Electronic Music - The equipment of the Trade

Electronic Music - The equipment of the Trade

Since the dawn of electronic music some time in the late nineteenth or early 20th century, musicians and inventors are already coming up with creative new ways to manipulate sound to make music. These days, there's an astounding array of hardware and software available to any artist. The tools a musician chooses to produce their music are as unique as his or her style. Below is an introduction to some of the devices commonly used to produce electronic music: Talos Bloom

Audio samplers

Audio samplers are instruments that may record, store and playback sounds. They often include tools present with synthesizers such as filters, pitch-shifters, and oscillators. Usually samplers come with a keyboard, sequencer, or some other kind of controller. Samplers are often used to replace real instruments by musicians on tight budgets, but could also be pushed to create new, innovative, and inventive sounds.

Drum Machines

Drum machines are widely used. They are popular in electronic and rap music. They are also often used during studio recordings when human drummers aren't available. The history of drum machines is fairly long, but they never really entered public consciousness until Roland introduced the TR-808 and TR-909 within the eighties. Since then, the beats from the TR-808 and TR-909 have become many of the most recognizable sounds in pop music.

Sound Modules

What distinguishes sound modules off their electronic musical instruments is the lack of a playable interface. They must be paired with an external controller such as a midi keyboard, sequencer, or a trigger pad. Sound modules can be synthesizers, simple tone generators, digital pianos, samplers, and much more. Some, known as drum modules, are intended for producing percussive sounds. Most sound modules accept midi input and are rack mountable. Some famous modules range from the Roland MKS20 and the Yamaha TX16W.

Tabletop Synthesizers

Like sound modules, tabletop synthesizers sport a tiny form factor. Unlike modules, they include a compact controller. Their size and portability is definitely an advantage for touring musicians and people short on space. Despite their small size, they are able to pack an incredible sonic punch. People acquainted with club and dance music may recognize the noise of the tabletop Access Virus synthesizer. One other tabletop synth is the Minimoog Voyager XL. Talos Bloom

Audio Sequencers

Audio sequencers can trigger patterns of notes included in a drum machine, sampler, or synthesizer. These sequencers in many cases are referred to as step sequencers and are usually monophonic. Sequencers could also be used to playback and record longer pieces of music, and arrange polyphonic material. These types of sequencers can be found in production stations as well as other standalone hardware, but have largely migrated to computer software where they are often included as part of a DAW, or digital audio workstation.

Production Stations
Production stations combine the power of audio sequencers, drum machines, controllers, and samplers. These standalone devices may be all an artist needs to make music. Oftentimes, they are available pre-programmed with patterns and loaded with samples. The grooves of Akai's popular MPC series have unquestionably left their mark on rap music.

These days, computers are replacing a lot of electronic instruments that was previously only available as stand-alone hardware. Oftentimes, a DAW will include software equivalents of all the hardware instruments mentioned in the following paragraphs. Despite this fact, leading manufacturers still innovate and release new hardware instruments annually. This is good news for electronic musicians who will have almost unlimited choices as to what tools they want to use to create their music.


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04/18/2015 11:10
04/18/2015 11:09


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