Hey I just wanted to clarify something for everyone. For the work I am currently doing, I am utilizing the Caustic Android app on two platforms. I am currently using it on Android when I am out of the apartment, but when I am in I am using the ported version for Windows.
Why? Well for some reason the keyboard is not connecting properly to my Kindle Fire. I would love to do it all on my Kindle as the pure Android Caustic build is more stable, but for some reason the two devices just don’t agree. Generally I have to press 2 keys at the same time for the tablet to register any Midi signals. When it does register one key at a time, the notes won’t turn off.
I am hoping this issue will be solved when I get my new tablet, but in the meantime I can’t honestly say if cheap keyboards with cheap Midi adapters work on tablets. Researching the subject I found that Midi keyboards need to have “standard midi interface” meaning they don’t require additional drivers for windows.
I am going to try and make it to a local music shop to try out some “completely compliant” keyboards with my Kindle. Hopefully that will narrow down whether it’s my tablet or the keyboard.
Took the wife out shopping last night and had some time to mess around with the Subsynth in Caustic 2. I need to go over the tutorials again, but I ended up making a cool wobble that would sound good for a dance song intro. Feel free to download it and have a look.
I said I would have at least a preset up for peeps today, so here it is. The sample I used is from the tone bank on my Casio. I was flipping through it looking for sounds for future projects and thought that this sounded fairly unique. Also the scratching sound from my headphone jack seems to disappear as tones are transmitted, so it came out fairly clean.
To add this to your preset archive copy the .pcmsynth file into the pcmsynth preset folder. You will need a file explorer to do this and I would recommend looking up the app “ES File Explorer” on Google Play. Enjoy.
CASIO VOICE BS.PCMSYNTH
I will also have a new page archiving samples as I make them soon.
Wow… I have to say that the wait for converter cable has been totally worth it. I finally hooked the keyboard up to Caustic 2 today and even without the ability to record live, being able to test different keys out in real time is so nice. Even with the latency on most devices, having the ability to at least sound things out in real time streamlines the production process a LOT!
In other news, i’m going to try to make some presets for Caustic today out of samples from my Casio. Unfortunately there is an ungodly hissing sound coming out of the headphone jack, which is the only sound out. Going to try it anyway, the presets may only be good for super LoFi projects. We’ll see, I should have some up tomorrow.
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.
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?
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.
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.
So I finally have some progress for my first track. I originally thought that I was going to start a completely new project, but decided against it and built off of that loop I posted way back.
I was having issues trying to get a melody going with anything other than a piano sample, so I tried to use the Subsynth to make a bass melody (if that is even possible). So far the song is about half as long as it should be. The intro is only 2 bars, the verse is 4 bars and the chorus is 8 bars at the moment.
To help with visual aid I have the pic below to help break down which part of the song is which.
It’s VERY basic, but I don’t think it’s too shabby for a first try. Also I noticed if you aren’t using decent headphones you can’t hear some of the subsynth. I need to go back and raise the frequencies so anyone can enjoy it properly. WIP.
Still nothing to show! I have been trying to figure out a good melody, learning theory, watching videos, reading tutorials. I think I have chords, scales and all that good stuff down, but it’s hard to put it to practice! So here is a big link on melody tips to keep you busy.
P.S. I think it may be easier to build a melody off a beat than a beat off of a melody.
*Edit: I thought I already posted about scales, but I guess not.
This is important to learn so pay a little attention. Here are some cheat sheets for learning the Major and Minor Scales on the go. In the following information T=Tone (two keys over) S=Semitone (one key over). Also for these examples my root key will be C. Have a play with a synth or piano or midi keyboard to listen for the differences.
Major Scale: Root Key – T – T – S – T – T – T – S or C -D – E – F – G – A – B
Natural Minor Scale: Root Key – T – S – T – T – S – T – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A Flat – B Flat – C
Harmonic Minor Scale: Root Key – T – S – T – T – S – T+S (a tone and a half) – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A Flat – B – C
Now comes the tricky one. The following is the Melodic Minor Scale. Unlike the other scales, this one is not played the same in reverse.
Chromatic Minor Scale Ascending: Follow the “Natural Minor Scale” but raise the 6th and 7th note a semi ton
i.e. Root Key – T – S – T – T – T – T – T or C – D – E Flat – F – G – A – B – C
Chromatic Minor Scale Descending: Same pattern as the “Natural Minor Scale”