I started just a tad later and fully digital than the gear in this article, so the floppy discs I got Scream Tracker on with its included samples plus whatever I could rip from a few .MODs I could get my hands on had to do. There were four tracks. There were a hundred samples, half of which was obscure crap (and even those found their use).
Building with it and making them sound awesome, plus discovering the amazing tricks the OGs of tracker & demo culture did with their editors (sliding and bending notes! dead stops in the middle of the sample!) was endless fun.
Nowadays, I get Native Instruments Ultimate — and despite sounding orders of magnitude better, all I do is toying around. I always have the nagging feeling there's gotta be one sound or effect in that endless library that's still better than the one I'm using right now.
It may be you're accidentally veering away from "music" into the realm of "sound effects." Many audio software environments too easily lets you drift in that direction. (Although I'd argue that's still better than drifting into the direction of becoming an audio software environment programmer. :)
That's why I never start a track without a finished idea in my head. I used to noodle and would get lost in the rabbit warren.
This led me to focus on excellent but simple triggers, and the lowest possible latency. I can't overstate the impact of low latency on making the entire DAW/Virtual Instrument stack feel "real."
My quest for low latency with robust DSP lasted for 3 months of orders and returns. I ended up getting a Focusrite 4Pre which has a Thunderbolt 2 interface. I got the Apple Tbolt 3<->2 adapter and I can get robust ~2-3ms audio playback latency even on Ableton/Windows running on a 2017 XPS 9560. When you plug a drum trigger into something like that, it's whole different beast. I had no idea. I ended up with the NI Maschine Mikro Mk3 for the drum trigger. I can't believe how these NI pads feel with low latency audio.
Has anyone else gotten further down the latency rabbit hole than me? Please share!
FWIW your attempt to get the latency really low could be misplaced. If you play in a band for example and you are standing 5 metres away from the drummer the sound is already taking ~15ms to reach you. We're really good at adjusting to these timing differences and can handle much more latency seamlessly than you are designing for.
Micro-timing (otherwise known as groove) is much more important imo and you can train yourself to groove to your setup even if you have huge latency (though this is of course undesirable).
I totally understand your point, but it turns out I can have my cake and eat it too at an affordable price if I eBay and take chances on the fractured PC thunderbolt implementation landscape.
What near-zero latency gives me is the ability to use the immense power of my DAW’s dsp controls, to modify the sound of my voice and guitar, and record nearly that exact sound.
I’m middle aged, and to me this is the promise of real-time pc-based DAW, finally delivered for a few hundred dollars.
The crazy thing is that it seems Focusrite gave up on providing non-Mac computers with thunderbolt interfaces. The support costs were just too high. This is due to things like crappy Thunderbolt implementation by Dell and others.
My research led me to find that to get the best $ per low latency, you have to buy a used 4 Pre or 8 Pre, as Focusrite moved thunderbolt support up to their 10x priced Red line.
According to an official Focusrite support response on Reddit, thunderbolt support only adds around 1 ms of latency advantage. While I believe that specific metric from that source, isn’t it true that thunderbolt might allow for more simultaneous CPU <-> outboard DSP bandwidth? It certainly feels like that over USB. It feels like I can have a lot more cpu-intensive stuff like reverb and delays over thunderbolt.
In any case, for my crappy playing chops, having near-zero latency gives me the ability to record my stream of consciousness audio outbursts with newfound accuracy and steadiness.
For me it was important to acknowledge this and help myself set boundaries to how I spend my time producing. I also found myself gravitating toward vintage gear because of its limits and how it enforces decision making (e.g. printing synths directly in audio, which was a game changer in terms of process)
Before getting into software, I worked as a recording engineer for 7 years. Got to use many large format consoles, 2inch tape, great rooms and mics.
Over 20+ years I collected a decent amount of gear myself. But creating has slowed way down. It’s not just computers, I was deep into making electroacoustic/computer music composition in college.
There is paradox of choice, but also how we live as a society now, and the damage being connected to information has done to my attention.
So my current solution to this has been meditation, and consistently sitting down at night to get a little more music done.
To get songs finished, I use a combination of a notebook to sketch out structure, concepts and forms. Then sometimes trello, and sometimes org-mode.
Hey, I had one of those! So much better than the tascam 4-track it replaced.
I think it might also be that we are exposed to so much music than before. Because of that, our expectations on what is good has become harder and harder to meet.
First, the lower barrier to entry meant more wannabes creating more "noise." Not aural / sonic noise, but noise in the shopping and buying experience. There were still needles of joy, but the haystack was getting larger and larger.
Put a different way, the higher barrier to entry meant only the determined stuck to it. And in sticking to it, pushed themselves and their gear harder. Amazing things happen when there's push.
On the other hand, the new and easy to use gear isn't as "inspiring". Good is too often good enough, and great takes too much work.
There's a dark side to cheap & easy.
I think creativity likes having small struggles and challenges.
> “Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit - all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided. It’s the sound of failure: so much modern art is the sound of things going out of control, of a medium pushing to its limits and breaking apart. The distorted guitar sound is the sound of something too loud for the medium supposed to carry it. The blues singer with the cracked voice is the sound of an emotional cry too powerful for the throat that releases it. The excitement of grainy film, of bleached-out black and white, is the excitement of witnessing events too momentous for the medium assigned to record them.”
(Information on the quote's provenance, for those who might be interested: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/05/24/art-limit/)
I guess the first cause of creativity is a 'what if' not an 'it surely will'
Anyway working with those limitations was very educational.
Fast forward to today, I've been playing the baritone sax for 18 months. I got a cheap vintage instrument. I traded it in this week for a modern Yamaha, and it's so much easier to play, and the quality of my playing has gone up orders of magnitude. But then again the initial struggle with the sub-optimal equipment was very educational.
In a sense, every creative decision imposes a new limitation and narrows the space of what is possible. It’s almost like sculpting: the final product is a result of cutting away potentialities until what’s left is recognizable as what you wanted it to be.
What am I missing?
You’re right about range and precision too. With knobs, the interface creator can fine-tune the precision without it being surprising. A knob that changes oscillator waveforms can have large, comfortable slices between each waveform, while an envelope length can be more fine-grained.
One could build in coarse/fine adjustments based on swipe speed, but that seems a lot harder to get right. I’m still quite hopeful about what VR synths and controls can bring. Synthspace may be the thing that makes me get a VR headset, and if someone ever ports VCV Rack to VR I’ll be there in an instant.
As I said in a reply below, I think the touch interface on flat glass is a stepping stone to VR synths where the skeuomorphism is more natural: grab the knob and spin it, just like hardware!
I need a band or something, idk.
But that question is where the magic happens.
It allows you to hit that flowstate that you can hit playing a bonafide instrument. The sound quality is good enough, the arrangements arent that hard,its house and techno anyway, and allows me to get away from the tedium of engineering, that as I get older, wears on my patience.
Lately I've been limiting myself to a simple groove box and working pretty hard on getting able to perform interesting stuff on that box alone.
One thing that is nice about this practice is that it has made me way less picky about tools... I've been mixing an album this week for a band I'm in and I pretty much am just using Logic pros default eq and comp, plus a single reverb and a single delay plugin. So, like 4 plugs for a whole album and I'm not finding it any harder to get a good sound out.
Now - as you say - we have shovel-ware sample collections that anyone can buy and use, and it's so much harder to do anything that stands out with them.
Expecting to hear about your Alesis DAT recorder....
You can still spend an inordinate amount of money on hardware and software. If I bought every plugin I really wanted, I would likely end up spending a couple of thousand. Throw in a better audio interface ($500+), a good keyboard ($400), a pad controller ($200+), and a better computer ($1500+) and you can easily add up to several thousand dollars.
But the point remains: it's absurdly cheap to start producing music today. You can get near studio quality with gear that, outside of your computer, won't cost more than $1k.
This also doesn't take into account the improvement of much equipment today. I used to dream of a seck 1882, back in the day. I finally owned one about 10 years ago. It was bloody awful! Noisy as hell, and the EQ wasn't any good. Never meet your heroes!
In fact most beginners made demos on a Tascam Portastudio or equivalent - 4 tracks, more with bouncing - with a synth or two and guitar pedal effects. You couldn't afford a 16-channel reel-to-reel multitrack unless you had a proper job - unlikely for most wannabe musicians - or a record deal, or you were trying to run a low-end pro studio.
The equipment has improved and become a lot more affordable, but limited access made people hungry and that kept the music more interesting. Now a lot of people seem to buy sample packs and mix them in FL, or buy a giant modular to make the same old square proto-techno as everyone else, and it's more conformist music-by-numbers with much less risk-taking and adventure.
That fits in a laptop now, many times over, with extra space for an 8-track.
Because I was in computers first I was super attracted to this stuff and wanted to make electronic music, even to the point of taking a college elective on it back in the late 90s.
But it's all useless without knowing about chords & scales and harmonies and all that stuff unless you're just going to follow recipes for creating EDM from the web. You need the physical skills to play a keyboard or guitar or anything really to be able to input data too.
The first piece of gear to get to start making some serious progress is something like a very simple electronic keyboard/piano, a dirt cheap used acoustic piano (free a lot of the time now) or a simple acoustic guitar.
Strip away all the options, learn then start exploring the electronic options.
Everyone loves to talk about someone like Moby but usually doesn't mention he could sing, play piano, play guitar, and play bass before he started putting samples together. Lots of musical knowledge before adding the electronics. (His book is great by the way!)
(For those unaware of the difference, a MIDI keyboard doesn't itself produce any sound, and instead produces digital MIDI notes which are received and played in [almost] real-time by a software instrument on your computer, such as a software synth running in a DAW like GarageBand or Ableton Live. An electronic keyboard can directly produce sound through headphones or speakers when connected to a power source. Electronic keyboards may support MIDI, as well. MIDI keyboards are generally much cheaper and lighter and, IMO, are just as good or better, with the only requirement being that you have to connect them to a computer when using them. They generally support USB.)
Also, what if there isn't anything in particular "you've decided to do"? What if you've decided to just have fun playing with instruments and making music? In that case, all of the options available make it even more fun. I learned way more about music by choosing as my first instrument plugin a weird, crazy synth with tons of options and possibilities (Synplant: https://soniccharge.com/synplant) rather than something more basic.
You have the best shot of learning something if you stick with it due to interest and motivation, and that definitely kept me a lot more interested and motivated than if I had used a simple piano VST, or a physical instrument. Kind of like how many people who start off with rote exercises in programming languages they consider boring tend to drop it and never learn anything, while people who start off with more dynamic languages are more likely to stick with it.
The computer can be an entry point for one's journey just the same as an acoustic guitar or piano. You can use that as your platform to learn theory as well as (if not better than) a piano or guitar.
But to get elitist for a moment, there's no better way to learn music aside from private lessons. That's true of any instrument, including the DAW.
I think a lot of music produced on a qwerty keyboard eschews huge amount of music theory just because it's produced that way.
My perspective was from the other way.. trying to learn it all playing with DAWs and other tools (admittedly a long time ago) and failing. Nothing about these tools will teach you why certain notes sound good together or why certain chords sound good together, etc..
For sure lots of electronic music just tries to skip all that completely though, or follows super strict genre rules where if you follow them it all comes out OK.
But we mostly agree though, the lessons are what make the difference. When I tried to learn this though there was zero accessibility of local teachers who would have taught through a DAW or something like that though. Finding a piano or guitar teacher was something available everywhere.
It's probably worth it to spend a little bit of time learning the fundamentals, but like with programming, you can self-teach pretty well by just learning the absolute basics and then developing expertise through experimentation, trial-and-error, and pursuing what interests you.
Just as you don't need a 4 year degree to become a competent programmer, you don't need to deliberately study and practice music theory or classical technique for months/years to become a competent musician. In both cases, you can learn and practice by doing, if that's what you prefer. You can take a "hacker" approach for both domains.
I also don't really think there's any software that "handholds" or "guides" you in the way you're describing. Can you give an example? If it's a drum machine, you still have to program the patterns yourself, for example. Your DAW won't structure your tracks for you.
We could talk about Baroque vs Classical and that switch over into what the standards were. Or how hip-hop turned from a musical expression of life (and certainly not because of living up to some musical standard) into something that is right at the forefront of music today!
I feel like a corollary would be youtube vs movie studios. Sure, one is more expensive than the others, has standards, etc. But sometimes those things don't mean much, sometimes it's just about the story, the music, the authenticity of the feelings.
For modern genres, music knowledge can be built by listening and DJing. It's also the classic path to become a producer.
If you learn how to mix, you and can then transport this knowledge to production. Not only do you know what to produce as a beginner (fill holes in your own mixes), but you also know how it should sound because knowing to mix implies that you know how to mix in key, also important when you transpose samples or patch synths.
Serato/Serato Studio or Ableton combine both, so you could learn how to make DJ mixes in those DAWs before you move on into beat production.
seems similar to coding - some people do a short bootcamp and start to produce, while others are kind of helpless even with a masters degree in CS
Moby recorded and produced his super hit album "Play" in his bedroom in the late 90s.
 Studio pictures: https://www.reddit.com/r/synthesizers/comments/bnpmza/mobys_...
 Wikipedia article on play https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Play_(Moby_album)
>>> "I got one piece of fan mail from Terence Trent D'Arby and I got a phone call from Axl Rose saying he was listening to Animal Rights on repeat. Bono told me he loved Animal Rights. So if you're gonna have three pieces of fan mail, that's the fan mail to get."
Famously, Bruce Springsteen's album Nebraska, on 4-track tape.
Yes, you could absolutely make a top-40 quality recording with just an iPad but your chances of being popular approaches zero unless you're "discovered" by a label. And yes, you could increase your chances of being noticed doing all kinds of personal marketing (were it helps being an attractive 20-something), but your music will never make it on it merits alone. Thus, home recording will stay as a very expensive hobby for most of us and nothing else.
The modern world of music is such that an artist playing a very niche kind of music can record at home or in a friend's studio cheaply, release their work online, build a dedicated audience, and make a respectable amount of money without ever dealing with a label. They can be working in a kind of music that never would have had any success in a pre-digital world. That's powerful, wonderful.
Additionally, music discovery has fundamentally changed because of streaming services like Spotify, as well. Just a couple of days ago there was an article on the front page of HN about how the top 40 tracks on Spotify make up a smaller percentage of the streams than even a year or two ago. Discovery features allow tracks to rise on their merit/listening stats making marketing much less important than it used to be, across genres.
With that said, it's still hard to make it. The barrier to entry has never been lower and thus there is a tremendous amount of competition and talent to contend with now. The determining factor for winning these days seems to be the ability to consistently and reliably release quality tunes over and over again.
Marketing doesn't matter any less now than it did back in the day; it's just something the artist is expected to do themselves, rather than something to outsource to a label.
The helmet/mask thing _is_ marketing. It's a gimmick and is half of what built the original hype for guys like deadmau5 and marshmello. It was really novel to see a guy spinning records in a mouse costume, at one point, and that was the reason _masses_ of people discovered, rather than just a few.
Martin Garrix had to find, reach out to, and collaborate with hundreds of unknown artists before he built his network big enough such that Tiesto 'discovering' him was a possibility.
There are hundreds of thousands of people producing EDM and releasing it on Soundcloud/Beatport/etc. A tiny fraction of those people will ever get more than 10 listeners. The ones who do get listeners will hustle like hell to build up their network and broadcast their channels -- i.e. market themselves. Marketing is still the only way to get people listening to your stuff, quality tunes alone won't get you there.
Early hip hop records didnt use samplers, they used pause tapes at least for the demo process. (see ATCQ People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm)
Early electro/house/hip hop used unrealistic sounding pawn shop gear (that has since become rare and sought after)
The beatles had crap guitars and played anyway.
I have a pretty sizable home studio and it definitely helps me craft sound, but it is just a tool not the reason...
I feel like the older model of accumulating physical gear helped put some limits on how complexity grew in small studios, but that has all been upended by software. There is definitely a balance to be struck between the capabilities of the setup and what will actually result in the best creative output. Creativity often thrives within constraints, and it can paradoxically become harder to work with objectively better equipment.
Recorded an EP with a guy who had rebuilt a bunch of used gear by hand so nothing even physically made it into the studio unless he could afford it and fix it. He had plenty to work with, but it was largely just the staples ... and one beast of a tape machine for mastering. Funny thing, is he found a lot of settings that just worked and kept most of them. There would be some tweaking, but mostly with the levels more than anything once we found the sound.
Recording on our own, digitally, had my pal tweaking various parameters until all hours—introducing different EQ's and reverbs and then pulling them and replacing them and tweaking them and trying to find the minutiae of what would make it just right to him, but he was rarely ever satisfied. I don't think it was just him, it's that there were so many options available to us—even without paying for premium VSTs and the like.
And we were recording what was essentially folk-rock or roots-rock. There's a lot of leeway in recording demos and EP tracks in that space.
Recording, like software, I've grown to like to keep it as simple as I can, when I can.
I think you're confusing survivor bias of 'some people did really well in the past despite crap equipment' with the actual definite lowering of the cost of entry for music production that has happened over the past 20 years.
Its vastly more accessible now for a great many people whereas in the past it was a privilege to have access to quality recording gear.
the second you think "I could make X if I had access to Y" you are already thinking about it wrong
I disagree, for the reasons given above.
I would also argue that while maybe the general sound quality has improved with technology(a 4 track cassette recorder can only sound so good) the music is not similarly improved. There are great songs written today, as there was 40-50 years ago, but the technology isnt the reason.
Anyway, I will concede that in the right hands a great studio full of awesome gear will make a better product than a cigar box guitar, pots and pans and a mini cassette recorder. The point I was really making is dont expect technology to make you write good music. It can inspire creativity, but you need to have the spark and put in the work...
With only a bartered acoustic guitar, I used tricks (disconnecting the erase head wires) to layer on standard cassette and create songs. A friend loaned me his cassette 4-track for a weekend and I knocked out 7 tracks.
This was in the 80's.
Now with the luxury of hard disk recording, and essentially a whole studio on my laptop, I instead post to HN. ;-)
What can I say, I'm old and not as moved by the creative passions of youth.
Maybe "creativity finds a way" is another way to put it.
I think though that this article was focusing more on accessibility, at least, that was my takeaway. There are many sub-genres and scenes of music that might not initially make the most money compared to top slick commercial pop production. In the early 1980s, the initial cost of equipment to make and record certain styles of music could be a barrier of sorts.
To make something like, say, electro in the early 1980s, you would have to purchase... something. A synthesizer and a drum machine / sequencer is probably minimum requirements. Juan Atkins for instance lists his gear for his Cybotron days here , it's not "minimal" or "pawn shop" level for sure. Generally speaking, the home studio was still "demo" level recordings in the 1980s (there are exceptions); "Clear" likewise was recorded at a couple of professional studios and mastered at a separate studio.
Not all artists were doing this much, of course. But there is a reason that the sampling drum machines of the late 1980s (Akai MPC 60 and Emu SP 1200) were seen as "democratising"; previously, the barrier of entry to create sampling oriented beats was much higher, and now, all of a sudden, there was a relatively affordable machine that could allow you to do this.
These days, with a laptop, you could probably pretty easily make an electro style track using free or low-cost plugins and DAWs.
You are correct though, that all the gear in the world won't make a difference if the ideas aren't good (and even Mr. Atkins says this himself in that interview, "you don't want to go out and invest in all that gear just to push a couple of preset buttons and make a track that 20 people across the world could have already made."). I just think that the greater affordability and quality of today's equipment allows more artists to realize their vision (and if it also allows more hobby level people to be able to afford to just play around a bit, that's okay too :) ).
My first real job in high school was as an assistant engineer/intern at a recording studio, and I was an avid musician, producer and band member then and for a decade or two following. This would have been about 1989, and at the time the reality was it was very hard for an average musician to be able to produce anything that would sound remotely like a professional recording at home.
Even things like the classic Tascam cassette based 4-track recorders were pretty expensive, and then you'd need microphones and serviceable compressors and reverb and so on to make something respectable. I mean, we did it, we bounced tracks, we used the pause button, we put drums in stairwells, all that. Sure it was fun, but it was challenging, and you could make a good argument that it was an obstacle to actually making music.
Even when digital came along it was still miserable for awhile. One of my earlier professional computer experiences is the literally hundreds of hours spent messing around with Windows NT settings trying to figure out how to keep a Pro Tools rig functional and at least sort of reliable, when the first PT systems came into our studio. And those even were way out of the financial reach of home musicians.
And we're not even talking about duplication and distribution issues. I grew up in D.C. and some of those early engineering gigs were for Dischord records, which at the time had taken the genuinely innovative approach of getting vinyl pressed in Eastern Europe, because of the strangehold on vinyl capacity in the US that made it really tough to do small runs of independent music. Most people didn't have that ability to buck the system. If what you were doing wasn't recognized as commercially viable by some kind of label you were probably going to do it in obscurity.
Yes, of course, artists can always thrive and find a way in the face of adversity. But that doesn't mean it's not adversity. It was so much harder back then, the digital changes since that era that first enabled project and portable studios, and eventually made it plausible to go from a laptop to the top of the charts in a matter of days.
The access to gear is a real, substantive difference, and I don't think it's fair to dismiss the changes out of hand. The changes have made it possible for a lot more people to participate.
Access to equipment has gotten a lot easier. Access to reasonable levels of income from paying audiences has become far, far harder.
Same with cycling. Getting a $1k bike makes it so much more enjoyable than a $300 bike.
Don't make things harder for yourself than they need to be. Yes, the people who most desire doing a thing will do it with barely anything. But if you know you're not that person, you know more pleasant tooling will bring the threshold of the activity down, and you have the money for it, absolutely do it.
Better tools lower activation energy significantly. You want activation energy to be low for things you want to do but can't summon the motivation for.
Sure, in the end if you find you don't really want to do it, don't. Now you have to sell these ski boots for way cheap. But so what. That's just money. Life is short. Don't make things harder for yourself.
And creative arts are no different. Sure I could paint with paints. Etc. But having a Wacom makes it way more likely I will.
But sure, as an autodidactic technique, starting from a restricted environment and progressing to complexity is superior to starting with complexity.
I've noticed myself thinking this way a ton and you're absolutely right. It's just so easy to get bogged down with the possibilities that it's easy to think this way. How do you stay focused with what you have?
That reminded me of a video of two guys playing a shit WalMart toy guitar and making something surprisingly listenable.
Even analog gear, with no modes and everything all in front of you, can be a lot more awkward. For example, compare setting EQ with only rotating knobs for parameters versus a laptop where you can see the output frequency function as you manipulate it.
You can get analogue polysynth for sub-$500, moog mini clone for $250, a great 16 channel mixer for $200 and so on...
(Sure, it's no SSL/Neve, but better than any demo/home studio had in past decades - I remember the days of Fostex/Tascam 4track cassete tape recorders/mixers).
Its impossible to eliminate echo and stereo bleed with speakers. If you try to EQ a room using mics you will see this clearly. You might get close building an anaerobic chamber, but headphones are still better.
If you're on a budget don't waste money on expensive speakers, just use headphones
If you mix purely on headphones, you can just put a quick filter inline that does a reasonable job of simulating it. Without this you'll have difficulty mixing things well for playback on speakers.
If you expect people to listen to it on speakers, you need to listen to it on speakers.
And I wouldn't choose to do that if I weren't stuck in an apartment or had the budget to rent a studio for a couple of days.
Echo and stereo bleed create frequency, amplitude, and phase cues that are important to listening, and while the room reflections or speaker deficiencies can cause a whole lot of problems, most folks are probably better off mixing on a home stereo if they had the choice.
Aside from the comment below regarding bleed as desirable, this just simply isn't true. Yes, you can spend an order of magnitude less for "good" headphones, but the advantage of a cabinet for tuning the driver will always beat what can be done right near your ear.
And a lot bands did this...
One guy from our school did build a home studio like they describe, but only after getting a record deal and a pile of cash.
It's remarkable how hard it is to get audio into a computer compared to how simple one imagines it should be. Understanding audio interfaces, mixers, power levels (mic/line/instrument), cable types (TS, TRS, 3.5mm) is not rocket science but it's a bit shocking when you see how hard it is to record anything besides your computer's built-in microphone.
And then there's the whole world of MIDI. It's at once an amazing standard and a confusing dinosaur (more the former) which is, again, shockingly hard to get started with as a n00b. When I started out I assumed I just needed a cable with USB A on one end and MIDI on the other end ... hah!
All that said: this stuff is really fun and it gets cheaper every day (although your wish list also gets bigger ever day). Companies like Behringer get a lot of flak for being cheap but they have made it so so so much cheaper for the casual person to get the hardware they need to try things.
And now we just need a cable with USB on one end and USB on the other end ;)
Even pre-amped mics have a USB port.
There are also instruments that go digital -- Line6 Variax guitars/basses have an RJ45 socket beside the century-old audio jack -- you plug it into the stomp box with an ethernet cable, and then USB to computer, and you can start recording without worrying about the impedance mismatch.
And actually I think RJ45 makes more sense than USB in this scenario because the jack is locked in the port so you don't worry about accidental disconnection that would damage the PAs..
But the Beatles recorded their demos and even some early albums on far, far worse equipment. I therefore conclude that Behringer gear is perfectly acceptable for me.
And then you further get into an analog vs digital discussion. And that they were recording on 'the best' analog equipment of the time.
And the whole idea of 80-style music "industry" with huge stars and huge physical distribution networks and huge amounts of money being made by a tiny proportion of people was probably just a technological oddity that was never going to last more than a few decades.
That's how most monitoring speakers and headphones sound to me. But they are still very popular with people who only consume music because "professionals use them so they must be the best".
NS10M actually have bad flaws in their design.
It is particularly interesting to see how MIDI completely changed the game. Getting everything synced in the pre-MIDI age sounds like it was more involved.
I've got a midi keyboard to practice singing and there was free light version of Ableton included. I guess it is in the same category as PreSonus and GarageBand from the article. I studied music ~10 years ago but have no idea how to start creating digital music.
How and where do I start if for example I like ATB (DJ) and would like to (try to) create something similar?
"the Sony DTC1000ES was mixing heaven. It offered 2 tracks of of 16bit @ 48kHz recording and was the ideal machine to master to for those who were preparing tracks for CD pressing."
Note the pictured machine has the HHB modification to run at 44.1 kHz to make it actually useful for CD mastering.
The going theory at the time was that Sony, being big in content production, didn't want consumer DAT units being able to make bit perfect copies of CDs.
Good times. Reminds me I ought to bring out the box of DAT tapes and transfer them to my computer soon. In latter years, I've simply listened to them or at the very least fast-forwarded through the tapes a couple of times a year to minimize the risk of the tape sticking to itself.
I'm not sure that aliasing was in itself a big problem, you're perhaps refering more to the audio artefacts introduced by the anti-aliasing filter. But in any case this wasn't even the biggest problem with converters back then. IME, quantization distortion was a much bigger issue. You had to watch the signal levels really carefully - too loud and you'd get absolutely brutal distortion (sometimes including wrap-around, where the value reported by the A/D converter goes instantly from maximum value to minimum value), too quiet and everything turns into a grainy-sounding mush.
The world changed in the early 90s when delta-sigma (aka "oversampling") converters came along, pretty much solved all these issues, and so allowed the price of decent converters to steadily fall, as normal semiconductor manufacturing economics kick in.
But that's for intermediate processing, once you have the master you can convert to 44.1 one final time and that's that. One final sample rate conversion with modern algorithms will not introduce any audible differences.
There’s a lot of nice stories about in the year leading up to the release and this is just before he got into heroin. Pretty much after the release he started using heavily and all his hard work was given over to it.
Uses non-weighted keys. Nobody should have to ever suffer a non-weighted keyboard.
If you're just doing MIDI recording into a DAW with significant postprocessing (quantization, velocity adjustment) for styles where that is warranted, then there is little point to a weighted keyboard.
Just like my computer keyboard: mechanical, clicky, and with sufficient travel and resistance to let me know a key has been pressed.
I've found I need an odd number of octaves. Even number of octaves is kind of useless. The songs I can play on a 3 or 4 octave device are the same, but 5 octaves opens up more. I bought a 49 key controller and had to send it back.
Weighted keyboards are easier to play expressively, because the added mass allows you to impart velocity onto the key over a period of time. A non-weighted keyboard effectively reacts to how fast/hard you move your finger, with little resistance, while a weighted keyboard integrates how much force you apply to the key over the milliseconds it takes to press it. It makes a difference. It also means you can "launch" keys without having to apply force all the way down, and inertia will take it there.
On the other hand, if you're playing with organ sounds of synths, a non-weighted keyboard lets you do faster glissandos and faster key repetition and rhythmic playing.
So it depends on what you're doing and what you're used to.