Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

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Paulie
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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by Paulie » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:41 pm

This is a great place to ask these questions! Lots of advice and opinions here. :)

Since you are on a MacBook Pro you might consider upgrading your internal SSD drive from 256 to 512. I purchased an upgrade kit from MacSales earlier this year and love it. I recommend the tool kit because it comes with a good quality aluminum case to turn your old drive into an external drive. Why did I upgrade? Once SSD drives gets above 80% capacity they start experiencing performance problems (different than crowded magnetic disks, but still an issue). And, some apps don't let you choose where to install the software so it gives you extra room for those times.

When I dove in two years ago I bought Kontakt Komplete 10, then waited for their 50% off sale and upgraded to Ultimate. I've not upgraded to 11 yet, I don't see a compelling reason to do so.

I also recommend an external 7200RPM 1TB thunderbolt drive to store all of your libraries, software, samples and projects.

To consolidate your devices I suggest an Elgato Thunderbolt interface.

If you plan on recording any live instruments consider a Thunderbolt DAW interface. I started with a 2-channel then upgraded to an 8-channel.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by Paulie » Sun Mar 26, 2017 7:48 pm

jessecarrigan wrote: What would you recommend for:

1. Desktop DAW (leaning toward Logic, but open to others)
2. Virtual Orchestra
3. Synths

If you want to do orchestral you may need more horsepower. The bar for that genre is very high both musically and authenticity-wise. To get good sounding brass and strings you need layers, and that means horsepower. I defer to the orchestra veterans for recommendations there.

As far as synths go, Nexus is awesome for EDM. A new player is Lethal, it came out last year and they are giving away all of their sound banks through July of this year. So far they've released ten of them. Omnisphere is fantastic for lots of stuff from cinematic to tension to electronic. When you buy Kontakt you get a lot of synths, Massive is one of them that is very popular in the EDM world (as long as you are using current patches). Kontakt also comes with Absynth and Alchemy, among others.

If I were going to choose one synth for starters, it would be a tossup between Omnisphere and Nexus, depending on your genre preferences.

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by jessecarrigan » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:45 pm

Thanks, Paulie, good stuff. Thanks for pointing out those synths.

I've gone with Logic and I'm putting together a Hackintosh on the desktop. It's stuff I already have, so I don't need a massive upgrade, and I can switch to Windows as necessary. (Don't tell Apple.) I've thought about Mac vs PC quite a bit, and I'm going to use what I have until Apple decides whether it even wants to serve the pro market anymore. If they keep going the direction they're going (at this point, that's what I'd bet on) I'm probably going to jump the train. OWC makes good stuff and at least it's cheaper than Apple. Those SSD prices are brutal though.

One of the things I'm discovering from some research (read: watching YouTube) is that it's possible to get MUCH better results using individual instruments. That is, instead of playing a part with a string ensemble, separate it into violins, violas, cellos, and basses. I took a track that got returned and reworked it in Logic using some of those techniques, and it was a massive improvement with just stock instruments. (Obviously, better samples would be better, but I'm doing what I can with what I have.)

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by mojobone » Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:08 pm

Paulie wrote:
jessecarrigan wrote: What would you recommend for:

1. Desktop DAW (leaning toward Logic, but open to others)
2. Virtual Orchestra
3. Synths

If you want to do orchestral you may need more horsepower. The bar for that genre is very high both musically and authenticity-wise. To get good sounding brass and strings you need layers, and that means horsepower. I defer to the orchestra veterans for recommendations there.

As far as synths go, Nexus is awesome for EDM. A new player is Lethal, it came out last year and they are giving away all of their sound banks through July of this year. So far they've released ten of them. Omnisphere is fantastic for lots of stuff from cinematic to tension to electronic. When you buy Kontakt you get a lot of synths, Massive is one of them that is very popular in the EDM world (as long as you are using current patches). Kontakt also comes with Absynth and Alchemy, among others.

If I were going to choose one synth for starters, it would be a tossup between Omnisphere and Nexus, depending on your genre preferences.

Paulie
Slight correction, Paulie; I'm pretty sure Massive is included in the Komplete bundles and doesn't come with Kontakt. (if it does, I got gypped*)



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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by Paulie » Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:46 am

When I refer to "Kontakt" I'm referring to either Complete or Ultimate. Massive comes with both of them.
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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by waveheavy » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:15 am

Yes, playing in the parts separately is closer to a traditional orchestra sound. It's also recommended to add a solo track with each section also and blend it in. See Hollywood composer Dan Brown's mockup videos on YouTube. It's all the little imperfections in timing of all the players that gives that lush, warm, string sound.
jessecarrigan wrote:Thanks, Paulie, good stuff. Thanks for pointing out those synths.

....

One of the things I'm discovering from some research (read: watching YouTube) is that it's possible to get MUCH better results using individual instruments. That is, instead of playing a part with a string ensemble, separate it into violins, violas, cellos, and basses. I took a track that got returned and reworked it in Logic using some of those techniques, and it was a massive improvement with just stock instruments. (Obviously, better samples would be better, but I'm doing what I can with what I have.)

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by Lipskimusic » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:21 am

I agree but it takes a lot more work (EQ and Reverb wise) to blend individual tracks as opposed to using one/two great sounding libraries (e.g. Albion & Cinestrings etc.). I failed doing that the other day using VSL + live players... in the end my mix sounded weaker. But again, it is about how good you are in blending things together :)

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by waveheavy » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:00 pm

That is difficult. I never intended any idea that samples are that close to the real thing. To me they'll always be weaker than the real thing in comparison.
Lipskimusic wrote:I agree but it takes a lot more work (EQ and Reverb wise) to blend individual tracks as opposed to using one/two great sounding libraries (e.g. Albion & Cinestrings etc.). I failed doing that the other day using VSL + live players... in the end my mix sounded weaker. But again, it is about how good you are in blending things together :)

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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by andygabrys » Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:27 pm

I've gone with Logic and I'm putting together a Mackintosh on the desktop.

Great.

Alternatively depending on your model of Macbook Pro (generally 9,2 and earlier which are also available on eBay.com for $500 these days), you can upgrade the RAM to 16 GB at OWC for $130. You can add extra external drives via T-bolt as you noted. If its a Model 9,2 or earlier not only can you upgrade the RAM yourself, you can also remove the DVD drive add a second internal drive (2.5 " HD or SSD) using the data doubler from OWC.

SSD's are cheap on Amazon.com - I have 2 Samsung drives and would highly recommend them as they have 5 yr warranty, and are cheaper than OWC per GB.

Look for the Samsung 850 EVO drives.

Since you have decided on Logic - I would looking into upgrading your MBP to use as the master machine, and look into using Vienna Ensemble to turn your PC into a slave machine for orchestral firepower if you really want to do orchestral.
I'm going to use what I have until Apple decides whether it even wants to serve the pro market anymore.
News from the last few days: Apple Mac Pros 6,1 will have upgraded CPU and GPU for the same price (i.e. the entry level is now a 6 core instead of 4 core for $2999) and they are looking at making a more modular Mac Pro for the seventh generation, so that its more flexible depending on the use you need (music, video, or whatever). So it looks like they are looking at the Pro market again.

Those SSD prices are brutal though.
see above. Buy SSD for system drives, and for streaming samples, and use 7200 RPM mech HDs for audio drives and backups.
One of the things I'm discovering from some research (read: watching YouTube) is that it's possible to get MUCH better results using individual instruments. That is, instead of playing a part with a string ensemble, separate it into violins, violas, cellos, and basses. I took a track that got returned and reworked it in Logic using some of those techniques, and it was a massive improvement with just stock instruments. (Obviously, better samples would be better, but I'm doing what I can with what I have.)
undoubtedly.

The whole technique of using a solo track, plus divisi sections to thicken up the sound was pretty well handled in LASS and the library that Audiobro also did for Native Instruments has similar scripting.

re: libraries - VSL is pretty long in the tooth at this point. Most people still consider the Woodwinds to sound great, but there are different packages for strings and brass from a number of manufacturers that have a lot of scripting so that randomness that you get by having a bunch of different manually played lines can be had with less work.

If you are after only the cheapest - sure the VSL Special edition is cheap. So is East West Hollywood stuff. And its often on sale.

There are many ways to get there.

Re: Komplete - yes the bundles have Massive.

Kontact is only the sampler and has NO Massive included.

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