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Synth Pop music with vocals? Linux sampler help?

Subject: Synth Pop music with vocals? Linux sampler help?
From: Miranda Pennington
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2010 11:07:00 -0500
I am wondering if some people could offer me advice on how to go about recording/creating some pop music with vocals. My boyfriend and I used to use Sony Acid for making our humor music, but I like using Ubuntu for all my other computing needs, so I'd like to use it for making music too.

Typically, what we would do is create a rhythm track and then he improvises vocals and lyrics while I play the keyboards. After about ten minutes of noodling around while recording, I take the vocals and midi data, chop it up, organize it into a song, assign synth sounds to the midi data, process the vocals, and record any additional instrumentation it needs to flesh it out.

I know that I want to use Hydrogen, auto talent, sound fonts, synths, and effects plug ins, but I'm not sure what the best sequencer or DAW would be to use to for recording or mixing, or how to go about pulling everything together. Do I have to use Ladish with a sequencer and a DAW and route everything together, or can I do most of this inside of one program? I'm thinking qtractor looks like the easiest to get a handle on, but the lack of envelope automation for fx, panning, and volume is sort of holding me back from using it. I use those a lot and I don't know how I would get along without them. I also need to be able to chop up the vocals and move the parts around fairly quickly. Also, I need to be able to save sessions so I can work on something here and there. I've seen that Ardour will be coming out with midi support in the future, so should I just wait to use Linux for what I want to do until it comes out? Would Muse be able to do what I want? I read somewhere that envelope automation is available in muse, but I haven't been able to find any info on how to use it. I'm guessing rosegarden could do all of this, but it looks difficult to use. Maybe that's unfair assumption though. I'm not sure. I don't mean to sound picky, but the interface on rosegarden looks very difficult t navigate to my eyes.

I've searched on the web for comprehensive tuts, but I'm not finding much on my own. If anyone would be willing to blog a tut on how they put together their music, I would be forever grateful. Even if your music is totally different, just seeing how someone else goes about setting everything up to make a song from start to finish would be really helpful for me and anyone else who wants to get into Linux audio production and doesn't know where to start.

Also, if anyone has some advice on how to get the Linux Sampler up and running with the piano library on Ubuntu, that would help me out. I know I need the Linux sampler back end along with jsampler or fantasia, but I haven't had any luck getting to it to work. I also play piano and do my own singer songwriter stuff. I would like to be able to record piano as midi data and use Linux Sampler for the piano sound. Since it's solo piano, it has to sound decent. How do I record it along with vocals?

Thanks for reading such a long question everyone. Your responses are appreciated!

Here are some examples of what I and my boyfriend do (that I would lie to accomplish with Ubuntu) -

The humor music -  http://www.myspace.com/richydynamoandthefantastics
My more serious stuff - http://www.reverbnation.com/mirandapennington
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