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BigBubbaBrown last won the day on May 7 2013

BigBubbaBrown had the most liked content!

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About BigBubbaBrown

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    Active Member
  • Birthday 02/14/1981

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Music Background

  • Band / Artist Name
    The Monkeysphere
  • Musical Influences
    Genesis, Phil Collins, Peter Gabriel, Jim Steinman, Ok Go, Damon Albarn, Ray Stevens


  • Songwriting Collaboration

Critique Preferences

  • Getting Critique
    Give It To Me Both Barrels
  1. I've been reading about a bunch of setups in these forums and most of them include external hardware such as patch bays, EQ, compressors, reverb units, etc. in addition to studio monitors. Now I've been thinking. Pretty much anyone who hears my music will be listening through PC speakers or on a mobile device. Currently all I have for my system is PC speakers. They were top of the line when they were new, but the fact that I got them because one of my brother's clients was getting rid of them should tell you something about how they've aged. Since the setup I have is essentially the upper end of what my target audience will be listening on (barring high end headphones for mobiles or some audiophile with a home theater setup stumbling across my videos) would it be possible to achieve decent results with just Cakewalk Music Creator, VSTs, and a MIDI controller? Or should I start investing in some hardware? I don't do vocals and I don't have the space to set up my acoustic drums so I haven't even needed a mic by this point.
  2. My DX7 is one of the originals. It's been modded. There's a knob on it next to the volume slider with settings labeled A - H, but I have no idea what it does (changing the settings did nothing) and apparently the guy who modded and sold it to the music store that sold it to me doesn't use Craig's List so I couldn't find a way to contact him. Despite the mod it still works, minus the dead battery (which isn't an issue because I don't like presets anyway). It's a bit noisy but truthfully I kind of like the lo-fi sound. It has a nostalgia value to me and I'm sure it won't be noticeable in a full mix with effects added. So basically I would be better off going with an interface than trying to find a digital recorder, right? Do you have any recommendations? I have some unavoidable expenses coming up (and I won't know how much I'll have to pay until it's all over) so I can't really afford anything higher than $250. I have a MIDI to USB adapter but latency keeps me from recording with it. Even recording with no VSTs hooked up there's still too much lag. I have to spend so much time editing the results that I might as well do it all with a mouse from the beginning.
  3. I've always had trouble recording live, both with MIDI and line in. There's too much latency with the default settings and if I adjust the settings to get the latency down to an acceptable level in my DAW it glitches out. A new sound card would probably fix that but it's not an option with my current computer (all in one thing, basically a giant tablet). I was watching a guy use old "toy" keyboards to recreate classic 8 bit songs (mostly from Commodore 64 games) and I noticed he had his keyboards plugged into a device that was plugged into his computer. I doubt that would help me with my latency issues, but it did get me to thinking. Is there an affordable (i.e. $200 or less) device where I can just plug in the line out of my keyboard, record some tracks, plug it into the USB port of my computer, and export it? If it could handle MIDI as well that would be great, but not vital because I can still do that with my mouse, but multitrack recording (which will likely require a line out on the device itself to monitor it) would be a pretty important feature. Right now I have my Yamaha DX7 sitting idle because I can't record with it, neither using the native sound (which I'd like to use because the VST plug-ins I tried just didn't have the same sound) nor using it as a MIDI controller. Clicking in each note is too slow for everything but the drums plus I never thought I'd see a DX7 in person, let alone own one so I'd like to use it.
  4. The difference is those songs had actual lyrics. The only thing that was ever said throughout the entire song was "naminanu." No other words.
  5. I forgot about this thread until I was email notificated about a new reply. I've been digging around on YouTube looking for Genesis songs I haven't heard before and I came across the one line I am kicking myself for not thinking up. It goes: "Naminanu naminanu naminu naminanu. Naminanu naminanu naminanu naminanu." I can't remember the title of the song. I think it's called "Naminanu" but I could be wrong. And yes, this is a real song by Genesis. Fortunately it was only ever released as a B side to the best of my knowledge. In all seriousness, after going on a Meat Loaf bender I'm wishing I could have beaten Jim Steinman to the lines "Baby you're the only thing in this whole world that's pure and good and right/And wherever you are and wherever you go there's always gonna be some light" Unfortunately that album was written and released a good 4 or 5 years before I was born.
  6. I have my DX7 controlling my Optimus (basically a Casio branded for Radio Shack if you've never heard of them, not sure they sell them anymore) and both of them running to a guitar amp. Since I have my keyboards set up next to my computer I had to put my amp pretty close to it, which was causing interference so I turned the amp off, unplugged it, and plugged my headphones into the front of the DX7. Then I noticed that the audio from my Optimus was going through the DX7. I eventually figured out that even though the amp was turned off and unplugged that it was still looping the audio output from the Optimus into the DX7. It would make sense if the amp was on but it wasn't even plugged in so I'm not sure what's going on there. Then I routed the output from the Optimus to the output of the DX7 with the same results. I remember when I was younger that my brother use to play a joke on me where he'd take a portable black and white TV, turn the brightness all the way down so it looked like it was off, then run the headphone output into the headphone output of a portable radio to try to convince me that they turned The Price Is Right into a radio program so I was already aware of the effect. I was just wondering if it would cause any damage to the equipment, though. It seems like a very handy feature since I wouldn't have to worry about digging up old cables to run both keyboards into my sound card but if it can short out my system I need to know so I can avoid it. And if it is harmful how do I prevent it when I run both keyboards to the amp or sound card?
  7. Roland for quality (which is why it got my vote), Yamaha for nostalgia. My first two "keyboards" (toys at best) were Yamaha. Tonight I bought a DX7 that I'm happy with (though it's been modified with a knob next to the volume slider and I have yet to figure out what, if anything, it does) and it will probably become my main keyboard but if I could have gotten a Roland for the same price I would have.
  8. Stick with what you know. If you know classical piano then you already know more about music theory than a lot of songwriters. I can't tell you how many songs have been inspired by classical music. You can hear hints of Beethoven in quite a few songs and some rap even has a heavy baroque influence. Play some of your favorites and then break away from the sheet music. Start off making slight changes to what you know. Then make changes to those changes. Before you know it you'll have a completely different song than what you set out playing. There's a lot that can be done with Vivaldi's Four Seasons suite and Bach is a virtual gold mine. The same can be done trying to learn to play contemporary music. The first song I ever wrote, which wasn't much of anything but had potential if I wouldn't have abandoned it, actually stemmed from an attempt to play the music from the first level of the arcade game Quartet. Started out with the chorus, which was the part I liked (it's odd for game music of that era but it seemed to adhere to the intro/verse/chorus/repeat shortened intro as bridge structure) and by the time I was done it sounded nothing like Quartet. Easiest way to write a song, actually. Just fiddle around with what you know and let it mutate.
  9. Thank you for the advice but I didn't go with DX7 because of the reputation. In fact, I've read very little positive about it but most peoples' complaints are about things that don't bother me at all, such as programming. I actually have an easier time programming it than I do most VSTs. It does everything I need it to (modulation, aftertouch, the ability to create your own patches instead of being limited to factory presets, MIDI capabilities (I'll be recording via line out but getting MIDI note data will help immensely with timing animations without losing the human feel), etc.) and when I heard it on videos I fell in love with the sound. I don't care if most people just shelved it after buying it, I've wanted one ever since I saw the demo videos and I don't regret my purchase one bit. It's actually better than I thought it would be.
  10. I checked out a new music store in the area and the owner had a DX7 that someone brought in a couple of months ago. $200 got me the synth, a far better keyboard stand than I already had, and a flight case (which he said I could probably sell for $200 - $300 if I replace the foam). It came with one of the cartridges but all of the internal sounds were wiped out. I reset patch 1 hoping it would go back to the factory default but instead it was just a standard op 1 full volume, ops 2 - 6 on but set to 0 volume. I'm not normally the preset type when custom patches are a viable option but after watching some videos I saw some presets not on the cartridge that I like. I have no MIDI connectivity until I get a Vista compatible cable so downloading the factory defaults isn't an option. Are there any sites that list the parameters so I can get back the ones I want (primarily all 3 brass settings, strings 1 and 3, and orchestra)?
  11. Those TV talent shows are pretty much a shortcut in an industry with no shortcuts. Look at the long running successful performers. B.B. King, Genesis, Metallica, Rush, those people paid their dues. They started out in garages, worked up to bars, worked their way into the studio, building up a fan base along the way. It took them a while but they earned their fans, people who like the music, not the fact that they were just the flavor of the week. How many American Idol winners can you name? The only one I even hear anything out of these days is Kelly Clarkson. You ever hear of Jake Simpson? He was a big name back when he won Star Search. Now few people even recognize the name. In fact, I had to google him to remember and his home town is just a 12 mile drive from my house. Those talent competitions might get you a fan base pretty fast if you get on and make it past the first show but those fans tend to be rather fickle with short attention spans. They might like you because you're the underdog or that season's big thing, but it won't take long before only a few people even remember your name. If you want 15 minutes of fame, something that's becoming increasingly more literal these days, then X-Factor might work if you get on. However, if you want to get anywhere in the music business you'll need to take the old fashioned, work for your fan base approach. I've taken the optimistic approach in assuming that you'll get on, but the odds are against that. All of those auditions, and while it is skill based it's still like playing the lottery. I've also been assuming that you want to make a career out of music. If that assumption is incorrect and you just want to see if you can get on and how far you can make it if you do then go for it. Just don't expect anything to come from it after this season.
  12. Well, I mostly abandon mine before I finish them, but ultimately I'm going to start making CGI music videos for youtube. Maybe see if I can get an iTunes account set up. Just need to find a vocalist. My mother said she could put me in touch with my cousin's granddaughter but I'm apprehensive about working with minors even if they are family.
  13. My musical education was very basic as the teachers only taught the very basics (time signatures, key signatures, note values, etc.) so lately I've been researching some of the basics that haven't been covered, such as chord progression. I came across this youtube video: I don't know all of the terminology, but the way she described it was pretty linear. 1 -> any 2 -> 5 3 -> 6 4 -> 1 or 5 5 -> 1 6 -> 2 While she didn't outright say it, she seemed to imply that this was the only correct way to determine a progression. This seems a bit limiting, though. As far as I can see once you choose that second chord you're locked into one of two progressions. I fired up Melody Assistant and entered the following chords: C F G C, or 1 -> 4 ->5 -> 1 following the standard she laid out. It sounded decent, but once I chose F for my second chord I was pretty much locked in. About the only thing I could do was choose to go from F to G or F to C. Then I entered the chords C Dm Am C, or 1 -> 2 -> 6 -> 1. Going with the standard the "correct" progression would have been C Dm G C, or 1 -> 2 -> 5 -> 1. However, I don't hear anything wrong with the C Dm Am C progression. Is this more of a recommendation than anything or are there really only a small handful of acceptable progressions that rely on rhythm and inversions to keep all songs from sounding the same? By the way, how do you link to a youtube video without embedding it in the post? I deleted the media tags, changed them to URL tags, and neither seemed to work. It's the actual URL, too, and not the embed code.
  14. If you consider it complete with the current structure don't alter it. If it sounds good with the AABA structure then no one will care about the structure. If you can write a song with an ABABACDABACDC structure that sounds good (though it seems like it would rival Genesis' Supper's Ready in terms of length) no one will care that it doesn't adhere to the ABAB structure.
  15. Generally melody first. I was talking to my late mentor about songwriting when I was about 15 and mentioned that I could write melodies but when I sit down to write lyrics nothing ever turns up. He said you have to have the melody first so you'll know how the lyrics will fit so once you have the melody you're halfway there. On the other hand Phil Collins wrote the melody and lyrics for In the Air Tonight at the same time. Got a pattern going on the CR-78, started playing chords, and sang whatever came into his head. Peter Gabriel uses a hybrid method. Starts singing gibberish (which he calls "Gabrielese") to get the melody down then goes back and adds lyrics. Sometimes the gibberish will be the final lyrics (ex. Across the River) Basically there are no hard and fast rules. For one song the lyrics may dictate the melody. For another the melody might dictate the lyrics. If you're having trouble writing lyrical pieces it might help to take a break and write instrumentals.
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