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DAWs are Not Sports Teams...Are They?


Anderton
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Has anyone else noticed in DAW forums that people become partisans about DAWs? Like that "We're #1!" mentality of sports teams. I dunno, always seemed to me that the music one creates with the software is more important than the software itself.

 

Perhaps a related phenomenon is something I've noticed on the Cakewalk forums. The most helpful members almost always have links to their music, and the "SONAR sux, I'm switching to Reaper" (or whatever). seldom - if ever - do. I can't help but think that people who switch DAWs constantly instead of just learning one and getting on with making music are under the mistaken impression that it's the DAW that makes the music. To be fair, I completely understand that people have chemistry with particular DAWs and that's great. But for me, if there was only one DAW in the world, I'd use it and make music with it.

 

I'm curious if any of you started with one DAW, weren't happy, switched to something else, and in the process found a program that really works for you?

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I started with the old old Cooledit, which I used for 1 or 2 songs before trying Cakewalk (some time in the 90s). We used Cakewalk to finish out our Tangent album 'Sea Of Tranquility', except for one song which was done in Sony Acid.

 

After my collaboration with Tangent broke up, I went for a brief time with Mackies Traction, which had a great work flow but had other things I didn't like (frequent expensive updates were one of these things).

 

I've tried out a number of others (Cubase, Nuendo, Vegas, Samplitude, Studio One, etc.) and found them all to be capable. But I ended up with Reaper because I can customize pretty much everything - menus, visual layout, macros, control surface interfacing, and probably lots more that I haven't considered yet.

 

Putting the tools in my hands to build what I need - this is way more important to me than parochial loyalty to a DAW brand; particularly those brands that come back every 6 months or year and expect me to buy the same product again and call it an upgrade.

 

(Shades of Microsoft Office: What are we gonna do this year to make money? I know! Lets hang a more cumbersome user interface on it and make everybody buy it again for the 5th time!)

 

And my toolset is why I'll be sticking with Reaper for the foreseeable future. It's not brand loyalty, it's productivity. I've developed enough tools (menus, customizations, shortcuts) for myself that I would be severely crippled in workflow without them. And I don't see any of their competitors even in the same universe of being open enough to allow these customizations.

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I think your analogy is close, but I would say a better analogy might be closer to auto racing than a sports team. If you look at racing (especially something like NASCAR) you have the fans of Fords, Chevys, Toyota, MOPAR, etc. You could consider each DAW like a car brand. And like car brands, there are some really good drivers out there and there are some not so good drivers, and then there are the wanna-bees. Just like with the capable artist and a DAW, a good driver can take most any type of car and turn in a good performance. And just like in racing, you have the fans of a particular car company. They will only buy a Chevy because their favorite driver runs a Chevy, just like some folks will only use ProTools because that's what their favorite artist uses. There use to be an old saying, "It is a poor mechanic that blames his tools when he can't do the job." I think the same applies to DAWs.

 

As for me I started with Kristal (which later became StudioOne). It was simply, easy to use. From there we found Cakewalk Plasma (in a magazine promo IIRC) which lead to upgrading to Sonar HomeStudio and now SONAR Platinum. Along the way we tried some other DAWs, but felt most comfortable with the SONAR family of products. The other DAW I may use on occasion is REAPER, but not very often.

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I think your analogy is close' date=' but I would say a better analogy might be closer to auto racing than a sports team. If you look at racing (especially something like NASCAR) you have the fans of Fords, Chevys, Toyota, MOPAR, etc. You could consider each DAW like a car brand. And like car brands, there are some really good drivers out there and there are some not so good drivers, and then there are the wanna-bees. Just like with the capable artist and a DAW, a good driver can take most any type of car and turn in a good performance. And just like in racing, you have the fans of a particular car company. They will only buy a Chevy because their favorite driver runs a Chevy, just like some folks will only use ProTools because that's what their favorite artist uses. There use to be an old saying, "It is a poor mechanic that blames his tools when he can't do the job." I think the same applies to DAWs.[/quote']

 

That's pretty perceptive. Are you SURE you belong in internet forums :) ?

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And my toolset is why I'll be sticking with Reaper for the foreseeable future. It's not brand loyalty' date=' it's productivity. I've developed enough tools (menus, customizations, shortcuts) for myself that I would be severely crippled in workflow without them. And I don't see any of their competitors even in the same universe of being open enough to allow these customizations.[/quote']

 

This REALLY emphasizes my point. A lot of people just want something that works "out of the box" and don't want to spend time doing customizations. Yet that's exactly what YOU want. But I don't see you going into, say, the Pro Tools forums and talking about how Pro Tools sucks so you're using Reaper.

 

Then again, based on your posting history, you display the maturity level of an actual adult :)

 

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When I saw the title of this discussion, I thought it was about DAWs being sold and traded like sports teams - Avid buying Digidesign for Pro Tools, Magix buying Sonic Foundry, and such.

 

I haven't tried a lot of DAWs, but I haven't settled on one either. I keep coming back to Reaper because I only have obsolete computers and Reaper is the least overblown one I've found that doesn't require me to buy a $1000 computer. But because I don't work in the studio every day, I don't use any software enough to really learn the vocabulary and capabilities, and I keep going back to my hardware when I actually need to get anything done. In my case, I rarely need to use more than about 10 tracks and I don't use virtual instruments, loops, or a lot of effects, so I can get by with what I have, what I know, and what works.

 

Just yesterday I was setting up some latency experiments, and what I was after was to record a MIDI track with a virtual instrument so I could hear what I was doing. I wanted to measure the time between when I hit a key and when the sound came out. I rigged up a microswitch and a battery so that when I whacked the key with the switch, I got an electrical pulse that I could record on an audio track, plus I had the audio that came from the DAW plug-in. I connected the switch output and the DAW monitor output to the two channels of the DR-44 and I had a stereo track with input on one channel and output on the other. I opened the stereo file in Sound Forge and it was easy to measure the time between them. I could then measure the effect of adjusting the ASIO buffer size.

 

Here, I was just using the DAW, Reaper in this case, as a host for the plug-in. I didn't even have to record anything on it. I could have recorded the key pulse on an audio track along with a MIDI track from the keyboard (and, in fact, for curiousity, I did) but that would add the latency through the interface and driver to the pulse time.

 

But the next part of the experiment was to find out how closely in time audio rendered from the MIDI track lined up - in other words, how good was the plug-in latency compensation. In order to do that, I wanted to render the MIDI track and have the audio go to a new track in Reaper so I could check the time alignmet between the start of the MIDI note and the start of the audio. I finally had to ask on a forum how to do it because, while I found several options for rendering a track within Reaper's menus and documentation, I couldn't find anything that told me how to get the rendered audo to a new track. It would make a WAV file that it put somewhere, and I could import that file to a new track, but I didn't know where it put that audio file. Eventually someone gave me what felt like a work-around that got me where I wanted to be, but I never found a "render this track and put the results on that track" command.

 

This was important to me because I'm analog oriented and wanted to do it MY way and not the DAW way, but I had to use the DAW since I was trying to analyze a DAW function. And that's why I don't have a life.

 

I have a lot of different DAWs loaded on computers here, including Pro Tools 10, Studio One, some version of Cakewalk, Audition, probably still Acid, but lately I'm getting most things done using my TASCAM DR-44WL and Sound Forge.

 

 

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Don't want to steal the thread so early, but, to do what you want (for something already recorded):

Solo the track you want

Set a time selection around it (shift + doubleclick the 'clip item' in the track)

File->Render->Time Selection, Add track to project after rendering (a check box)

 

There are probably quicker/simpler ways... There always are.

Edited by philboking
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The interesting thing: 95% of the customization were things I downloaded from others. Had I been impatient about it and demanded instant productivity (which I tried first), I would have:

(a) Never learned how to do it and

(b) Never gone hunting and found the shortcuts & scripts which I then added to the toolset.

So my lesson learned is to relax and research a little before jumping in and trying for immediate progress.

 

Admittedly, some of the stuff I use is pretty esoteric & complex.

For example, rendering to a DDP format file (used for disc duplication, and allows embedding ISRC and UPC codes into the song data) direct from Reaper is really pretty ugly, and I wasn't successful at it. The result checked out okay as regards checksums, but CDbaby said the file arrived corrupted each time I uploaded it. I finally just used the online tools at CDbaby rather than fight. Those were much simpler and just worked. Details, details, lots of ugly details...

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They used to do the same with computer platforms (Mac vs. Windows), they still do it with cars, political parties, music genres, religions, instrument brands, and hundreds of other things.

 

 

I think that while millions of generations as human and pre-human hunter-gatherers evolved, being tribal was a trait that enhanced our survival and those instincts are still with us. You can still see this working in the wild. The ape tribes compete for the territory with the most resources, as do lions, wolves and many other animals.

 

Scientists tell us that the Cro-Magnon apes were more tribal than the mostly solitary Neanderthals, and although the Neanderthals had a bigger brain and sturdier body, they are extinct. Tribes won over both brain and brawn.

 

Translate "My Sonar is better than your Pro Tools" or "My Chevy is better than your Ford", or "My Gibson is better than your PRS" or "My God is better than your God" or "My Galaxy is better than your iPhone" or "Macs are better than PCs", or "My ethnic group is better than your ethnic group, or hundreds of similar statements to "My tribe is better than your tribe" and you get what I'm thinking about.

 

opinion>

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Well I think that's actually pretty damn brilliant. You have a real point there...what you're proposing would also explain "safety in numbers" and similar concepts. And it lives on in the whole "Team" thing, like "team Edward" and "team Jacob" from twilight.

 

"Insights by Notes" indeed...nice one!

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Has anyone else noticed in DAW forums that people become partisans about DAWs? Like that "We're #1!" mentality of sports teams. I dunno, always seemed to me that the music one creates with the software is more important than the software itself.

 

Perhaps a related phenomenon is something I've noticed on the Cakewalk. The most helpful members almost always have links to their music, and the "SONAR sux, I'm switching to Reaper" (or whatever). seldom - if ever - do. I can't help but think that people who switch DAWs constantly instead of just learning one and getting on with making music are under the mistaken impression that it's the DAW that makes the music. To be fair, I completely understand that people have chemistry with particular DAWs and that's great. But for me, if there was only one DAW in the world, I'd use it and make music with it.

 

I'm curious if any of you started with one DAW, weren't happy, switched to something else, and in the process found a program that really works for you?

 

 

Going all William Faulkner on us Craig?

 

Faulkner said the past is never dead. It isn't even past. My DAW past goes back to 'Texture'. Then I moved to Cakewalk' for DOS when Texture folded. When stupid Windows 95 rolled along, I found Voyetra DOP/Pro. I stayed w/ DOP around 10-12 years until it became obsolete w/ the advent of Win XP. So I know how to fully learn a DAW and use it.

 

I'm a consumer and a creator. As with any other product, I consider myself cheated when I buy a poorly thought-out, badly rolled-out DAW which dumps me into a stupid internet forum instead of providing actual tech support. I think DAW's mostly got worse as they purportedly became more powerful.

 

I blame it on plugs. There was an awful mess when DAW design collided with plug compatiblity. It's still a problem.

Are plugs designed for DAW's or should DAW's be built around plugs?

 

Auria for iPad is the most copacetic DAW I've found lately. It doesn't meet my MIDI needs but the design is clean and useful.

Edited by Etienne Rambert
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I noticed strong partisanship 15 years ago, but not so much now. There was a lot of rivalry between Logic and Cubase users, for example.

 

There are more choices now, and from my chair, whatever works for you is great. I'm a loyal Cubase user because I know the application well, and I can get around on it very quickly. I don't think there is a difference in sound quality (or an appreciable one), so it all comes down to workflow and what feels best.

 

I also really can't be swayed into believing that my output or productivity would be better with tool 'A' vs. tool 'B'. As someone noted prior, I would lose so much in terms of the learning curve, that any small differences in productivity aren't worth the trip. The software that is available now from various manufacturers is ridiculously powerful. If I'm not getting something done, it's not the software's fault. Stability has also been great with recent apps, and on the rare occasion I do upgrade, I wait for the 0.5 point release.

Edited by 144dB
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if there was only one DAW in the world, I'd use it and make music with it.

 

I'm curious if any of you started with one DAW, weren't happy, switched to something else, and in the process found a program that really works for you?

 

I'd do it that way too if there were only one daw. I don't mind learning something extensive but I HATE do-overs with learning curves. Just HATE it.

 

I decided to fully immerse in midi in 1984 and at some point after untold checkouts over a period of time of kcs, Texture, Cakewalk, Hybrid Arts stuff etc, I decided I'm only gonna become an expert on ONE of them. And the choice got down to MasterTracks Pro or Cubase (or whatever Steinberg was calling it then).

 

It almost got down to flipping a coin and I go with MTPro.

 

Learn it inside out/upside down, put thousands of hours into it, made an incredible living, and very happy that I could do anything with it with my eyes closed. So then the p-o-s-s-i--i-l-i-t-y of computers being able to capture substantial amounts of audio come into play... yummy. I figure Passport will get there first... after all, they were doing some tests with Software Audio Workshop's Lentini and the word to me at trade shows was that they were gonna do an incredible audio product.... what we now call a daw. I dunno what stage ProTools was at... I think they were still at the pre-Pro-Tools product era.

 

So what happens? Passport goes belly up. THOSE RATS. As Tessio says, "that screws up all my plans".

 

While I can certainly continue with MTPro for midi, now I gotta find an actual Daw (as they emerge from the deep). And I HATE doing do-overs with the learning curve.

 

I go the SAW route. Something doesn't feel right.

 

So I buy Cakewalk Pro Audio 8. Then Pro Audio 9. I spend a couple of months with those honkin' HUGE blue manuals that Cakewalk included..... very deep information and great manuals by the way. I'm sweating because in about 4 months, I'm gonna need a daw I can commit to (like I did Passport) and learn inside out for some mindboggling huge projects and..... I'm flipping through these Cakewalk manuals and trying the programs on various tests and.......... something isn't sitting right with me. Dunno why. Dunno what it was.

 

At almost the last minutes of this as we are entering the new century, I panic. What do I do?

 

I notice Steinberg is still going strong, although through a few interesting owner changes so... I close my eyes, take a leap of faith, and say "I do". Just like I could've done on the coin flip years earlier.

 

Cubase/Nuendo are fine. I know them really well...at least I know how to make them do everything I ever need.

 

Along the way, I checked out Emagic before they were swallowed, I've of course looked at Reaper, for some reason have never checked into Digital Performer (probably cuz they stayed Mac too long), and occasionally look at others like Harrison, Studio One, Pro Tools and whatever.

 

I just don't want to learn another ground-up thing so I'm sticking with Steinberg. I have bugs from MTPro that were never fixed, but I can sure work around them. Same for any full-fledged daw. Most importantly, at this point, I expect Steinberg to outlive me, which makes me feel REAL GOOD in terms of me not having to face yet another learning-curve episode.

 

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Prediction: Stand-alone DAW's are dinosaurs. The future will see plug suites with built-in DAW's.

Eventually, both DAW and plug will be folded into the roms of various devices. The process will be

automated. Devices like this have been for a long time. Look for a Zoom-size recording studio.

Edited by Etienne Rambert
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Prediction: Stand-alone DAW's are dinosaurs. The future will see plug suites with built-in DAW's.

Eventually, both DAW and plug will be folded into the roms of various devices. The process will be

automated. Devices like this have been for a long time. Look for a Zoom-size recording studio.

 

I dunno... for the most part "devices" are history. Roms that you can get to and otherwise. If you go out far enough.

 

I wouldn't look for a zoom-size anything once mixed reality, holographic, cloud-only-daw-plugs-ya-wanna-render-a-file-well-wait-a-sec-for-the-cloud-to-download-it-cuz-you-don't-own-the-daw formats hit.

 

If anything, that'll make standalone daws more coveted and in-demand by those who want control. IE.... I don't see Justin losing any demand for Reaper any time in at least the next 15 years.

 

(unrelated aside.... Gibson will you STOP plastering that pic of the red,blue,green, and sunburst Les Pauls below this screen...it's making me drool !!!!!!!!!)

 

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I started with a DOS version of Cakewalk (MIDI only) on an XT clone using an MPU-401 interface and synced it with a tape machine. I graduated to Cakewalk for Windows and started doing a bit of Audio editing but worked mostly with tape.

 

I dove into it when I got a job working in a studio with a ProTools III TDM system. I did not want to have my face in a computer screen for my own use so I got a Yamaha AW4416 stand-alone unit which was essentially an O2R digital mixer with a built in 16 track hard disk recorder.

 

I used that for a number of years and got back into ProTools 7. I was using a MacBook and because ProTools was tied to the Digidesign hardware I began to explore Reaper which I had learned about on this forum.

 

I have become a big fan of Reaper and haven't really used anything else for the last eight years. I like Reaper because it is lean (doesn't take up a lot of computer resources) and because it is easily customized depending on what is needed.

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I loved MTPro, and still use it on an old computer.

 

It's clean, powerful, and has the best change filter I've seen.

 

Plus everything is available from a drop down menu with no sub menus and sub-sub menus which allows me to spend more time on the musical instrument and less time on the computer mouse or keyboard.

 

After I'm done with MIDI, I'll use what I did in MTPro in a DAW that has audio.

 

I realize it's not the way everyone works, but that works for me.

 

And I agree, I hate new learning curves. Not because I don't want to learn something new, but because I'd rather be making music with the time spent climbing the curve.

 

Insights and incites by Notes

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Has anyone else noticed in DAW forums that people become partisans about DAWs? Like that "We're #1!" mentality of sports teams. I dunno, always seemed to me that the music one creates with the software is more important than the software itself.

 

Well yeah, I don't want them to be sports teams, but they kinda are spots teams. Firstly once again Beck pushing back against a misdirected flow of information to remind the world that DAW software is not a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). A Digital Audio Workstation includes all the software and hardware you have in a system. Wiki is mistaken and continues to revise history in this matter and most other areas of interest. Read books and paper journals or you will lose your perspective. Your safety-net is people like me, my memory, and a collecton of fine music oriented magazines going back to the late 70s.

 

But we're obviously talking about DAW software here, so...

 

I started with Cool Edit Pro as well and moved along with it into Adobe Audition and have kept an older version of everything, software and hardware that is basically frozen in time. I had access to early Cakewalk but it just didn't fit me well at the time.

 

An underlying theme in web forums is one vs the other, whether that's Ruger Mini-14 carbine rifle vs Olympic Arms AR15 or other brands etc, or it's an old music forum... TASCAM vs Fostex, Digital in general vs Analog in general, etc.

 

We've been setup for that by the commercial side of music creating a sort of political or religious zeal among purchasers. Ir started in music magazines and naturally evolved as the web evolved. Combine that with a young argumentative DOS vs Windows vs Mac crowd often with little musical talent without these tools and you do have a partisan divide on your hands. I always thought the music was more important than the tools as well, but I don't think the revenue generating side of all this could do that and still survive.

 

That side is just a part of a studio with multitrack and half-track analog decks, lots of outboard gear, a big analog recording console, guitars, keyboards, lots of NOS analog tape with no Sticky-shed (Because I know how to avoid that etc).

 

So in short, people in the computer/electronic music scene have been arguing about which is best since the day I was born. :)

 

Is it a bad thing? I don't know. If it keeps people engaged and interested in music creation then maybe not so bad.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Beck
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