Rhythm Creation - Music Production and Sound Reocording

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If your ever looking for a specific sample one of the best places you could go to search would be The Freesound Project. At the time of writing this they have over 40,000 samples, all available to find via a search tool. All samples are provided free for you to use by other generous people from around the world under a creative commons license (which basically means you can use it as you like as long as you mention the person who made the sample).

I have also heard that a sample of a scream from The Freesound Project was used in the film "Children of Men" which starred Clive Owen and the user was properly credited in the credits, so if you make your own samples, why not upload them. You never know you may hear your sample in the next big movie.

The Freesound Project Logo I like The Freesound Project a lot and I thought it deserved a mention. I shall certainly be using it to search for sounds when I need a sound that I can’t make myself. Just remember to attribute the sample creator as great tools like this wouldn’t exist without them.

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Every computer musician needs to have in their collection of tools a audio editor to be able to see and edit the waveform of their sound files as well as record straight in via their soundcard from an external source. Audacity is an open source/free piece of software developed by a group of volunteers and distributed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.

When you start Audacity you will see that it doesn’t look amazing and whilst some of the paid for alternatives have more features, Audacity has some amazing features which can certainly be a benefit to musicians and what Audacity does, it does well. Check out their feature list. Audacity is certainly a great add-on application for users of programs like Propellerheads Reason as they can then go and edit, cut-up and tweak samples. It may not have all the features and plugins of programs like Soundforge but it certainly can do the everyday stuff and I would certainly recommend it to musicians on a budget or anyone who doesn’t need those extra features.

What is good about Audacity
  • It’s Free/Open Source Software
  • Its fast (at loading, editing, zooming etc)
  • Easy to use and simple layout
  • Multiple operating systems supported
What is bad about Audacity
  • I’m not keen on the look of the interface (Not that it matters)
  • It is missing a few features of paid for applications (But it’s free)
You can download Audacity from The Audacity web site.

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You want to start making music with your computer, So you get yourself some software and a music keyboard with a MIDI connection to your computer. But when you start to play that keyboard you suddenly realise that when you play the note on the keyboard it doesn’t play the note on the computer until a second later because of a delay caused by the latency of the card. This is what happened to me years ago when I started making music with a computer, I had a SoundBlaster Live back then which came with the computer and the MIDI latency was around 130ms which makes playing a MIDI controller pretty unplayable. So I thought there was nothing else I could do but go and buy a brand new soundcard.

That’s when I first came across The KX Project. A set of drivers that "Expands The Potential" of any EMU10K1 and EMU10K2-based soundcards such as the SoundBlaster Live. Anyway I gave them a try and uninstalled the ones that came from Creative Labs.

KX Project LogoI could not believe what a difference a set of drivers could do to my system. Suddenly my soundcard could cope with 5.33ms latency. I couldn’t believe it. It was as if the manufacturer had purposely slowed down the card to sell other more expensive "musician" cards.

Anyone starting out who can’t afford to buy a top of the range sound card and all you need is good latency and only a couple of inputs and you have one of the supported cards. I would suggest giving The KX Project Drivers a try. You might just be amazed like I was.

Article written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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Everyone into Music Production loves more sound files to collect and adapt into their own music tracks and thanks to OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) they have available 10 Gigabytes of sound files available for you to download for free.

All sound files contained within the downloads are released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License which means that you can share them and use them in your tracks as long as you attribute the author properly.

Full Details Here
Bittorrent File Download from Mininova

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There are many sample CDs available today full of samples and while lots of them contain some excellent sounds and loops, I believe that you should learn to stay clear of them as much as possible when selecting samples for your music. This article explains why I think that way.

Sample CDs can cost a lot of money, mainly because what you are buying is a license to use the sounds in your productions legally and not just to listen to like a standard CD. I don’t want to make out all Sample CDs to be evil because some of them are great and can come in very handy when looking for that certain orchestral instrument sound for example which you can’t get hold of or create yourself. But there are many Sample CDs out there containing nothing but sounds and loops which I believe can slow down creativity, the learning process (especially for beginners) as well as make musicians lazy.

Sample CDs slow down creativity because they stop people from creating and developing their own sounds, if everyone sticks to the same old sample CDs (especially genre based ones) then music starts sounding too familiar and they aren’t going to be creating their own unique sound or take on a certain genre.

CD Cases - Image from Stock Xchng (www.sxc.hu) User:Meow A musicians learning process can also be slowed down because many of the samples have had effects and processing galore put on them to make you go "WOW! Now that sounds good". While this sounds amazing for the individual sounds when listening to the sample, when all these sounds get put together into a track they end up sounding mushy as they are all fighting for that same space in the mix. Beginners then go on to learn from tutorials and books that they then need to add more effects and then mix down their tracks only to find they can’t get the sound they want as they have nothing to work with. This stops and hinders them from learning about sound creation, how to add effects and mix sounds together properly leading to “why doesn’t my track sound professional” questions that you often see on message boards.

The truth is that you can easily find alternatives which are a lot of the time a much better choice. I would advise anyone before buying a sample CD to ask themselves these questions...
  • Can I record these sounds myself with a microphone?
  • Can I use a synthesizer to create those sounds from scratch myself?
  • Is it possible that I can recreate a similar drum loop using my own samples?
  • Can I be limited only by my own creative abilities and not what some sound engineer decides is a good collection of sounds".
By creating your own sounds instead of using sample CDs you open up the possibilities in your music and you gain so much more control over the final sound of your tracks. I also know that as a musician and starting to use your own sounds in your creations that you will start to look upon your own music with a lot more pride. You may even find yourself creating a new unique and personal sound in your music and surely that can only be a good thing.

Article written by Edward Cufaude for Rhythm Creation.

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