We’re now in 2020. Happy New Year, synth geeks and music nerds! Here’s a gear and recording-related Braindump from SOME thoughts I had in 2019….
1. When it comes to layering drum samples, it is obvious that it’s not that fast with Maschine software, or even Ableton with Push 2 (both options, I do love).
The absolute fastest way to layer drum samples is with Poise (Windows-only plugin). You can have up to 8 layers per pad, and you can change the offset of them so they lazily “knock” if needed. You just drag-n-drop multiple samples to a pad (and you can drag 8 at once). Nothing… I repeat, nothing is faster than Poise. Sadly, Poise sales have been suspended, due to the author abandoning the plugins he made (a few years ago). You can still find Poise if you look around, though. It’s worth it. Ableton and Native Instruments still haven’t gotten it as fast as Poise.
2. Ableton Push 2 is an overpriced piece of hardware. But oh, it is nice. And thanks to Jurgen Mossgraber and his DrivenByMoss script (see #3), you can use Push 2 with Reaper, and gain all sorts of cool stuff, from scale modes, to Session View, to Clip view… moving clips/extending them… step-sequencing, drum grids, and scribble strips on all your tracks (easy access to track volume, pan, etc). Worth it for that reason, not just for Ableton. Truly makes the price justifiable, especially if you use both Reaper AND Ableton Live.
3. DrivenByMoss by Jurgen Mossgraber.… a game-changer for Reaper control. And it’s free. It works flawlessly with the Novation SL MKIII (InControl Mode), Novation Launchpad Pro, Launchpad X, Launchpad Mini MK3, Launchkey Mini MK3…. and lastly, Ableton Push 2. I use it with my Push 2, my SL MKIII, and my Launchpad Pro. I keep my Launchpad X as a general MIDI controller for Reaper (and of course, as a great controller for Ableton Live). If you are a Reaper user and own various MIDI controllers… click that link. And search “Driven By Moss Reaper” on YouTube. Sometimes his videos are a little fast or hard to follow as he does quick edits while narrating, but they show how freakin’ amazing his thing is, with all these great MIDI controllers.
4. These modular things (laptop monitor arm / Vesa mount stuff)…. you should have at least two of them in your studio. I have four, including a tall one for a 32″ 2k display. Click the photo to get to the Amazon page. I wonder why the hell it took me so long to have these perfect things in my studio.
5. ill.Gates is one of the most inspiring, awesome people in the music industry. Have no idea who he is? Look him up on YouTube. He is rad as fuck.
6. Are controllers with motorized faders that necessary? Not really. I had a Mackie Control Universal for years. Nice, but not necessary. I’m finding that for controlling Reaper and Ableton, Maschine Studio/MK3 and/or Push 2 (respectively) are the key. Motorized faders are just not needed. I had a Behringer X-Touch. Sold it. Had a Behringer X-Touch One. Sold it. Had a Behringer X-Touch Compact. Sold it (and the main reason– I hated that it didn’t have screens/scribble strips showing you what was on each track). Just… not needed.
7. Speaking of….. a keyboard (the standard computer keyboard people type on) is pretty damn useful, and always has been, when making music. People hate mousing around when making music, but sometimes you simply have to. Certainly with Push 2 / Ableton…. even though they hype it up like you don’t even touch the mouse at all (yeah, you might not.. until you need to arrange an idea in Arrangement View). Do companies even listen to user complaints? I know some of them do… but jeez….
8. Novation Nocturn (as evidenced in the video below) is still a really dope controller, even in 2019/2020. I owned one like 10 years ago, and despised it. But now I realize how powerful Automap is (the newest one, anyway– which works well)…. and it’s just so nice to have infinite pages of stuff for synth plugins… and the encoder rings showing you where each parameter is set… reflecting in real-time, when you change the active plugin window (in Reaper)… brilliant. I have two. Got them both for like $40 each. Worth every penny. If I had one complaint… the touch-capacitive encoders feel a little weird. Should change them out.
8. Novation’s Launchpad X and its 4 Custom MIDI map modes… ugh. Love it. So much. SOOOO useful.
9. I used to think the Novation Launchpad Pro was lame. Why? Why did I EVER think that. It’s such a killer controller for Ableton Live, and Reaper (again, thanks to DrivenByMoss). The left side— UNDO, DELETE, QUANTISE, DUPLICATE, etc… and the bottom row… ugh…. lots of fun, and really useful. My only wish– Novation adds support for the Launchpad Pro in their Components editor software… so you get like 4 custom MIDI maps, instead of a “no lights / fixed assignment” User Mode…. please Novation? Please?
10. I do, with my gear, about 1% of what this brilliant woman does, with hers. Literally 1%. My shit is dead-simple, chill… poppy and straightforward.
As fun as I have making random shit with gear similar to this, I will never be this fucking good. EVER. I don’t think anyone I ever work with will be this good. This… is……. in a word….. inspiring.
Not only is she on point with all that keyboard-playing, clip-triggering, live finger-drumming…. her singing is fucking spot-on. Neon Vines, the world is not quite ready for you. But they soon will be.
11. Behringer’s synth recreations for the past few years… W.T.F…. I’m consistently impressed, blown away, and…. addicted. Need to up my keyboard skills (and catch up with bills) before investing in any of these brilliant pieces of gear, that’s for damn sure. How can anyone not be impressed with their work… holy… crap………
12. I wrote this long, informative post on Reddit—
that’s it for now… another braindump coming soon…