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Author Topic: Seeking basic tutorials  (Read 393 times)

Banjonica

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Seeking basic tutorials
« on: December 16, 2021, 12:15:58 pm »
Hello.
I am NOT an electric musician.  I play a traditional acoustic instrument and am highly proficient.  I am in the process of making an album, with a producer.  I am making small, home studio "demos" that I show to him as "proof of concept."  This has led me to dealing with problems such as recording my instrument, creating loops and so on.  Currently I am trying to make percussion loops, or basically, drum machine tracks.

So I bought an Arturia Beatstep.  NOT a Pro, the really basic, entry level device.  With that came a bunch of software that has taken me literally hours to to figure out.  But I now have it running.  that is to say, I can make it make a noise, and I do this via Analog Lab 4, the software it recommended I install. 

So far so good.

Unfortunately, I cannot get any basic percussion sounds out of it.  I downloaded a "Spark2" pack from the Arturia software center, but it it does not show up in the Analog Lab 4 presets.  I also downloaded a bunch of free Drumbrute samples, that appear to be WAV files.  These files are incompatible with Lab4, and I cannot figure out what I have to do to import the samples.   I have scoured hundreds of tutorials and forums, but I cannot find anyone who can answer my most basic question - how do I just get these presets to work?  How do I make just a very basic drum/percussion loop, as a percussion track that I can record me actually physically playing my instrument over?  I do not need to know how to record my instrument.  I have numerous tracks already that feature percussion I have recorded in realtime- tambourines, sticks, spoons, whatever makes a good sound.  But it is labor and time intensive doing it this way and I am not a percussionist. 

Because I am, to you people, probably less than a beginner in your field, and cannot even properly formulate the correct vocabulary to even begin asking a question you would be able to comprehend, I want to ask you this instead - CAN anyone point me in the right direction for a decent tutorial or online course or anything, that can help me better understand how to work this machine and the software?   All I want to do is download a fairly basic but decent library of analog drum samples - no FX, just kick, snare, tom, rim, etc that I can then actually put into and use in my Lab4 presets that I can program into a loop on my Beatstep?   There appears to be nothing on YouTube for this, and nothing comes up as a result of my google searches.

Thanks
Yours in mind numbing frustration,
Banjonica


MajorFubar

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2021, 01:37:42 pm »
Welcome

First of all beatstep and Analog Lab are apples and oranges, they're two different things.

I have no experience of Beatstep having never used one. But I do know you can't load drum samples into Analog Lab, nor BeatStep.
BeatStep is a midi controller, designed for sending rhythmic sequences to a drum machine or to a virtual drummer like EZDrummer. It doesn't contain any drum sounds itself, nor can you load any in.

What DAW are you using to record everything? Your DAW may include sets of virtual drums you can play with Beatstep.
2011 iMac 27" MacOS 10.13 High Sierra 2012 MBP 13" High Sierra V Collection 6 Analog Lab 4 + 5 KeyLab 88 KeyStep

LBH

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2021, 04:00:35 pm »
Hello.
I am NOT an electric musician.  I play a traditional acoustic instrument and am highly proficient.  I am in the process of making an album, with a producer.  I am making small, home studio "demos" that I show to him as "proof of concept."  This has led me to dealing with problems such as recording my instrument, creating loops and so on.  Currently I am trying to make percussion loops, or basically, drum machine tracks.

So I bought an Arturia Beatstep.  NOT a Pro, the really basic, entry level device.  With that came a bunch of software that has taken me literally hours to to figure out.  But I now have it running.  that is to say, I can make it make a noise, and I do this via Analog Lab 4, the software it recommended I install. 

So far so good.

Unfortunately, I cannot get any basic percussion sounds out of it.  I downloaded a "Spark2" pack from the Arturia software center, but it it does not show up in the Analog Lab 4 presets.  I also downloaded a bunch of free Drumbrute samples, that appear to be WAV files.  These files are incompatible with Lab4, and I cannot figure out what I have to do to import the samples.   I have scoured hundreds of tutorials and forums, but I cannot find anyone who can answer my most basic question - how do I just get these presets to work?  How do I make just a very basic drum/percussion loop, as a percussion track that I can record me actually physically playing my instrument over?  I do not need to know how to record my instrument.  I have numerous tracks already that feature percussion I have recorded in realtime- tambourines, sticks, spoons, whatever makes a good sound.  But it is labor and time intensive doing it this way and I am not a percussionist. 

Because I am, to you people, probably less than a beginner in your field, and cannot even properly formulate the correct vocabulary to even begin asking a question you would be able to comprehend, I want to ask you this instead - CAN anyone point me in the right direction for a decent tutorial or online course or anything, that can help me better understand how to work this machine and the software?   All I want to do is download a fairly basic but decent library of analog drum samples - no FX, just kick, snare, tom, rim, etc that I can then actually put into and use in my Lab4 presets that I can program into a loop on my Beatstep?   There appears to be nothing on YouTube for this, and nothing comes up as a result of my google searches.

Thanks
Yours in mind numbing frustration,
Banjonica
Hi,

I can add this.

It's not possible to direct you to tutorials for something that's not possible.

- Analog Lab 4 can't use Spark2 soundpacks. The soundpavks was made for Arturias old Spark2 drum solution system.
- Analog Lab can't import audio samples.
- Samples are not the same as presets.
- Analog Lab can use presets that use samples, but unless you have the applications where the presets are made, then you can't work with samples at all in Analog Lab. You can only choose excisting presets that might use samples.
- Analog does have percussive presets, just like it have synth and piano sounds an so on.
- In a DAW you can correct and edit recorded midi and audio, if you wish. How to do this depend on the DAW.

I suggest you start by reading the manuals for your Beatstep and you Analog Lab, and perhaps read and watch the videos on product pages. I have'nt seen the videos, so can't tell how much they tell. The main thing is to get an idea and some understanding about the products usage.

You say you record. But i'm not sure what you excactly mean by that. Do you record midi data or audio? And how excactly?
I don't use a Beatstep. But it's a controller. You can create Patterns/ Sequences in Beatstep. It's midi.
If you use Beatstep with a recording software like a DAW, then you can use different kind of soundsources with the DAW.
You can create audio loops in a DAW and other recording.

It can take some time and patience to start using tools for music production.

Hope this helps.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2021, 04:12:43 pm by LBH »

Banjonica

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2021, 11:12:58 pm »
Thanks for your reply.

I was given the impression, based on what Arturia says on its software center and the creators of the packs, that they could be used with Lab4.  It appears I cannot use the Beatstep without Lab4.  This took me several hours of going over tutorials and manuals and experimenting to figure out.

Whether I use the terminology "preset" or "sample", I don't really care.  I just want some percussion sounds, and the Spark2 "presets" were available via the Arturia software center that claims to be usable (and in fact, from what I am discovering, is mandatory,) with Lab4.   Even within Lab4, there are "instrument" labels that clearly say "Drums", "Percussion," etc.  But none of these have basic drum sounds, and often they have nothing in them at all.  This led me to assume I could somehow import some kind of drum preset or sound into Lab4.  I have discovered numerous videos claiming that people have made their own and imported them, but after watching a handful of these I discovered that they are not actually doing this at all and do not show how to do this.

I've read the manuals, and watched countless "tutorial" videos.  The manuals don't make a lot sense.  They instruct on how to turn the machine on, but beyond that the information is extremely esoteric and 90% is information I don't need for tasks I'm not going to do, that make little difference when I follow them.  Also, there is, as I mentioned, the issue of terminology in this field.  One sentence might result in 3 or 4 hours of me researching what some terms are referring to, with little result.

Regarding RECORDING:
My operation is simple.  I use to DAWs, one for podcasts and one for music.  For Podcasting I use Audacity.  It's free, simple, and great for just voice and maybe some theatrical devices like sound effects.
But for music I am using Reaper, which I don't have much experience in but am learning fast. 
My process is quite rudimentary.  I set up, via a Scarlett18i8, some microphones.  If recording an ensemble I'll mic up the instruments and the room.  But when doing my own stuff, I have one condenser mic.  I lay down a track, usually on my cello banjo (for bass) with a click.  Then I'll lay down other banjo tracks, acoustic & electric, over this.  Then, all via the same mic but on separate tracks, some basic percussion.  I then send this to my producer and we take various notes, in preparation for recording the piece in his studio. 
What i want to do, and what I know I can do because I have tried it - just not with the sounds I want - is to lay down another track using the Beatstep MIDI to create some very simple percussion loops.  I tried this via numerous ways, using the MIDI control that was in my Mac, but the only thing that actually produces a sound is the Lab4.  If I don't run through that, it just doesn't work.  Unfortunately, it's all synth sounds that I can't use.

WHat I like about, and why I bought, the Beatstep, is because in the demos (the many online videos I have watched, both official Arturia ones and others,) I've seen people do exactly this.  The layout is great.  Two rows of 8 buttons, making 16 beats that equates to 4 bars subdivided into semi-quavers, which means I can easily create syncopation etc.  I have seen people do what i want to do, but I cannot do it myself, and the tutorials are very confusing.  I will often spend 15mins watching one only to discover there was nothing I needed in it and it was  a huge waste of time.  Really, what i want to do is so simple.  I am not a DJ or electronic producer.  I'm an instrumentalist that cannot find a reliable drummer and I want control over what I create.  This path has been recommended to me by many people.  Now I see people on this forum tell me this is not the path?

Regarding using DAW to create sequences with Beatstep - this will not work.  I tried it.  I need to run it via Lab4, or it will simply not make a sound, and the DAW has no bank of sounds I can use. 

So I'm confused and I have no idea what to do.  There isn't anyone I can speak to in person in my area, and I don't know who to approach I am NOT the traditional kind of musician using this.  I am not a club DJ.  I also don't know what the correct videos to watch are.  I've been through YouTube, Searched on many search engines, they all keep bringing me back to the ones I've either already watched or are not on the subject I'm looking for.

Banjonica

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2021, 11:31:33 pm »
Welcome

First of all beatstep and Analog Lab are apples and oranges, they're two different things.

I have no experience of Beatstep having never used one. But I do know you can't load drum samples into Analog Lab, nor BeatStep.
BeatStep is a midi controller, designed for sending rhythmic sequences to a drum machine or to a virtual drummer like EZDrummer. It doesn't contain any drum sounds itself, nor can you load any in.

What DAW are you using to record everything? Your DAW may include sets of virtual drums you can play with Beatstep.

Thanks for your reply.
Unfortunately as I have discovered, Beatstep will only work with Lab4.  I tried other Midi interfaces, only Lab4 actually produced sound.  All others did not.  Lab4 & the Arturia software center are bundled with the unit, this further adds to necessity of Lab4 when using Beatstep.  Not only is it recommended by the manufacturer, it simply won't work with anything else.  So, apples + oranges, as you put it, forced to work together.. 

Beatstep has no sounds in it, so I have to use the Lab4 to access them.  Those sounds come from the Arturia Software center.  I managed to download an organ preset, but that is the only one that I have successfully downloaded that has shown up as a usable sound in Lab4 for the Beatstep to access.   So basically I have to use what came with Lab4, and although I have heard many claim you can create and upload your own beats and sequences, I have not seen anyone actually do this and no one can explain this to me.  The closest thing I have seen was literally a 9sec video but it was for Lab5.

Regarding DAW - I am using Reaper, which does not come with any sounds, at all.  It's just the DAW.  Even if it did have a drum package I could use, it still would need to run via Lab4 for the Beatstep to work.  I tried it with the inbuilt midi controller on my mac and it did not work at all.  I have to use Lab4.

Am I to understand from what you've said, that I need another program or device?  Virtual or actual drum machine, that I can use the Beatstep to control?  If so, how can I run this via Lab4, since that is the only program I have that the Beatstep works with?  As you have had no experience with Beatstep, I'm guessing you can't tell me if there's a drum machine out there that will work with Beatstep?

Honestly it's so frustrating.  I'm getting misinformation and bum leads from every corner and I really do not know what to do, who to turn to, or how to fix this.  Hence my request for a basic, reliable tutorial.  But I'm thinking, this doesn't exist, and certainly I am not getting the info I need from the many existing tutorials on YouTube.  I know I can do various beginner courses for Reaper online, is there not one for this kind of stuff?  I don't know what to do other than keep smashing my head against the wall.

LBH

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2021, 02:07:19 am »
You don't have to use Analog Lab at all unless you need the sounds it have. It's a total misunderstanding. Analog Lab is a soundsource. Beatstep can be used with any software where you set it up, like i assume you have done in Analog Labs audio and midi settings using it in standalone mode/ outside your DAW, to make Beatstep work for that. Not all software instruments come as a standalone application, so they need a host like a DAW to be used.
As said, Beatstep is a controller. It can control things.

Have you set up Beatstep to use it as a controller for instruments and effects in Reapers preferences?
This is Reapers own Tutorial video on how to do this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7DCEHPXkGU
Be sure Beatstep is connected to the computer using USB, when you do this.
Perhaps this video thats also a Reaper tutorial video give further help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LmEy49PH9p8
I don't use Reaper and every DAW have it's own way of doing things.
You need to setup this connection to use Beatstep in your DAW.
Reaper have lot's of help videos here: https://www.reaper.fm/videos.php

This should enable you to use instruments and effect plugins in Reaper - both the internal and third party plugins like Analog Lab.
Can you play and control this (also Analog Lab) with your Beatstep inside Reaper?
The path to the plugins location/s should be set in Reaper preferences under (Plugins), so Reaper can use them.
Allways read and use the text in the windows, when you do something.

FYI: Reaper have lot's of help videos here: https://www.reaper.fm/videos.php
They are most helpful, if you know what your issue actually is, so you can find the right video. So knowing some things can be helpful, instead of saying you don't care. Also to get help from others. Right now your issues can be about lots of things - like the above.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2021, 02:09:37 am by LBH »

MajorFubar

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2021, 11:05:46 am »
If you're using a Mac why the heck aren't you using GarageBand? It comes free with a ton of built in sounds, including drumkits you can play from your BeatStep, and includes a virtual drummer if you don't want to drum yourself. You're crazy trying to teach yourself to use something like Reaper, which doesn't even come with any built-in sounds, considering you can have GarageBand.

Download GarageBand from the Apple App Store. When you first open GarageBand it might ask you if you want to download all the additional content (loops and additional sound patches). It's been a while since I downloaded it on a fresh computer, so to be fair I can't remember. But if it does, for now just click No.

Create a new project from one of the templates, just to get you going.

You'll see in most instances the first track of the template is a drummer track based around one of the built-in auto drummers. Probably you'll want to delete that seeing you likely want to make your own beats using the Beatstep.

Plug your BeatStep into a free USB port. Go into GarageBand's midi settings and tell it to use BeatStep as your midi controller.

That's it.

Use the patch-browser down the left hand side to choose synths, drum kits, piano, whatever.

When you've got the basics working, come back and I'll show you how to access Analog Lab 4's sounds from GarageBand.
2011 iMac 27" MacOS 10.13 High Sierra 2012 MBP 13" High Sierra V Collection 6 Analog Lab 4 + 5 KeyLab 88 KeyStep

Banjonica

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2021, 01:23:42 am »
If you're using a Mac why the heck aren't you using GarageBand? It comes free with a ton of built in sounds, including drumkits you can play from your BeatStep, and includes a virtual drummer if you don't want to drum yourself. You're crazy trying to teach yourself to use something like Reaper, which doesn't even come with any built-in sounds, considering you can have GarageBand.

Download GarageBand from the Apple App Store. When you first open GarageBand it might ask you if you want to download all the additional content (loops and additional sound patches). It's been a while since I downloaded it on a fresh computer, so to be fair I can't remember. But if it does, for now just click No.

Create a new project from one of the templates, just to get you going.

You'll see in most instances the first track of the template is a drummer track based around one of the built-in auto drummers. Probably you'll want to delete that seeing you likely want to make your own beats using the Beatstep.

Plug your BeatStep into a free USB port. Go into GarageBand's midi settings and tell it to use BeatStep as your midi controller.

That's it.

Use the patch-browser down the left hand side to choose synths, drum kits, piano, whatever.

When you've got the basics working, come back and I'll show you how to access Analog Lab 4's sounds from GarageBand.

Why am I not using Garagband?  Excellent question, and I have an answer.  Let me explain, and thanks so much for the tip.  This will be today's exploration.

So I am not a Mac user!  I have used PC all my life, having been turned off macs in the early 2000's because of the lack of control  i had over file saving, and again recently with the corporate exploitation in Apple that prevents me having control.  For eg, my GF uses Macs, and had her airbook shut down due to it being "outdated." It wasn't, it just needed someone to unlock the Apple software "updates" that were designed to force users that aren't savvy to literally buy a new Mac every couple of years.  So we went to a local "underground" non-official "illegal" mac repair guy who fixed it for her, and also who put me on to a mac laptop that he had spec'd out for musicians with a powerful sound card and loads of processing room to run various DAWs.  It was cheap so I bought one, because it allowed me to have a portable studio.  Previously I was using a ZoomH4 (Which I LOVE,) taking it home to my PC and doing all my editing there, in Audacity.  But this was for podcast.  (The Wolfe & Thorn heritage fiddle podcast, in case you were interested.)  Just talking, fiddle and banjo captured on room mics, some post-production effects - stupid things like exploding helicopters and stampeding miniature elephants to add some theatre to the podcast.)

So this meant that now having a new Mac, a new DAW (Reaper, because what i want to do Audacity won't handle, and protools et al is a bit too expensive for me atm,) and so on that the learning curve has been steep.  It takes me hours and hours to do the most basic stuff I'd do in 15mins on my PC.  So I wasn't clued on to Garageband!  But now, as it's free (is that right?  Well, I'll find out soon!)  I will definitely be exploring that. 

I'm sorry I'm such a noob, and I literally do not have the proper vocabulary to ask for help (STEEP learning curve!) I am used to physical instrumental music making, but since doing the podcast I really want to get my producing skills up so I can make recordings that do not rely on anyone else, I can do everything, be the band, producer, engineer etc, because what I want to do is extremely simple.  I mean, I can score the entire record I want to produce in notation, I'm in the top of my state in my instrument with a good reputation.  I just got a full-time job as head of music at a local school, but man......this electronic stuff....I just need a super basic tutorial, but I fear what I need may be too basic for this forum.  Nevertheless, I am extremely grateful for everyone's input.

I will respond to the other message from LBH a bit later today.  Thank you!

Banjonica

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2021, 11:00:07 pm »
If you're using a Mac why the heck aren't you using GarageBand?

I have good news on thios, and  have bad news.

Turns out, because of the Big Sur update, I cannot use Garageband.  My MacOS is an older version, and the App store won't let you download it unless you update ti BigSur.  Problem is, Big Sur literally breaks old macs.  Here's a video on it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tQVQUd94Aw

This basically summarizes hours of my research trying to get around Big Sur.  Due to past experiences with macs, I try not to update wherever possible.  So, why not download an older or bootlg version of Garageband?  Well, because you cannot.  HEre's a video summarizing that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lrn5dffVno

So, what's the good news?

Well.....turns out an old mate of mine is very good with Reaper, Analog Lab4 and midi controllers, and I'm going to go over to his place today and he is literally going to give me the very thing I asked this forum for.  A complete beginner tutorial rundown on the whole thing, from scratch. In person, IRL.  None of this "watch a youtube video" or "You can't do that" etc.  So I'm extremely confident I will find a solution.

Thanks anyway!

MajorFubar

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Re: Seeking basic tutorials
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2021, 09:29:00 am »
There's nothing like actually being taught in person. So good luck with your vetures.

As for the App Store, if you try to download GarageBand it should offer you the latest version compatible with your OS. I'm running High Sierra, so probably an older OS than you, and I'm running GarageBand (and Logic Pro).
2011 iMac 27" MacOS 10.13 High Sierra 2012 MBP 13" High Sierra V Collection 6 Analog Lab 4 + 5 KeyLab 88 KeyStep

 

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