Building a hardware setup

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
jckoppo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:19 am

Building a hardware setup

Post by jckoppo » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:34 pm

Hello everyone, i am new to Ableton, and music production in general, altogether. Im not new to music however. Im 17 years old right now, and i have been playing piano since i was 3, violin since 3rd grade, and guitar since 6th grade.
(you most likely don't care about this, but i figured it is the best way to open my first post on this forum)

Annnywayssss

I have been going through the built in Ableton tutorials, as well as finding Youtube ones, and i feel as though I am grasping a basic understanding rather quickly. It still may be a little early to start thinking about hardware but.. im going to start thinking about it anyways.
I did run a few searches, but i have not been able to find a thread that answers my questions sufficiently.

Basically, i would like to know what kind of hardware i should start with, so that i can build a collection over time and eventually have a good selection of equipment. More than specific model names (though they would be helpful), i would like to know what kind of hardware i should start with, be it MIDI controllers, synths, mixers, etc.

As i said, im 17 years old right now so live shows are a thing of the far future. The ideal equipment would be something that significantly improves production workflow, but also is usable for a little "bedroom DJing"

So far i have looked at..

Akai APC40 - from what ive heard, this is a great Ableton controller for live preformances, but i have not heard much of its use for production. Does it make a difference for production?

Akai MPD24 - This one has also come up alot in things ive read, but i still dont really understand what it is. Is it just a drum pad? Ive read that it can control Ableton as well, but how well, i dont know.

Pioneer DJM-800 - I know this is mad professional, and mad expencive, but im willing to work up for it if it is truly the best option. What exactly is it for though? How does it work as a controller?


I hope you enjoyed reading my essay.
I know its long winded but if a few of you could at least read through it and answer a few of the questions to guide me in the right direction, i would appreciate it very much.

Thanks in advance,
Justin

McQ714
Posts: 1851
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:12 pm
Location: Orange County, CA

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by McQ714 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:40 pm

take the blue pill!!!

get out while you can................

kanuck
Posts: 622
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:29 pm

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by kanuck » Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:46 pm

from reading what you wrote I'm deriving that you want to get into more production than live performance/djing

in this case you don't need a lot of hardware
first and foremost you need to get decent monitors (very important)
a midi keyboard for inputting notes (drawing them gets to be a pain after a while, or using the qwerty keyboard for that matter)
audio interface (probably should've put this before the keyboard)

with those 3 things and a laptop you'll be able to produce all the music you'd like.

from there you can move unto hardware faders, knobs, synths, rack gear, preamps, etc.
I'm 18 so i know money is hard to come by... i'd say work with those and see where you're finding holes in your production.. then replace those with hardware or software.

ansiaaa
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:57 pm
Location: Italy

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by ansiaaa » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:38 pm

you should get a midi controller like the akai mpk (there are different models, basically all the same with different number of octaves) or the novation sl mkII.

those are the 2 best options of that kind for ableton live. you will have a midi keyboard, pads for the drums, faders, rotary encoders and button, that you will be able to midi-map according to your needs.

they will be useful both for production and for live use.

the apc40 is a great controller, but I'd start by getting something like the previous two

jckoppo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:19 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by jckoppo » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:45 pm

thanks for the replys so far guys.

can someone explain what an Audio Interface is, and what it is for exactally?

I'm not decided if I plan on committing to production, or if I want to learn DJing as well. I think I will most likely branch into both, so im looking for hardware that fufills both sides I guess.
MPD24 seems to be like that right? would that be useful for production as well as live performances?

kanuck
Posts: 622
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:29 pm

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by kanuck » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:05 pm

jckoppo wrote:thanks for the replys so far guys.

can someone explain what an Audio Interface is, and what it is for exactally?

I'm not decided if I plan on committing to production, or if I want to learn DJing as well. I think I will most likely branch into both, so im looking for hardware that fufills both sides I guess.
MPD24 seems to be like that right? would that be useful for production as well as live performances?
an audio interface can be seen as an external sound card. The sound cards that come with computers aren't ideal for advanced music production.

LeifonMars
Posts: 1104
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:48 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by LeifonMars » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:16 pm

jckoppo wrote: Akai APC40 - from what ive heard, this is a great Ableton controller for live preformances, but i have not heard much of its use for production. Does it make a difference for production?
ks in advance,
Justin
Yes, it does. It's very well suited for production. It's my goto controller for everything. I used to work in a commercial studio and we had AVID C24 desk there to control Pro Tools HD, but I hardly used the damn thing. Completely different story with APC40: take full advantage of racks and production will become so much more hands on.

APC40 is of good build quality + it's been one of the most reliable piece of kit, unlike Novations I own as well (Remote SL 49 and Launchpad).

In case you want to buy good pads buy Korg padKontrol: the best feel you find from the market imho.
MBP OSX 10.6.8, Live 8.4, MFII, Evolver, Monomachine, Octatrack, APC40, Launchpad

jckoppo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:19 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by jckoppo » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:00 am

Soooo...
APC40 or MPD24??

Also.. pioneer djm-800.. i know its a mixer, but what does that really mean? Is it used in conjunction with something like an APC40, or does it replace it as a controller?

agent314
Posts: 1447
Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:07 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by agent314 » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:15 am

I'd go APC40. Having the visible grid makes things a lot easier, and it's more fun to play IMO than the blank MPDs.

jckoppo
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:19 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by jckoppo » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:35 am

If i get an APC40, will there be any point in getting a DJM-800 in the future? Do these pieces of hardware work in conjunction?

Also, if someone could still explain the purpose of a mixer (djm-800) in comparison to a controller (apc40) that would be greatttttt

thanks for all the help

macmurphy
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2004 7:21 am
Location: Emneth,Norfolk, UK

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by macmurphy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:31 am

i'd go for the best monitors you can afford first along with an audio interface;
we're talking about sound here so get those sorted and then start thinking about controllers :wink:

you don't have to spend a fortune either -

recently i got these for £379 - Yamaha HS80M

and this for £249 (there was £50 off :)) - Saffire Pro 24 DSP

welcome to the forum :)

LeifonMars
Posts: 1104
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 11:48 am

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by LeifonMars » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:40 am

macmurphy wrote:i'd go for the best monitors you can afford first along with an audio interface;
we're talking about sound here so get those sorted and then start thinking about controllers :wink:
I have to disagree, assuming the op is a beginner, since in the beginning you have to have fun and explore the program, and using mouse is such a pita that it hinders you greatly from experimenting. Sure stuff sounds better from decent monitors and interface, but it doesn't make mediocre and dull stuff exciting. Experimenting does.

Getting a good pair of monitors and interface is good advice nevertheless.
MBP OSX 10.6.8, Live 8.4, MFII, Evolver, Monomachine, Octatrack, APC40, Launchpad

andydes
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 12:53 pm
Location: Bremen

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by andydes » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:56 am

The djm is for mixing several different sources- decks, cdjs, computer, etc. If you're just using a computer, there's not a lot of point. Some people like to run 2 or more outputs from the computer into separate channels on a dj mixer, but it has no benefit for production and just a matter of taste for djing. A controller like the apc only sends signals to the computer so the mixing is done in the software. But it's much more flexible. Rule of thumb- only buy things when you can see how they will benefit you personally. Everyone's needs are different. But you're a musician, so you probably want a good keyboard. People round here would tell a budding guitarist to spend all their money on the best amp they can get and worry about a guitar later.

ze2be
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Location: Europe

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by ze2be » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:08 am

jckoppo wrote:If i get an APC40, will there be any point in getting a DJM-800 in the future? Do these pieces of hardware work in conjunction?

Also, if someone could still explain the purpose of a mixer (djm-800) in comparison to a controller (apc40) that would be greatttttt

thanks for all the help
You absolutely do not need a DJ mixer! Especialy Pioneer is ridiculously expencive.

Im 20 years older then you, but I started at the same age. The last years ive got gigs all around the world. Took a long time to get there though.

My best advice would be:
Build your own PC. You can get it dirt cheap like that. i5 or i7 intel cpu.
If you go for a laptop, make shure it doesnt get hot and noisy.

Soundcard: Native Instruments kick ass, and you can get them cheep.

Monitors: get a used pair of 4" or 6" Genelecs. The reason for this is you get your monny back when you sell them later. But you might fall in love with them and upgrade the size instead. I went for genelecs very early, and its the best gear buy I ever did. Still use them. But they are expensive, even second hand. Best bang for the buck, and a great startup on a budget would be second hand KRK monitors.

If you want a mixer, all you really need is like the smalest line/project mixer. Try Mackie. Dont get a DJ mixer!

Another essential advice is: get some bass traps and difusors at once! Theres a milion guides on the net. But the short story is: just get some stuff in your corners. And but some wavy foam directly over your head, in front and on the sides. No need to cover the room, just where your head gets reflections. Sound in a room is like waves in a pool. Only its in 3D and much much faster. The idea is to shield your head from the worst waves. The bass waves are huge, so the only way to stop them bouncing arround in the room, is to create some bass traps. You might be able to pick up some used ones from an old studio, if you search like secondhand markeds on the web.

Midi controller:
If I was starting up now , I would seriously consider geting an iPad 2 as controller. Use The Apps: TouchAble or Griid. Its the simlest, but also the most flexible and easy to use controller you can get for Live. Or get a used APC40, and a cheep midi keyboard. Try the smalest one from Akai or similar. But you can evrn play notes on the APC if you get the Native Kontroll APC series presets. Highly recomend it.

Edit: or get a used iPad1 dirt cheap! Does just as well as the iPad2!
Last edited by ze2be on Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

macmurphy
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Location: Emneth,Norfolk, UK

Re: Building a hardware setup

Post by macmurphy » Fri Apr 15, 2011 9:11 am

LeifonMars wrote:
macmurphy wrote:i'd go for the best monitors you can afford first along with an audio interface;
we're talking about sound here so get those sorted and then start thinking about controllers :wink:
I have to disagree, assuming the op is a beginner, since in the beginning you have to have fun and explore the program, and using mouse is such a pita that it hinders you greatly from experimenting. Sure stuff sounds better from decent monitors and interface, but it doesn't make mediocre and dull stuff exciting. Experimenting does.

Getting a good pair of monitors and interface is good advice nevertheless.
you know, your right actually. when i was starting out i just wanted to get hands on and have fun. so yeah, controller first.

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