Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse

Announcement

Harmony Central has “soft launched” our new mobile experience this past week. While we have done extensive testing, we know that with a community as large as HC that there will be items that surface that will still need to be addressed. We are asking that you utilize the thread belowto report any challenges you may encounter. Here are the things we request you provide: A brief description of the issue, the device and operating system version you were using, the browser and version, screen resolution, and a screen shot of the display.
Thanks for your patience as we work towards the best experience we can provide to our community.

http://www.harmonycentral.com/forum/...ablet-feedback
See more
See less

PC Software 101

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse









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

  • PC Software 101

    I thought that it would be a great idea to also talk about the pros and cons of the different offerings and the costs. I will stick this one as well if there is a lot of interest. From what I grab I will compile one and put it up with the gear 101. If you want a mac based software 101, just create one and let me know of the link. I want to keep the 2 types separate to avoid version confusion. Peter
    <div class="signaturecontainer">Stupidity in of itself is a fine art.</div>

  • #2
    Hm... I'd be happy to profile Pro Audio 9 or Sonar, but those are the only two I really know well enough to get into. Is there a list of criteria we want to guage them all by?

    Comment


    • #3
      Last year I bought Logic 5.0 for PC and expressed my opinions here that about how good I thought it was. I recently bought Cubase SX - not expecting much, but because it has a future, where Logic is finished up. It didn't take long to realise that SX blows Logic out of the water - there is no going back.

      Logic is many things, but logical it is not. I found all the important functions I needed, but they are spread all around in illogical places. Cubase is tidy and logical, and a pleasure to use.

      Just a few examples: Logic panning - the values for panning go from 63 to 0 to 64. A small point, but it just doesn't feel right that the 0 midway position is not exactly in the middle. Often I just want to type in a number to set a value. Logic's mixer doesn't always allow this, so you have to fiddle with the mouse and maybe accept some value like 3.1 when you just wanted 3.0 ...
      SX is so much nicer to use and to set values precisely - and it pans from 64 to 0 to 64 ... it just feels right.

      The nice surprise was how much better VST effects and instruments are implemented compared to Logic. The best thing about Logic was that it supported VST - but they've abandoned this too. I've replaced most of the Logic VST effects and instruments with superior third party ones, because they sound so much better.

      The ability to record audio with analog tape emulation is a very cool feature, but I haven't used this yet so I can't comment.

      I really wasn't expecting to like SX this much ...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by mushrush
        Hm... I'd be happy to profile Pro Audio 9 or Sonar, but those are the only two I really know well enough to get into. Is there a list of criteria we want to guage them all by?


        Just go on the pros and cons and then I will take it all and digest it into a single. I do not expect people to have experience with more than a couplel. I would be interested in cost comparisons and why you selected what and even why you did not select a different one. Peter
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Stupidity in of itself is a fine art.</div>

        Comment


        • #5
          I picked up Sonar 2 XL, and I must say it is actually quite impressive. It has many small useful features. It has a very unique metronome and tempo system, you can set the tempo you want by clicking a button at the speed you like. Its a very good piece of software, has many amazing features, and comes with some powerfull plugins. (DXi)

          The only problem i have with Sonar 2 XL is the lack of effects. I found myself looking for more effects after getting sonar. The effects it comes with are powerfull but are also limited. Cakewalk did not include their FX3 package with sonar, but i recomend getting it if you get sonar. Another probelm I found with sonar is that it doesn't seem to support VST plugins. Sonar 2 has support for many diffrent midi devices, and has many diffrent views you can use. It has a console view which has a mixer feel to it, which is useful for people who dont understand the default view. Sonar 2 also has alot of support for studioware and midi.

          Overall I would give Sonar 2 XL a 8.5/10
          It is a powerfull piece of software which I would recomend to anyone using audio or midi.
          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Guitars:<br />
          - Custom Build Mosrite-like<br />
          - Custom Build Strat-like<br />
          - Custom Build Warmoth-VIP<br />
          - 1989 Carvin DC135<br />
          - Godin Icon Type 2 Fat Black<br />
          - Ibanez AF95<br />
          - Larivee LV-03R<br />
          - Seagull Maritime SWS Rosewood SG<br />
          - Martin C1K Uke</font></div>

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, I actually bought Sonar 2 because cost-wise it's about the same as comparable solutions (Cubase), and because I used Pro Audio 9 for years before that, and the interface didn't change too much.

            I'll just do Sonar then, because the differences between it and Pro Audio 9 are pretty much all improvements. (If any aren't, I haven't noticed them yet.) I have used Cubase (though not the current SX version), and I found Cakewalk's stuff to be a little more intuitive, at least a few years ago.

            Off the top of my head,

            Pros:
            - The User's Guide is an inch thick and addresses every feature in great detail. If you know what you're trying to do, you can usually find how to do it with the manual or help functions.

            - However, with a basic understanding of digital audio on a PC, you can be up and running after just reading the "Getting Started" stuff. Or, if you've used anything like it before, you can probably get started right out of the box after install.

            - Customer support (both on Cakewalk's website and on the phone) is actually very good. You won't get phone support with a cracked copy though... they are very serious about registration before support is given. (I think that's a Pro, because you're a dick if you run it cracked and expect to get the same help as a paying customer.)

            - I have yet to find a device (audio or MIDI) that has problems with Cakewalk. (I have not used any devices that were singled out as not supported, however.)

            - Can run DX and VST plug-in effects and instruments well. (Though the VST support is third party wrapper programs and requires a little extra money. There are free ones out there, though not as good as any of the ones for sale.)

            - Supports looping, and Sonar can read Acid and several other standard loop formats. Loops can be edited in Sonar as well.

            - The mixer, track view and MIDI staff view interfaces are both intuitive and straightforward, and everything is labelled well.

            - MIDI device definitions are extremely customizable if you want to dig deep (customizing instrument names and mappings, etc.)

            - Easy to record real-time parameter changes and add envelopes on the mixer and the vast majority of plug-ins.

            - Almost all parameters can be changed in several ways, so if you prefer to work by typing in values, visually drawing envelopes/controller commands or by sliding virtual faders, you can usually do whatever you like best.

            - Very good support for external MIDI-controlled devices using Studioware panel templates. Fairly easy to create and modify with a little work as well (provided you have the MIDI mapping for the device you're trying to control, of course). Allows you to do things like have Cakewalk change settings on external effects units with MIDI commands. A lot of well-known current products have Studioware panels available for download at Cakewalk's site. (i.e. Pod and other MIDI-controlled modellers, synths, sound modules, and effects units.)

            - The control surfaces supported by Sonar work very well.

            - There's a visual meter on just about everything that needs one, and on a reasonable machine they respond incredibly well and accurately while recording and playing back even with several tracks. (They can be hidden if problems develop with less powerful machines too.)

            Cons:
            - The User's Guide is an inch thick. (I think it's a Pro, but I know many would call it a Con.)

            - Some of the set-up functions, such as configuring audio and MIDI devices are not so obvious.

            - Extra software required to support VST and VSTi plug-ins.

            - Some plug-ins have problems with automation, and with VST wrappers there can also be some issues with recording real-time parameter changes. Note that this is pretty much always a problem with the plug-ins and not Sonar, but can be difficult just the same.

            - Without a working understanding of signal routing and recording in general, many of the useful functions in Sonar won't be too useful. This is really only a Con for complete beginners, but worth mentioning because Sonar does pretty much nothing to simplify existing concepts in mixing, etc.


            Oh, and the panning in Sonar goes from 0 (left) to 127 (right). Straight up the middle is 64. Not as logical as 0 for the middle, but it is the other common "standard" in MIDI for panning. In both track and mixer view, the panning is represented visually anyway, just like a slider on a mixer.

            No big deal, but I thought I'd mention it with regard to the Logic and Cubase observations.

            Comment


            • #7
              Having worked for the now defunked Mars, I had the option to get just about any program on the market for a great deal. I was also able to test different software, talk to the manufacturers and get a good, overall feel for the software before actually purchasing it.

              Also, my background in computers had some influence on what I ended up choosing. I have been building PC's since 386's first came out and before that I was an old Apple 2e user so I had experience in both systems, but my more current experience is with PC's.

              Starting out, I had a used PC that I was going to upgrade a little bit to get started into a DAW (digital audio workstation). Since I had the majority of parts, upgrading it would have been cheaper than purchasing a new system either Apple or PC. I started my research on what recording software worked better with PC's and also how to build the PC to work better with the software/hardware (via chipsets are not good w/ most soundcards...)

              I found that software really depends on the hardware you are planning on using. If you are planning on building a start from scratch system, figure out what you want from your software. Pro Tools is a great program, but only if you are wanting to run on a Mac. If you are looking for PC based software, then Cubase SX, or Nuendo is the way to go.

              Cost wise, you can get starter systems of both Cubase SX and Pro Tools Digi001 for about the same price off the shelf. Both are comparable as far as features, but I found that, for me, Cubase was the easier to learn to use.

              If you have a way to take classes for either system, I recommend doing so. I know that Cubase and Pro Tools both offer shows at various music stores around the US and I highly recommend checking them out. They will help to answer questions about what you are planning on doing with your studio.
              <div class="signaturecontainer">www.fogministries.com<b r />
              <br />
              They're all colors in a crayon box. - TAS<br />
              <br />
              There's nothing sadder than a non-conformist conforming to the standards of non-conformity. - Switch<br />
              <br />
              The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step. -Confusious<br />
              The trip of 1,000 miles begins with one misstep. -Me<br />
              <br />
              </div>

              Comment


              • #8
                Great Thread -

                Does anyone want to step up and review Cool Edit Pro 2.0?

                I am very curious as to how this one performs in comparison with Sonar 2.0 XL and Cubase SX. The price point seems pretty good...

                I want a sequencer that supports 24/96 Khz audio recording, is loop friendly, and will jive well with fruity loops. I will most likely only be recording one track at a time (guitar). Quality effects plug ins would be a big plus. Midi is not as big a consideration, but I want the option for the future. I was contemplating Sonar, but Cool Edit Pro recently caught my eye and I wanted to learn more.

                DM
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><div class="bbcode_container">
                <div class="bbcode_quote">
                <div class="quote_container">
                <div class="bbcode_quote_container"></div>

                <div class="bbcode_postedby">
                <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Used2BMarkoh</strong>
                <a href="showthread.php?p=47028301#post47028301" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
                </div>
                <div class="message">There's a lot of Romney support in every state that lived under Obama for the last few years.</div>

                </div>
                </div>
                </div> </div>

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have used CoolEdit Pro 1.2 for more than one year until I switched to Nuendo, then Cubase SX.

                  I really did enjoy working with CoolEdit Pro since I didn't know about VST instruments. CoolEdit Pro is really one of best program for multitracking/edit audio. It has all the built-in effects you can imagine, and they sound very good. I am a guitar player, so initialy, multitracking was enough for me.

                  But as soon you want to build drum loops, you need another tool. You cannot build from scratch drum loops with CoolEditPro. (it's possible, but not very pleasant to do) So I was using FruityLoops to build by drum loops, then once rendered, I was bringing them into CoolEdit Pro...was OK...but a painful process, and limited.

                  (CoolEdit has no MIDI, by the way...only audio)

                  But when I discovered Steinberg Nuendo, I fall in love with it. It's a all in one product. I bought a midi keyboard and started to build my songs with it and my guitar.

                  About one year later, Cubase SX went out...and I switched to it immediatly since it's based on Nuendo, but more aimed for musicians.

                  I love so much CubaseSX...
                  <div class="signaturecontainer">get your VST tuner at<br />
                  <a href="http://nuton.ca" target="_blank">http://nuton.ca</a></div>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    can someone quickly tell me the diffrences between sonar 2 xl and Cubase?
                    <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Guitars:<br />
                    - Custom Build Mosrite-like<br />
                    - Custom Build Strat-like<br />
                    - Custom Build Warmoth-VIP<br />
                    - 1989 Carvin DC135<br />
                    - Godin Icon Type 2 Fat Black<br />
                    - Ibanez AF95<br />
                    - Larivee LV-03R<br />
                    - Seagull Maritime SWS Rosewood SG<br />
                    - Martin C1K Uke</font></div>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yeah I'd like to see a direct comparison between Cubase and Sonar XL too - I'm currently stuck between buying one or the other. Thanks in advance,

                      - Jonny
                      <div class="signaturecontainer">Gretsch Electromatic w/ TV Jones classics<br />
                      '55 Fender Pro replica (courtesy of Stu-Daddy amps)</div>

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Here are some vague generalities, some of which may spawn controversy (as if anything on this forum doesn't) :

                        Cubase SX (PC/Mac): Way more stable than Cubase VST, tape saturation sounds great and is processor efficient, many powerful features, fantastic integration with VST plugins, VST instruments, and Rewire implementation. Customizable. Popular in the semi-pro market.

                        Logic (PC/Mac, though PC support has been dropped): Stable, extremely deep and powerful, interface is streamlined in such a way to make learning it a difficult task for some people, streamlining also makes it by far the fastest to navigate, highly customizable, considered to have the best-sounding included plugins. Popular in the professional market. Notation is better than most. Supports VST plugins (except for OSX). Works with ProTools TDM hardware.

                        Sonar (PC only): Easy to learn, includes ACID-like loop manipulation, inexpensive, good upgrade paths so one could start really cheap, does not support VST, notation is weak, slower navigation than some (more dialog boxes and pull down menus to deal with). Tight integration with upcoming Project 5 software (much like Reason). Along with all iterations of Cakewalk, has large user base.

                        ProTools LE (PC/Mac): Very stable operation, very tight hardware integration, easy to use, ubiquitous in the pro market, projects can be ported to large ProTools rigs. Limited MIDI features, more suited for multitrack recording than music production, kind of ugly (until 6.0 comes out), very fast to navigate. Limited track count, cannot use VST plugins or instruments. A worldwide standard. Great, but snobby tech support.

                        Digital Performer (Mac only): Looks great, easy to use, excellent automation, fantastic integration with MOTU hardware, does not support VST plugins or instruments. OSX support still nowhere. Used by a great deal of film composers. Can be used with TDM hardware with mixed results. Poor tech support.

                        Cool Edit Pro (PC only): Very easy to learn, good upgrade policy, excellent audio editing, no MIDI sequencing at all, good automation, great destructive plugins, limited mixing ability, no dealer support (only available direct now), feels more like a multitrack editor than a compositional tool, used by many radio stations and smaller post houses.

                        Vegas (PC only): The odd man out, excellent video integration, can play multiple files at different sample and bit rates, no MIDI sequencing at all, not very popular.

                        Deck (Mac only): Multitrack version of Peak editing software. Easy to use. Inexpensive. More suited for multitrack recording and editing than music composition. No MIDI sequencing. No VST or Rewire support. Works in OSX.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          ok, your all giving some good information about these programs, but i have a question. For PCs, which is the best piece of software I could possibly get?
                          <div class="signaturecontainer"><font size="1">Guitars:<br />
                          - Custom Build Mosrite-like<br />
                          - Custom Build Strat-like<br />
                          - Custom Build Warmoth-VIP<br />
                          - 1989 Carvin DC135<br />
                          - Godin Icon Type 2 Fat Black<br />
                          - Ibanez AF95<br />
                          - Larivee LV-03R<br />
                          - Seagull Maritime SWS Rosewood SG<br />
                          - Martin C1K Uke</font></div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As an addendum to audacity's feature comparisons...

                            For programs that don't support VST but do support directX plug-ins and instruments, there are a number of wrapper programs on the market that will convert VST instruments and plug-ins to directX for use with directX hosts.

                            I personally use directiXer, which is $50. You can download a trial version from their site which is fully featured but puts a beep noise into the audio every minute or so until you register it.

                            There are others. Even some free ones, but of all the ones I tried directiXer was the easiest to use.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ryant
                              ok, your all giving some good information about these programs, but i have a question. For PCs, which is the best piece of software I could possibly get?


                              This is a silly question since it depends on what you want to do. There are plenty of arguments for every one of them, and the features, price, tech support and plug-in support varies from program to program.

                              What's best for someone else isn't necessarily gonna be best for you. Audacity's list of features is pretty thorough as far as I can tell, and I've got experience with 4 of the programs he listed.

                              Comment



                              Working...
                              X