Hey all, I was wondering if anyone could help me by telling me what kind of stuff I need to record my songs on my computer. All I have currently is a keyboard with MIDI output and an 8-track digital recorder (which I don't want to have to use anymore, due to quality and limitations). I compose video game music, so I'm interested in orchestra sounds, rather than, say, techno or hip-hop sounds or whatever. I've done some research on software, but I still don't know what all I need to get started. Like, if I bought Tascam's Gigastudio 3.0 Orchestra, would I be able to record songs with it, using my keyboard's MIDI output to access the sounds libraries, and not needing any other software? See, I just don't know if that's all I need to buy or if I need more programs or what. So if anyone can give me some suggestions, that would be great. I'm gonna try to attach a file of one of my songs, just to give an example of what I try to do. Sorry about the low volume.

Song03.wma

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  • Hi John!

    One way to go for PC - Sonar - it has everything you need for what you are doing EXCEPT the orchestra sounds. A cheap orch library is MOTU MSI ($300) and others to consider are EWQLSO and Vienna for later.

    If you wanna go Mac, then get Logic, again which has everything you need except the orchestra! I think these options would give you GREAT audio quality for the lowest investment.

    Either way, you will need an audio interface, that's something to hear the output from the computer, with low buffers and latency. Buy anything from MOTU and it will work great.

    We're always here if you want to get more specific!
    • Thanks for the info Chris. So if I were to buy this Sonar, and then buy the MOTU MSI library, would I be able to play the sounds in the library using my keyboard with a MIDI interface hooked up to my pc? Or would I have to do something else, like program each note individually on-screen or something. Also, what does an audio interface exactly do? Would I not be able to hear the sound from my computer speakers? Anyway, thanks again for the help, I really appreciate it.
      • Hit a key on the keyboard - it goes through MIDI to your MIDI interface (probably a midi port on your audio interface) - then to the computer and is recorded in real time (or not) into your sequencer (Sonar) - the midi is also sent to the software instrument, which send s the audio for the proper sound and note out to the audio interface - from there to your speakers!
      • Your keyboard may have USB, then you use that instead of midi ports to get the notes in the computer. But you will need a good audio interface - motu.com just get the cheapest one from them.
      • The audio interface bypasses the sound card in your computer and uses it's own software driver. This allows you to utilize the full power of your computer and play more sounds at a time.
  • This might be a little overly complicated - but if you follow it closely it may help you out!

    Studio-Flow-Chart.jpg

    • thanks a lot, I will look further into this later, after I get back from dinner!
    • Chris, that flow-chart is scary lookin. !
  • i would stay clear of gigastudio for now. While my studio is built totally on it, looks like they are going out of business.... as for what you need:
    solid computer, as modern and fast as you can get, quad core or eight core preferably, 8gigs+ of ram, C: dive 10,000 rpm with like 100gigs space for your *operating system only*, D: drive at 10,000 rpms as large as you can afford for samples, vsti's, audio files, project files, etc

    I prefer Mac, but PC is fine too, whatever you are more comfortable with

    Then you need a DAW, many prefer different ones. I would suggest:

    for Mac: Digital Performer, Logic, Cubase, ProTools
    for PC: Cubase, Sonar, ProTools

    Choose one of those and get to know it like the back of your hand. Learn the shortcuts, learn to program for it, learn everything you can about it. DONT install games or weird products from the internet on this computer. Try and keep it pristine. Learn about keeping your computer optimized and healthy.

    Alternatively you might choose to go with a notation program to create scores and parts - some people think they sound good enough to perform their music and skip the DAW - to me this is a massive mistake and I have never heard anyone's music that sounded remotely real sounding, even when using awesome samples and learning the ins and outs of doing it that way using a notation program for play back. But lots of people write on the score and then dump midi files into a DAW and rework the sequence to make it more live sounding. Either way the 2 notation programs of choice are Finale or Sibelius, both are PC and MAC, both are excellent. I use Finale when I am working with live musicians or vocalists to make parts.

    Then you need samples/sounds. Before this week I would recommend gigastudio, but now I would say you should choose your budget on what you can spend on sounds. For a minimal budget of 600 or so you can get into the entry level Vienna Instruments or EWQLSO Gold package. Vienna is much better in the end, but its also MUCH more expensive (to buy all their orchestral libraries would run around $20,000 whereas EWQL is like $3000 for their best package) After that you need to just explore and listen - there are tons of amazing libraries out there - project SAM, WIVI, Westgate, etc etc and that means getting involved and reading and listening every day and staying in the loop

    Anyhow hope this gets you started ;-)
    • Thank you for the suggestions, it's a big help and I appreciate it.
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