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which DAW

Discussion in 'Recording' started by he-man, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. he-man

    he-man Guest

    Hi I've been reading a lot about software DAW's.

    I hear PT is famous across the industry, but surely they are talking about the H/TDM version with DSP? ..which can't be compared to the low budget LE version, where, I hear you still have to pay for extra features, like mp3 conversion or something? I also heard PT is basically a rip-off of Logic, so technically it's an option if I don't want to buy a Mac.

    I'm just starting out in the music tech game, but I do want software that will go the mile with me. Sure, there are upgrades available with most, but I can't justify spending thousands..ever! There must be a simpler way, especially as I don't want to over-produce anything (wouldn't know how to, anyway ;)

    I'd like to use virtual instruments to supplement 'real' instruments: digital piano, elec guitar and vocals, so not just virtual ones. It will be experimental, which brings Ableton to mind.. but how good are they with virtual instruments? But I could always get some extra add-ons.

    I'll be doing a lot of genres (apart from hip-hop, electro and rap).

    I'm almost considering getting a mac just so I can use Logic because all my friends rave on about it (even the salesman who studied 'PT' at college!) That said, I don't want to spark off another 'my software is better than yours' row ;) especially as that kind of post has been 'done to death.'

    I'm just getting lost in the whole war of Logic v. PT v. Cubase v. Ableton..but I'm sure there are very clear differences to the experienced user based on the type of music they're creating and what they can get out of software.

    Is Cubase good enough? Why is it more expensive than some of its competitors?
    Is PT LE worth its salt?
    Which DAW is user-friendly? I don't mind doing a course, but things should be logical too!

  2. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    for me logic has always been the most logical one in terms of usability. and it's a hell of a package for a very low price. if you already own a mac.
    i bought a mac just to be able to use logic and never regretted it.

    just my opinion..
  3. i have also recently looking to purchasing, and choosing... it's endless.

    at the end of the day, protools is proprietary. they make everything in house for themselves. the quality could be considered by some to be built in.

    however, logic and vst's could be considered a better way to go because they are sort of 'open-source'. the protocol was created by steinberg, but they let others know how to manipulate the code so that ANYONE can make a plug-in. my personal concern with that is i always wonder if the eq is really boosting 3K at 6db? is it? so, that's where i think protools may work better for me. keeps me focused on the job, not the cool 'any-can-happen' deal with VST's. VST's CAN also be designed by pro's too, but they cost money as they get better. but you COULD make a WICKED DAW with VST's.

    if you have any other questions, and IF you find my info fact-ful, PM me, i'm getting into buying REALLY soon. i could help out if you have more questions. or by all means, make another post.
  4. jg49

    jg49 Distinguished Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    There are great free and low cost VSTs available. How do you know if they are any good but trying them, by getting advice from experienced people. I am not telling you that this DAW is better than that but I would not choose one over another based on concerns about VST quality.

    Another thing you might want to consider is that if you purchase an interface it will probably come bundled with software.For many years Cubase was considered "the" software for Virtual Instruments by many in the industry but recent reviews seem to say this is no longer the case as many other platforms are greatly improved.

    I think that you may want to consider all three (or more) factors together computer, interface and software as one total "package" being certain that they all work well together and inside your budget. Also that they are growth compatible. Because nearly everyone who gets into this thinks I'm only going in this deep, and finds soon that they are in over their heads LOL
  5. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    logic uses audio units (au) not vst's. anyway, in the end it's the same, because you get most plugins by the "big" manufacturers in all three formats (vst, au and rtas for pro tools) together when you buy them. the programming code is the same, only the shell (think of it as an adapter for the various daws) is different.
    just that anyone can make a vst (or an au) doesn't mean they're not as good. there are some very good freeware plugins out there, but also a lot of crap.

    by the way, logic has everything you need to make professional recordings. you have at least as much integrated eq's, compressors, effects... with logic as with pro tools, and definitely more virtual instruments.

    if you go the tdm way with pro tools you'll be spending at least 30-40% more for a plugin than it's native version (vst, au, rtas) for basically the same thing...

    in the end it's just the workflow that matters. with which one do you feel more comfortable, what can the one do that the other can't or at least not as good?
  6. NCdan

    NCdan Guest

    I like Audition 3.0. It's rather cheap when compared to other software programs that essentially do the same thing. I will say the vst instruments (which is just amp sims, I think) suck. But while Audition might not necessarily be "the best" at anything, it is capable of doing everything with no additional purchases. Did I mention it was pretty cheap? Especially if you can get it from Studica. It's so cheap there I don't know how they are selling it for so little.
  7. try out demos if you can. Unfortunately, Cubase and Logic don't have demos but I would vouch for both as being very good.

    Ableton have a fully functional demo of Live and the additional Suite instruments for 14 days. As an owner and user of Live 6, Live 7 Suite and now beta testing Live 8, I can tell you that it hosts VST and AU plugins just fine.

    It's awesome software but has a very different feel to a linear DAW such as PTLE, CUbase, Logic, SOnar etc, with it's Session View and the GUI and workflow is not for everyone. But you can fully demo it for 2 weeks to see if it fits the bill. I use it for all of my composing and the majority of mixing tasks these days, although I also own Cubase SX3 and have access to Logic STudio 8 and PTHD3 systems at work.

    For the same reasons as mentioned above, I prefer not to use PTLE/M-Powered and also because it restricts you in terms of track counts, having no plugin delay compensation and ties you to MBox, Digi 01/02/03 or M-Audio interfaces only.
  8. he-man

    he-man Guest

    Thanks for sharing your experiences of your Daws with me :)

    Yeh Leedsquietman - I hear people seem to have 2 or maybe even 3 Daws they use side by side, so if one can't do something well, they use another compatible one. I also heard about some Daws encouraging a linear approach. Was it Logic that is "good if you write in a linear tape recorder way" (doesn't sound very creative!) I'll definitely try out the 14 day Ableton trial to see whether I prefer the non-linear. That would be helpful in choosing.

    .....No idea what you all mean about 'workflow' as I've never used one of these things. What does that mean in this sense?

    .....And as for the whole VST thing, I heard VST wrappers exist so you can convert your instrument format. Not sure whether conversion exists both ways though? Like you can't make a VST from the other formats, can you?

    From what I read I get the impression that PT is only cheap on the outside and makes its money back requiring payment for extra features.

    My digital piano deals with MIDI only. If I get a Daw that is non-midi, I'm guessing there must be converters out there? Or do I compromise sound quality with conversion?

  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    Let me chime in as a PTLe user. First, the biggest drawback is the tie to Mbox and/or Digi hardware. If that hardware suits you needs, it's a contender. If not, don't spend a lot of time trying to do a work-around of its limitations.

    They have just had a big upgrade to PT8. Track count has improved. The look of the interface is better, plugins are better, some nice new features. Check out the reviews.

    Unfortunately, the upgrade has temporarily devalued what in my mind was the huge advantage that PT had. Because of its position in the market, there are a ton of tutorials and "PT for Dummies" type manuals out there - many more than competing software. They can get you up the learning curve very quickly for $30-40. (They usually come with a DC of things to try.) I assume that new editions of the best will be out soon with info on PT8. But they are not out yet. You will either have to use a tutorial based on PT7, wait for a PT8 tutorial, or RTFM :shock: .
  10. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "If I get a Daw that is non-midi, I'm guessing there must be converters out there? Or do I compromise sound quality with conversion? "

    This will be defendant on which hardware audio interface you get and should have nothing to do with the recording software, or as many seem to call it for some reason, the daw.

    I have worked under the impressed upon impression for most of this century that the computer was the heart of a digital audio workstation, the software only being a part of that whole.

    But, it doesn't take much to impress me.
  11. fortune777

    fortune777 Guest

    Logic sounds really good. Would it be to huge though for a laptop?
  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Who knows?

    If you have a 20GB hard drive, you might struggle.
    If you have a 1TB Sata drive as your primary, then you won't need to worry about space (I hope).
  13. ouzo77

    ouzo77 Active Member

    Jan 16, 2006
    Nuremberg, Germany
    Home Page:
    not at all. i'm using it on my 2.2ghz macbook pro without problems. you should invest in a firewire800 harddrive for recording and a second if you're using huge sample libraries. you can daisy-chain the firewire drives.
  14. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    If your budget is limited I would say stick to your PC, and forget Pro Tools. There are a huge amount of good quality free plugins for PC, but these are almost all in VST format and won't work in PT without a wrapper. Also PT limits you to a small number of compatible interfaces.

    I would recommend Tracktion if you want a shallow learning curve. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity: I prefer to think of it as elegant, as its very powerful but doesn't make anything more complicated than it needs to be.

    Alternatively, Reaper is another very powerful app that will cost you considerably less than the other apps you mention. Its not as intuitive as Tracktion, but it has a totally unrestricted and un-time-limited demo, and a very reasonable license.


  15. Not bad advice - I forgot about Tracktion, which is quite good, although being a Cubase user for a long time, I am not a fan of it's GUI and it does lack some of the advanced features of the full versions of Cubase and Sonar.

    As for VSTs, you get the biggest choice of freebies (although much of this is not very good or stable), and the vast majority of the quality expensive plugins such as Waves, Sonnox, PSP and Sonalksis etc are all available.
  16. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Funny: I grew up with Cubase, and I love Tracktion's GUI. Reaper is laid out more like Cubase, so perhaps you would feel more at home there.

    Cubase and Sonar also lack some of the advanced features in Tracktion or Reaper. ;) Personally I find per-clip FX and freedom of routing more useful than things like MIDI score editing...
  17. Sure this stuff is all objective. MIDI is massive to my workflow, so that is mostly where Reaper and Tracktion still have some catching up to do, although they are both improving with each release.

    Reaper has amazing routing, to be fair, STeinberg vastly improved routing in Cubase 4.1 so it is now almost as flexible. If Reaper had been around 5 years ago, I would probably never have invested in Cubase, but given that I did, I use it because of that. I have lots of praise for both Reaper and Tracktion for making the big boys pay attention and keeping them on their toes, making good quality products for much less. I would definately advise against getting a cut down version of Cubase or Sonar in favour of either of those.
  18. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    I have recently moved from Cubase Sx3 to Reaper
  19. I have Logic and Ableton. I wouldn't really record into Ableton, but it is awesome as a songwriting/live performance tool.

    The package that you get with Logic for the price is pretty stellar. For 500 bucks you get high quality audio recording, no track limitations, really nice effects plug ins, plus tens of GB of loops, samples, and really good software instruments.

    On a PC, the new versions of PT come close...they are really pushing the production end of things. Hopefully Logic catches up on the audio side and implements something like elastic audio in its next release....
  20. SeniorFedup

    SeniorFedup Guest

    i just put a post on the cibase or sonar thread if you want to look at my opinion of cubase 4.5

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