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hubskier for: 1917 days

You're all groovy <3

recent comments, posts, and shares:
flac  ·  7 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 409th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Happy to help ;)

Damn, that is quite a haul! Sounds like you've got a hell of a weekend lined up.

One thing that might be of interest if you're ever looking remotely jam with people is a free Reaper plugin called "Reaninjam":

Basically, you can play in pseudo-realtime (in sync, but a few bars behind) with either friends (in a private server) or total strangers. I have a private server set up, if you're ever looking to play sometime! I've been missing collaborating with people, and while this is not quite the same, it does scratch the itch.

Edit: this plugin called Jamtaba seems to let you connect to NINJAM users in any DAW!

flac  ·  8 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 409th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

I think KB's probably right - the Monologue's pretty nice, and Behringer ain't too great as a company. If you're looking for a hardware synth, that's a really good place to start.

Ultimately, I think the "right" gear is whatever gets you making the most music, period. I totally get not wanting to be locked into the computer after working on it all day - that's part of what attracted me to hardware synths initially. Now I use sort of a mix of hardware and software, and I sequence it all through my Keystep Pro, which is both the most expensive and by far most useful piece of equipment I own. It's the only piece of gear I own that I couldn't part with without dramatically changing the way I make music.

Obviously, the big benefit of going digital is that there are a STAGGERING number of choices to try out. Even Modular (or, hey, even FREE MODULAR). I have yet to pay for a single digital synth, and I feel pretty happy with my options. And, importantly, I don't believe that there is any sound that you can create on any analog synthesizer that can't be recreated digitally (with a bit of knowledge and the right software). Obviously, I am a huge fan of Helm and Vital, partly because they are really intuitive, and partly because they have no right being as great as they are while still being free. I hear good things about NI, but haven't tried it myself.

The big downside to digital is that, if you only want to play one synth, then it's not quite as "giggable" as hardware. It can be great if you're going to jam with some friends to just grab a synth and a pedal and head out, but it can get a bit more involved with digital. My favorite hardware synth, the Microfreak is super light, and I can just throw it in my messenger bag with a cable and head out. That being said, the more gear you get, the more incredibly time-consuming hardware setup becomes.

On the other hand, one of my favorite bits of tech is my PiSound, a HAT for the Raspberry Pi that can turn the Pi into a pedal or any number of synths. Once you have it all set up, you can just boot up the Pi, plug in a Midi Controller, and run "headless", as it were. I mainly use ORAC, which has a bunch of great synth/effect options, and allows you to run several synths at once (I have done sets with just the Keystep running 3 synths at once on my Pi, and using a drum machine on the last track. Beautifully streamlined). There's also an app so you can use a phone or tablet to change parameters of whatever you're running. You can also run Pure Data patches on it, which gives you access to lots of community-made synth and FX modules. The PiSound is a bit of an involved project to get set up, but it sort of gives you the versatility (and cheapness) of digital, while giving you the portability of hardware. And, if you end up buying a synth, you can set up MODEP (the FX module) to run a midi-synced delay, which is pretty rad.

From a performance standpoint, I find hardware synths a lot easier to manage in a live setting. One knob does exactly one thing on each synth, and that is wonderfully intuitive and hard to fuck up live. Not quite the case when dealing with a computer, and unlabelled knobs on a midi controller (to say nothing of operating a mouse precisely in a high-stress setting). For an example, here's what my Midi mapping looks like when I run three synths at a time on the Pi, as mentioned above (I switch between Midi channels for each synth):

That becomes less of a problem if you are consistent in how you have your Midi controllers set up, and don't use a ton of different synths.

If you're on the fence, I'd recommend buying yourself a pretty nice midi keyboard with lots o' knobs, and messing around with software synths. If you get a midi keyboard, you can assign each of the knobs to control a different parameter of the synth software (ADSR, Cutoff, etc). It's really easy to set up in Helm and Vital, and I'd be more than happy to do a quick video on it. The great thing is that most software synths will remember those mappings, so you can just boot it up and get going right away. This will seeeeriously cut down on your time looking at the screen, highly recommend it.

Second-to-last bit of advice: if you are thinking of just using a synth as a solo instrument, either in a band or recorded, then analog might make just as much sense as digital. But if you think that you might end up want to make whole synth tracks, then I'd really recommend starting with digital. It becomes really unwieldy (and real fuckin' expensive) really quickly if you go the analog route there.

Actual last bit of advice: a big part of why the Keystep Pro is my favorite piece of gear is that, once I have my synths picked out, I can make a whole track without really having to look back at my computer. I can sequence things on 4 separate tracks, and send them to 4 digital (or analog) synths/drum kits. There's also this cheaper pad-style sequencer by Arturia, which has most of the same functionality. In any case, if you decide to go digital, I strongly recommend starting with a nice free synth, and spend your money on a good Midi keyboard with lots of knobs and sliders.

Edit: I swear to god I'm not being paid by Arturia, but I found this deal on their entry level keyboard, which also comes free with the lite version of: Ableton, Analog Labs (a really great sounding synth software), and a grand piano sim. For your consideration.

Thanks, Steve! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I really love this synth, and it's made by the same guy who made my previous favorite synth, so the workflow is pretty familiar to me. Excited to dive in over the upcoming long weekend...

flac  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Synth experimentation

I, for my part, am devouring all "Vital" content I can get my hands on, trying to understand this wicked new beast.

flac  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Synth experimentation

Very cool stuff, can't wait to hear once you get the Poly D!

flac  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Fundamental app for iPad (flac made me do it)

Regretably, ANOTHER very exciting synth thing has come up: Matt Tytel, the guy who made Helm (my VST synth of choice) just announced a new free wavetable synth called Vital and the early release version I got of it has fully consumed my mind. Really cool stuff, working on putting out a playlist for it to release when the synth is released to the public on the 24th.

Also, it seems there's not an Android version of this app, which is a bummer - the ckncept seems pretty simple though, I might try and mock up my own version in Pure Data when I get a chance

flac  ·  17 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 408th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"
flac  ·  18 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: My new Kickstarter puzzles

Super cool, pledged! Seems like a nice thing to work on while drinking my first coffee of the day.

flac  ·  19 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Fundamental app for iPad (flac made me do it)

Holy moley, gonna dive into this over the weekend - looks sweeeet!

flac  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 11, 2020

Thought I recognized that lanky feller ;)

Glad you're enjoying it! I'm happy that I've been able to upload pretty consistently, so far I've done a new video every day since Sunday. Expect an in depth tour of the Modulator sections imminently...

Edit: holy shit I have some feelings about modulators, video ended up being a full hour long lol I could probably have talked for another hour as well...

flac  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Veterans Day

I certainly wouldn't deny that there's good reason for Veteran's Day writ large, I just think it's a really strange thing to be celebrating with kids this young. It's hard to get into the concept of a just war with 3-year-olds, let alone give a decent, age-appropriate answer to 'what do soldiers do now' ("try and help people" was the best I could do).

But maybe my hackles are just raised from my last job, where I genuinely had a parent complain that "Paw Patrol" was fascist brainwashing. Also had a kid who watched footage of WWII bombings with his dad, and then unsurprisingly spent a lot of time air-raiding his classmates with pinecones. Somewhere in the middle is a reasonable stance, just not sure what it is myself.

flac  ·  21 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Veterans Day

Gotta say, it's really surreal working at a childcare center where we can't even talk directly about Halloween for fear that certain families might not celebrate it, but have no problem talking to kids (like, 3-year-old kids) about a day that celebrates "the people protecting our freedom" totally uncritically.

Thanks, I really appreciate hearing that! I've seen lots of videos that just sort of gloss over some of the more fundamental parts of building a synth, so I'm glad I was able to make things clear. My background as a teacher's finally paying off lol

Ah, nice! Well, I'm planning on doing a general sound design stream this weekend - I think I'll focus on using the Microbrute this time instead of Helm, and I'll send you an archive of the stream to check out after it's done!

I've got a Microbrute over here, which remains one of my absolute favorite bits of gear - I think the mini brute just has some nice added bells and whistles. I totally relate to it "feeling alive" - there's sort of a playfulness built into it, it's fun to just turn some knobs and see what comes out.

Do you ever dive into the "Mod Matrix" on it? Took me a little while to understand it when I first got started, but that's where things really come alive.

Also, here's a web app someone made to scroll through "presets" for the microbrute, I wonder if there's a comparable one for the Mini Brute? I like this as a jumping off-point for experimentation.

flac  ·  23 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 407th Weekly "Share Some Music You've Been Into Lately"

Oooooo Jimmy Eat World, that just threw me right back to high school. Looking forward to checking these out, thanks!

Oh believe me, I am a HUGE fan of tactical knobs - I still get a ton of mileage out of the synth I learned on, the Aturia Microbrute (which I still highly recommend as a cheap first synth). I think having that immediate feedback of turning a knob and hearing the change makes the principles stick better for a lot of people (myself included!)

I've looked into the Werkstadt myself - seems like a great piece of gear for the price. One of my absolute favorite bits of gear is the Koma Field Kit FX, a modular fx kit. I just built some CV touchpads to control it using this tutorial, which also works with my microbrute. There are tons of great DIY tutorials online for modular synths - if you're looking for a hobby that will swallow you whole, I recommend it.

Good luck with the Poly D, seems pretty intuitive! And it should mostly line up with my tutorials.

Awesome! Got a particular one picked out?