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Basic question: Computer Sequencer or Hardware recorder?

Here's the place to talk about digital multi-track recorders like the Yamaha AW series, Roland VS series, Akai DPS24, Alesis, Korg and Tascam machines. Lets add ANALOG tape machines too like Teac, Nagra, Akai, even Dokorder reel-to-reels, portastudios, old cassette 4 tracks, and anything that layers tracks. Historians and pros from the Golden Age are welcome.

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Basic question: Computer Sequencer or Hardware recorder?

Postby JB on Mon Sep 23, 2002 3:18 am

I recently bought SB Audigy Pl Ex,SONAR 1.0, WinXP, Roland JV1010, Sp-5B speakers. I've been writing music for years and I'm having difficulty writing or rather inputing the musical ideas/lines into SONAR. I know everyone must have a their own method. But I'm just curious. How does one go about inputing a complete tune into SONAR? I tried live recording(midi data) using the JV1010 and my keyboard. Following the click track is a pain, and the computer for some reason skips or speeds up for a second or 2. I've also tried writing on the staff and assigning the midi data to an instrument. Writing on the staff is so frustrating, because it looks like SONAR was not meant to do it. Live recording audio is also crappy because every now and then you'll get this dropout, or terrible sounding "ddtdtdtdtdtdtdtdtddt" when playing back the track and then I have to reboot. Not to mention getting midi lock ups and other frustrating bugs like that. After 4 months of grief, I'm ready to ditch the software recording realm and buy some nice hardware that I can count on. I know I could probably get a new Delta sound card to help audio and a MidiSport for better midi in/out, but even if all the bugs are worked out, it still is a frustrating environment. What is the prefered recording method/approach to PC software recording/sequencing? My other problem is writing(inputing) good drum tracks. thanks...
JB
 

Postby Rich the Tweak on Mon Sep 23, 2002 3:18 am

I truly understand your situation, I think. These machines are just that--machines. Inherently math and code driven appliances that compared to other appliances, do not work well, or intuitively. To get good results out of a DAW, you have to baby it with careful attention to its drivers and overall health. I think Logic is a much better composer's application. Sonar is for the people who want to mess with loops and effects. A multitrack is not going to let you edit midi notes--perhaps that is one thing that you can only do on a computer. If you haven't upgraded to win XP, I'd advise that 1st. MIDI timing is better. If you actually can nail performances without correction then yeah, you could do it on a multitrack.
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Postby JB on Mon Sep 23, 2002 3:19 am

I did upgrade to XP, and so far I love it. As far as pulling off the performaces goes. Yes, in theory I could pull off a lot of performances on guitar and keyboard. But time is a luxury I won't always have. I don't want to keep doing take after take (at least not on all instruments). Is there a good way to mix both midi and audio without a computer? Are there hardware sequencers out there that have decent interfaces (not a fan of the super dial that does all).
JB
 

Postby Rich the Tweak on Mon Sep 23, 2002 3:19 am

You might want to consider a keyboard that has a sequencer built in--like the Tritons, Kurzweils, or lower end like the Roland XP60--if you are into classical or conventional track based music like pop and rock, these make lots of sense. Yamaha and Roland make stand alone midi sequencers that you can browse at zzounds. Check out the Roland MC80. If you are into dance music, look at the Yamaha RMX1. There's also hardware that integrates a sampler, midi sequencing and a drum machine the the Akai MPC series or the Yamaha RS7000.
Rich the Tweak
 

Postby Gene Ess on Fri Oct 11, 2002 12:48 pm

JB:

Hey, man. I see you are using an Audigy EX. Did you know this only does 48KHz sample rate? If you have all the other stuff set to 44.1KHz, it might cause the type of trouble you seem to have.

PC DAWs might be more maintenance intensive than a Mac. However, this is just a speculation. Most of my peers use Macs and they have their share of problems. Actually, much more than I ever have on a PC. However, I build my own PCs from scratch and for my DAW, I specifcally designed it for just that, digital music.

Only problem I ever had was my WD 800BB hard drive crash. This is because WD seemed to have made an bad batch of these drives. I had 3 die in less than a year. Check the WD forum. I am not ALONE! WD blames it on the user instead of owing up and announcing a recall of their defective drives. I for one will never use WD again.
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Postby Proteus9 on Fri Oct 11, 2002 5:25 pm

heh.. You know i've beaten my head against sonar trying to get something realistic sounding out of it. I couldn't ever get a steady four on the floor or a smooth legato out of it. I now just use cubase VST for mastering and the piano roll ocassionaly and am saving currently for the EMU-XL7 sequencer. Allot of my freinds have had better luck with external sequencers.
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Postby Tweak on Tue Oct 15, 2002 11:18 am

Its getting better, I think. When win95 was around, some of my heavier songs would slow down when the cpu got active. Not so bad on win XP. Still at times when doing something tightly syncopated and I think I nailed it recording, I find I still have to move notes a few ticks to get what I thought I played.
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Postby tigerstyle on Thu Feb 06, 2003 4:24 pm

i use the triton and mpc2000xl for sequencing, and my DAW soley for audio. i guess it just depends if you're more comfortable with hands-on or software. i personally have not grasped the software sequencer thing too well, though my partner uses Logic for every single thing he records--midi and audio. we're like the exact opposites: he uses a Mac and i have a PC; he goes software and i use hardware; he master's internally and i have external CD-RW's and MiniDiscs. computer recording is unmatched in flexibility, but you do have to prepare yourself with compatability issues and such; most hardware is dedicated to a specific function, and therefore compatability is not normally a problem.
and yeah, i too had a WD drive that like to drove me crazy. they even shipped the thing with the wrong disk...go figure-->
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Postby Jimi on Sat Feb 08, 2003 3:38 am

I use both media's depending on what I am doing. Many times I use both on the same project. I could never do without one or the other. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. I just recorded a middle school choir and it was easy to use my aw16g. It even has a setting just for choirs. I also just finished a couple commercials and due to the amount of editing the pc was the only way. When I produce some projects, the client may not or can not afford to have it mastered by a professional so I will do it on the pc. I was never happy with any of the mastering tools in the stand alone units. I have tried most of them and the little Yamaha aw16g works best for me with the computer. They sync together real nice. :)
I use Sonar also and I used to have some of the problems you speak of untill I bought an Omni Studio with the Delta 66? sound card. I monitor the audio not the processed sound and have almost zero latency. For every product out there you will find a different opinion.
Good Luck
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Re: Basic question: Computer Sequencer or Hardware recorder?

Postby encosion on Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:24 pm

[quote="JB"]I recently bought SB Audigy Pl Ex,SONAR 1.0, WinXP, Roland JV1010, Sp-5B speakers...[/quote]

hi jb ..if you're still around i'd appreciate your feedback on how you've been finding your monitors { m-audio sp5b }... .. . musci appreciate :: peace out
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Re: Basic question: Computer Sequencer or Hardware recorder?

Postby ron on Wed Jul 23, 2003 3:58 pm

JB wrote: I know everyone must have a their own method. But I'm just curious. How does one go about inputing a complete tune into SONAR?


I tend to use Cakewalk 9 (not found a need to move up to SONAR yet) in the score view and have got quite quick with the old mouse(!). For some bulk changes, I go to the event list and make changes there. I always find controllers a pain - the pencil is not accurate enough. (one of these days I'm going to get a hardware controller)

Personally, I find step mode recording too tedious, and I can't sync (latency probs?) if I try to record MIDI realtime (*).

Some of this is upbringing, I'm sure - I'm classically trained so reading/writing score is second nature to me - and at present I'm getting used to writing music in Sibelius 2. But it depends on what I'm trying to do: scores for "real" musicians - Sibelius; scores for electronic performance - Cakewalk. Horses for courses as they say. :)

(*) Sibelius is supposed to compensate by changing tempo to follow the midi input - I find it a nightmare!
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