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Old 10-28-2017, 11:45 AM
newmusic newmusic is offline
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Default What Do I Need To Get Started?

Hi,

I am new to this. I have played piano in the past but really want to try creating soundtrack music. I love James Horner soundtracks and am aiming to create stuff like that. I am looking to create movie soundtrack type of music. I just want to create and have fun while learning as I go. So here are the things I understand I need to use the EW library.

1. A Midi Keyboard. (Any recommendations for a decent one at $200 or under?)

2. A pretty good computer. (But can I do it with only 1 computer?)

3. Eastwest monthly subscription of the sound library. (But does this come with software and interface to actually create the music?)

Those are the things I understand that I need. I am considering the M-Audio Oxygen 49 MKIV keyboard, Novation launchkey 61 as well as the Novation Impulse 61. I am not sure what to get though.

I am hoping that a good gaming computer will also work for creating music? If so, is music creation really extensive in processing power? Do I have to worry about it "ruining" my gaming PC? I really am eager to get started. I feel like the EW services have really opened up a creative outlet I am super excited but literally do not know what I am doing lol. Any tips or advice and I would be thankful.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-29-2017, 07:00 AM
jdmcox jdmcox is offline
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PianoRollComposer is a fairly simple free Windows program you could use.
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Old 10-30-2017, 03:57 AM
Oldfield Oldfield is offline
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You could use Reaper for free for a while, thereafter it's cheap, but I never got on well with it.
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Old 10-30-2017, 10:32 AM
Dominik Raab Dominik Raab is offline
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Hi newmusic, and welcome to the wonderful world of EastWest!

Here's what you need in order to get started. I'm trying to create a comprehensive, exhaustive list. If there are any questions left, don't hesitate - just ask.
  • A computer. A gaming computer should work (I'm working with one, although I'm going to upgrade my setup pretty soon). Bear in mind, though, that some of the instruments are very demanding on your system. If you're getting the cheaper Composer Cloud subscription, that one includes Gold versions of the newer ("Hollywood") instruments. Those come with only one microphone position, but are much lighter on the system. Diamond version (most expensive CC subscription) are way more demanding.
  • Computer hardware: Solid State Drives (SSDs) are always the best option. You don't necessarily need them for Gold, especially if you're not interested in creating a huge template with all instruments ready to go (like an "orchestra preset"), but they help. The more RAM, the better, and a fast processor is great as well.
  • Audio interface: A USB or Firewire interface (there are internal ones, but those are more on the professional, expensive side, in my opinion) is like an external sound card. You should really, really, really get one. Internal sound cards are far from optimal for audio creation (as opposed to audio consumption, listening to music, playing games). The latency (time it takes from pressing a piano button to hearing a sound) is much lower with an external interface. Investing in this is crucial, in my opinion. Nothing kills creativity faster than a delay between what you're playing and what you're hearing.
  • As you rightly said, a keyboard: I personally wouldn't want to miss my 88-key one (relatively cheap M-Audio Keystation ES 88), but you can start out with a smaller one. I don't know about dollar prices depending on where you live, but the one I have is €189 in Europe. That's a great price for 88 keys.
  • Keyboard accessories: The keyboard you choose should absolutely have a modwheel. It's a control element that enables you to change parameters like timbre/volume or vibrato on the fly (depending on the instrument). With the Hollywood series, it is absolutely crucial to use CC#1 and CC#11 (1 is modwheel and controls either vibrato or timbre, 11 is expression and controls timbre for instruments where 1 controls modwheel). It sounds harder than it really is, you'll get the hang of it - but you should be able to control those. CC#1 is your modwheel, and CC#11 can either be controlled with an expression pedal (a relatively cheap accessory that plugs into your keyboard) or with a controller like the Korg nanoKontrol 2. It's incredibly cheap (€55 for me) and has eight faders that can be assigned to different CCs. You can theoretically do all that with your mouse after you recorded your phrase, but having physical controllers makes it so much more intuitive, efficient and quick.
  • A host program/sequencer: In simplified terms, East West instruments only create sound - they don't record it. Your host program (Cubase, Reaper, FL Studio, Ableton Live ...) is where it all comes together and can be recorded, arranged, modified. I personally work with Cubase, and I think it's bloody awesome, but if you're not sure if the investment is worth it, you can try Reaper - like Oldfield suggested.
  • Internal hard drive space: If you get the cheaper CC subscription, the Gold versions are downloadable and you'll need enough hard drive space (SSD is best, 7200 RPM HDD is okay, slower than that is a bit shit). Your samples (instruments) should not be on the same drive as your operating system (Windows, I presume). That's bad. Don't do that. If, however, you buy the more expensive version of CC with Diamond versions, you're going to need a sample drive (that you can buy here), because Diamond versions cannot be downloaded. The drive you're getting then should not be used to stream Diamond versions; it's to slow. It's just a transport/delivery/backup medium. You will need an internal hard drive that is not included.
  • Good headphones or speakers: Consumer headphones and speakers aren't great for music production - they change the sound too much. Perfect representation of what you're doing is probably not going to happen in your price range, but some audio interfaces (see above) come in bundles with headphones. Those are often not that bad. I'm actually using a Presonus bundle myself.

Hope that helps!

Last edited by admin; 11-06-2017 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 11-05-2017, 11:58 AM
newmusic newmusic is offline
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Wow great replies. I went ahead and bought the Nektar Impact Lx88+ after seeing so much good info about it online. I hope this is a good choice for using EastWest? Step 1 complete I am planning on buying a gaming computer. But I am a little worried EastWest could slow down my new computer? Is that possible? I certainly don't want to ruin a new computer.

How much will the additional stuff cost besides the computer and keyboard? After seeing the big list above me, I am worried I will not be able to afford this all. Thanks for the help

Last edited by admin; 11-06-2017 at 08:14 AM.
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  #6  
Old 11-06-2017, 07:52 AM
jspencer jspencer is offline
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Good choice with the Nektar, I love mine. It has great DAW integration, so once you learn the ropes in the world of MIDI, you'll find its features useful.

Why do you need a gaming computer? Unless you're playing some hardcore games that require top-notch graphics, that is not necessary. You could have a custom PC built by a local shop for well under $1500. This, plus an interface and studio monitors (or headphones) will get you started! Just follow Dominik's excellent suggestions.
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Old 11-06-2017, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dominik Raab View Post
Hi newmusic, and welcome to the wonderful world of EastWest!

Here's what you need in order to get started. I'm trying to create a comprehensive, exhaustive list. If there are any questions left, don't hesitate - just ask.
  • A computer. A gaming computer should work (I'm working with one, although I'm going to upgrade my setup pretty soon). Bear in mind, though, that some of the instruments are very demanding on your system. If you're getting the cheaper Composer Cloud subscription, that one includes Gold versions of the newer ("Hollywood") instruments. Those come with only one microphone position, but are much lighter on the system. Diamond version (most expensive CC subscription) are way more demanding.
  • Computer hardware: Solid State Drives (SSDs) are always the best option. You don't necessarily need them for Gold, especially if you're not interested in creating a huge template with all instruments ready to go (like an "orchestra preset"), but they help. The more RAM, the better, and a fast processor is great as well.
  • Audio interface: A USB or Firewire interface (there are internal ones, but those are more on the professional, expensive side, in my opinion) is like an external sound card. You should really, really, really get one. Internal sound cards are far from optimal for audio creation (as opposed to audio consumption, listening to music, playing games). The latency (time it takes from pressing a piano button to hearing a sound) is much lower with an external interface. Investing in this is crucial, in my opinion. Nothing kills creativity faster than a delay between what you're playing and what you're hearing.
  • As you rightly said, a keyboard: I personally wouldn't want to miss my 88-key one (relatively cheap M-Audio Keystation ES 88), but you can start out with a smaller one. I don't know about dollar prices depending on where you live, but the one I have is €189 in Europe. That's a great price for 88 keys.
  • Keyboard accessories: The keyboard you choose should absolutely have a modwheel. It's a control element that enables you to change parameters like timbre/volume or vibrato on the fly (depending on the instrument). With the Hollywood series, it is absolutely crucial to use CC#1 and CC#11 (1 is modwheel and controls either vibrato or timbre, 11 is expression and controls timbre for instruments where 1 controls modwheel). It sounds harder than it really is, you'll get the hang of it - but you should be able to control those. CC#1 is your modwheel, and CC#11 can either be controlled with an expression pedal (a relatively cheap accessory that plugs into your keyboard) or with a controller like the Korg nanoKontrol 2. It's incredibly cheap (€55 for me) and has eight faders that can be assigned to different CCs. You can theoretically do all that with your mouse after you recorded your phrase, but having physical controllers makes it so much more intuitive, efficient and quick.
  • A host program/sequencer: In simplified terms, East West instruments only create sound - they don't record it. Your host program (Cubase, Reaper, FL Studio, Ableton Live ...) is where it all comes together and can be recorded, arranged, modified. I personally work with Cubase, and I think it's bloody awesome, but if you're not sure if the investment is worth it, you can try Reaper - like Oldfield suggested.
  • Internal hard drive space: If you get the cheaper CC subscription, the Gold versions are downloadable and you'll need enough hard drive space (SSD is best, 7200 RPM HDD is okay, slower than that is a bit shit). Your samples (instruments) should not be on the same drive as your operating system (Windows, I presume). That's bad. Don't do that. If, however, you buy the more expensive version of CC with Diamond versions, you're going to need a sample drive (that you can buy here), because Diamond versions cannot be downloaded. The drive you're getting then should not be used to stream Diamond versions; it's to slow. It's just a transport/delivery/backup medium. You will need an internal hard drive that is not included.
  • Good headphones or speakers: Consumer headphones and speakers aren't great for music production - they change the sound too much. Perfect representation of what you're doing is probably not going to happen in your price range, but some audio interfaces (see above) come in bundles with headphones. Those are often not that bad. I'm actually using a Presonus bundle myself.

Hope that helps!
And this why we love Dominik, you would have to do a LOT of research to get this information otherwise ... thank you Dominik!
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2017, 10:42 AM
newmusic newmusic is offline
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I downloaded BigWig 8 Track because it came with my Impact Lx88+. I have been playing around with my keyboard but am not crazy about the sounds bitwig comes with.

My current computer is running BitWig fine. Maybe I don't need a new computer? Could I just join the monthly subscription and download a few libraries to a external hard drive? Is that going to slow down my computer? Why does sounds online require a good computer? If BitWig runs without any issues that is a good sign right? Thanks
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Old 11-06-2017, 01:14 PM
jspencer jspencer is offline
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Any DAW (Windows based) will run fine on just about any PC, it's the performance that comes into play once you start loading instruments. More instruments=more resources. Bitwig is okay for creating basic sequences, but you will definitely want more than eight tracks once you get going. For your needs, I highly recommend Cubase Elements or Reaper.

What EW means by a "good" computer is that you need to meet the minimum specs they mention on the website. And it's always good practice to go above and beyond the minimum.

What are your current computer specs?
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Old 11-06-2017, 02:07 PM
newmusic newmusic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspencer View Post
Any DAW (Windows based) will run fine on just about any PC, it's the performance that comes into play once you start loading instruments. More instruments=more resources. Bitwig is okay for creating basic sequences, but you will definitely want more than eight tracks once you get going. For your needs, I highly recommend Cubase Elements or Reaper.

What EW means by a "good" computer is that you need to meet the minimum specs they mention on the website. And it's always good practice to go above and beyond the minimum.

What are your current computer specs?
Thanks for the reply. My computer has Intel Core i5-4210U CPU @1.7 GHz 2.40 GHz. Installed Ram is 6 GB with 5.9 Useable. I am running Windows 8. My C Drive has 910 GB free for storage.

But, I want to buy an external hard drive. Will I be able to run the $24.99 monthly subscription? Will I run the risk of permanently slowing down my laptop or anything like that? Thanks
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