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  • Which DAW Do You Use, and Why?

    I posed this question several years ago, and the answers were enlightening, to say the least. Given the shifting landscape in "DAW-world," I'm curious about the current status of what y'all are using. I'm particularly interested in the WHY you're using a particular DAW, and also, want to hear from those who use multiple DAWs - which actually seems to be a bit of a trend.

    Lay it on me...
    N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

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  • #2
    When I have actual work to do, I'm still partial to my Mackie HDR24/96 and a console. I don't use virtual instruments and 24 tracks is always enough. I like the user interface. It makes sense and I don't have to squint at anything.

    I've been playing with MixBus lately. It seems to work pretty well, there's EQ and dynamics on every channel already there with virtual knobs ready to be tweaked. I'm on version 2, and I might spring for the current (3.2) version since it's only $39.

    For projects I do on the Mackie recorder, I use its editor. It doesn't have a lot of options, so it's easier to remember what not to use when I'm trying to do something. For recordings that are direct to stereo, I use Sound Forge for editing and such, because I've used it for long enough so I usually remember how to do things.

    I don't do enough DAW-centric work that I've tried to learn to get comfortable with Pro Tools. I still have Reaper installed on my "test" computers, and while there's so much there that I don't use, what I use comes pretty naturally.
    --
    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Anderton View Post
      I posed this question several years ago, and the answers were enlightening, to say the least. Given the shifting landscape in "DAW-world," I'm curious about the current status of what y'all are using. I'm particularly interested in the WHY you're using a particular DAW, and also, want to hear from those who use multiple DAWs - which actually seems to be a bit of a trend.

      Lay it on me...

      I am using Pro Tools currently. I am using it primarily because I have for sixteen years, and I've committed it to muscle memory.

      I have a love/hate thing with Pro Tools. They are so behind in features, and have had lots of idiotic I/O issues and syncing issues. The giant downloads for updating. The moronic iLok.

      But there really is something to be said for muscle memory and just knowing it.

      I've am trying to switch to Reaper currently. I like Reaper. Or at least, I like the mindset and approach that Reaper has. I have not learned Reaper yet, largely because I have so little time to learn it. To learn a DAW properly, you really have to sit down and spend some time with it, not just a few hours one week, a few hours the next. Maybe someone else can learn like that, but I cannot. I want to be doing it all the time for several weeks continuously so it becomes automatic. It's not even close to automatic yet. So that's where I'm at right now.
      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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      • #4
        I used to use Cubase and was even a beta tester for Steinberg for 15 years. Then Rodney Orpheus who used to be at Steinberg moved to PreSonus and showed me Studio One I realized that workflow suited me better so I started using that and have been usingit exclusevly for the past 4 years and I'm very happy with it. I never thought I would change as I knew Cubase really well, but the transition was surprisingly easy .

        At work I have to use Logic X quite a bit but compared to Studio One I find it harder to accomplish things than it should be. I know I don't know it as well as Studio One, but I still don't find it very user-friendly.

        Cheers,

        Mats N
        - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
        BT King - all my backing tracks can be found at :
        http://nermark.articulateimages.com

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        • #5
          I have Pro Tools 11 that runs inside my Radar system and I use it for the studio whenever I have a project that might have to e transported somewhere else. But for my personal use I usually use Radar 9. It is so easy to setup and run and it comes with just about every kind of plugin already inside for $300. No dongles necessary.

          But I really think front ends are where the quality of sound is made. Once you're running 1s and 0s you should just run whatever you are comfortable with.
          Don Boomer

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          • #6
            I use Pro Tools.

            In the beginning, it was because that's what everyone else I worked with used. Now, it's because it does what I need it to do in a very straightforward way.

            One of my favorite features of Pro Tools is the track import. If there's a track I setup in another song that I like, I can simply import it into my current session with any or all of its settings intact. I usually start with templates I've created; but the track import is a great way to add tracks on the fly from other sources than the template.

            I'm not much of a multiple DAW user anymore—I used to also use Digital Performer and Logic Pro—but I did recently get Reason Essentials so I could make music with my laptop without having to hook up dongles and external drives.

            Best,

            Geoff
            Last edited by Geoff Grace; 10-26-2016, 01:27 AM.
            Enthusiasm powers the world.

            Craig Anderton's Archiving Article

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            • #7
              My main DAW is Cakewalk Sonar Platinum. Been using Cakewalk sequencers/DAWs for 21 years, I know the basic features of the product well, It's well integrated into my studio;s hardware MIDI synth setup (most other DAWs are not very good at this), I work fast in the environment. And Craig knows what's up

              I also use two other DAWs in various capacities though:

              I use Propellerhead Reason 9 as a mobile songwriting/composing tool, and for live performances (because everything is right there). I never got my head wrapped around Ableton Live, and Reason's hardware-like UI makes the most sense to me.

              I also use PreSonus StudioOne v3 for mobile recording applications on my MacBook Pro. But I rarely ever use it to finish a recording. I usually just bounce or render tracks and import them into Sonar on my studio desktop PC.
              Elson TrinidadSinger, Songwriter, Keyboardist, BassistElson and the Soul BarkadaWeb: www.elsongs.comMySpace: www.myspace.com/elsongsFacebook: Facebook PageTwitter: twitter.com/elsongs

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              • #8
                Started using REASON in 2005 and still do. Its an all in one solution for me.

                I use it mostly for pre-production/MIDI arrangements and then use REWIRE to record most of the audio into DIGITAL PERFORMER where I can also access the boatload of plug ins I`ve assembled over the years.

                I`m slowly transitioning away from DP though and getting into ABLETON LIVE which has proven to be a lot more stable but I`m not completely sold on audio editing yet in LIVE so the transition has been slower than I would have preferred.

                I also prefer to do most of my MIDI work in REASON because I find DPs multi-window approach confusing/cluttering/unnecessary.

                However, I also use Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate library which I have to access via LIVE or DP...

                Ideally, I would be able to operate everything in REASON but their closed architecture is the reason the program has never stalled or locked up on me in 11 years of use.

                So....

                REASON for MIDI/pre-production

                DP for audio but slowly transitioning to LIVE
                Last edited by Ernest Buckley; 10-30-2016, 08:52 PM.

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                • #9
                  I use Reaper and Cool Edit. Still.
                  Reaper does most of the heavy lifting, Cool Edit gets called up to do specific edits on single tracks, and also for level matching during mastering.

                  I have used Sonar, Cool Edit multitrack, and Tracktion in the past.

                  That may change, as a band mate has offered me a deal on a Presonus Studiolive 1642 setup. I need to sort out what issues will present themselves regarding running that on a PC. (Mac is not an option for me; Apple has thrown me under the bus too many times for that to happen.)

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                  • #10
                    Sonar Platinum. I've been with Cakewalk since forever, starting out with it's first Windows version that was MIDI only, no audio. Now I've signed up for the lifetime updates, so here's hoping for a long life and lots of updates.

                    I did try to make a move to Logic in the early 2000s, and was just getting used to it when Apple bought Emagic and they discontinued the PC versions. So back to Cakewalk/Sonar I went, not being a Mac guy.

                    Why Sonar? These big DAWs are pretty mature products - they all do anything and everything (just about) so it's a matter of honing user-skills and like Ken said, muscle-memory. Who has time to fully learn more than one of these monsters? I admit I am intrigued by some of the DAWs that seem to have a very different approach - Ableton comes to mind. And I wonder sometimes if I could gain some inspiration from a different work environment, different flow.

                    But what I want more than anything is for my DAW to not get in my way, workwise. There have always been problems with Cakewalk/Sonar, and it gets old. Way back in the days when people tended to have racks and racks of MIDI modules, the MIDI implementation had issues. Everything would be humming along, I'd power down, and next morning, the DAW couldn't find the MIDI interface. So instead of getting some tracks down, it was raise the hood and tinker for an hour or two. Nowadays I find myself restarting Sonar frequently just to get it to clear it's virtual head when for some unknown reason all of a sudden it can't freeze a track or it seems to have gotten it's envelopes in a twist.

                    Maybe the subscription model will mean more hotfixes more often. I'll just have to wait and see.

                    It's been many years since I did a bit of programming as a job, but we used to laugh at old mainframe programs that had been worked on by too many people, undergone too many superficial fixes and workarounds, until it seemed that nobody really understood how the creaky old contraption worked in all it's endless details any more. What was needed was a full re-write from the ground up, but management wouldn't or couldn't spend the money - so we'd work on yet more patches and add-ons and workarounds. Kind of like the IRS Tax Code, you know? Fix an overly complicated system by layering yet another set of complications on top of it. Until that doesn't work, and you lay on yet another layer to fix that. Maybe this is not a good analogy - like I said, I've been out of the programming game a long time and I don't really know how it's done any longer. But Sonar's behaviour feels at times like those klunky old patched-up mainframes felt.

                    Not to say it's not a marvelous program in spite of all that - it is. And I get a lot of work done in spite of some hood-raising sessions. And there are still seemingly endless features I've never fully learned to take advantage of. I'm spoiled - we're all spoiled, no? So I'll stick with it like I have been sticking, barring some sea change unforeseen and unacceptable.

                    nat whilk ii

                    Last edited by nat whilk II; 10-26-2016, 07:40 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by philboking View Post
                      a band mate has offered me a deal on a Presonus Studiolive 1642 setup. I need to sort out what issues will present themselves regarding running that on a PC.
                      All of the PreSonus gear I've had here, including the 1642, has worked fine on a PC.

                      --
                      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                      • philboking
                        philboking commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I was fairly sure it could be made to work, as long as the firewire PC card had the correct chipset and was PCIe, per the Presonus docs I looked at. But he had offered me an absurdly low price, and has reneged (and I don't blame him a bit). So I ordered a new Presonus 1818 Audiobox a couple days ago instead.

                        I can finally lay my old Terratec EWS88 10in/10out box to rest... Never did like the converters on that one too much anyway.

                    • #12
                      Audacity...Because I am poor, and because my computer is a Dual Core that cannot handle the newer stuff.
                      I'm not very prolific anyway, and my music probably doesn't really merit anything anymore sophisticated.
                      http://thebasement.createaforum.com/

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                      • #13
                        Ableton. Very intuitive and serves my purposes.
                        Carvin DC400; Fender Cyber-Twin head, Carvin 2x12, JTV69, DT25, Epiphone Nite Hawk, Tele squire, Wechter acoustic, Carvin AG 1000, Gretch 5120

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Geoff Grace View Post
                          I did recently get Reason Essentials so I could make music with my laptop without having to hook up dongles and external drives.
                          I also find Reason to be somethng like the ultimate DAW accessory because of how well it rewires into other DAWs - instant instrument rack.
                          N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by James Clausen View Post
                            Ableton. Very intuitive and serves my purposes.

                            Ableton's an interesting case. To some people, it makes complete sense and they take to it instantly while to others, it makes no sense and they can never wrap their heads around it. I was both - found it daunting at first, then as soon as I realized it was all about drag and drop, I was good to go.

                            I switched to SONAR back in 2000. Prior to that I'd used Cubase for MIDI and hard disk recording, and Acid for loops. It was a pain in the butt to bounce projects back and forth between the two, so when SONAR appeared and could to hard disk recording, MIDI, and looping - the only program to do all three well at the time - I was sold. I also use Ableton Live for live performance because the audio engine is bulletproof, Studio One for album assembly, and Reason as a "rack extension" for SONAR. However, I've worked with pretty much every DAW except Reaper (I find it a "glorious mess"), and as Ken and Geoff have pointed out...the DAW you like is the DAW you use.

                            SONAR's big strength and weakness is its dependency on Windows; Nat referred to having to get "under the hood." I have virtually no problems with SONAR, and it's been rock solid for me since 2015. Then again I have a computer integrated by PC Audio Labs that is an extremely tolerant host for all music-related programs that run on Windows. However, every time there's a Windows update - which happens with increasing frequency due to their rolling updates model - I cross my fingers. Some of the main issues are having to re-install drivers after an update, and losing hard disk-based authorizations and having to re-authorize. But I've gotten used to that, just as I've gotten used to having to download apps after a Mac OS X or iOS update. Not huge deals, but... I also read constant tales of woe about Pro Tools on Windows, but again I think it has more to do with the user's machine than Pro Tools itself.

                            The upside is that SONAR reaches deep into Windows for optimizations because it's not cross-platform (yet), and as far as I'm concerned it's the most technically advanced DAW on the market. What's more, Cakewalk collaborates with Microsoft, so there are some advances in terms of native Windows drivers and such that are just around the corner. So although there is a downside to living on the bleeding edge, I find the upsides dwarf it.

                            If SONAR didn't exist, I'd probably use Studio One for multitracking because it's sleek and efficient. However it lacks the depth of Cubase, so it would be a tough choice.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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