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Old 07-21-2009, 07:39 PM   #1
the_grimace
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Default What software and equipment do i need to learn?

I've been involved with music, and more specifically game music for a long time. (i can go into this a lot more, but i might as well save my breath as its not really relevant to the post. in short, i love game music) I had always wanted to go to school for digital music or sound engineering or what not, but due to not following my gut instincts, i did things differently that i really regret. Alas, we cant change the past. I've thought about going back to school for an education in the major i originally wanted to do from the start (music or game design), but it feels like too much a drop of money and time, a drop im not sure i want to swallow.

Thus, i really am trying to teach myself. I am very versed in music composition and theory, and also a good performer, but i lack a lot of technical and equipment skills. Up until now, i have used only Finale and Sibelius (much more so Sibelius) for my compositions, and while using their VSTs and effects in program, i have achieved "good" sounding compositions, but not "great" ones. I also only querty or mice in the notes, and sometimes MIDI in, i havent done any live recording simply because im not familiar with the equipment or software for it. Some people have told me that Sibelius and FInale are more then capable of making professional sounding songs, but i am not impressed by the program, at least for trying to make professional sounding songs. I will admit that most of the ochestral sounds are top notch, but anything electronic or modern is pretty awful...

Where im at now is wondering what software and equipment i really need to learn in order to succeed as a music composer, be it in video games, or freelance in other places. I feel like i have the creativity, drive, and knowledge to compose music, but i have yet to learn the technical skills to implement my skills in a professional workforce. I've really been thinking to go back to school for it, so i can be SHOWN what i need to learn how to use, but maybe if theres anyone here that can fill me in on the common software and equipment used, i just might be able to teach myself yet. Like i said, its at the point now where i just need to know what the pros use in a daily day on the job, so i can know where to begin learning.

Thanks in advance for all replies.

Last edited by the_grimace : 07-21-2009 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:17 PM   #2
DSeal
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There's a variety of different Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) that you can use. You don't have to use Finale; I would use this only to print out the music score (Export MIDI from DAW, Import MIDI in Finale, print score).

I myself have used a variety of DAWs such as Pro Tools, Reason, Apple Logic, and FL Studio. Out of all of those, I find that FL Studio is the best that works for me. All of my tracks are made with FL Studio (See my portfolio at http://www.soundclick.com/DestructionoftheSeal ). Alternatively you could use them together (i.e. Rewire Reason into FL Studio or other DAWs). It's really about preference here.

Software is not really the issue here; after all, it's not about what you have, but how you use it.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:13 AM   #3
shredder4life
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Default Great and relatively easy program...

If you are looking for software that has tons of features and is user friendly at the same time, go with Cakewalk's Sonar. You'll be able to do anything you need to with this one. If you need, you can even import video into the program so you can synch up your music to the video. Has audio and MIDI capabilities (bare essentials in composing nowadays). With some practice (and a little patience) you'll be able to make your compositions sound professionally recorded, mixed, mastered, and produced. If you wanna check it out, go here. http://www.cakewalk.com/products/SON...sh/default.asp Hope this helps.
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:03 PM   #4
the_grimace
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thanks for all the responses, i've been playing around with FL studio a little, and im starting to get the feel of this DAW software, so i think i may jump onto Sonar soon.

ALSO, i decided to pursue technical school, and despite the money i need for it, i'm not holding back.

I've narrowed it down to two schools. Can you guys take a look at them and let me know which one seems better?

http://www.audiorecordingschool.com/
http://www.pyramind.com/

I kinda like the Pyramind better in California, it seems more professional, and more geared towards game audio. Only thing that sucks about Pyramind compared to the school in Arizona is that the one in Arizona is accredited, offers Financial Aid and Scholarships, and Arizona is a TON less expensive to live in. Was looking at average rent for places in CA, and the average was like $1400 a month.... INSANE.
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Old 08-18-2009, 07:21 AM   #5
DSeal
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Sonar is another monster I forgot to mention. I wouldn't classify it as user friendly though.

Another school you might want to consider is Full Sail.

http://www.fullsail.edu/
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Old 08-18-2009, 11:37 AM   #6
the_grimace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSeal View Post
Sonar is another monster I forgot to mention. I wouldn't classify it as user friendly though.

Another school you might want to consider is Full Sail.

http://www.fullsail.edu/
well, i knew about fullsail, but its a school i counted out. Im not interested in going for a full bachelors degree. I just want to get the certifications, and get working already.

what do you think though of the two schools i listed?
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Old 11-03-2009, 10:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_grimace View Post
Where im at now is wondering what software and equipment i really need to learn in order to succeed as a music composer, be it in video games, or freelance in other places. I feel like i have the creativity, drive, and knowledge to compose music, but i have yet to learn the technical skills to implement my skills in a professional workforce. I've really been thinking to go back to school for it, so i can be SHOWN what i need to learn how to use, but maybe if theres anyone here that can fill me in on the common software and equipment used, i just might be able to teach myself yet. Like i said, its at the point now where i just need to know what the pros use in a daily day on the job, so i can know where to begin learning.
To be proficient at audio on a daily basis you need to know what you're doing technically to achieve the desired results. Without the most basic knowledge of how compression works, how EQ works, why you even use each of them, you won't know how to professionally mix your music.

The primary areas to improve the quality of your music or sound design comes from your orchestration and mixing. Orchestration is choosing the right timbres of instruments or samples to work together to perform the music or sound design. Mixing is taking those elements and massaging and gluing them together to make a professional sounding mix of the song or sound effect.

Your basic technical tool set should be:

1. Two industry sequencers - one really well, one just a survival.
Music creation tools.
- Nuendo, Logic, Cubase, ProTools, Digital Performer, Reason .. etc

2. A multi-track editor:
The software you use to mix your tracks and sound design layered sounds.
- Nuendo, ProTools, Sony Vegas

3. A wav editor
- SoundForge, Bias Peak, Wavelab, Audition

4. A game audio engine
- WWise, Fmod

I would look at perhaps a Sound Engineering course so you learn the basics and practical side of audio. You'll also learn hardware mixing desks, microphone techniques, post production, hardware DSP and hardware mixing.

I personally took one offered by SAE - a 1 year course without holidays to achieve a Diploma of Audio Engineering. You could do something similar or a Diploma of Modern|Electronic Music Production.

Getting hold of some modern VSTs as well and becoming familiar with them and starting to encorporate them into your music will help raise the quality bar of your productions and help get them to a point where you can be taken seriously as a professional.

East West make a good set of orchestral, ethnic and percussive libraries.

Last edited by groovyone : 11-03-2009 at 10:20 PM.
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