Bare minimum for Electronic Music? (For Just Starting)
Hey all, hows it going. I'm new to the forums, and I have a question. What would be considered a bare minimum to create electronic music? I have FL Studio and Sony ACID Home Studio. What would be some basic hardware required to make this successful? Or am I able to get away with just using FL Studio and ACID? Is there any advice anyone can share?
It depends on what kind of music you're going for. In general FL Studio is a good start; simple to understand what's going on. If you've got ideas you can certainly make it work for you. You won't find too many pro-level DJs or electronic musicians running FL but it's a huge favorite among hobbyists because you get a lot of good features for the price.
As for other genres, Ableton Live is popular among a lot of house and DnB people (okay it's popular among a lot of people in general but it seems these genres in particular). It's also an absolute must for glitch. You can get it for $149 if you buy the Launchpad.
If you're running FL 8 or 9 you may notice that the packaged sounds are decent at best...if you want to expand your sound library you can find plenty of free (or not free) plugins.
As far as hardware, if you haven't replaced your built in sound card then that's a must. Since I'm guessing you won't be doing too much I/O even a simple one will work; you just want something that'll sound better than what's built in. Even with excellent speakers, a built in sound card gives you zero idea of what your tracks sound like.
From my experience, having a piece of real analog gear or playing a real instrument will give you the feel and understanding that no software-synth or software-plugin can. This is, of coarse, if you are trying to make music that sounds as if an actual person had a part in its production.
My 2 cents:
The best investment would be ANALOG external synth modules/keyboards that have an AUDIO INPUT. This way you get a sound module and FX module in one - and the fact it's analog usually sells itself in the sound - in addition, the resale/investment is almost always better (with digital stuff they come out with a new model every other year, right?)
You want to sound different: pickup some analog or quality-digital guitar-effects-pedals, run sound out to them and back into your computer. Do long sweeps on the effect-parameters or in rhythm with the beats BY HAND - this really adds the "human element"
I'd stay away from the following:
1. Sampling groove boxes - I've had two of them (SP-505 and MC-909) - Ableton Live on a laptop is far better, easier, quicker, and fun.
2. Digital multi-effects processors. For the most part, they are crap compared to an analog pedal or rack mount effect. They have a ton of features and sounds, yes, but don't sacrifice quality for quantity. (After hearing the SansAmp pedals at Gear Fest, I'd be interested in seeing/hearing their PSA-1.1 it's an rack mount analog guitar multi fx processor)
A closing thought on analog vs. digital: let your computer do all the digital stuff and buy analog external gear when it makes sense or when you got the cash.