If You Can Hear It, You Can Replicate It

If You Can Hear It, You Can Replicate It

Music is always changing. Music is constantly evolving. Music is alive. All musicians have to stay up to date on the latest musical trends. There has been an increase in sounds, gear, and even techniques. Each instrument is going through its own experimental phase. Keyboard players are starting to enter the world of digital music. More and more keyboard players are beginning to heavily integrate midi and DAWs. Modern keyboard rigs are composed of a main keyboard and some form of digital software controlled by a midi keyboard or controller. Sampling live sounds and manipulating them is becoming more common with keyboard players as well. There are also other trends that keyboard players are starting to dive into besides digital audio. Keyboard players are using rack processors. Some keyboard players are using guitar effect pedals. Every keyboard player is different. Some experiment to find the perfect sound. Others experiment just to try something new. In any case, there are a lot of possibilities. Guitar players have already made so many advancements with the power of stomp boxes and pedals. What can a keyboard player achieve with some extra pedals? Pedals are going to create new sounds. It will also expand your creativity. Rack processors can open new possibilities for keyboard players. Rack processors are more complex but can produce some incredible sounds. No matter which path you take, you can create any sound. If you can hear it, you can replicate it.


Midi and DAWs


DAWs (digital audio workstation) are programs that run on your computer and manipulate audio. Some of the most popular DAWs include Pro-Tools, Cubase, Logic, Komplete Elements, and Main Stage. DAWs come loaded with hundreds of effects, processors, VSTs, and presets. If that is not enough, most DAWs can run third-party software plug-ins that can add or even expand to your possibilities. DAWs are really useful for a number of applications. That’s why they have grown so rapidly in the music industry. They can be used for recording, editing, mastering, live sound applications, sampling, and even sound generation. DAWs can really help you create what you want. One thing that can help you with DAWs is midi devices. Midi is messages sent between a device and your DAW. If you use a midi controller, you can control your entire DAW from the keyboard itself. This is ideal for live applications. Some midi keyboards and controllers already come with factory presets for specific programs. As good as digital audio is, there are some downsides to using DAWs. You need to have a laptop or computer that is up to date to run the software. The learning curve is a little challenging if you are not already familiar with DAWs. You need to set up your midi device to work with your DAWs. You also need to buy special cables so you can connect your midi device to your computer. Once you pass all the hurdles, the workflow runs smoothly. You should experiment with DAWs and midi devices. A great starter program is Cubase. The current version of Cubase is Cubase 8. Do some research and decide if that is the route you want to take.


Guitar pedals for your keyboard?

Although pedals were made for guitars, pedals can be used on any sound source. Lower quality pedals will sound harsh and drastically affect your original sound. It is important to realize that Pianos are complex instruments. The reason why a piano sounds so big and full is because the entire piano resonates when you press a key. The wood vibrates with the strings and acts as a sort of acoustic amplifier. In the same way, keyboards are complex. Keyboards replicate grand pianos as well as other sounds. If you plan on trying guitar pedals, aim for high end pedals. Their higher quality comes with its benefits. High end guitar pedals will process your sound better. Your original sound will not be affected due to true bypass. High quality pedals give you more manipulation options. There are different kinds of pedals and effects. The number is grand. You have delays, reverb, modulators, distortions, special effects, and more. If you are looking for a more compact list, here are a few great pedals that sound amazing on keyboards. For delay pedals, try the Strymon Timeline or the Eventide Timefactor. Reverb pedals that are worth checking out include the Strymon Bigsky or the Eventide Space Reverb. A few good distortion pedal you should try include Effectrode Blackbird, Fulltone OCD,  or the JHS Double Barrel. If You want a pedal that is wacky and can create some really bizarre sounds these are definitely worth checking out. Weird pedals include Hologram Dream Sequence, Parasit Studio Into The Unknown, and the Strymon Mobius. This is just a few petals. There are thousands of interesting pedals that can help you create some unique sounds with your keyboard. Pedals are good but they do come with their downside. They can be very expensive. You need to get patch cables. You have to figure out how to power them if you have many. Once you get past the hurdles, you can focus on creating your sound. Try out different pedals and see if there is something in particular than can work for you.


Rack it up

Rack processors are really great. They out shine in the studio. Any professional recording studio will have some sort of rack processor. The reason why processors are so common in studios is because they can recreate some of the most iconic sounds in music history. They are bigger than guitar pedals which allow for the manufacturers to install larger, faster processors. They run on their own processing power so you don’t have to worry about using up your computer’s processing power like you would in a DAW. If you are in a studio setting, rack processors will benefit you greatly. You can set up an 8, 10, 12, 15, 24 unit rack and fill it with different processors. In a live setting, going rack is a little more difficult. You are limited to 2, 4, 8, 10, or 12 unit racks. Some rack effects use up two spaces so you have even less room. However, if you do go rack, you can get some pretty high end processors that can do multiple sounds. One down side that rack effects have is the patching and routing network. You need all kinds of connectors and they have to be short cables. You will find quarter inch, XLR, Speak-on, or even midi connections. Once you figure out the wiring, you can control everything by the flip of a single switch.


There are a ton of options. Keyboard players have it easy. Guitar players did all the experimenting. Keyboard players just have to take what they like and recreate it and make it their own. Try using DAWs. Explore the vast world of guitar pedals. Connect to a rack processor. Try all three if you really want to make some complex sounds. Find what works for you. Keyboards have so much potential. The barriers need to come down so keyboards can reach their full potential. Don’t be afraid of the price tags or the complexity. They are just small hurdles that we need to pass. A great way to start experimenting with your keyboard is to visit your local music store and demo different keyboard rigs.

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Florentino Castellanos
Florentino Castellanos 67 posts

Florentino Castellanos, or Tino for short, is the Founder of The Heart Of Worship Project. Florentino is a self taught musician since the age of 7. Florentino has been serving as a worship leader for over 5 years. Florentino graduated from Musicians Institute, Hollywood with a certificate in Audio Engineering. Florentino's dream is to build up Churches, Leaders and Creatives. Florentino is known for having an incredible amount of Faith in God.

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