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breakbeat-cafe.net
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Joined: 10/06/04
Posts: 126
Loc: midlands uk
writing set ups new
      #258172 - 22/02/06 11:00 PM
any guys got a cool little writing set up away from their main studio? maybe at home...if so would you be kind enough to share the details with me, i'm thinking of splashing the cash and am interested in what works for other people?

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breakbeat sample cds http://www.breakbeat-cafe.net


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TedsShirt
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Joined: 16/07/01
Posts: 375
Loc: Norwich, Naaarfuk
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258189 - 22/02/06 11:54 PM
I don't know what kind of music you write (edit: just read your name and I guess it gives the game away!! Probably makes the rest of this post irrelevant, sorry) but I think my 'writing studio' has completely freed up my writing. I no longer sit staring at the monitor on my pc making up little 30 second splashes of drum loops and weird synth noises. Instead I sit on the sofa with a notepad, pen, guitar, whiskey (or tea) and dictaphone. I thought about expanding the setup tonight and put an old version of Fruity Loops on a prehistoric laptop to use as a drum machine but, you know what, I just wasted about 30 mins farting around with a basic 4/4 to no apparrent end. I'm going to stick to the organic analogue approach - it's exciting, once you've come up with something, to anticipate recording it! People must have felt like that all the time before home recording came along!! Something else we've lost! Ahhhh, progress.

ps: if you like this idea can I keep the change from the dictaphone?

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I like a good twang myself.

Edited by TredShirt (22/02/06 11:56 PM)


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ChristianG
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Joined: 03/12/03
Posts: 230
Loc: California, USA
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258201 - 23/02/06 12:16 AM
I would really like to do this as well, if I had the space. I find that I can't go into my studio and sit down to write music. I do the same thing, with fuc*ing around with beats and BS, instead of sitting down with an acoustic and a note pad. I'd be interested to see how many others have their own writing areas or studio's.

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Christian G
Mesa Boogie Amps for Sale


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Michael B
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Joined: 28/08/03
Posts: 2076
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258226 - 23/02/06 01:35 AM
Count me in on that. I've just got back from wiring in a new piece of kit that only manages to make cliched loop sound meatier, that's all. But I pick up the acoustic and a song I started just this week is almost done, and although the meoldy and hook is good, my lyrics are limp, always have been and always will be I guess. And I haven't seen a box yet where I can wind the handle and out pop meaningful and memorable lines - mind you, I thought my words were dreary till I heard a certain James B - there's hope for me yet


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Sarge



Joined: 06/06/04
Posts: 1228
Loc: Norfolk
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258243 - 23/02/06 03:15 AM
What ever you choose keep it simple so that you can think about the writing process and not get too bogged down as the engineer.

So that could be an acoustic guitar pen, paper, a microphone and an audio recorder.

So it's a case of what ever floats your creative boat.

I like using Reason/Logic or Audacity to play around in. Preferably parked up in the car with me laptop and me headphones.

Oh yes and learn to jam with yourself and oh yes keep it as organic as possible even when using machines. Especially when using machines.


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__
Who's never been here


Joined: 28/11/02
Posts: 6263
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258265 - 23/02/06 08:09 AM
Ive tried all sorts of little writing setups. And just used whatever is to hand often. But after friggin around with hardware sequencers and batteries. Laptops with mics. Midi guitars. You name it! ...

.. ive refined it to... A3 paper prefferably but A4 will do. Pencils, Erasers, An acoustic guitar. A chord block rubber stamp and ink pad. And a little sony dictaphone with spare batteries and tapes [it takes standard cassetes ].

I dont think you can beat a pen and paper. Its a nice way to relax away from your gear too. I find it very relaxing to be somewhere else and writing.

The dictaphone is essencial for that bullet fom the blue like brainstorm inspiration. And having a good idea of "how it goes" weeks later when i just have a bit of paper with words and chords. And things like "quiet bit" written on, it saves me.

But if you do beats. Then I suppose you add a little sequencer with pattern and song storage. I use a DR5 in my setup and used to cart that around. But its not neccessary for the things that i write.

Thats if we write atall! a lot of or stuff is written as we play it.

But i always take my bag everywhere. And traveller guitar when im away or in the shed! You never know when inspiration will strike! And you always forget things if you dont get them straight away. Or i do anyway.


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Ian Stewart



Joined: 24/10/05
Posts: 3638
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258273 - 23/02/06 09:03 AM
If as your name suggests you do beakbeats I would use an MPC and a small synth. After my initial love affair with computers, soft synths etc. ended I now sit on the floor with an MPC1000, a Nord Leead on a stand and sometimes add a DX7 or Roland R8 to sample. Now I don't even sample into the computer, I sample the sounds straight into the MPC.
The best advice though is to think what you want to do before you start, then set up your equipment accordingly.


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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Berkshire, UK
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258310 - 23/02/06 10:12 AM
I work in my office/studio at home because it's my "no compromise - no family" room and it's comfortable. My PC is dual boot and has Cubase on both the music and the general partition, and is never switched-off. When the muse is on me I'll plug a guitar into the POD that's always connected, start Cubase on the "normal" partition and just let it run. If I want drums I'll start Groove Agent and just leave it playing. My standard SX template has a "scratch" track at the top that I only ever use for doodling and that always has the POD input assigned and is selected and armed by default, which I find frees me from the pressure to make a "proper" recording and also lets me keep the original ideas filed with any recording session work that follows. I then sit back in my comfy chair, put my feet on the desk so that I can't even reach the keyboard, and play. If I ever find myself looking at the screen I switch-on the web cam so that I see myself looking at me looking at me and that soon puts a stop to that nonsense.

Of course, when it all breaks down I use my 20 year old Sony Dictaphone and a bottle of Jack just like everyone else.

Needless to say, my best ideas come during my 45 mile bike commute to work and are forgotten before I can even reach a pencil.

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Andi, www.thedustbowlaudio.com Mixing, Mastering, Audio Editing (and articles) at The Dustbowl Audio


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__
Who's never been here


Joined: 28/11/02
Posts: 6263
Re: writing set ups new [Re: Andi]
      #258313 - 23/02/06 10:21 AM
Quote Andi:

Needless to say, my best ideas come during my 45 mile bike commute to work and are forgotten before I can even reach a pencil.




Mic up that crash helmet!

This is the trouble. Invariably if you sit down to write at your writing place at the alloted time. You will just sit stairing at the wall.

I think you have to design your writing system for an earlier stage when you could be anywhere. Thats when a song takes five minutes to write. Not when you sit down to write it - it could then take days!


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Andi



Joined: 02/09/04
Posts: 1203
Loc: Berkshire, UK
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258350 - 23/02/06 10:54 AM
My music is space constrained and time constrained. I'm not a musician, I'm a dad and a working bloke who fixes things in the house, services the bikes, digs the garden, lays the new flooring, needs at least 2 hours sleep a night, and occasionally finds time to indulge in a few noisy passions. My acoustic guitar deliberately lives in the, um, living room, not in the studio room, but if I pick it up when the kids are around it instantly has 20 little digits all over it (5 year-old twins). My kids are gently encouraged to enjoy music, so "oy, get your grubby hands of my £"!(%!(£"( guitar" is a bit contrary to the desired upbringing plan. Every bit of spare time I have can be used 4 or 5 times over, so I don't ever sit down with the intention to write, I retire to my space to do "something" and see what happens. At the moment I'm trying to schedule some piano learning time, finish a short story for a competition with a looming deadline, learn 3 new songs for the band, record an 80% written song and build a radio controlled meccano pick-up truck. Luckily the physical space for all of these activities is the same, so if I get an idea and I'm there I can do it there and then. If I'm not, I can't do it irrespective of gear (other than on the back of the time-honoured fag packet - and I'm stuffed there because I gave-up smoking)

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Andi, www.thedustbowlaudio.com Mixing, Mastering, Audio Editing (and articles) at The Dustbowl Audio


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Arse Bandit



Joined: 17/09/01
Posts: 2795
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258384 - 23/02/06 11:53 AM
My writing setup is a piano and pen and paper. It's not very portable (the piano that is), granted, but it certainly does the trick. If it's late then I have to fire up my Mac, but I still stick to a straight piano.


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breakbeat-cafe.net
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Joined: 10/06/04
Posts: 126
Loc: midlands uk
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258539 - 23/02/06 05:13 PM
well the music i make is not really breakbeat, though we do use breaks from time to time, it's more on the dido (first album)morcheeba, massive attack side of things. i have written some great bits on acoustic and piano, i agree totally with that, and getting bogged down with kit. i do like to write to beats though, even if i'm just looping a nice break, i know david gray has worked like that.
we've got an mpc in our studio which i think is cool, and i want to get a weighted keyboard, i like the look of the new m-audio piano, yeah being a screen slave in probably not great for creativity. so i think maybe an mpc and a keyboard, acoustic guitar, dictophone and a pen and paper is the way to go. cool thread, thanks for your input.



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--------------------
breakbeat sample cds http://www.breakbeat-cafe.net


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fractured
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Posts: 929
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Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258637 - 23/02/06 07:59 PM
I recently set up a little spot in my bedroom (at the request of my girlfriend who otherwise may not see me much) with a few pieces in a rack.

I have an Emagic MT4 driving my Proteus 2000, my Waldorf Micro Q, a Pulse + and my Access Indigo 2. I have it all going through my Hammerfall Multiface. It isn't much, but it does the trick. Lots of synthy stuff with the Proteus drums to round things out. I do most of my work on a PowerBook when out and about (I hum into my built-in microphone to get ideas down right away) but I use my G5 in my synthy rig in the bedroom when ideas hit there. I am currently doing remodelling of my big studio with the big Oberheims and other classic synths. It is mixerless and based around a dual G5 and a couple of Hammerfalls with a Mackie control universal. That is where I have the nice pre-amps and big mics. The full studio will only see use when others come by to record, so most will be done in my bedroom or out and about.

Three stages of recording ability, all geared to make me get those pesky ideas down before they fly away.

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"It all seems so stupid, it makes me want to give up, but why should I give up when it all seems so stupid?"


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Hewesy



Joined: 19/10/04
Posts: 1724
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258658 - 23/02/06 08:23 PM
I have a digital dictaphone handy, which lives both on my worktable, to grab those ideas before firing up my digital portastudio, and it always travels with me when I take my acoustic on hols etc. Being digital I can also dump ideas to my laptop, for creating a reference CD etc.

If I could digress the thread though... At the moment I use the standard mic to capture ideas, which is fine. However my travel acoustic is an electro acoustic - can I plug the acoustic straight into the dictaphone?

The input on the dictaphone is rated at 2kohmn's - not sure what the guitar puts out though(it's an active, 9v preamp -a Shadow I believe).

Just a though - to cut down on background noise....

Cheers,

Hewesy


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narcoman
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Joined: 14/08/01
Posts: 8519
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258808 - 24/02/06 01:48 AM
Easy.

Everyone in my company has a korg PXR4. Fantastic. Portable digital four trak. appaling qulaity. Great for ideas ! Write the music then bring it to the studio...its fast becoming a rule round here !

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Battenburg to the power of 20 - said by Richie Royale in a moment of genius. 4pm. Wed 16th Nov 2011. Remember where you were....


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Mixedup
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Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #258968 - 24/02/06 12:00 PM
definitely agree with the pen and paper suggestion!

I use a nice airy lounge with sofas and large windows, a notebook to collect all my lyrics, and a Zoom Palmtop 4 track recorder to grab inspiration as it strikes for acoustic / electric guitar and bass.

I import teh Zoom files to my sequencer later, either as a guide track for better recordings, or just as a backup to give me more space on the palmtop device without bouncing everything down to one channel, so I can continue writing in a none destructive way. I wouldn't want to use more than this- I find the gear just gets in the way of the process.
Sometimes I avoid techonlogy altogether and use an acoustic guitar, a pen, paper and my memory. This approach has definitely helped me to focus on getting the songs sorted before I go into the studio (I used to sit down in front of the computer, prgoram some drums and then start recording. I got some good grooves this way but hte songs were to repetitive and wandering - far too long).

...but as the an says, I guess it depends on your style of music! Mine is generally indie-rock / with a bit of electronica thrown in. For more dance / beats focused stuff, I'd probably get an MPC, or just use a laptop & headphones - but with very limited amounts of software / plugins on it so you aren't tempted to fiddle, just to write and get the ideas down!

It definitely also helps to have a way of organising the ideas files you come up with. Otherwise you lose lots of good ideas that are unfinished that might just be the perfect bridge or chorus for another tune. And you tend to go back and write the same thing withotu even realizing it!


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Hewesy



Joined: 19/10/04
Posts: 1724
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #259875 - 26/02/06 07:53 PM
Does anyone have experiance of using the Yamaha QY100?

For example, could you record a guitar part, then add drums, bass, keys/synths etc?

The Yamaha QY series seems to be aimed at mobile songwriting, I'm suprised not to have seen on above.

Hewesy


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gerard



Joined: 07/02/05
Posts: 2608
Loc: London, UK
Re: writing set ups [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #260027 - 27/02/06 08:48 AM
in various locations:

1. piano, paper, pencil

2. acoustic guitar, pencil, paper

3. mac, garageband, triton, elec guitar.

4. mac, logic, etc etc...

have been meaning to get a dictaphone for a while...


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Shingles
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Joined: 10/03/03
Posts: 1081
Loc: Worcester, UK
Re: writing set ups new [Re: Andi]
      #260794 - 28/02/06 02:51 PM
Quote Andi:

My music is space constrained and time constrained. I'm not a musician, I'm a dad and a working bloke who fixes things in the house, services the bikes, digs the garden, lays the new flooring, needs at least 2 hours sleep a night, and occasionally finds time to indulge in a few noisy passions. My acoustic guitar deliberately lives in the, um, living room, not in the studio room, but if I pick it up when the kids are around it instantly has 20 little digits all over it (5 year-old twins). My kids are gently encouraged to enjoy music, so "oy, get your grubby hands of my £"!(%!(£"( guitar" is a bit contrary to the desired upbringing plan. Every bit of spare time I have can be used 4 or 5 times over, so I don't ever sit down with the intention to write, I retire to my space to do "something" and see what happens. At the moment I'm trying to schedule some piano learning time, finish a short story for a competition with a looming deadline, learn 3 new songs for the band, record an 80% written song and build a radio controlled meccano pick-up truck. Luckily the physical space for all of these activities is the same, so if I get an idea and I'm there I can do it there and then. If I'm not, I can't do it irrespective of gear (other than on the back of the time-honoured fag packet - and I'm stuffed there because I gave-up smoking)




That could be me, except that my daughters are 5 and 2 (nearly). But when work takes me away from home for a night, I have a Yamaha QY70 to mess about with in the B&B, or even in the pub where I have my tea.

--------------------
Nik
Godin, Axon, Tonelab, Repeater & the skin of my teeth!


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AndyJones
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Joined: 30/06/03
Posts: 234
Re: writing set ups new [Re: breakbeat-cafe.net]
      #260797 - 28/02/06 03:07 PM
Interesting post this.

Since joining a band within the last few months I have personally found that I tend to be a lot more creative when we meet for rehearsals/jamming than if I sit at home in my bedroom/studio.

I have more than enough gear to make most people drool, but when it comes down to it all I really need for writing is a good piano sound and perhaps a hammond, and being around other creative people also helps.

If you're playing with other musicians around you tend to get instant approval or disapproval of any ideas you might have, which tends to stop you going down the wrong route too often.


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