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Rowan Morrison

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Don't you hate it when you sit down to mess about with some sounds and all you end up with is some mid-nineties high score table music?

Actually, I'm still learning a lot by doing little throw away things like this. I had a go at a few new things like parallel mixing the drums with a dynamically filtered version and multi-band final limiting to get it all louder. At some point I'll have to work out how to only quantize the notes I want to, and without destroying the groove, without spending ages doing it by hand.

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Oh yes, messing about can teach you tons. There was a point in my musical life where I was getting so caught up in doing the perfect track that it became no fun and I was almost afraid to do anything for fear of failing again. But then I remembered the old days on the Amiga when I'd turn out a few chip tunes in a day, when it was fun, there was no pressure, and that just inspired me.

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I'm sure Vimster can throw up some better / more authentic resources, but I've been having great fun recently with a few of the free VTSs from Tweakbench:

http://www.tweakbench.com/instruments.php

There's a trio of NES-based instruments (the names give them away - Peach, Toad and Triforce) that sound fantastic to me, and the other instruments are all worth a look and have a nice common interface style. But check out the NES ones, at any rate, big grins ahoy.

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I'm sure Vimster can throw up some better / more authentic resources, but I've been having great fun recently with a few of the free VTSs from Tweakbench:

http://www.tweakbench.com/instruments.php

There's a trio of NES-based instruments (the names give them away - Peach, Toad and Triforce) that sound fantastic to me, and the other instruments are all worth a look and have a nice common interface style. But check out the NES ones, at any rate, big grins ahoy.

Hehe, I know the fella who writes those Tweakbench VSTs, he's a proper gearhead/programmer, knows his onions.

Here's a good VSTi if you want some of that raw chip sound:

qwEm - YMVST - Authentic-sounding YM/AY (Atari ST, Spectrum, Amstrad) chip-synth. Has that lovely bold square sound to it.

How do you use Soft Synths?

I've got Sony Acid Pro, and I've... imported the synths somehow, but I can't get them to do anything?

Acid Pro isn't the best program for actually composing with. It's more for loop-sequencing and mixing. You should try something like FruityLoops FL Studio or Orion.

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There's loads of freebies for doing chiptunes if you want.

Magical 8bit Plug is pretty good at NES type sounds, Syntendo is another option, but it's a pain to program and a bit unstable.

Nostaljia is an Adlib soundcard kinda emulation which I've downloaded but not tried yet, might be useful for old PC or SNES type sounds.

I'm sure there's an emulation of the Genesis FM chip in VST form somewhere but I've forgotten the name (and who can be bothered with FM programming anyway...).

Odo has just released a nice free bitcrusher plug called C64it which is pretty useful.

Chip32 is a painless way to get started with 8bit sounds but it's not all that versatile.

I think we should have a chiptune compo or something!

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I've been getting all inspired lately to start making music in a more serious way. So, was just wondering if there are any programs that actually have sounds and beats built in to them. Much like the Music series on Playstation. Only for PC and more fancy.

Can anyone recomend anything that does this?

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I've been getting all inspired lately to start making music in a more serious way. So, was just wondering if there are any programs that actually have sounds and beats built in to them. Much like the Music series on Playstation. Only for PC and more fancy.

Can anyone recomend anything that does this?

Sound club I would go for although it kind of is the Paint of this type of program.

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That's pretty slick. It's certianly very clean, a clean sound. Took a bit too long to get going for my liking but then I get a nosebleed if a song is longer than about four minutes. It's odd to see someone using that much hardware these days; you'd be forgiven for thinking everyone used software 100%.

Actually I use more hardware all the time, I keep buying new stuff. While I know that software is much cheaper (or even free, yarr) and can pretty much do anything hardware can do (and sometimes it does it even better), there's just nothing that beats getting a new machine, hooking it up in the system and turning the knobs to tweak your new sounds. And I know it's largely psychological, but software has less 'soul' for me. Which is obviously a bit bullshit, as apart from my analogue equipment the machines I use are based on software just as much as any softsynth is. Then again, the sound you get from a custom-programmed Yamaha or TC effects processor you won't get easily from a softsynth.

I do use some softsynths though, I really like Reason's samplers and effects for example.

Based on the last track, here the latest remix: download

Added to the hardwarepool is a TC Electronics M-One Effects processor, which has been used on pretty much all the leads and a couple of percussion tracks.

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OK, here is something a bit different:

Macadamia - Rings Of Saturn

This is actually more-or-less a demo track that we put on an EP of a few other 'demos' and basically represents us (Macadamia) pretty much learning the software we were going to be using before we actually started working towards our full album. Which is called Soundspill by the way. It's basically eight minutes of minor progression and subtle changes that isn't arranged particularly well because, as I said, it's pretty much a demonstration of what we could do with the software at the time and it was supposed to have lyrics over, which didn't work.

It did appear at this year's E3 though, as the background music for a small mobile phone game from a German developer which undoubtedly noone heard over the general noise in the place.

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Felt a little off today, so I did this:

Broken Autumn Sun 02 v1

It's sort of relaxing and melancholy at the same time, I'm pleased with it.

It did appear at this year's E3 though, as the background music for a small mobile phone game from a German developer which undoubtedly noone heard over the general noise in the place.

It does have that sort of background feel. Reminds me of something you'd get whilst creating your character in an EA Sports game. A bit too minimal for me, but as you say, it's a demo.

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I'm well out of the loop for stuff like this - these VSTs you speak of, are they plugins for Cubase? Is there any free software I can use them with, or Cubase Lite (or whatever it was once called)?

VSTs are plugins that you can use in just about any audio app these days. I don't know about free apps, but you can certainly get cheap ones that will run VSTs - Fruity Loops will do it, and there are cheap versions of a few popular titles. You grab the VST, jam it in your plugins folder, and get going - either playing live or sequencing using a VST host.

Actually, I think Buzz (or one of its offshoots) is capable of using VSTs, and that's free. There are a few free trackers that are VST-capable too, but they can be less user-friendly than GUI-based audio apps (though probably quicker to use and more flexible once you're used to them).

A good solution to check all this out is the Abelton Live demo. It won't expire - you just can't save or render. So you can add VSTs, play and sequence them, and generally mess around as much as you like in a very intuitive and powerful environment.

The VST itself might be free or it might cost a fortune. You can do incredible things purely with free VSTs, though. They might be instruments or effects, all bases are covered. There's a free MiniMogue VST that sounds amazing - wait... here you go: http://www.home.no/gunnare/.

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Similarly, synth1 and Oatmeal are great places to start with free vst instruments, both are easily sonically equal to plugs costing over $100.

Incidentally, while we're mentioning Live, does anyone know a way to loop a clip so the first note leads the beat? I can't seem to work it out and it makes for some very lame bass lines when you can't get a push feel, and makes pads with a long attack almost unusable.

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Similarly, synth1 and Oatmeal are great places to start with free vst instruments, both are easily sonically equal to plugs costing over $100.

Incidentally, while we're mentioning Live, does anyone know a way to loop a clip so the first note leads the beat? I can't seem to work it out and it makes for some very lame bass lines when you can't get a push feel, and makes pads with a long attack almost unusable.

if you mean what I think you mean, just warp the loop, and move the [1] to the start of the first note.

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I'm just curious:

the illustration/photography threads are popular, yet the music ones aren't.

I know it takes a little more effort to download and listen to some music, but I'm just curious as to know why the music threads don't get as much love considering there are lots of people here who love listening to interesting new music.

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I'm pretty guarded about my stuff, but only because I finish a song and decide it's shit within the same instant. I'll make an effort to comment more though!

Edit: Comment 1 - your voice isn't as terrible as your mixing suggests you think it is! Stop being shy.

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I'm pretty guarded about my stuff, but only because I finish a song and decide it's shit within the same instant. I'll make an effort to comment more though!

same here! except I don't usually finish them in the first place :) also, i'm acutally shit at critiquing other people's stuff.

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Cheers, Alan. It was just a bit of Christmas fun anyway, was going to do a cover of Stop The Cavalry, learned the words and everything. This was more fun though.

Hmm, yes, criticism, it's tough. It's either "i like that/hmmm, not keen" which isn't that helpful unless you know the other person's tastes, or it's all production talk: "yeah, needs more bass, get a limiter on them drums" which whilst helpful is a bit clinical.

It's obvious there are quite a few producers here, even if most are just having a potter about (no bad thing, that's what I do). I don't know, maybe audio help would be a better title for this topic?

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I'll listen when I get home, Shoes : )

I tried making a track out of a Ramanujan algorithm midi the other night, but ultimately it was just a quiet midi track with distorted screams running over the top; not very musically accomplished, lol! I'll keep working on it though.

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A Day in the Life

Me messing about with a new violin sample. I quite like it!

Yeah, some lovely bits. Keep working on this one.

I suppose this is as good a place as any for some shameless self-promotion:

Macadamia - Smile

If you like it, download the rest ...

Oh, HELLO.

Oddworld OST meets Autechre?!

That is fucking good.

What software are you using?

Teach me, Dave.

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What software are you using?

Ableton Live; timdp introduced me to it and it's absolutely brilliant. Macadamia itself is me and a friend - we're busy working on lots of new things at the moment that are coming together very nicely indeed. Thanks for the comment though - I suggest you acquire yourself Ableton Live 6 and go through a few tutorials. You really will never look back.

: )

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I suppose this is as good a place as any for some shameless self-promotion:

Macadamia - Smile

If you like it, download the rest ...

Very nice. I do like the drums/percussion.

I keep meaning to learn Ableton, but despite it being dubbed intuitive, I find it hard to get to grips with. Probably because I'm used to FL Studio and I don't read the tutorials, I would guess.

Yeah, some lovely bits. Keep working on this one.

Heh, my friend said it was just 'Take My Breath Away'. Which it is. A bit.

I might work on it. I'm planning on doing an instrumental EP, one without a lot of synths and no drums. I made a harp version of one of my own tracks and a piano piece so far.

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