Quote from MannerMode;68842
Another thing I found is how rather tricky it is to get accurate MIDI sync going. Even with offsetting the MIDI tracks, it isn't quite tight.
What are you syncing to? I have my Analog Four syncing to an Octatrack and I'm not noticing any real issues.
Octatrack > Thru Box > Analog Four
So, in theory, that should be more than 10 milliseconds of delay, but, it doesn't really feel like that.
But, even if there was like 20ms of jitter, that's really not that big of a deal. I'm trying to find the link of a site that has done a ton of testing on the jitter for sequencers. It had the Octatrack as one of the best (not THE best, but, in like the top five). It had the TR-909 and TR-808 in like the bottom of the stack (the sync out on those was BAD).
Found the site:
Check out some of the classic drum machines and how bad their timing is.
Quote from MannerMode;68598
Ok. Hit a little brick wall today. I hope someone can help. How can I get the Analog Four to trigger the drum modules independently? Right now, they are all firing off in unison!! Any suggestions?
Hey, man, you get this sorted out (sorry, didn't notice the reply til now).
I think you can set A, B, C and D to all Gate. But, I haven't tried it out at all. It may or may not work? Not sure. You might need to p-lock each gate on and off. Treat it like one track rather than four.
Quote from MannerMode;68565
Mine turned up today. Hooray! I immediate upgraded the OS to version 1.06. I tried syncing it to Reason 7 from Reason's midi out, Analog 4 as slave. No problems at all. Seems solid. Deleted all the factory presets since they sound like shit.
So essentially, I'd need a cable with a balanced stereo 1/4 inch TRS connector on one end and two mono 1/8 inch connectors on the other? I'm assuming the other end is not balanced? Aghh! I hate cabling stuff. I'll probably try and find a place that can make them for me.
Ig you go down to Guitar Center and tell them you need an "insert cable," that is what they will give you. It's a TRS to dual TS. It's used for the insert jacks on mixers (etc) that is an inline effects chain.
But, all it really does is take a stereo signal and split it up to two mono signals.
Then, all you need is a way to go from 1/4" TS (mono or unbalanced, which ever you prefer), to 1/8" TS.
Balanced means it's a mono signal, but with a common ground. The signal is sent in-phase and out-of-phase, so that when they are recombined (in correct phase), any noise that was picked up from the cable will be phase canceled.
Stereo (or dual mono) means is two signals with a common ground. The two signals might be unrelated.
Stereo and balanced cables are the same thing. Stereo and balanced connections are entirely different.
Quote from MannerMode;68544
Isn't the anything you can buy off the shelf? I'm really loathe to DIY anything. Most likely I'll botch it up. I'm expecting the A4 to show up before the weekend. Can't wait to try it out.
Not that I have found, but I haven't looked all that hard. But, guitar center and sweetwater didn't have anything that looked right. You can get insert cables, but they are 1/4" TRS (stereo) to dual 1/4" TS (mono). Then get two 1/4" TS to 1/8" TS adapters. I just wanted to avoid the adapter route. Small cable adapters would be good, as opposed to those radio shack monstrosities.
TRS is tip ring sleeve, normal stereo. TS is tip sleeve, normal mono. TRRS is tip ring ring sleeve, like a cell phone headset.
Edit: I didn't want several of these hanging out of the back of my MiniBrute: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.…07&locale=en_US
Quote from MannerMode;68519
I decided to buy an Elektron Analog Four. Can sync to MIDI over USB and has a very capable sequencer for triggering CV. I can also use it as an additional drum/synth source.
First, I absolutely LOVE my Analog Four! It's my current workhorse. I use an Octatrack for drums and the Analog Four for all my synth parts (other than my vocoder carrier). My bandmate uses a MonoMachine (and it getting a Vermona DRM1 soon to augment the Octrack's drums).
I haven't tried syncing it via usb. I don't have a computer anywhere near my gear right now and really couldn't test that out.
Similarly, I also haven't used the CV/Gate features, yet. My only issue is that I'm going to have to solder up some cables for using it. It has two 1/4" TRS outs for AB and CD. So, I could go buy a couple insert cables, but, I still have to deal with either adapters for 1/4" to 1/8" or cut and solder on 1/8" connectors on those cables. This is why I haven't used it yet (well, that and the only synth I have with CV in is the MiniBrute).
Quote from MannerMode;68500
Man, I'm not gonna lie. My head is swimming. I could understand some of what you said but some of it (particularly syncing stuff) is confusing the sh*t out of me.
If you have multiple hardware sequencers running that don't have midi, you still need to find a way to keep them in sync with each other.
Sending a rather loud sorta signal (like the snares that spotta mentioned) at a regular interval will keep them all in sync. It doesn't have to be a drum sound, most clock sync is a square wave, pulse wave or a noise burst. Point is, something loud enough to trigger it knowing that is a clock pulse.
Usually you will want them pulsed every single 16th note. Some sequencers will play the next step when a clock is received, but will stop playing when it stops receiving clock (from what I understand, this is how the vast majority of modular sequencers work). This is useful for sending weird patterns to get more interesting results from the sequencer. Some use the clock pulse to calibrate it's internal timing and will play no matter what (the Korg Monotron is this way and probably the coming Korg Volcas will be this way as well). This way, even if you turn off the master sequencer it can keep running.
Example usage: From Ableton, create a "click" track of a drum sound with pretty harsh initial transient, and send it to an output of a multi-out sound card (you need more than a stereo audio card for this). Plug that into the sync in of a sequencer and it will run in sync with Ableton.
I like using MKS-50 (rack mount Alpha Juno) with the pwm'd saw with a bit of noise mixed in. It's been the best carrier I've used. But, I use an Eletrix Warp Factory (or Ableton's vocoder).
tl;dr - Just do it ... and keep doing it. it takes practice.
Part of what makes them sound like they do is their mixing and mastering. There is a very minor amount of distortion on most of the elements (recorded too loud to tape, plugin to "warm" it up, run through a tube preamp, etc etc). There is a very minor amount of reverb added to all the elements (individually and in groups and as a whole). There is a lot of experimentation, trial and error in learning how to get those kinds of sounds, both in synthesis and in mixing.
But, part of what makes that style of electro stand apart, in my opinion, is it's lack of melody. The bass line is usually one or two notes (eg, D and D#), played in a pattern, and most of the other sounds comp that tonality. It's very devoid of the funk. Also, the drum beats tend to be less complicated, but more aggressive (the kick is usually on the 1 and 9 of a 16 step pattern). But, those aren't "rules" of this style, just my general observations.
If you still have your Frooty Luips lying around, reinstall it and start playing around. It takes a lot of practice to make the sounds you want. Just accept that everything you make for the first six months will be horrid. Just get past that and keep doing. The only way to get better, and to get what you want is to do it yourself. Constantly play with things. Don't just write and listen to electro (that's good advice for anything, as Stephen King says, if you want to write, you have to read for hours a day as well).
Making electro isn't "easy." It's deceptive in that it sounds so bare. People are still trying to sound like it was recorded on an 8-track from the pawn shop down the street from their Detroit apartment. It's a pretty niche sound that takes a lot of practice in getting right. It's minimal techno done right.
disclosure: What I write can only be barely classified as electro (weird time signatures, pop arrangements and overly melodic). So, take the above with a grain of salt.
Answering your specific questions:
What programs do you suggest? I absolutely love Ableton Live, but your mileage may vary. Every single computer musician friend of mine uses something different. It's hackneyed, but, it's not the tools you use, but how you use them. Try out a bunch of them and find one that doesn't make you want to punch your screen to death. Try everything from Reaper to Reason to Renoise to Rebirth.
I've heard analog is better, but I would prefer to go digital. Lies and slander. Honestly, if it sounds good, it's useful. If it sounds bad, it may still be useful. The difference is almost a religious issue for some people.
When I get the programs, which types of synth plugins should I get? Yes. Get every free plugin you can get your hands on. I really like Ableton Analog, but, it's super limited (when I'm on a computer, and not on my outboard gear, I do everything with that, including each drum sound). I love the TAL plugins, they are free AND amazing! Audio Damage Tattoo drum synth/sequencer would be worth looking into (it's only like $60 and it's got a pretty good "synthy" drum tone). Synth1 is a great clone of the Nord Lead 2.
I heard something about sound packs? What is that about? It's about fail. All kinds of fail. But, I don't use samples when I can avoid it. Honestly, if you are on the computer, there is no excuse to not synthesize your drums (either with a plugins like the D16 ones or AD Tattoo or Waldorf Attack, unless you are doing something with real world drum sounds or need something really bizarre). When I'm on hardware and using samples, I am STILL using the sample packs from hyperreal I download in like 1999. But, Goldbaby does an amazing job and has some free stuff up. There is a pack floating around with samples from like 200 drum machines (also worth grabbing). I really dislike using pre-mangled samples (like the sounds you'd get from Vengeance), I'd rather use raw samples from old drum machines if I need to use samples.
While I'm at it, if I do decide to go analog, what should I look at? Well, I have a very limited analog gear list (Elektron Analog Four, Arturia MiniBrute, Roland MKS-50, Roland Alpha Juno 2, MAM MB33 mk. II, a couple monotrons, etc). I don't have any of the "classic" electro synths (Juno 60/106, TR-808, TB-303, whatever other analog gear from the early 80s). If you want to go "real" analog (and not virtual), look for a monosynth with a lot of realtime control and personality (from the current crop: Moog's Sub Fatty, Arturia's MiniBrute, MFB's Dominion-X, Doepfer's Dark Energy). Don't buy vintage gear unless you have the disposable income, or, you know it's what you need. Current gear is damned amazing and shouldn't be overlooked. If you want to go virtual analog, get yourself (from craigslist, because they get flopped all the time) cheap things and get a bunch. If you hate them? Flop them back on the craigslist. They're cheap and can usually be resold for not much loss (or a slight gain). Just watch prices for a month to make sure you're not getting ripped off. I'd recommend Korg's EMX-1, it's one of the most fun all-in-one units I've ever used. You can sit on your couch with a beer (or other stimulant of your choosing) and knock up beats left and right. It doesn't sound super-amazing, but it's fun as hell. Totally worth $200-$250 (you can get the Smart Media Card version for cheaper, and it's not a sampler, so who cares).
Quote from hiddenpersuader;64231
It's a shame this tag isn't showing up in 'browse all tag' page. I thought it might after a while but no show so far.
I think it's because there just aren't enough. Look at (first micro-genre I pulled from the aether) http://bandcamp.com/tag/cyber-metal there's one page there. The lowest one I see now is saxophone. While it only shows 10 pages for saxophone, rock (the top genre) only shows 10 pages. So, no telling how popular the tag needs to get before it's on the browse genres page.
But, I've already bought a couple of albums based on the new tag! So, it's working!