John Clees wrote:Ableton is very expensive. I don't know that I personally would start there first. Great for live pa presentations specifically which is why I bought it, but as for productions I'm not all that convinced. it's a nice assistant tool, mixing board, way to add elements/plugin's. I noticed I didn't have fun making tracks only in ableton and my music reflected that. Taking hours to get a decent kick/clap and running 10-20 tracks together to have a basic structure you can get lost in approach. My music at that time, to me, just seemed sterile and lacking live energy. Glad I never shared a live pa during this interruption. Something to add eventually but for sure not first. Buy a good drum machine and branch out from there. Get a decent pc with an i3 or i5 processing speed, a cheap 24/96 bit sound card, & get Reason.
I think a lot, if not all of the software DAW's are a little soul destroying. If you ever made music with a few bits of hardware, it's easy to see how music making can go from fun to a burden at the drop of a hat.
Here's the truth: Most of the underground House, Deep House, Minimal stuff could probably conatin enough information within an 8 or 16 bar loop ( with additional patterns being at the ready ) for a complete track. This is how a lot of great tracks were made. There might be only 16 bars on the screen looping over and over and when its all allowed to play at once, it would form the busiest part of the track. You 'arrange' it by recording to something live as you mute/un mute, turn down volume knobs on synths, mixer faders and tweak efx sends as the vibe takes you at the time. All spontaneous, good fun and you could probably get 4 or 5 different arrangements in an hour or so.
This is very easy within a hardware set up, if you had say a sampler, a few TR drum machines, 2 synths and a mixing desk with efx, you have channel mutes and pattern changes on the TR's, volume knobs on the synths and mixer fader controls for multi out stuff etc. Making music this way makes arranging part of your music, no copy/paste, no stop/start and no thinking about anything, you move around and whilst in the vibe, do things when you feel it needs it. The result is a much happier producer with arrangements that are not force fed and are not contrived or built out of a linear way of thinking.
Of course not everybody has a set up where they can do this but you can customize your DAW to work like this. Arrangements are for songwriters and the EDM brigade who need white noise builds, drops and other such silly things, effectively, if you can customize your chosen DAW to allow you to 'DJ' your track, I think that's key to getting some bit of magic and soul back into your music that software can steal. It's a debate in itself just to how you'd go about this, controller/s being the obvious choice but it would end up being a personal thing.
Also John, and each to their own on this but I don't think a kick & clap is the best choice when starting a track. There's so many options now to a producer that it's all too easy to over-think something and get lost in option paralysis when there's no need. Trying to make a kick & clap sound great in isolation with no developed idea of the context in which they will find themselves is fruitless. I'm a big believer in developing some sort of core musical idea at first and when you come to choose drum elements, your ear tells you what to pick as you audition them in context.
Probably going a little off tengent there but I have felt everything you have felt. Somebody starting out though wont arrive at these personal things for sometime and I guess, that will happen regardless of their choices.