Hardware fun vs. DAW productivity


I just jam all the time, and record immediately after I’ve found a riff that I want to jam for a while because it keeps grooving.

So once I find that groove, and whatever patterns enhance it, I just practice a few times and then record the live take. Song done, move on.

You gotta just do what makes the music come out. Thats what works for me, and as long as I don’t buy impulsive distracting gear, I’m good.


Fun to see this thread getting so much traction, interesting topic for beginners and seasoned pros alike! I do believe there’s some value in the “Hemingway method”. There are already many suggestions above on similar approach. In some text editors you can find this function. It basically disables the back space, so you just CANT erase what you have written, it makes you produce and not edit. The value/lesson here is to not go in to the edit phase just yet. So you can focus on just creating things. Much like when you sit with a piano or guitar and start writing/practising.

As suggested above, I think it’s important to have the two processes separated. Like the traditional way of recording a band. The band writes the music and gets real good at performing it. The producer later comes up with a trick or two, some suggestions maybe, and then it gets recorded, mixed and mastered. It has so many stages! I don’t think they all need to be fully separated, but it’s easier on the one-man-operation to take some of this into practise. IMO ofc.

I usually have some idea of what I want to do. Usually I start with a synth or rhodes and just write something, a foundation, a hook or a melody, or just a sound I like. Then depending on the track I try to make a few variations. Still just on hardware, most of them have sequencers so it’s all there if I need to leave! If it’s an acoustic I try to record the idea, maybe even just on the phone. After I’m starting to get satisfied with the foundation and some variations, I record all instruments on separate tracks and go into a producing stage, that’s when I try to embellish(?) the track, edit, add some basic effects like reverb/basic eq and so on. Often I want to add a new section or just scrap some parts (THIS is the hardest thing though!). When I feel I’m getting close, I go the final arrangement/edit phase, and after that it’s just polish. It’s all a hybrid method, but more focused on what the goal is. I too have a final destination with songs. I have played guitar on the side of my bed all my life, that is more of a nice therapy thing, to just play. To finish songs is something more fulfilling to me. When the tracks finally get finished I take the stems I want as samples and recreate the rest in hardware when I play live. The preparation is almost as fun as the actual gig, it never sounds the same as the recording and to me, that’s the charm of live sets.

I don’t know why this became such a long post lol, but it was nice to share :slight_smile:


The freedom of a DAW is invaluable, for sure. But Youtube Videos get quite boring if you can only show Tracks with tons of automation and boring Level Meters … :slight_smile: Thats why we use Hardware - after we’re over the fun Part of using Hardware of course and when we finally wanna do something real :wink:

And lets be honest: The world is saturated with Music. Music on its own (sadly) has lost its value for most people out there. So its only Youtube where you can still grab at least a couple of Cents for the Tracks you make due to the Video you deliver. Everything else doesnt really work for a small Artist anymore.


that‘s an honest but sad perspective. I don‘t want to make music solely for youtube. Though making videos is also fun, I love creating albums or eps where the tracks have a certain connection and where I have them in package that reflects a certain period of my life

I don‘t earn a cent for my videos anyway :wink:


Sad to say that you must do something wrong then :wink: Cant you monetize your Videos? Does your Channel not meet the requirements yet? I heard that YT changed something in the past in that regard …


Yeah, well YouTube is a window shop for sure, and it’s not the least bit interesting to me. If I see another video of someone reviewing a music product or playing a dub techno set live turning knobs in their studio I’ll grow moss on my head.

One wonderful consequence of the saturation of music in today’s world (which I totally agree on) is that live music is worth more. That’s where the future is, local experiences IRL! With music, visuals and decor, and other people! Or, as someone wise said, all you need is a basement, a red light and a feeling. Well, until we all download our souls on to a usb drive and live in VR that is…


obviously :slightly_smiling_face:


i hope not USB.
USB protocol was not designed with a human soul or even MIDI/audio streaming in mind, so despite its ubiquity, it’s just horrible inside. i don’t want jitter issues with my soul :alien:


I don’t get the chat about Elektrons being performance boxes for live use but not for the studio. Sure, they ARE great for live use of course, but also fantastic for studio work. I’ve used the Machinedrum, AK and Rytm on many tracks, all have individual outs, and all are powerful enough to be able to do some great things for recording.

Also I don’t get the separation of performance and recording at all. I don’t think many guitarists or violin players would want to sequence their work given the opportunity, and on many occasions I feel the same about synths and even drum machines. There seems to be this thought that to record a synth it must be programmed or sequences. There isn’t enough performance being recorded and laid down in tracks these days in my opinion. Of course, people feel different about twiddling knobs as part of a recording performance.

If for some the feeling is that they’re great for performance but not studio then why not practice the thing you do want to record, get a take down and go from there?


First time i heard of Hemingway method. It forces you to get better at the original idea and in the process find new ideass. Mind is blown right now.


Why do you need to monetize. Its so lame. ADs are bs.

Ive turned ADs off on my youtube thang.
Do it for fun not for fame.


yeah that’s cool.
none of my elektrons have individual outs, and I tried to avoid a mixer.
I have individual outs on my A4 via OB. Once it works for the DN I only have to record the OT tracks individually. Will save a lot of time.


Post of the month!!!


Its most definitely a great option, for sure! Pre YT-Times it was probably also the only option to get known i assume. But im not sure.

Either way: Getting the Stage in a Night Club to perform and interact with the Crowd is not that easy - at least its not here in Germany - and im almost sure its not that easy in other countries as well. If the Clubs dont offer applications for Indie Producers / DJs to perform for a specific Event, they most likely dont book you just because you ask them for :slight_smile: And even if they do, you would still have to show them what you do and what you are capable of. And which platform is most likely best suited to showcase this? Right: Youtube :slight_smile: Here we go. Circle closed :smiley:


Steve Albini has a really interesting take on this. If you’ve never read it, his piece on the music industry from back in the 1990s is legendary. Well worth the read, now more for historical reference.


He has revisited his thoughts on the subject and the changes in the music industry in recent years, and believes the system is much better now for artists. Whether or not you agree with him, it is still worth a listen IMO.


as i can see, in last 10 years it became even better for publishers and even worse for musicians (except for mega stars).
with all these fancy online music services, don’t even think your costs of recording are going to be paid off in any form, if you’re not a mega star already. so, the bottom line is: new monopolists are significantly worse than old, if we compare, say, with 90s.
well, Steve Albini looks at industry as a person who works with mega stars, so of course he’s right from his point of view.


Who cares. Theres always been a shitload of musicians. You just get to know about all of them now because of the net.
Its just as hard or as easy as it has always been for musicians.
So, you have more chance of getting heard now than before, but on the opposite side of the coin you have more competition.
Bottom line is…it is what it is. You cant change that.
Make music for what ever reason you wanna make music. Spend more time on that than worrying about why things are the way they are, how they were, and how youd like them to be. (You meaning people, not you specifically)
Me…i just wanna make one…ONE tune that i like. THATS IT!


good point.
moreover, i prefer to invest only in myself and my rig.
not in relic things from 70s that don’t work well anymore, e.g. studio recordings :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Listen to his speech before jumping to conclusions. He’s talking from the perspective of a guy playing in bands not on major labels. He’s also well-known for not overcharging bands to record with him:

“ At Electrical Audio in 2004, Albini earned a daily fee of US$750 for engineering work, and drew a salary of US$24,000 a year.”

Even glance at his Wikipedia page. You clearly don’t know much about the guy.

“ Albini is also known for his outspoken views on the music industry, having stated repeatedly that it financially exploits artists and homogenizes their sound. Nearly alone among well-known producers, Albini refuses to take ongoing royalties from album sales, feeling that a producer’s job is to record the music to the band’s desires, and that paying a producer as if they had contributed artistically to an album is unethical.”


Sorry but the evidence just does not support that at all! Sure there have always been loads of struggling musicians, but the number who can support themselves as a profession have really gone down, mainly thanks to streaming.