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I'm trying to set up a music studio and it's slow and frustrating as hell. There's a reason I use simple-minded programs in my visual work--I want the tech to be fast and uncomplicated, and then I compensate by doing something ridiculously labor-intensive on the physical end. So far I've had a similar approach to music, somewhat in reverse: using entry level programs and the computer's sound card but mousing in the entire composition note by note on an old fashioned staff. One of my family members said, "Yeah, but it's the same four notes over and over!" I tried to explain that there are timbral variations that make the work similar to my sphere paintings, which this person likes, and exciting octave jumps, and subtle things with syncopation, and...well.
The problem is I'm tired of the textures of the low end music programs and want the sound to get richer. I love the Sidstation synthesizer I bought recently and think it deserves better accompaniment than the sound card synths in the shareware program I downloaded. I'm tired of buzz and hum in the recording. I want better bass and drum sounds. I want a real sequencer.
Before Christmas I bought a sampler from craigslist: an E-mu E6400 Classic. I've been playing with it tonight and it's been fun learning how a 9 year old sampler works but, actually, I'm not sure it does work. I managed to record a 1-second sample but couldn't save it. This machine has no internal hard drive, so my options are to hook a scuzzy (SCSI) cable up to a zip drive or CD ROM, neither of which I have, get an adapter card and enter "Scuzzy Hell" trying to get my PC to read it, or use the floppy drive to store small bits of data. Watching this thing slo-o-owly format a floppy was discouraging, and then I couldn't save to it. After 3 tries I successfully named a "bank," but then the sample wouldn't go in it. Eventually I turned off the machine and lost the sample.