What are the electronic music maestro guys using nowadays?
February 8, 2013 11:29 PM   Subscribe

Which programs do the current batch of electronic music wizz kids use? Any pointers for getting started, forums, etc would be awesome!

I would love to give electronic music creation a go but am unsure where to start. I was wondering which program the likes of Skrillex, Pendulum, Disclosure, Calvin Harris, etc use to craft their music. I tried fruityloops but didn't get too far. Any advice from anyone that has had experience starting out with this kind of thing would also be awesome!
posted by aqueousdan to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
It's not as much the specific software suite(both ableton and reason are quite popular), but the plugins you use with it. NI massive, etc.

Basically just do a few "best electronic music VSTs" google searches after getting a copy of ableton or reason and you'll be on the right track to have the tools everyone's using.
posted by emptythought at 12:58 AM on February 9, 2013

How much of a musician are you? Can you play an instrument, read music etc?

Without a grounding in making music already, all you will be able to do with these apps is noodle around. In that case (and we'll ignore the contemptible suggestion to steal) it might cheaper to start with iOS apps if you have an iDevice. The variety, quality and prices are truly boggling. Check out Wolfgang Palm's apps like WaveMapper, or others like Animoog, mixtikl, sunrizer. Also synthtopia.com for latest product reviews.
posted by epo at 1:38 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

look up 'skrillex tutorial', etc, on youtube, and you'll find walkthroughs.
posted by empath at 1:50 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

I know you said you tried Fruity Loops but I would say it's much easier to get going with Fruity than with Live. I couldn't grasp the Live model at all but with Fruity I can get basic beats and melody going very quickly...

Highly recommend Reaper for a solid, cheap, community supported DAW.
posted by erebora at 8:48 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

The electronic music producers I know, who are similar to and at the level of Calvin Harris, Skrillex, et al, use Pro Tools as the hub of their production setup and then use Ableton a little bit for some loop creation here and there. As noted in one of the answers above, the plug ins are more important that the interface itself, and in that regard I'd say to look at Omnisphere, Nexus2, the G Force synth plug ins like Oddity, and then effects plug ins for compression, delay, etc. Echo Boy and Ozone are used quite a bit by the guys I know and work with, as well as a ton of outboard compressors and other gear, a lot of which is custom made by on request by small builders of electronic stuff. There's also a bit of vintage synth gear tha gets used at times, but I'm not sure it's really necessary, since soft synths can do all that work easier and with the same sound results.
posted by The World Famous at 10:48 AM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Coming in with a different approach here, I am also starting to get into electronic music and if you wanted a free/open source alternative to the (very expensive) proprietary solutions, I would recommend:



Soft Synths:

Drum machines:

I've tried all of the above on linux, but I know at least some of them should work on windows/mac too. FWIW, I've also been hearing that your specific DAW choice (aka pro tools vs. albeton vs. reason vs. FL) doesn't really matter that much.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 11:21 AM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

FWIW, I've also been hearing that your specific DAW choice (aka pro tools vs. albeton vs. reason vs. FL) doesn't really matter that much.

Yes. Pick something and learn it. It’s going to take some work. If you don’t want to work and just want to play around then you can’t really do better than Garageband. Ignore the kids telling you to steal something, there’s a flood of cheap/free DAW’s out there.

KVR is a good place to start.
posted by bongo_x at 11:38 AM on February 9, 2013

If you've got a Mac, I highly recommend playing around with Garageband some first. It's free and surprisingly capable.

After years of Garageband, I just recently made the jump to Ableton. I really like it, but I wouldn't have wanted to start out with it.

As others suggest, a lot of what defines an electronic artists' sound has to do with what plugins/VSTs they use, and even within those there's a huge amount of configurability.

My advice is to start with something cheap or free and learn the basic principles. Once you start to push up against the limits of what that software can do, you'll be in a better position to know what you want to graduate to.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:00 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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