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    Gear nuts versus software-only trolls... uugh


    http://slippy.dynu.net/~james/junk/aira-909.png

    I really wish I understood what exactly motivates people to spend hour upon hour having pointless arguments about gear, most of which degenerate into combinations of the phrases ‘toy’ ‘kids’ ‘too digital’ ‘Frooty Loops’ (sic) ‘analogue feel’ and ‘f*gg*t’.

    What they all seem to have in common is that they spend so much time arguing about the merits of the biggest and most expensive phallic substitutes of instruments that they don’t actually have any time left to make any music.

    Bless. I wish people would view learning a new type of chord, scale, rhythm or production technique as a higher priority than indulging their GAS. But then, what’s the warm fuzzy feeling of having written a piece of music that other people enjoy compared to bragging about your studio?

    *huge exasperated sigh*

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    I used to read a lot of these so called wars between the two sides, and at the end of the day I realized the only thing that mattered is if music was produced at all. I suppose most of these people who engage in such discussions are hoping to hit it big in the music world, and feel only one way is the right way, or "what the pros do" is the right way. Different pros do it differently and based on their ideal "pros", people pick and choose a way to go. And argue from that pov.
    Gotta admit, it's fun to read their posts when you yourself are not participating in such a discussion.

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    46 sounds
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    What annoys me is that techno music was about innovation and forward-thinking at one point. People picking up unwanted boxes and pushing them beyond their limits — instruments that were derided as ‘toys’ and not sounding ‘real’ enough (sound familiar?) I try to recapture that early ethic, doing the best I can with what I have to hand. Hardware, software, analogue, digital, noises I downloaded off Freesound.

    I don’t want to give the impression that gear elitism is confined to the hardware heads. I’ve always been impressed with the design of software like Propellerhead Reason and Cakewalk Project5 (not sure if that exists any more, it’s ages since I did any music, or indeed anything, outside Linux). And yet unless you have the ‘most professional’ sequencer (usually Cubase or Logic) you are a ‘kid’ playing with a ‘toy’.

    I just don’t understand the sonic conservatism in so much electronic music. People ought to learn that techno isn’t short for technophobia.

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    I dont understand this... why you would restrict yourself to a certain type of gear?
    I made some nice beats with a stick I found outside my flat... smile
    You can use anything that makes sound in my opinion.
    On the other hand...
    I recently bought a Solina string ensemble... I got it very cheap and repaired it.. and was planning on selling it to make a few bucks.
    Its just that the damm thing sounds so great!! Lol... and I havent been able to find anything that comes close..
    So it seems if you want that sound you will NEED the Solina.
    I am sure you can find more examples like this... but if you just want to make music... anything go's!

    Record all the crap you can!! doesnt matter if it sounds like shit.
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    Haha, I love that. “What expensive vintage drum machine made this sound? Actually, it’s a stick.”

    The Solina string machines do indeed make a nice sound — of course because they’re OMFG ANALOG tongue

    The thing is with a lot of electronic musicians is that they think they know the ‘proper synths’ for this or that application. They compare them in isolation and then basically write the rule book on what sounds can and cannot be used.

    Really? Lately I read a music journalist complaining about how all the world’s philharmonic orchestras have started to sound the same. To which my response is: maybe it’s to do with the fact that no new instruments have been added to the orchestra since the early 20th century. I sure don’t want electronic music to end up that way. (On the other hand, I would pay serious money to hear an all-electronic orchestra do Mozart...)

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    567 sounds
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    We humans, especially men, love to collect. We collect stamp, motor cycles, butterflies and softsynths…Many of us also love to argue for our beliefs. Our belief in a soccer team, OS, team, sequencer, engine, religion or fishing lure.
    I would love to have a Honda XL 500. But I don’t necessary have ride it. Just touch, own or maybe just dream. We struggle with problem on the top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
    And yes I know hardware collectors who never actually make any music. It’s like me and the Honda of my dreams. (Not always good for relationships…)

    New to this! It' true...
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    2037 sounds
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    gis_sweden has a point: there is a lot to collect and actually various reasons why people collect stuff.
    There are actually a lot of people (with a lot of money) that collect art that they don't necessarily like. Why?
    Well, some could say "I don't like Picasso, but I recognize he is a major figure in modern painting. So I have a Picasso in my collection, even if I don't like it, because it is a fundamental artist."
    Others could say "I don't like Picasso, but investing in a Picasso is a sure investment. I did it for the value of the piece, rather than because I like it."
    And some stupid rich kid might say "I bought a Picasso because all my friends had one..."

    Jokes aside, thre are collectors of synths that do it for the interest in the history of music. Rather than for their interest or ability in playing the things.
    Just recently I had a long conversation with a guy that collects guitars and vinyl records.
    Although he does play the guitar, he surprised me at some point in the conversation. He does not collect vinyl records for the music on them, but rather for the cover artworks. Go figure!...

    At the end of the day there is no right or wrong.. or is there?
    If I had enough money I would like to build a massive modular synth. Now, I doubt I would make much music with it. I would probably just get too distracted creating ridiculously complicated patches to make equaly ridiculous (and useless) sounds. - But it would be FUN!

    As most pre-conceptions, any pre-conception about music is bad.
    A few long years ago I was veemently against people who used loops to make music. I though it was cheating. It was not making music at all. Just taking stuff someone else made and justaposing and/or overlapping...
    But then there is beat slicing, re-sequencing, EQ-ing, re-pitching, re-sampling...

    At some point I used to think the same about people who used pre-sets. I mean you have these software synths in your computer so powerful that Moog would have killed for... You could create sound! New sound! Any sound! The world could be your oyster... and instead you just go and play sounds someone else made and everyone else has: the factory presets, for God sake!
    But then again... if you make a good mellody and a good beat and arranje it all nicely, well mixed, etc... That could be all you need!

    Personally, I have tried to do a bit of everything within my budget: I have some cheap analogue gear (like a Korg Monotron Duo), plenty of free plugin synths and effects and some paid ones also, a recorder (Zoom H1), some cheap webmics and a couple of decent dynamic mics.
    And then I have a variety of other gear, like a multi-effects pedal, a few toys and radios (some of them broken). Even one or 2 simple circuits I build myself.
    Sample libraries (mostly Freesound)...
    Almost forgot to list my piezo mics and coil pickups... smile

    These things tend to come into their best when they are mixed together.
    For example, I would not make a music track exclusively on the Monotron Duo. But you would be amazed at what can be created with such a simple and cheap synth and 2 or 3 free effect plugins...

    I want to believe.
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    46 sounds
    157 posts


    Interesting points all round AlienXXX...

    I certainly can’t say I’m immune from the ‘historical interest’ angle. To be honest, what swung me into buying my Cyclone TT-303 (as opposed to something like a Korg Volca Bass) was the fact that when I was a teen noodling with early music software on Windows, I was utterly obsessed with the TB-303 because of its status as one of the foundations of techno. So, when I found that it was possible to buy an exact copy of the granddaddy of acid for a fraction of the cost of the original (less, in fact, as the one I got was a factory second) I found it hard to say no.

    Sometimes I have to slap myself when it comes to ‘gear lust’, as is true of most people. Lately I was drooling over that new Casio synth (their belated re-entry into the professional market). Then I realised: wtf man, you’ve got the Roland V-Synth you lusted after as a teenager already and you haven’t yet used it on a serious track. Probably because I’ve been utterly blown away by Calf Organ and Dexed used as LV2 plugins in Ardour.

    I suppose the ultimate golden rule I have regarding musical instruments is that you can have the most awe-inspiring sonic arsenal in human history, but if you have no idea how to actually write music, it means precisely zilch. You can buy a vintage Steinway, but it’s pointless unless you can actually play the piano. This is what I mean when I say that learning chord structures, exotic types of scales, advanced rhythm techniques and what not is cheaper and unlikely to end up on eBay six months later.

    Regarding sample and loop-based music: it’s not something I would know how to do myself and I’m always impressed by people who can make it work, because I am too much of a control freak. A lot of what I’m working on at the moment involves loops I’ve created myself and tried to make sound sampled (yes, I’m weird). I have to admit I’ve never understood the ‘destroy all presets’ thing, although I guess it helps with really getting to know the heart and soul of an instrument.

    And yes, as for mixing it up, that’s as good a rule for music as in many other areas of life.

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    2037 sounds
    2218 posts



    jamesabdulrahman, this is a great discussion. Thanks for starting the thread.

    Here is another thought...

    1) There are really two basic types of people who make music.
    2) Those who do it commercially and those who do it as a hobby.

    A good deal of discussions takes place when those in type 1 try to tell those in type 2 what to do smile
    (or vice-versa, although that is much more rare)

    As a friend here on Fresound reminded me recently on a PM discussion. For those of us in type 2 "it has to be fun".
    If you take the fun out of it, then what is the point? - If I want something that bores me or annoys me, I already have a job, thanks...

    So learning musical scales and stuff probably is a very good idea for those in type 1.
    For those in type 2... well, if you find it interesting, yeah, great.
    I find it daunting and off-putting. I was never musically trained...
    I am more likely to spend my time learning about synthesis or how a particular effect works. - I find that much more interesting and appealing.
    Although I have made a slow stumbling effort into learning scales and stuff like that. Progress there is much more slow and painful.

    At the end of the day, the music I make is for my own consumption. So, I guess no harm done.
    And, to be honest, to "have fun", you don't even have to be very good at it. Honestly, you just need to enjoy it.

    So, what about the guy that buys a vintage synth (or guitar) that he can't play just because he likes looking at it and drooling? (or Honda bike, or a Ferrari, or something else...)
    Well, let him be. If that is his thing and is not harming anyone. Let him be smile

    At the end of the day, it is great to have all these different people and ideas.
    Some of the best collabs I ever made were with guitar players. I can't play a guitar myself (would not even know which side of it to hold...) So they could do things I could never do on my own.
    Hopefully my approach was equally new and refreshing to them.
    These collabs were great fun and the results (in my opinion) where fantastic.

    So, if you are a hardware gear slut, my advice is to find a computer geek and partner up for a collab.
    If you are a computer geek, find a guitar player, a drummer or a modular synth aficionado...
    Vive la difference!

    I want to believe.
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    46 sounds
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    Of course, if people just want to collect instruments and drool over them, then who am I to judge.

    I guess what I dislike is less about that and more about elitism and materialism. The idea that unless you have spent thousands on ‘proper’ gear (read: vintage/analog/expensive/all of the above) you’re not in the club and your music means nothing. I think that’s a case of wrong priorities.

    If one person composes with a version of Cubase LE that came bundled with a soundcard and some MIDId up toy keyboards, and another has a room full of vintage Moogs, three TR-909s and the only Yamaha DX-1 known to exist, good for both of them. Up to the point where either of them has an ego trip about their choice of instruments.

    At the end of the day, I think musicians generally should avoid confusing means with ends. That applies to theory as much as instruments, really.

    As for me... well, music is a hobby, but I’d like to go commercial with it. Who knows if that will ever happen.

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    2037 sounds
    2218 posts


    jamesabdulrahman wrote:
    As for me... well, music is a hobby, but I’d like to go commercial with it. Who knows if that will ever happen.

    Good luck and hopefully you can do that whilst keeping it fun!

    You are right when it comes to gear and method purists:
    Other than music theorists and tech heads, 99.99% of people listening to a track do not know and do not want to know if a Fairchild compressor was used on the vocal or if it is composed in a pentatonic scale with an odd 7/4 tempo signature.
    In fact that would be a conversation killer. Here is an example
    Girl: "I am a great fan of Depeche Mode. Have you heard their last album?"
    Boy: "Yeah. Did you know they mixed the whole thing on a Neve console and used a Fairchaild compressor on every track?"
    ... odd silence follows...

    Speaking of making music and fun.
    We often run some friendly dares here at Freesound. There is one ongoing at the moment. Head over to the "Dare the Community" forum to know more...

    I want to believe.
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    68 sounds
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    AlienXXX wrote:

    Girl: "I am a great fan of Depeche Mode. Have you heard their last album?"
    Boy: "Yeah. Did you know they mixed the whole thing on a Neve console and used a Fairchaild compressor on every track?"
    ... odd silence follows...

    I wouldn't be surprised if I'd some day be the boy in that story. smile)

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    afleetingspeck wrote:
    AlienXXX wrote:

    Girl: "I am a great fan of Depeche Mode. Have you heard their last album?"
    Boy: "Yeah. Did you know they mixed the whole thing on a Neve console and used a Fairchaild compressor on every track?"
    ... odd silence follows...

    I wouldn't be surprised if I'd some day be the boy in that story. smile)

    Or if that guy was me. “No I have not. I’m only interested in the two first albums.”

    And now over to “taste snobbism” and “the fact that they made better music between year X and X+n”…
    cool

    New to this! It' true...
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    You wouldn’t believe how many people are actually like that, chiefly those on forums dedicated to the ‘gear sluts’ and ‘vintage synth’ enthusiasts of the world... (nudge nudge wink wink)

    I suspect most of these boys think that women are only useful for bringing them tea while they play with their hardware anyway. I remember this one thread which featured the not-at-all-sexist comment “What synth is most like a woman? One that’s expensive, unreliable and has buttons that are hard to push!” You’d think Delia Derbyshire had never existed.

    Mind you, tech-headery is hardly restricted to guys — a friend of mine loves to initiate conversation by talking about her favourite software testing methodologies...

    Give me a place to stand and a knob to tweak and I will create sub bass so loud the earth moves.
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    Guilty.
    But unless you try you won't find interesting people. And it is easy to underestimate people. Of course, mostly you find people who fake knowing what you're talking about.
    For any Firefly/Serenity fans, remember the woman engineer Kaylee who gets all the guys with her engineer talk.

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