Cubase – A professional DAW that became a music industry standard

“Cubase” is the name of the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that I’ll be talking’ here about.

It’s one of the big names in the music scene. It appeared in the very late 80s and got very popular in the middle of the 90s because of VST (Virtual Studio Technology).

Who got me to Cubase was Amon Tobin to be honest. I heard probably 99% of all his tracks.

Here’s a list though of other artists that are quite happy with Cubase: Cubase – Artists List

 

“So what can you do with that thing?”

That totally depends on what you plan to do with it. For simple recordings Audacity should be enough.

You want to edit, chop, tune and play around more? Overdub, distort and add some effects on there

with automation? Then Cubase might be more your style. Here are some basics on the subject.

“Steinberg” is the name of the company that programmed, released and sold copies of Cubase.

They have various hardware and software products. They offer seminars and look out for programmers.

Cubase Elements 9.5 costs 82,00,-€.

Cubase Artist 9.5 costs 259,00,-€. <— Needs a USB-eLicenser

Cubase Pro 9.5 costs 458,00,-€. <— Needs also a USB-eLicenser

USB-eLicenser: A lot of software gets cracked, because it only has software protection. Steinberg avoided going bankrupt or loosing a lot of money by cracker kids out there who would offer a lot of software cracked out there for free.

 

You need to possess a USB-eLicenser to try out a demo of a Steinberg product or to run the bought version that you own.

 

Cubase Artist & Cubase Pro NEED the eLicenser to start. So you need to add 30,00,-€ more to the equation.

 

If you tried out all the software from Steinberg you would come up to 1TB I suppose and you could try all that stuff out for free for 30 days as full versions. You could also just buy the eLicenser, try out the first demo for 30 days, try out the next demo for 30 days and so on and so on. This could go on for years or even decades. At that point of time there is already newer software out there that you could try out if you wanted.

 

The last cracked version of Cubase out there is version 5.0, after that nobody in the cracker scene managed to release a cracked Cubase. Legend has it a lot of cracker teams worked for version 5.0 to crack it after months and months of trying out.

 

To be honest… I tried out the cracked 5.0 version for 2 or 3 years. I did the same with NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE 7 ULTIMATE. I used both a lot so I bought my first full pro version of Cubase. It was version 6.0.

 

Other functions:

In Audacity you can theoretically add a couple of plugins but that is pure hell to work with that interface.

In Cubase you can add in the Pro version 64 VST instruments. I never hit a limit to be honest.

Cubase Comparison

What I also like about other DAWs and this one: You can insert them into each other.

Let’s say you start out with FL Studio. You add Cubase as an “instrument”. Your second instrument is Ableton

and your third one is Pro Tools. You need to route the stuff correctly then and you can work with all of them at once. The hard part is the routing though. Haven’t quite figured out yet how that works. Normally nobody does this. As your knowledge progresses and you try out programs that you want to get into you might discover yourself some functions that define your sound and editing character. You can add those audio effects and the programs even into video editing programs like Sony Vegas or Adobe Premiere Pro. Sometimes I edit a video and I don’t like the reverb effects from Adobe, Sony, FL Studio or NATIVE INSTRUMENTS. No problem. I just choose the path of Cubase effects that I like and add a reverb from their list.

 

Not only mic recordings and VST instruments are compatible with it.

You can record only MIDI data from your MIDI keyboard without an instrument you selected.

You can find yourself a free modular synthesizer plugin like VCV rack and add it as a sequencer and just record the sound from the program.

 

 

Expand furthermore as soon as you’re ready.

At some point you will hit a wall. That is what happened to me at least. When you have a low resolution screen a lot of windows are packed over each other and you have to click and click and click to get around. That wouldn’t happen with a high resolution screen and especially not if you had 3 high resolution screens. I edit nowadays ONLY with 3 screens.

The left one shows the faders and the main mixing console therefore.

The middle one shows the bars, scenes and track arrangements.

The right one shows the last piano roll I edited or the VST I had open before.

I even got a sticker set for PC keyboards. You put the stickers on certain buttons. Like the button “#8” shows you what you use when you press that key. You’ll select the pen tool in Cubase. This tool allows you to draw automation by hand or edit velocity. Stuff like that. You can also try to memorize the key shortcuts. Maybe you’re highly skilled in regard to remembering a lot of shortcuts. Who knows, right?

 

 


 

Shameless self promotion of a track of mine. Here you can see all 3 screens of mine. Paint combines all the screens.

 


 

 

My Peroration

Cubase is good for people who are in the middle segment of knowing something and the pro segment of knowing a lot in the audio editing and engineering niche. FL Studio is definitely better for beginners. But as the years have passed, I can’t work with anything else than Cubase. I might change some DAWs in the next years, but Cubase will stay my second true love that has last the longest of them all. FL Studio is the first-love-at-sight, but after some years the interface feels of. If you get Cubase you can get into Pro Tools. If you know those two you can get into other DAWs. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Buy the eLicenser, try out the demo. Take your time. Realize how much you’ll need this DAW or not.

A lot of people know about this kind of business models, but a lot also don’t know about it. So here’s my short explanation.

If you buy something from let’s say Adobe, then you have to pay monthly. Like 15,00,-€ per month to use Adobe After Effects. After 2 years you bought the whole version of the product. You can unsubscribe from your payment and got yourself a full version of the product. To get the newest version of it you have to pay monthly again though.

You don’t have that kind of trouble with NI, Steinberg, FL Studio, Pro Tools. Either you buy their software once (FL Studio, Pro Tools) and you got yourself the full pro version a lifetime long or you have to upgrade every 1 or 2 years (NI & Cubase).

You don’t have to pay if you don’t want, but then you got an older version. Some say that doesn’t matter and some say it does matter. I always realize the big changes of every update. I bought my Cubase Pro 6 back then as a full version for 500,00,-€ from ebay or so. The upgrade from Cubase Pro 6 to Cubase Pro 7 cost me 250,00,-€. That doesn’t hurt a lot when you see the tutorials and changes and what has happened over the time span of 1 – 2 years.

 

In a lot of cases money corrupts products, artists and companies. In the case of Steinberg I would disagree. I am happy that I bought their software and that I stopped using the pirated and free and veeeery old version of their DAW.

 

Help and support shall come for those who need it the most.

 

 

 

 

Audacity – Free Software – Perfect for professionals and beginners

In this article I wanna tell you guys all about Audacity. A free software that is useful for EVERYBODY!!!

You have no idea how to work this…

Free software called Audacity. That’s OK. Neither do I. “What? You have no idea ’bout this thing and yet you wanna tell us how great it is?” Well… yes. The thing is that I never really learned how to work it. Let me elaborate. It just fits and works. In the beginning you might have little trouble with selecting a certain area you want to edit. After a short learning curve you’re just in it.

You just work the tracks you think they ought a be worked on. I can’t describe the flow in this software. You just do everything like you’re waking up and brushing your teeth or taking a shower. It fits like a glove. If you ever get stuck: there is a forum out there where you can ask for help on how to do what. I used that forum in 8 years about 2 times. That was it.

The rest just went naturally for me. Allegedly you want to switch later on. But I don’t got the feeling like switching already. Some of these programs in these segments cost around 100,00,-€ up to 4.000,00,-€.

Why you need it:

You just listen to YouTube songs here and there. Why would you need it? Here’s why: A lot of music that gets uploaded on YouTube gets compressed. Some people load up a quiet song here and there. Some other people create playlists in YouTube afterwards. You stumble over such a playlist. Let’s take a “A E S T H E T I C Vaporwave Playlist.

First track is in a normal volume. You play it at a normal volume. The next track in the playlist is very very quiet, so you turn up your speakers. The song is somewhat loud now. The song ends and the next song comes up. You forgot to turn down the volume. It’s laaaate at night.

You’re living with your mum and dad, or you live alone and have sensitive neighbors, your girlfriend / wive is asleep and your awake. Suddenly an ear-ripping sound fills the room. The next song started to play and you forgot to turn down the volume. You woke everyone up. Everyone’s angry at you, and they should be. You could’ve prevented this. You might wanna put on some headphones next time.

That way you just scare yourself to death while giving yourself a good ol’ hear impairment accident. That’s the stuff that nightmares are made for for your ears. Just download the track if it’s free or buy it if not and open up Audacity. Either you right click on the track and say in Windows “open with…” and then “Audacity” or you open up Audacity and import the track. A lot of formats get recognized in Audacity.

If Audacity doesn’t recognize your track then you got a very very very rare and complicated file format. That is less the fault of Audacity and more the fault of the people creating the track and exporting it in that file format or container. The track is now in Audacity. You just select now the tab “Effects” and check out “Normalize”. You will see how every spike of the song goes up, if it was very quiet.

Audacity automatically calculates how much dB is missing. You want to achieve something between -0,3dB or 0,0dB. -0,3 db is important if you want to burn the tracks on a CD, because the burning process makes everything 0,3dB louder.

I don’t use CDs anymore so I’m good with 0,0dB. “0,0dB??? So the track is completely quiet?” Nope and nope. This is more a measurement when things start to go out of hand.

 

Imagine the 0,0dB mark like a full glass of water.

= empty glass of water.

0,0dB is a full glass of water.

Adding more dB to a 0,0 full glass of water aka a track is most of the time useless. Unless you know what you’re doin’ you try to avoid it.

The glass will spill / the sound will be harsh and totally distorted and unrecognizable.

“What if I want the measurements of a half full glass water?”

Here is the beauty in it: That depends what the source material aka the song on the CD, Blu-Ray, Cassette, i-Tunes Store, Spotify is.

Wikipedia – Audio Bit Depth

You don’t have to read the whole article. Just check out this table called

Signal-to-noise ratio and resolution of bit depths

Every bit equals 6dB.

For easier understanding I will use the water glass example, just because I like it so much and I think it helps you understand the concept far better than me. Nobody every explained that stuff to me. I had to ask my keyboard teacher and the web and threads and all that stuff….

 

 

1 Bit = 6dB = 0dB aka – dB is an empty glass of water. = 6dB is a full glass of water therefore we have 0,00dB left before the clipping begins.

A half glass of water would be 3dB in that case.

You know, the area where the water pours over the glass and sound gets distorted and unrecognizable aggressive

 

 

 

(Game Boy – Game Boy Color Games)

8 Bit = 8 times 6dB = 48dB maximum.

48dB = a full glass of water.

0dB = – dB = empty glass of water.

24dB = a half full glass of water.

 

 

(Usual CD sound – YouTube songs, DVD Songs)

16 Bit = 16 times 6 = 96dB = 96dB maximum.

96dB = a full glass of water.

0dB = – dB = empty glass of water.

48dB = a half full glass of water.

 

 

You get the idea. This affects the volume. There are other factors out there. But I say this is quite important for you to know.

 

Dafydd Thomas - Mixing engineer based in Cardiff https://www.dafydd-thomas.com/

Why you need it #2:

You might be a serious record junkie and collector and might buy here and there one vinyl after the other. Get a feeling for ripping and recording vinyls. You might have a record player and a couple of records. You might even have vinyl cleaning equipment, but in the end you’ll need software to record the stuff that the record player gets from the vinyl.

It’ll send it to your PC and Audacity awaits your input. From there on you cut it to perfect bits and pieces. Export and name it and add it to your crazy collection you got over the years. A fire in your building might break out or your girlfriend throws your rare collected vinyls at you in a fit and break it.

You might’ve lost the value of the vinyl but at least you got a copy of the rare vinyl on your PC and you even forethought so far that the HDD that had the track on there gets backed up on a daily base and it even sends it to your own rented cloud and to a friends back-up server.

So the chances of loosing that record on an accoustical aspect are veeeeeeeery low. Except when you live in an area where earthquakes are common, but that is a topic for someone else.

Why you SERIOUSLY need it…. #3:

You’re a professional or a beginner and you travel around without your equipment and arrive at a professionals house or a beginners’ den. You guys wanna start now but you don’t want to travel around heavily equipped. You just download Audacity and start immediately.

In conclusions you usually hear stuff like…

What are the pro’s of the product and the con’s. I see no contra on here. It’s free, the community has an open ear for you. Hell, I even donated 5 or 10,00,-€ since I use their software 4 – 5 times from Monday till Sunday since 8 years now or even longer. You can implement the stuff you already bought or try out other free plugins.

You can experiment with recording your own stuff. Guitars in Mono, Drums in 7.1, whatever you desire. You and only YOU are your OWN limit. In combination with short-cuts, this program is unbeatable. I learned a big deal out of using this. I’m actually at a point where I’m afraid to switch.

I try out the demo of some other software from Steinberg or some other company and then I buy the stuff and never use it anymore. I hope I get to know more tools in that area but I really doubt that they will work that much better than Audacity. One or two features might be in there and these 1 or 2 features might cost you 200,00,-€ then…

 

no thanks!

Download Audacity®

Wealthy Affiliate – What got me into the “game”

I never thought I would seriously dedicate myself to the grooming of a website that contains posts, blogs and articles about my hobby. I wanna share with you guys how I got here and why I’ll continue with it.

How it started…

I started about 2 months ago. I wanted either to check out funny scam sites, which I still do on a regular basis. You gotta know that I also love to respond to e-mails or scam mails that claim that I lost my Amazon password. Here and there there are funny bot messages that appear on my screen. Anywho…

I stumbled over a blog by Frank Lam Sheung. Here’s his site: AffiliCoach – FrankIs.

I AM NOT ADVERTISING THIS SITE BY THE WAY! Just giving detailed info. Frank tried out various models to get money online. He tells you what he tried, how much time and effort you spend for a little money or a lot. He shows you screenshots and sooner or later he’ll mention Wealthy Affiliate a couple of times.

I clicked to the site. No flashy and annoying banners and pop-ups and ads I didn’t want to see. No credit card field.

So I said:”What the hell I got to lose? Let’s just spend some time for shizzle ‘n giggles on there to see how their scam is working.”

I tried out the free week and the lessons on there. It was quite appealing to me that the mention a couple of things like:

#1 Don’t expect to get a couple of millions in 2 days. This stuff on here takes some work to get some money out of this.

#2 You gotta see it on here like this: You’re doin’ a marathon on here, not a sprint. It’s not about one fast flash and quick cash grab. It’s more about a long dedication day by day or hour by hour or even month by month. You progress when you progress. The main point here is that you define the speed on here.

#3 They give you numbers why Wealthy Affiliate works out as a business model, BUT they also stay humble and honest and say that this is not THE 100% correct formula for earning perfectly fine and totally easy money. If you put yourself in though you’ll get more rewarded than you might expect. There are a lot of business models out there. You don’t have to roll with their stuff. In fact there are sites out there that offer the same stuff as Wealthy Affiliate for free. So why bother getting premium?

Here’s why:

– You get a basic version of Jaaxy that costs you 50$ instead of 80$ or so. Please don’t take the detail that to precisely. I just recollect a 100% of the info from my head to stay to a true text. This might be an amateurish thing to do, but it feels at least more honest that way.

– Kyle, one of the main founders of Wealthy Affiliate explains in video style and text style what you got to do in every lesson.

You direct the speed of the lessons and you got a big help base. You got a help and support forum. You got a live chat and the community always helps you so you help them and everyone helps everyone. The most selfish thing is to help others. This might sound like a crazy concept for you, but I also can relate to this very easily. It just makes sense.

 

You get very important training sessions…

They give you checklists and tips that you should consider for starting a successful business / site.

 

 

Where I am right now…

I’m not lying. So far I’ve not received a single cent. The first month cost me 20,00,-€ + 13,00,-€ for purchasing my own domain for a whole year. Next month it’ll cost me 50,00,-€. I know that the tools on here in collaboration with running those servers on there cost money. I know that these 50,00,-€ won’t kill me. I can always downgrade to the free mode. It also allows you to do all that stuff for free.

You can also check out other forums. A lot of people say it’s also possible to do this stuff for free but then you gotta do more research. Time that could’ve spent creating and learning only the important aspects of writing a post or creating a site. Not unnecessary bla. So I think the price is fair.

I also like the fact that I can listen to all my favorite music while editing and writing. That is a very creative process. I gotta tell you that. Everyone can write by the way. It’s a craft like anything else.

The near future…

My site is about music keyboards and what I can suggest and what not and my experience and what I wanna try out. I hope I’ll get better at writing and quicker and more eloquent and that my customers, if I got any yet, will be happy with my services and info. When this thing will work out proper than I will give back properly.

How can you expect that others give you a helping hand if you don’t start with yourself?

That’s the morale of the site and I honestly like that concept a lot.

This also means you are somewhat “forced” to help other people, but they’re honest about it and so are you.

The far future that I hope to achieve…

Making a living with this would be great. That would mean that I could travel the world while still working full time or half time or whatever schedule I’ll give myself. I make notes of everything and I wanna get good at writing. So this is why I took the “job” and why I wanna keep it for quite some time. I saw already high ranked posts that were about users that expressed their happiness that they were finally able to make a living with a laptop and an internet connection and that they can finally quit their day job. I got everything planned in my life. For the next 7 years I have planned when I will get a vaccine. So if I see this thing will fail, then I will delete this site.

Are you reading this right now? This means I didn’t delete the site or this certain post = success = can’t complain.

 

I hope I’ll see you in the future as a commentator on my site in the future.

Here’s the link to the site:

Wealthy Affiliate

Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch 2.2.2

I wanna talk with you guys about a plugin that I’ve used for 8 years now.

It’s a free plug-in that you can use in a stand-alone mode.

 

It gained high success overnight when some random dude decided to use a Justin Bieber track

and to turn it 800% slower to make it a beautiful Ambient track:

Here is the KnowYourMeme article:

Time Stretch 800% Slower – Know Your Meme

 

Either you wanna do this for swizzle ‘n giggles or getting into an experimental mood, I will show you how you get there.

 

Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch – Download / Info / Homepage

First of you need to download the file,

open it and you can start thrashing around.

Start:

You click “File” and “Open audio file…”.

 

You look around where your file is stored. You click to your path by selecting the drive and the path.

 

 

You select your .mp3 file and double click it.

(It only supports .mp3 and .wav at the moment)

It should be loaded in your program now.

1st Tab – Parameters:

“Stretch” defines how much you want to stretch your song. 1x = normal song length. 10,000 means the song duration is duplicated by 10,000. =O

 

Below that are three types of stretches from very short to even longer ones that go over years or decades.

 

The Window size defines the quality you want to put on the stretch. More quality might bring your PC down or crash the program.

The Stretch Multiplier is also an interesting tool. Maybe you want the beginning stretched and the middle part normally played and the end very quick? Just click like shown below:

Down below is the play button, the skip forward button, the pause and the stop button. I think you know what these are.

Right beside that is the timeline. This one might bug around or skip if you have put in to high window size values in there.

 

2nd Tab – Process:

The tab that I most played and experimented with. Perfect for Drone, Noise and Ambient sound. I won’t give you a tutorial for this. Just play around as you feel like. There is a lot to explore in that segment.

3rd Tab – Binaural Beats:

Binaural Beats are acoustical drugs. There are sites out there that offer every imaginable drug or feeling like “happiness” in an I-Doser or Binaural Beats audio file. 50% of the people say the effects of the stuff is real, 50% don’t. What you basically do is this:

Sound 1 on your left ear vibrates slowly with 50 Hz.

Sound 2 on your right ear vibrates a little quicker with 55 Hz.

Your brain recognizes the differences and you feel anything in this range:

Nothing, nauseous, high, deaf, relaxed, focused, hypnosed, awake.

These are just simple audio files and don’t fall under a certain narcotics law where you can get busted for owning that stuff.

A lot of people and sites recommend a dark and quiet room, good headphones and that you listen and focus on the sound. So you shouldn’t watch a football game or mow your law. 😉

I tried out a few of these files. Some made me tingly other did nothing.

You don’t need to activate that tab, you might skip it if you want.

Watch out with the volume! Don’t you dare to think that the louder you hear the higher you get!

Hearing impairment is a serious issue nowadays even without screwing your ears up on purpose.

Some mastering and mixing peeps even suggest to hear the bare minimum on certain sounds, so you

focus more on what is going on acoustically.

4rd Tab – Write To File:

This is the part where you export your song. The chance to save your experimental works you did. Later on you want to use that exported audio file of yours and drop it as well in another audio program and edit it from there further on.

 

So far I suggested quiet a few free open source projects. A lot of work, love and dedication goes into those programs.

What I like about programs as such mentioned is that you can decide yourself if you want to support the programmer dude who did this. I think that he won’t be doing so bad, now that he was involved in the meme scene and I also checked out his other site where he offers a fully fledged VST synth completely made by him for 55$.

 

I think it’s important to know about little programs like these. Either that or you got a big expensive multi functional tool like Cubase, which I might mention in the future as well.

 

The main flaw with Paul’s Extreme Sound Stretch in my opinion is its ugly UI. You can’t switch of that painful gray. On the other hand it conveys a very A E S T H E T I C old-school touch of Windows ME or Windows 98 feeling.

 

I know that there are other plug-ins out there that cover less functions with buggier execution and they cost you more.

 

In that regard I know that Magix products don’t enjoy such high ratings. Maybe I might stumble over them in the future.

 

The amazing thing is how the sound stretcher works. Other sound stretchers can stretch signals in two ways and both aren’t sufficient. The first one keeps the same pitch but makes the sound very metallic and inhumane while the second one sounds natural but goes lower and lower with the sound. Both aren’t practical in use when you stretch them up or down for 20% they’re garbage. With the Paul Stretch you get a theoretical stretching opportunity of 0.0001 second to 1e+018x (3.86595 trillion years) in the example of “User48736353001 – Hypersquij”. Imaging to stretch a sound when you’re twelve and you set it around 80 years and approximately 80 years later you die with that sound. Kinda funny and kinda scary thought, innit?

 

If any of you guys can recommend quirky beautifully crazy plug-ins like that then I want you to leave a comment to tell me more about them so I can give it a try as well.

On a side note: Why music improves your memory

In this post I’ll tell you guys a little something about improved memory “induced” by music.

What I collected on info in the last 18 years or so.

 

Listen to a lot of different music styles:

I get it. You mainly dig RnB or Pop, or even Heavy Metal. Keep an eye open for experimental and new sound. I recall the hype that Dubstep got 10 years ago. Most of the people hated. Suddenly every track on the radio had a Dubstep remix of its own. After that Trap followed and now we’re at the verge of some very repetitive Hip Hop tracks. I know a friend of mine isn’t

on top with music. He asks me here and there what a remix is or what’s the name of the genre of a certain song. The answer to all this is: There is no 100% clear answer. Form your own arguments why certain sounds have certain genre-related names. It’s like a blank canvas or a map. You decide which areal gets the most focus and what its neighbours of the genre

are. At some point you have a good idea what you like and what you dislike. I know I’m a sucker for certain genres. These genres have very repetetive sound structures and I know I fall for these kind of tracks almost every time. Let’s take some Classic piece for this example. I knew a few very good Classic tracks. But I know more of ’em sound just filled. I hear how

the composer cramps in note after note after note. For me, a generic classical composer just puts notes after notes that sound in correlation good, but nothing more. Then there is the dynamic audio range, the part when a song is quite in one second and loud in another second. I personally hate it. It’s like jump scares. A cheap effect in my opinion just to keep you

listening on an active level. Jungle, Drum & Bass, Breakcore for instance are genres that I like generally more. You automatically have some plus points on my side when you show me stuff in that area. Only when you try to sound very bad you might miss me as a listener with this genre. The dynamic range isn’t to hardcore and you can partially predict the sound

while expecting new song structures. This is all a personal preference, I know, but remember that you also aren’t able to listen to every genre with the same grain of salt, because we’re human beans. 😉

So keep that in mind when you want to ask:”Why does music improve my memory?”

 

Stranger music – clearer perception:

I remember years after exactly where I listened to which track. Sometimes it’s even the other way around. I listen to a track and a see a place in front of my mental eye. I highly recommend the track “Cyanescens – Improve Your Memory” in regard to that.

 

 

Play various instruments, ideally everything you can grab:

Over the years I got a fat bunch of instruments for very low price. Some of them might not sound as good as they used to or some need very expensive supplies and all that, but you can get ahold of a lot of instruments, just by strolling around. In my case I got some shredded instruments as a trash-man in my side job, or by asking around related people of mine or friends.

Tell them what your plan is. Hell… a friend of mine got me like 5 instruments or so, without even really bothering. He stumbled over the opportunity to get some instruments and he thought about me. Connections are a big plus on this one. Hypothetically speaking you can get your hands on very expensive gear if you’re a well known musician. You might even

borrow some of those instruments. Record ’em and give ’em back. You now have some knowledge about the properties of the instrument and you spent only some time on the instrument, without spending one single buck! Another thing are sites like eBay, Amazon, Thomann, Gearslutz. There are also some free VST plugins out there that allow you to play certain

instruments for free. You might want to search in that regard stuff in Google like:”free vst plugin modular synthesizer” or “open source vst plugin”. VCV Rack is a good example. Modular synthesizers are in a price range of a rarely used new car. I gotta mention that I also fell for the trap by getting myself the NATIVE INSTRUMENTS KOMPLETE 8 ULTIMATE EDITION

bundle. Yes, it has a lot of instruments, effects, big sample libraries, top notch high fidelity, good support and easy installation. REAKTOR is one part of this big pack. I spent basically 200,00,-€ for something I didn’t understand back then and even now understand barely. I could’ve saved myself 200,00,-€ with that knowledge back then.

 

We live in a throw-away society. You’re hungry? Drive to McDonalds and order a burger. Wait maybe 5 – 10 minutes on a bad day. Spent 3 – 4€ or $. Finally get a bite. Realize you bit in a cold burger. Throw it away because you can’t stand cold burgers. You either drive furiously home and waste some

time or you even complain at the manager why it was cold and drive home and waste even more time. Consider the time and money saving you could’ve made if you just borrowed some recipes from a neighbour or took a walk or drove to the next supermarket. Made yourself the burger or bought

even fast-food burgers for your microwave. I hope my analogy wasn’t to far-fetched… anywho… you see how I took the McDonalds-route by wasting 200,00,-€ for nothing. 6 years have passed and I used REAKTOR in my whole lifetime somewhat about 1 hour.

Idealy: Do other things related to music:

Read note sheets, watch films and see how they use scores nowadays. Lot of scores only have some kind of filler-function. Playing tracks like these on their own, isn’t enough. Music like that can only co-exist with the motion picture they were intended to, but maybe you might stumble over a original

soundtrack that blends in with the video game or the film / series and even withstands on its own. Even I rarely do all of the above. I should also mention that it wouldn’t be wrong to see artists live to get a drift on how they perform. Kinda hard to keep such a big hobby alive in all aspects. This

is just a suggestion. Not a to-do list what you have to do perfectly all the time. Just save it in the back of your head.

That’s all from my side. If you guys got some tips on what I missed out, then please let me know it in the comments below.

Thank you for your attention, have a lovely day. =)))

Reviewing the i2-Control-25 – Category: USB MIDI keyboards

In this article I will be discussing the pros and cons with the i2-Control-25.

Tickling your fingers

What I enjoyed about the i2-Control-25 was mainly the feeling of playing it. This was my very first USB MIDI keyboard. So even as a beginner it felt right while playing it. It has 8 MIDI compatible knobs a very heavy modulation and pitch wheel. As always plug’n play and you’re good to go. The red display shows you value, you might’ve programmed for other things than playing it normally. I never really got into that, so I don’t have many clues regarding that topic. I’ve had my share of many different keyboards. The feeling of playing the i2 is to this day 10 years later unreachable. What I see in many keyboards that stay on the outside without any lid or protection is that they’re turning darkish yellow. Doesn’t matter if you’re a smoker or not. I suppose the PVC keys just discolor after some years of heavy use or non-use. Some people might not like it and clean and scrub all the yellow-brownish discoloring away, but you gotta focus on the main fact that this won’t mean that your MIDI keyboard is broken now or anything. It still functions perfectly. Just a little discolored.

 

 

Tim Van De Velde - Free Tastatur Zu Spielen
Tim Van De Velde – Free Tastatur Zu Spielen

 

 

 

 

 

Getting into software MIDI faders

I made by accident a good choice. Not only does it have its 8 faders, it was also very cheap at the time. I paid 80,00,-€ for it. Now you can’t buy it anywhere anymore. It has somewhat 2 successors though.

#1 Is the miditech – midistart music 25 – You can get this one for around 50,00,-€.

#2 Is the miditech – I² Control-37 – You can get this one for around 60,00,-€.

As you can see my modell is totally outdated and not even available for the market anymore, and yet it still functions correctly to this very day. You can get twice updated hardware for half the price 10 years later. That is the mark you have to keep in front of your eyes in regard to changes and trends in the hardware world. Keyboards get cheaper and better day by day. Anyway, let’s get back to the topic here. I produced some Acid House tracks along the line and some other experimental stuff. When you want a reverb or a delay or even a distortion effect to be activated at 100% in one second at a 0% in another one, you wanna turn these knobs around manually with your keyboard MIDI knobs or an external knob-fader-USB-connection or you wanna do it by mouse. You can always use the cheapest method: mouse. But you’ll get an indescribable feeling when activating and deactivating these effects or equalizers for yourself in real time. It definitely has a more natural feel to it, as you will see.

Fundamental for live performances

The goal for live performances is to travel fast and light with good and complex gear at any time while staying robust when you perform live. I didn’t travel a lot around with the I², but I know that 10 – 20 years before these keyboards were on the market, you needed a big bunch of heavily trained roadies that followed you at all time to build up a gear. Nowadays you and you only are the boss for moving that stuff. A laptop with the proper software and this MIDI USB keyboard and you’re on your way. No heavy suitcase, just a simple traveling back. I suppose like many other MIDI keyboard companies they offer you a bag for 50,00,-€ or even a 100,00,-€, but why would you spent 50,00,-€ for a bag that is just for the MERE transportation for your 50,00,-€ MIDI keyboard? Sometimes these companies make a lot of money by selling you supply that you won’t need. Why not a cheap felt bag? As long as you don’t throw the keyboard around or spill a couple of drinks on it on one night, everything should be working out just fine. In theory, you can get yourself a big backpack and put in your laptop with the keyboard and maybe an audio interface and you’re fully equipped for long travels or you can use the stuff in a train or on a plane. Some of the best ideas sprouted when people were crammed in very tiny parcels for their feet and knees. Consider situations like these for moments of inspiration.

A big minus in my opinion…

is the pitch button since you’re only in ownership of a 25-keys keyboard. My tracks cover very deep notes and very high notes. I mentioned this before in my M-AUDIO 88es Keystation review. Personal preference needs to be your focus. I’ve never performed live so far. I’m a couch potato and I like my standardized places for my musical hardware. So why would I bother with only 25 keys when I don’t travel and stay at home a lot? The only argument that comes to my mind, is a small apartment. If you live in a small flat the I² Control-25 needs to be your choice. The M-AUDIO 88 is bulky, but I need the keys. You might consider if you have friends that have various sizes of MIDI keyboards maybe. You might trade between big keyboards and small keyboards. In the end I mainly use it for its knobs. Live performances are still beautiful with it to this day. But you also gotta align the knobs yourself. There aren’t any simple patches out there for stuff like this. I don’t know of any, so you might want to correct me on that one. Let’s say you have 15 songs and every song uses all 8 knobs. This makes 120x knobs alignment. We’re talking here about 60 minutes of knobs alignment. 2 knobs per minute. And that is the best case if you’re 2000% certain & correct at all the time, which is highly unprobable. If you open up one of the 15 songs without connecting the keyboard first, you might want to align again. At that point you’re to frustrated to work any further. You’re out of your zone and out of your flow.

So this concludes to what exactly Merlin…?

In the end we got:

– Easy to play / great feeling and touch

– Cheap

– Great for traveling

– Use 4 or 5 knobs in every few songs or so. Not in every song, or you might wanna give up the music business completely.

 

I give this one a 7/10. A true companion that I hope I’ll still be able to use in the future.

My M-Audio Keystation 88es review – THE Best USB MIDI Keyboard

I will be discussing my 5 year long use of the best USB MIDI Keyboard.

 

Cory Lavel And His Midi Keyboard
Cory Lavel And His Midi Keyboard

 

Explanation for beginners:
MIDI = Musical Instrument Digital Interface
A software language that is needed for your keyboard to
communicate with your PC / Mac / Linux system.
DAW = Digital Audio Workstation
Instead of a big physical studio, you have a software
studion in your PC. Like everything this has advantages
and disadvantages

 

My advice to you – from back then for a future perspective.

I started a long time ago with making music. About 12 years ago to be somewhat precise. Very soon I realized

that I needed to express certain melodies and lines with a USB MIDI keyboard and not with a PC keyboard

 

or via my mouse. Sometimes you need a little more human feeling in your songs or you just wanna jam

and play. You have various velocitiys and as soon as you start to play you might loose track of time. So

watch out for it’s addictive features.

 

 

I looked here and there and everywhere.

My main focus was 88 keys, since many pianos have the same amount of keys. No need for unnecessary

knobs that wouldn’t be used anyway. So I stumbled over the M-Audio Keystation 88es. I watched a lot

of YouTube videos in regards to other musicians that used the same keyboard. Every one had great

 

reviews and words about it. So I gave it a shot after 3 years of saving or so. It’s just plug-and-play.

Simple as that. As soon as you’ve plugged it in you are good to go.

I don’t regret that decision any day. It is still functioning. It endured a lot in the meantime.

 

 

The beauty of MIDI at your grasp.

Instead of buying a “real” keyboard with a limited amount of sounds, you can have the full range.

And with full range I mean FULL RANGE!!! Basically you’re limited to the content the internet has to offer

in regards to MIDI Keyboard sounds, programs, VSTs, patches, presets and so on. There are more sounds

out there to try out for free or for a paid program than your life lasts. I mainly tried out the NATIVE INSTRUMENTS

 

KOMPLETE 8 – 11 ULTIMATE stuff. A little bit here and there with FL Studio plugins. The keyboard was never the problem.

If I wouldn’t have had that keyboard yet, I would probably still be clicking with my mouse or playing stuff into my DAW with

PC keyboard. What you also have to consider is: The later you start to get into MIDI keyboards and the longer you play with

your PC keyboard, the more you’ll mislearn information that you can’t relearn freshly and good. Your muscle memory will be

 

screwed up. That won’t be a simple routine by then to learn properly. You will have twice as much trouble to learn songs for

piano or childish and cheap keyboards. Even though I’m highly promoting the M-AUDIO Keystation 88es, you can

alternatively choose between many other different types of MIDI keyboards. My first one l²-Control 25. It felt nice to play and

had a lot of knobs. But only 25 keys! You had to pitch up and pitch down with the 2 buttons to get to the next range. Now

 

imagine recording 10 instruments like this. You will see what kind of pain this is and how this interrupts your workflow. You

have the melody on your lips or on your mind. Just wanna record and quickly as possible jam it down, but then you have to

press around and fumble around to get it right at many more takes. The more songs you make or the more you demonstrate

various keyboards the more you count those seconds. Every second wrongly spend with a slow software or half-broken

 

keyboard, is a second that strays you further away from getting to your own personal sound. And at the end of the day that is

exactly what you want. Isn’t it? I bought this thing when it cost me around 300,00,-€ plus a bag and a stand, which makes

around 400,00,-€ or so. You can get ’em at the time between 70,00,-€ – 150,00,-€. If this stuff made for me back then sense

then it should make 4 times more sense to you know. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not paid by M-AUDIO or anything. I just want

 

to write down my personal experience with this piece of hardware that never failed me over the years. I feared it might break

down, since newer hardware tends to break faster because of planned obsolence. I suppose with this model they explicitly

fought against that concept. 2 nice features that are also worthy of mentioning are:

#1 It comes with a free version of AIR – IGNITE. A very basic, yet powerful way to captivate song concepts. I like its minimalistic touch.

#2 Ableton Basic version included as well. Heard great things about Ableton. Not a big fan of it myself, but I follow a big bunch of musicians that used it for live performances.

 

 

Not limited to keyboards and pianos.

I’ve played a lot of stuff into my songs. From Indian bongos to electric guitars up to looped-up car-wrecking sounds,

violins, cellos, guitars and basses. I got around a beautiful range because of that keyboard. It’s only limited to your

imagination. There are even videos about there of people that modify things like that. So if you got the knowledge and the

hunger for experimentation, you’ll be good to go.

 

 

Joe Paradiso's Modular Synthesizer ARS Electronica 2004
Joe Paradiso’s Modular Synthesizer ARS Electronica 2004

 

 

MIDI keyboards won’t grow old as fast as normal ones.

If you take a simple 88 keys keyboard like me, or a fully fledged with equalizer faders and drum pads and other nice

gimmicks is up to you. But the 88es did it for me. I know I can always purchase a cheap keyboard and drum pad afterwards.

Only the USB slots are a problem. But if you’re into computers, you’ll know: USB slots are always a problem. There a never

enough. You can also program the MIDI functions in the keyboard itself if you want. I never tried that method, but there are

 

tutorials out there on how to do it. I think it’s quite amazing that you can digitally re-work your instrument into a totally new

thing. The corelation of programing and welding makes it aswell more interesting, as mentioned before.

I also need to mention that they released a MK-II version of the keyboard. I simply won’t buy it yet, since the MK-I version

still works to good.