Author Topic: Challenging transition?  (Read 389 times)

Offline asymcon

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Challenging transition?
« on: August 29, 2017, 07:40:10 »
Hi everyone,
this seems to be my first post, not sure why it took me so long to finally join, but one day it must have come.  ;)
I'm a big fan of tracked/modular music since 2003, and have listened to many great tracks, notably Blue Flame and Drifting Onwards, as bundled tracks to Impulse Tracker (and actually made a full-printed CD dedicated to great artists of this scene). Despite my enthusiasm for this format, I have never attempted to make a track on my own, seeing such excercise as incredibly challenging. Then 2010 came and I became acquainted with Reaper and since then made a lot of my own music, but ever wished to return to the simpliest format of tracked music.

Would you consider transition from modern way of production through DAW back to tracked as difficult? There are indeed more challenges involved with the latter, but the more I focus on taking on OpenMPT/ModPlug I seem to fall back to procrastination.
What would you recommend?

Thanks for any input,
Andrew
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 07:48:09 by asymcon »

Offline LPChip

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2017, 09:43:09 »
When it comes to music, there's only one rule. The tool or instrument you use doesn't matter, as long as you can use it.

That said, I found out that different tools allow to create different music. Even if the tools can do the same thing in the end, one is probably still going to find one tool better suited for one job and the other tool better for another. And that's perfectly fine. I am using a sequencer and OpenMPT to create music, but I use a sequencer for quite different projects than OpenMPT, even though OpenMPT could in theory do it too. The different feel of the sequencer gives me a different mood and thus, different music.

So my recommendation would be: don't switch, use both.

OpenMPT has a great tutorial that helps you learn how to use the program. From there its just a matter of gaining experience.

Learn how to use OpenMPT and find out what kind of music you make best with OpenMPT, and use Reaper to create the music you normally make. At some time, asses which tool works best for what job and if you find out you can work better in its entirely using just one of the two, then do so.

For me, if I use my instruments I work better using my sequencer. That means: Play on the keyboard and record the notes and midi messages etc. OpenMPT can do it too, but requires more setup to get it right, while the sequencer does it sort of automatically.

OpenMPT however is great for when I am composing. I work really fast in it, and its my main to-go tool to create anything music wise that I want to turn into the best music I can make.

I also have worked with other platforms such as Korg DS-10 and Audiotool.  I usually use them when I want to step away from my trusted environment and just have some fun or different experience (creativity boost). They are usually not for serious projects although often they turn out to be great.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2017, 10:08:56 »
Trackers are notoriously known for having a steep learning curve, but I cannot tell if the learning curve is steeper if you switch from a DAW. OpenMPT certainly tries to make it easier for everyone (by having a familiar Windows interface, and by listening to user suggestions from many years that may seem tiny but can boost usability tremendously) but at the end of a day it's still a tracker, and bound to many weird legacy design decision made thirty years ago.
As LPChip says, "use both" - this can be even true for a single project. There are DAWs that can be used as VST plugins in OpenMPT (such as EnergyXT) and also trackers that work as VST plugins (reViSiT). Maybe that eases the transition a bit since you can resort to known principles when you are stuck.
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Offline asymcon

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2017, 10:13:46 »
Thanks for your input LPChip and Saga Musix.
In my case, the only reason to consider OpenMPT would be to end up with a module instead of final render. So far, REAPER is perfect for the style I'm interested in - Neo-Classical, which is quite demanding in terms of sample count to keep certain level of realism and expression.
However OpenMPT presents me with an idea of simplification - to get similar results with just a few prepared samples. Of course the challenge posed is incomparable to working with sequencer through MIDI powered keyboard on a workstation level PC, the fact that one has to utilize the engine to its limits and keep the total filesize in acceptable boundaries while maintaining the same level of quality is challenging.

As you mentioned, setting up MIDI keyboard in OpenMPT to work in similar fashion to sequencers take some time (I haven't quite figured it out yet  ;D )
But the overall idea behind this is mostly a geeky one - to end up with module small enough for people to handle, and yet to keep the quality bar as high as with final renders from DAWs, yet then comes the sudden realization that the average listener no longer have the module player to fully enjoy the technical aspects of one's track.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 10:18:08 by asymcon »

Offline asymcon

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2017, 07:50:19 »
Tried a few demos and it doesn't appear that difficult, only takes a lot of trial and error, and quite some time is spend on looping samples.
I might actually make some music in it  ;D . To preserve expression (especially with woodwinds), prerecorded phrases might be necessary though.
In order to stay IT-format compliant though, is it possible to use Zxx macros?
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 07:58:36 by asymcon »

Offline LPChip

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 08:11:28 »
Yes. the IT format supports Zxx macro's. In Impulse Tracker, they were primarily used to control filters though, but they can be used to work with VST plugins too. Do note that VST plugins in IT modules is not supported everywhere, because Impulse Tracker itself doesn't support that.

XMplay will however understand some of the basic DirectX effects and those can be controlled using Zxx macro's, but don't forget, you can export to wave, flac, mp3, ogg, etc. and those formats work consistently everywhere. If you go this route, consider using the mptm format though.
"Heh, maybe I should've joined the compo only because it would've meant I wouldn't have had to worry about a damn EQ or compressor for a change. " - Atlantis
"yes.. I think in this case it was wishful thinking: MPT is makng my life hard so it must be wrong" - Rewbs

Offline Saga Musix

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Re: Challenging transition?
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 08:15:14 »
Impulse Tracker can only set the cutoff and resonance of the lowpass filter for samples via Zxx macros, or send them out to an arbitrary MIDI device. The latter is essentially equivalent to sending them to plugins in OpenMPT. Plugins can be seen as an arbitrary MIDI device, with the advantage that their settings are stored in the module file rather than being kept in a device outside of the computer. ;)
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