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

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

Post by jessecarrigan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:19 pm

Friends, I come to you asking for your advice. I've trolled through the forums a little bit looking for some of this info and I've found some helpful things, but a lot of these questions were asked in 2007 and that was 10 years ago :shock: , so I imagine a few things have changed. I started my journey here with an iPad that I outfitted with a handful of things; iMaschine, iSymphonic Orchestra, Auria, Thor, and a few others. Part of the motivation was the low cost of entry, and the opportunity to learn how to use a handful of tools well. I put together a few things that actually got forwarded with this little rig and I'm stunned at how well it worked to get started. Now, though, I'm starting to reach the limits of what I can easily do with it.

For example, Auria is great, but I also can't run more than a couple tracks of iSymphonic at a time; this leaves me freezing tracks and bouncing them one at a time to audio just to be able to mix a little orchestral piece (and I'm talking like, 8-10 tracks total). iSymphonic also doesn't really have much in the way of additional articulations, and while I might be able to supplement with something like Miroslav Mobile in Sampletank I still have the issues with the actual recording due to above. It's primarily a hardware problem - the iPad Air 2, while surprisingly capable, just doesn't have the horsepower to run a lot of this stuff at once.

I'm actually starting to work with one library and have hopes of getting things well enough in hand to work with others, so I'm looking to get a little more serious. At this point, I still don't have money to burn and I don't yet have any placements, so I'm in kind of the tweener stage of filling the pipe while trying not to spend too much to do so. So far the needs of the library are pretty much all 'in-the-box'-type stuff, so electronic, hip-hop, and some orchestral reality-show-type pieces. I'm looking to optimize performance while not spending an exorbitant amount (i.e. bang for the buck).

What would you recommend for:

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

If this is too broad of a question let me know and I'm happy to try to give more info. Thanks for all your help.

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

Post by hummingbird » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:36 pm

Can you give your hardware specs in terms of ram and memory, how many drives, etc? A lot of it has to do with the capacity of your machine when it comes to virtual orchestras.

As for DAW.... whatever DAW you know well is the best one. I use Tracktion because I've always used it and it does everything I need it to do. Logic, Digital Performer, Reaper, Cubase, the list goes on.

Omnisphere is a good synth starter.
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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by jessecarrigan » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:46 pm

Currently a MacBook Pro, 8GB RAM, 250GB SSD (I can add drives via Thunderbolt). I don't expect to be doing all that many tracks at once; probably not submitting for a lot of trailers or anything really cinematic at this point unless I just inspired and want a critique. It's just a little more than the iPad can handle.

If I needed more juice I have a Windows desktop that I built with 16GB RAM, 250GB SSD, 3TB HDD. That means Logic is out, though. I like Ableton as well, though my experience is that it's fun to work in Ableton but other DAWs are where you do actual work.

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

Post by jessecarrigan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:19 am

Maybe this is a better way to ask (or worse! let's see): what, in these areas, is a solid choice that I won't regret buying, will serve to speed production, and when I upgrade (e.g. NI Komplete 11 Ultimate Diamond Jubilee Edition) I'll know why I'm doing it and what I need out of it that I don't currently have?

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

Post by Len911 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:15 am

Jesse, Reaper (~$60) for the daw, you can run it on mac and windows.

I think your choice of NI Komplete would be great as well for what you do. Just look at the instruments that's included. The synths,
full version of Kontakt, the defacto standard. So many free offerings from top instrument companies that require full version of kontakt. Not sure if you necessarily need the "Diamond Jubilee Edition" or not. Maybe just the regular version? Depends. You can always upgrade, but there may be $600 you would rather spend on other non NI orchestral sounds maybe?? Especially ones on sale? https://www.native-instruments.com/en/p ... t/compare/

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

Post by waveheavy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 2:26 am

Since you already have the PC with 16 G RAM and the hard drives, I'd recommend going with it. To go a step up with Mac you'd have to do hardware upgrades (expensive). I'd recommend adding a 3rd drive just for Audio. Idea is one drive for your operating system, another for sample libraries, and another one for Audio. That way you don't create a bottleneck when working.

Reaper is probably going to be the cheapest DAW. It's a very powerful DAW, just that it requires you to do a tiny bit more footwork with tasks than the other DAWs. SONAR Artist ($99) might be a good choice at this stage. It's not the full blown version of SONAR, but it's very capable of what you're wanting to do, and it's cheaper, and you can upgrade to the full version later if desired.

For virtual orchestra, I'd recommend the Vienna Special Edition Volume 1. It's a full orchestra set of 'basic'... samples, woodwind section, brass section, string section, percussion. $280 from Sweetwater. You'd have to get Volume 2 to add more articulations. Volume 3 adds some more instruments while Volume 4 adds the articulations for Vol.3.

For a synth Omnisphere 2 ($479) would be great, but it's expensive.

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

Post by jessecarrigan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:17 am

These are some really good ideas. Thanks everyone! Len, you make a really good point about NI. They make a fantastic cross-section of tools for a wide range of genres. iMaschine on the iPad sounds great. I think I'd be happy with it and ultimately might be more cost effective than piece-mealing it together.

Dave, Vienna sounds awesome. They have an 8-double hhorn section that just made me freak out at how good it sounds. Appreciate the recommendation on the drive setup as well.

Vikki, you're absolutely right, the best DAW is the one that works for you. Omnisphere looks very cool, one I had not heard of.

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

Post by mojobone » Sat Mar 25, 2017 5:22 pm

Tracktion is cross-platform (there's even a Linux version) and cheaper than Reaper. Hardware aside, you should look at Omnisphere, the full version of Kontakt and maybe Keyscape, if you're a real keys player.

One ah, reason you might wanna take a second look at Sonar is that it's one of a very few full-service DAWs optimized for multitouch surfaces. A Mac version is reportedly due soon, but of course you have the option of using your iPad to remotely control any of the DAWs mentioned so far, plus Digital Performer.

In sheer bang per buck terms, I'd avoid Macs at this juncture, cuz the best mac stuff you can get right now is used/refurb, and Thunderbolt cables/peripherals are expensive, newer Mac Minis can barely be upgraded, etc. Frankly, Apple has gotten stingy, lately and it's been argued they're no longer focused on professional products.

And pro hardware is a consideration, if you want to do orchestral or trailer music; I don't know of anyone who uses a single orchestral package that's been doing it for any length of time, which is another way of saying whatever the job is, one package won't do it all.

You'll want to determine what the first 'job' is prior to picking an orchestra, as there's lots to pick from and they all seem to be made for doing different things.
Last edited by mojobone on Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:32 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Going Legit (or, a request for current recommendations on building an in-the-box studio)

Post by waveheavy » Sun Mar 26, 2017 2:49 am

Hey Jesse, about the Vienna stuff, just so you know, they're still a great library, but they're not as popular today. Other more expensive string libraries have gone ahead of them, like LASS, Spitfire, and 8Dio. But the Vienna Special Edition strings are still very usable, especially if you already play piano.

Here's a track by Peter Cavallo, he's using a mixture of string libraries, but especially the Vienna strings (he told me). It's the performance that makes all the difference. He's really good at manipulating the Modwheel expression/dynamics while playing in the string parts:

https://soundcloud.com/peter-cavallo/within

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

Post by mojobone » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:44 pm

My first symphonic purchase was Cinesymphony Lite; Lot of folks that started long before me used Project SAM, Symphobia and others, and everything is good for something. My point is that new stuff's always coming out; at the moment Cinematic Studio Series might be a best first purchase, in terms of sound, playability and bang per buck, it's among a bunch of newer ensemble libraries, but if the sound doesn't work for your application, whether it's chamber strings or disco...a LOT depends on your application.
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