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Helping a musician friend - Need advice with DAW.

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by Ziggy, Feb 26, 2021.

  1. Len058

    Len058 TDPRI Member

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    My vote also goes to Reaper as a DAW (coming from Protools it just feels right). And I would have a talk about what he expects to do with his studio and what he realistically is going to do.

    As for the PC, remember they recorded albums with a daw in the mid nineties. Anything would be better than what they had back then.
     
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  2. Buzzgrowl

    Buzzgrowl Tele-Meister

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    There is a Reaper DAW version for Mac OS too. It should run fine on a 2011 mac. It is a particular DAW in terms of generally not being a resource hog. More RAM is always better.
     
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  3. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    ^^^ Yep. Might be instant success for him.

    I am running reaper on a 2012 Mac.. its really solid. Totally glitch free and better processing performance than the Apple DAWS. I did triple the RAM which helped speed things up
     
  4. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Yes you will be fine with this.
    Than all you/he will have to do is download for FREE the best DAW in the world and be ready to go

    https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

    run it on 44.1/24 and WIN10 and 64 tracks will be easy-peasy
     
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  5. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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    PreSonus Studio One has an intuitive learning curve and excellent technical support. I opted for 32 GB of RAM seven years ago and have no issues recording 8 tracks live, which was my primary goal. I'm sure I could manage 16 if need be. It's all about minimizing artifacts and latency.
     
  6. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Sorry that your friend is having problems - GarageBand is probably the easiest way to get into music making via computer...
    My computer was also made in 2011 - it's a refurbished iMac with 16Gb RAM, and running GarageBand 10.3.5.
    It works fine for me, but I have never used more than 20 tracks on it... I wouldn't know what to do with 32, never mind 64 :0)
     
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  7. EugeneWeemich

    EugeneWeemich TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    seriously. I'm a Sonar Platinum user and paid a good chunk of $$$ over the years for version upgrades. great DAW. bandlab bought it and woop, it's free.
     
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  8. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    Oh wow! So many fantastic replies!

    I didn't realize that Cakewalk was now free. Also, someone elese reccomended Reaper and it sounds great!

    Regarding the number of tracks: He is a drummer turned singer/songwriter. He is recording most tracks himself and bringing in others as needed. From what I have seen, he has not needed anywhere near 64 tracks. But this is what he has in mind so I am trying to help.

    There was a post a while back asking about the specifics of his Mac. I don't know the exact model but it is from 2011 and is running High Sierra. I can find out the rest.

    Thank you so much for the advice! It is sincerely appreciated!

    I am going to send this thread to him.
     
  9. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    iMacs are tight spaces, they get full of dust and if you smoke (anything) forget about it, the smoke over time gums up everything.
    If you can hear the fan on an iMac then the CPU is getting hot, and possibly too much dust inside of it. He could use an external SSD drive to see if that solves his tracks problem, I would also see which part of the hybrid drive he is using, where are the track folders located? SSD or 7200?

    That's another plus for the PC, you can use a large case and water/passive cooling and get zero noise (with SSD's), easier to clean out and maintain and if you need to upgrade you have a much wider choice of parts than with a Mac, and of course it's far easier to work on PC.
     
  10. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I'm a UAd and Mac guy so maybe not the best place to start but the Harrison 'Mixbus' daw looks pretty cool. Regularly $89.00 but goes on sale a lot for half that (sometimes even less). Works with any OS: Windows, Mac, Linux. Comes with 19 plugins.
    Next time it goes on sale I'm thinking of getting it just to see what it's like.
    https://harrisonconsoles.com/product/mixbus/
     
  11. Rolling Estonian

    Rolling Estonian Friend of Leo's

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    i7 or i9 11 series, 64gb ram and SSD will handle pretty much anything you can throw at it. You can get a Windows laptop with those specs for less than $2k. As for DAW, I'm just a hack guitarist recording hobbyist, I've used Mixcraft for several years and am very happy with it.

    M
     
  12. Lucky Day

    Lucky Day Tele-Afflicted

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    I run ProTools 12, and I've run Pro Tools for 20 years. I know it inside and out, and it's my preferred DAW. The issue is that you cannot get Avid to support you if you don't use one of their approved systems. There are specific graphics card and motherboard chipsets that are approved, and others which specifically won't work, and then a large gray area of things that MIGHT work.
    The simplest solution is the costliest, and that is just to go with a fully Avid approved system. However, there are so many other quality PCs out there for much less money, many of which will work with PT. The trick is, you won't necessarily know until you try. You will generally need to ask around on the Avid forum to see if anyone else is running the same system you want to try.
     
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  13. matman14

    matman14 Tele-Meister

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    When I was speccing a new mac back in 2014, the general rule was RAM mostly effects virtual instruments performance (how many samples can be loaded into RAM), HDD or SDD read/write speeds mostly effects track count and having dedicated drives for recording vs OS vs virtual instruments is a great improvement, and processor power mostly impacts the machines ability to run high plugin instances or not.

    Once logic was installed, the UAD cards were on board and everything was tested and stable, the machine was disconnected from the internet, and has not been reconnected since. Neither I nor it care that there are new versions of the OS, Logic, drivers or plugins. The tools to make marketable records in 2014-15 still work fine today.

    If he is on Apple and likes it I'd get everything fixed and go with Logic.

    Last time I looked at reaper, which was admittedly back in early version 5, it was a disorganized mess that seemed to need hours of menu diving and configuration to get anything done. It didn't fit with my workflow of recording and mixing fast, and the client who wanted me to use it so he could give me the .rrp files ended up giving me stems I could mix in Logic.

    End Rant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  14. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    Updating a decade-old computer to make it the heart of your DAW is good-money-following-bad madness. He seems willing to get a new computer. He should bite the bullet and do it. A new PC, a soundcard and a decent low-cost LDC, if he needs it, should cost him less than $1500.

    Does he already have a set-up to record his drums? That's could add complications and extra $$, depending on how he wants to do it. Maybe he just wants to record them on to two stereo tracks. For years, I've recorded mine on seven. I just upped it to eight. But, in the right hands, two tracks can be just as effective in the final mix.

    I have a separate audio interface, a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40, in an enclosure with a separate keyboard, monitor and mouse to record drums. I also prefer to record vocals in the enclosure. The drum room audio interface is seven years old, maybe. I'm not sure. I recently had a problem with a project. After I recorded some drums, it was stuttering. It would barely play. I went online to see if the interface might need a new driver and I discovered that Focusrite was not supporting the Saffire Pro 40 anymore. So this expensive (to me) piece of equipment that was probably not broken might no longer work simply because the manufacturer decided it was no longer worth its time. Eventually, after pricing replacements, I tried copying all the tracks into a new file, and the problem went away.

    The above illustrates the problem your friend going to face if he tries to update old equipment. My Saffire Pro 40 is a firewire interface. I used firewire because it had the fastest transfer rates at the time, but it was already being phased out. I had to buy a firewire card for my last recording computer, and I transferred to the new one last year. And it works. For now.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
  15. kmaster

    kmaster Tele-Meister

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    Y’all,

    It doesn’t make sense to recommend solutions when we don’t know what the problem is.

    Why does he need 64 tracks?

    What kind of music is he making?

    What is the purpose of that music?

    The answers are very different depending on the parameters of the situation.


    ::edit:: for what it’s worth, in my main Logic template I have probably 1000 heavy tracks (albeit not simultaneously), most of which are MIDI, and I very much need my 128 GB of RAM and my i9 10900k running overclocked at 4.9GHz to keep things running smoothly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2021
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  16. Pasta Player

    Pasta Player Tele-Meister

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    Seems that @tintang27 has it figured out running GarageBand 10.3.5. And although it isn’t mentioned with what interface (PreSonus Studio One?) or what MacOS is running on that 2011 iMac… the maximum OS for the 2011 iMac might be 10.13.6 (High Sierra) which can and does run GarageBand v.10.3.5. Any newer version of GB would be a no-go.

    Minimum Mac SysReq’s stated by PreSonus is High Sierra - MacOS 10.13.6.

    Bezel.png
     
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  17. Tuneup

    Tuneup Tele-Holic

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    Hmmm, yes well the upgrade suggestion is for PC's which can be upgraded easily, not for macs, however a cheap simple solution for him immediately might be a good external drive, not a waste because even if he buys a new comp it can be used for back up.

    Also I would never put a sound card in a DAW box, in fact the built in sound chip is disabled, everything goes through the audio interface using ASIO.
     
  18. Ziggy

    Ziggy Tele-Holic

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    Just as a test I gave him a flash drive to use as the target for his recordings. It seemed to help until the tracks became too many.

    I spoke with him today and sent him this thread. He REALLY appreciates and is overwhelmed with the replies. Thanks again to all of you.

    I know his system is I7 and he has 16G of RAM. I don't know which I7 but plan to go down there in a bit and find out.

    Regarding the hybrid drive, I didn't realize it could be split. That is what started this. Another Apple person told me that Hybrid in Apple-Speak meant two drives - one ssd and one mechanical - were configured in something like the Apple version of RAID 0. I was concerned about my Apple ignorance so he carried it to a shop. They told him it was just a typical hybrid drive from that era.
     
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  19. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

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    You misunderstood. I didn't put a soundcard in the computer tower. I installed a firewire port, which comes in the form of an expansion card.

    If a guy wants to get into home studio production and says he wants 64 tracks -- which is perfectly reasonable and not as much as some might think -- he should invest in new equipment and not be penny-wise, pound-foolish. In the end, a powerful new PC won't be that expensive, while trying to go cheap will cost in both frustration and time wasted, as well as money.

    You don't want to work with handcuffs. The great thing about DAW recording today is that if you want to stack a dozen vocal or percussion tracks, you can do it.
     
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  20. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    I've used Cakewalk for a couple of decades. When Roland orphaned Sonar and before Bandlab bought it, the CW community was actively looking for alternatives. I came away with a few conclusions based on all the DAW research and comparisons I followed:
    • All DAWs sound the same (given the same hardware) (based on a pretty extensive technical analysis posted on Youtube)
    • ProTools is an industry standard but is expensive and no longer the best. Other DAWs have caught up, having the same functionality and may have a better interface. Every major studio has ProTools so if you need to work in multiple studios PT expertise is valuable.
    • Projects are not portable across DAWs. But WAV files are portable and areshareable with other DAWs. WAVs are lossless and commonly used by all DAWs internally for recording tracks.
    • Reaper, Presonus Studio One, and Cakewalk seem to be the most popular DAWs on the PC platform
    • Steinberg Cubase stands out in it's midi support.

    I personally like Cakewalk since 1) I know it and it's very well documented 2) the plugins that come with it are excellent and 3) it's free.

    I have a relatively modest system: a PreSonus Studio 28 USB interface and an HP laptop with an i5 2.3GH, 16GB of RAM and a TB of disk (the more the better but this is sufficient for me tracking one instrument at a time). I have projects with a lot of tracks, some probably close to 64 (I've never counted or hit any limits). By bouncing CPU-intensive VST virtual instrument tracks and using shared buses for effects I can easily bypass any limits on tracks and CPU usage.
     
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