July 03, 2007

I Survived!

Made it through my sister's wedding in one piece. This most recent ceremony makes us 2 for 4 in the marriage department.

Those of us left need some serious help, though.

The majority of last week's down time was spent working on a song that is ever so slowly coming together. Been a good while since I've churned out anything I could call completed, so I hope to pin it down soon.

So... uh... how about that iPhone, huh? Neat, isn't it? There is a comprehensive review done by the perpetually helpful folks over at Engadget.

edited for clarity, linking, self-loathing


MosBen said...

So while in WA Jason discovered Garage Band on his Mac and produced some pretty cool tunes with what seemed like a minimal amount of work. Do you know of any analogous program for the PC? I've tried FL Studio a bit, but it seems *really* hard to get something off the ground.

LameAim said...

For PC... FL Studio is one of the big ones. I remember using it some time ago and distinctly recall that the layout never really worked for me. Does seem to work for a lot of other folks, though.

I'd suggest Reason to most people, because there is something of a physical component to it... it emulates an endless rack of gear that you can rewire and reconfigure as you see fit. Might not seem like much now, but you really get a leg up on thinking about signal paths and applying those to external gear. There's tons of built-in stuff to get you started, and enough to keep you locked in there for a good long while.

The main drawback to Reason though is that it's a little too inclusive. Reason was designed from the ground up to be a one-stop shop, but it doesn't record audio tracks (and most likely never will). There are ways to get external sounds in and Reason's own sounds out, but it is not nearly as clear cut as other programs will make it.

(See next post for more)

LameAim said...

Another program to look out for is Ableton Live 6, which is what I use most of the time. Live is not nearly as ready to go out of the box as Reason or Garageband are - there is greater reliance on you adding your own sounds/samples to the mix. However, Live is the quickest sound twister I've seen in software. It's almost like they turned a tape recorder into an instrument in some ways.

Try the demos for Reason and Live, see how those work for you and we can go from there...

MosBen said...

Before I get too deep into Reason or Live, do they have lots of pre-built in sounds? One of the really appealing parts of Garage Band seems to be that it comes with a library of stuff to play with right out of the box. Maybe, if I really got into this sort of thing, I'd be interested in making completely original beats, but for just starting off it seems like it'd be really nice to be able to just select "rock guitar 1" if I wanted a guitar lick in the mix and to be able to warp it a bit if I wanted to get tricky.

The turnoff for RL Studio for me is that, particularly with no external gear like I'm working with, I *could* make a guitar lick with their guitar sound, but it'd take foreeeever. I know all the sample contribute a lot to Garage Band's bloated hard disk footprint, but it also seems way more fun out of the box than FL Studio, which is straight up work.

LameAim said...

OK, I see what you're getting at.

From what you describe, Reason's the closest to what you want. It has the largest included sound library. However, Reason is also more electronic-based - it isn't really designed to churn out straight-up rock music, although I imagine people have done so with it. What kind of music you aiming to make?

With FL Studio and (especially) Live, they are much more reliant on you adding whatever sounds/loops/material you deem fit. A lot of the magic in Live comes from the fact that you can quantize audio loops, even loops that are 20 BPM or more from one another, and it makes this stupid easy to do.

Think about the loops that come with Garageband for a sec - they're built in a file format called Apple Loops, which lets the host program alter the tempo in which these loops are played back without altering the base pitch of the loop. Still with me? Now Live lets you do the same thing, except to your own audio you bring in. Plus, you can define loop tempo at the sample level instead of the global project level - if you have something you want running twice as fast as everthing else, this can be done with a few mouse clicks. It's powerful shit, really... and you can twist samples into completely different sounds with speed and relative ease.

Sorry, I'm a Live whore, I can do this forever...

MosBen said...

Live definitely sounds cool, but like it's way more work to actually get a song together without some kind of external gear to play with. Maybe if there were some series of tutorials that would teach me how to work it step by step. Still, it seems really useful to have pre-made samples to start on.

LameAim said...

Yeah, Reason is the better route for you. More built-in sounds and possibilities right out of the box more tutorials out there for it, too. Plus there's tons of refills (bundles of prepackaged sounds) available for it as well.

And it's not like the program isn't deep enough... just as recent as say, 1995 or so.. people would have done terrible things to start with something as powerful as Reason or Live.

Current version of Reason is 3.0, but 4 is in beta at the moment and will most likely be out this fall. From what I understand, it'll be a pretty major upgrade.