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Production for a beginner
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Cyrus King
Hey guys... i would appreciate it if anyone can help me know how to get started in creating trance songs with a computer. What programs are out there... how much are these? What programs do most producers use? How can i replicate the same synths that are heard from other trance can i actually create my own synth?

As you can tell... i dont know anything about this. Im just in the information gathering stage...

I have excellent melodies in my head that i know have great potential...i just want to express this soon becuase i am passionate about it. I have a new computer and think right now is an excellent time to do this.

Any advice.
I'd recommend Logic Audio Platinum for a sequencer. It's hard as hell to get into if you have a PC because the program was originally designed for the Mac, but pretty easy to use once you've figured everything out.

The best part about Logic is that it comes with two of the best(maybe even the very two best) sounding softsynths out there right now. They're great for making those trancey type leads you're after, among other things.

Its also got a great variety of quality effects too. Plus the sound quality is just better than other sequencers, at least to my ears.

Also, you should get Propellerheads Reason. The drums are essential, and it's also got a couple of great softsynths(Maelstrom and Subtractor). You can hook up Reason to Logic via rewire and use them together. Rewire in Logic is pretty damn buggy though, at least for me. Still its worth it.

As far as standalone vsti synths that you can hook up to sequencers like Logic, I've tried almost all of them out there. The best in my opinion are Delta III, Albino, Absynth, Pro53, and FM7. You pretty much can't go wrong with those five.
i think the best way to start producing is to start with Fruity Loops...

it is an easy program to start with and use (compared to some other programs), yet it's capabilities are still tremendous....

basically, in a nutshell, it works like this (for fruity loops)...
in each song there are 999 different patterns that the program allows you to have (although you will probably not use any more than 100 usually)... in each pattern you can insert "notes" for different sound samples and synths... now let's say on pattern 1, you have a drum beat that goes like XxxxXxxxXxxxXxxx then for every "square" you put on the playlist it will play that pattern... so draw like 16 squares on the playlist...

now let's say you want to add a simple melody... you can either add a sample or synth... so choose one, and then plunk in a melody in pattern 2...

right now, your song should have only 16 bars of 4 kicks... so let's say you want the first 4 bars to be the intro, then have the first 4 bars of only pattern 1.... then you can add pattern 2 to it on the 5th bar or something...

that is basically in its most simplified form, how producing with fruity loops is...

as for synths... you can look for certain plugin synths which you can use in corrolation with fruity loops (loading a synth plugin within fruity loops)

basically... the best way to learn how to make trance music isn't to start off by trying to make trance... believe me, you'll fail miserably unless you are some super-talented individual...

try to start off by just making a cheesy dance tune... pluck in a few notes here and there and make an easy melody... for fruity loops, the 3xosc should be one of your main synths that you use... insert a 3xosc into a channel, and change a few settings and see what it sounds like... also apply a few fx to it and try to get different sounds out of it...then over time, as you learn more, try incorperating more and more trance elements into it...

for fruity loops, the fx that i use the most are parametric EQ, compressor, reverb, delay2, free filter, and several other fx's...

then when you feel ready, you should try to take one of your favourite tracks that you listen to (preferablly without vocals) and try to replicate and duplicate the track for learning purposes only...

once you can manage to do that, you should be at a stage where you have a good knowledge about how to get certain sounds that you want out of your track...

you should also start to learn how to use compression and mastering by then which overall increases the sound of your track...

i feel i've been rambling on too much so i'll shut up now... :nervous:

good luck and have fun producing... ;)
If you don't feel like pirating software (or don't feel like spending lots of money), you could try out Buzz.

I use Buzz and I love it (though I am running into some MIDI troubles right now...). It is extremely powerful. Download the templates pack (should be about 700 templates, I think) and you get a whole lot of machine set-ups that will let you starting making decent sounds right away.

There is a manual that I HIGHLY suggest you read, if you get Buzz. But I will give you the basics here:

There are three main parts to Buzz. First is setting up the machines. A machine usually generates sound, or applies some sort of effect to its input. So you can select a machine to, say, generate a kick drum sound. Route the output into a reverb effect machine, and the output from that will be a reverbed kick. Route that into the Master machine, and it will play.

Second part to Buzz is the pattern editor. You can take that kick drum machine and make a pattern for it. You can make one, say, that is "thump, thump, thump, thump", and label it "A". Maybe another that is "thump, thump, thump, thump-thump", and label it "B".

Now the third part is the sequencer. The Buzz sequencer (actually, most of Buzz) is different from Acid or other programs like that (I think FL and Reason, and maybe Cubase and Logic are about the same as Acid). Instead of each pattern being a separate line which you then say "on" or "off" (like the little squares in FL), you have a line for each machine you want to use, and you place the patterns where you want them. This is much more intuitive (at least for me), as it is like having separate instruments which you then have play certain parts, instead of each part being a separate entity. Anyway, you can put in, say, AAAB, and A will play three times, then B will play (you can imagine what that will sound like in your head -- I won't write it out ;)).

If you are interested, there is also a Buzz messageboard on their site if you have questions.

Good luck whatever you decide to use!
You need to consider how you want to work. Have you got any music hardware, other than your computer? Do you play any instruments (e.g. piano)? Answer these two questions and I'll give you some more specific advice.

However, if you are using a computer you'll need a sequencing program. This is basically the program that dictates what happens and when (you probably got all this from the earlier replies...) Traditionally the heavyweights on the PC scene are Cubase and Logic Audio. Both are available in different versions to suit your budget. Recently, Sonar appear too, and that's worth checking out.

All the above are very capable at handling pretty much all the MIDI and audio you can throw at them. There's a program called Orion that probably does the same, but I don't have any experience of that.

With all the above you will need some softsynths or audio samples to make anything good. That's a different discussion though ;-)

In terms of all-in-one packages, Reason is probably the best out there. Check for more info on that (and a demo). Fruity is very popular around these parts, but I found the fact that it evolved from a simple drum machine limited the input options. Not sure what the latest version is like though, might be better!
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