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#788901 12/13/23 07:20 AM
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DrDan Offline OP
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Toontrack is in the middle of its week long sale which changes each day. An EZKeys 2 midi pack at $10 is the time to buy.

https://www.toontrack.com/holiday-deal-week/


Dan, BIAB2024, SoundCloud Win11, i7(12thGen), 32GB, 1TB SSD(M.2 NVMe SSD), 2TB Libraries, 1 TB(WD-Black), 2TB SSD(M.2 NVMe SSD)Data, Motu Audio Express, Keystation 61, SL88 Studio, Reaper

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Dear Dan and others,
I've played Keys, Guitars, Bass & Drums for many years (mostly by ear)... I've worked with MIDI and Audio for decades. I also have great ears, eyes, not so much...
Last year I invested money & time in Native Complete, with mixed production results... My goal is to enhance my recorded music production, in terms of quality, speed, and ease.

What are the main differences between Toontrack and Native Complete? How could I benefit, from adding Toontrack's software. tools, and content to what I have now?
What can I hope to accomplish with the addition of these products... The cost in money is not as important to me, as is the cost of my time. Thanks for your time, and any info and advice.

Last edited by bloc-head; 12/13/23 11:06 AM. Reason: added text

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Wow, started with a simple heads up for a $10 midi pack and turned into a "What are the main differences between Toontrack and Native Complete? "

Native complete is a huge collection of individual music making tools and applications all which play on the Native Instrument Platform. Toontrack is a company who makes three major applications (EZD, EZK and EZB). Again these are music making tools and applications but these play either in standalone (PC/Mac) applications or load into your DAW as virtural instruments (VSTi).

"What can I hope to accomplish with the addition of these products... The cost in money is not as important to me, as is the cost of my time."

Glad to hear money is not object, casue none of this stuff is cheap (except a $10 Midi pack) which by the way requires you purchase EXKeys 2.

What you can accomplish is entirely up to you. In the case of EZKeys, this application can read, write, compose, and edit midi, which can be used to play world class professional piano accompaiment to your music, if that is what you need.

Anything beyound that I refer you to Google for hours of examples of what the toontrack products can do.

Good luck
Dan


Dan, BIAB2024, SoundCloud Win11, i7(12thGen), 32GB, 1TB SSD(M.2 NVMe SSD), 2TB Libraries, 1 TB(WD-Black), 2TB SSD(M.2 NVMe SSD)Data, Motu Audio Express, Keystation 61, SL88 Studio, Reaper

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Thanks DrDan... anyone else with experience or insight into these composition/production tools?


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They are excellent instruments that can be used to play your own midi compositions or files. But they also have loads of great midi that you can add to your own, use to jumpstart your own creativity, or use just as is if you need a world class piano or drummer or bass player. The best thing to do is to go to their site and listen to some demos, google and find others that are using them, check our the U Tube videos of which there are probably thousands.


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Originally Posted by bloc-head
Thanks DrDan... anyone else with experience or insight into these composition/production tools?

I will embellish a little on Dan's response:
1-Toontracks also make EZMix: a mix and mastering program
2-Each Toontrack product has additional add-ons that you can purchase, as Dan indicate it can get expensive.
3-EZKeys2 is not just dedicated to piano or keyboards. One can apply an EZKey2 track to any sound. I have used piano tracks from EZKeys2 and used a full string orchestra as my sound source. I also have imported MIDI string grooves into the user option of EZKeys2. You can combine them with EZKeys 2 groves to power a Kontakt string section, or any other section; I have used brass sound sources also.

As Dan said it is all MIDI so you can edit those tracks to your hearts content.

I like to take the Utility track from BiaB, bring it into EZKeys2, then use EXKeys2 grooves to change said track. Then I bring that modified track back into BiaB. There are a number of options when using both programs together.

As suggested look at the videos to get a better view of what Toontrack packages can do. I should say that I have EZKeys2 and EZMix only, thus I can not comment on the other available software.

I hope this helps.


My goal this weekend is to move just enough each day so that no one pokes me to see if I'm dead or not.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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Thanks etcjoe.
Thank you Mario, very helpful indeed...
Thanks again Dan.


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Hey bloc-head,

First let me say that I play guitar reasonably well and lots of other instruments a little. But currently my passion is creating most of my tracks using BIAB and other similar products. If a virtual instrument has only samples I have less interest in it as I prefer to build tracks from patterns and grooves and then edit them to suit me. This preference is a large part of why I love BIAB and Toontrack! So, if you prefer to play your own parts on a MIDI controller my advice might be less useful to you.

I own all the Toontrack products and Native Instruments Komplete as well. My favorite part of Komplete is Kontakt and the Session Guitarist instruments because they include real instruments along with MIDI grooves for them. So, a lot like BIAB! I also like all the synths that come with Komplete but, other than playing around and reviewing them, I've not used them in a production yet.

Toontrack products, except for EZMix, are very much like BIAB in that you can pick an instrument and a groove (MIDI), enter your chords (or use their suggested chords for the groove), and BAM...you have your track! Of course you can edit the MIDI as you wish.

Folks like DrDan and Mario have been extremely helpful in showing me how to connect Toontrack to BIAB! I learned that any Realtrack with MIDI can be exported from BIAB to Toontrack products for editing and using their instruments. I learned how to set up a BIAB chords track to directly feed to Toontrack stuff.

Since you indicated money is not a concern I'd say get the following ASAP!

- EZKeys and maybe a few add-on instruments like grand, upright and others you like.

- EZBass and maybe a couple of add-ons for any specific genre you might like

- EZDrums and maybe a couple of add-ons for any specific genre you might like

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JJJ... thanks so much for this info...
So far, I've heard mostly good things about Toontracks, and very little criticism.
I'm intrigued.


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Originally Posted by bloc-head
JJJ... thanks so much for this info...
So far, I've heard mostly good things about Toontracks, and very little criticism.
I'm intrigued.
You'll like how well designed Toontracks GUI is! Unlike some other software products 🤪 Toontracks is really fun to use!

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Dan,
Thank you for the link.


Toongrack is a fancy Midi generator with a sound synth. Some sounds ar OK, but I think their "instruments" are way overpriced. Thankfully, EZkeys has MiDI out, so you can rout it to any third party soundsource (like Komplete for example)

While EZkeys has a clean interface and a few workflow gems, BIAB was doing this stuff for many, many years. (Transposition /tempo changes based on chords) Unfortunately very little consideration was given to BIAB's GUI and workflow on that matter, however it finally changed for the better this year. If you look at MTP (Multipicker) Library there is a Midi Track tab. Well, these are same type of loops EZkeys uses.

I hope new BIAB Midi browser is only at infant stage and will improve significantly next release. PGM included 800 midi stems/tracks with 2024 release. Some are nice and very usable, some are not.

---------------------------------
JJJ,
I picked up their (NI) new Ukulele, same idea as with guitars that you like. Nice stuff.

Last edited by Rustyspoon#; 12/14/23 05:44 AM.
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I hesitate to jump in here, but I've got some time while I wait for folks to make suggestions on how to get my 2024 working properly
(thanks to all who are trying - Noel...I will be trying your suggestions...)

I began buying EZKeys "stuff" 7 years ago. I know that because I wrote one song then using it then.
None since.

I got that first piano on sale (xmas) for $29. I also got a MIDI pak on sale for $10 (Sweetwater used to do them for $9 - I always buy from them).
Since then, I have added 8 more piano modules. And 24 MIDI paks. All bought for $29 and $10.
When EZKeys 2 came out, I upgraded (I'm invested now)

I "play with it" a lot.
I almost never use it (not for lack of trying).

The first song I did, I used the existing EZKeys phrases to build a track (meaning their chord progression, not a new one).
And then I wrote a song - to the track.
The track I used was unlike anything I could get from BIAB (at the time, at least).
It worked great to use their existing phrases.

However...since then I have tried a number of times to build a convincing piano track for a full song.
Those are meant to be stark piano/vocal kinds of songs. (my chord progression)
I have found it VERY difficult to do that.
if you use the same phrases repetitively, it sounds that way. You have to mix it up - and be subtle about it.

Many times I have built a track and scraped it. And gone Back to BIAB for a piano track (that is not quite what I want it to be. I've given examples of that in the WishList area for the last year, but those type piano tracks are still not available).

I actually ended up spending the last year learning to play the piano myself.
I tried a LOT of different methods - a Long story - but one of the things that finally allowed me to "turn the corner" on understanding what I was doing was by opening EZKeys and loading a phrase and learning to play it. I then move on to another, and another and another.

So. My "answer" to the question - I like having EZKeys and I've learned something from it.
But I think it is difficult to get a true Performance. A big learning curve (but what doesn't have that).
You can likely get a backing track that would work in a BAND situation (not the piano/vocal thing), but BIAB will do That for you with the click of a button.

I would be REALLY interested in hearing a full track that someone has written in EZKeys. A really Good one.


If you are interested in hearing the one song I DID do using EZKeys here it is (everything else except the solos is BIAB)
https://soundcloud.com/floydjane/too-dangerous

(You'll get to hear Janice Merritt and Tom Adams - a cool solo, too....)

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Floyd, I have had success in blending BiaB and EZKey piano tracks. I used BiaB piano tracks as background tracks and EZKey tracks for either a piano lead or a variation in the chorus portion of the song. Also mixing various EZKey styles can yield good results, much like mixing BiaB styles, regeneration of BiaB sections, and/or mixing Super MIDI tracks into your songs. YMMV

I should note that virtually all of my songs start in BiaB and EZKeys and other programs are add-ons.


My goal this weekend is to move just enough each day so that no one pokes me to see if I'm dead or not.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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Yes, bits and pieces are easy.

I'm talking about building an entire track that sounds like a real performance and isn't hidden by other instruments.

I don't think that is easy.
And that might be information useful to someone considering a buy.

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Originally Posted by floyd jane
Yes, bits and pieces are easy.

I'm talking about building an entire track that sounds like a real performance and isn't hidden by other instruments.

I don't think that is easy.
And that might be information useful to someone considering a buy.

I agree. Much like super MIDI tracks they have a propensity of being to busy for backing tracks. But like RTs and BiaB MIDI bits and pieces can yield better results then the original track. That was my only point.

I also agree that it "might be information useful to someone considering a buy". Thanx for bringing that up as I can overlook the obvious at times.


My goal this weekend is to move just enough each day so that no one pokes me to see if I'm dead or not.

64 bit Win 10 Pro, the latest BiaB/RB, Roland Octa-Capture audio interface, a ton of software/hardware
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Dan, JJJ, Rusty, Floyd, Mario... your insight into this "EZ" is Gold... Thank you all so much.
I'll report back if I make the jump...


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Originally Posted by floyd jane
Yes, bits and pieces are easy.

I'm talking about building an entire track that sounds like a real performance and isn't hidden by other instruments.

I don't think that is easy.
And that might be information useful to someone considering a buy.

I too have a lot of toontrack stuff. I am not sure it is the best for building an entire track using their midi. I think it works much better for snippets, or feeding other instrumentation. So many of the piano midi items they have work great with strings and brass as Mario as stated. I think they also have some good stuff if you need a piano solo for instance.

I am sure someone has done entire tracks, but you have to work at it, as it is not automatic in any sense. I think they have the best download and update interface out there. Very simple and works great. I love their GUI as well.


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I don't understand the confusion over creating a complete track with EZKeys! It really is pretty simple. Just drag a groove you like for intro into the timeline and adjust chords to your liking. Then drag a groove for verses, choruses and bridge until you've built your entire track. EZ to change key, tempo, chords and length of any section.

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Originally Posted by JohnJohnJohn
I don't understand the confusion over creating a complete track with EZKeys! It really is pretty simple. Just drag a groove you like for intro into the timeline and adjust chords to your liking. Then drag a groove for verses, choruses and bridge until you've built your entire track. EZ to change key, tempo, chords and length of any section.

Can you post a song you've done that is mainly piano and vocal?
Just saying "That's easy!" doesn't really prove anything.

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I don't do songs that are mainly piano and vocals. I find EZKeys to be about the same difficulty as BIAB. They work similarly. BIAB is a little easier since it picks the grooves/riffs for you but then you play BIAB roulette with regen until you get what you want. With EZKeys you choose what you want for each part from a library instead of the BIAB roulette/regen path.

Oh and I'm not trying to prove anything. Just providing another perspective. Feel free to ignore it, not believe it, whatever yanks yet chain!

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