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What Do You Use Your DAW For?

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21 hours ago, synkrotron said:

Have a go at creating some mind numbing ambient drone stuff... Worked for me 😀

You lost me on the "ambient drone stuff" wtf would that be!? hahaha

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On 12/21/2018 at 2:25 PM, razor7music said:

Hello Group--

Just a light-hearted thread to see what everyone's into.

Do you use your DAW to produce your own tracks? Are you for hire? What do you do with your tracks? Sell them yourself? Get them plugged by an intermediary? Audio for film? Etc?

I'll start: I produce my own original tracks and get them plugged by a couple of intermediaries (Taxi, Hit License). I plan on investing in a digital distribution service next year--probably around summer when my Taxi subscription runs out -- then I plan on trying to sell my tracks through iTunes, Amazon, etc. via my website, etc.

How about you? 😊

hi razor!

 

i've been using Daws since about 1999, when i started with a roland VS880ex machine,

technically a 'self contained daw'.

 

i use them to record my original music.

i use them more or less, as a digital 'tape machine', since the bulk of what i do are microphone-recorded performances, and multi-tracked songs recorded in real time, same as i used to use tape machines for.

i have 3 full length albums released on CDBaby, and i've produced or co-produced 3 other artists' albums.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/21/2018 at 9:25 PM, razor7music said:

I'll start: I produce my own original tracks and get them plugged by a couple of intermediaries (Taxi, Hit License). I plan on investing in a digital distribution service next year--probably around summer when my Taxi subscription runs out -- then I plan on trying to sell my tracks through iTunes, Amazon, etc. via my website, etc.

How about you? 😊

Similar to you. I write music for several Libraries, two of which I got accepted into via Taxi although no longer a member having earned my stripes.  Have had my music used in a handful of TV shows now  most notably Keeping Up with The Kardashians this season.   

I have learned more about Sonar / Cakewalk in the 3 years since I started making Library Music than the 20yrs before that using it for my own pleasure.

Edited by CosmicDolphin
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5 hours ago, Notes_Norton said:

Andy has a point, but perhaps because he never played MIDI.

Also, there is an art to emulating other instruments with MIDI.

Actually, he did go the Synclavier route for a while during the 80's along with various synth guitars such as the Synthaxe. His main point was that he thought people shouldn't be using synths to emulate other instruments so much as they should be focusing on creating new sounds altogether like Allan Holdsworth did.

Personally, I think Pat Metheny is still the only synth guitarist to do anything worthwhile, and there are two reasons for that. 1) He stuck to using the Roland G-303/GR-300, which in my opinion is still the only guitar synth system that truly tracks just as if you were playing a regular guitar. It's basically glitch free. 2) He took one sound (a synth horn patch) and made it his own much the way Stevie Wonder took the Clavinet and made it his signature sound. Some rockabilly drummers are famous for playing a certain old model of Gretsch drums. Look at Tommy Emanuel and that maple back Maton. That's his sound. You see the same thing the way some electric guitarists are known for a certain sound like Hendrix, Trower, and Eric Johnson playing Strats through Marshalls, and Phil Keaggy and Joe Walsh playing Les Pauls through Fender Twins, or Roy Buchanan playing a Telecaster through a Vibrolux. They used other gear on occasion, but they took those sounds and made them their own. I think the majority of synth players would be better off doing the same--taking just one or two synth sounds, make them their signature sound, and learn to play the devil out of them. That's something people won't forget. If you just play a bunch of generic synth sounds, especially if all they do is emulate other instruments, I won't say you can't get famous that way, but I think it's obviously much harder to do.

PS, I realize some guys are using synths and samplers to emulate real instruments in the studio in order to fake a classical orchestra simply because they can't afford to hire a real one. That's a whole different thing. Anyway, I'm not downing what other people do. I'm just offering another perspective because I don't hear anyone else mentioning it.

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4 hours ago, Logan_4600 said:

You lost me on the "ambient drone stuff" wtf would that be!? hahaha

Something that I used to foist upon the old Cakewalk Songs forum... Don't worry, I won't be doing that here as I don't use CbB

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16 hours ago, Will Hackett said:

<...snip...>I think the majority of synth players would be better off doing the same--taking just one or two synth sounds, make them their signature sound, and learn to play the devil out of them. That's something people won't forget. If you just play a bunch of generic synth sounds, especially if all they do is emulate other instruments, I won't say you can't get famous that way, but I think it's obviously much harder to do.<...>

And you have a very good point. For some this would be the best approach and I do enjoy many instantly recognizable artists.

But there is more than one way to make good music.

Piano players are recognizable even when playing the same studio piano. Most people can't hear the difference between one Steinway Concert Grand and another, yet when you hear a song "The Wrecking Crew" did the session on, you can usually tell when Leon Russell was on the session. It's not his tone, it's his playing.

And even among piano players, there are times when many reach for a Rhodes or a Digital piano, not for what they do like that Steinway, but for their differences.

I am a long time sax player, although I play more than a half dozen instruments sax is my 'home' instrument. And on the gig I play wind synth sax too. Why would a sax player with a real one use a synth sax? For the things the synth sax will do that my acoustic sax will not.  I play the synth sax for the differences.

Now there are also other instruments I emulate on the gig. I do my absolute best to sound like the instrument I'm emulating. For Example: If the song calls for a trumpet solo, I want it to sound as much like a trumpet as my skills and the limitations of my gear allows. In that situation I think it is the right thing to do.

And people do remember my duo. We started gigging in 1985 and for the first 3 years I worked very hard at self-promotion and tapered off as work came to me. Since 1990 I haven't done a single sales call. And in order to take a yearly vacation I actually have to block out the time in advance and turn work down.

We gigged at a yacht club that we play at perhaps 5 or 6 times per year. People coming in before the downbeat greeted us with big smiles and comments like, "We're glad you are here, you're our favorite band." and so on (I'm sure other bands are other people's favorites but dozens came up to us and remembered us).

Now if I was a solo artist trying to make records, I'd probably have a different approach. The approach you mentioned. As a sax player I'm glad Stan Getz sounds like Getz, Stanley Turrentine sounds like Turrentine, Richie Cole sounds like Cole, and so on.

And if I were a session musician I'd try to be a musical chameleon and be unrecognizable by my tone and approach each song the way the people running the session thought fit. And I'm glad session sax player Plas Johnson has many different voices on his sax.

In my duo, we are musical chameleons. When we play a rock song you would think we are a rock band, when we play reggae we sound like a reggae band, when we do country we sound like a Nashville band, when we do standards we sound like a swing jazz band, when we do funk we sound like a funk band, and so on. We do all this to the best of ability.

This keeps us working. For over 30 years we work more than any other duo around, and we get more money than others too. I haven't done a sales call in decades because we thrive on repeat business and word of mouth.

Pat Metheny is a great player, and I like listening to him play. However at time I think he is too negative and critical of others. I heard him do a big tirade against Kenny G. Now I don't particularly care for Kenny G commercial output, and I've heard Kenny play much better sax when he was with Jeff Lorber's Fusion, but Mr. G found something that his audience loved and made him a lot of money. That's much better than being the poor starving artist. And although I was in a band that almost made it famous once, the majority of my life was spend playing commercial music, so how can I dis Kenny G for playing commercial music?

Not everybody is as fortunate as Mr. Methany, to be able to play whatever he wants and have make a good living at it.

I had a long talk with Tom Scott many years ago. He said something like this (and I paraphrase) ... There is a sax player somewhere playing in a Holiday Inn in a place like Valparaiso Indiana that can put me in his back pocket, but I was in the right place at the right time, I had the right connections, I showed up straight, and I played what was required of me at the time, so I got the gig. In a different set of circumstances, Pat Metheny could have been doing cover songs in a Holiday Inn. But he had the talent, had the connections, was in the right place at the right time, and covered the gig well.

I tend to strive to stay into the positive territory (although I do fail at that sometimes) and remember that there is more than one right way to make music. What is right for me might not be right for the next person, but as long as the musician is communicating with an audience, it's obviously one of the right ways.

So whether you are playing emulative, original, interpretive, or whatever, if the music speaks to me personally, it's good music. If it doesn't then it is music made for the ears of someone else.

Insights and incites by Notes

 

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On 1/4/2019 at 9:17 AM, Notes_Norton said:

you can usually tell when Leon Russell was on the session. It's not his tone, it's his playing.

 

But it's still a grand piano. Try switching him to an upright and see how much he still sounds like himself. Roy Buchanan switched to Les Pauls briefly. People actually boo'ed him. There are certain sounds you can coax from a Tele that you can't get with any other guitar. No one ever played a Tele because of it's great sustain. Far from it. It's got a strangled pizzicato sort of sound, almost banjo-like in a way. I'm a guitar player. I can tell you that when you pick up certain guitars, their distinctive sounds will make you play in different ways. You approach each of them differently. Well, maybe not all of them, but many of them. But a Les Paul is a Les Paul is a Les Paul. There will be subtle differences between them, but you won't approach one differently than another providing they each have the same hardware etc. When Buchanan went to the Les Paul, he may have played the same notes, but it didn't have the same effect. He just didn't sound like himself anymore.

Quote

Now there are also other instruments I emulate on the gig. I do my absolute best to sound like the instrument I'm emulating. For Example: If the song calls for a trumpet solo, I want it to sound as much like a trumpet as my skills and the limitations of my gear allows. In that situation I think it is the right thing to do.

If you're in a bar band where people may want you to sound like the records you're covering, then you gotta do what you gotta do.

Quote

I had a long talk with Tom Scott many years ago. He said something like this (and I paraphrase) ... There is a sax player somewhere playing in a Holiday Inn in a place like Valparaiso Indiana that can put me in his back pocket, but I was in the right place at the right time

Sure. One thing I've learned from playing at fingerpicking festivals is that there's a terrific guitar player in every town, almost every neighborhood.

Quote

Pat Metheny is a great player, and I like listening to him play. However at time I think he is too negative and critical of others. I heard him do a big tirade against Kenny G.

Then you're gonna hate this:

 

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Actually I think the song was kind of cute. I would never cover that song though, it reminds me too much of political attack ads. Don't tell me what the other does wrong, tell me what you do right, but not in words, in your music.

BTW, I didn't care for the Kenny/Satchmo cut at all, but neither did I the Nat/Natalie hit. Those songs were for other people's ears. But I think Natalie Cole was a very good singer for standards, and OK for pop. (my personal opinion). I dislike Pat's riff on Kenny every bit as much as the Kenny songs.

Pat Metheny has a right to his opinion, but I think negative opinions are better not broadcasted to the world at large.  If a horn player Pat liked, perhaps Michael Brecker cut a spliced tribute with Louis, would he have liked it, or still went into a minor rant? I don't know and since Brecker is in the great gig in the sky now, we'll never get that chance (not that I think it would happen if he was still alive).

I think other saxophonists who I think play better than Kenny aren't getting as much popular acclaim, but then my all-time favorite jazz singer, Mark Murphy isn't a household name while dozens of lesser singers are. Perhaps I don't know what it takes.

I've never purchased a Kenny G recording, but I can't dis him for making a living playing music. His music is just not my proverbial cup of tea. I played a Kenny G song, "Songbird" when it was a hit, Kenny's head, my improvisations, and my own background arrangement that was not all that close to the original. I've been playing the over 55 market since I was in my late 30s. More freedom, fewer days per week, more money, more variety of genres I get to play, and more appreciation. I don't have to do them 'like the record' but I can if I choose to.

I used to know a killer pianist, he could send me into a trance and chose only to play once in a while when a good jazz gig came around. He couldn't support himself on that, so he toiled away 9 to 5 -- 5 days a week for some faceless corporation. Which is the worse sell out? Commercial music or a 9 to 5??? I'm not sure.

I've known quite a few good musicians who support themselves with a day-gig so they can play 'art music' one night a week for drinks and tips or a mere pittance. Some of them are wonderful to listen to and I'm glad they made what I consider that sacrifice.

Kenny G has very good tone on the soprano, but what he does on his commercial records is not what I like to hear. It's for someone else's ears. I'm more of a Stan Getz, Stanley Turrentine, Houston Person, Lester Young, Zoot Sims kind of guy. I'm not even fond of John Coltrane although I can appreciate his genius - the way he says it just doesn't speak to me.

And although I am in a duo doing cover songs, we don't cover many 'like the record' because I play for a mature audience and that's not necessary. I can put a synth trumpet solo in a Beatles song and if I do a good job, they will love it. Some of the songs are direct covers, most are not although they are in the proverbial "ball park", and many are complete reinterpretations. But I get to make a living doing music and nothing but music and I am not a wage slave for some faceless corporate magnate. That works for me, but isn't the right path for everybody.

I have a great time on the gig, it's almost like getting paid to goof off and have fun. Sure I read and pace the audience, give them what they want when they want it and sneak in a few for myself as well. I know I work for the house or the entertainment purchaser but I like playing music and love the audience feedback. I hated working the two day gigs I've had in my life.

In MIDI I have about 30 different electric guitar sounds, some of which do pretty good emulations of teles, strats, 335s and to a lesser degree les paul, plus a number of others. Plus there are parameters I can tweak in each synth patch to make them sound different from the way they did from the factory.

And two people can play that same grand piano and you can tell which one was Leon Russell and which one was Billy Preston. Same for the same synthesizer emulation sounds. Two good but different players on the same controller and synth will sound different. That seems to be the point I was making when responding to yours about synths voices sounding the same.

It's also my personal opinion that tone is secondary to expression. I know as musicians we all endlessly chase tone, and that's proper, but that's not what sells to the public. Why else would singers like Dr. John, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, Blossom Dearie, John Lennon and a host of others make zillions of dollars and become idols in their genres?

I'm a live player, and get feedback from the audience. It's not a lecture or a monologue, it's a dialog. I feed them and they feed be back in return.

So IMO as long as the tone is appropriate for the genre of music and the song you are playing, your expression, your choice of notes,  your choice of ornaments, your individual phrasing, your pitch manipulations, and all the other things that turn empty notes into music are what makes the difference.

And that's for me. YMMV. As I said before, there is more than one right way to make music.

 

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Posted (edited)
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It's also my personal opinion that tone is secondary to expression.

I agree. I'm just saying that tone makes you play a certain way quite often. People may love it or hate it, but if they love it, they'll grow to expect it. It can be an opportunity or a curse.

Did you ever see that video of Hank Williams Sn & Jn singing "Tear In My Beer"? That's one of the few old / new video / song combos I've seen that worked well in my opinion. 

 

Edited by Will Hackett

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Posted (edited)

That one was new to me. I agree, it was well done.

In a related note, I remember jazz in the Verve and CTI label days where the record companies would pair up two jazz giants (live in the studio) and release albums. Stan Getz with Slide Hampton, or Bill Evans, or Chet Baker, or Kenny Barron, or Astrud Gilberto, or Dave Brubeck, or Gerry Mulligan and so on. Some of the pairings were brilliant and others just didn't work for me. The Stan Getz with Charlie Byrd and the Getz with Louis Bonfa disks are classics.

They did this for Stan, Joe Pass, Zoot Sims, Cal Tjader, Ben Webster, and tons of other stars. So I suppose the old/new splicing are just an outgrowth and a twist on that.

I've done some recording and I prefer to do it with the band and the vocalist all playing at the same time. Do multiple takes and choose the best one. Add additional parts on for sweetening if needed but I like the core band and lead singer (or solo instrumentalist) to be playing together so they can react to each other in real time.

Perhaps I favor that because I've been on stage since I was in high school and I like interacting with others.

I've done some session work to a temp vocal track, reacted to the vocalist, and when the final vocal track was laid down she/he sang it differently and my reaction still worked, but not nearly as well. The vocal inflection I complemented or contrasted with was no longer there, the vocalist sang it differently that day.

When work calls, I'll do it either way, but I prefer it 'organic'. There is no bad way to play music.

But I've heard some great recordings done piece at a time, track at a time, pick the best part out of dozens, that to this day blow me away.

Again, more than one right way to do this.

And for the backing tracks in my duo, I record the drums, bass, and comp parts myself in multiple passes leaving out the "most fun" parts for Leilani and I to play live on stage. I play the parts live into the DAW one at a time.

I'm usually 100% MIDI in the DAW. Since I don't have a pristine studio to work with it works well for me with no studio expense. Plus it's available 24/7, all MIDI with background vocal parts done on synth voices doesn't shout "karaoke", and I can change keys, arrangement, and do other edits, either great or small whenever I want.

Plus I'm not the world's best keyboard player by any stretch of the imagination. I practice a part I need to record just enough to get comfortable with the feel and if I hit a clunker I can keep going and fix it with a double-click.

I'm still using Master Tracks Pro, but as soon as the winter season work slows down I plan to put some time in with Cakewalk and if it can do the things that I need to abandon MTPro. It has been orphaned since the 1980s, still works, but not as well on Windows 10 as it does on my old XP or Win7 computers.

I have friends/competitors who buy karaoke tracks. They say it's a lot less work. But that doesn't work for me. I want to extend the arrangements, leave room for a sax, wind synth, flute, and/or guitar solo, and change the key without any artifacts. It might take me a day or two to work up a new song, but if I'm lucky, I'll get to play it hundreds, perhaps thousands of times.

Besides, when I do the work myself, I know every chord, every substitution, and thus how to play a better solo over the top. One of my biggest joys in life is to improvise a solo.

I have the day off today (working on some re-mixing backing tracks) and I can't wait to go to work tomorrow.

Insights and incites by Notes

Edited by Notes_Norton
typo

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On 1/7/2019 at 9:05 AM, Notes_Norton said:

There is no bad way to play music.

There was a girl who played piano at my church when I was a kid who my dad used to refer to as "Elbows". Tis all I'm saying on the subject.

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Back on topic?

I use my DAW to store all the plugins I got on sale but rarely use!

:)

 

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Fwrend said:

Back on topic?

I use my DAW to store all the plugins I got on sale but rarely use!

:)

 

+1 on that (d*mn you Larry)!

From time to time I use my DAW for making original (not so original) music. Nowadays mostly cinematic/classical style. 4 instrumentals was all it were last year, I really hope I can beat that this year.

Edit: And I have started to sell some tracks on Audiojungle. It's hard to get the tracks accepted and even harder to get them sold, but it is a good school for learning to mix and master properly. It doesnt matter if its a great arrangement if the mix sucks, it won't be accepted.

Edited by Leizer
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On 1/8/2019 at 4:36 PM, Will Hackett said:

There was a girl who played piano at my church when I was a kid who my dad used to refer to as "Elbows". Tis all I'm saying on the subject.

There are many ways to play music badly ;)

I grew up hearing church music (Roman Catholic) in small-town Florida and the church choirs were always very amateur, omitting the rests at the end of the phrase to rush the next one, having voices that don't blend, and terrible intonation. But they tried real hard and did their best.

A couple of years ago I found myself in Montreal Quebec Canada. I don't go to church anymore but I heard they have a great pipe organ there. They do. A great organist as well. And the choir is magnificent, a real treasure. They are on a par with the likes of the Robert Shaw Choral and other top-notch recording groups. I hope the people of Montreal know what a gem then have in their city.

If I stayed another week I would have gone to mass again just to hear them.

Insights and incites by Notes

 

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I have used mine for a variety of projects. Primarily I record myself playing - just for fun. Too old and not talented enough to even think about anything else in that regard. I just recently started editing the sermon for the church podcast. I have remixed our praise team a time or two since we got our new board since I can now extract each channel. I have also used it for narration of training slides when I worked in EMS and the health department. I created a demo for a software project for a dispatch system. The soundtrack included simulated emergency radio traffic, from dispatch to response (you could hear sirens in the background), on scene communications (with the sound of apparatus pulling up to the scene and the jaws of life running in the background), even had a helicopter landing and that unique sound. The video was showing the 'dispatcher' entering the information into the software, to match the communications. Did all the voices and then modified them to sound like different folks talking (didn't have Melodyne then). Creative use of EQ to simulate the sound of various radios.  That was one of the most enjoyable and unusual projects I have ever done in a DAW.

Edited by Mandolin Picker
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Sorry to have strayed off topic, I didn't mean to hijack the thread.

I do have some of my Band-in-a-Box customers who tell me they use BiaB with various DAW apps, including Cakewalk to play church music (there - I'm back on topic).

I used Master Tracks Pro as a MIDI sequencer since the days when Atari computers had MIDI ports and Macs where using Motorola CPUs. I didn't switch to IBM (now PC) until they got rid of DOS and went to Windows 3.1. I guess I'm showing me age (oops! I mean great wisdom, maturity and experience <wink--grin>) .

For Audio I used PG Music's Power Tracks Pro Audio and Audacity because it supplied all my minimal audio needs.

I've always liked doing my MIDI work on an app that didn't integrate audio too. With MTPro everything I needed was available with one click of the menu. Without the addition of audio, there are no sub-menus and sub-sub menu choices. Without the extra baggage I could get my MIDI work done much quicker. A lot of my projects are 100% MIDI.

If needed I would import the MIDI into Power Tracks Pro Audio and add any audio parts. But I'm basically a live performer who makes his own backing tracks and too much audio makes it sound like karaoke.

MTPro has been orphaned since about 2005 and isn't at it's best under Windows 10, so I asked my friends in the Band-in-a-Box for recommendations. Cakewalk came up more than the others.

I had tried Cubase when it was still pretty now and didn't like it. About 10 years ago a Cubase LE disk came with a guitar pedal I bought. Still didn't like it.

I'm gigging too much to get very far into Cakewalk. The tourist season ends after Easter so I'll be able to put more time into it then. It looks like Cakewalk might be my DAW of choice, and I suspect I'll be asking some questions here and hopefully getting some helpful advice. It seems like a nice forum with a lot of nice people.

Insights and incites by Notes

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I look at pictures of plug-ins. Then I play with the GUI. 

Satisfying. 

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