Computers getting in the way of creativity


Can’t say I’ve ever really had a problem with computers getting in the way. They’re just too damned powerful.

But to answer the original question, over the past year I’ve tried switching to an all HW setup just to see where it might take me. Using an OT as the brain didn’t really work for me and while I can see the MPC live has a lot of potential, I’m already thinking I’ll probably go back to using DAW + USAMO + multi interface sooner than later.


Totally agree … and I think, the problem is, if it’s getting ideological in the debate, “black” vs “white”.

Why not generally taking “the best of two worlds” and figure out, what works best for a particular task? Why telling others, they do it wrong, because the have different habits.

Isn’t it about the musical result only?

I love discussions about “tools for music”, because I have learned much from others and their preferences, but I am not interested in ideological nonsense. I am glad that the Elektron forum is the place it is :smiley:


Exactly. And I get really annoyed by that somehow. All these “dawless” youtube titles seem to try to make one believe that this is something superior to those old fashioned computer users…:roll_eyes:


You see this often … ever had a vegan giving meat-eaters a sermon :wink:


I started music production using Korg Kaossilator and a Volca Keys lol
There was a weird charm to that setup that made me really get into production. I Played with Ableton for a year or more and I feel the music I made on the Korg was just more spontaneous and fun to make. I’m really glad I spent time and learned ableton, but a month ago I got the Digitakt and I feel that I’ll slowly move toward hardware for music composition and Ableton for recording/mixing/mastering.

I also always thought the people who go ‘hardware only’ were people who just love spending money. But oh was I wrong. There is a great joy playing an instrument like the Digitakt.


I think i title my videos with “flawless jamming” from now on


Yeah man storage limitations, wouldn’t fit it all on my macbooks internal drive. In the future id spring for a more beefed up laptop but it does the job for now bar the small memory. It’s not too much hassle, just gotta be conscious of ejecting it accidentally


Imho… nothing gets ever in the way of creativity.

The creative is the subject, creativity is always present.


No. No. You are right. I think a lot of them do just like spending money. Which is fine. Its their money.


When I was using a computer for music it did not have anything other than music software on it, I bought a Mac specifically for music, no internet or other distractions. I could pick up working with software just as quickly and easily as I can with hardware, never really considered hardware to be “cooler” or any of that BS and I don’t really believe that hardware sounds better than good software, with a decent set of controllers the realtime knob tweaking argument collapses too.

Even so, I still prefer using hardware, one day that might change, but not today.


For me at least, the process of exploration is inspiring in itself. I find that process to be productive and I guess I always have. Something as simple as taking the time to experiment with different signal chains is something that leads to musical ideas for me. I fire up an old synth and begin playing just for the joy of it, and I come up with ideas that may lead to the start of a track. I don’t fire up the DAW to explore and it certainly does not prevent me from being creative. The DAW, however, can’t be beat for editing, tracking and mixing so that is what I do with it.

The criticisms of the ITB vs OTB approaches are all kind of silly to me. Amazing music have been written with hardware going straight to 2 track, just as amazing music has been written completely ITB with hundreds of tracks in a single song. Use what works most effectively for you, there’s no need to have to justify your choice just as there is no need to be critical of another’s approach.


Regardless of OP’s question which is more specific, if we start getting into which is better we could just as easily be discussing whether we like to use rocks or bones to make our cave paintings, it’s not like there’s a right answer… We just get to learn who like rocks, who likes bones, and who likes both…
No matter how many people say rocks are better, it does not change the bones people’s minds, and vice versa.

Those types of responses are based on opinion, whatever anybody says even if true for them does not mean it’s true for someone else, simple as that…


you’re a wise man @Open_Mike


Valid point.

The original post was more about what is the most inspiring way to create music. It seemed to then dilute into the occasional bout of what’s best, or hardware is for those who like to waste money etc.

I’d like to clarify that I always use the daw, be it for recording at the end and a final polish up, or to record in pads, chords etc that can’t be done on the octatrack easily or at all. In fact I really like Logic x :slight_smile:

How-ever I prefer to come up with ideas on hardware:

This song for example arose out of a patch i created on the Dominion 1, the crazy modulation sound you first hear at the start is what inspired the song. If I wasn’t tinkering on hardware it would never have come into existance.

The song was then sequenced on the Octatrack, Minimoog, Dom 1 and OB6 with drums from the Rytm.

It was then recorded into Logic.

What I would say though, and no-one will ever convince me different, no matter how much you can do with VST’s they do not sound as good as an Analog Synth. Being able to over complicate and over think a VST patch on computer makes it worse more often than better. :smile:

I tried out Repro-1 and it made me want to cry. Especially the presets, they do not capture the essence of what the Pro 1 is about and seemed geared to making some sort of cheesey electro. No!!! Just No!!!

Here’s a little song that highlights that the simplicity in a single vco Analog Synth (the Treadstone) is not a bad thing and a synth doesn’t need endless modulation. This is the Treadstone multi-tracked in Logic with no after effects or mixing:


When MIKE take the mic it’s always open minded :wink:


Careful, this is starting the same fundamental “black vs white” debate again. Only changing the topic :wink:

I think, it’s all about personal preference and should not be about “as good” or “as bad” in general. I think, most of us would agree, if I say, there are sounds, which can’t be generated by analogue technique. Then it’s up to everybody, whether she/he likes and makes use of it or not.


That’s why I added in the laugh, hoping to convey it was a bit of a mischevious post :zipper_mouth_face:


Just to further add, I spent yesterday afternoon with the hardware set-up and did’nt create a song with that set-up either as I was having too much fun jamming along to different sequences I created with the Fusebox and Treadstone. They really compliment each other and sounded so good with just their raw output. Synth Pop heaven!!! :grin:


The inverse of that would be- if all this hardware didn’t exist before today, but only the DAWs did, I really think there would be less enthusiasm over the release of hardware.


Well said! I agree there is a lot of evolutionary psychology behind all this GAS, collecting, and trust in well-defined physical objects rather than a blank canvas digital screen, etc.

Personally, I started to get more and more into hardware after working more and more years on a computer. I gradually lost the ability to come home from working on a computer all day and have fun on a computer at home. Over time I had begun to associate computers with work. Not just a psychological thing either - the body will begin to feel all those years of sitting at a desk. Coming home and sitting in that same position, trying to have fun and be creative, while being physically tired, and in actual pain in some cases, can be tough. Stand up desks, exercise, and proper ergonomics, can help, but doesn’t seem to totally alleviate the aversion to using computers creatively at home.

At the same time I recognize I am much more productive when using a mix of software and hardware rather than all hardware. These days I enjoy hardware jams, and still include a few bits of hardware in a finished song, but use a DAW to make the bulk of my tracks. I just can’t seem to leave the computer behind. The benefits far outweigh the frustrations, for me. (I’m speaking of the studio. I’ll leave the playing live discussion for others.)