Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Digi001 PT LE: Advice for synth/sequence/sample/loop


Recommended Posts

I am a guitar/bass player who has been out of the recording studio for 15 years now getting back to recording and anticipating purchase of Digi001 PT LE run on a Mac for my serious but amateur home studio. I don't play drums or keyboard but will need to incorporate those sounds into my original songs (funk-jazz/rock/metal and mostly instrumental). And to put the icing on the idiot's cake I'm not a computer whiz, not familiar with sampling, sequencing, looping,or MIDI...yet. My budget allows me to afford any or several of the products listed below. Which are the most user friendly tools and methods to accomplish these tasks and what do you recommend to buy/not buy to avoid unnecessary overlap in functions?


1. PT LE can be used as a sequencer, correct? This may be moot since almost every synth or sampler has some sequencing capability.


2. Does Digidesign Sample Cell work well and preclude the need for an outboard sampler like Akai or Emu? Does Sample Cell allow me be to buy a synth without the need for a built-in sampler?


3. Would you recommend Sample Cell over Sonic Foundry Acid and Sound Forge for creating drum tracks/loops? Is it overkill to get both?


4. I am I better off using Sample Cell and/or a synth keyboard (Korg Triton/Trinity/Karma, Roland XP-60, Emu sound modules like Mo Phatt & Proteus 2000) to generate drum tracks than a dedicated drum machine like the Roland DR-770?


5. Any advice on the above synthesizers? Is it easier or better to use a synth with on-board sound cards or the rackmount modules and a MIDImaster keyboard? I tried the Korg, Roland, and Emu products above. The Emu sounded maybe a bit better but each module is around $700 whereas the soundcard upgrades for the Roland or Korg are about 1/3 that price? After a couple of modules that adds up to serious savings. Korg also has the Triton rack module.


6. Regarding the Mac, I know UltraATA IDE cards are fine but do I need a SCSI for CD-ROM samples and having the Mac communicate with the above instruments/tools?


I know this newbie has asked a lot but ANY advice is tremendously appreciated

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 5
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Add gigasampler to your list. for the price of sample cell you could assemble a second pc and dedicate it to softsynths like gigasampler, orion, and reaktor. then get a couple of synth modules to top it off. Gigasampler is very potent indeed.

Also on the second machine you could use apps like fruity loops and acid.


Also all the modules you menyioned are cool. But also bear in mind that variety is nice. Its not a crime to buy used and older synths.I think when theres no drummer around its best to let go of that and stake a different direction.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by planr411@earthlink.net:

I think when theres no drummer around its best to let go of that and stake a different direction.


"Different direction"... such as?

Link to comment
Share on other sites



1. Correct ! Although being in a similar position we started out trying to make a CD with programmed drums (not that any of us were drummers) and eventually resorted to getting a good live drummer in. Its amazing how a good drummer can add life to your songs by leading into choruses, bridges etc. That being said, if you've got a good feeling for drums then you could probably program them in to sound okay.



6. You con't need SCSI for the CD ROM, it can read Mac, audio and PC CD's with samples on them. Some will have samples as wav files (windows) which can be converted using quicktime or soundapp.


I am running two IDE hard drives in my G4 with the Digi 001 and it works fine recording up to eight simultaneous tracks (i haven't tried it with any more using its extra digital interface capablities). just be sure to to get fast enough drives as per the system requirements which you should find at digidesign's site.


If you're going to produce CD's, then you will need a SCSI card for the CD writer although I think the newer G4's have built in CD writers ? at which point this would go away. Anyway, the SCSI cards are pretty inexpensive. You don't need the top of the line cards unless you want to do tonnes of simultaneous tracks which the digi doesn't really allow for anyway. The card I have cost about $40. You will need adaptec's toast which allows for burning CD's and also has a thing called audio extractor which allows you to pull stuff (samples etc.) straight off audio CD's.


It also might be an idea to check out Reason from propellerheads which is a software synth/sampler general looping type thing. I still reckon live drums is the way to go though....

Link to comment
Share on other sites



A lot has changed in 15 years and some of these guys are going to disagree with me. But for someone getting exposed to all of this for the first time, I think you really need the experience of going modular, instead of the software studio idea. You could get your self stuck in a situation were it would take you months to learn/get everything working. I would do something like this.


1)Protools LE would be good, but better yet get the Digi 001($1000) which comes with Protools LE, that way you get your midi interface, PCI card, sequencer, and a hardisk audio recorder in one shot. Another option with less of a learning curve would be the Tascam USB-428($500) again you get a midi inteface, sequencer/harddisk audio recorder, plus a dedicated control surface. I would actually go with the Tascam if I was you!!! Either way a straigtforward software based sequencer is the way to go, there is not an onboard sequencer out there which would be good for someone starting fresh IMHO. I have both a kurz and an EMu Esynth and the Emus sequencer is better of the two, but still won't out perform either of the two listed above.


2)Get a dedicated Synth Synth/Sampler a Kurz 2500/2600, Emu Esynth, or Triton/trinity. I would stick with one of these three. You want something with onboard sounds but has the ability to sample,that way you have plenty of room to expand. The less your computer has to do the better it will perform and sound this will take a lot of stress of of your comp, and just use it to record your vocals or live bass.


3)Some sort of midi drum machine, I just think you'll vibe better hitting the drum pads rather than the keys on a keyboard!!!


4) Get one of the mackie VLZ mixers from the 1202 up, thier cheap, will give you a great sound, and as your needs grow you can move up in this series.


In closing the sampler/synth, drum machine, mixer combo is a no brainer in one day you will be able to plug everything in and get some type of sound, instant gratification. As you begin to experiment with midi having dedicated pieces with there midi ins and outs will help you to understand how this data is xferred. The only thing that you will really need to concentrate on early on is getting your computer to run the sequencing sofware, and interfacing all of your gear with it via midi. After that then you can learn how to record the vocals and bass onto a hardrive via your computer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest pro's and cons of each thing you laid out depend mainly on how your most comfortable working. Some people like sample cell because its in the pro tools environment. Some people like gigastudio because for the price of that you get the best sampler around(arguably) and can use BIG samples becasue it streams from the harddisk. Dedicated samplers are also nice because they sit in the corner and generally do what their told. Synth modules are nice because theres more options to change sound in expressive ways and you have instant access for your work.


What I meant by change directions is if there aint a drummer it aint rock and roll or jazz. And if you try to fake it the results wont be as rewarding a real drummer so why fake it when you can use original electronic sounds and what not.


sample cell sells new for $1,200. For that price you could have a dedicated pc running any softsynths including gigasampler wich is more flexable than the more expensive hardware even. Im not saying dont get a module DO get a module. Get an all in one workstation with a sequencer built in and use it to develop ideas. Then take what youve done and boot up the computer to bring it to life. Kurzweil is nice, so is the korg triton.


Personally I just purchased an emu esi 2000. I got it because it was only $499 on sale at marsmusic. If your going to get a hardware sampler take a look at an emu e5000, or a yamaha a4000. The Akai mpc 2000 is the standard for drums because of its excellent built in sequencer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...