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Newbie

Postby musicegbdf » Fri Nov 27, 2020 5:50 pm

Hi , I am a newbie or more like a returning " recorderist"
I used to record on a Yamaha aw1600 . I am mainly a guitarist of a certain age that avoided that strange word " midi" for years .
I did try Ableton live lite years ago but suffered a nasty virus the first time I tried to load VST' s for the first time and gave up. I did use Audacity for editing , but mainly stayed away from computer stuff . My daughter " borrowed " most of my studio stuff , and is now a professional musician but my gear ( and some instruments ) never came back.
I have just ordered a new windows laptop with a fair amount of power ( i7 , 16gb ram, 500 gb ssd for software and 1tb ssd for work) .
So going to dip my toe again in computer music.
I am retired , and with Covid restrictions need to keep brain alive
I have a Godin LGX SA and a roland GR20 , an old Roland Tr505 . I have just purchased a presonus audiobox itwo and a AT 2020 mic . I also have shure sm58 that daughter didnt get . With the presonus I get the studio one artist so hoping that would be a good start. The only thing I need to get is a keyboard controller . Have been considering an Akai mini 25 mk3 as a start. Any views if this would be a good starter?
I am looking forward to being an active forum member going forward.
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Re: Newbie

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:32 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

If the minikeys and two-octave span of that Akai suit you then I see no reason why it won't do you a decent job.
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Re: Newbie

Postby Chet Leeway » Fri Nov 27, 2020 6:55 pm

Unless you have severe space restrictions, I'd go for a bigger keyboard, minimum 49 keys. It's a huge plus to be able to pick out chords in different registers quickly or play a bass line at the same time as you play chords higher up. And who knows, maybe you can learn to play two-handed?

Personally I've got an Arturia Essentials 61 key. Nice keyboard, and it includes (and integrates closesly with) Arturia Lab, a VST instrument with huge collection of all sorts of inspiring quality sounds.
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Re: Newbie

Postby blinddrew » Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:00 pm

Welcome! :)

I'd agree with Chet that if you've got the room it's worth getting a larger keyboard - and I write this as a definitely-non-pianist. ;)
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Re: Newbie

Postby James Perrett » Fri Nov 27, 2020 7:52 pm

blinddrew wrote:I'd agree with Chet that if you've got the room it's worth getting a larger keyboard - and I write this as a definitely-non-pianist. ;)

The thing is - where do you stop? I wouldn't consider myself a pianist either but I certainly prefer to play a weighted keyboard.
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Re: Newbie

Postby musicegbdf » Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:35 pm

Thank you all for the quick replies. I am a non keyboard player , that is interesting I will check out the larger keyboards .
I am sure I will be back with more questions :)
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Re: Newbie

Postby Sam Spoons » Fri Nov 27, 2020 10:10 pm

FWIW I'm a guitar player who has a couple of keyboards. I don't get on with mini keys, I bought an Arturia Keystep and it was utterly brilliant in every way except the mini keys which I hate*. 32 keys is just about enough* but 37** or, better still 44 or more is much better but full sized suits me better***. So give mini keys a try, you may well be fine with them but be prepared to find them frustrating.

* You can just about play most melodies on 32 keys.

** I returned the Keystep and bought a used Akai Miniak which has 37 full sized keys, I'd still have liked 44 but....

*** TBF in my youth I did do a few years in retail selling electronic organs and MI generally so 44 notes is mostly from those days. I still don't really play keyboards but have a Roland A90 (88 weighted keys) and a Juno-D (61 note synth action keyboard) so I have all the bases covered.
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Re: Newbie

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 27, 2020 11:32 pm

musicegbdf wrote:Thank you all for the quick replies. I am a non keyboard player , that is interesting I will check out the larger keyboards.
I think full-sized keys can actually be even more beneficial for non-players. A decent player can adapt to a smaller keyboard, but if your muscle memory is set with mini-keys a 'non-player' you will likely remain. Being able to tap out a simple bass line, or one-handed three-note triad chords, for example, is a useful basic skill.
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Re: Newbie

Postby musicegbdf » Sat Nov 28, 2020 8:53 am

Had a quick look around and the price shot up a fair amount going to 49 keys. Will have to do more research. Going to be a couple of weeks before the laptop arrives as it is a custom build from "Chillblast".
Is there anyone out there using a guitar as a controller? I was wondering about using it through the gr20 . My Godin has the 13 pin out to the gr20 then the 5 pin midi out to the audiobox ? Would think for stringed instruments it may be useful. Some of the gr20 samples are not bad , but expect I can just record them as line in , through the audiobox .
Playing the Godin I have learnt that you have to think the instrument being sampled , and forget guitar.
I can see even as a non keyboard player a keyboard is important . Funny but we do have a full size yamaha upright piano in the house. It is my daughters. She had to leave it here .( Though were she lives now has access to a grand piano).
My studio space is very limited , but do get the point about full size keys. In a way I might not need one with drum pads as I still have the tr505 ( shame I did not buy the 808 back then!) , but it is the same samples as the 808. Will do some more research . I guess I could push my budget up to about £200 for the right unit. Think i will measure the available space as well. Again thanks the great responses. It is exciting to start this new adventure .
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Re: Newbie

Postby adrian_k » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:43 am

The Elf wrote:
musicegbdf wrote:Thank you all for the quick replies. I am a non keyboard player , that is interesting I will check out the larger keyboards.
I think full-sized keys can actually be even more beneficial for non-players. A decent player can adapt to a smaller keyboard, but if your muscle memory is set with mini-keys a 'non-player' you will likely remain. Being able to tap out a simple bass line, or one-handed three-note triad chords, for example, is a useful basic skill.

Yes that’s what I’ve discovered. I’m also a guitarist with basic keyboard skills and full size keys and a good keyboard feel turn out to be important. I should have guessed - I wouldn’t make music on an unresponsive ukulele so why would I think it would be different on a keyboard?

Also more keys are better, I started with a small key home keyboard thing, then 32 midi keyboard, now using 61 but starting to feel I should have gone for 73.
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Re: Newbie

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:52 am

Small pedantic technical point
The TR-505 used samples. The 808 is a fully analogue drum machine - no samples. They are very, very different animals.

For a keyboard...

For just a scratch more than that budget I'd go for a Roland A-500 (I own an A-800) - it's a very clever device and has pretty much everything you could ever want.

Maybe even the A-300, if you really want to keep things compact.
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Re: Newbie

Postby blinddrew » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:54 am

I bought Jam Origin's Midi Guitar a couple of years ago and i find it a very useful bit of kit. It's not as quick as just banging some simple chords in on the keyboard but it does a good job for me with more complex stuff.
But again it helps to think about how you play stuff in and just play guitar as you would normally.
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Re: Newbie

Postby zenguitar » Sat Nov 28, 2020 12:08 pm

You don't need to make your decisions now. Always helpful to think things through and explore possibilities beforehand, but until you have your new laptop up and running it might be a good idea to hang on to your budget.

You will certainly be able to use your Godin through the GR20 as a MIDI controller but you need to be aware that there is always a degree of latency with guitar to MIDI. As you are experienced with the GR20 you have a good chance of making it work.

However, things have moved on in the guitar to MIDI world. One very good option is Jam Origin...
https://www.jamorigin.com
You plug your guitar straight in to a Hi-Z input on your audio interface and the software can extract polyphonic MIDI with minimal latency. I have dabbled a little but there are users here who have created very complex MIDI recordings using it. It's reasonably priced, and there is a free demo available to try before you buy.

You have a drum machine, but again things have moved on substantially. Software drum instruments are incredibly powerful now, so don't discount a controller keyboard with drum pads.

Studio One artist is very powerful and includes some very good software instruments (VSTi). So there is a lot there already for you to explore to help you discover your direction.

My advice would be to wait until you have the laptop, audio interface and Studio One up and running before spending. See how you get on with the GR20 for MIDI control, explore the supplied VSTi's and then decide what you feel is missing. £200 is a reasonable amount to spend, but not enough to afford to make a mistake and buy the wrong thing.

Andy :beamup:
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Re: Newbie

Postby musicegbdf » Sat Nov 28, 2020 1:33 pm

Brilliant , such good advice. I stand corrected about the 505 , I bought it new so it was a long time ago .
I suspected things had moved on and will check out the Jamorigin that could be useful.
I think you are right Zenguitar, to take my time.
I had experience of microphones and audiobox ( last was a Scarlett), but not keyboards.
Have measured the space available. Up to 50cm would be ideal up to max around 60cm so might be able to get 37 keys. In a way that is more important than the price.
It seems kit is a bit easier now , in the past I felt all I was doing was to trying to get the computer to work and not make music , which is why I went down the route of the aw1600.
Again thanks , will have start buying SOS again :)
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Re: Newbie

Postby ef37a » Sat Nov 28, 2020 2:46 pm

Hi musicegbdf and welcome.
Now I have not read all the contributions and I am not that qualified to comment being just an old retired amp tech/one time telly fixer but I "engineered" for a very musical son for many years and still help him remotely, he is in Le Havre now.

I am very pleased to see you have bought an interface with MIDI ports but you might find the connectivity a bit limiting as you gather other sound sources, a small mixer* can help there until you go mad and drop 3K+ on that Carbon Protools jobby!

Re the MIDI "controller", did you want what is often called a "surface"? a collection of encoders and sliders and buttons or do you just want a 'dumb' keyboard to play VSTis?

If the latter do check out the local charity shops and Cash Generators. They almost always have full sized organs in stock and at very silly prices, peeps just don't have the room these days. I have been sorely tempted a few times at Scope. You must of course check for MIDI ports.

*A chap called Arpangel might chip in about that? Do NOT take a blind bit of notice of anything he says on the subject!

Dave.
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