Putting Samples in Caustic 2

Hey all. So my ventures into chopping and sampling have been thus far… Sub par at best. But I figured it would be worth showing everyone a trick I learned from the Caustic forums that enables you to step sequence samples you may have or may have chopped.

Utilizing PCMsynth I have provided a 6 step tutorial below

1) Open a new PCMsynth. Long click the “Sample” button

pcm1

 

2) Select the sample you want to use. Here I Selected a Kick drum

pcmsynth2

 

3) Long press the root key button, then press the keyboard key you want to use.

– If this is your only sample match it to the root note of the sample and you are done

– If this is one of multiple samples you want to insert, choose a root key and continue following the tutorial (C4 is a good key to start with)

pcmsynth3

 

4) Long press Lowkey and match it to the root key

pcmsynth4

 

5) Long press Highkey and match it to the root key

– The sample will now be stuck to the root key and not work with any other

pcmsynth5

 

6) Short press sample and turn the dial to select the next sample

– Follow the tutorial again for however many samples you would like to insert, just utilize another root key

pcmsynth6

 

In other news I have figured out how to sample my Casio and as I mentioned before it has some interesting percussion samples. I think while I am figuring out this chopping nonsense I am going to take some very LowFi .wav samples for people to have fun with. Who knows maybe there will be a PCMsynth preset with them.

There are also some fun sounds so I will most likely sample some of those over time as well.

Format Changes?

The more I research Midi controllers, PC DAW’s etc. the more I feel like I need to change the format of this blog. While waiting for my Midi converter to show up so I can start doing those online piano lessons, I have concluded that I have come to a bit of a road block regarding android music production.

Therefore I am beginning to realize that my blog should probably be less Android focused and more “Learning Music Production on the Cheap”

I have all sorts of articles I could start writing about pertaining to powerful free Virtual Instruments, links on how to use powerful, yet inexpensive PC/MAC DAWs like Reaper. I also believe that by doing this I could reach out to a larger audience.

We will see what happens, but I expect to start doing mixed articles on Inexpensive Android and PC production shortly.

For everyone following my blog and people that are just visiting, feel free to comment on what you think about me doing this. Thanks y’all.

Scratch that. Frank Malm from Musical Android made some very good points in the nice comment that he left. Expect this to remain an Android Based Production Blog.

Making it Easier

As time has progressed over the past three weeks I have come to realize that even regarding basic hip hop production, it is very difficult to produce anything without some sort of musical training. So while I continue to experiment and post stuff on here I will also be learning to play piano (pretty sure I mentioned that earlier).

Since I don’t really know what I am doing I have decided that teaching myself out of a book or off of youtube might be a little difficult. So after a little research I found an interesting computer product called “Piano Marvel.”

Piano Marvel is an online music teaching program set up with a subscription fee and requiring a Midi enabled keyboard controller. From what I have read online it is a fairly viable way to learn the basics. The Midi component allows the program to track errors you are making and provide you with dependable feedback. It costs about $12 or $15 a month and allows you to take unlimited lessons while subscribed. I have the link to the website below as well as a nice review I found on it. Have a look, I’m going to at least try out the free demo month to see how it works.

http://www.pianomarvel.com/

The following link is the review website. Note it also includes how it stacks up to other computer based music learning programs.

http://piano-lesson-software-review.toptenreviews.com/piano-marvel-review.html

55513-piano-marvel-box

Chop Progress

I finally got around to trying to chop that song. So far I seem to be getting be getting good samples that go together quite well, but honestly I can’t sequence them to sound catchy. I think I may be barking up the wrong tree… Perhaps I will start off with what others recommended and switch to a classical or jazz song.

Either way it’s fun. I’m also starting to get a good enough sense of rythym to use Su-Preme MPA. I can more or less accurately combine chopped samples to seamlessly sequence parts of the original song. 165ms audio latency schmatency…

Once I get a song chopped decently I will try to post the samples and HOPEFULLY a PCMsynth preset so other can mess around with it. My new casio keyboard also has some fun sounds that I may sample and make presets for PCMsynth, so look out for that. Can’t wait to get my Midi to USB cable next week!

If you’re wondering how I know I am making decent chops, have a look a few posts back at my original article on the subject.

No media to post today SORRY!

The New (but really old) Casio

So I did it! I went out and got myself a keyboard and oh man is it nice to be able to sound things out without having click triggers in a step sequencer. I ended up getting the Casio CTK-700 model from 2005 that I used as an example in the previous post. It works well and I have a Midi to USB converter on the way.

I read online that it is a solid keyboard, but doesn’t have touch sensitive keys. What this means is that it always outputs the same volume no matter how far you press the keys. But what can I say, I got it for $20 and I’m loving it. I’ll have a pic of it up soon, with the super cheap setup I will be using for future non-android based work.
image

Jealous much?

Synthesizer vs Midi Controller

I apologize for the lack of updates. I had a job interview today which went well. I have also decided I will not be working on the blog/any projects during my wife’s days off.

I still wanted to throw something up today, so I decided I would talk about an alternative to purchasing expensive midi keyboard controllers.

Just in case you don’t know the difference (as I did not) between a midi controller and a synthesizer, here they are.

Midi Controllers

Midi controllers generally do not play their own sounds. They include a number of programmable sliders and nobs to streamline your DAW, and require you to utilize sound generating VST plugins (virtual instruments) in your DAW to generate sound. Many of them include USB to USB contacts so that you can plug the controller (keyboard) directly into your laptop. Controllers also tend to be more compact as they don’t need room for tone generators and internal speakers.

Synthesizers

On the other hand there are synthesizers. Synthesizers have the ability to generate their own sounds (not very nice sounding unless you drop some cash) and can have “analog” Midi ports adding Midi Controller functionality. These are going to be a LOT larger due to the tone generating components and speakers.

The Point

Now where am I going with this? Often times you can find large older Synthesizers with Midi Controlling capabilities that are FAR less expensive than buying a new (or used) slim line Midi Controller Keyboards. I have found older, decent, entry level synths with Midi controlling capabilities going second hand for about $50, that have 61 full sized keys. Second hand 25 micro key controllers can go for as little as $60 and 49 micro key controllers seem to go for as little as $100.

A lot of people have the opinion that older synth keybeds can feel nicer than modern controllers, but you lose the portability and sliders/nob functionality.

I know that I would like to learn music theory, which requires me to have more than 49 keys. I am also more concerned about price than having programmable nobs and sliders (especially since this is an android based blog and I plan on using TouchDAW anyway). I also have a bed frame tall enough to slide a large keyboard under when I am not using it. Therefore I think a cheap synth with midi control is the best option.

Finally, do remember if you decide to go with an old synthesizer, you need to purchase an Analog to USB midi converter and download appropriate drivers for your computer. The converters seem to run $20-$30 in stores, but you can get them for closer to $6 on ebay.

Here are some visuals on the difference between a controller and a synth.

ph_ctk700

This is an old Casio 61 key CTK-700 Synthesizer. Works as a Midi Controller and goes for about $50 second hand.

korg 25
This is Korg 25 Key Midi Controller. Notice it is more slim lines and has programmable buttons. Retails new around $75

Chopping Samples

I’m on to my next project. Despite the awful Audio Latency on my Kindle Fire, I’m going to give Su-preme MPA a shot.

This time I am going to try chopping and sampling an already made track using Niko Twenty’s Sonic Chop. I’ve already had a go messing around with it, and the app is VERY user friendly. It looks like the easiest genres to chop and use in hip hop tend to be classical, jazz etc. I think for my first track I am going to use “300 m.p.h Torrential Outpour Blues” by the White Stripes.

I did some research on how to get clean chops, but I ultimately learned you just need to experiment yourself. On the other hand the following video has some very helpful tips. One of the biggest recommendations I read online is to make sure when you play your sample that you can loop it and it sounds natural. Also try to start each chop on a beat. Yeah. Watch the video and have fun.

Just so everyone knows I will not always be focusing on hip hop. I just thought it would be a fun genre to start producing in.

First Track is Done

Well I finally finished that track. It’s kind of boring in the beginning, but I don’t think it is too shabby for a first go. Unfortunately I can’t upload it… There appears to be something wrong with my soundcloud account. I’ll have up as soon as the problem clears.

Until then, does anyone have a suggestion of a track to chop?

Android Touch DAW Controller

I stumbled upon a cool app today on the Google App store called “Touch DAW.”

Ever see those bulky midi controller that a lot of professionals or more advanced producers use? Well this app takes the the same functionality as that hardware, but utilized your android device.

Unfortunately it needs a supported PC Digital Audio Work Station for it to work 100% as the controls have program specific presets. I managed to get it working with a program called “Reason” and it’s quite nifty not having to click all the nobs and slider in the actual program with a mouse. I tried to get it going with a couple of unsupported programs like the free “Linux Multi Media Studio” and Open Labs “Stagelight” but the functionality was too limited and in the end not worth it.

It also has a midi controlling Drum Pad with a Y/X modulator (no idea what the Y/X thing does yet) and a midi keyboard controller. Two hiccups I have found in Touch DAW is that sometimes the Drum Pads get stuck in the on position and my Kindle only supports 2 touches making it difficult to use the keyboard.

For around $6 it seems worth it if you are using one of the programs it natively supports. Reason seems to be the most reasonably priced out of all of them at only $60, but you need to provide your own instrument plug-ins and it also lacks a step sequencer like Caustic 2 has.

Here is a link to the developers site.

http://www.humatic.de/htools/touchdaw/

 

Making Progress

Been working on that track for a while today. Brought the subsynth up an octave and you can already hear it better. Honestly though, I’m getting a little bored with it. I would like to and probably will just put an ending on it and call it good.

In my next project I am going to try something a little different. Instead of starting from scratch I am going to use the app “Sonic Chop” from the google app store to chop up a song I like so I can try to do a remixish type deal. It sounds like just chopping tracks into samples is very time consuming, so this could take a while just to get rolling. I also need to add Sonic Chop to my app page, which I will get around to eventually.

In other news during my job hunt I have been researching small midi keyboards, besides the Akai MPK Mini. I am actually thinking about getting a Korg Microkey 37 key controller. I’ve found that with the constricted space in a studio apartment a smaller keyboard would be good and I am getting more interested in playing piano, so something bigger than a 25 key would be nice. Also if I ever work with a desktop DAW there is an Android app I can use as a midi drum pad, making that part of the Akai less necessary.

Here’s a link to the specific model I am talking about. I wish I still had access to amazon, being in Australia now. This sucker will end up running me $109 if I end up getting it.

http://www.amazon.com/Korg-MICROKEY37-37-Key-Midi-Controller/dp/B007VQIGPW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1371884174&sr=8-1&keywords=korg+microkey