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Viewing topic "Poll: Best DAW for me"

     
Posted on: February 04, 2021 @ 03:18 PM
muscarella
Total Posts:  491
Joined  11-01-2003
status: Enthusiast

I currently don’t use a DAW or interface with a computer ever. I program and record and play back everything on my MOXF.

I’d like to get all my MIDI sequenced songs into audio format, keeping the multi-channels (to archive) and arriving at a WAV file that duplicates the Song (minus the part I play) that can be played back digitally from a computer if need be.

It’s a lot of Songs and I’m really only wanting to do this one thing. So I’m needing a DAW program that interfaces well with MOXF, but is also super easy to learn. 

Cubase is the obvious first choice, but I have a feeling there might be even better ways to go for my limited purposes (and low DAW literacy). I’ve had different recommendations for “easy to run” DAW programs, Reaper to Audacity to Ableton, but I don’t know enough to make a selection. And again, the simpler the better.

Any recommendations?

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Posted on: February 06, 2021 @ 08:05 PM
philwoodmusic
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If you secretly do have any experience of DAWs, the answer ought to be the DAW that you’ve already put time and money into.

Failing that…

None of them are especially ‘easy’ to run and you’ll find that in order to capture audio and bounce it down to WAV, the process is very similar on all DAWs.

No matter what DAW you choose, you’re still going to have to deal with the following things:

- Routing audio to the DAW (outputs from your source to inputs of the DAW).
- Synchronising and keeping your audio in time with the DAWs grid.
- Sample and bit rates.
- What kind of tracks to set up and how to operate them.
- How to edit and process your audio.
- How to export your audio as a WAV file.

They’re all much of a muchness with weightings towards specific areas.

For example:

Ableton is an all round DAW but suits DJs and people who like to use loops.

Cubase and Logic have the history and pedigree as great MIDI sequencing packages that expanded into audio recording and processing in the 90s.  Cubase came from Pro 24, and Logic came from Emagic Notator.  Logic is Mac only.

Audacity isn’t really an all round DAW with little to no MIDI functionality (can support midi files), but it is a great Wave Editor. Ideal for capturing audio to WAV, not to mention FREE.

Pro Tools is the music industry standard recording and mixing DAW which had MIDI support bolted onto it in about 1999.  They have a free version called Pro Tools First.

Then there are DAWs like Reaper and PreSonus Studio One with their really cost effective packages and generous support (free updates). These were born out of frustration at the cost of DAWs and updates.  Reaper is very much along the lines of Cubase.

These should all run happily with your MOXF as an interface.

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Posted on: February 16, 2021 @ 09:05 PM
muscarella
Total Posts:  491
Joined  11-01-2003
status: Enthusiast

Thanks for that overview.

It would seem logical to just stick with Cubase, a version of which came with my latest MOXF. Will that version fit my minimal requirements?

Meanwhile, I’ve downloaded Reaper in anticipation of moving forward with SOME DAW or other. 

Will I need any other equipment or will I be able to work directly from the MOXF to the program running on my HP laptop?

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Posted on: February 22, 2021 @ 01:55 AM
philwoodmusic
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I see no reason why you can’t use your MOXF as an interface for Reaper or Cubase.

You’ll need the correct Yamaha Steinberg USB Driver and something to listen on, but you shouldn’t need any additional equipment beyond that.

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Posted on: February 24, 2021 @ 04:52 PM
Xeraser
Total Posts:  18
Joined  01-28-2021
status: Regular

I’m not very well versed in too many different DAWs but I’ve worked with a few of them and I’ll try to help.

In my opinion the most important thing is finding a DAW with an interface that you’re comfortable with. DAWs can pretty much do the same things, it’s how well they can do them that matters. And the last thing you want to do is having to fight the UI or the DAW itself.

I’m primarily an Ableton Live user since 2016 (having switched from Cubase 5 from all the way back when I was messing around with it throughout elementary school) and despite liking the UI and workflow I’m slowly switching to Logic Pro due to some stability issues and lack of support for MIDI parameters such as program and bank changes. With that said, Live’s UI is very intuitive while also being very compact, at least in the “traditional” arrangement view. There isn’t really a mixer you open in a separate window like many other DAWs, each track has its own set of devices you can put on it, be it instrument VSTs, effect VSTs, MIDI effects (chord, pitch, arpeggiators, etc) or live’s built in audio effects. The piano roll however is abysmal and editing MIDI is a chore. Recording audio (especially multiple takes) is still one of Live’s weakest points. It’s also one of the most expensive DAWs on the market and the lower tiers aren’t really worth it, especially not Live Intro.

FL Studio is nowhere near as bad as people say even though it tends to be seen as the “middle/high schooler with a laptop” DAW (it’s kind of earned it though). MIDI capabilities are actually quite good, especially if you like doing things by hand. Controller integration isn’t as plug and play as Live so I have no idea whether it’s ideal for your MOXF but I’ve never had any issues with my Launchkey MK2. Audio recording isn’t stellar either, especially for multiple takes but it’s easier to organize them than Live. I personally don’t really like how things are laid out in the UI but it’s one of the least clunky DAWs out there despite the myriad of buttons.

Logic’s UI feels a bit more claustrophobic on a small screen (at least on my 15” MBP) and it’s less immediate than Live but the piano roll is top notch and so is editing MIDI data. Logic is also an amazing bargain, it comes with tons and tons of stuff at probably the most competitive price on the market. Not to mention that on OSX audio and MIDI latency is a nonexistent problem unless you abuse Universal Audio’s plugins. (so probably not an issue for you)

I went back to Cubase out of curiosity and sadly it’s extremely unstable for me. It’s a shame since MIDI editing on it is unrivaled and the UI is mostly immediate. Apparently Cubase 10, 10.5 and now 11 are some of the worst releases yet so I don’t recommend it. Maybe try Cubase 9 if you can acquire an old license. Also, Steinberg products require a physical authentication key in the form of an USB drive. It’s a pain in the ass and the licensing process is horribly clunky and sometimes doesn’t work at all.

Pro Tools, just like Avid’s Media Composer and Sibelius is a power-hungry and horribly clunky monster of a program. It’s considered the “industry standard” in a circlejerk-y way and like just about every other “industry standard” in the music production world it’s mainly due to people refusing to switch or refusing to accept the fact that times moved on since 1999 and/or what they paid for might not be that great after all. Abysmal MIDI capabilities, good for recording multiple takes at once. Sorry for the vitriol but I loathe this thing and the people who keep pushing it down everyone’s throat.

Reaper is very barebones and highly customizable but it’s also pretty clunky and the customizability often works against it. It’s also pretty clunky when it comes to MIDI editing and the interface is kind of a mess. It’s cheap for a reason.

In terms of free DAWs you have a couple of mostly bad choices.

There’s Cakewalk which is completely free but also sadly riddled with bugs and crashes just like Sonar used to be.

LMMS is extremely clunky and unstable, especially when using VSTs. Avoid it if you can.

Pro Tools First is like Pro Tools but extremely limited. Please don’t do this to yourself.

Garageband (if you’re on OSX) is excellent as a free DAW and I suggest spending some time with it if you can.

PreSonus Studio Prime is the free version of Studio One and it’s honestly not that bad overall. Much like the full version it excels at nothing and MIDI editing is mostly an afterthought but it’s pretty stable and easy to learn.

TL;DR Garageband or Logic if you’re on OSX, Cubase 9, FL Studio or Studio One (as a last resort) if you’re on Windows.

There’s also Reason. I personally love Reason but due to its nature I can’t really recommend it unless you want to spend a lot of time learning it. It emulates how real hardware works, including the mess of cables. It’s an excellent learning tool if you want to learn the ins and outs of how the hardware works (or at least close and polished emulations of real hardware) and you can pretty much lose yourself in it. It’s extremely fun but if all you want to do is record a few tracks and be done with it then it’s hard to recommend.

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Posted on: February 24, 2021 @ 08:31 PM
philwoodmusic
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status: Guru
Xeraser - 24 February 2021 04:52 PM

Pro Tools, just like Avid’s Media Composer and Sibelius is a power-hungry and horribly clunky monster of a program. It’s considered the “industry standard” in a circlejerk-y way and like just about every other “industry standard” in the music production world it’s mainly due to people refusing to switch or refusing to accept the fact that times moved on since 1999 and/or what they paid for might not be that great after all. Abysmal MIDI capabilities, good for recording multiple takes at once. Sorry for the vitriol but I loathe this thing and the people who keep pushing it down everyone’s throat.

This is mostly incorrect.  I agree with you on the MIDI aspects of Pro Tools, though.

It is actually the industry standard DAW, for recording and mixing, by quite a long way.  Other DAWs are involved in all manner of production beforehand, but it all ends up in Pro Tools. 

You cannot send any of the handful of top mixers in the world, of which I’m very familiar, anything but Pro Tools sessions or consolidated audio files.  Consolidated audio files are put into Pro Tools anyway.  In some cases, Pro Tools is routed out into a hardware mixer, but that’s still making use of Pro Tools.  If you want to be on the same page as 99% of pro studios around the world, then Pro Tools is your choice.

In fact, the perpetuation of the myth that it isn’t the industry standard is born out of jealousy, a total lack of experience and the horror at the cost of renting it, mostly by folks who frequent piracy sites and have pretend clients, those that bang on about running a music business on a Hackintosh, or the kind that drove people like Bob Katz off of Gearslutz with their ‘experience’ when he was very happy to share his.

On a personal note, I’ve worked on over 150 high profile projects in the last few years and haven’t been sent a session in any other format than Pro Tools, not even by accident.  I’m sure you’re not calling about 99 percent of the best facilities on Earth including those in Nashville, with massive budgets and brilliant people ‘circlejerks’ are you?

As for continually changing your tools, nobody worth their salt does that (not even dedicated hobbyists) or in any line of work.  People stick to what they know and get the job done. 

I like to make music in Logic, I have done for over 20 years, but I could only do a fraction of my job with Logic or any other DAW that isn’t Pro Tools.  I’ve never been fussed about what is the best, I’m fussed about what I am used to, what I like and what I can do my job with.  Motif is a great example of that, too. It’s not perfect either.

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Posted on: February 25, 2021 @ 12:19 AM
Xeraser
Total Posts:  18
Joined  01-28-2021
status: Regular
philwoodmusic - 24 February 2021 08:31 PM


In fact, the perpetuation of the myth that it isn’t the industry standard is born out of jealousy, a total lack of experience and the horror at the cost of renting it, mostly by folks who frequent piracy sites, but have pretend clients, those that bang on about running a music business on a Hackintosh, or the kind that drove people like Bob Katz off of Gearslutz with their ‘experience’ when he was very happy to share his.

I’m sure you’re not calling about 99 percent of the best facilities on Earth including those in Nashville, with massive budgets and brilliant people ‘circlejerks’ are you?

As for continually changing your tools, nobody worth their salt does that (not even dedicated hobbyists) or in any line of work.  People stick to what they know and get the job done. 

And there it is. It’s all there. The snobbery, the elitism and the farfetched speculations out of malice. Oddly specific examples too, hmm.

Yes. I’m calling them circlejerks. Sue me. Here’s something else: I think FM synthesis is wildly overrated and I hate the circlejerk around it.

And apparently experimenting and having fun by trying out different tools is out of the question now. God forbid you try something new. Don’t wanna make it look like you aren’t “worth your salt”. I’m happy to hear you’re far enough into your career path that you’ve found a set of tools and a workflow that works for you. It’s also kinda sad though, you’re making it sound like music production is nothing more than a mere job to you now.
Or maybe I’m just speculating. Funny how that works.

Anyway, the guy asked for a DAW and that’s what I tried to help with.

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Posted on: February 25, 2021 @ 12:35 AM
philwoodmusic
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Total Posts:  1044
Joined  07-01-2013
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I’m not a snob, a realist maybe.  I offered no speculation either.

I’m sorry if it upsets you, and it isn’t meant to be elitist.  It is a fact of life and I’m not disagreeing that it’s an ugly one:

Pro Tools is what I would call a big boy’s toy, and you need money to use it, you need money to buy the equipment for it and if you’ve got that kind of money, you won’t be using a slow computer, so it won’t seem like a system hog.  Those very facts alone seem to upset quite a few people, and there will always be a dominant product in anything.  Without a dominant product, we’ll all be spending days at a time going through laborious session conversion processes between every flavour of DAW in the universe.  It’s earned its place to be there and you pay a premium to have it I’m afraid.

It’s also kinda sad though, you’re making it sound like music production is nothing more than a mere job to you now. Or maybe I’m just speculating. Funny how that works.

All software and production equipment is just a job to me.  The better the performer and performance, the less of it I need to use.  I am all about the music, and that’s where I focus all my love and attention.  I would rather record a great performance on duct tape than a bad one on the latest and greatest, or most fashionable technology. 

I thought you did an excellent job of helping the OP, actually.

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Posted on: February 26, 2021 @ 07:26 AM
CologneKeys
Total Posts:  23
Joined  02-28-2014
status: Regular

I nearly expected Mixcraft isn’t mentioned here at all - in my opinion it is the most underrated DAW. It’s easy to use, has a big community and loads of tutorials from Acoustica in the ‘Mixcraft Academy’. The price even for the pro version, which I recommend, is low-end.

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