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Thread: Entering the world of digital music again. with open source, vst synths, soundfonts

  1. #16
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    As far as LMMS is concerned: I tried it, but found it too limiting. It is similar to an open source Fruity Loops, and as such, more aimed at loop-based music - which I have uses for, but my needs went well beyond what I could achieve in LMMS. It is also not possible to record audio tracks directly in LMMS and I need recording.

    Anyway, LMMS can't reach the lofty heights of Reaper

    But I did learn about the ZynAddSubFX open source synth via LMMS, and I am using that
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  2. #17
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayek View Post
    I played keyboard / synth / electric organ until my early twenties, and then lost interest. Similar to you, last November I felt like I wanted to play music again.

    After some exhaustive research I purchased the Alesis VI61, and it's a joy to play! WAY better than the DX21 and Yamaha keyboard I used to have (my fav synth was the DX7 at the time, but its pricing was way out of my league). The Alesis VI61 has 61 keys (88 is too much for me), a nice drumpad, and most importantly the keys are weighted and even have after-touch, which is just absolutely awesome to add more feel to your playing. It is SO much better than what I remember playing on. An outstanding keyboard, in particular for the relatively low price asked.

    Interestingly enough after two or three times of practice, my brain somehow rebooted, and it's as if I never stopped playing. I can still play various Jean Michel Jarre pieces from memory. And my own composed tidbits. It's still all there!

    I did a lot of testing and research to find my "perfect" DAW, and I finally settled on Reaper. Really like it, and it will grow with me. Very inexpensive, and even the shareware version will continue to be fully functional, aside from a nag screen reminding you to register. As RaymondTrace points out, the market for DAWs has experienced some major disruptions throughout the past few years. Reaper is one of those: a professional DAW which can easily compete with the 'big ones'.

    I even found a free DX7 VST: Dexed. With tons of sound libraries - including ones used for various 80s movies. Loads of fun to play around with these, and combining various VSTs with other instruments is just plain fun. Things have really progressed since last time I created my own synth sounds.

    Find the library with links to compatible DX7 VSTs here: https://dxsysex.com/

    Otherwise, keep an eye out for the latest Computer Music Magazine, which still sports the cover DVD with a fine collection of 80 or so VSTs.

    Links where I found other great free VST instruments:
    https://blog.landr.com/best-free-vst-plugins/
    https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/free-vst-plugins/
    https://www.spitfireaudio.com/labs/


    Soundfonts (sforzando is a free soundfonts player):
    https://www.plogue.com/products/sforzando.html
    https://www.flstudiomusic.com/2010/0...oundfonts.html
    https://vis.versilstudios.com/vsco-community.html

    I like playing with orchestral instruments as well, so the sound font links are predisposed towards my preferences.
    Yes, exciting that the brain can pick up memories like that, itīs not that you whiped out those memory sectors, or overwritten them with other memories, the memory banks seem to be there to recall most of the time..if you got a healthy brain in general that is.

    I need to get a midikeyboard rigged before I can say the same and how the kinematic motions and memories are connecting, not fun to use a standard computer keyboard which also may be midiwrapped wrong, still havenīt rigged my D50 either, have a lot to clean up in my storage room before I will do that.

    Thanks for all the links of soundfounts and free VST plugins, and yes, dexed is one of the first I also installed, as for LMMS, Personally right now I will not need direct recording from analog instruments, but yes..some people are wishing for that feature..but are recommended to use audacity for that, but if you need both the LMMS midi and recording with other sounds...that is a limitation.

    Vestige is the LMMS addon you use to load other vst plugins like dexed or spitfire audio, rolend pg 238,(my brother thought it was useless because he couldnīt use vst plugins ..he thought)

    I personally prefer the rolend pg 238 over dexed in the sense I feel I can modulate the sound more as I want it in rolend, changing envelopes,lfoīs etc to control length, attack, release..fade out decay etc.....than using dexed, thanks for the links to that DX7 library will look at that.
    The problem with rolend is that the programs I save and load, seem to change parameters differently from what I originally saved...sometimes, not sure what it is, but that is no good.

    Not buying magazines anymore, I am just cleaning up several years from the 90īs of old music, photo, film and computer magazines, and boy how much money spent on that.

    And yes, the links to spitfire audio, I mentioned that as well, so I have maybe 5 downloaded now, will check all the free ones of course, it takes a lot of storage though due to high quality sampling.


    But apart from LMMS not able to record audio, what other limitations do you find in it?
    I like the effect chains you can add to each instrument to enhance by equaliser or reverbs.

    As for MT powerdrumkit 2 and getting those pre-made grooves in to LMMS as editable miditracks, see my post 7 and the youtube video..where the presenter shows how to "Hack" the grooves and copy them to notepad ++, then saving out to midi files and reload, so I have some work to do that with the best grooves and store as midi tracks.

  3. #18

    looks nice.




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  4. #19
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post
    looks nice.




    11 Reasons why I Switched from Pro Tools to Reaper
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKCvJsG-zrQ
    60 USD for a personal license, If I decide to continue with the soundcarpetry, it would be a fair price.
    225 USD if by any chance making commercial income on it, that seems fair as well.

    Havenīt downloaded it yet, but surely have to, I love the UI and colors, slick...some remarks that if you are a beginner, it isnīt that easy to use, but I learn most software very quickly.

    NO 1 prio would be a midi keyboard right now though.

    The ZynAddSubFX has a lot of instruments, which I didnīt notice before...so that will take some time to check which instruments to mark for use, that is the tedious part..you sort of need to fire up a notepad to register what banks are of interest and which instruments, stick to that and discard the others you donīt find interesting, there are so much instruments and sounds, if one were to constantly check all that, you would do nothing else than that and the amount of time spend on making music or soundtracks will be impacted in a bad way I would think.

    The ZynAddSubFX UI module inside of LMMS is unfortunately not so good, I can not switch instrument while playing on the keyboard (computer) may be different with a proper midi keyboard..so that is why I soon need one..the UI closes as well when trying to change fx chain in LMMS, usually I can use for instance the Vestige plugin for other vst and itīs interface for that instrument and change the effect chain without it closing, you can often click on the top left icon of the vst plugin and mark (stay on top) but not with the UI control of the zynAddSubFX.

  5. #20

    NO 1 prio would be a midi keyboard right now though.
    they are rather cheap these days.  

    strange tho' that so few of them have so few keys.

    seems to me a 88 key keyboard is the best by far (?)
    Last edited by erikals; 02-24-2020 at 04:22 AM.
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  6. #21
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post

    they are rather cheap these days.  

    strange tho' that so few of them have so few keys.

    seems to me a 88 key keyboard is the best by far (?)
    Canīt stand the limited key versions of Any keyboard, I need a large range indeed since I often go from those low and high notes.
    Rayek mentioned th The Alesis VI61 66 keys (only) with a good review, will have to look at that..but 66 keys, not sure, guess the price goes up considerably with the 88 keys.
    Reckon I need to visit the music shop and feel them out if possible, not only go by reference online etc.
    a fast check on the price is good, but I wonder if thereīs an 88 keys version of that model.
    Or look for the same properties if possible in another model.

  7. #22

    this one seemed neat >




    Reckon I need to visit the music shop and feel them out if possible, not only go by reference online etc.
    lots of experts online, on Youtube

    search for example >

    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...6+key+keyboard
    https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...1+key+keyboard


    another 88 one > M-AUDIO HAMMER 88
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcepxXXoRvE
    Last edited by erikals; 02-24-2020 at 04:32 AM.
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  8. #23

    but... gotta run...  
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  9. #24
    Not so newbie member lardbros's Avatar
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    I've always wanted to get into digital music and stuff too. Did a very minor bit at university, but it was always so expensive to do at home I never bothered. Decent samples also require HUGE amounts of RAM and disk space, and they do cost a fair bit if you want a whole orchestra.

    I'd be interested to see what comes out of this thread as I'd be keen to check some of the free tools out!

    Good luck Prometheus, hope your journey into digital music goes well!
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  10. #25
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lardbros View Post
    I've always wanted to get into digital music and stuff too. Did a very minor bit at university, but it was always so expensive to do at home I never bothered. Decent samples also require HUGE amounts of RAM and disk space, and they do cost a fair bit if you want a whole orchestra.

    I'd be interested to see what comes out of this thread as I'd be keen to check some of the free tools out!

    Good luck Prometheus, hope your journey into digital music goes well!
    Thankīs lardbros.
    And indeed, takes up space, at least disk space, these are the Free modules I managed to download and install so far, and more to download as well.

    From Spitfire Audio free samples..

    LABS Choir 223.5 MB
    LABS Frozen Strings 328.7 MB
    LABS Modular Piano 473.2 MB
    LABS Soft Piano 511 MB
    LABS Strings 777.2 MB

    These are installed on the hardDisk C..which is SSD.
    Would probably like to have them on a secondary drive... but that is a slower normal harddive, so not sure how good the response would be when accessing it from there.

    I would recommend trying LMMMS first, a bit tricky perhaps to know how the pianoroller works adding notes, deleting notes.. moving etc, setting repeatable loops.
    right click on a note in an open track in the piano roller.. removes it in draw mode, while if you want to delete a whole track in LMMS, you use middle mouse button.
    Ctrl right click in pianoroller in the top of the track where you adjust playing range, that way you can set the range for starting loop. and drag or jur right mouse click to drag according to the rythm template set.

    after adding addons, you can use that typical system gear icon with left mouse and clone the addon so you may start with one instrument finding it good, clone it and change it a bit for another track, or remove it.
    You can also move those addon instruments up and down as you please and rearrange, muting track on off is done there as well.

    Imports audiofiles, saves out wav and mp3, or midi.

    As long as you do not need direct audio recording that is, you may need something else like audacity, or cantabile..which I also have (free versions) or get reaper perhaps.
    Works fine to save out the whole song in one step, but saving out it as individual tracks to control in Davinci resolve or premiere etc, or you can choose to save it in one step with all tracks merged at once as well.

  11. #26
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    And for Cantabile to record live, you can use either table view, or wire view depending on if you are a node guy

    Remember to go to view and set on screen keyboard or use ctrl-k, itīīs the keyboard at the bottom, klick on that and it should adapt to your keyboard and you can play with multiple vst plugins mixed at once, piano, dexed, strings etc.
    Or just click on any single vst plugin keyboard to only use that instrument.

    Free lite version in both 32 bit and 64 bit.


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  12. #27
    RETROGRADER prometheus's Avatar
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    Oh...yes, forgot, you can not record with cantabile lite, only play on it..so you would at least need solo.

  13. #28
    Super Member vncnt's Avatar
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    I'm using Reason for fun.
    It's affordable and it comes in 3 upgradable editions: € 79, € 350, € 550.
    Reason has a very good interface with simulations of classic equipment (front + back) and their connectors.
    It has a great pitch editor (yes, even you can sing), a good DAW, lot's of instruments and effects.
    The latest version even has midi out.

    Many tutorials and intro videos: https://www.reasonstudios.com/en/reason

    You can buy additional plugins that emulate DX7, B3, Eminent/Solina Strings Ensemble, etc.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm using Reason for fun.
    It's affordable and it comes in 3 upgradable editions: € 79, € 350, € 550.
    Reason has a very good interface with simulations of classic equipment (front + back) and their connectors.
    It has a great pitch editor (yes, even you can sing), a good DAW, lot's of instruments and effects.
    The latest version even has midi out.

    Many tutorials and intro videos: https://www.reasonstudios.com/en/reason

    You can buy additional plugins that emulate DX7, B3, Eminent/Solina Strings Ensemble, etc.

  14. #29
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    Canīt stand the limited key versions of Any keyboard, I need a large range indeed since I often go from those low and high notes.
    Rayek mentioned th The Alesis VI61 66 keys (only) with a good review, will have to look at that..but 66 keys, not sure, guess the price goes up considerably with the 88 keys.
    Reckon I need to visit the music shop and feel them out if possible, not only go by reference online etc.
    a fast check on the price is good, but I wonder if thereīs an 88 keys version of that model.
    Or look for the same properties if possible in another model.
    I looked into getting the Aelsis Q88 keys, which was also quite affordable, but misses all the knobs and assignable MIDI controls.

    Also, you MUST visit a store to actually try the keyboard and its 'feel' while playing before making a purchase. And even then you may decide after a few days that the keys do not feel right for your particular style of playing. The guy who sold me the Alesis told me that he gets a lot of returns within a week because it is only after really playing for a few days that you can decide whether it feels right or not. And he's right, of course.

    In my teens I got used to those super-light springy keys, and Piano keys felt a bit too heavy for me. The Alesis feels just right, though. Heavier key action, and the after-touch is just brilliant. After-touch generally is only available with much more expensive controllers, in particular combined with quality keys.

    I have had M-Audio controllers in the past. Very flimsy quality and keys, but I hear they've improved somewhat. Not a fan of the key action, though.
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  15. #30
    Registered User Rayek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikals View Post

    they are rather cheap these days.  

    strange tho' that so few of them have so few keys.

    seems to me a 88 key keyboard is the best by far (?)
    Yes, I noticed that trend too when researching controllers last year.

    It's because of all the loopy kids. They don't need a larger keyboard: only one or two octaves, which they transpose on the various tracks that they are working on, one at a time. No need for two-handed playing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by prometheus View Post
    60 USD for a personal license, If I decide to continue with the soundcarpetry, it would be a fair price.
    225 USD if by any chance making commercial income on it, that seems fair as well.

    Havenīt downloaded it yet, but surely have to, I love the UI and colors, slick...some remarks that if you are a beginner, it isnīt that easy to use, but I learn most software very quickly.
    You don't even need to register Reaper after 60 days: it will continue to work, and display a nag-screen before starting a session. I only registered it last month.
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