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Virtual Studio


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I don't have a virtual studio but the basics for me would be:

- PowerMac G4 (except for cube anything could do). I had such terrible experience with Windows that I never want to go back there.

- Creamware sound card (ehhh, don't know which type. They seem to be cool but heard bad stories about customer support.)

- Either Logic or Protools, although Logic extensions mix better on a Mac.

- NI Absynth or Reaktor, yummy...

- Some good speakers.

Oh oh, GAS alert! :D

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Hipness is not a state of mind, it's a fact of life.

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Go to Creamware's site. The cards are well described. Beware marketing hype of course. All audio companies are guilty of that. Creamware cards work best on a well-spec'd Windows Computer (though they work well on Macintosh, which I own). There are lots of newsgroups discussing this. If you go this direction you want to get at least two of their 6 DSP Pulsar cards. Anything less is really underpowered. Their cards can be added together, up to three cards, so the DSPs work together; i.e., it acts as if you have one 12 DSP card. Beware, their cards are expensive and take care to work well. The Pulsar cards I described new are about $1800 worth in total. You can get their powerhouse Scope cards with 15 DSP's each but they run around $4500 apiece for a main card and $2200 for expander cards (but just imagine 3 Scope cards with a total of 45 DSPs).

 

However, computers are getting so powerful that going totally native is possible. Either Macintosh or Windows with a powerful sequencer and VST compatible plugs and other platform softsynths and samplers is the way to go. I personally use Logic with their very useful EXS Sampler and some Native Instruments softsynths in addition to Creamware.

 

Even when going totally virtual it's still useful to have a powerful external keyboard controller and a decent outboard mixer and speakers to get the sound out of the computer.

 

Propellerheads Reason is good.

 

Look at Bitheadz stuff.

 

And many, many other solutions are coming forward.

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OM,

 

> Is anybody here running a 100% Virtual Studio? If so, what computer platform, what sequencer and what virtual instruments are you using? Also what kind of performance are you getting too? <

 

I canned all of my outboard gear about a year ago, and I've never looked back. Even with my "lowly" 1 GHz. Pentium and Windows 98SE I can play lots and lots of MIDI and audio tracks, and add all the DX plug-ins and virtual instruments I need with no problem. Using Sonar 1.31.

 

--Ethan

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I dumpped a lot of my outboard a year or 2 ago only to buy higher end gear to track vox with (Focusrite ISA110, UA 1176LN,Avalon U5 etc) But my keyboard gear is getting less use lately. I've been using SampleTank, Battery, and I just installed a UAD1 card and I am waiting to install HaLion all on a G4/450DP running Digital Performer. My Midi rig now resides on my CPU with no problem. I am just trying to get used to it. I am positive I will and I'll have a lot of gear for sale real soon.

 

OneMan

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I'm wanting to go more virtual since upgrading my monitors... I can really hear deficiencies in my ROM-based keyboards. Still like the sound of my Kurzweils, though.

 

I'll probably build a PC around Gigastudio next. I love the sound and UI of Creamware stuff... but the consensus is you have to know what you're doing. The guys up at Soundchaser in Northern Califormia are big Creamware fans... they'd probably have a valid opinion about what PC configs work best.

Stephen Fortner

Principal, Fortner Media

Senior Editor, Music Player Network

Former Editor in Chief, Keyboard Magazine

Digital Piano Consultant, Piano Buyer Magazine

 

Industry affiliations: Antares, Arturia, Giles Communications, MS Media, Polyverse

 

 

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LM,

 

> could you explain the way that you work? <

 

How much time do you have? Seriously, that's a bit too general. Briefly:

 

I record both audio and MIDI using Sonar. I have a pair of audiotechnica 4033 mikes and a pair of AKG C415s. They go to a Mackie 1202 whose direct preamp out feed a Delta 66 sound card so I can record up to four sources at once. I have a bunch of plug-ins and DXi soft synths, and I mix entirely using envelope automation.

 

If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer them. And if you live anywhere near me [New Milford, Connecticut] you're welcome to come by for a visit.

 

--Ethan

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I am using MOTU DP3 and Ableton Live on a G4 500MP with a MOTU 828. For instruments, I use Absynth, FM7, SampleTank and I'll be picking up Reason 2.0 when it comes out. I sold off my last hardware synth (NL3) at the beginning of this year and my studio is now completely virtual.
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Thank you Ethan, You are very nice!

 

I´d want the guys near me to be like you, no one hear wants to share their knowledge. The problem is that I live in Guatemala. so, it is imposible, but a million of thanks, you are very nice.

Rebuilding My Self
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I'm about 50/50. I'm leery of going fully PC because I think it's dangerous to put all of your eggs in 1 basket. That said, I am starting to use Gigasampler stuff a lot more. I just picked up Dan Dean's GigaBass, and I may shift the bass responsibilites away from the P2K, and onto Giga.

For pianos, you can't touch softsamplers.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

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Originally posted by OneMan:

php,

What is your track count like on average, how many plug ins do you get? Have you converted any Akai samples in SampleTank yet? How has that worked out for you.

With Absynth, FM7 and SampleTank running, I can get about 8 stereo tracks total. In addition, I'll usually use a Kind of Loud RealVerb plugin and LongStereoDelay Pluggo plugin. I haven't tried converting Akai samples to SampleTank yet. I'm looking forward to running Ableton Live and Reason 2 more efficiently (true dual processor support) in OS X since they are carbon applications, but MOTU has no OS X driver for the 828 yet.
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I've been doin the "Virtual Thang" for about a week and half now and I've gotten used to it pretty quickly. SampleTank, Battery, HALion and Dynamo have been my weapons of choice. They all eat up a ton of resources combined but the results have been great. I intend to hold on to my E Synth and my XV3080 but soft synths have taken over my studio.

 

OneMan

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