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Old 02-07-2005, 06:30 PM
tlester tlester is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 549
Default Music Producers... please share your approach...

Hi all -

I'm about to start a new chapter in my music life... I've been an engineer for quite a while and know PT well from an engineering stand point (i.e. as a multi-track, editor, mixer, etc). I'm starting to get involved with creating music and collaborating with others in the creation of music. Some of this creation will require for rapid development of music/songs. Since being approached to work like this, I've been toying with different ideas on how to best accomplish this. I've done a few test projects with PT and they turned out great. However... I used my rather barbaric skills to do this. For example, I programmed the drums on the grid, I took 4 or 8 bar loops, time stretched them to fit, and then duplicated them. Last... I added a few live tracks to complete the stack.

While this worked fine... my first thought was... what if the music director wants it 10 bpm faster! The midi stuff would be fine, but those dropped in loops would all have to be re-stretched or compressed in time and lined back up again.

I started looking at my alternatives... I.e. Logic, Nuendo/Cubase, and PT. All have their pro's and con's. In the end, they are all just tools. However... I know PT well and that adds to the comfort level.

So... I was wondering if those of you who are really on the music creation end and not necessarily the "music documentation" end (i.e. us engineers) could share some of your approach to music creation. If you work with the kind of projects I'm talking about (i.e. jingles, beds, etc) and work quickly... even better. What tools do you use to augment PT? What are your techniques?

Many thanks in advance.

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Old 02-08-2005, 07:04 AM
tlester tlester is offline
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 549
Default Re: Music Producers... please share your approach...

Let me clarify... I'm not really looking for your "musical" approach. I'm looking for more of the tools or technical process you use. For example... in my experiment, I just created 4-8 bar files timed to the tempo of the track and duplicated that a bunch of times for a track. For the same thing (a loop based track), what do you do or use? Are you using Live or Recycle for that sort of thing or possibly Syncronic? While what I did worked, it seems a bit barbaric and like there should be a better way.

Do you program your drums and other parts to samplers or do you use tools like Stylus RMX or something similar?

What's a good base set of tools to quickly put rough songs together quickly? I.e. what sampler? A looping tool? Drum tool? Etc?

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Old 02-09-2005, 04:12 PM
HearInc HearInc is offline
Join Date: Nov 1998
Location: Granite Bay, CA
Posts: 358
Default Re: Music Producers... please share your approach

So, yeah, there's only about a zillion approaches to this... but here's mine.

When I'm the producer/programmer I start in Logic and do all my MIDI stuff and often ruf vocals or guitars or whatever. When i've got it all programmed I print it, and move it all to PT. Then usually cut the real vocals, guits, and whatnot. Then I mix.

If I'm engineering or mixing, I'm usually starting in PT with some existing material. Often I'm asked to "help" the tracks, i.e. add parts to make it sound more finished. Out comes Stylus, Virus and whatever in PT to do a little MIDI programming. If it's going to be really extensive, or I need sounds that I can't access in PT (I don't have a soft sampler for PT... I use EXS in Logic) I print a stereo pass of where I am and move that to Logic, do my thing, print the files and go back to the mix in PT. I realize this is a little clunky, but I'm a one man shop, and rarely have clients looking over my shoulder. If that were the case, I'd probably have two Macs running in tandem. A decked out G5 Logic native rig patched to my current HD3 rig on this G4 via some ADAT lines or something, and locked together.

For what it sounds like you're doing... I'd say stay where you're familiar until you hit the wall of not being able to get what's in your head out. Look at some software samplers that work in PT (Kontakt, Mach 5?), and definately look at Spectrasonic's stuff... Stylus RMX rips for what you're looking for (REX file import, and a giant library of stuff to get you going), and Trilogy is amazing for bass. Virus Indigo is great for synths. If you want real sounding drums... check into FXpansion's BFD. Works great in PT, and included many built in grooves ready to roll.

And, at the same time, I know a few guys that often program drums in PT by loading a kick sample, a snare sample, and a hat, and just editing them into the bar pattern they want and then copy that out for the tune. Seems clunky to me, and a little limiting, but hey, if it works...

Rock on.
Brian Steckler, Producer
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Old 02-10-2005, 09:54 PM
KC Kelly KC Kelly is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 138
Default Re: Music Producers... please share your approach

Hey Tom,

When I'm in songwriter/producer mode I start with Live and a drum loop. I have it set to open up with a basic drum loop loaded that runs about 4 mins. Guitar is my primary instrument, so I play along with the loop adjust the speed to what I have in mind for the song. Then I track the basic idea for the songon guitar to the loop. Then I put together a more complete exact drum track with loops that fits the song. I use loops from Drums on Demand or Discreet drums or whatever I have that will fit the song. then I save and close Live.

Then I open PT name track the same as the idea I just did in Live. Then I open Live rewired and open the song idea. Put markers in PT intro, ver 1, ch 1, bridge ETC.... Then I retrack guitar, track bass, any midi parts I might want. A scratch vocal and sometimes I play real bass a Fender P bass or if it's midi bass I use Trilogy. For keys and synths I use Sampletank or Reason or Access Virus.

The thing that is great about using Live is you can change the tempo of the drums no problem along with the midi parts. I have also at times tracked all the guitars, bass and vox in Live so I could change the tempo later if needed. The problem with that is that it so much more time consuming to comp tracks in Live. I have also taken the finished tracks out of PT and put them into the Live session resaved it and then reopened the PT session, have PT play all the midi parts and live all the audio and loops and then I can change the tempo + about 10bpm - about 5bpm before it starts to get squirrelly.

I might use Battery 2 if I want midi drums instead of loops. It just depends

I suppose you could do almost everything in Live 4 but it doesn't have makers that are stationary and it’s a pain to comp and multi track in. At least in my experience with Live 3.0

That keeps it pretty much in 2 programs. I recently upgraded my Acid to 5.0 in hopes that it would do the job that Live was doing. But it just doesn't works as well for me. I'll have to give it another try.

I don't know if this really gives you anymore ideas, but I hope it helps. If you have any question about my setup or methods or anything else just let me know. I'll try to help.


HD3 - PT 6.7cs8 Apogee Rosetta 800 with X-HD Card
Windows XP Home Edition
Dell DIM4400 1.8 Mhz
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