Music By Jason

Music By Jason Forums => The Composers' Workshop => Topic started by: northmusic on January 04, 2005, 02:13:55 PM

Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: northmusic on January 04, 2005, 02:13:55 PM
Hi Everyone,

I have a quick question that I thought you all might be able to help me with:

I used to do some light music composition a few years ago, but because of marriage I ended up selling most of my equipment off.  The only items I have left are a Mackie 1402 mixing board and a set of Event 20/20 monitors.  I was thinking about starting to write again, but have been out of it for so long that I don’t know what is really worth buying anymore.  My interest is in several music styles, but mostly leaning towards electronic/Ambient sounding music.

That being said, what would be the best direction for me to go “gear wise”?  I had a bunch of sound modules for sounds, and used vision DSP for sequencing (to give you an idea of my technical history).

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!


Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: Chaduke on January 04, 2005, 02:51:40 PM
Hi Steve,

There's quite a plethora of hardware and software options available these days, and its pretty mind boggling trying to decide what's the best setup.  

My personal suggestion would be to try out Propellerhead's Reason ( and pick up a fairly inexpensive midi controller, like an Evolution (  This would be an excellent choice for the style you mentioned.

If you like electronic/ambient, I'm sure you listen to Groove Salad ( don't you?

Good luck on your return.

Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: northmusic on January 05, 2005, 10:32:21 AM
Thanks for the advice!  I appreciate you taking the time to give it.

Based on what was recommended would I be right in assuming that building a virtual studio would be better at this point than buying a bunch of hardware?

Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: Chaduke on January 05, 2005, 11:17:59 AM
I personally love the way Reason emulates any kind of hardware I could want.  If you prefer stuff with buttons and knobs rather than menus and digital readouts, then it's the next best thing.   I've loaded it up on my laptop and it works great so it's extremely portable that way.  With a decent midi controller you can map the knobs and sliders on it to the same controls on the current device inside Reason.  

I also see in this newest version they're making enhancments to facilitate playing "live" with it.

Sound card wise you'll probably want to invest in something a little bit better than what comes with most PCs, especially if you plan on hooking up mics to it and doing any type of live recording.  I need to look into this myself, I currently have one of the SB Audigy cards and I really need to get something more professional.

Title: audio card
Post by: Jason on January 05, 2005, 04:14:27 PM
An audio system that I like a lot is the "Hammerfall DSP" system, by RME Audio. Steinberg sells the exact same product in a licensing arrangement with RME and they call it the "Nuendo Audiolink 96" system. The interface component of the system comes as either a PCI card for desktop computers, or as a PCMCIA card for laptops (I have the PCMCIA one connected to a Macintosh Powerbook right now).

This interface card plugs into one of two breakout boxes- either a "Digiface" or a "Multiface" (in Steinberg's version, they are called the "Digiset" or "Multiset"). The Mutliface is a combination of digital and analog inputs, whereas the Digiface is all digital. I have the Digiface, and the 3 ADAT optical digital inputs and outputs are very nice- each input can carry 8 channels of audio into the system from any source that has an ADAT optical type of output. There's also a stereo SPDIF i/o, for a total of 26 digital inputs and outputs!

My whole studio interfaces with the laptop with one cable, so I can work on music on the road with just the laptop, or plug in the "Digiface" to hook up to the studio.

If you have any questions about this setup, I'd be happy to go into more detail for you about it...

Title: something else
Post by: Jason on January 05, 2005, 04:31:45 PM
RME's Fireface 800 looks really slammin', too! I've never used it, but it looks like they sure pack a lot of fantastic features into this FireWire interface...

Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: Jonathan on January 11, 2005, 02:38:44 PM
For your style software based stuff would prolly do.

Get your hands on either a copy of cubase sx or logic (whatever you wanna work with) and some cool VSTi's (plugin's for these sequence programs) like Altered States or Atmosphere. I think both are really amazing. Be sure to let me know if you find any other cool VSTi's or sumtin (currently working on a project that has the same kind of genre) so we can exchange experiences!

Good luck

Title: Starting Over...Almost
Post by: northmusic on March 11, 2005, 09:58:16 AM
Thanks again for the ideas everyone.  I've started to shop around and pick up some things here and there to re-build.  You’re advice has been valuable.

I've been working on getting my website back up as well.  Feel free to stop by if you’re interested.