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 Post subject: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:17 pm 
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I wanted to start this thread mainly for people to share their favorite VSTs, but I guess other stuff related to electronic composition and recording can be discussed here.

I've been downloading a lot of VSTs recently, mostly just looking for ones that are modeled after classic synths. This one is my favorite so far:
http://www.home.no/gunnare/

I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction of a drum machine that has good sounds for house music. Mostly what I want to find is super-thick bass drums and slappin' snares


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:02 pm 
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I had the trial version of Sony Acid Music Studio or whatever and tried to get a drum pattern making machine vst thing but it was so complicated I got fed up.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:57 am 
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I am a big fan of east west and native instruments stuff. Battery 3 has been a staple of my music for a while now.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:21 pm 
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does anyone know of any free VSTs that have a good R&B bass sound? What I'm mostly looking for is a fake slap bass that doesn't sound like fake slap bass.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 2:57 am 
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Realistic bass vsts for free are pretty tough. I use Trilogy which is pretty high end but I still avoid it if I can. I just record stuff with a cheap bass I have if I can and it usually sounds better.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 12:24 pm 
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batman wrote:
does anyone know of any free VSTs that have a good R&B bass sound? What I'm mostly looking for is a fake slap bass that doesn't sound like fake slap bass.


In case you're still looking for this 4 years later, The KORG legacy pack (not technically free, but easy to find on torrent sites) has VSTs of their M1 and WAVESTATION synths, which both have some pretty decent sounding slap basses.

I mainly came here to start a very similar thread, just a kinda "small topics" for producing music on the computer.

Chilly, I'm interested to get your thoughts on this -- do you sit down at your computer with an idea already in your head/on paper/recorded via hums or something? Or do you sit down and play around until you hit upon an idea you like, and roll with that? I have no friends who do this kind of stuff in real life, so I really have no idea (other than some interviews) of how people who succesfully create good songs do things. I'm flying completely blind with my process and have no idea if there's a better way.

Side note: one of the more frustrating phenomena I experience in my life is that as I'm falling asleep at night I have these great, fully-formed musical ideas running through my head. There's no way I can capture them in the moment, and then in the morning they're gone forever.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:38 pm 
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I have some other friends who do this kind of stuff with varying degrees of success...like I have friends who are like me and do it as a (very time consuming) hobby, and actually another friend of mine in town is having so much success with it that he's on the cover of local magazines and selling out consecutive nights at major venues...and everyone I've talked to approaches it a different way. A lot of people say they go by the "great [producers] steal" philosophy, but that one doesn't really work for me. I am just really bad at stealing. Even guys like Lex Luger and DJ Mustard, who the rest of the beatmaking world has shown to be easily imitable, I have difficulty making something that really sounds like something I've heard. The reason I bring up that side of it is because if I'm falling asleep or riding my bike or something, and an idea for a fully-formed song pops into my head, it's probably very heavily based on something I've heard before. Because you need to be pretty insanely brilliant (or have just a really weird brain) to have the musical imagery ability to think of something completely unique without having heard it before. It's actually very frustrating sometimes when I'll imagine a really cool song and be able to "play" it in my head, but can't translate it onto a DAW timeline. And it's not just like I forgot the song. It will still be playing in my head, exactly as it sounded the first time I "heard" it, and I just can't do anything with it. I know what it should sound like, and I can't make it sound that way. So I have given up on doing things that way.

So anyway, here's what works for me. I work on my stuff in separate pieces. I find that having creative musical ideas use a different part of my brain than the more meticulous production-oriented side of things. It's hard to free your mind to come up with a good hook and simultaneously focus your mind to make the production sound like you want. I mean, that is definitely an oxymoron, right? You can't free your mind and focus at the same time. It's the old "coffee vs beer" model of creative work. You start with the beer to get the idea, then drink coffee to finish it. But for me personally, I am really frustrated when I have a great musical idea, and because of the way electronic music exists on a DAW, I have no choice but to focus on the production while I'm working on the music, maybe before the musical idea is even fully formed. So my solution is that I have created a bunch of files on my DAW that aren't really "ideas" as much as they are templates. Like for instance, I have one file on my DAW called "fat west coast bass." Without much of a musical idea, I have all the right VSTs and equalizer settings set up to make a beat that's going to sound thick and smooth, like you feel cruising around in the summertime with the windows down listening to Nate Dogg. I have a thick bass, some smooth keys, a high-pitched synth thing, a funky drum pattern, and some cool homemade bell sounds. So next time I have a song in my head that requires that type of beat, I'll have all the ingredients right there, and I can lay down the track.

I think electronic music is too hard if you try to make the whole song at the same time. Think of it this way, what if you had a really cool idea for a rock song, and you were like "Okay, well first I have to build a guitar." For me it's easiest to build your instruments and then write the song. That's just my style though. A lot of electronic producers aren't too interested in the songwriting aspect. The production is the music. Like that Clams Casino beat in the tourney. I don't think Clams got to his computer and thought "I want to make a beat with this certain chord progression, and a melody that goes ooooh-ooooh-oh-e-oh-e."

What's your process? Or are you still trying a lot of different processes and finding out which works for you best?


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:41 pm 
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ALSO what torrent sites do you use for VSTs? I have found kickass torrents and the pirate bay to be less useful for VSTs. specifically i have been looking for a VST called "neo-soul keys"


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2015 5:41 pm 
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Quote:
Think of it this way, what if you had a really cool idea for a rock song, and you were like "Okay, well first I have to build a guitar."

:lol:


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 8:51 am 
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batman wrote:
What's your process? Or are you still trying a lot of different processes and finding out which works for you best?


I've got a few different ways of getting started

- Sometimes I'll do a similar thing as your templates and just play around programming synths and effect chains, then save that track with some kinda descriptive name so I can look it up later if I'm like "hmm I want a dark italo disco bass here"
- I have a couple music theory/composition books that I read from time to time, and I'll often feel like playing around with techniques after I read about them. Same with tutorials on Youtube or whatever.
- Sometimes I'll just pick a scale at random and play with diferent progressions, see if anything sounds cool
- I hear a particular percussion pattern or synth sound that I really like, and try to replicate it. Like you said though, I'm not that good at copying other people, and it ends up becoming its own thing.

I feel like my process is pretty inefficient, but it's what comes naturally. I do exactly what you say not to do, which is to make the whole thing at the same time. Well, not the whole thing from start to finish, but the entire cross-sections of the whole thing. I find it really hard to connect with the musical substance if the aesthetics aren't at least fleshed out a bit. This has its advantages, especially for me, the kind of person who fixates on small details. But the main disadvantage is it makes it hard for me to zoom out for the big picture, and I often have trouble with the feeling of a natural flow.

Because of that I've realized that I tend to work on different songs in chunks. My biggest "breakthroughs" often come when I return to a track I hit a wall with a couple of months earlier. Taking a break from it gives me distance from the minutiae that I was focusing on before and I can look at it as a whole again. So yeah, I can be productive, but doesn't that whole thing just seem inefficient? Thing is, I don't know if that's something I should work to change, or if that's just the way my mind works about this stuff. I think that at the least, I would be a lot better off if I had a more solid grounding in music theory and if I was a more competent keyboard player.

One of the reasons I asked about process is that I feel like sitting in front of the computer stifles my creativity a bit. I have ideas pop into my head all the time, but when I sit down and look at the screen, my mind blanks. Problem is, at the moment that's the only place I can extract the ideas from my head.

batman wrote:
ALSO what torrent sites do you use for VSTs? I have found kickass torrents and the pirate bay to be less useful for VSTs. specifically i have been looking for a VST called "neo-soul keys"


I've only ever grabbed stuff off of WhatCD before. I'd grab that VST for you if they had it, no dice tho


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2015 6:49 pm 
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Well I definitely agree that sitting in front of a computer screen can be creatively stifling. For me the solution was forcing myself to get better at the keyboard. It was never my main instrument growing up, or even an instrument I was close to decent at, but now I pretty much do everything with my keys (except for some drum patterns). I don't ever make MIDI patterns by pointing and clicking my mouse anymore. I found it was just such a time-killer to do it that way, to the point where I'd lose what I was trying to capture. Think of it this way, if you have a 10 second piano part in your head already, you could either put your hands on the keyboard and play it in 10 seconds, or you could spend like 5-10 minutes clicking on the screen making MIDI notes. It's way more efficient.

It usually holds true that the more invested a person is in their electronic music production, the more they've invested in actual hardware. One reason for this is that, logically, if you didn't really care, you obviously wouldn't want to spend money on any equipment. But also, if you take the time to learn how to use a piece of musical equipment, it will save you a lot of time later. Like my example with my keyboard. But I'm also not a proponent of just buying shit to buy shit. Like your music doesn't automatically become better if you own more hardware. I bought an MPD32 way back, and I still want to learn how to use it for DJing, but at this point I will probably never use it for actual production. I can do everything I want to do with my keyboard and mic (and guitar and flute). I can't think of what I would be able to do with an MPD that I can't already do (except live stuff).

So I guess my advice is that if you are currently conducting your entire music making process inside your computer, you might want to pinpoint what is causing you frustration and find out what equipment you can buy to ease that tension. For example, if you're spending more time than you'd like sequencing and arranging different bits, a Launchpad can maybe help with that. Or if you can't get a melody converted to MIDI before the idea escapes your head, you may be interested in a MPK. That's actually probably the best thing you can buy in my opinion. It's set up to make electronic production really seamless. That's what I would have done if I wasn't so cheap. I basically tried to use equipment I already had (like my elementary school Yamaha keyboard) in conjunction with my DAW.

You could also just go to an electronic instruments store and play around with some stuff to see what you like most. Anyway yeah that's my advice. Getting off the computer helps me a lot. I don't think your process is inefficient in the sense that you need to take breaks and come back to unfinished tracks with a fresh perspective. That's def how a lot of people do it. Most beatmakers I know have hundreds and hundreds of unfinished/never-to-be-finished tracks on their computer. It's like the electronic version of practicing or jamming.


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 Post subject: Re: VSTs (and other electronic shit)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 3:57 pm 
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Yeah, so in December I ended up buying an Ableton Push -- between their holiday sale and an Amazon giftcard from work I only ended up spending a couple hundred bucks on it ('only', well, I had been saving for it so it was no biggie). It's drastically improved my workflow. I'm a very tactile person and being able to control so many things via touch has been a huge help. I still haven't fully mastered it, but I can do a ton of stuff on it now without needing to look up at the screen. One of the more useful things for me, not having any piano training or theory training, is that in Note mode you can select specific scales and turn off all the notes that aren't in that scale. It's handy for noodling around or playing chords, but I try not to be TOO dependent on it...I want to learn this stuff too, not just bypass it via technology.


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