Simple Hardware Question...

Keyboards, Synths, Samplers and Groove Boxes.

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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:38 pm

I'm surprised that more people haven't stated that they like *nix systems, especially since your apple products all run a variant of unix.

I personally grew up hating on Apple because I was so goddamned poor. It was easier to hate on them for no reason, than it was to lust after their hardware. It kept me content, kept me sharp, and kept me from becoming spoiled (and lazy). I'll admit, sometimes it can be a constant, uphill struggle to get something working on your favorite distro of linux. BUT, I use an $80 thinkpad to do all of my work, and I don't have to worry about purchasing the next, big, latest and greatest OS (or being forced to upgrade :freak:). Everything is modular, the UI is up to you, it has a package manager full of free software, including VST hosts, synthesizers, sequencers, arpeggiators, etc., and you are limited only by your lack of creativity or knowledge (which is a great incentive to pick up a fucking book).

Personally, I try not to use a computer, at all, for anything in my rig (at the moment). I've only started playing with synths, samplers, and midi controllers within the last year, so I'm trying to learn everything I can about this (expensive) hardware i've purchased. It's a hobby, but i'm very serious about it.
Nowadays, when I do use a computer, it's strictly for midi routing/filtering/converting. I have plans in the future of making standalone software utilities for manipulating midi data, performing easy mappings and sysex conversions (to make new controllers work with old gear), and maybe even some arduino/raspberry pi based hardware solutions for various midi problems.

I personally have a background in electronics, but all that really did was open my heart to software. In software, everything is as discrete and detailed as you care to make it, and you don't have to deal with approximation like in conventional sciences. However, there are specific things I can personally see being very useful that I'd like to develop for the synth community, at large (like dedicated hardware USB hosts for those pesky usb devices that don't have DIN ports... or an 8x8 midi routing matrix with a simple ui on the front panel).

tl;dr
As a computer power-user, you can trust me when I say that Linux is the best choice.


The market for linux is growing every day (go check out bitwig studio!).

My whole life utterly revolves around computers, and I know a hell of a lot more about them than I'd like to admit, so i'm trying to stay away from them for now so that I can focus on learning about the capabilities of the hardware, and the design aspect of music as a craft (like mixing, eq, etc.). I work for one of the largest semiconductor companies around, and my day to day activities involve much scripting, system administration (unix) stuff, as well as hardware rework, debugging/troubleshooting, among other things. At one point I'll start doing more computer-stuff with music (pure-data has intrigued me for ages), but for now I am going to keep it pure-hardware. :grin: for some reason, I can't help but feel that there's much more immediacy in your workflow when you leave the computer out of the picture... just my opinion, though.
Last edited by noisevoid on Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Thu Sep 25, 2014 7:50 pm

I am old(ish) and set in my ways. The *nix is great from what I hear out of all my computer friends, but there seems to be a learning curve involved that I'm just too lazy to try to surmount. I am so set in my ways, in fact, my DAW still runs Win XP (although I have other systems in the house running newer OS's). If I had the time and gumption to sit down and learn it, and a good teacher too, I'd do it. But for now, popular OS's are what's for dinner at my place.

Point of curiosity: You insinuated you're new to the synth world? What's your interest? What drew you in? Do you plan on making music, or is your interest purely academic? I wonder, because you say you're against hooking all your boards up to a 'puter. Tell me. I must know.

(and if music, what flavors?)
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby ElectricPuppy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:58 pm

selfinflikted wrote:there seems to be a learning curve involved that I'm just too lazy to try to surmount.

If you have no patience, a Linux system is not for you. You want it to "just work"? Get a Mac or Windows box, and fell no shame in it. Linux distros are making strides on usability, but they're not quite there yet, IMHO.

While the enormous flexibility and choice inherent to Linux systems is often touted as an advantage, it can very quickly become overwhelming and counter-intutive to the uninitiated. And I say this as a guy that runs Linux all day every day at Teh Office, and has been using PCs for almost 30 years (yeeesh! :freak: ).

Point of curiosity: You insinuated you're new to the synth world? What's your interest? What drew you in? Do you plan on making music, or is your interest purely academic? I wonder, because you say you're against hooking all your boards up to a 'puter. Tell me. I must know.


Yes, please. I know some of us Olds got into it because synths were hot and new in our formative years and we wanted to emulate some of the sounds we heard then.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:00 pm

as a child growing up I was for the most part a left brained introvert, and being creative in some form or fashion came very easily to me. I used to doodle most of my days, and fell out of habit when I hot into computers. Then I started doing web development as a creative outlet, eventually moving on to scripting. This also fell out of habit, and a need for another creative outlet emerged. Synthesis is interesting to me because of the midi aspect. I can mix much of what I learned about programming with this newfound world of synthesis, and I find it genuinely compelling to experiment constantly with it.

For instance, playing a kaossilator with a standard midi keyboard is not permitted as the x y and z of the touchpad is controlled internally as midi cc, but with scripting I can abstract the idea of converting midi notes to midi cc, and I can now play with my kaossilator as though it were a soind module without a very good midi inplementation and no tweakable parameters.

To be honest, I like beat oriented music, but I have a wide and eclectic music taste. Im still not sure what I want to make, or if I'll ever make anything anyone wants to listen to, but its fun all the same to explore this new creative frontier.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:16 pm

noisevoid wrote:as a child growing up I was for the most part a left brained introvert, and being creative in some form or fashion came very easily to me. I used to doodle most of my days, and fell out of habit when I hot into computers. Then I started doing web development as a creative outlet, eventually moving on to scripting. This also fell out of habit, and a need for another creative outlet emerged. Synthesis is interesting to me because of the midi aspect. I can mix much of what I learned about programming with this newfound world of synthesis, and I find it genuinely compelling to experiment constantly with it.

For instance, playing a kaossilator with a standard midi keyboard is not permitted as the x y and z of the touchpad is controlled internally as midi cc, but with scripting I can abstract the idea of converting midi notes to midi cc, and I can now play with my kaossilator as though it were a soind module without a very good midi inplementation and no tweakable parameters.

To be honest, I like beat oriented music, but I have a wide and eclectic music taste. Im still not sure what I want to make, or if I'll ever make anything anyone wants to listen to, but its fun all the same to explore this new creative frontier.


I'm sorry I asked! :freak:

Actually, I'm extremely envious of people like you, Plinky, EP, Veracohr, and any other TreeHouse™ members with electronics and scripting knowledge. I WISH I had the time and gumption (this is the second time today I've typed the word "gumption." I feel like a true Southerner now.) to learn some of these things.

I'm actually surprised MIDI has lasted as long as it has. For something developed in the late 70's that became industry standard in the 80's (I think I'm right about these time frames), you'd think something better would've replaced it by now. But, I guess if it ain't broke, don't go fixin' it.

Lastly, you couldn't have been more nebulous about your musical tastes. I assume you like "beat oriented" music with lots of synths featured? Gimme a couple of artists you REALLY like, so I can pin you down.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby ElectricPuppy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:33 pm

selfinflikted wrote:I'm actually surprised MIDI has lasted as long as it has. For something developed in the late 70's that became industry standard in the 80's (I think I'm right about these time frames), you'd think something better would've replaced it by now. But, I guess if it ain't broke, don't go fixin' it.


Exactly. It was designed to be simple enough that it could be included into synths for minimal cost, and the protocol is really, really straight forward. BACK IN THE DAY, it could be handled by UART chip and an 8 bit CPU running at only a couple of megaherz or so.

I keep thinking about that MIDI keyboard controller project I started that I never finished. :cry: Someday, someday.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby ElectricPuppy » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:42 pm

Speaking of which...

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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:43 pm

It has keys!

That's a good thing.

(Remember the part about me being envious of you smart guys? Yea. That still stands.)
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby noisevoid » Thu Sep 25, 2014 9:49 pm

selfinflikted wrote:you couldn't have been more nebulous about your musical tastes.


Lots of hip hop and spacey beats, bass and electronica/dance, dubstep, etc. Stuff like Flying Lotus, Justice, Gang Starr, Bassnectar, Jay Dee, Samiyam, AFTA-1, Ginormous, Nero. I mean, I like to listen to a LOT of east-coast 80's and 90's rap, and lately i've been listening to a lot of trap.

Outside of that, I'll listen to just about anything except pop country or smooth jazz. On the weirder side, I am a huge fan of The Residents, Mr. Bungle (and pretty much everything else Mike Patton does), Primus, Sleepytime Gorrilla Museum, R. Stevie Moore. I enjoy quite a lot of Ska, reggae, punk, psycho-billy, lots of indie and post-rock. I like the cramps, cadillac tramps, Sublime, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Why?, Deerhunter, Boards of Canada, GY!BE, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and even some metal (i love me some stoner doom...) like Ufomammut and Electric Wizard, and even more classical-sounding stuff like Yann Tiersen or mozart/beethoven, and i can get down to music like The Very Best (which is more like world music), or downtempo shoe-gazey stuff like The Black Heart Procession or The One AM Radio, or minimalist techno like The Field. I will listen to old country and delta blues, and to be honest, one of my favorite albums is Hank Williams III `Straight to Hell`. I listen to so much fucking music that even writing this post has been hard, since I've forgotten so many artists. :shameface:

tl;dr i meant it, i'll listen to just about anything. just not pop country or smooth jazz. and i like east-coats 80's and 90's hip hop.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby noisevoid » Fri Sep 26, 2014 3:19 am

I'm sorry I asked! :freak:

Actually, I'm extremely envious of people like you, Plinky, EP, Veracohr, and any other TreeHouse™ members with electronics and scripting knowledge. I WISH I had the time and gumption (this is the second time today I've typed the word "gumption." I feel like a true Southerner now.) to learn some of these things.

I'm actually surprised MIDI has lasted as long as it has. For something developed in the late 70's that became industry standard in the 80's (I think I'm right about these time frames), you'd think something better would've replaced it by now. But, I guess if it ain't broke, don't go fixin' it.

Lastly, you couldn't have been more nebulous about your musical tastes. I assume you like "beat oriented" music with lots of synths featured? Gimme a couple of artists you REALLY like, so I can pin you down.


If you ever want to get into it, just ask. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I really enjoy tshowing others the power of programming.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:40 am

noisevoid wrote:Lots of hip hop and spacey beats, bass and electronica/dance, dubstep, etc. Stuff like Flying Lotus, Justice, Gang Starr, Bassnectar, Jay Dee, Samiyam, AFTA-1, Ginormous, Nero. I mean, I like to listen to a LOT of east-coast 80's and 90's rap, and lately i've been listening to a lot of trap.

Outside of that, I'll listen to just about anything except pop country or smooth jazz. On the weirder side, I am a huge fan of The Residents, Mr. Bungle (and pretty much everything else Mike Patton does), Primus, Sleepytime Gorrilla Museum, R. Stevie Moore. I enjoy quite a lot of Ska, reggae, punk, psycho-billy, lots of indie and post-rock. I like the cramps, cadillac tramps, Sublime, Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, Why?, Deerhunter, Boards of Canada, GY!BE, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and even some metal (i love me some stoner doom...) like Ufomammut and Electric Wizard, and even more classical-sounding stuff like Yann Tiersen or mozart/beethoven, and i can get down to music like The Very Best (which is more like world music), or downtempo shoe-gazey stuff like The Black Heart Procession or The One AM Radio, or minimalist techno like The Field. I will listen to old country and delta blues, and to be honest, one of my favorite albums is Hank Williams III `Straight to Hell`. I listen to so much fucking music that even writing this post has been hard, since I've forgotten so many artists. :shameface:

tl;dr i meant it, i'll listen to just about anything. just not pop country or smooth jazz. and i like east-coats 80's and 90's hip hop.


Right on! I like a lot of the same things. Especially the 80's/90's rap. But I also like west coast stuff, too. Dre, Snoop, all the popular stuff from the early 90's. I actually do like a lot of "classic" country as well as 80's and early 90's "pop" country - but I do NOT like contemporary pop country. Also, 80's pop music in general is a favorite of mine - especially 80's new wave and synthpop stuffs. But my heart and soul belongs to electro-industrial. Favorite artists include, but are not limited to: Skinny Puppy, Velvet Acid Christ, Wumpscut, Combichrist, Front Line Assembly, and even NiN. :)
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:42 am

noisevoid wrote:If you ever want to get into it, just ask. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I really enjoy tshowing others the power of programming.


I do want. But I have no idea where to start.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby MetroSonus » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:19 pm

and even NiN. :)


I like... and even smashing pumpkins. :lol: :facepalm:

I"m assuming you mean he's still likable in a regrettable way despite being stuck in a locked groove. :lol: :facepalm:

I mean, heh, it's nice being on your own forum where nobody will even attempt to kick your ass (and that's not a challenge ?:mad:/) for even suggesting that it's merely an act. Like, shall we say that bladerunner was merely a good sci fi film? :lol:

It feels good to get those old school fightin' words out. It's like using irrelevant racial slurs. Or what joy.

If you ever want to get into it, just ask. Everyone has to start somewhere, and I really enjoy tshowing others the power of programming.


I used to be quite ambitious. But after a musical hiatus, I've found that I've gone back to my roots and I'm far, far happier with sampling and using mostly software instruments / effects while keeping some hardware around for fun.
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:26 pm

MetroSonus wrote:I like... and even smashing pumpkins. :lol: :facepalm:

I"m assuming you mean he's still likable in a regrettable way despite being stuck in a locked groove. :lol: :facepalm:

I mean, heh, it's nice being on your own forum where nobody will even attempt to kick your ass (and that's not a challenge ?:mad:/) for even suggesting that it's merely an act. Like, shall we say that bladerunner was merely a good sci fi film? :lol:

It feels good to get those old school fightin' words out. It's like using irrelevant racial slurs. Or what joy.


lol

Hey, I like the Pumpkins!

What I meant, though, was nothing quite so sinister. The other artists I mention, with *maybe* the exception of Skinny Puppy, aren't even close to "mainstream" acts. NiN is quite mainstream, and Trent is single-handedly responsible for shining a very bright stage light on the electro-industrial genre. Personally, I think Trent Reznor is a sample, synth, and musical genius. I don't get star struck, ever, but I think the one exception to that would be meeting Trent. I would freeze up, babbledrool, and probably pass out. I don't think I could stand to be in the same room with so much awesomeness. Which is why when I've seen him in concert, I've made sure that they were all outdoor venues :D
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby MetroSonus » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:40 pm

I have no issue with NIN :lol: Just the way you said that kinda of made me think of :poke: and all the old virtual fist fights people would get into. Yea there was always SP, FLA ect on one side and then the NIN folks on the other who eventually moved onto bands like coal chamber etc.

And c'mon man.... what about flood?? :poke:
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:47 pm

You WOULD bring up Coal Chamber - one of my admittedly guiltiest pleasures! :lol:
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby MetroSonus » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:16 pm

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Come at me bro :lol:
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:36 pm

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NOE. Hmph.


(also, that Evanescence shirt. LOLOLOLOL)
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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby selfinflikted » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:41 pm

Also, I googled "lame goth kids" to find an appropriate comeback pic. I was not at all disappointed in the results. hehehe

But this. This is an awesome pic. I love me some old school Manson.

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Re: Simple Hardware Question...

Postby MetroSonus » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:11 pm

did you ever see this one?

http://gothsuptrees.net/
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