DAW Recommendations

Posted by: Warren Keller

DAW Recommendations - 03/12/19 05:34 PM

Hi friends, hope all is well! I have a question for other RealBand users. If you were moving to another quality DAW, Which one's UI and methodology do you think would feel the most familiar and comfortable?

I'm considering doing this, but I dread the thought of having to relearn a program from scratch. I've become quite comfortable in RB but it does have a few limitations.

On the other side of the coin, let me say that since uninstalling 2017 and installing 2019, things have been more stable and works better than ever before. This may be due to bug fixes in RB, and/or my having cleaned up the numerous extra synthesizer engines and plugins that came with both BIAB and my audio interface. I'd had numerous crashes and lockups with 2017, problems with features like volume nodes, etc. Now, however, everything is very stable!

A couple of things that bother me about RB, is that although you can group multiple channels to a single subgroup, you cannot record a mixer move on the combined fader, nor, to the best of my knowlege, can you easily automate a whole song fade-out.

Thanks for your time and consideration of this!
Posted by: Noel96

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/12/19 05:50 PM

Hi Warren,

I use Reaper. It's great with MIDI and audio and handles all the VSTs/DXs that I need. I also like the free tutorials that are provided by Kenny Giaoa.

http://www.kennymania.com/reaper-videos/

Regards,
Noel
Posted by: Hugh2

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/12/19 06:10 PM

Hi Warren,
Im with Noel on that.I use Reaper and it can take from just doing the basics to super indept and the videos from Kenny G are so good and helpful,H
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/12/19 06:33 PM

Warren,

Indications are most people will respond with what they use. It makes sense as the daw they use will be the daw they are most comfortable with. However, what makes a daw a good fit for one person may not make it a good fit for you.

I suggest a different approach; write down the ten most important tasks you want to perform in a daw and then visit sites, read reviews and download demo/trial or free versions to take interesting daws for a test ride.

Generally speaking you'll find three types of daws. One type is those that were developed with strong audio features with MIDI added later on; ProTools is representative of that group. Another type is those developed to sequence MIDI and audio features were added later; Cubase and Cakewalk by BandLab (formerly Sonar) are examples from this group of daws. Last is the type of daw first developed to work with loops or audio chunks; Reason, Ableton Live and Florida Line (sometimes named just FL or Fruit Loops) are examples of this group. Having said that, every modern daw I know of can work with MIDI, audio and loops. But, because of their heritage each may be more feature rich in one area than the other two areas.

Two sites worth visiting are +++ Digital Audio Workstation Wiki Comparison +++ and +++ Digital Audio Editor Comparison +++. The second link in particular has some interesting feature comparison charts.

Another link worth clicking on is +++ THIS +++ web article that describes a method to follow when asking the question, "What Is The Best DAW For Me?" The article offers some good food-for-thought.
Posted by: Teunis

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/12/19 07:17 PM

Hi Warren, I agree with what Jim has to say but I have another idea for you.

For the past few weeks I have been in Thailand so I don’t have access to my PC. The PG Music site is almost unusable for me here. (All other sites are fine). The frustration had me throwing my arms up in despair.

What am I to do I thought, so I went to the Groove 3 site and spent US$15 to access all for a month. Initially to learn more about Melodyne (but been so busy with other products have not got to Melodyne yet). Now on this site you have access to the explanations and methods of a number of DAWs and an assortment of other stuff. Here you will see the uses and functionality of many DAWs, plugins and various other aspects of music production. Had I gone here some time ago I would have saved a heap of money and time.

I really recommend spending the $15 having a look IMHO this will help you make the best choice for your needs.

Tony
Posted by: jford

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 05:41 AM

Reaper is good and inexpensive (something like $69). Cakewalk by BandLab (which is what used to be the somewhat pricey Sonar Platinum) is free, so at least worth checking out. Acoustica Mixcraft is nice also and not too expensive.

I could never really wrap my head around Cubase or Tracktion (now called Waveform), both of which I have, but that could just be me. Likewise for N-Track. And Multitrack Studio works, but is more basic and I don't care for its more sparse interface.

Just my $0.02 worth, and losing value every day. smile

EDIT: I generally use either Realband or Cakewalk by BandLab. The Sonar interface for me was more comfortable than the others. But as has already been said, to each his own.
Posted by: sslechta

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 05:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Jim Fogle
Generally speaking you'll find three types of daws.......

Very well described Jim! I never would have thought of it in that perspective.
Posted by: RobH

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 07:17 AM

I have personally used a ton of them.

For simplicity and robust, stable operation nothing even comes close to multitrackstudios. Yet it works very different from other DAWs. Once you get the flow down it flat out gets it done. The plugins are world class, and the ability to treat both audio and midi the same in a track is really cool. It makes a great companion for BiaB and RB.

Spent a long time with cakewalk products from home studio on floppy disk to Sonar 1 and now I have Bandlab. For free it is solid for sure. There’s a lot there. You can’t go wrong there. I did find since Bandlab took over it had a few things stripped out that Sonar had so you do need more third party stuff to add in than a few others that you pay for. I have read this is why it’s free they don’t have to pay for the licensing formplugins and VSTis.

Also bought Reaper a while back and it is solid as the folks say above. Also has extreme flexibility to route things in many different ways. The only downside to me was how much time I spent trying to set things up. I spent more time fiddling with stuff than completing projects. I did view many video tutorials but it seemed to busy and complex to me. Under the hood.

I have used RB since inception and still love it but always found it shackey at times and certainly missing a few things, but what else creates like it does.

I bought a Presonus interface a few years back and it came with studio one, I upgraded a time or two and now have the latest pro version. I must say for me it is the best for how I think and operated. The chord track, highly skilled comping features, solid simple and useable automation just work best for me. I think it just edges out Bandlab for me in how it works. I also love the ability to render stem files that open in Protools to be a plus.

I have four on my current Laptop, Studio one 4, Cakewalk by Bandlab, Reaper, and RB (powertracks also so 5) If I had to pick one to keep I would pick Studio one just because it fits my work flow best and finishes project for me with less issues.
Posted by: Warren Keller

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 09:02 AM

You guys are da' best- thank you so much. Looking at Reaper's interface, despite the stated flexibility, it doesn't look like a virtual mixing board, which is something I value in RealBand, and something I don't think I'd want to lose. Also should have mentioned, I'm currently not doing MIDI yet, just track generation by BIAB/RB, and live recording of saxes and flutes. I've wondered if with the institution of the BIAB DAW plugins, and the fact that RB did not go to 64-bit as did BIAB, if PGM isn't going to develop RB much more. Honestly, as I've stated, 2019 is really stable for me now. If I had the fader abilities I mentioned in the original post, and a bit easier editing (still find zooming in, scrolling down in Tracks [and the editing window] a bit wonky), I think I'd be satisfied to stay. Thanks again everyone!
Posted by: MarioD

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 10:17 AM

I use Studio One Pro but asking which DAW should I use is like asking what car should I drive. We all have our preferences.

My advice is to DL the demos of the various DAWs and see which one best fits your workflow. Only you can answer your what DAW question.

I use Studio One Pro because it is extremely easy to drag and drop BiaB files, both MIDI and audio, into it. Also you drag and drop MIDI instruments and audio effects very easily. Recording is a snap also. I find that Studio One Pro fits my workflow perfectly. YMMV.

{edit} - Just remember that there is a learning curve for all pro DAWs.
Posted by: eddie1261

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 05:00 PM

A lot of the answers you have gotten (I did not read them) are likely based more on "because it's free" than actual performance, and having spent the money to buy Pro Tools I recommend it highly. I have yet to be in a legitimate studio, legitimate meaning "one that bands actually pay money to record in" that ran a free DAW. Every one of them had Pro Tools. Now a dozen people are going to pile on and tell me about some studio, ONE studio, that their buddy's barber's cousin's butcher's nephew operates, that uses what they use, and that's fine. Whatever. But you will not go wrong with Pro Tools. Pro Tools costs 200 beers, 85 packs of smokes if you do that, 40 large take out pizzas, or $600.
Posted by: Teunis

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 06:29 PM

See this article on DAWs

https://theproaudiofiles.com/daw-guide/

It has a good look at many. Each DAW has its pros and cons.

Most serious folk have more than DAW and use them for purposes that meet their needs. Pro Tools for example would be the way to go if you’re bouncing from studio to studio. Cakewalk if you’re doing a little home producing and don’t have a lot to spend. Reaper if you want to play and get into how things work. (By the way Reaper has a great mixer panel)

IMHO however it is the extra tools (plugins) you need and how easy they fit into a DAW to suit you’re needs that should drive you’re decision.

My thoughts
Tony
Posted by: Noel96

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/13/19 11:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Warren Keller
You guys are da' best- thank you so much. Looking at Reaper's interface, despite the stated flexibility, it doesn't look like a virtual mixing board, which is something I value in RealBand, and something I don't think I'd want to lose.

Hi Warren,

CTRL+M opens the mixer window (which has many different display-type options. I wonder if this is what you're after.

Regards,
Noel
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 07:51 AM

Robh - <<< For simplicity and robust, stable operation nothing even comes close to multitrack studios.>>>



Multi track, stand alone recorders are the most overlooked, under rated option available to the home recordist. I've found them to also be very cost effective. In my case I own a Soundcraft Signature 22MTK analog mixer that has a 24/22 USB audio interface included. Street price new is $720 (demo) and a list price of $899. I also have a Presonus DP192 8 channel interface and faderport 8 that essentially serves the same purpose. While it can record 26/32 in/out's, it only has 8 preamps. The Faderport 8 only has 8 faders and together the two units retail for $1,400. Additional equipment is required to physically access the additional 18 inputs. The Companion Presonus Digimax DP88 retails for an additional $699. $2,100 total cost for 16 preamp inputs.

The 22MTK has no menus to get to its features. There's 25 faders; 16 preamps; 3 dedicated line stereo inputs; 5 Aux sends; 4 groups; PFL; Two studio quality Fx engines with dedicated returns; 8 channels with on board limiters and two channels with instrument DI's. All at two thirds of the cost I can record 24 inputs without any other interface equipment necessary.


The Presonus unit has to have special, dedicated software to handle latency. The 22MTK has native zero latency. The 22MTK will fully integrate with Presonus Studio One DAW and every other DAW.


I chose the 22MTK because at the time I had need for it as a live mixer also. Similar 8 preamp input units are available by Soundcraft, Zoom and Tascam in the $500 range that work well in home studios.


However, stand alone multitrack recorders by Zoom, Tascam and other manufacturers that may only record two tracks simultaneously are very reasonably priced and very simple to operate and learn.

DAW's are great but in many home use environments are overkill. If your normal song project consists of 12-16 tracks at most, what is the necessity to have unlimited tracks? Hybrid mixers and stand alone units will contain enough Fx's and dynamics at a sufficient quality to record commercial quality projects. It's done every day.

With hybrid mixers and stand alone units, regardless of the price level you choose, one still has complete access to external DAW's and all the features and add-on's they contain. It's literally the best of both worlds without the unnecessary cons of latency, complicated routing, CPU consideration, mobility, limited physical inputs, lack of physical knobs, buttons and faders and the pros of easy learning curve, stability and no computer crashes..
Posted by: jford

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 08:32 AM

Quote:
Robh - <<< For simplicity and robust, stable operation nothing even comes close to multitrack studios.>>>


Charlie -

I could be wrong, but I think he meant "MultiTrack Studio" (MTS) (which I also referenced). It's fine and solid, but has a more sparse interface for working with your audio. But that's just my opinion. I know there are others on the forum here that love it.
Posted by: silvertones

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 10:11 AM

Use the simplest program that does what you need. Features aren't features if you don't use them.They just get in the way.
Posted by: Charlie Fogle

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 12:32 PM

Originally Posted By: jford
Quote:
Robh - <<< For simplicity and robust, stable operation nothing even comes close to multitrack studios.>>>


Charlie -

I could be wrong, but I think he meant "MultiTrack Studio" (MTS) (which I also referenced). It's fine and solid, but has a more sparse interface for working with your audio. But that's just my opinion. I know there are others on the forum here that love it.


You're right I'm sure but it made a good segue into my pitch for stand alone's I hope. wink
Posted by: jford

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 12:59 PM

Yep, it was good info.
Posted by: RobH

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/14/19 05:52 PM

Great info on stand alone. As far as MTS, It might be sparse but if you really dig in it is pretty detailed under the hood. The thing it does best it treat both audio and midi the same.
Posted by: jford

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/15/19 06:31 AM

BTW, I'm not knocking MTS, just feel more comfortable in Sonar/Cakewalk.
Posted by: RobH

Re: DAW Recommendations - 03/17/19 04:32 PM

that's the way it is here. I actually got a ton of work done in MTS, but since I grew up on cakewalk, I liked that type of process. I found it though in studio one. I had bought version 2.65 and then downloaded cakewalk by bandlab found it very familiar. but after extensive testing I still liked studio one better so I upgraded to version 4. I still love MTS but the flow in S1 suits me and I prefer it, just like you prefer Sonar/cakewalk what it really boils down to is how each person works.
Posted by: mrgeeze

Re: DAW Recommendations - 05/27/19 04:39 AM

I read through all the posts on this thread and don't think I found a single person mentioning Logic Pro X.

Can't help but wonder why?
Perhaps the change of OS from Win to Mac?

Its certainly a professional level DAW widely used.

I have a copy of it and was considering it for use as my DAW.
Posted by: Teunis

Re: DAW Recommendations - 05/27/19 05:03 AM

Originally Posted By: mrgeeze
I read through all the posts on this thread and don't think I found a single person mentioning Logic Pro X.

Can't help but wonder why?
Perhaps the change of OS from Win to Mac?

Its certainly a professional level DAW widely used.

I have a copy of it and was considering it for use as my DAW.



I thought Logic Pro X was Mac only, if so, that would be why it does not show up here that much. A lot of people swear by Logic Pro X.
Posted by: mrgeeze

Re: DAW Recommendations - 05/27/19 06:00 AM

Indeed it is Mac only.

I still run both Win and MAC os machines at my house.
Even run BIAB win on my mac under parallels sometime when traveling.
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/24/19 05:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Warren Keller
.. Looking at Reaper's interface, despite the stated flexibility, it doesn't look like a virtual mixing board, which is something I value in RealBand, and something I don't think I'd want to lose. ..


rharv put me onto this https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=199434
I thinks it's the same mixer in his avatar.



there's Imperial https://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=183627





and there's Triton themes https://tritonreaperthemes.webs.com/free
the list goes on.. and to get the chords from RealBand to Reaper you can use ReaTrak
Posted by: rharv

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/26/19 03:17 AM

Quote:
rharv put me onto this ...
I thinks it's the same mixer in his avatar.

Indeed it is.
If I turned you on to something it must have been a good day. smile
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/27/19 10:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Warren Keller

A couple of things that bother me about RB, is that although you can group multiple channels to a single subgroup, you cannot record a mixer move on the combined fader, nor, to the best of my knowlege, can you easily automate a whole song fade-out.

Thanks for your time and consideration of this!


Warren, you've gotten all the standard comments about many different DAW's which probably mean nothing to you at this point. They're all good, they're all bad, they're all just OK depending on who you ask. Bottom line they will all get the job done.

What I want to ask you is to list exactly what you think RB won't do. Here you listed two, the subgroup record mixer move thing I think is correct but the automatic fade out is easily done using Audio Effects>Gain Change. In that window you can set an automatic fade out however you want it. Folks will say they need another DAW because they can't get RB to do what they want but many times that's not true they just haven't figured it out yet.

Having said that other DAW's certainly can have more and better features than RB does but define what's meant by "more and better". I personally find RB is perfectly capable of doing everything I need but that's for me, maybe not for you which is why I'm asking you to list the things you think RB can't do that you really need.

I completely agree with you, having to learn a brand new DAW can be a real PIA.

Bob
Posted by: MarioD

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/27/19 12:01 PM

All DAWs have pluses and minuses. No DAW will do everything. You just have to pick a DAW that not only does most of what you want in a DAW but also fits your workflow.

I personally think that a DAW that fits your workflow is more important because DAW updates may contain things that you want. Plus all DAWs have workarounds, even RB.
Posted by: Pipeline

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/27/19 03:47 PM

Here's some videos on getting tracks and chords into:

Cubase
Save a copy of the RealBand session to SGU to open in Biab
Watch https://www.dropbox.com/s/qmrih0pu325pobs/Biab-Chords-to-Cubase.mp4?dl=0
download https://www.dropbox.com/s/qmrih0pu325pobs/Biab-Chords-to-Cubase.mp4?dl=1

Reaper
Watch https://www.dropbox.com/s/ugjp1wgfcz3t5mb/RealBand-to-Reaper.mp4?dl=0
Download https://www.dropbox.com/s/ugjp1wgfcz3t5mb/RealBand-to-Reaper.mp4?dl=1

Studio One
Save a copy of the RealBand session to SGU to open in Biab
Watch https://www.dropbox.com/s/myxsq2v6y680e3i/RealBand-Using-Biab-Chords-to-Studio-One.mp4?dl=0
Download https://www.dropbox.com/s/myxsq2v6y680e3i/RealBand-Using-Biab-Chords-to-Studio-One.mp4?dl=1
Posted by: jazzmammal

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/27/19 04:21 PM

I just found some info I didn't know about. I like the Keyboard Corner forum since I'm a keys player. Just 10 days ago the moderators were able to buy out and revamp the entire Music Player Forums network including Guitar Forum, Lowdown (bass) Form, the Keyboard Corner AND something new they incorporated Craig Anderton's Sound, Studio and Stage Forum. He talks a lot about DAW's and just by reading his comments on this stuff you pick up interesting things about the various DAW's like one thread asking is Pro Tools dead? This thread I'm posting is about Sonar but it also has lots of tidbits in it about other DAW's specifically Studio One:

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2994239/is-sonar-still-relavent#Post2994239

I suggest you read some of the other DAW threads in the forum Warren because there are so many hidden gotcha's or great features that he talked about depending on what you specifically are looking for.

Bob
Posted by: silvertones

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/28/19 06:26 PM

Craig has been around a long time. I red him and learned all I know about midi from him via Electronic Musician magazine.
Posted by: DSM

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/29/19 10:12 AM

I keep thinking I am going to purchase a DAW until I realize that Audacity is doing everything I need.

Free is good until I grow out of it.

...Deb
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/29/19 06:33 PM

I use Audacity for editing audio a lot. I find it easy to use and accurate.

The problem is Audacity doesn't accommodate midi so you can't use it to create audio from midi and soft synths.
Posted by: DSM

Re: DAW Recommendations - 06/30/19 03:00 AM

I have not taken the midi plunge, yet, other than to see if it basically worked on my computer.

I got a Focusrite (and some other sound equipment) to install for a friend who has had some very serious health issues. He does work with midi so I hope to learn some things from him.

...Deb
Posted by: sslechta

Re: DAW Recommendations - 07/01/19 06:20 AM

Originally Posted By: silvertones
Craig has been around a long time. I read him and learned all I know about midi from him via Electronic Musician magazine.


I'm in the same boat John. Used to read that one a lot as well as Keyboard mag.
Posted by: MarioD

Re: DAW Recommendations - 07/01/19 06:42 AM

Originally Posted By: sslechta
Originally Posted By: silvertones
Craig has been around a long time. I read him and learned all I know about midi from him via Electronic Musician magazine.


I'm in the same boat John. Used to read that one a lot as well as Keyboard mag.


The boat is getting crowded! I use to read Electronic Musician and Keyboard magazine also.
Posted by: Guitarhacker

Re: DAW Recommendations - 07/01/19 09:04 AM

So... you're looking for a full featured DAW that is easy to learn. I ran into limitations with RB right at the start. So I never really got into using it but instead stayed with the cakewalk line. I started with MC 4 on a new Dell laptop that I still have, and it still runs MC4. I then transitioned through MC5 ( I won that on in a contest by CW) into MC6, (that one was given to me as a power user by CW) and then they offered me a no-brainer crossgrade to Sonar X1 that I could not refuse. I have been using X1 ever since.

Originally, before I settled on using Cakewalk I'd tried a few of them in the past. I bought an interface that came with the LE versions of several different DAWs. I ended up going with the Cakewalk line of DAWs and have stuck with it ever since.

It handles audio and midi well, supports most all of the VSTs on the market, and comes with a bunch of things that make it easy to work with.

Yep.... Bandlab is giving you the big full flagship version of Sonar for free. As I recall it was over $350 back in the day for this version. As I understand it, this is a deal with no strings attached. Like BiaB it has a lot of stuff in it that you will probably never need or use. So you learn what you need to know to run the DAW and do what you need. It does allow the use of automation of volume on all the channels and busses including the master.
Once you learn it, it's easy to use.

I've been a caker for well past a decade. Probably closing in on two full decades now.... I started with Cakewalk Pro 8 which ran on Win95. I will continue to use Sonar until my DAW computer dies. Then I'll figure out what I need to do in order to upgrade to something more recent and in 64 or 128 bit.
Posted by: Jim Fogle

Re: DAW Recommendations - 07/01/19 05:10 PM

Originally Posted By: DSM
I have not taken the midi plunge, yet, other than to see if it basically worked on my computer.

I got a Focusrite (and some other sound equipment) to install for a friend who has had some very serious health issues. He does work with midi so I hope to learn some things from him.

...Deb
Deb, learning a new topic while helping someone is a great way to learn. It's a win win!