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djphrantik

New member
Yo whats up people. I have been DJing for years now and have been planning to get into producing. I have been listening to a lot of music with analytical ears and not just for pleasure. I also play the piano (have been playing for 13 years). I really want to start producing... I mean REALLY! What do I start off with, what do I need, etc? I have no budget, I have enough bread for whatever.
 

NTREEG

New member
If you play piano, then it'd probably be a good idea to utilize your chops. So I'd say either some virtual instruments or a keyboard workstation are in order. If you're going the virtual instruments route, then you need a few things:
a very beefy computer with atleast 2 gigs of ram, fast processor, and a fast hard drive with lots of room. You'll need an audio interface and maybe some studio monitors. You'll need a midi keyboard. Finally you'll need a sequencing program and the virtual instruments of your choice.

If you want to go hardware, there are a few keyboard workstations out that are more than capable to do the job.

As for specific names of sequencers, virtual instruments, and keyboard workstations, there are a ton to choose from. So first decide which direction you want to go in, list some of the styles of music you'd like to make and we might be able to make specific recommendations.
 

djphrantik

New member
WOW! Thanks for actually taking the time to answer this question. Hopefully you could help me a bit more. I obviously LOVE hip hop, especially the stuff now. I keep track of music and listen to the radio more now than ever before in my entire life. Specifically, I love to listen to stuff by Timbaland, Polow Da Don, Swiss Beatz, The Runners, and The Neptunes to name just a few. I have a beefy computer (not very because it has only 1 gig of ram), but I can boost the RAM. Regardless, I think I'd prefer keyboards because I feel like I get the total package with one workstation which I can later connect to the computer if I ever wanna do some light tweeking on it. I was looking at some of the higher end Yamaha keyboards which I liked a lot. However, I feel like most people prefer virtual instruments. I have no empirical evidence it's just a hunch I have, it could be just me talking out of my ass. Quick question, which of the two (virtual instruments or keyboard station) gives you the best overall results? Performs better? Easier to get accustomed to working with?
 

NTREEG

New member
Well, back when I was in the United States, I used both. I have a Yamaha Motif ES6 keyboard workstation. I also have a desktop computer setup with FL Studio as my sequencer and various virtual instruments for an endless variety of sounds.

I admit, I used the virtual instruments and FL Studio a lot more than I did the sounds in my Motif. But I've always been a software guy and for me, software is just more comfortable to work with. That may or may not be the case with you. However, there isn't any huge difference between a keyboard workstation and software in my opinion. Once you learn your tool well, you can make either do what you want. Only way to tell is to put in some seat-time behind those options.

Because of my circumstances now with me living overseas, I've gone completely software for space and travel reasons. I'm using a laptop computer, FL Studio again as my sequencer, a 2 octave USB/MIDI keyboard, pair of headphones, and a few choice VST instruments (Hypersonic 2, Dimension Pro, Albino is what I mostly use).

I wouldn't say my software performed better than my workstation or vice versa. However, I did start to get bored of the sounds in my Motif. You can add new sounds to workstations in the form of expansion cards just like you can buy a new VST instrument for your computer.
 

djphrantik

New member
Well, again, thanks a lot. This has been a crucial step toward my ultimate goal. I am thinking about getting a Yamaha Motif and then maybe add some software to my computer. The only problem is I already run some DJ software from my Mac and I don't know if something like FL or Acid Pro will run smoothly on it. Either way, I am making a lot of money DJing now so I can maybe later on get a brand new laptop specifically for production software. For now, I think I will stick to what I know best by using a keyboard. Is there anything keyboard-specific (or Yamaha Motif-specific) you recommend or I should be aware of?
 

NTREEG

New member
FL Studio doesn't run on Mac. Not sure about Acid. Reason runs on Mac, but most Mac users heavy into production tend to go for Logic Pro. I've never used Logic so I can't comment on it.

My Motif was cool, but I found it light on "synth" sounds (leads, pads, etc). If I were buying a new workstation all over again, I'd probably go for the Fantom X series instead. However my Motif ES is a previous generation. The latest is the Motif XS. I haven't heard it's sounds so I don't know if it's beefed up it's synth sounds or not. I do know the Motif ES had some great sounding acoustic instrument patches. When I was using only the Motif, I was looking to add another synthesizer keyboard or module just for more leads, pads, and effects. I was trying to score an Alesis Ion, but at that same time I discovered the power of VST synths like Albino, Pro 53, etc. and dropped my pursuit of another hardware piece.

As for why I used FL Studio more than the Motif...I really didn't like sequencing on the Motif. That's mostly because I'm not a skilled keyboard player and I didn't like having to play parts over and over again to correct one little mistake. I couldn't figure out how to use the step editor on the Motif and it was just easier for me to draw in and correct my mistakes on software like FL Studio. But since you've got actual piano training, the Motif's sequencer (or something similar to it like the Fantom or Korg Triton) may be just what you're looking for.
 

gswift

New member
Hey there, I picked up a Roland Fantom G8 recently and I'd suggest it to anyone lookin to go the hardware route. It's incredible, the sounds are great, some need a lil tweaking but the action on this board is insane, it's weighted and the keys actually feel like ivorys. It's got a huge colour screen on it, inputs for a mic (with 48v) or a guitar (with Hi-Z), you can hook-up a mouse to navigate, it's the main thing I'm using nowadays. Look it up on the youtube there's a few demo videos.
 

djphrantik

New member
Thanks to the both of you. I actually was also looking at the Fantom and really liked it. I use a lot of Yamaha stuff for DJing and live piano, etc. so I seem to favor Yamaha because they have never let me down. However, I have heard that the Roland Phantom is better than any keyboard Yamaha has from several people. It seems as if Roland has their act together.My friend recommended the Korg as well, which I have heard wonders about. If you guys wanna keep it coming go ahead, the more info for me the better. I'll be checking this post everyday.
 

NTREEG

New member
That's about all from me. The best thing to do is to go down to your local Guitar Center or Sam Ash and find a sales guy to help you walk through the patches of the various keyboard workstations. That way you can compare sounds side by side and make a decision.
 

gswift

New member
NTREEG said:
.... walk through the patches of the various keyboard workstations. That way you can compare sounds side by side and make a decision.
But also remember, that one of the keys to a good board is the tweakability of the sounds....out of the box I think the Motif piano sounds are better but after some tweaking the Fantom stuff is comparable...There are some pads on the M3 that are great too but overall I just liked the whole package of the G8. The feel of the weighted keys was probably the biggest selling point for me.
 
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