Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

What is the right DAW for me?

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • What is the right DAW for me?

    Hi, all.



    Let me explain my situation. I received an mBox Mini with Pro Tools Express for Christmas, and after a few hours up setup and attempting to learn Pro Tools by the seat of my pants, I want to punch babies. Call me lazy, but it just seems like a rather tedious software for what it is I'm trying to do. So, I figured I will swap it out with something more my style and a different audio interface.



    Now, to the good part.



    I am looking for a DAW that is clean and simple, but still able to put out professional quality audio. (If no such thing exists, stop reading here and tell me) My main interest focuses on recording and mastering. My computer is running Windows 8, and budget isn't a concern. Ease of use and audio quality are my only concerns. I've been reading up on every single DAW I can find, but I feel like it would be more beneficial to gain the opinions of my peers to help me with my decision.



    I appreciate any and all thoughts on the matter.

  • #2
    First off, I'm a Steinberg user. I use Cubase, but they do offer an "easier" entry level version to get your feet wet with. If you like it you upgrade to the full version. Most DAW manufacturers offer the same. They have a free, or trial version that lets you kick the tires before you buy. A few worth mentioning ... Ableton Live, Cuckoo's Reaper, Mark of the Unicorn Digital Performer, Cakewalk Sonar. Check out the YouTube videos for each of these to narrow down which ones you may connect with. These videos a lot of times will give you insight into how the "workflow" of each one is. A few of them will make you go "that's the way I like to work", or "that looks easy enough". Start with those and download the trial versions and give them a test drive. If you feel like punching a baby again, uninstall the trial, rinse and repeat until you find one that fits like a glove.



    Keep one thing in mind. All the DAW's mentioned so far, and including Pro Tools, have a learning curve. They are sophisticated pieces of software. You wouldn't buy a program like Photoshop, or even Office, and not invest some time "learning" how to use the program. Most of these DAW's have excellent tutorials, you'll find online videos, manufacturer forums, college courses, web-based training, third-party DVD lessons and so on to help you figure them out. Just reach out. You are not alone.



    If you have more specific questions, this is the place to get some answers. And hide the babies before you start.
    Korg Kronos 61 :: Korg M3-73 Xpanded (w/Radias board) :: Behringer B212A Powered Speaker :: Variax 300 Sunburst :: PODx3 Live! :: Epiphone Acoustic Guitar :: Mandolin :: Steinberg Cubase 7.5 :: Omnisphere :: Trilian :: V-Collection :: Korg Legacy Collection :: SampleTank 2 XL :: Sonik Synth 2 :: Ravenscroft Piano :: Komplete 9 Ultimate :: VB3 :: Just Way Too Many VST's

    Comment


    • #3
      I was in a similar situation several years ago when I had an original Mbox with ProTools LE. After a few hours, I also, wanted to do unspeakable things. I had been previously using an XP-50 and later an E-MU XL7 to sequence all my songs. Somehow amazingly ProTools managed to be even more of a nightmare to learn and use than the XP-50, which makes you want set yourself on fire like a monk in protest. It even took me a couple days almost to figure out how to get a MIDI channel to respond so I could track my hardware synths. I should also add that the actual hardware interface was an absolute joke. It sounded muffled, had high latency, the case design was awkward, didn't have a single MIDI port, and last but not least.... it would randomly crash without provocation causing a blast of digital noise at 500dB. This could happen at anytime whether you're in the middle of tracking or while you're drifting asleep in your bed at 020 listening to Steve Roach. No other applications running in the background. Ended up selling the Mbox for a MOTU Ultralite, which was a damn fine product. It was at this point I discovered Ableton Live 5.



      Instantly, it was all clear. Syncing external gear and channeling the audio was a breeze. In only several minutes I had my MPC kicking out a solid beat, routing the audio through a KAOSS pad and recording the loops into clips. Haven't looked back since. I've since sold all my hardware sequencers and samplers, ditched the mixers and bought an APC-40. Live 9's new features are looking real nice too. New compressors, audio to MIDI, new automation features...

      Comment


      • #4
        Also check out Studio One.
        http://soundcloud.com/donchesson

        Comment


        • #5






          Quote Originally Posted by plaid_emu
          View Post

          I was in a similar situation several years ago when I had an original Mbox with ProTools LE. After a few hours, I also, wanted to do unspeakable things. I had been previously using an XP-50 and later an E-MU XL7 to sequence all my songs. Somehow amazingly ProTools managed to be even more of a nightmare to learn and use than the XP-50, which makes you want set yourself on fire like a monk in protest. It even took me a couple days almost to figure out how to get a MIDI channel to respond so I could track my hardware synths. I should also add that the actual hardware interface was an absolute joke. It sounded muffled, had high latency, the case design was awkward, didn't have a single MIDI port, and last but not least.... it would randomly crash without provocation causing a blast of digital noise at 500dB. This could happen at anytime whether you're in the middle of tracking or while you're drifting asleep in your bed at 020 listening to Steve Roach. No other applications running in the background. Ended up selling the Mbox for a MOTU Ultralite, which was a damn fine product. It was at this point I discovered Ableton Live 5.



          Instantly, it was all clear. Syncing external gear and channeling the audio was a breeze. In only several minutes I had my MPC kicking out a solid beat, routing the audio through a KAOSS pad and recording the loops into clips. Haven't looked back since. I've since sold all my hardware sequencers and samplers, ditched the mixers and bought an APC-40. Live 9's new features are looking real nice too. New compressors, audio to MIDI, new automation features...




          I am heading down that same path you have chose. I'm still loving Cubase, but after experimenting with Ableton Live (I got the Alesis Edition with my mixer) I really like the change it makes to my workflow. In Cubase I usually create 8 or 16 bar "snippets" and then copy, paste, transpose, mangle, etc. - repeat ad nauseum. So Ableton and a controller like the APC40 looks like a new way to create music that I want to explore. Plus, with my education discount I can get Live 9 Suite for like $450. Hoping to do that later in the year. I don't plan on abandoning Cubase - still planning to upgrade from v5 to v7 sometime soon too. Steinberg has some really good VST's and effects included. Love that stuff!
          Korg Kronos 61 :: Korg M3-73 Xpanded (w/Radias board) :: Behringer B212A Powered Speaker :: Variax 300 Sunburst :: PODx3 Live! :: Epiphone Acoustic Guitar :: Mandolin :: Steinberg Cubase 7.5 :: Omnisphere :: Trilian :: V-Collection :: Korg Legacy Collection :: SampleTank 2 XL :: Sonik Synth 2 :: Ravenscroft Piano :: Komplete 9 Ultimate :: VB3 :: Just Way Too Many VST's

          Comment


          • #6
            I happen to use Sonar, but MAINLY that's because I started, many moons ago, with Cakewalk (when it was the name of the software, not the name of the company. ) and I've just kind of drifted along with them over time.



            If I had to start out new, I'm not sure I would start with Sonar, at least not the full-featured version. It's NOT intuitive, as much as their marketing would like you to think so. They have a starter-edition, though, and while I haven't used it myself, I imagine that the light edition is simplified enough that it should be easier to grasp.



            I've also heard good things about Studio One, but, again, haven't used it.
            Hurrr. Derp, derp, derp.

            Comment


            • #7
              I used Cubuse for years and got tired of all of the extra pop-up windows. I switched to Pro Tools about ten years ago and love it. It is so easy to switch from the Edit to Mix windows and to record all you have to do is arm a track and hit 3. Sure there is a lot more to it than that to mix but, I could easily have you tracking in a few minutes.



              Comment


              • #8
                I've abandoned Windows based DAW's for Ipad's Cubasis and Auria DAW apps. Cubasis is extremely easy to grasp; Auria is very powerful.
                Gear: Alchemy - Yamaha Mox6 - Roland Gaia - Plugiator - GSI Burn

                Comment


                • #9
                  Pro Tools makes me want to strangle babies as well. The college makes us students use it and I can't stand it. I think you should wait for Live 9.



                  I'm a long time Live user and mid-time Logic user but recently, I've switched to Presonus's Studio One. It's a lot like having Logic and Live in one DAW.
                  https://soundcloud.com/jersey-blokeDSI Mopho X4Elektron Analog FourAkai MPC 2500StudioLive 16.0.2 Digital MixerAllen & Heath Xone VF-1 Analog Stereo FilterStudio One V2.5 Professional EditionAbleton Live 9 Standard

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I started with Cakewalk for DOS in the early 90's. Stayed with Cakewalk/Sonar until about 2003 when I switched to Digital Performer and the Mac.



                    DP has a relatively small but loyal customer base. This may grow now that Digital Performer is available for Windows.



                    DP is like an old school, linear, track-oriented sequencer. I understand it is especially popular in film and TV work. It is perfectly capable of working with loops and patterns, but this isn't DP's strong suit.



                    I have always found the basic features of DP to be intuitive and easy to use. However, like all of its big name competitors, Digital Performer is a massively full-featured product. It ships with a huge 1,000+ page manual, which I always keep close by.



                    Now that DP is available for Windows, it is worth a look. http://www.motu.com
                    -------------------------------
                    Michael
                    Jupiter-50, MOX6, TI Polar, Moog LP, Korg Micro X, JV-1080
                    27" iMac, DP 7.24, Omnisphere, Alchemy, many more...
                    http://www.youtube.com/keybdwizrd

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I bought a very lightwieight version of Sonar from Best Buy called Music Producer (or something like that) for about $40 years ago that sort of worked and had a lot of features but wasn't very intuitive for me. I dabled but not with much sucess, kept going back to the hardware sequencer. Later I got a copy of Sonar 6 LE packaged with my Juno and it was okay but more powerful than either my schedule or machine was up for at the time. When I bought my MBOX it came with Ableton and ProTools. I loaded Ableton first and never looked back. Very intuitive, much easier to use than the others and the documentation/tutorials are outstanding. There are things it doesn't do but by the time you want to do them you'll understand enough about making music in a DAW environment that you can either work around it or buy what you need to do it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I started with cakewalk on an Atari st, had to solder some more ram onto the motherboard!



                        When I got a pc I went to cubase at version 2 and continued with it to version 4 but for some reason it would never work with my sound card.



                        That's when I tried out sonar 8 which immediately worked and was much less prone to glitches.



                        I've stayed with sonar through x1, then upgrading to producer version x2.



                        The latest update caused a few problems for me but after a complete reinstall everything seems rock solid again.



                        If you are just starting out, it's definitely a good idea to try out demo versions of each daw to see if they work on your system and you like their workflow.
                        Roland Jupiter-80 | Access Virus SnowRoland Quad CaptureAlchemy | Zebra HZ | EWQL Libraries

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the advice so far, guys. Looks like I will have to spend the better part of the next few weeks Youtubing and demoing.

                          Comment



                          Working...
                          X