Total newbie - Demystifying the routing and workflow

JCM.IT Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
edited July 2022 in Social Club

Hi Folks

I am a total newbie here and I am absolutely positive that I am about to ask a question that each and every person has asked at the beginning of the journey. We all get started by dabbling with a program or app or perhaps we play and instrument but want to venture in to the world of creating full songs or performing live. we watch all the you tube videos telling us "we must have this and we must have that". Well I'm here stuck at the part of how do we install and how do we get it all talking together.

I am an IT Program manger, I work with technology all day long and yet I still struggle to to ding all of the information that is necessary for building the integrated platform we all seek. We choose a daw, an interface and external midi interfaces or instruments but are confused about how to get it all working together.

You tube is great and so is native instrument. However they are very careful about talking about everything within the line of delineation. However, is there anywhere that can be recommended to understand the end to end signal flow or integration of software and devices.

many thanks




  • chk071
    chk071 Member Posts: 259 Advisor
    edited July 2022

    It would help if you would ask for something specific. As big of a field as this all is, the same holds true for tutorials and documentation. Without knowing what exactly you want to do, it will be impossible to recommend something.

    For Native Instrument's products, you could start here though:

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,132 Expert

    Yeah it's quite a broad question, to assimilate it to your situation it would be like someone who has literally just discovered a computer and asking "How do I learn to program things on the computer", like where would you start when they are not sure exactly what area of programming they even want to get into (software, websites, apps, what platform, what language...).

    I'd say you have kind of hit the nail on the head as to exactly what is wrong with the industry and peoples expectations today Vs 20 years ago.

    There are so many choices, so much info and all these cool flashy lights, "must have" hardware and mountains of plugins and samples and endless tutorials all of which suck the important part out of this whole thing, and that is simply sitting and learning what things do. Much time I feel is frittered away watching videos these days Vs just doing something to learn which builds skill and knowledge in a more fundamental way than watching someone else do it.

    Yes the question you are asking is all too common, stepping in and purchasing a heap of gear before having any clue on how/what it all does. It's kind of backwards from how many of us got into things years ago. Myself for instance, I started at the basic level of just checking out a simple software program, no plugins, no hardware, just a few samples and learning how things like MIDI worked years before even connecting a MIDI device to the computer, how to do sampling, how audio flow and processes worked then slowly learning more advanced things, how to connect gear, how synthesis works, how effects can be used etc...

    These days people want to bypass all of that and just be pointed to the "101 tips for success" and as you are probably finding, although having some technical background in computers helps on the software side etc it's not really any help when it comes to learning the fundamentals and theories behind things, let alone the need for some creativity and determination to want to learn.

    We choose a daw, an interface and external midi interfaces or instruments but are confused about how to get it all working together.

    This is kind of what I am talking about. As a start, I would say forget the interface, forget the MIDI device, start with playing on a DAW and learning the basics. You can do that without anything at all. As you learn that you can then decide what would make it easier (a MIDI keyboard, MIDI controller, MIDI drum machine, better audio performance from an interface, tweaking things with controls or buttons etc. It took me years to discover what kind of hardware I would need and over the last 25 years I have swapped out hardware for other solutions because I discovered something seemed better to my evolving workflow.

    However, is there anywhere that can be recommended to understand the end to end signal flow or integration of software and devices.

    Every person has differences in the workflow, even the way a DAW works differs in workflow so it is difficult to make a start to end tutorial or recommendation unless you have the same software and hardware for the task. Kind of like asking how to learn to play every instrument in the world without even knowing anything about music theory. Playing a violin is much different than playing a trumpet or a guitar or a piano, but they all have a fundamental tie in with the same theories.

    It will take a lot of time, many hours and small steps to kind of learn what you have and my strongest advice would be ditch the YT videos (only look them up when you get stuck on a specific thing), sit down and plot out what you want to achieve in a session. Maybe you want to crack how to get your MIDI keyboard to make some sound in your DAW, maybe you want to create a drum pattern and learn how to make it evolve, maybe how to add tracks and how to record your playing. So many things to learn but as you learn each small thing it slowly makes each new thing easier to approach. After 25+ years I am still learning new things myself, it's never ending but for most, that is the part we all enjoy.

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