Help with deciding on DAW/Interface

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Disco Biscuits, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. telestratosonic

    telestratosonic Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The Steinberg Cl1 came with Cubase software. I bought it 8-9 years ago but that model appears to be discontinued now. I tried to learn how to use Cubase but didn't get too far until abandoning it. However, now that I've got a handle on Garageband, I'm pretty sure I could learn to use it.

    The Mackie FX6v3 comes with Pro Tools First. I haven't tried it as I've gotten serious about learning how to record with Garageband.
     
  2. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The Steinberg interfaces are great. I have a few different interfaces, but my Steinberg UR-22 is the lowest latency one I have by far and the drivers are really stable. I use a PC, so GarageBand/logic are not options for me. I used the higher end protools a while back (pro tools 9, maybe) to share work with another studio - it is also fantastic, but I don’t know how pro tools first compares to the full version. The key is to get a DAW that does what you need, stick to it and learn it inside out. In the end it’s just a tool to create music, and the better you know your tools, the more efficient your workflow will be.
     
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  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Poster Extraordinaire

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  4. Stax1

    Stax1 Tele-Meister

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    Try Acoustica Mixcraft as a DAW. Then get a simple interface (I use an old Line6 Toneport UX2).
    Mixcraft is easy to use, has a good amount of effects/plug-ins built in, runs fairly light in terms of PC resources, and can get some good outcomes. If you want software drums try Addictive Drums or EzyDrummer, and if you want to polish the output I recommend iZotope products - get their 'Elements' range of programs for mastering and filtering etc.

    These will all run with a PC or Mac.
     
  5. stratology

    stratology Tele-Meister

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    Interfaces: I've had good experience with Presonus interfaces. Good preamps.

    Last year, I had an opportunity to do a shoot out - side by side comparison - of current MOTU, Presonus and UAD interfaces. Playback only, didn't test the preamps. UAD came out far ahead in terms of sound, detail, dimensionality, MOTU surprised me at how good it was, Presonus came in third. All definitely good enough to use, spending more on something like a UAD interface makes sense if you have good enough monitors.


    DAWs:
    Garageband is an easy way to start, and it's free. When you're familiar with that, you can upgrade to Logic, which is extremely cheap for what it offers, and has a simplified, Garageband type mode for an easy start. All Garageband projects will open in Logic. Seamless transition.

    My favourite DAW is Digital Performer, but that's jumping in at the deep end.

    I've used Cubase and Protools years ago, liked them both in term of usability, but the hardware dongle is a deal breaker.

    I found Reaper on the Mac awful, complicated, next to unusable. A PC app that was ported to the Mac without regard of Mac conventions. Probably a good choice on Windows, but not an easy start to get into DAWs by any means.
     
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  6. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    Reaper on PC here. Free to try. Tiny footprint, great cpu usage. Some say it has too many customizable options.
     
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  7. simond

    simond Tele-Holic

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    I'm a cheapskate when it come to computers. When the Windows machines couldn't keep up I loaded them up with Linux. Then I was given an iMac and an iBook which have been my main squeezes for the last 3 or 4 years. However these can't keep up anymore (I need Dropbox and Drive and they are no longer supported) so I am returning to Windows with an oldish laptop rejuvenated with a SSD. I have used Audacity with the old Windows, Ardour on Linux and GarageBand on Apple. I am just experimenting with Cakewalk on the "new" laptop and it seems that it will be fantastic. I use a cheap ($19.99) Behringer interface which is fine for building one or two tracks at a time. I only have an hour or two experience with Cakewalk so far. Initially the latency was not good but I found an option somewhere to optimize it and it dropped from 100 down to 10 ms.

    Maybe not as beginner friendly as GarageBand which would be my suggestion if starting from scratch with a big enough budget for an Apple machine.
     
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  8. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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    The trick with Reaper is to only use what you need and worry about the other options when you need them. Reaper can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be.
     
  9. Ben Harmless

    Ben Harmless Friend of Leo's

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    I'm in the Reaper camp, and have used other things.

    Reaper pros:
    • Any track can be anything - audio or MIDI - and even combinations (though that gets complex)
    • Reaper comes with a ton of really great effects
    • Reaper has far fewer limitations than other DAWs in terms of signal routing, side-chaining, and other recording-nerd stuff - some DAWs even limit the number of tracks - Reaper doesn't
    • Great community, with a million YouTube tutorials.

    Reaper cons:
    • It can do everything, so there are lots of options - fewer limitations can certainly bog you down
    • The included effects are not always intuitive - though some are
    • Um. That's it - I can't think of other cons

    It may feel like a steep learning curve, but once you have the basics of how to get your audio in, and how the buttons on each track work, then you're fully ready to start recording. I could teach the "get-started" course in 5-10 minutes.

    For an interface, I'm a fan of the Focusrite Scarlet series. It's pretty well regarded across the board by hobbyists and pros alike, and as a hobbyist who used to be an audio pro, they're more than good enough for me. Between a Scarlet interface and Reaper, there is absolutely nothing that could stop you from making a great album. Nothing.
     
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  10. stratology

    stratology Tele-Meister

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    Just for the record: if you want to use Reaper professionally, it actually costs more than Logic, and has a lot less plug-ins, virtual instruments and content.

    On the Mac, the UI is outright bizarre. I've worked with Logic, Cubase, Protools, DP, Garageband, Studio One, and briefly with Reason and Ableton Live. The user experience on each and every one was lightyears ahead of Reaper. May be different on Windows, where 25 levels of submenus are acceptable..

    GarageBand is free, and has quite a few features that Reaper does not have, like Drummer Tracks, tons of loops, amp sims, etc. It does have a track limitation, but 255 tracks seems reasonable. In terms of bussing and routing, pretty much everything else is better than GarageBand.


    When it comes to DAWs, I feel it's not so much about which one is 'better', more about personal preference. It's possible to make music professionally with each and every one of them.
     
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  11. Deepblankspace

    Deepblankspace TDPRI Member

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    Ganna be this guy,
    I use an Akai Mpc Live, hardware music production center.
    8 audio tracks with unlimited bounce
    Rediculous amount of effects and eq potential, submixes.
    2 audio inputs to run guitar, bass, mics, external synths.
    Midi outs to sync those synths.
    And my favorite part is a midi looper
    (No more guessing on timing. Set 4 bars and press play.
     
  12. stratology

    stratology Tele-Meister

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    Dedicated hardware, wow. I still have my Tascam and Fostex 4-Track cassette tape multitrack recorders somewhere. And boxes full of multitrack tapes. I remember transferring audio from some of them to Digital Performer (probably version 3 or so) on a Bondi blue iMac running Mac OS 9. Good times.

    My first DAW was MIDI only Cubasis on an Atari 1040ST. A computer that had MIDI ports built in by default. Brilliant.
     
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  13. Dave_O

    Dave_O Friend of Leo's

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    What he said.
    Started in mid 90s on Cubase.
    Then Cakewalk, then Logic, then CoolEditPro, then spent time using someone else's ProTools.
    Then back to Cubase with a sidetrack to Reason.
    Then found Reaper in 2013.
    Originally used an 8-in-8-out Avid interface, but they got bought out and it's basically obsolete and now unusable.
    My band recorded an album with our bassplayer (an ex-Australian Broadcasting Commission sound engineer) on his (at the time) current model Mac with the latest Protools. After about two hours work, we'd have to shut the whole thing down to stop it from overheating and crashing - while recording a maximum of 2 tracks at a time.
    Then I got a hold of the free Reaper trial (all the bells and whistles for 60 days) and bought the Avid interface. We recorded a full band- 8 tracks simultaneously - and the 'puter fan didn't even kick in. It seems to have REALLY low CPU usage. From what I understand, it uses the Audacity engine.
    Now I use it with a ridiculously old Edirol 2-in-2-out interface. I can't pick any latency at all.
    For drums I have a VST plugin called MT-PowerDrumkit ($5 donation for the full kit), very easy to use.

    Give it a try if you're using a PC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  14. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    This ^^^

    I've been using Reaper almost since it's beginnings. I've tried and discounted just about everything else over the years.
     
  15. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 Reaper.
    Free to download & use full program then buy the licence later.
    It has way more features than I would ever use.
     
  16. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I still have my Yamaha MT1X 4-track. I used it a couple of years ago when I needed to demo some songs.
    My audio interface wasn't playing ball with my Win10 PC, then the power supply died on my old WinXP laptop.
    It was somehow easier having only 4 tracks. I then mixed them later into Reaper on my PC.
     
  17. SacDAve

    SacDAve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There are a lot of good DAW's myself I use Logic Pro $200. For an interface I've used a couple then I bit the bullet bought an Apollo twin not cheap but after a couple years using it worth every penny. Another big game changer was getting decent power monitors (Yamaha HS 8 ) Then you get into plug-ins all kind out there from free to are you crazy. You can check out all the different DAW's on Youtube see what fits your needs. there seems to be a never ending learning curve but you have a lot of fun on the way it's very addictive. I do belive the computer based recording is the way to go you just keep building on what you have.
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  18. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum TDPRI Member

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    All good suggestions here. Focusrite produce good and inexpensive audio interfaces with good mic preamps. Apogee Duet is also good but more $$. GarageBand is free on your iOS device and the Drummer track saved much messing around (if you’re not a drummer). There are free versions of ProTools First and Davinci Resolve which has Fairlight audio capability built in. You can make and grade your promos too!
     
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