I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, and I’m trying to get back into it. I’m a little older, a little wiser (arguably), and lots of things have changed since I last wrote. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the fact that the music is still very much alive, and we’ve released and will continue to release material regularly. =] I’m still working on my Phase 4 – Take the Lead album, which has four (and a bonus) songs done currently, and Trifecta has four songs towards that album as well.
My birthday had just passed on September 7, and I made the decision earlier that week (those who follow me on Twitter @moon_shyne already knew) to make a beat a day, every day, for 365 days. I am also doing 1 song a month. Now these numbers are minimums, and if i can churn out more than 1 beat a day, and more than 1 song a month, all the power to me. =]
I’m five days in so far, and I’ve done five beats. Every Saturday, I will release a quick mix of all seven beats from that week, and I want the public to let me know which of the seven they feel was the best for the week. Now since this isn’t my usual “I’ll make the music when I’m inspired” style, I’m a little worried about how great everything will be. However, after five days so far, the beats I’ve designated as the beats for those days have all been good. Are any of them great? Maybe. You all can be the judges for that.
Interestingly enough, there’s almost a commentary for the day embedded in each of these beats. I’m starting to draw inspiration more frequently and using any event or atypical object or person for inspiration. I’ll give you mini-commentaries for each of the first 5 beats:
Simple Technique (2013.09.07): There’s a song called Binibini, a Filipino song by a group called the Rainmakers. I’m Filipino myself, and I’ve used Filipino samples in the past (queue Miss Universe by HotDog). While driving, my wife had played this song, and from there, I drew the inspiration from the intro. This became the sample that is the core of this beat.
Double Blitz (2013.09.08): While at home, my wife and I flipped through the channels and watched a portion of Step Up: Revolution. I wanted to convey a battle type of energy, and I drew from that.
In Style (2013.09.09) : Not much to this one, I started from scratch and this is what came out.
Storyteller (2013.09.10): A portion of this can be attributed to Holy Grail with the pianos. I was always fascinated with progressions with pianos where chords are played with the right hand and only the left hand changes for the bass notes. I’m playing a constant Bm the whole way, with only bass drops using my left. I liked the sounds of using 3rds of the chords for the violins, and the rest is history.
Looking Back (2013.09.11): Being what day it was, I wanted to make something a little bit more reflective. I tried to go more for an older R&B vibe, going with a 2-5-1 in Bbm with an electric piano. I’ve never used an electric piano in a beat, so I felt good about that. Same as the day before, I was feeling the usage of the 3rds and 5ths as the basis for the melodies of the violin and organ, so I kept it going.
On Saturday, you’ll get to know these beats a little bit better. To make 365 beats in a year to me almost sounds impossible. I’ll take my chances though. So far so good!
Show how to use multiple instruments on one instance of a VSTi (in this case, Hypersonic 2 is used as an example)
Present workarounds that will prevent the user from getting errors that can halt productivity when using Hypersonic 2.
These two go hand-in-hand because #1 directly gives the workaround mentioned in #2.
Hypersonic 2 is a versatile VSTi that was discontinued by Steinberg some time ago, and one of the most sought after from our Production Vault. For those who use Hypersonic who may have problems with it (those who obtained it from the vault have had issues) and use FL Studio, I have some workarounds on how to get rid of those pesky errors, including this one when opening your project:
Figure 2011-02-20/0: “There was an error loading the settings for the plugin ‘Hypersonic 2′”
When this happens, Hypersonic 2 defaults to the “Welcome to the Matrix” preset, and if you don’t remember what preset you used, you’re dead in the water. This can also get very frustrating when you try to save a project with Hypersonic 2 and FL Studio will freeze then crash, killing your progress, or automatically crashing when adding Hypersonic 2 to your project.
We will go over two different scenarios. Starting a new project, and modifying one that exists (and you possibly getting the error pictured above). Now I know these can be a pain, but unfortunately, it is a discontinued product, and we can only do workarounds. Once you get into the habit of these workarounds (some are good practice anyway), it’ll become second nature.
Starting a New Project with Hypersonic 2 on FL Studio
Whether or not you use Hypersonic 2, make it a habit to open one up first before any other VSTi on a fresh session of FL Studio; meaning as soon as you double-click FL Studio, add Hypersonic 2 right away. I’ve noticed it conflict with other VSTi’s and crash upon adding, so adding it first gets rid of that quirk.
Secondly, (and this is important):
DO NOT ASSIGN NOTE VALUES (STEP SEQUENCER OR PIANO ROLL) TO HYPERSONIC 2 ITSELF.
That may sound strange to you, especially if you haven’t been using FL Studio for that long. The correct way however to assign notes on Hypersonic 2 is through MIDI Out Channels.
This way, you can use different multiple instruments and only ONE HYPERSONIC 2 INSTANCE. This method works for the other big multi-instrument VSTi’s as well, including SampleTank and Kontakt instruments, albeit with slightly different methods due to the differences in interface.
To make this clearer, let’s take a look at the Hypersonic 2 interface.
Figure 2011-02-20/1: Hypersonic 2 Interface
The highlighted area is where you would pick your instruments. I know some people simply pick one instrument for this instance of a VSTi, then open another instance to use another instrument preset. It’s a waste of DSP power, and considering how many high quality VSTi’s are resource hogs, you need all the processing power/memory you can get.
The correct way would be to use MIDI Outs. By linking a MIDI Out to each of the 16 available slots above (counting “Welcome to the Matrix” in the first slot), you can control up to 16 instruments off of one instance of Hypersonic 2. As I’ve said earlier, this also goes for SampleTank, Kontakt VSTi’s, and others, so bear that in mind when using other VSTi’s as well.
How do you do that, you may ask.
Figure 2011-02-20/2: VSTi Settings Button
First, we have to assign a MIDI Input Port on Hypersonic 2. This can be done through the settings window by clicking on the gear icon on the upper left of the Hypersonic 2 window (other VSTi’s get this box as well). Check the picture above for refernece.
Figure 2011-02-20/3: VSTi Settings Window
After clicking on the VSTi Settings Button, you get the window above. Here, you will set the MIDI Input number to a number of your choice. It’s defaulted with “–” and by changing this to a particular number you give the MIDI Out channels a port to reference when sending the input from the Step Sequencer or Piano Roll or from your MIDI Controller. In this case, it’s set to 0.
Figure 2011-02-20/4: MIDI Out
Next, add a MIDI Out Channel, which is done similarly to how you add a sampler, or audio clip channel.
Figure 2011-02-20/5: MIDI Out Settings
Notice above how on the MIDI Out Settings there is a Channel setting (number), and a Port setting (number). The Port should match the number you chose for your VSTi. For example, if you selected MIDI Input Port 0 on your VSTi settings, your Port setting on the MIDI Out should be 0 as well. The Channel setting corresponds to the number instrument you chose on Hypersonic 2.
Using the instructions above, we can use multiple MIDI Outs to control multiple instruments off of one instance of a VSTi. In the example above, Hypersonic 2 was assigned a MIDI Input port of 0, and the “Soft Grand Piano” is on channel 1, and the “Brassy Orchestra XXL” is on channel 2. The two MIDI Out channels, labeled “MIDI 1 – Piano” and “MIDI 2 – Orch” are set to play those instruments by setting their Port settings to 0, and their channels 1 and 2 respectively to correspond how they are assigned in Hypersonic 2. You can test this out by clicking on either of the MIDI channels and play using your keyboard or MIDI controller, and you will notice that the MIDI Out channels are playing the instruments from Hypersonic (or whatever VSTi) as assigned and you no longer have to assign note values to the step sequencer or piano roll of Hypersonic. All note and other settings can be done through the MIDI Outs.
PLEASE NOTE: Although you can assign notes and other MIDI values to MIDI Outs, you cannot assign MIDI Outs to go to effects. Only the VSTi itself can be assigned to an effects channel in this case.
Modifying an Existing Project that uses Hypersonic 2 and Gives Errors
If you get errors, such as the one shown in Figure 0, the workaround is as follows. Once you do this for your project, you won’t get these errors again provided you do not assign note values to Hypersonic 2 itself.
Upon opening FL Studio, add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi channel. Make sure it loads properly. This will prevent FL Studio from crashing when Hypersonic 2 opens in your project.
Open your project.
Assign the MIDI Input Port in the existing Hypersonic 2 instance (refer to figures 2011-02-20/2 and 2011-02-20/3 above) to a number of your choosing. If you have multiple instances of Hypersonic 2 open, write down what instrument presets you used, and mark all Hypersonic 2 instances (except for one, which will be the main one we will use for the project). Assign the instruments you had written down to the one instance of Hypersonic 2 (see figure 2011-02-20/6 above). Assign the MIDI Input Port to the one Hypersonic 2 instance remaining.
Add as many MIDI Out channels as you have Hypersonic 2 instruments. If you have three instruments on your once instance of Hypersonic 2, then have three MIDI Out channels.
Assign the Port setting in those MIDI Out channels to the MIDI Input Port number you used for Hypersonic 2.
Assign the Channel settings in those MIDI Out channels to correspond to the instrument you wish for it to control. For example, if instrument #2 on Hypersonic 2 (assigned MIDI Input Port 0, for example) is “Lead Guitar Licks,” and you want one of your MIDI Outs to control it, the MIDI Out Settings should show Port 0, Channel 2.
Copy/paste your step sequencer and piano roll settings to the corresponding MIDI Out Channel so that the note values, velocity values, etc. will no longer be on a Hypersonic 2 instance. They will be on the MIDI Out Channel instead. See below for an example.
Once you’ve got everything moved properly, write down the instruments you used on Hypersonic 2, along with what number were they on Hypersonic. In the example above, “Lead Guitar Licks” is 1, “Classic B” is 2, etc.
Once you’ve noted everything down and you are certain everything is moved over properly (notes and all), delete the last Hypersonic 2 instance, so that there are no Hypersonic instances whatsoever in your project. All your notes and velocities etc. are all moved over to MIDI Outs so they will be preserved.
Save your project. Your project should save with no errors.
Exit out of FL Studio.
Re-open FL Studio.
Add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi instance.
Open your project.
Add a Hypersonic 2 VSTi instance.
Reassign the instruments on Hypersonic 2 the same way you have written down. All the MIDI Outs still have their port and channel settings, so your notes, velocities, etc. will still correspond to the same instruments as long as you have them assigned the same way. You will not need to re-enter any notes or other information anywhere.
Save your project. You should get no errors.
From here on in, all changes to notes, velocities, etc. will be made to the Piano Roll’s or Step Sequencers of the MIDI Outs and not on Hypersonic 2 itself. You may also add instruments to Hypersonic 2 now, provided that you use a MIDI Out for each new instrument you use. Remember: NO NOTES ON HYPERSONIC 2 ITSELF, ONLY ON THE MIDI OUTS. I can’t stress that enough.
That’s it. If you ever open up your project from here on in and get an error about loading the settings, just do steps 11-14 above, and only those steps ONLY. Your settings will load normally, and you won’t have to reassign anything.
So that should do it. I’ll be making a video to outline everything later, so look out for that if anything is unclear about these instructions. As always, hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions for me.
With the growing popularity of the Production Vault and a few people asking me about adding VSTi’s and VST Effects to FLStudio ( FL Studio was also formerly known as Fruity Loops), I figured, why not put a tutorial up?
BY THE WAY: All figures can be enlarged by clicking on them so you can see them in full view.
So for the first go around, we’re going to show you how to add a simple DLL based VSTi. To clarify, a DLL based VSTi is as self-explanatory as it sounds like. It’s a VSTi in the form of a .dll file. For example, reFX’s Vanguard is one file, Vanguard.dll.
Now for some Windows users, you may not see the .dll at the end, because your settings may not show them. There are ways to set it so you can see it, but that’s beyond the scope of this tutorial. In any case, if the icon of the file is similar to what you see in the figure below, then it’s more than likely a .dll.
Figure 2010-11-18/0: A .dll file
First thing you’ll need to do after extracting the file from .RAR file (http://www.rarlabs.com/download.htm if you need it. =]) is check where FL is looking for it’s VST’s. I believe the default is C:\Program Files\VstPlugins, but just to be sure, we can check FL’s file settings to find out the correct folder.
So let’s start the show!
Click on the “Options menu,” then click “File Settings.”Figure 2010-11-18/1: Getting to your File Settings
Check the path listed for VST plugins extra search folder. In the case of the figure below, it’s C:\Program Files\VstPlugins.Figure 2010-11-18/2: The folder path to your VST’s.
Copy the .dll into that folder using Windows explorer.
Close the Settings window in FLStudio where you saw the folder path.
Click on the “Channels” menu, hover over “Add one.” You will notice that the plugin you just moved in to the folder is not listed yet. At that point, click on “More…”Figure 2010-11-18/3: Adding a newly installed VSTi into FLStudio.
In this “Select Generator Plugin” box, scroll down to the “VST plugins” section, and with the list being in alphabetical order, you can check to see if your plugin is listed. It most likely isn’t.Figure 2010-11-18/4: Checking what VST Plugins you have on your system.
Click on the “Refresh” button, then click on the “Fast Scan (recommended)” option.Figure 2010-11-18/5: Scanning for new VST’s.
It should show you that it found 1 or more plugins. Find the plugin you want to enable. Since it is a new one, it is in a red font to make it easier for you to see. Click on the box next to it to enable it.Figure 2010-11-18/6: Enabling the new VST(s).
Close out of the Select Generator Plugin box.
The VSTi will now be ready for use as a regular channel. Click on the “Channels” menu, then find the VSTi you just installed. In this case, it’s the TPS_module.Figure 2010-11-18/7: Adding the new VST(s) into the sequencer.
And with that, your VSTi is ready to be played!Figure 2010-11-18/8: The new VST ready for use.
That wasn’t difficult, was it? So now that you know, you can head into the Production Vault and get yourself some VSTi’s!
This past week has been really busy, and I finally had a little bit of down time to go work on some music. As I’ve have written in a previous post, I had recently bought a new Ibanez Acoustic/Electric guitar and an SM57. I’ll cover the SM57 in a future post, but for now I want to share my experiences recording the acoustic guitar.
My attempts at recording acoustic guitar were always fine. Never great, but they could pass. Now that I have my own acoustic/electric, I figured I can try to figure out what way would be best to capture a nice, thick sound.
Recording direct (whether it was acoustic or electric) always sounded dull to me. There was just a certain tone that was missing, and I could never put my finger on it, whether it was the missing reverb, or just the way the pickups were bringing in the sound.
With an electric guitar, you can always use plugins to mess with the sound because electric guitars are manipulated in so many different ways today that you can record something direct, then use effects to get the desired effect later. This goes for distortion, overdrive, flangers, chrouses, and whatever else.
Acoustic guitars are a lot more difficult, because the desired tone and/or sound for a majority of acoustic guitar uses will be very similar. The differences may come in the way it’s EQ’d, or some style of compression or reverb. However, that particular sound of an acoustic guitar cannot be created or be the product of a manipulation from an electric guitar and have it sound that accurate (at least during the time of this writing I haven’t found anything that would do that yet). Of course you can get VSTi’s that have acoustic guitar sounds, but where’s the fun in that? =] Especially since, unlike an orchestra or a chorus, you can buy yourself a guitar and a mic to record with for about $200 (of course at the very low end of the food chain.)
With an acoustic/electric, you have a choice of either mic’ing it up, or going direct, or doing both. Neither on its own for me ever fit the bill completely. However, recording both simultaneously covered all grounds and got me the sound I personally was looking for.
Keep in mind also that I don’t have a state of the art studio, and I’m stuck with an E-MU 0404 Sound Card with two mono inputs. I do have a Samson MDR6 mixer, which I thought would be useful for me when I bought it, but realized after I wouldn’t be able to simultaneously record four tracks and be able to manipulate post-session. I could, however, use two mics and feed them through one mono signal or two for a stereo, if I so desired.
The final setup that I came up with that got me the sound I wanted was the following:
Ibanez Acoustic/Electric direct with the bass slightly up into a Studio Projects VTB1 Tube Preamp into one channel on the 0404
Audio-Technica PRO37 small diaphragm condenser mic at the 12th fret about four inches away + Audio-Technica 2020 large diaphragm condenser about six-seven inches pointed at the third fret, going into the MDR6, then into the other channel on the 0404.
I then compressed both recordings softly and gave both a slight reverb.
The direct recording captured I’d say about 80% of the sound I wanted, but the mics gave it that extra 20%; that character and natural reverb. I then panned one 25% to the left, then panned one 25% to the right.
Today marks the opening of the MsP Production Vault. If you are a producer, especially a hip-hop/rap one, you spend a decent amount of time looking for new samples and sounds just to keep the fire going. I know I’ve spent lots of time doing this, and I know others who spend hours looking for new torrents and downloads for their production.
To help you aspiring (and already established) producers out there with your search, every week I’ll be posting up new sample sets to add on to your music!
This week, we start with a drum kit that has the folder name “Complete Urban Flava.” These were passed on to me by my cousin Boy Gnyus of Gnyus Productions. It has over 300 different drum sounds, and it should be enough to keep you occupied until I drop another next week. Head on to the vault to download it for free today!
Harmony Speaks has been a big fan of Lady Gaga’s work, and she requested trying to make a song of that style, a la “Bad Romance” for example. Since I’m all about trying new things in music, I attempted to make something in that vein with the aim of getting Speaks to do some work on it.
Some notes on the type of music, from what I’ve heard and studied:
The music feels like what should be played in a fashion show in Paris
Speed should be around 120bpm give or take a few beats per minute
Pads preferred as opposed to real sounding strings
Kick drum should be hard, same formula as the Guetta kick (see this previous post for the formula), but using a different kick drum to start that is less hard than the K034, on every beat
303 type of bass going at every eighth after each kick drum to give more pump
Dance clubby saws with slides, if possible, are desired
Hard snares with the right touch of reverb, standard pattern at the 2nd and 4th beats
Percs are okay to use; nothing over the top; and they break the beat in different spots to allow for variety
Did not notice hats being used; at least not heavily
Song format would be pop like, possible use of a middle 8, and something repetitive and catchy for also about 8 bars to get in people’s heads.
This, like the others, if used by Speaks, will go on the Roll Call ’10 album. Below you can find a lo-fi version with tags [for security reasons. ;o) ] for your streaming pleasure.