On Choosing A DAW

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On Choosing A DAW

Post by mojobone » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:25 pm

The question comes up all the time and we often say it doesn't matter; they all sound the same, they tend to have similar features and really it all does come down to workflow and how you actually make your music; whether you play everything in sequentially or all at once, enter it as notes on staves or build it up with tracks and loops, workflow matters, because at the end of the day what you want is to be productive, to efficiently make use of your limited time. And it's rare to find an article about this rather esoteric subject as compared to whether Beyonce or any given Kardashian is knocked up, so here you go...


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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by Pvgeldrop » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:35 pm

Helpful article, interesting to see the pros and cons listed so clearly. I wonder how many people choose their DAW and how many just run into one and stick with it? I got started with Nuendo many years ago by chance and stuck with Steinberg since. I know my way around, and for a DAW, that counts as well in terms of efficiency.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by WeWillWriteUaSong » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:28 pm

Cool article. I've always liked this topic ever since I started with DAWs back in 1999. I had demo's of Pro Tools, Logic (before it was apple), and Cakewalk Pro Audio. Pro Tools never spoke to me. Logic was cool back then. But I absolutely fell in love with Cakewalk. I used it for 15+ years. Up to Sonar. X1, X2, X3..

Then it seemed to become a war between daws to grab new users. Pro Tools finally updated their archaic software. Ableton and such. All of a sudden Sonar jumped on the bandwagon and did a strange update to Sonar Platinum. They went to subscription model and the update just didn't seem worth it to me. All of a sudden I found myself demo'ing new software. I was scared haha. I found myself on StudioOne. Touchdown. I switched, taught S1 all the shortcut keys the way I liked them and I have never looked back.

I honestly never thought I'd switch from Sonar (also now not listed in this list). So its weird when Daw makers try so hard to grab new customers, ultimately ignoring their core users. Presonus has a great forum where users bug fixes and requests are implemented quite quickly. I guess sometimes it pays to be the new kid on the block.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by mojobone » Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:44 pm

They tend to leave Sonar out cuz unlike just about everything else these days, it's Windows-only, but I hear a Mac version is in the works, maybe already available.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by hummingbird » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:04 pm

I've used Tracktion from the get-go. It's straightforward to use, works with all my VSTs and gear. And is reasonably priced. I like the plug-ins too. I tried Cubase a few times, it was like flying a plane... I decided I didn't have time to try to figure it out, so went back to Tracktion.

The only issue I have with Tracktion is I can't seem to play a movie file in it while scoring to picture. But since that doesn't come up very often... (like almost never), I'm not too worried about it atm.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by mojobone » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:25 am

I'm also a longtime Tracktioneer; Studio One basically reinvented Tracktion, only not as good nor as cheap. Even the free version T5 accepts third-party plugins, even Garageband (AU) plugins. They're pretty similar, except you can bus any track to any other track or track pair, bus multiple tracks to any track or pair, etc. So submixing is pretty much built in-make whatever kind of mixer you need, same goes for side-chaining; the Racks system is a simplified Opcode Max.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by Len911 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:54 pm

Choosing a daw today, price and both mac and windows compatible? If you buy an expensive daw, I'd prefer one both mac and windows, 'cause you never know which OS you might be using. Linux isn't there yet, not many third party plugins support it.

I use Cubase. Seems pretty complete and stable.

Pro Tools seems to have too many versions, and the expensive one is well, too expensive. Back in 2009 I remember $9,000 systems with computer cards. Yikes, probably close to worthless today.

They left a big one off the list that is now also windows, Motu's Digital Performer

Then there's Samplitude Pro X3. It comes with Sound Forge Pro 11. Seems like a gamble with Magix at the helm though. I wouldn't trust it for support or fixing bugs, though, it might have otherwise been a contender for first place?
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by jonnybutter » Thu Feb 02, 2017 6:59 pm

Mainly a Logic user, but Tracktion's great (and a fantastic value), and I agree with Len - Digital Performer is a fine DAW. I used it for years.

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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by mojobone » Mon Feb 06, 2017 1:39 pm

Tracktion has a Linux version; it's reportedly pretty stable.
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Re: On Choosing A DAW

Post by ernstinen » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:16 pm

I was REALLY surprised they left out MOTU's Digital Performer! I've used Performer for sequencing ever since 1985, on a Mac Classic (like you see sitting on the desk by Seinfeld's front door --- and people now make them into aquariums). For sequencing, it's unbeatable (at least for me, since I know it like the palm of my right hand, so to speak LOL!).

I remember when I used to frequent this forum, I always talked about using Pro Tools for recording and Digital Performer for sequencing. The feedback was overwhelming: "Why don't you choose just ONE? Why use BOTH of them?" Good question, and I really didn't have an answer, other than I had sequenced on DP for so long, and felt that PT was the industry standard for actual audio recording. So I continued to use both, but ran into a problem: They're incompatible with each other... And I heard that PT's sequencing capabilities kinda sucked. Since I knew both programs, I agree that it was time to choose just one.

Very recently, I decided on Digital Performer. The reasons were 1.) I do mostly sequencing of multiple samples, especially when creating orchestral works (that could have up to 100 tracks per piece) and 2.) DP allows me to sequence the basics, and then record audio like guitars and vocals alongside the sequence... Sure, you can do that on other DAWs, but spending 30 years with Performer made it kind of a no-brainer for me.

I'll let y'all know how I like the recording capabilities of Digital Performer. So far, it's not as obvious as Pro Tools how to edit, but I'll figure it out.

Cheers!

Ern 8-)

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