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nsmadsen

15 Good DAWs

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I've been wondering how one particularly compares one DAW to another. I started with MixCraft 6 which was really easy to get into. I tried Reaper a bit but couldn't figure out how to get at the piano roll and/or the midi cc options for the longest time, and then when I did, I couldn't figure out how to get them to work.

 

I ended up working with Cubase 8.5 Pro and I sure don't know what that left to be desired. Expression maps, tempo tracks . . . well it seemed to do everything I needed with high-quality VST software (EW Hollywood and PLAY software).

 

I never used it for audio recording/editing though, so I don't know about that.

 

I just used it at my job, so I wonder if (in the future) I might be interested in a different one, though, if there's some sort of potential for improvement. I mean, I know some DAWs are more than twice the cost of Cubase and it all just makes me wonder what I don't know about how to pick a good DAW.

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I equate different DAWs to different car makes and models. Some of different features, some label things different but, at their core, they all do the same thing. And it largely comes down to the user's preferences and personal needs.

It's never a bad thing to get to know several DAWs. Myself, I work with:

  • Pro Tools 12 Native (when doing a lot of audio editing mainly),
  • Logic Pro X (this is my main DAW that I do composition, sound design and mixing in),
  • Reason 6.5 (I sometimes write in Reason or use Rewire to bring in sounds I love from Reason into Logic).

 

Each DAW has it own strengths and weaknesses.

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Pro Tools had made leaps and bounds of progress when it comes to MIDI support. But it's still VERY far behind the curve of other major DAWs. Where Pro Tools really excels at is audio editing. It's just so stream lined and effective. Better than any other DAW I've used and I've used a lot of them. Having said that, Avid's business model and the way they nickel and dime you is ridiculous.

 

I hear about more and more top list composers leaving Pro Tools for their actual work and using Cubase or Logic Pro. Then they'll use a Pro Tools rig to lay back the stems so the music editor(s) can work with a PT session on the sound stage.

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I hear more and more game companies using Reaper for all SFX-related. They write their own scripts to make it even more efficient. PT or similar is still used by them for some linear media stuff like cut-scenes but far less than before.

 

I've used Reaper now for a few years and I just love the audio editing easiness in it and apparently it's been a wise decision as it might be needed in future. I've also used Cubase and Pro Tools but not anymore.

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I hear more and more game companies using Reaper for all SFX-related. They write their own scripts to make it even more efficient. PT or similar is still used by them for some linear media stuff like cut-scenes but far less than before.

 

I've used Reaper now for a few years and I just love the audio editing easiness in it and apparently it's been a wise decision as it might be needed in future. I've also used Cubase and Pro Tools but not anymore.

In my time last year I had a rough time figuring out Reaper. I just couldn't figure out how to do composing with it. I had to REALLY dig to find where the midi CC options were hiding, and when I found them they wouldn't respond with the VST plugin I was using.

 

I did my most serious work with Cubase which seemed to have options galore. It took some doing to figure it out (as my first DAW for complex work) but didn't feel impossible like when I was trying to figure out Reaper.

 

 


 

Each DAW has it own strengths and weaknesses.

 

Yeah, I'm struggling to get specifics on what they are. ;) I got pretty used to Cubase Pro but I also feel new enough to wonder "what am I missing" or what I don't know. It sounds like people have various experiences and found their personal favorite spot.

 

I suppose my ears should only really perk up when someone declares that one DAW can clearly do something that another can't. Or, alternatively, could there be some benefit to using what's popular (or at least being familiar with it) for the sake of communicating with other people in the business?

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I'd say if you're using a Mac just use Logic Pro. Of course you can use whatever you want, but you won't find better quality software than that.

I don't use a Mac and I bought Reaper. It's great and can do (nearly?) everything Logic can, but it has a pretty steep learning curve for a beginner. But if you're in this for the long run I'd say just go for it.

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I myself use Acid Music Studio 10.0. Now admittedly it's not exactly the most stable DAW out there (it crashes frequently), and it's U.I. looks like something straight outta Windows 98. But it's cheap ($60 USD or so), and easy to use.

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I am surprised at the lack of support for FL Studio. I have the producer edition(about $200 at the time I believe), and it has proven itself to me over my time of ownership. At first I kind of had a trivial curiosity about music production(not music itself!), but as I took more interest in and and actually invested some time into it, Fruity loops has proven more than capable.

 

Its not just for techno or beats!(even though it is a bit geared for that...)

 

Oh and VST support is phenomenal. I have actually purchased(expensive =() a couple of professional VST suites with no issues at all using them in FL studio.

Edited by ExErvus

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I love working on Propellerheads Reason. It has improved and evolved over the years...the workflow is very smooth and it makes me focus more on creating music and tweaking my own patches. I spend more time arranging and sequencing (which is what we all should be doing) and not spending too much time with choosing which VSTs and plugins to use for a specific track like with other DAWs...it uses Rack Extensions instead of VST, AU, or RTAS. I'm not much into Rack Extensions. The default sound library and patches is enough for me to find sounds, loops, samples, and instruments that I need.

 

Lately, I discovered Maschine MK2 from Native Instruments. The hardware-software integration is seamless, you can use it standalone or as a plug-in on your favourite DAW.

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