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Looking for the right DAW

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Nymiah, May 27, 2008.

  1. Nymiah

    Nymiah Guest

    Hey there everyone, this is my first post so forgive me if I make all the classic newby mistakes.

    I'm starting from the beginning, so I'm just gonna start with one basic question. Which DAW? I'm a singer songwriter, mostly New Folk (whatever that means) and the vocals are important. I've been reading Tweak's guide (as suggested in these postings) but I need some recommendations. Tweak says to figure out which DAW you're going to use first before you buy a computer so you can find a compatible combination. There are a lot of DAW's out there. I've been looking at Tracktion and Cubase... I don't have a lot of money but I want to get something decent. Any suggestions? I'll be recording vocals and basic stuff like guitar, base, keyboard and some drums. If I need to use sounds that come with the DAW it will only need to be basic stuff.

    I realize I'll need decent mics, a preamp for vocals; I'll need headphone and monitor capabilities through an interface etc. I'd love suggestions but I'm starting here with the DAW. Thanks for your answers and help!

  2. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    Probably the highest recommended buget daw on here is the presonus FP10. That might not be budget for you I dont know. Its around 399-499 US. It will help if you put a budget up for a guide line. Like a total budget since you are just starting out. I got this interface about 6 months ago and it was a huge step up from my M-audio 2496. If you search on here you can find tons of info on budget daws.
  3. TheGreatAmericanSlum

    TheGreatAmericanSlum Active Member

    Firepod firepod firepod! Changed my whole world.

    I bought a computer off a gamer kid on e-bay for about $400 that was lightning fast cuz he listed it w/o a reserve and didn't realize nobody wanted a computer that looked like an alien overlord. I, frankly, didn't care and it worked great.

    I'd start w/ the Firepod and a computer. If you're a mac guy I can't really tell, but Firepod>>firewire>>PC works great and if you're running at least 1gb RAM (pref 2gb) you're latency issues shouldn't be a big deal.
  4. Nymiah

    Nymiah Guest

    Thank you both for the FP10 info, I hadn't looked at it before (wasn't aware of it). I've done some exploration and it looks good, especially the preamps (although some reviewers at Musicians Friend didn't like it), but how is the Cubase LE4 software? Is there pitch adjustment ability? Can you edit vocals (cut and paste different tracks)? How does the Firestudio Project compare?

    BTW: I'm a gal (one of the few of a growing minority in this recording world) and am excited to learn from you guys.

    Also, in terms of budget, I've got about $2000. to work with for interface, DAW, and mics etc. (to start with). Also I'm using a PC.

    Thanks for your help. More suggestions? Decent vocal mics within my price range?
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Shure SM57. Shure SM58 as well, although I'm led to believe it's a 57 with a pop filter attached.

    I *think* (sometimes :p) that the FP10 and Firestudio project are the same thing, just different names. That's what it seemed to me a while ago anyway.
  6. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

    From what I can tell, the Firestudio project has meters for inputs instead of just clip lights. Other then that it looks the same to me. Im pretty sure that most or all of their gear in this price range has the same pre-amps.

    As far as your questions Nymiah I like the cubase LE so far and you can cut/copy and past tracks as you please. I haven't found anything I wanted to do yet that I couldn't figure out how to do. As far as the pitch adjustment I would have to look into that. I haven't thought of trying that.
  7. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    I suggest a Mackie Onyx Satellite.

    This will give you two good quality mic pre-amps and two headphones jacks (with individual volume controls) as well as an audio interface.

    And you get Tracktion 2 thrown in, with an option to upgrage to ver.3 should you want the time-stretching / pitch-shifting / loop support.
  8. Nymiah

    Nymiah Guest

    Thanx for your responses.

    Does anyone else out there have anything to say about Mackie interfaces and Tracktion3?

  9. SeniorFedup

    SeniorFedup Guest

    im sure it works
  10. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    I own a Satellite. The thing about Mackie recently is that their drivers are behind the times. They have yet to develop driver for either Leopard or Vista. Something which is driving a lot of people away.

    That being said, after working out some minor kinks with my Satellite, I like it a lot. It sounds great. The multiple outputs is useful for a lot of things(something that is strangely omitted from the other multichannel Onyx boards). Having inserts is a bonus.

    As far as Tracktion 3 is concerned, it has been considerably less problematic than Cubase and Samplitude. Both of which I paid for and use. The only thing I don't like about Tracktion is the midi step editor. I would've liked to see them expand the piano roll to full screen when you double click a midi channel. Right click tools would have been a nice feature as well. Other than that, once you get used to the interface Tracktion is a very nice DAW.
  11. Nymiah

    Nymiah Guest

    Thanks everyone for your responses and your help

    Happy Music Making!
  12. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Cubase gave me really bad RSI! As such I now much prefer Tracktion's method of using hot-keys to change tools: S for the select tool, D for draw, E for erase. All mappable of course... have you tried the Cubase style mappings? Try showing the mixer page. :wink:
  13. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    LE4 is very capable entry level DAW application.

    The real question you have to ask yourself at this point is "How am I going to achieve the results I'm looking for?"

    Mic/pre combination are more important at this point than the platform on which you will do your recording. With a smallish startup budget like yours, you're not going to be able to get lots of mics for different purposes, so you need to compromise and get one mic that can cover a few scenaria. You want something that performs equally well for acoustic guitar and for vocals.

    Now, then. An SM58 is a good compromise for both, but whether it will be a good match for your voice is a question that only you can answer. Microphones are very personal when it comes to recording voices, and many recording engineers will spend quite a while listening to the voice they're going to record before attempting to select a mic for a vocal session. It may well be that a large diaphragm condenser is the way to go for you, in which case there are several budget models that will perform well for you.

    You may even want to get both, since a condenser/dynamic combo can get some very pleasing results when recording acoustic guitars.

    In short, make your microphone the first thing you concern yourself with. Go to a store and test lots of mics, selecting the one that you feel delivers your voice best. If you go for a condenser, you will also want to make a preamp choice. Avoid pretty much anything that says "valve" or "toob", unless the valves actually form part of the signal path. Many preamps in the budget arena have valves in them simply as a marketing tool, and should be run away from.

    Once you have made these selections, think about interface. How many simultaneous inputs do you need? If your vocals are important, then so are the converters. Having crappy converters when you have paid so much attention to your mic/pre combo would be like spending thousands of (insert currency of choice) on cameras, lenses and lights and then printing on a crappy enlarger. There are quite a few consumer interfaces with good converters, but RME are probably the best in this arena.

    Most interfaces come bundled with entry-level DAW applications these days. Again, go to the store, try a few out, and find the one that feels most comfortable for you. There is going to be a learning curve involved whatever app you choose, so comfort at the outset is a must. Other people's advice is largely useless when it comes to making this choice, because it will vary dependent on what the person offering the advice is comfortable with.

    This doesn't nearly cover the topic, of course. But it should get you started.

    I would also recommend getting yourself a copy of "The Recording Engineer's Handbook" by Bobby Owsinski, which is basically a manual for microphones. It gives lots of good advice on what mics are suitable for what, and how to properly mic instruments in various recording situations.
  14. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    [F3] :wink:
  15. Nymiah

    Nymiah Guest


    Thank you so much for the advice!

    You said "There are quite a few consumer interfaces with good converters, but RME are probably the best in this arena." Could you please tell me what RME stands for, or is that the official name of a brand?

  16. mhutch

    mhutch Guest

    Not sure what it stands for, but it's a brand and can be found here:

  17. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    RME is a brand.

    RME Fireface has been mentioned a lot on here, but afaik is a *bit* on the expensive side for budget standards.
  18. hackenslash

    hackenslash Active Member

    Definitely not cheap, in consumer terms, but far and away the best in the price bracket, and still representing great vallue for money.
  19. Hilary

    Hilary Guest

    I'm going to be a pest about this because I'm in love....

    The singer-songwriter probably needs a setup that won't condemn you to forgetting about music entirely and devoting your life to figuring out computer stuff.

    I've been doing the Adobe Audition demo for a few days now and I LOVE IT. It works exactly like you'd expect it to , it doesn't get in your way, and the instructions are astonishingly clear, especially compared with some of the other recording software packages. You mentioned Cubase -- I got Cubase Essential 4 and it is one of the most user-hostile apps I've ever used (been computing since DOS).

    And by the way, Audition has a pitch corrector that is a joy -- you can approximate notes while monitoring a looped line so it isn't a caricature, you can just have it do an automatic touchup....

    As for mics, get the ADK A51+small condenser+cables pak. The mics are absolutely problem-free, the small condenser sounds wonderful on guitar, the big one sounds plenty fine on vocals, and the whole mess goes about $200. Yeah, you could pay $2000 but don't.

  20. Greener

    Greener Guest

    I've used Audition and I find it to be a helpful wave editing program. However when I have tried to record with it I get what seems like a massive noise floor and poor performance from my microphone.
    It doesn't utilise my recording device like Sonar does, for some reason I need to drive my preamp much harder just to get the same volume in recording when I use Audition and this causes more noise.

    As a recording program I wouldn't even put it in the same bracket as Garage Band.

    So how long have you worked for Adobe?

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