Magix Knowledge Summary – 1 Month On
As this site is almost a month old, I thought it would be a good time to summarise most of what I have learned of the Magix software so far.
I am using Lovely Brasilia for any examples for this, as it was the first track I did, which used only boxed samples and effects that came with the various versions I have which are, MM Deluxe11, Hip Hop V3, and Garage. MM11 has some functions that HH3 does not and vice versa.
I’ll try to go chronologically with things I discovered, as best as I remember, to show a “learning curve” of sorts, so you can get an idea of how things developed, and compare to things you know that I don’t yet. Feel free to comment on your tips and tricks also please.
I am using HH3 to write this, so need to point out that it complains that this track, which was written in MM11 is NOT a Music Maker file, but then it does still load it, with the MM11 sample background colours I originally used (a function I miss in HH3, as you can colour highlight the fore and background of the samples you may have changed yourself, e.g. added FX etc.), after having to browse to find loads of “missing” temporary files. It plays, but with a few stutters in places…that could be the software or this different laptop sound card or other reason.
Ok, first the Arranger windows to find your way around:
If you unclick Easy Mode, you get a more detailed left panel, with Solo, Mute, Rec and FX options visible.
In the Arranger menu, you can optimize the track view to full screen, then use the pop up File Mgr window as needed using the F key, and the video window using the V key.
Click the Add Styles link in the Soundpool view to browse to other Magix sounds folders you may own, to import them into the Soundpool.
If this doesn’t work you can still browse to them in File Mgr and use them.
For quick Copy and Paste, you can use PC standard Ctrl-C and Ctrl V, selecting individual or many samples holding the Ctrl key and clicking those you want, or select All using Ctrl A.
These can be dragged/moved using the mouse and right click button, or copied and dragged holding the Ctrl key.
Ctrl-8 zooms the whole track into view.
More zoom options – click zoom dropdown:
Save you work periodically using the File menu.
Use the Infobox function to explain features on hover:
Bottom Bar Functions:
- Reset Solo/Mute
- Output volume slider – be careful – it goes higher than line level and can cause distortion. Use the Peak meter at the loudest part of your work to set it to 0 dB.
- Tempo BPM slider – or type it in:
- Loop button – endless loop play on/off
- Record/Play transport – record external instruments using track rec button:
Click Transport Record button (red dot) for Settings box – tick as required:
Note: Latency can be a REALLY big problem on PC’s depending on many factors, such as sound card type, driver type, PC spec, Operating System, memory, buffer size, sampling rate etc. Research your own hardware! Leave ANY tips for this in the Comments too please.
Playback while recording is crucial to hear yourself play, but will be another big delay overhead. Normalize is a good idea, but I’ve found it can still clip the wave and distort.
Technically, and ASIO driver is best with the lowest latency, but my Audiophile driver does not work properly, so I’m using the Wave driver. I will try the Direct driver sometime to see if it improves performance or not.
You can try different drivers, if present on your system, using the Program Settings box:
- 6 Mixer window on/off
7 You can add FX from the drop down menu to a whole track:
8 Time/bars remaining
This track is 4m21 secs long as displayed at the top of the window if the track length slider is positioned at the end of the track data. OK so far…
The countdown clock at the bottom says -4hrs, 42 mins, 29 secs – about to the end of the max available space when zoomed out to the end of the data window itself -286 mins, 43 secs. I cannot see the point of this clock. You would want it to count down to the end of your track, not the end of the window…At least the top figure is right for knowing how long your finished MP3 may be…
That brings me to exporting the data.
Lots of nice options for this in the File menu:
Magix handles all the rendering (normalising and mixdown) functions during this process.
Track Data Functions
Right clicking a sample gives options for just that sample.
Object FX Rack Kit
The effect I have used the most by far is the Time/Pitch shift:
You can change the pitch of a sample by + or – 12 semitones on one go.
As all my tracks have had key changes in them – mainly C to G – I have pitch shifted lots of different samples from C, by -5 semi-tones down to G many times.
How far you get away with this without too much distortion depends on the sampled sound.
Some may sound unnatural or digital noise sets in etc.
The Harmony Agent is in this submenu also, but I have not had a need for this yet:
The Parametric EQ is good for getting a snare or bass drum to stand out better in the mix, or cut a really high, loud ride cymbal, in combo drum loops for example, where you can’t treat them separately.
In MM 11 there is a Vocoder instead of the Bit Machine.
You can set single or many sample volumes at once, from -20 to +20 dB in the menu, or with finer control using the mouse to move line that crosses it:
You can also have a volume gradient for a Fade In with this line e.g:
In MM11 you can mouse draw a line manually, that I found before the easier way above:
Synthesizer Window Virtual Instruments
The Silver Synth – covered in previous Posts – MM11 has the Copper also:
Beatbox 2 – covered in previous Posts.
LiViD – a full virtual drum kit environment of Pop, Funk, Latin and Rock styles:
Scratchbox – a library of preset beat loops – not used yet:
I think that is about it for now!
There are other things I have found out with experimenting like using the DJX set at the same BPM as the track I’m writing to write keyboard parts/sections, as I’m not proficient to play all parts “live” in one go say, so I record them on the DJX multi-track first, in time as best as possible, then play them out the Phones socket at line level, and record and normalise them in Magix. I can then drag the sample to its correct start point in the song. You may need to zoom in for accuracy for this.
On reflection doing this Post, I realise how much value for money you get in this software.
OK, it is not the industry Professional standard, but for the money, even if you paid the full retail prices, and bypassed Ebay, I don’t think anyone can complain too much for the functions you get, and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.
Yes, there are a couple of odd bugs (the Volume Duck on Record function bug I mentioned a while back) but it is not a necessity to use this, and the play marker does not go exactly to where you click sometimes, but to be fair, all software has bugs somewhere, it is how much they hinder you that counts.
MS Windows – both 7 and XP – STILL cause me more grief than any individual software App ever does, and I’m a qualified IT technician.
Magix has certainly kept me very occupied the last month, and there is still so much to cover.
The main things left are the final stages of Production – Mixing and Mastering.
I hope to cover this as a Post soon.