Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

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Algorhythmic Sounds
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Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Algorhythmic Sounds » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:43 am

Hi! I'm more or less a complete n00b of music production. I've composed some songs but especially the only one song that did end up becoming widely used as the official theme song of a local event for some years, I've asked other people to mix / arrange the song for me. I have next to no knowledge in arranging and recording songs which I want to learn and be good enough to do on my own.

Of course, since I'm next to never using any other operating systems besides Linux, I more or less need to learn how to arrange using open source software in Linux.

So far, my setup is Linux Mint 19.1 64bit Xfce with the latest low latency kernel that I installed using apt-get. The other hardwares I can most likely use is my Roland A-88, an electric guitar, and a Zoom H1 (I guess this can be used too?). I've been thinking of investing on a standalone audio interface after I save up some money (eyeing on Boehringer's U-Phoria model) and an electronic drumkit (so that I can also play Gitadora-like games in which Gitadora is a game I'm very into when this year 2019 started).

Been following unfa's videos on youtube and so far installed Ardour + ZynAddSubFX - but I'm honestly overwhelmed with the amount of things you can do, so I need guidance.

Sorry that I have to barge this starting post of an introduction with question(s) but, I have these three songs I need and want to arrange from scratch and be made into full instrumentals (which the off vocals aren't readily available). I kinda know there is the route of just using Audacity or similar tools to just remove the vocals but personally, I want to also learn arranging and recording using open source softwares in Linux. The songs are the following (yes, all of them are Japanese songs):
1 > Bellring Girls Heart - "Asthma" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T2_1qGJ_Ko
2 > Masshiro na Canvas - "Identity" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShOu3sZprkw
3 > Masshiro na Canvas - "whatever happens, happens" - https://www.dropbox.com/s/o86tjk3kv1o464m/

I've asked professional friends (who really makes music for a living (and only uses either Windows or Mac based softwares)) and they said arranging "Asthma" and "Identity" is in par in difficulty and "whatever happens, happens" is the hardest among the three. One of them (who's a regular composer of songs for professional artists and provider of scores in TV series and films) says he can most likely finish "Asthma" and "Identity" in one day and "whatever happens, happens" in a few days.

But as I try not to get ahead of myself, I plan to work on "Asthma" first. So my question is - what do you advice I do for arranging the song in Ardour + ZynAddSubFX? What audio plug-ins should I use? And hopefully, I can only use the ones that are libre and can be used in my Linux Mint distro.

PS: I wasn't sure at first if I should ask my questions above at the "HOW TOs, Tips & Tricks" subforum so kindly excuse me if I broke any rules as I post my questions in my introductory thread.

PPS: Mabuhay and hello again from the Philippines! :D

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby khz » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:39 am

:Welcome: and feel free.
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Basslint » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:46 am

Welcome! The Philippines are such a beautiful place.

First, I hear some drums, so aside from the various synth sounds you need some good samples and a way to play them. You can load your samples into Ardour and work from there or DrumGizmo is a good way to program drums realistically.

Second, you need to play the guitar parts yourself with some effects (I hear some overdrive, maybe compression in "Identity" for example). Guitarix is a great guitar amp simulator and effect processor. With this, you can record guitar parts straight into your computer, no need to use microphones.

Third, I hear a piano. That can't easily be synthesized, it wouldn't sound like the real thing. The best ways to play piano right now is to find a good Soundfont and play it via fluidsynth (Ardour already ships with it), and add some effects like reverb to make it sound more realistic. CALF plugins contain some pretty good effects.
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Algorhythmic Sounds » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:22 am

Basslint wrote:First, I hear some drums, so aside from the various synth sounds you need some good samples and a way to play them. You can load your samples into Ardour and work from there or DrumGizmo is a good way to program drums realistically.

Second, you need to play the guitar parts yourself with some effects (I hear some overdrive, maybe compression in "Identity" for example). Guitarix is a great guitar amp simulator and effect processor. With this, you can record guitar parts straight into your computer, no need to use microphones.

Third, I hear a piano. That can't easily be synthesized, it wouldn't sound like the real thing. The best ways to play piano right now is to find a good Soundfont and play it via fluidsynth (Ardour already ships with it), and add some effects like reverb to make it sound more realistic. CALF plugins contain some pretty good effects.

Thank you very much for the detailed guidance Basslint! I'll start installing the softwares you mentioned and fiddle around them.

Since I'll probably start with "Asthma", would you have any other advice to work on reproducing the song (without vocals)? Like what kind of workflow do you advice?

I remember one of my music producer friend said that I should start with reproducing the drums, then the bass, then the main "others", then the fine-tuning. Do you think that workflow is advisable or do you have any other advice for better workflow?

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby tavasti » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:12 am

Basslint wrote:Second, you need to play the guitar parts yourself with some effects (I hear some overdrive, maybe compression in "Identity" for example). Guitarix is a great guitar amp simulator and effect processor. With this, you can record guitar parts straight into your computer, no need to use microphones.

If need is 'something like guitar', then things can be done with virtual instruments:
Options:
- Find/create suitable sound with zynaddsubfx
- Find suitable soundfont which has (nearly) desired guitar sound, possibly add some effects
- Find sound font which is straight from guitar, and put it thru guitarix

None of this options will provide something which can compete with real guitar with skillfull player, but if there is no guitar player available, these will provide something.

I made quick demo some time ago about using soundfont & guitarix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FxHHPTgDEA

That was really quick, I did not spend any time to find raw guitarfont, did not do any work with guitarix presets. So that cannot be used as comparison, it is more demonstration for idea. Used ubuntu distributed general soundfonts and few guitarix stock presets.

Potential soundfonts can be searched from net, there is plenty of them, but haven't used too much, so can't point out any specific. Maybe this might be worth trying: https://freepats.zenvoid.org/ElectricGu ... uitar.html
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby jonetsu » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:55 pm

May I recommend that you augment the palette of sounds by adding some free synths from u-he ? If you have no objection at using not Open Source software.

For starters here are the installation files (all platforms) for Beatzille:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l56nrrucqp9nw ... e.zip?dl=1

Offering this is done in accord with u-he as it was discussed on KVR when I thought of offering those hard-to-find install files.

Beatzille is a scaled-down version of u-he's Bazille synth. It is a native Linux synth. You can read about it at:

https://u-he.com/products/beatzille/

Other free synths from u-he which could be helpful in this context are TyrellN6, Podolski and Zebralette. All are native Linux synths.

There is a tiny mention of Linux download under the big MacOS download button:

Zebralette: https://u-he.com/products/zebralette/
Podolski: https://u-he.com/products/podolski/

And TyrellN6 from amazona.de:

https://www.amazona.de/freeware-synth-tyrell-n6-v3-03/

Cheers.

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Algorhythmic Sounds » Wed Mar 27, 2019 12:17 pm

tavasti wrote:If need is 'something like guitar', then things can be done with virtual instruments:
Options:
- Find/create suitable sound with zynaddsubfx
- Find suitable soundfont which has (nearly) desired guitar sound, possibly add some effects
- Find sound font which is straight from guitar, and put it thru guitarix

None of this options will provide something which can compete with real guitar with skillfull player, but if there is no guitar player available, these will provide something.

I made quick demo some time ago about using soundfont & guitarix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FxHHPTgDEA

That was really quick, I did not spend any time to find raw guitarfont, did not do any work with guitarix presets. So that cannot be used as comparison, it is more demonstration for idea. Used ubuntu distributed general soundfonts and few guitarix stock presets.

Potential soundfonts can be searched from net, there is plenty of them, but haven't used too much, so can't point out any specific. Maybe this might be worth trying: https://freepats.zenvoid.org/ElectricGu ... uitar.html

Thank you for the recommendation tavasti! I'm not really a skilled guitarist so that would really help.

jonetsu wrote:May I recommend that you augment the palette of sounds by adding some free synths from u-he ? If you have no objection at using not Open Source software.

For starters here are the installation files (all platforms) for Beatzille:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l56nrrucqp9nw ... e.zip?dl=1

Offering this is done in accord with u-he as it was discussed on KVR when I thought of offering those hard-to-find install files.

Beatzille is a scaled-down version of u-he's Bazille synth. It is a native Linux synth. You can read about it at:

https://u-he.com/products/beatzille/

Other free synths from u-he which could be helpful in this context are TyrellN6, Podolski and Zebralette. All are native Linux synths.

There is a tiny mention of Linux download under the big MacOS download button:

Zebralette: https://u-he.com/products/zebralette/
Podolski: https://u-he.com/products/podolski/

And TyrellN6 from amazona.de:

https://www.amazona.de/freeware-synth-tyrell-n6-v3-03/

Cheers.

That is fine jonetsu, since they're still free. Thanks for recommending.

I'll probably post here my progress whenever I try to really work on the "Asthma" song, especially if I have mishaps where googling about it doesn't really help. Been busy with other things so haven't really made any progress at all as I'm still trying to figure out how do things.

Thanks a lot so far and I'm really glad to be here :D

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby tavasti » Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:42 pm

Algorhythmic Sounds wrote:
tavasti wrote:If need is 'something like guitar', then things can be done with virtual instruments:

None of this options will provide something which can compete with real guitar with skillfull player, but if there is no guitar player available, these will provide something.

Thank you for the recommendation tavasti! I'm not really a skilled guitarist so that would really help.

If you are going with programmed guitars, for guitar chords you get more realistic feel if each string of chord is playing with bit different timing, like real player: strings will be strummed from up to down or down to up, not same time.

jonetsu wrote:May I recommend that you augment the palette of sounds by adding some free synths from u-he ? If you have no objection at using not Open Source software.

For open source synths you may want to check https://tytel.org/helm/ and https://surge-synthesizer.github.io/

And sure there is plenty of other great synths. You could spend several weeks for testing different synths and patches available for them. Most likely you will get much more real work done if you take 1 or 2 synths, and work with them. I would pick Zyn and Surge, and learn to use them. When you know your synth, you can modify existing sounds to your taste.
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby jonetsu » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:53 pm

tavasti wrote:And sure there is plenty of other great synths. You could spend several weeks for testing different synths and patches available for them. Most likely you will get much more real work done if you take 1 or 2 synths, and work with them. I would pick Zyn and Surge, and learn to use them. When you know your synth, you can modify existing sounds to your taste.


I suggested the u-he free synths and more to the point Beatzille first, because of the input material, the Japanese songs. I don't know about Surge, and Zynsubaddfx is certainly very good despite its flagrant lack of documentation (1) for such a complex synth, but Beatzille's filters are spot-on I'd say.

(1) Speaking of getting things going, the lack of documentation for such a complex synth is certainly not the corner stone for learning about the synth. Beatzille's uses the Bazille documentation at perhaps 90% or so :

https://uhedownloads-heckmannaudiogmb.n ... -guide.pdf

And Beatzille also has some 3rd party soundsets:

https://u-he.com/PatchLib/bazille.html#beatzille

Zebralette also has a lot of sound sets (and has a user guide) :

https://u-he.com/PatchLib/zebra.html#zlette

As well as some for Podolski (including sounds by Matt Bowler and Stefan Baer) (and also has a user guide) :

https://u-he.com/PatchLib/podolski.html

Not to forget TyrellN6 and a good choice of sounds (and a user guide) :

https://u-he.com/PatchLib/tyrelln6.html

Speaking of Japanese idols, yes King Crimson's "Elephant Talk" had some influence 8)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DBvANEIRfg

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Basslint » Sun Mar 31, 2019 10:48 am

Algorhythmic Sounds wrote:I remember one of my music producer friend said that I should start with reproducing the drums, then the bass, then the main "others", then the fine-tuning. Do you think that workflow is advisable or do you have any other advice for better workflow?


Workflow I think is very subjective but I think that working on rhythm first like your friend suggests is a good idea!

tavasti wrote:I made quick demo some time ago about using soundfont & guitarix: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FxHHPTgDEA


The clean sounds are nice!
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Algorhythmic Sounds » Mon May 06, 2019 4:24 pm

Just an update about this - ended up not finishing the songs where they will be needed so more or less my "boss" made new instrumentals using hacks via Audacity. Can't blame him as we were pressed with time - and I'm sadly yet unskilled orz For now, I've more or less decided to not continue with the tracks I've asked in the starting post I've listed.

But anyway, my "boss" and I just talked and I more or less will just assume new tracks that'll be needed in the future. I've more or less decided to go with a track at a time and will go with a song from Masshiro na Canvas since that's more or less the group the most songs that was first asked to me (There are other groups he has in mind and listed, but that's a story for later - one track at a time!).

I've decided to go with Masshiro na Canvas' "Zenshinzenrei":
> SoundCloud - https://soundcloud.com/shirokyan/336cfkabqjvx
> Youtube Live Music Video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwLXxW8xKIw

Since the song is also the same composer of both "Identity" and "whatever happens, happens", Aoi Furuya, I think it's more or less the same suggestions with what all of you have suggested so far - DrumGizmo, Guitarix, & Ardour, I guess?

But would you guys have anything else to add? It's been really hard for me to try to work on making the instrumentals since I'm really next to new - so any tips, tutorials, or videos you can direct me would be very much appreciated.

Thank you as always!

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby tavasti » Tue May 07, 2019 6:34 am

Algorhythmic Sounds wrote: It's been really hard for me to try to work on making the instrumentals since I'm really next to new - so any tips, tutorials, or videos you can direct me would be very much appreciated.


Do you have notes / tabs for that song, or are you creating it purely by ear?

For tools, learning takes time (and specially, work!) Search youtube for 'toolname tutorial' to get started.
If you are doing instrumentals, LMMS might be easier to get started and something done, but with it you can't record any real instruments.

In LMMS you can't route audio to guitarix and back directly, but with Carla-enabled LMMS you can most likely do it, see
viewtopic.php?t=18280
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby Algorhythmic Sounds » Tue May 07, 2019 7:21 am

tavasti wrote:Do you have notes / tabs for that song, or are you creating it purely by ear?

Sadly no notes or tabs and mostly by ear. Though I took the (unpleasant) plunge to use non-Linux based applications that autoconverts sound files to MIDI files so that I actually have some clues on some of the notes.

tavasti wrote:For tools, learning takes time (and specially, work!) Search youtube for 'toolname tutorial' to get started.

I do understand that, and most of the time, if not all the time, there are no shortcuts. But thought it's best to ask advice for people who are more experienced as I have next to no one I know offline who can guide me for Linux-based tools.

Thanks! I've actually searched youtube mostly on tutorials of tools, especially the newer ones.

tavasti wrote:If you are doing instrumentals, LMMS might be easier to get started and something done, but with it you can't record any real instruments.

In LMMS you can't route audio to guitarix and back directly, but with Carla-enabled LMMS you can most likely do it, see
viewtopic.php?t=18280

Oooh. Actually also installed LMMS prior but read and watched some recent reviews that Ardour was getting ahead, so I thought Ardour can get more things done with my current need. My mistake. Thanks for pointing that out :D

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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby tavasti » Tue May 07, 2019 8:59 am

Algorhythmic Sounds wrote:Oooh. Actually also installed LMMS prior but read and watched some recent reviews that Ardour was getting ahead, so I thought Ardour can get more things done with my current need. My mistake. Thanks for pointing that out :D

LMMS is great and solid for things where its limitations are not problem. It is pretty self contained, and you can get started working with it only. But when you would need recorded audio or external programs, then LMMS is not working solution.

Sure it is possible to create most of things in LMMS, and if needing something more, do that rest in Ardour.

Ardour is at its best with recording audio and handling it. It has midi capabilities for programmed music also, but that is weakest side of it, and definitely Ardour is not easiest program to get started.
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Re: Mabuhay from the Philippines + I need advice / help (?)

Postby jonetsu » Tue May 07, 2019 1:14 pm

Yes, Ardour is not the best software to create using MIDI. Unfortunately I do not know of any Linux non-commercial software that excels in MIDI and creative expression capabilities. Maybe QTractor ? On the commercial side, still Linux, I use Bitwig which I find is great for MIDI. But not so great at mixing. So I mix using Mixbus32C, which is the commercial version of Ardour.


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