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old engineer seeks advise for first DAW

Discussion in 'Recording' started by fleamarkethustler, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. fleamarkethustler

    fleamarkethustler Active Member

    I record to a Radar 24 that replaced our 2" tape machine 12 years ago. I am having the radar upgraded to write in wave files, putting in an ethernet card, and eventually adat light pipe. I have a macbook pro.
    I want to import files to a DAW for processing (ie. pitch correction, eq, and dynamics plugins). I also want to record tracks outside of the studio. I was thinking Pro Tools since it is the industry standard but don't have an HD budget. The new 003 units have up to 8 pre's and converters but I have heard mixed reviews. I understand that outboard converters and pre-amps will likely be better, but it might be nice to have a couple on board just to get started. Eventually i want to mix from the DAW through the radar converters which will take 24 digital outs (light pipe)

    Budget: $2000-$3000.
    I need software
    External Interface (with or expandable to 24 digital outs)
    2 to 8 channels of pre-amps and a/d

    Any money I save will go towards high quality plug-ins

    Thanks for considering my confusion!, John
  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I would skip ProTools unless you need to have for business purposes. It limits you. And the whole "industry standard" thing is certainly an arguable point at this juncture in time. If you like it already then go for it but otherwise....

    If you have a Mac already then perhaps Logic is your program of choice. It is highly regarded in the Mac community and is fully featured as well. Know that there will be a learning curve with whatever DAW program you choose and it might be frustrating in the beginning for a 100% analog guy. It gets better with time and effort.

    Recommending specific interfaces is a bit difficult. That ends up being a personal decision.
    -One route would be to look at something like the Allen & Heath Zed R24. This is a firewire device that if very user friendly for someone used to running a board. The preamps in the board itself are very good and the R16 and R24 get high praise from most everyone that uses one.
    -Another route would be to get something like the Fireface 800 (or up to three) and use the good preamps in that unit or external preamps via the line inputs. The digital routing on the FF800 is superb and the AD/DA is very good.
    -The third route as I see it would be to buy something like the Lynx Aurora 16 and external preamps. The converters are without question high end and you can plug any flavor of preamp you want into it. Perhaps the MixDream and a bunch of converters could be included in this section too.

    As to preamps, the bottom end of my list starts at the Onyx 800R which can be found used still. The next (set of 8) is the True Systems Precision8, and then whatever units you like by Grace, Millennia, API 3124+, DAV BG8, and a few others.

    Unfortunately none of the above route is super cheap. Some options are pricier than others. You just have to evaluate and perhaps define your goals even further for targeted recommendations.

    There are a bunch of us that are former analog guys here and are experimenting with a hybrid digital/analog summing setup. I don't think any of us duplicate another though we all help each other out bouncing ideas down.

    Good luck.
  3. fleamarkethustler

    fleamarkethustler Active Member

    Thanks John. I think I am gravitating away from pro tools....... The new apogee Symphony & Ensemble look interesting.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Big K loves Nuendo. I don't have a preference personally. I think either one is a good choice. Apogee makes some decent stuff. I would not call them the best but certainly in the ball park for you. The Apogee admirers sometimes seem to me like they've drank the electric kool aid. That does not make them bad at all (users or equipment). There were some threads recently on hybrid systems back in April and May. You might try a search and see if you come up with them. The might help you shape your decisions as well. Include my user name as well as audiokid and they should pop right up.
  5. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Make sure you try Reaper: http://www.reaper.fm/

    I can also second the Mackie Onyx suggestion: I have a little Satellite, plus a 1620 mixer with firewire card, and they have both served me well for several years. The Satellite has toured halfway round the world in my laptop bag, and the 1620 has recorded many sweaty and beer-soaked live shows: they are both still going strong! And the Onyx pre-amps are really very good...
  6. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    Indeed I am in favour with Nuendo 5, slightly biased, though, by using this DAW for 10 years, now. With N5 comes a bunch of new Live recording features worth looking into. N5 gives you about the same features and performance as PT would. In my eyes it is even better. It includes many enourmesly powerful post pro features and all bits found in Cubase. Midi, surround, superb automation, VST3 plugins...a real beast...lol... No, I am not a Steinberg employee...I just make both ends meat using it..

    Also through good personal experiences with RME hardware and the components of which the FW800 is made of like Octamic and ADI-8 I can recommend audio quality and longevity of RME stuff. I am not realy a fan of FW connections but this is based on some frustration with FW devices from the time FW was introduced to audio. Those were mainly driver problems and not RME related. I think, RME has the most stabil and reliable drivers of the bunch..

    As to Alsihad... I am very much with audiokid and Jack... Don't go that way...
    With logic I have not workes that often, but there are a number of dreadful shortcommings compared to N5. A friend and colleague of mine who did all the recording of the VSL samples, many music live productions and movies on any DAW or console said, lately, the following, which I tend to believe:

    I had (and still have) my share of productions which have to be done in L*gic for one reason or the other. Let me tell you: Don't even _think_ about doing real audio-work with L*gic. I don't know where to start the list what' missing from this application, and what's simply wrong and/or faulty.

    ... the most ridiculous behavior can be experienced when pressing a Solo-button, or changing the loop's boarders while playback. You will find faulty (or at least silly) latency compensation. Then the ridiculous surround implementation. Ugly buffer handling. Useless waveform-display. No sample-accurate editing in an audio-track. Bloated environment concept. Useless pan control in audio tracks. And so on ...

    L*gic is for MIDI. Don't use it for audio.
  7. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Must be from an old version of Logic, Logic has sample accurate editing on the arrange page for last couple of versions now. It's been Appleized so the learning curve isn't as steep as in the past.

    Best value on Mac.
  8. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Boy, all great advice and TheJackAttack says it very clear with wisdom. Plan ahead is all I can add to this. Ask yourself where you want to go and start building one step at a time. You will be a changed man once you start, I would count on that.

    I'm 100% away from Pro Tools and very into the hybrid systems.

    Reaper is the coolest ( so very simple) DAW I have ever seen and I have tried most of them. Reaper is truly amazing in speed, processing and simplicity. It blows my mind how liitle space it takes, how fast it loads and how solid it is. If it had a little more rfined midi editing, man... it would be a tough decision. Reaper is something like $300.00 and you can do the free 30 day demo. It may become something bigger than we ever anticipate.

    My choice DAW is Sequoia which is the added mastering suite to Samplitude. Its simply astonishing. The way it processes your final mix is stunning. What DAW to choose is a big topic but all said above is solid advise. I've never had the opportunity to try Nuendo but I'm certain its definitely right up there with Sequoia 11. None of these system are cheap in the long run. You need the core parts and then you're away to the races.

    What OS are you choosing, then go from there. I used to me Mac for ten years and PT all the way... Both way over priced. The way I see it. Once everyone including all the newbies are using something as over hyped and priced as all the PT levels, its definitely time to change. Many of us think their best years are behind them.

    Hope that helps.

    Welcome to RO.
  9. Big K

    Big K Well-Known Member

    One thing I learned ( sometimes the harder way) over all those years is not to go the cheap way unless you are absolutely sure by any stretch of your imagination that what you purchase is sufficient enough for ALL projects and jobs you even might get do in future. If that is verified and one gets along with the handling, you probably have chosen the right hardware and software.
    This seems easier with the software then with the hardware, because there are so many pre-amps to choose from and they go from usable to HighEnd qualities with the known, enourmes range of prices. There you have to sattle with the max quality that your budget can be stretched to and you never will regret that!
    As to DAW software one must ask: are you going to do any work to picture? Do you need solid synchronisation to other devices? How about VSTi and Midi, as well as Import & export flexibillity? Work for internet streams? Large live recording sessions of concerts? Future-proof 64-bit technology available etc., etc....
    I remember well how hard it was to decide for all those microphones and to buy the better ones, everytime, instead for going to the budget mics that seem capable of doing the job, as well. I still own all those mics and it is still a pleasure to work with them.
    Now, a DAW is a somewhat more complicated thing.... It is more like a partnership in synchronized swimming... It just has to work and work well with all features needed. Otherwise you will always be looking for a better "friend". Mind you, working with a well-known console would be more like being married... And there, I mean a happy marriage.. ;-)

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