Discussion in 'Recording' started by soxoff, Jun 22, 2009.
Thanks ahead of time
When I think Hip-Hop, I think, "this person doesn't know how to play any musical instruments". I know this isn't necessarily true but that's how I think since Hip Hop is dominated by loop based music and "djs" which are not to be confused with musicians.
There are many DAW's that are good for looping. Abelton's Live!, Sony Acid, Fruity Loops. Really any DAW will do. Most offer looping capabilities. What you might want to consider though is what type of interface are you using? If you don't have a recording interface, when you buy one, you are likely to get some sort of software with it.
Since we are talking about Hip Hop, you likely only need one input so that narrows down your choices. Presonus products ship with Cubase LE or Cubase AI 4. Mackie products ship with Tracktion. And of course Digidesign products ship with ProTools LE.
There are so many options it's hard to say whether there is a best or not. Download Acid Express and try that out.
Try the Fruity Loops Demo. That's got a great engine for beat generation.
Here's the Ableton Live! Demo.
Honestly. Just pick one. There is no "best".
Audio Software for HipHop
I'd go with Ableton Live or Logic Pro (if you have a Mac). Ableton is (in my opinion) the greatest program ever created for electronic music. Honestly, it's great for all different styles, if you really understand the workflow. Even better because you can use it to perform and improvise with at a gig-- standalone or complementing a live band. Having said that, Logic sounds a bit better and has a better native sound and effects library.
Both have a bit of a learning curve. Logic is easy to get started with, but can be little complicated once you really need to start tweaking (especially on the MIDI side of things). Ableton isn't hard to use, but it works differently than almost any other DAW (outside of the now-defunct Project 5). So, you may have to learn a new way composing.
And, not to further complicate this, Ableton and Logic actually work great together (Rewire) as each has its strong points.
Regardless, you'll be rewarded for the time you put in, as both programs are amazing. Having said that, if you're creative and have studied your craft, you can probably pick and DAW and make great tracks with it. As always, it starts with you and your knowledge of the genre of music you are trying to create.
The Online Audio School
Hey Dan. Welcome to RO. Your post is treading awfully close to spam. I did a very minor edit before the spam hounds could call foul. Your web links are in the contacts list as well as you signature already. Thanks.
Well said Hueseph, I like that.. "Spam Hounds".
Ableton Live is amazing IMHO. After using the demo, this software is on my list. I think it is one of the best writing tools I have found. It allows me to be able to quickly lay down a few bars and work them. Its brilliant software for composing. As Hueseph noted, must be excellent for hip hop etc.
Another big consideration if you are a beginner is how much help you will need and how much help you can get. Are you a computer veteran who has been using a lot of software and learning the packages on your own? Have you learned any other music software? Do you have a network of people who can help you learn the music end?
In other words, if your five best friends all have DAW X and will help you get up to speed on it, that's a big item in favor of buying X.
+3 for Live.
Ableton Live + a commitment to learning via the tutorials will have you being a BEAST in no time. Serious. I looked at the demo, and was not impressed. Boy, was I wrong. I took the time to go through the tutorials, and I became a disciple.
I use Live as my main compositional tool for all the work I do - I typically export audio out to mix in Cubase 5 for my alternative/rock guitar based music to take advantage of better plugins such as Reverence convolution reverb and Variaudio pitch correction for voice, but I almost always stick to just using Live for my electronic music work for composition and mixdown.
Other good choices which are popular in that genre are FL Studio and Acid Pro. These all offer a lot of potential for loop based music and have many of the audio and MIDI features of traditional linear DAWS such as Logic, Cubase, Pro Tools and Sonar for adding your own vocals or musical performances.
In terms of ease of use, I would have to say that Live does have a little bit of a steeper learning curve than FL Studio/Producer and ACID but it also has more depth. In terms of Live performance, Ableton is very flexible with it's gapless audio engine and instant beat matching on the fly etc, especially in conjunction with the new Akai APC40 controller designed by AKAI and Ableton together - see this youtube clip, it takes 'playing a mixer/controller' to a new level for me ...
I have a lot of hands on time with Logic, Reaper, Cubase and GarageBand (blech). Some time with Pro Tools and Sonar, so maybe I can give you some perspective. They all do the same basic things: record audio, record midi and let you mix using FX plugins/ editing tools.
I don't love the way Logic works (the UI, menus, functions and manuals all kinda suck), but it doesn't have many limitations, except that it is mac only. It's got synths, FX and killer audio capabilities. Sculpture, one of the included synths, is freaking UNBELIEVABLE, seriously. You can't buy it and there's nothing like it. Best believe that.
Reaper is the cheapest and you can download and use it for free from their website without EVER being forced to pay the licensing fee (which I gladly did). It gets updated a lot, but it has bugs and gives me a headaches. It's what I use right now... a necessary (cheap) evil.
Cubase, to me, is one of the easier programs to work with and combined with Reason is a force to be reckoned with for beat-making, scoring and pop-production "in the box" (meaning without using a whole bunch of hardware). The manuals kick ass (which is a bigger deal than you think), it has huge audio capability and links up great with Reason (Reason is a program PACKED with synths, samplers, arpeggiators, FX, etc., but can't record actual audio like guitar or vocals). Cubase is not the most stable and drinks up more computer juice than most other DAWs.
Pro Tools LE is cool too, user-friendly, with lots of features. It isn't the "big dawg pro industry standard" like they tell you, Pro Tools HD (another hardware-linked version which can cost 10-25k to get running) is. It is a well-established program, not better or worse than the other big names necessarily, just different. The gear and plugins are 20-40% more expensive. I kind of like working in Pro Tools, but not enough to drop the extra cheese on gear.
FL Studio 8 gets used by a ton of amateur beatmakers and it's capable of getting the job done from what I've seen. But I've never personally used it, so I can't say more than that.
GarageBand is soooo easy to use. But it doesn't have many features and the sounds and FX it comes with are $*^t.
Other ones to look at are: Sonar, Ableton, Samplitude, the new Presonus DAW and Digital Performer, which I have little or no experience on.
My vote would be between Cubase or Sonar for PC and Logic for mac. If you don't have a lot of (or any) money get Reaper, with a free drum sampler and Synth1.
PS that Ableton guy is NUTSSSS!
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