Computers getting in the way of creativity


and this is just one of many more threads popping up every here and there :wink:


I disagree, if we talk about gigging.

I wouldn’t trust any computer setup on stage. I think I know computers very well and know where the problems are. For me it’s like asking for trouble or have a very good backup solution stand-by.

There is a difference beeing 30 minutes off-line in the studio, or in front of an audience. In the studio we can just stay 30 minutes longer and finish our job, but on stage … no thanks. I don’t need another reason do have stage fright :wink:


I’m completely the opposite. As somebody who isn’t home much, the portability of a computer is unbeatable. I do everything in Razor, Monark and Polyplex. Then I replace the parts I want with hardware later. Melodic ideas usually start on guitar or bass when I’m at home.


i guess it really is also a pendulum for some musicians, sometimes it is fun to delve into the software realm, and useful. othertimes, hardware is the one true love.

one amazing outdoor doof party i was at stopped unexpectedly as the sun was rising… for 30 minutes due to the DJ/live act’s computer going haywire.

when they eventually started up again, they led with a classic trance track with the vocal sample “if acid got me into this situation, maybe acid can get me out!” :smiley: haha it was a very byron bay dance party moment.


I was referring to composing or sound design, I think live is another discussion. Anyway, I have included professional computers live without a problem and I have to say my monomachine do freezed a couple of times, but thats my experience.


They force you to be perfect? How? I think is mostly the other way… hardware is usually JUST on the grid, except the few machines like elektron that have microtiming. It is very easy to do chaotic out of time, no so perfect things on the computer, you have lot of resources for that


I think you guys agree on the substance, if not on the words :slight_smile:
Let me rephrase, if I may…
On software, the main advantage is to be able to edit absolutely everything. So temptation is huge to work on this until “perfection” is reached (we all know this is the bottomless pit).
On hardware, you have to sharpen your skills (reach the “perfection” in your game) because editing is not as absolute, and you’re more inclined to accept the result as definitive and access next level (and put an end to your track, as “unperfect” it is). :slight_smile:


What is a professional computer?


Once your hardware is set up it’s always setup, with computers you can reset the whole setup every time, and with that comes more technical issues. I think that’s why people feel computers get in the way. Most people find it a lot simpler to plug wires in and go than say for example learning logics environent till it’s fluid. there’s a lot more mojo in sitting in a studio with a bunch of hard earned gear than an empty room with a laptop even if it’s loaded with expensive software. There’s thousands and thousands of years of human history deeply wired in us that says there’s value in physical objects, technology has caught up so fast that we’re aware that there’s more power in software but something primal in people still says the real thing is better. With hardware you’re always two buttons away from noise, turn on and press a key. To that extent comparatively computers are a huge wall getting in the way of making music, and the human brain has been known to take the path of least resistance. if you get around that though you put a lot more power in your hands. Hybrid is the future, and the present really.


A well spec’d computer, preferably without mechanical drives ,that you have well setted for musical purposes, and that you only use for music. As opposed to a leissure computer where you surf the depts of the web, watch free porn and download torrents to then pretend to use it in front of an audience without unforeseen complications


Well how exactly do you propose we’re supposed to get the creative juices flowing


That was a very Super Hans (peep show) response :joy:


yeah, there are many ways to fake imperfection :slight_smile:
but here we are comparing sequencers… it’s a different world trying to fake live musicians


This definition gets in the way of my creativity.


I’m genuinely honoured


For my tracks, i only use the computer to have access to cubase. I just hit red and record everything in one channel. After that i normalized the track, do some eq and limiting and export it. That’s it…

I used to try make tracks in cubase without any hardware but quickly switched to synths because the display, mouse, keyboard and the complexity of the software distracted me.


You simply have to learn how to use your computer and not get distracted by all the possibilities, gear, too much sound design and the internet. Get a computer for music work only, plan what you are going to do and try to focus on that thing only.
I worked half year out of the box with 2 hardware Synths, a Digitakt, some guitar pedals, my guitars and amps and a Zoom R16, learned to break the limits and afterwards i learned how to really work with a computer, efficiently and creative to get things done.
First thing i did, was erasing bunch of plugins, Waves and NI Komplete and restarting from scratch, buying a new plugin only when i really needed it. Now i work with 5 plugins outside of Logic, what a dream.
I record, compose and mix music 6 times a week, for marketing agencies and producers, OTB and ITB. It’s all about workflow and how to find it.
Hope this helps you a bit further cheers :smiley:


Sir you have a very demanding creativity!


A computer that requires 30 minutes to reboot and restart your project is definitely the kind to NOT take on stage. My current laptop can reboot and restart a project in a couple minutes. It might feel like forever on stage

@LyingDalai - I think one can get lost in editing everything with hardware as well…take eurorack for example…there’s really not much limitation happening there! The ability to accept a result is something required in completing projects in any realm.

@bradleyallen - I have a lenovo p50, that when all was said and done ended up being a little over 3k. It was primarily for work purposes (database engineering) so I went with a xeon processor vs the i7 (vmware stuff), it has 2x1tb SSDs, 64GB of RAM and a 4GB GPU. It rarely crashes, and when it does it’s normally in the studio when I’m experimenting with way too many vsts and max plugins, the amount that a sensible person would not be using. I use it for FX and Vocal Processing mostly and I have never had it crash on stage. Anytime I’ve had issues with a computer setup it’s from using systems or gear in the chain that weren’t up to spec. IMHO SSDs and a well maintained OS are key.

but really you don’t even need some super computer to gig reliably. you just need to know how to take care of your system, and how to configure your project intelligently. It’s amazing how many people don’t take advantage of freezing and bouncing tracks. also crashing isn’t just related to computers…seems like people are power cycling elektron devices here and there. Ive had a make noise rene that required a periodic power cycling to become responsive. Malfunctions happen, and honestly people paying 5$ for a show need to be patient lol. Even if I paid a larger sum of money, i probably wouldn’t care if a more established act had technical difficulties, it happened to Author & Punisher during a show and the crowd didn’t seem to mind. Ive seen indie guitarists break a string and finish the song but have to replace it before the next. I ate some tater tots and conversed with my wife for the 5 minutes the music was stopped. it was great.

@jb - instead of setting up the computer each time, just make a template project. I have a variety of templates setup for different gear configurations and goals. This is also something I do with the Octatrack. I have skeleton projects for different configurations, just copy it over and GO. Also with software you are very close to noise as well lol, I could single click ableton open, drag a single m4l plugin (nyquist) and it immediately starts making noise…equivalent two buttons.

I feel like there is a lot of anti computer sentiment happening that comes with what seems like a lack of computer knowledge, which I’m not saying negatively, most people are end users to me (even quite a few software engineers…). Ryoji Ikeda & Grischa Lichtenberger use computers quite a bit for visual audio performances. There was a time when Autechre was primarily using computers for Max MSP…Merzbow, Ventian Snares, Skinny Puppy, Richard Devine…this list could go on. Hell I saw Edward Ka Spel with Amanda Palmer last year and it was a nord lead (amanda), a violin (some guy) and laptop + a small midi controller (edward).

An example, a DJ (funny we all have lots of DJ computer folly stores) was about to play his set, opened his system and “Windows is installing Updates” LOL. He hates computers now because it’s the computer’s fault. Never-mind that he could have; updated his box before hand, turned off updating, rebooted his system prior to the show at home to make sure. Lots of things that just take a little computer knowledge. Ive been there too though, at one time I was trying to do things with Ableton that were just completely inefficient. I blamed ableton at first, but once I read the manual I realized it was user error.

I can understand some people just not feeling creative behind x or y medium. That is real, and you do you. However, I feel in any art community we should strive to not bring negative connotations to mediums we don’t click with or just don’t understand?


Im talking about putting your hands at a keyboard hit record and playing notes . Recording what you did with eight fingers out of grid is a resource, there’s no “faking” :stuck_out_tongue: