Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

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Bart Stewart
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Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Bart Stewart » Sun Apr 30, 2017 9:08 pm

Hello!

I recently picked up Mixcraft Pro 8, and I've composed and arranged several pieces in it so far. This is after decades of soaking up genres from prog rock to classical to funk to electronica. (If I had a patron saint, it would have to be Mike Oldfield. :D ) I've also maintained some very minor skill at vocals and keyboard.

All that said, I'm painfully aware that I'm near the point (in the "Dunning-Kruger effect" curve) where I believe I'm starting to have some idea of what I'm doing, but in reality don't know how little I know. I like the pieces I've done, but I'm starting to hear just how artificial they sound compared to music featuring expressive performances, creative arrangements, and professional audio engineering.

Bearing in mind that there are no shortcuts to these things, I'm curious just how far Mixcraft itself can be pushed. So that's the long-winded introduction to my question: What do you consider the very best pieces of music created entirely in Mixcraft alone?

This means no WAV files or other external performances, but the most professional, creative, and well-engineered pieces of music created using nothing other than Mixcraft instruments. (Drum loops are OK, but no other loops. Non-default VSTs are also OK if they're identified.)

The goal here is to get an idea of the upper limit of what's possible with Mixcraft. I'm particularly interested in seeing pro techniques for instrument selection, arrangement, FX (such as EQ/compression), and mixing. I've been reading the other threads in this forum pointing to "how-to" videos on production; those are helpful... but I'd really like to see the best examples of using these techniques.

So: do Mixcraft-only songs exist? If so, which ones sound most musical to you? Thanks!

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Sir Sparky
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Sir Sparky » Fri May 05, 2017 7:49 am

Hi Bart
I use Mixcraft 7 pro with no plug ins , all the guitar work and bass was done by me , and the rest of the instruments were done via midi I had programmed a long time ago when midi was cool , using u220 units from roland
I had loaded all the midi files into Mixcraft and use Mixcraft intruments only ,
I am in no way good at it but give my songs a listen too from soundcloud , hope you like.
Hope this is the answer you are looking for
Your friend Sparky
https://soundcloud.com/sir-sparky
Mixcraft 7 Pro - Roland Octa-Capture - Rokit8 speakers and sub -DigiTech VocalistVR - Behringer MDX2200 composer pro - Roland U-220 - M audio keystation - Boss GT-3 - Boss GT-6B
Lots of luck and good friends :D

GovernmentMule
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by GovernmentMule » Fri May 05, 2017 8:56 am

Sir Sparky wrote:Hi Bart
I use Mixcraft 7 pro with no plug ins , all the guitar work and bass was done by me , and the rest of the instruments were done via midi I had programmed a long time ago when midi was cool , using u220 units from roland
I had loaded all the midi files into Mixcraft and use Mixcraft intruments only ,
I am in no way good at it but give my songs a listen too from soundcloud , hope you like.
Hope this is the answer you are looking for
Your friend Sparky
https://soundcloud.com/sir-sparky

Nice work Sir Sparky 8) . Not the style music I normally listen to, but it was enjoyable and nicely done.

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Sir Sparky
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Sir Sparky » Fri May 05, 2017 9:01 am

your welcome , looking forward to hearing some of your music also , please keep me posted , I like all kinds of music and appreciate al genres,
your friend Sparky
Mixcraft 7 Pro - Roland Octa-Capture - Rokit8 speakers and sub -DigiTech VocalistVR - Behringer MDX2200 composer pro - Roland U-220 - M audio keystation - Boss GT-3 - Boss GT-6B
Lots of luck and good friends :D

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comedians
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by comedians » Fri May 05, 2017 3:51 pm

Hi

My kind of music. Keep it going.

Enjoyed listening.

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freightgod
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by freightgod » Fri May 05, 2017 4:33 pm

Sparky, I like what I hear.

I'm a little confused by the o.p.'s characterisation of "Mixcraft only", "no wav's", etc. I think he's asking for midi only??? I got a little lost in there...

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Mark Bliss » Fri May 05, 2017 7:47 pm

Have you ever read one of those circular puzzles to which there was no possible correct answer?
That's how it made me feel.

Welcome Bart.
You may want to narrow and clarify your question........
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

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Bart Stewart
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Bart Stewart » Sat May 06, 2017 9:32 am

Yep, too wordy. Apologies.

What I've done so far in Mixcraft is sounding too mechanical. It sounds like what it is, which is (with some edits) measures that are copied and pasted to create an arrangement. It doesn't sound enough like a professional performance.

So while I work on improving my performance skills, I'm asking for the best examples of using nothing but Mixcraft to compose, perform, arrange, and mix a piece. How musically expressive can Mixcraft be with zero use of external tracks (no real guitar, no orchestra instruments, etc.)? Not relying on external performances will tell me a lot about how much Mixcraft itself can make a piece sound good.

So sure, MIDI-only pieces is a good starting point. I appreciate any suggestions for what folks here think are the most musical pieces created entirely in Mixcraft.

(I did enjoy your piece, Sir Sparky -- nice guitar work!)

Sorry about being so long-winded to start with. Bad habit. :)

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat May 06, 2017 1:48 pm

Well, your kind of comparing two very different things in one. Mixing, and MIDI arranging/editing.
Nothing wrong with long winded, it happens, but the root question is obscured, and the answer isn't simple either.

Mixcraft is quite capable in the basic mixing area IMO, even with only using what is included (stock)
While many temptations are constantly presented for third party plug ins, much of it is unnecessary really, for getting started or creating great sound. Learning to use them well is a great place to start.

Virtual/MIDI instruments and editing is a whole 'nuther beast IMO. And any comments to follow are only my opinions and not in any way specific to Mixcraft. And caveat, I make no claim to be a MIDI guy......

Many instruments and libraries use "General MIDI" (and this is true of every DAW I am aware of.)
And while there are some users who can conjure great results, I personally find it tedious and time consuming at best, and for me- usually end up with frustrating results.
Third party instruments and samplers are better, but often pricey and require additional learning curves to use. Some downright severe.

Loops are another thing altogether, but you didn't really include those in your question..... I don't think.
I might be able to locate a song created with included loops and mixed in Mixcraft though.....

As for examples created exclusively using only Mixcraft, I've got nothing to offer. I'm primarily an audio guy I guess, who has dabbled in MIDI trying to expand my knowledge.

All the songs currently on my Soundcloud page, (in the link in my sig), are mixed using Mixcraft. But none are created with exclusively Mixcraft instruments, as all contain audio recordings.
Several are augmented with tracks created with Pianissimo and a few other Acoustica Mixcraft instruments however.
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Mark Bliss » Sat May 06, 2017 6:03 pm

Thinking about this further, I think you may still be asking a vague and broad question and not clearly describing your intent or interest. Do YOU know what you want to do?

IE: Are you evaluating what you can do with a DAW or comparing Mixcraft's capabilities to others, or ???

Ruling out audio recordings seems to imply you want to use virtual instruments, but do your interests lie in synthesizers, or do you wish to emulate instrument sounds such as strings, brass, etc?

But the simple answer would be that the demo projects included with Mixcraft would be a good way to evaluate some of the scope of capabilities.
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

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Bart Stewart
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Bart Stewart » Mon May 08, 2017 10:50 pm

I've been giving this some thought, and I believe you're probably half-right. I'm probably not sure of all the reasons for my question. I know there's a lot I still don't know.

But the specific question I'm asking is clear: I'm looking for good examples of pieces made using only Mixcraft, with no external instruments like real guitars or other orchestral instruments -- just what comes in the box. (Mixcraft 8 Pro in my case.)

I did check out the three demo projects. All three incorporated "live" performances. This isn't bad or wrong; it's just beyond what I can accomplish right now.

What I can do right now is compose and arrange using Mixcraft itself -- all its features and instruments. So I'm trying to find out if that can sound good enough by asking the experts here what they consider to be the best tracks performed using only Mixcraft's tools and assets.

This may be a dumb question. Like I said, I'm so ignorant right now that I don't know what I don't know. But I figured I have to start somewhere.

For what it's worth, I'm not just waiting on answers before trying to learn on my own. My first attempts are here: https://soundcloud.com/flatfingers/tracks . A couple pieces are soundtrack themes; the other two are more ambient (so they've got some of the "popcorn" sound that you've said you personally don't enjoy :wink: ). Regardless of genre, I can hear myself that what I've done so far is too mechanical and not musically expressive enough. So I'm trying to improve.

That's why I'm here asking questions. I'm hoping to figure out:
  • How much better can Mixcraft-only pieces sound than what I've done so far?
  • How do I do that?
Hearing some examples of really good Mixcraft-only recordings is how I'm trying to answer these two questions.

I hope this helps clarify why I'm asking what I'm asking.

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freightgod
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by freightgod » Tue May 09, 2017 7:20 am

If I were to buy a DAW strictly for it's "out of the box" midi capabilities and voices, I'm not sure Mixcraft would have been my first choice.

mick
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by mick » Wed May 10, 2017 1:46 am

freightgod wrote: If I were to buy a DAW strictly for it's "out of the box" midi capabilities and voices, I'm not sure Mixcraft would have been my first choice.
I feel the same way, midi functionality is pretty much the same in M5, M6, M7, M8. Midi development is quieter than a whispering tumblweed in a vaccum with all efforts going to heavy metal production and EDM, and that's why I consider Mixcraft to be the no 1 daw for these things, for midi it sits some way down the list of a dozen or so others. I just upgraded a FREE daw (included with an M Audio interface) because of its midi capabilities at the expence of upgrading to M8 because I'd be buying much the same and thats a shame. :shock:

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by Mark Bliss » Wed May 10, 2017 3:28 am

This may be a dumb question. Like I said, I'm so ignorant right now that I don't know what I don't know. But I figured I have to start somewhere.
I don't think its a dumb question at all, and hope my pointed probing didn't make you feel it was.
I am simply trying to get to an understanding of what- if anything, there is I can do to help you. Nothing more.

I cant offer any examples of projects done 100% within the Mixcraft program. I thought Christians project (somewhere in the demo's) was a good example. But I think your right, there was some recorded content as well.
But the real value is in that those are open projects you can dissect and learn from. And I guess you could mute the forbidden tracks and get some insight from that? :wink:

The examples you shared a link to help a bit in evaluating your question more fully, and gaining some understanding as to where you are at.
Their not bad for a start, better than my first attempts at MIDI based tunes, that's for sure.

And for what its worth, the "popcorn" reference was pulled from a response to a particularly harsh example of that sound I think. And what does my tastes matter anyway? Create what you like!

The "mechanical" sounding part takes time. Its part composition and arranging, and part "performance" I think.
Learning to mildly randomize some specific components might help some. Everything "tight to the grid" is a common cause of this perception.

Another suggestion would be that perhaps you could add some further variation to your compositions.
One of your examples has a very simple melody that repeats over and over through the song, really only the sounds and instrument changes much. If you changed it up for a middle section of the tune, then returned back to the simple melody you began with, it would add a lot of interest IMO.
Similarly, the plinking music box theme in another works, but maybe if you had a middle section without that repeating, then brought it back end for the final sections.

Another thing I found out in my beginner MIDI experiments, adding some variations in the area of velocity really added some character.

One of the songs has a drum section that comes in, is that loops or did you program that?
freightgod wrote:If I were to buy a DAW strictly for it's "out of the box" midi capabilities and voices, I'm not sure Mixcraft would have been my first choice.
Maybe,
I'm not sure. I don't have a great deal of knowledge about what other DAW's offer in the area of included instruments and so forth. Well, I do know some have a great deal more included, but its reflected in the price as well.

I would be of the opinion that there are far too many variations in user tastes and interests to make everyone happy with what is included. One strength of an economy priced DAW is that it leaves Instrument and plug in choices up to the user.

As Mick points out, there are certainly others that have far more expanded and powerful tool sets for working with MIDI and its something I am hopeful about being an area of future focus.
I wont disagree that Mixcraft lags behind in the area of MIDI arrangement tools, but on the other hand, I don't see it as exactly oriented toward Heavy Metal or EDM either. (In fact I would think EDM producers would desire the DAW with more powerful MIDI tools? What do I know, never touch the stuff.)

For me its kind of a neutral and flexible tool set. Either way, I am not a big MIDI user at this stage, nor do I attach myself strongly to any specific genre, so take that into consideration on any of my comments.
I guess I would say I am a mixer who is trying to learn more about all aspects of producing, including MIDI.

I originally wanted the ability to create realistic drums and bass for my own backing tracks for practice and fun. I started with Beatcraft. It worked well for me, loved the grid layout and the sounds were acceptable.
But then I checked out a demo of Mixcraft 4 and started learning to use that. Soon I owned Mixcraft 5 and was programming drums in the piano roll instead. Mixcraft 6 came along and I welcomed Pianissimo into the collection of tools. Then I started exploring the world of third party samplers and sample packs while trying to replicate decent string sections for some songs. Then the temptation and a deep discount combined to lure me into the world of EZDrummer for more range of sounds ( I was intrigued by the inclusion of a good range of brushed drum sounds I was finding) I am still searching for an inexpensive realistic bass option that isn't a pain to use. But looking back, Mixcraft 8 is a pretty big leap from Mixcraft 4, that's for sure.

But my point is, the ability to expand on the basic DAW is nearly endless. It doesn't have to be overly expensive, but it can become a sort of addiction. I would point out that for all the things to try out, there's probably at least 4 "misses" to every "hit" on something good.

OK, talk about wordy.....
I hope there's some help in there somewhere. Going back to the core question- Mixcraft only projects:
While that's possibly a narrow view, and I would suggest not focusing too intently on that- Learning what you have and learning it well IS a great thing to focus on. Succumbing to the temptation of trying out every possible add-on and freebie can become a complete distraction from actually getting anything done........
Stay in tune, Mark

My SOUNDCLOUD Page

mick
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Re: Best Examples of Mixcraft-only Arrangements?

Post by mick » Wed May 10, 2017 6:58 am

I've long suspected Mixcraft is biased toward heavy metal and lo and behold! The new Mixcraft advert focuses exactly so, therefore all I can say to Acoustica is... Gotcha!
There's not a grain of info regarding midi or any reference to the Acoustica instruments that I consider far more than half decent, if I need better I'll look towards 8dio but the prices are fantastic so no thanks. The Acoustica studio drums are fine, apply some EQ and compression and the difference is enough for me never to be interested in the likes of Addictive drums or EZD.
Studio drums and the piano roll step input can make some wicked rhythms including Latin that EZD doesn't appear to have, and for an expensive program that isn't clever. There's nothing about the midi section that cannot be fixed but I've made suggestions over the last 3 years meaning I 've twiddled thumbs for 3 years for absolutely nothing to materialise and that's why I switched to daw "x" for midi because it has the features I can use, I'm too old to be strung along from one version to another like the donkey and carott scenario.
Overall for a self contained program Mixcraft has it all, still got my "trusty reliable never crash or get bitten by a bug" M7 for other stuff. :D

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