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Thread: Starting out...

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    Employee of The Month Proslogion's Avatar
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    Rinsed Starting out...

    Hi all...

    I've seen a few posts here regarding starting out, but don't think there was much advice on how to best proceed... Right, so as you might have figured out I'm a d&b fan - I love the liquid side of d&B and feel I could produce a few tracks of my own.

    Some time ago I looked into the options available... Got Reason to play with, then Fruity Loops, etc. What I then learned was that producing a single track - especially when you know NADA about the software or the process of producing tracks - takes a LONG time... Eventually I gave up as I had other commitments and couldn't cope with everything.



    This might be changing soon and I would love to get back to trying to get a decent sounding track... The problem is: I have no clue how to start. I have a mate who's a DJ and the way he does things in London clubs seems to be very different to what the likes of Danny Byrd or High Contrast do. I'll boil it down to a few questions:

    1. How do you start? Is the use of software (e.g. Reason) the way pros do it?
    2. Is use of software necessary? If so - what is the standard in the d&b industry?
    3. Does one need to get equipment such as turntables, equalizers, etc.?
    4. If such equipment is used - what is it used for? Can't the software do everything?

    I'm well aware of my incompetence, but we all need to start somewhere... So yeah - answers, comments, recommendations of all sorts are most welcome.
    ~ Proslogion ~ exemplum de ratione fidei
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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Proslogion View Post
    2. Is use of software necessary?
    First of all, I think there are several threads that could help you.

    For sure u need software to start producing your own tracks, if you don't got an analog recorder like that:
    http://www.soundtapewereld.nl/Bandre...40---PL-GR.jpg

    If you want to start out professional you need a sequenzer program (CuBase, Ableton, Logic) for your multitracks, for the mastering and to add effects to the Tracks and severel parts. Then you need synths to get sounds (Analog and Software like all the stuff of Native Instruments). You need loads of samples (old vinyl, drums, sounds, anything you like), a good pair of monitors, a good Mac (just joking, windows can do it aswell) and loads of creativity, knowledge and inspiration.


    But I don't think that's a good start.

    At first u should start out with a program like Reason, FL (i hate it) or some other software, that includes a few synths, FX, a drum machine (with samples), and a sequenzer to layer and overview your tracks.
    That's the best start to learn, how a synthesizer works, what an LFO is, what an Oscilator is, what a filter does and how each effect sounds like.
    To have more fun, get a cheap Midikeyboard.
    That's it. I recommend to BUY Reason 3 or 4 and a cheap Midikeyboard. That's the best way, to check out if you like that and if you have fun doin' it.
    Probably u should get a pair of good and neutral sounding monitors.

    The first things you should learn, is how a synthesizer works, and what each knob does. How to create your own sounds and what effects fit. Even that is a lot of work.
    Also you should know how to build up a drum'n'bass or jungle beat (Deadnotes, Sounds, Shuffling, Compression). I think that's the hardest part.

    If you are to lazy to lern about synths, use presets and try to create your own beats. But most of the producers which use presets in their later productions are lazy bastards
    You see, that's a lot of work, but get your reason licence and a cheap Midicontroller (Maybe M-Audio Keystation 49e or the Oxygen 25) and lern by doing.
    I'm sure, if you search the internet, especially youtube, you find tons of utorials, how to build up your own sounds and how to create a beat.
    You are far away from a selfmade song, but go for it with effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Proslogion View Post
    If so - what is the standard in the d&b industry?
    Find your own way. Each producer got his own style. Just look for something that works out for u.

    I produce now for round 6 years and recognize how hard it is to give advice how to start out.
    My first program was ReBirth One when I was 7. Was quite fun

    Keep it up.
    Last edited by Quartus; 06-05-2010 at 01:52.

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    benkama.net kama's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Hi and welcome aboard, you're in for a world of discovery and satisfaction if you have what it takes and can keep practicing.


    1. How do you start? Is the use of software (e.g. Reason) the way pros do it?
    Software is definately the way to go nowadays, as it is much much more flexible than having bulky mixers and synths and samplers and effects with their miniscule interfaces. Many producers just use a computer, a dedicated sound card and a midi keyboard to control software. Some combine software and hardware but that's getting less and less popular. I don't know anyone making dnb who uses only hardware. Techno guys might still get away with something like that.

    2. Is use of software necessary? If so - what is the standard in the d&b industry?
    Basically, there is no standard. Some use Cubase, some use Logic, some swear by ProTools and then there's people who use Fruity or Reason. The difference is not in the sound they make but more the interface and how you work inside them. FLStudio and Reason are considered by many the easiest to learn - a good insight into how things work - and when you know your limits in them, you can consider moving to other programs. Still, even some 'professionals' use FLStudio (and Reason too, you'd be surprised), so it's sort of means to an end. Try demo versions, look up tutorials on youtube and see for yourself which software suits you best. Personally I recommend Fruity as a good place to start because it's easy and quick to use, but there are as many opinions on on what to start with as there are different software.

    3. Does one need to get equipment such as turntables, equalizers, etc.?
    No. Getting turntables is useful when you want to play out but you don't need DJ equipment to produce music. But DJ'ing is useful because you can 'test' your tracks in their natural habitat, the dancefloor, and because this music is so DJ orientated, learning to mix records will also be a good guide in making music. That other stuff like equalizers, effect boxes, drum machines, synthesizers and mixers, are much better handled in software form, especially for a beginner. There are these plug-ins, 'VST's, that work in any modern audio software (except Reason ), and they are essentially all those things I listed, but as software. Sort of add-ons to your DAW (=Digital audio workstation).

    4. If such equipment is used - what is it used for? Can't the software do everything?
    Software can do almost anything that real steel and plastic boxes can. What it can't do is really not something to be worried about when you start out. Most of the stuff you can see on Beatport is made completely on software mind you. I've also heard opinions (from audio professionals) that software can do whatever quality hardware can do, but then we're talking 4-figure price tags and you really need to know what you're doing. Software audio processing has taken huge leaps forward in the last 5 years and it's gotten to a point where software is easily more effective - a 150 software reverb gives a much more life-like effect than a 200 hardware reverb unit, almost every time.

    Anyway, it's a whole world for you just waiting to be discovered, and there is nothing you can do but just start exploring. When you've decided on your software, Youtube is a nice place to start for video tutorials.

    ---------- Post added at 04:03 ---------- Previous post was at 04:02 ----------

    Hot shit that's a lot of text for 4 AM...

    And one more thing - before you try out the programs, go get a driver for your sound card called "ASIO4ALL". It is a way to make a computer's built-in sound card emulate a professional sound interface. Then select that as your audio output device in your program.
    Last edited by kama; 06-05-2010 at 02:05.

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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by kama View Post
    Hot shit that's a lot of text for 4 AM...
    I thought the same thing, but I think your answere is better

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    Drum & Bass Forum Krispy's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Once you decide what DAW you like then YouTube a million tutorials

    ---------- Post added at 20:36 ---------- Previous post was at 20:34 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by kama View Post

    And one more thing - before you try out the programs, go get a driver for your sound card called "ASIO4ALL". It is a way to make a computer's built-in sound card emulate a professional sound interface. Then select that as your audio output device in your program.

    What does that thing do?
    Forthcoming on Suicide Dubz Digital this October 2014:
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    https://soundcloud.com/krspy_music/on-the-real-suicide-dubz


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    AKA Tactician djmotiondnb's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    thanks for the extremely useful posts, both quartus and karma! even though its not my thread i've been wanting to learn how to produce,, and now I think i can start spending my precious pennies on getting everything i need! but i want my 1210s so bad
    3 Deck UK Funky/Garage & Bass
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    benkama.net kama's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Krispy View Post


    What does that thing do?
    If you use a basic sound card, or one built into a computer's motherboard, you'll experience more latency and the sound gets crackly easily because the drivers it uses are not designed with audio editing in mind. They are more suitable for multimedia stuff. But using this driver will get you the best out of your sound card without spending 150€ on an USB audio interface or something. Getting one has other advantages too but it's not necessary in the beginning.

    latency = amount of time between you pressing a button and the sound coming out of the speakers

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    Employee of The Month Proslogion's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Thanks a lot for the very informative posts! Good to know software can do most or all that is required to produce a decent track... I've used FL and Reason before and a concern that I have right now is which program to choose. I'm sure they share different qualities, etc. but perhaps some are considered to be a standard? I used to use Jasc's Paint Shop Pro to design web graphics some time ago, then I had to make a move to Photoshop since it just offered so much more... but the transition was painful. In short: if I could get to use a piece of software that is considered "the best" or "standard" or "pro choice" then I wouldn't have to switch in the future... and having played with Reason's setting etc. I figure that might take some time to do! :P

    Another concern is the sound card... See I'm on a Compaq lappy now. I'm moving a lot, going abroad, coming back etc so can't really get a desktop yet. I likely do this in a few months time and then get a really decent sound card, but for now I'm stuck with what I've got. Can the driver you mention compensate for (any) lacking sound card? (if you know anything to compensate for a slow cpu, gpu, hdd or brain I'd love to know too! )

    Cheers again for the replies... most appreciated. I'm off to prepare for the upcoming exam... Wish me luck and may the Gods of Drum & Bass be with you all.
    ~ Proslogion ~ exemplum de ratione fidei
    ""Employee of the month is a good example of how somebody can be both a winner and a loser at the same time."

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    gomby plz richie_stix's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    practise practise practise! thats all there is to it... as stated though, start off on the budget stuff till your sure you wana invest so much of your time, life and money into it! you tube is your friend, there are so many videos on there now that werent when i started that would have saved me loads of time!

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0...ef=oss_product - this book was a great help once i had got going for the technical stuff, but i think it would help you embibe productiobn culture.

    these videos were a real help too!




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    Re: Starting out...

    Oh my god, that guys monitors are sooo bad and wrong positioned

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    Re: Starting out...

    I'd like to suggest something a bit different.

    I would NOT recommend software for starting out. THere are many fine reasons to use software (see above), but here are some of the main reasons not to use it:

    Downloading software is easy. There's tons of programs and plugins available. This often leads to a very bad workflow, when you realise you suck, you blame the software, and download a new 'better' one.

    Too many choices: Software gives you endless possibilities, according to the sales guys. In practice, this often means endless micromanaging and twiddling at tiny details, when you are missing the big picture, which is making tunes.

    Cracked software is free: You might think this is a good thing, but I can guarantee you that if you spend a couple of hundred quid on your hobby, you'll play with it more and use it more and produce more music with it. You'll always have that initial investment cost as a sort of motivation to continue when it's not sounding good. It's easy to forget your software. This is also a good argument for buying software over using cracked ones

    Learning ONE tool very well is much better than skimming through loads of them. Buying a piece of hardware practically guarantees that you'll learn it inside out and back to front, and produce more stuff with it than you would before you 'exhaust' those endless possibilites offered by software.

    Limitations breed creativity: Sometimes the limitations of hardware are very inspiriting, helping you to focus on what's important.

    Take a look at the Korg Electribe EMX on you tube, there's loads of videos of people doing drum n bass with it. Even a Mistabishi interview where he says good things about it. I love mine, and I can curl up on the sofa with my headphones and just twist those knobs for hours.

    Lastly: Hardware is cool. Software is often pictures of hardware. When I write this, I use a keyboard, not a picture of a keyboard on the screen which I click with a mouse.

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    Drum & Bass Forum Kaz1983's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Innovine View Post
    I'd like to suggest something a bit different.

    I would NOT recommend software for starting out. THere are many fine reasons to use software (see above), but here are some of the main reasons not to use it:

    Downloading software is easy. There's tons of programs and plugins available. This often leads to a very bad workflow, when you realise you suck, you blame the software, and download a new 'better' one.

    Too many choices: Software gives you endless possibilities, according to the sales guys. In practice, this often means endless micromanaging and twiddling at tiny details, when you are missing the big picture, which is making tunes.

    Cracked software is free: You might think this is a good thing, but I can guarantee you that if you spend a couple of hundred quid on your hobby, you'll play with it more and use it more and produce more music with it. You'll always have that initial investment cost as a sort of motivation to continue when it's not sounding good. It's easy to forget your software. This is also a good argument for buying software over using cracked ones

    Learning ONE tool very well is much better than skimming through loads of them. Buying a piece of hardware practically guarantees that you'll learn it inside out and back to front, and produce more stuff with it than you would before you 'exhaust' those endless possibilites offered by software.

    Limitations breed creativity: Sometimes the limitations of hardware are very inspiriting, helping you to focus on what's important.

    Take a look at the Korg Electribe EMX on you tube, there's loads of videos of people doing drum n bass with it. Even a Mistabishi interview where he says good things about it. I love mine, and I can curl up on the sofa with my headphones and just twist those knobs for hours.

    Lastly: Hardware is cool. Software is often pictures of hardware. When I write this, I use a keyboard, not a picture of a keyboard on the screen which I click with a mouse.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OISUa...eature=related

    I fully agree with everything you said btw.

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    gomby plz richie_stix's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Innovine View Post
    I'd like to suggest something a bit different.

    I would NOT recommend software for starting out. THere are many fine reasons to use software (see above), but here are some of the main reasons not to use it:

    Downloading software is easy. There's tons of programs and plugins available. This often leads to a very bad workflow, when you realise you suck, you blame the software, and download a new 'better' one.

    Too many choices: Software gives you endless possibilities, according to the sales guys. In practice, this often means endless micromanaging and twiddling at tiny details, when you are missing the big picture, which is making tunes.

    Cracked software is free: You might think this is a good thing, but I can guarantee you that if you spend a couple of hundred quid on your hobby, you'll play with it more and use it more and produce more music with it. You'll always have that initial investment cost as a sort of motivation to continue when it's not sounding good. It's easy to forget your software. This is also a good argument for buying software over using cracked ones

    Learning ONE tool very well is much better than skimming through loads of them. Buying a piece of hardware practically guarantees that you'll learn it inside out and back to front, and produce more stuff with it than you would before you 'exhaust' those endless possibilites offered by software.

    Limitations breed creativity: Sometimes the limitations of hardware are very inspiriting, helping you to focus on what's important.

    Take a look at the Korg Electribe EMX on you tube, there's loads of videos of people doing drum n bass with it. Even a Mistabishi interview where he says good things about it. I love mine, and I can curl up on the sofa with my headphones and just twist those knobs for hours.

    Lastly: Hardware is cool. Software is often pictures of hardware. When I write this, I use a keyboard, not a picture of a keyboard on the screen which I click with a mouse.
    differnet courses for different horses mate...

    i agree restriction breeds better creativity, which is why i chucked out loads of 'free' sample packs and software and just stick to what i like/know!
    i agree hardware is cool, but decent kit costs shit loads... software is way more within a pikey budget like mine!
    i alos agree "Learning ONE tool very well is much better than skimming through loads of them. Buying a piece of hardware practically guarantees that you'll learn it inside out and back to front, and produce more stuff with it than you would before you 'exhaust' those endless possibilites offered by software." it's what i have done with abletons operator...

    personally, i started on a cracked version of fruity... decided i liked making tunes, then a mate got ableton and i heard this amazing sound from his room and instantly upgraded! it took me a while to make the transistion, but once i had it was great!

    at the end of the day its what works for YOU

    ---------- Post added at 14:08 ---------- Previous post was at 14:06 ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Quartus View Post
    Oh my god, that guys monitors are sooo bad and wrong positioned
    OMG... it's subfocus FFS! he may have poor quality, wrongly set up monitors but her produces cleaner beats than most people!

  14. #14
    aka Tut' Creg Gloxxy's Avatar
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    Re: Starting out...

    Quote Originally Posted by Innovine View Post
    I'd like to suggest something a bit different.

    I would NOT recommend software for starting out. THere are many fine reasons to use software (see above), but here are some of the main reasons not to use it:

    Downloading software is easy. There's tons of programs and plugins available. This often leads to a very bad workflow, when you realise you suck, you blame the software, and download a new 'better' one.

    Too many choices: Software gives you endless possibilities, according to the sales guys. In practice, this often means endless micromanaging and twiddling at tiny details, when you are missing the big picture, which is making tunes.

    Cracked software is free: You might think this is a good thing, but I can guarantee you that if you spend a couple of hundred quid on your hobby, you'll play with it more and use it more and produce more music with it. You'll always have that initial investment cost as a sort of motivation to continue when it's not sounding good. It's easy to forget your software. This is also a good argument for buying software over using cracked ones

    Learning ONE tool very well is much better than skimming through loads of them. Buying a piece of hardware practically guarantees that you'll learn it inside out and back to front, and produce more stuff with it than you would before you 'exhaust' those endless possibilites offered by software.

    Limitations breed creativity: Sometimes the limitations of hardware are very inspiriting, helping you to focus on what's important.

    Take a look at the Korg Electribe EMX on you tube, there's loads of videos of people doing drum n bass with it. Even a Mistabishi interview where he says good things about it. I love mine, and I can curl up on the sofa with my headphones and just twist those knobs for hours.

    Lastly: Hardware is cool. Software is often pictures of hardware. When I write this, I use a keyboard, not a picture of a keyboard on the screen which I click with a mouse.
    That would be great in an ideal world but cost restraints will hinder this ideology.

    Hardware costs a hell of a lot more than a PC, monitors and a midi controller.
    Northern Linguistics Officer

    Quote Originally Posted by logikz
    haha the person that finds it though, fuck, thats going to be 200% christmas for that guy. probably a gang of fkin i-talians that will have a collective stroke in sheer happiness

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    Re: Starting out...

    A second hand emx costs as much as a new DAW, or didn't you notice?

    By the way, the tips I gave, using one tool, limitations are good, etc, of course these apply to both to software and hardware. I just think the number of knobs and sliders available to you go WAY up with software, which means it demands much higher levels of discipline, knowledge, control, organisational skills, concentration and finese. I don't think these are things a beginner needs to stumble over.

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