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View Poll Results: Which one should I get for music production?
Synthesizer 0 0%
MIDI Controller 0 0%
Workstation 1 100.00%
Arranger 0 0%
Combination/Hybrid (Post below what combination) 0 0%
Voters: 1. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-11-2016, 08:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default VG Music Production: MIDI Controller, Workstation, Arranger, Synthesizer, or Hybrid?

Sorry for the long title, but I need to do something to make my thread stand out. Haha

Anyways, here's the point I need help in:

Soon, I will be doing a small project with some people and trying to make our own game for the first time together. I am responsible with the art area of the game, which includes music too. I have little to no experience in digital music production, so this product will need to be affordable and accessible.
I've tried using keyboard and mouse, but it's usually frustrating as I constantly need to play the music over and over, and painstakingly apply modifications click by click (I don't really have experience with macros or virtual keyboards). Doing this, I usually forget what I was going to add and become even more frustrated.

So I need a new tool to make the process easier, and I found these keyboard and pseudo-keyboard instruments.

Synthesizers, Arrangers,MIDI Controllers, and Workstations.
This is what I think I know about these things:

Synthesizers are sound modifiers, that can be used to modify a sample.
Arrangers are MIDI based keyboards that can be used for music production.
MIDI Controllers are inputting devices used to operate music applications.
Workstations are all of the above in one, with Christmas lights included.

I'm leaning towards Arrangers, but seeing that they are independent, I am afraid that the features will get out of date real quick as music producing softwares available in the net are constantly updating.
If I can use Arrangers as MIDI Controllers too, that can really help future- proof the Arranger. A compact and portable arranger will REALLY help.

But there is the confusion, where there are hybrids of these things. Such as synthesizers+arrangers, which allow you to modify samples and arrange them to produce music. Quite confusing, and are usually not mentioned in product descriptions.

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So: Which should I get from the 4 types of music producing hardware? Are there hybrids that I can use to allow greater possibilities of creating unique soundtracks? What are the recommended products that fit my requirements, and are affordable at the same time?


THANKS!
Ask any questions if I'm not clear, or tl;dr.
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Old 04-11-2016, 09:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Okay first off I need to be very blunt with you: If you have absolutely no experience with music production, you're probably not qualified to be making the soundtrack for a game. Visual art and music are too vastly different fields, and your team needs to find someone who knows what they're doing. I'm saying that for your game's sake, not because I want to be rude or discouraging.

That being said however, it couldn't hurt to clear up your misunderstandings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DatGameh View Post
Synthesizers, Arrangers,MIDI Controllers, and Workstations.
This is what I think I know about these things:

Synthesizers are sound modifiers, that can be used to modify a sample.
Incorrect. Synthesizers generate sounds through a variety of parameters. They don't modify preexisting ones.
Quote:
Arrangers are MIDI based keyboards that can be used for music production.
I've been making electronic music for 3 years now and I've never heard of an "arranger". Are you talking about a sequencer?

Quote:
MIDI Controllers are inputting devices used to operate music applications.
I'm assuming you're talking about grid controllers such as Ableton's Push, Akai's APC40, or Novation's Launchpad, right?
Quote:
Workstations are all of the above in one, with Christmas lights included.
....what? You mean like this?



Because there's very very few products like that around.

Quote:
I'm leaning towards Arrangers, but seeing that they are independent, I am afraid that the features will get out of date real quick as music producing softwares available in the net are constantly updating.
most softwares used in music production allow you free updates for a certain period of time, usually for 1 whole version cycle (example: If you buy a software that's at version 1.4, you'll get free updates till version 2.4). Even then most updates don't change things drastically, and even if you don't have them, nobody is forcing you to only use the latest updates.
Quote:
If I can use Arrangers as MIDI Controllers too, that can really help future- proof the Arranger.
Actually, there's also lots of sequencers nowadays that also get updates for their internal software via USB connections, so even if you were right, this wouldn't be very helpful for you.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for being brutally honest. It helps me more than any other form of comment!

First off, we are high school students, planning to make a private project to try out our teamwork skills. So I might create lesser soundtracks than a typical NES game.
Throught the sequence of the game's creation, we will be changing roles slightly, such as me programming some parts of the game (I want to emphasize how un-serious this game is).

Outside of the VG area of soundtracks, I want to create music as a hobby as well, experimenting along the way. Same thing goes for artwork.

Anyways, I do have experience in music production. Only little though, and I never used complex music software (yet) like FL Studio.
The reason why I want to get a Arranger (or sequencer, whatever you call it in the internet) is because I want to use an instrument to get me into music production quickly, and easily. Keyboard and mouse won't work that well for the long term
I also want a piano in my room for easy accesablility, as an old electric piano is not so easy to fit in my room (Yamaha Clavinova from the 90s).

So... Yeah. From my understanding of your advice, I'm now looking for a basic sequencer, that can be used for easy music creation. Some sound modulation can also help, or any other feature that can make my music sound more unique.
And if the insturment has limited features, it should be able to be connected to a computer for greater modularity and features. Also, the sequences saved in the sequencer should also be able to import sequences that are still modifyable in a music software (if there are any). If not... I'll think about it.
Since the instrument will be used for experimentation and hobby, it will be great if it was small, yet complete. Something like Yamaha's new synthesizers, although a little bigger.
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Old 04-13-2016, 06:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lu-Cuss View Post
Okay first off I need to be very blunt with you: If you have absolutely no experience with music production, you're probably not qualified to be making the soundtrack for a game. Visual art and music are too vastly different fields, and your team needs to find someone who knows what they're doing. I'm saying that for your game's sake, not because I want to be rude or discouraging.

That being said however, it couldn't hurt to clear up your misunderstandings.


Incorrect. Synthesizers generate sounds through a variety of parameters. They don't modify preexisting ones.
I've been making electronic music for 3 years now and I've never heard of an "arranger". Are you talking about a sequencer?

I'm assuming you're talking about grid controllers such as Ableton's Push, Akai's APC40, or Novation's Launchpad, right?
....what? You mean like this?



Because there's very very few products like that around.

most softwares used in music production allow you free updates for a certain period of time, usually for 1 whole version cycle (example: If you buy a software that's at version 1.4, you'll get free updates till version 2.4). Even then most updates don't change things drastically, and even if you don't have them, nobody is forcing you to only use the latest updates.

Actually, there's also lots of sequencers nowadays that also get updates for their internal software via USB connections, so even if you were right, this wouldn't be very helpful for you.
Um... Are you still there?
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Sorry, wasn't on much yesterday. Anyhow if you want a sequencer, most of those are usually either connected to DAWs (softwares like FL Studio) or completely independent from them. I don't knoe of any that can use both. If you want one independent from a DAW, I've heard great things about the Korg Electribe. If you want one conmected to a DaW, I'd suggest just getting a grid controller like Launchpad, because those can usually also work as sequencers.
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Old 04-13-2016, 02:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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HOLY **** I was just browsing through Korg products for completely unrelated reasons and realized I was wrong about arrangers. They -do- exist. I'm ignorant and I apologize.

Pa600QT | Professional Arranger | KORG

That being said, it honestly kind of looks like a DAW attached to an electric piano, which seems kind of limited as well, and probably not something I'd really choose over Ableton.

Also just realized you said you wanted to make NES music, I led to another interesting thought. I know you said your big thing was that you don't really care for click and drag workflow, and I was curious if you'd ever heard of trackers? They're basically like DAWs, but with an interface that can be almost entirely controlled from a keyboard. AND, considering they're what was originally used for NES games (I think you were saying that's the type of music you had in mind), they could actually be perfect for you. I use one and it's actually my preferred software.

http://famitracker.com/

I've never used this personally (I use Renoise), but I know lots of people have. It's free, too, so it'd definitely be worth trying out.

Last edited by Lu-Cuss; 04-13-2016 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Haha!
It's fine. eople make mistakes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lu-Cuss View Post
That being said, it honestly kind of looks like a DAW attached to an electric piano, which seems kind of limited as well, and probably not something I'd really choose over Ableton.
Hm... I thought so as well.
But aren't there Arrangers that can be connected to a PC to function as a controller? Also, this may be ridiculous, but from what you saw about arrangers, can you transfer created arrangements from the Arranger to your PC to edit or modify? If it sounds impossible or quite rare, it could be possible that Arrangers save MIDI files.

But the Lauchpad? It seems to be a longer computer keyboard with macros. What makes it anymore useful than a keyboard? It also seems to rely on the presense of a computer. I don't know, but it looks like a gimmick.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lu-Cuss View Post
Also just realized you said you wanted to make NES music, I led to another interesting thought. I know you said your big thing was that you don't really care for click and drag workflow, and I was curious if you'd ever heard of trackers? They're basically like DAWs, but with an interface that can be almost entirely controlled from a keyboard. AND, considering they're what was originally used for NES games (I think you were saying that's the type of music you had in mind), they could actually be perfect for you. I use one and it's actually my preffered software.

I've never used this personally (I use Renoise), but I know lots of people have. It's free, too, so it'd definitely be worth trying out.
Actually, I mentioned that I will be creating music, but not as many pieces as a typical NES game. This means that I'm not really creating (only) NES soundtracks, but small amounts of modern-quality music.
But when I create NES soundtracks, that app will help a lot. Thanks for telling me about it!

For the most part, I am planning to use FL Studio, a piece of software that no one knows about (sarcasm). What are your thoughts on using this app? Also, is it compatible with the Launchpad?

Thanks again
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