giving up and then going back. I mean it was like some kind of weird addiction that I couldn't shake. :lol:

Eventually I started reading about the different types of synthesis and took a few music lessons to try and wrap my head around this stuff. I think that helped and of course reading magazines and internet articles helped too.

I ended up buying Reason 5 after I finally figured out how to make small tracks using the Matrix sequencer and Redrum and it was kind of the start of it all. It was fun until I started digging around looking for that next great thing and that ended up being Ableton Live.

I remember demoing Live and thinking how unintuitive it was, i couldn't understand the pattern/loop page or even really how to use it properly. Once i learned how to rewire Reason into Live and control the Reason devices with midi loops i was totally hooked. It was like being a live DJ or something and i just never looked back.

Reaktor was kind of my next big fascination after reading all the glowing reviews of it and i thought i found the ultimate combo with Reason/Live + Reaktor. I kind of thought after getting Reaktor i wouldn't need anything else :lol:

Then of course one thing leads to the other and I started exploring vsts and well the rest is history.

Needless to say I kind of got ahead of myself instead of really focusing on how to use Reason and Live to the fullest. Basically i dabbled and experimented with all the various synthesizers out there trying to figure them out. I know at one point i was amazed at the Arturia stuff that came out thinking "Wow I've got a minimoog on my computer!" :hihi:

Anyways whats your story?
Do you have them all yet?

7287 posts since 31 Aug, 2013 from Down the Withywindle

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 8:42 am

Started with Cubasis for mac when it was only midi. It was buggy as hell, but I was using it to supplement audio tracks on a Roland VS machine, circa 1999.
When I needed a new computer in 2007, I got one of the new Intel iMacs, and decided to get Logic, so I could slave that to the VS. My computer was not strong enough to use Logic 7 Express then Logic Pro 8/9, so I figured I'd just slave it to the VS. Didn't take me long to get an Apogee Duet audio interface and move completely away from the Roland, which I found very clunky in comparison. Been using Logic ever since. Do not regret it.
“Always after a defeat and a respite," says Gandalf, "the Shadow takes another shape and grows again."
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Rad Grandad
35630 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Downeast Maine

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 9:03 am

I was actually in retail selling it before I got into using a computer. At the time I was using a 12 track digital unit (Akai DPS12) and had moved on from 4-tracks. I am a huge Married With Children fan and I played his home address in the daily lotto (9764 but for a hile they had it on the house as 9674). It hit exact order around the turn of the century, we got all 4 exact order, all 4 any order, first three any, first three exact, last three any and last three exact...we cleaned up, I also bought the first version tivo then (some might also remember my late wife hit a 10K scratcher in 2005 too)...I bought my first computer and crapwalk home toilet 9 (some called it cakewalk home studio 9)...it came with CE2k that I upgraded and it had the demo to to FL3.something ...CE2k was able to be converted to Audition from adobe for 99 bux. Then I had a complete multitrack program for audio, and recording my guitars and vox.
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If there is a direction to mankind, it ought to be a coming together Brian May

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6024 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 9:42 am

Messed around with a music program on the Apple ][ in some summer camp for gifted kids thing. And then I got a Commodore 64 for Christmas. I wasn't serious about it (I was like 11 years old) but that was my start.

Toward the late 80s I had a crap little Yamaha MIDI sequencer and drum machine and a Korg DS-8, but didn't do MIDI sequencing on a computer until the Sound Blaster Live days, where I'd load up soundfonts and occasionally have a secondhand piece of MIDI gear on the side. That was mostly just dabbling, though I did write two pieces of game music for a commercial release.

And then came VSTs. My brother asked me out of the blue if I'd ever heard of Fruity Loops, I checked it out and got hooked. Made music 100% in the box from about 2002 to 2016, then got into modular synths. A DAW is still central even though I don't use MIDI sequencing anymore (hardware/modular sequencers & arps & drones & manual playing).

23603 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from gonesville

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:30 am

My first experience was 1985 with MusicWorks, a notation program on a 128k beige MacIntosh. Out some jerry-rigged MIDI out of a serial port (there was no MIDI box per se) to a DX7, an Ensoniq Mirage, and finally a Yahama drum machine. The drum machine was mine. I was 29, so this was not an early musical experience. This was a couple years before Jazz From Hell, and what I was doing was a lot like that, rhythmic but a bit abstruse.

I didn't do much else with tech after '87 until the 21st century. I followed Zappa and the developments with Synclavier and by the early 90s figured the future for composing was computers, so I wasn't wholly unprepared in 2003 when I got my own. I got my own DX7 around then, the thrill was gone, it's not much of a MIDI controller, and it was all about Absynth now. TBH I was pretty intimidated by Cubase, I took a book out of the library (for some pre-SX version) and kept renewing it for a long time, got SX1 and printed the whole manual... finally I just did the damn thing, it's not rocket surgery.
Last edited by jancivil on Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

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2997 posts since 20 Mar, 2012 from Babbleon

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:32 am

it might because of conrad basset-bouchard. before he became a national scrabble champ, i saw him mentioned that he dabbled in songwriting using fruitylooops.

i later found out that quite a lot of scrabble players dabbles in music creation too. i already was dabbling in music creation using 4 track tascam recorder before i ever heard of conrad. but hardware keeps breaking. so i thought "i'll try software".
ah böwakawa poussé poussé

Hewitt Huntwork
1356 posts since 2 Jun, 2003

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 10:37 am

My folks gave me a home recording setup for my high school graduation in 1989. Tascam Porta Two, Alesis MMT-8 & HR-16, Kurzweil K1000, some kind of synch box and a pair of monitors that were about the size and weight of IK's iLouds.

My dad - at 82 - still sings in church choirs. The one he sang for the longest had a Jewish choir director named Pip. Pip directed a choir at a Christian church despite being a Jew because he thought the Christians had better choral music. I mean, ya gotta admire the guy for putting music before faith!

Pip was a computer musician as well, and when he found out I was using a hardware sequencer he talked to me about his software sequencer every chance he got. That was always at church, except for one time when I ran into him at the mall. "Have you looked into any software sequencers yet?" Then he'd tell me all the advantages and cool features. We probably had the exact same conversation on four different occasions.

So I decided on Cakewalk by Twelve Tone Systems. By the time I was comfortable with that, I was ready for audio and mixing to follow "in the box", a term I wouldn't start to hear used commonly for another couple of decades.

I followed almost every trend except for Pro Tools. My first soft synth was NI's Dynamo but I couldn't make any sense of it. I got Rebirth and Acid. Wanting to make my own loops for Acid led me to Fruity Loops. I loved the XOX style sequencing of Fruity and it got me hooked on the idea of wanting to do everything inside the computer (except for vocals). I wonder how many people know or remember that FL Studio's first major selling point was the ability to make your own loops and export them to .wav or even Acidized .wav!

And on and on it has gone. I'm as obsessed with music-making technology as I am with music. I'm a big believer that bedroom producers like me should collaborate with technology. Feed ideas to the tools and let the results surprise you. It's a fantastic time to be alive and making music.
If every KVR member wrote one review a year we'd have 678 reviews each day!

987 posts since 27 Apr, 2005

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:10 pm

Started using cool edit free version to bounce tracks non destructively from my 4 track. I had also access to an ADAT (best use the world has ever had for the VHS tape) based studio around that time that used a really old version of Cubase for midi sequencing. Late 90’s early 2000s computers were just becoming capable, so I bought a copy of cubase, and there went my disposable income.

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11523 posts since 26 Jun, 2006 from San Francisco Bay Area

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 1:16 pm

I was born waiting for computers. Other kids were playing football and cowboys, and I was playing Star Trek and Lost In Space. I was seriously disappointed by my Commodore 64. I was expecting something way more sophisticated, like what we have now. I did some work for Laurie Anderson in the early 80s and got to be front and center with her Synclavier, but that was a $300,000 instrument and I believe I was getting paid $100 a week. :lol:

I put my quest on hold until I was at a photography convention in NYC and Wacom had a booth where it was showing off its tablets with Metacreations Painter. I was entranced. I started doing computer graphics at that point and soon after I became friends with the author of Metro and I started using that, though it didn’t record audio… it sort of synced with another app… I can’t remember the name… anyway, I used that for a while (I still have it) but my employer gave me a NFR copy of Studio Vision Pro. We didn’t have a Mac at the store so the deal was that if anyone was interested in it I was obligated to bring them to my studio and give them a demo. That happened once. I was still doing a lot with an 8 track tape deck, but over time I used the computer more and more and in 1999 I sold my tape deck and went 100% digital recording with some Korg card in my Apple… maybe it was a 7500… I can’t remember. I was still using only hardware instruments then. I started using software instruments and effects about 5 years later. Now I’m a big fan of a hybrid approach where all audio and MIDI recording is done in software and I use a mixture or hardware and software instruments and effects.
Zerocrossing Media

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addled muppet weed
88198 posts since 26 Jan, 2003 from through the looking glass

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 1:44 pm

born/living/dead :possibly ghost?:

im stuck in the middle bit "living"
somewhere in that, my ex wife got a computer for some job nonsense she had going on. got dragged to whsmiths to look at magazines...
saw issue 1 of computer music. tried some demos in the first few mags, realised what id been doing via tape, would be much easier using a computer.
then spent 10s of thousands of pounds on various bits over the years.
previous to the computer turning up in my house, id experience music programming only on the playstation, with "music" and before that, years of playing guitar (not greatly) messing with fxs and tape. some death metal and thrash bands. a short stint in a wedding covers band. and before my teens lots of playing music with the family and being in a choir at church :oops:

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2536 posts since 18 May, 2002 from up on Cripple Creek (CO)

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:48 pm

I had puttered around with music some... took a few bass lessons and had a Casio SK-1 my parents gave me as a kid (unfortunately, it didn't make it to my productive years). Did the garage band thing. As a teenager, I got really into industrial music, and read in an interview somewhere (I think it was with Trent Reznor) that "all you need to do this stuff is a computer, a sampler, and a sequencer," or something to that effect. My dad was a computer guy, which had rubbed off on me, and I kinda understood what "sampler" meant because of the SK-1, but otherwise I was clueless. Still, I decided to spend my tax return from my first year of full-time work building a PC to make music with. I sold my 1st gen PlayStation and games to fund the purchase of a Korg Poly 800 Mk II as well, chosen purely because it was affordable. This was around '96 or so, and since I didn't realize specialty hardware existed, ended up with a SoundBlaster AWE card, because of the built-in sampling (soundfont) capabilities. Mine had 512k of sample RAM. It was expandable, but I never did manage that.

My first sequencer was a version of Voyetra's Digital Orchestrator with 4 (mono) audio tracks, and I used Master Zap's Little Drummer Boy to make multi-sound loops and get the most out of those tracks. I used his program Stomper a lot for making sounds too. I used a lot of other sound-generators like that as well-- Orangator, etc. My first mixdowns were done to cassette, although I'm not certain at this point if that was an actual limitation of my system or if I just hadn't figured out how to do it "in the box." When the SoundBlaster Live came out, I got one of those, and started using the lite version of Cakewalk that came with it. Still only 4 audio tracks, but the MIDI side was better. That was also when I was able/figured out how to do mixdowns in the box.

I messed around with trackers a bit early on, but that style of working never really clicked with me. I did use Buzz quite a bit for a while though, because of all the cool synths and effects that could run even on my slow system. :)
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3810 posts since 26 Jul, 2018

Post Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:52 pm

Was in many garage bands before college and very early on in college; all of them were alternative, industrial, noise, type of bands etc. Only used hardware synths/samplers, although a friend used a computer too with his setup in a rival band and we all thought he was a certified genius. At the same time, I was also a visual artist majoring in Art for my undergrad, and then I left to go further with my MFA. Walked away from music cold turkey, and never really thought about doing it anymore. Then taught art at different colleges for a while after I graduated, and had my painting career going pretty good.

Flash forward to about 2018 or so, going to the local newsstand looking for music mags to read reviews of albums, and I saw the latest issue of Computer Music, issue 257. It was "best freeware" or something like that. A bolt struck me out of nowhere, I was like "freeware? what?" I was always buying huge amounts of albums and cds then, and aware that software was huge, but never investigated it. That issue brought me back full circle to music again.

I jumped in feet first, bought a laptop and started to buy software. I felt like a caveman trying to not only learn the computer for music, but also a DAW (bought Reaper), the actual software instruments, mixing, etc. In a way, I liked the fact of having it thrown at me all at once, and that nothing was gradual;--- I needed to learn the computer better to be able to use the DAW, to be able to use the software, etc. It allowed me to not panic and approach it as fun, learning as I go with zero pressure or expectations, and knowing that I knew nothing. Everything was interesting. I found KVR around the same time, and saw I was decades behind software-wise. Everything old to most people was fresh and exciting to me. It was cool to have the whole history of all this software ahead of me and also to be able to go backwards into that history too, like finding an old synth at a yard-sale, but this time in software form.

So, a few years later I still love being back into music again, never thought I would have come back to it. Have bought huge amounts of stuff, and still keep approaching it as "play" and love just making weird, noisy, electronic stuff again with no pressure on myself. It definitely feeds into the visual art side for me, and vice-versa.

Mr Entertainment
12372 posts since 30 Apr, 2002 from i might peeramid

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 4:08 am

there was a sample from tape program in the mag for the radio shack/tandy "coco" c.'84 :)

for the first half of the 90s i didn't think computers were much good for music. but for me, it's electronic music - the ability to involve procedurality/logic into expression that made it essential for human progress.

my generation is the first to have some trend of international identity because of the advent of jet travel. you other people don't understand about it. we make jet children music.
you come and go, you come and go. amitabha neither a follower nor a leader be tagore "where roads are made i lose my way" where there is certainty, consideration is absent.

4546 posts since 21 Mar, 2020 from Gothenburg, Sweden

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 8:35 am

I won't give details, but my friend gave me some cracked synths and as soon as I discovered Computer Music magazine and realized there was a wealth of freeware out there, I deleted the cracks and went fully legal.

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Beware the Quoth
30281 posts since 4 Sep, 2001 from R'lyeh Oceanic Amusement Park and Funfair

Post Sun Dec 05, 2021 9:05 am

Somewhere around the middle of my first year in CS at Uni, buying this magazine, because it had an interview with TD in it...


6 months later, I owned my first synth, a second-hand DIY Digisound 80 modular, and a copy of Musical Applications of Microprocessors by Hal Chamberlain.
This signature tells the story really, as quoting insults directed at me makes me someone with an over-inflated ego.

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