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Topic: Daw

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  1. #1

    Daw

    I am not a novice when it comes to music or to Finale. But I am a novice when it comes to selecting and integrating a DAW into my work. From the research I've conducted, I've boiled things down to Reaper, Cubase, or Sonar.

    Any suggestions on which DAW to choose? Perhaps the 30-day trials of all? And would it be beneficial to begin with Cubase Elements or Sonar X1 Essential, or is jumping in with both feet a wiser choice?

    Thanks.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  2. #2

    Re: Daw

    Naturally people will recommend whatever program they're using and are loyal to. I'm a Sonar user - Sad to say I can't as heartily recommend Sonar now as before X1. The best Sonar programs, imho, are no longer available. But even so, natch I'll say try the X1 demo and give it a good try.

    But I'm sure you'd probably be just as happy with the other choices you listed. All of these programs are very much the same. You just need basic MIDI tools and audio tools, and all DAW software can provide those.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Daw

    Like Randy said, you're going to have to ultimately decide this for yourself; any suggestion might be a tad subjective.

    I would definitely check out trial versions of what you're considering. Take it slow and don't jump in right away. Download associated manuals to help answer any questions. (Most DAWs have online help too.)

  4. #4

    Re: Daw

    I found that sound recording is a whole new world as compared to just being able to reading music along with some music theory. There are a lot of daws out there that are favorites to some as Randy points out. You might want to give Audacity a try just to get your feet wet. It's free and it's been recommended to me. I haven't tried it because I already had others. With no prior experience, I knew it would be a long learning curve for me so I'm not interested in trying a new daw right not. good luck in your search.

    stan

  5. #5

    Re: Daw

    Quote Originally Posted by shastastan View Post
    ...There are a lot of daws out there that are favorites to some as Randy points out. You might want to give Audacity a try just to get your feet wet. It's free and it's been recommended to me...
    Stan, I need to point out that Audacity isn't DAW software, it's an audio editor - which is a different animal. It's great, and it's on my list of cool free things in this week's Tip of The Week round up of good freebies.

    The difference is that in recording programs like Sonar, Cubase, Reaper - you're in a multi-track environment, with crucial MIDI editing capabilities, as well as the ability to do sophisticated audio editing and mixing. In the full fledged versions of those programs, you can work with 100's of tracks at a time.

    A sound editor, like Audacity, is for mastering 2-channel* mixes. You can do a lot of things with Audacity, Sound Forge, and other programs in the audio editor category - but you can't produce ARIA driven productions of the sort that we do in our DAW programs.

    With an audio editor, you put the finishing touches on your mix output from either DAW software or notation software.

    EDIT: As per Matt "Silh's" post below, "2-channel" is a more accurate, less confusing term to use than my original "2-track."

    Randy

  6. #6
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Daw

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    I am not a novice when it comes to music or to Finale. But I am a novice when it comes to selecting and integrating a DAW into my work. From the research I've conducted, I've boiled things down to Reaper, Cubase, or Sonar.

    Any suggestions on which DAW to choose? Perhaps the 30-day trials of all? And would it be beneficial to begin with Cubase Elements or Sonar X1 Essential, or is jumping in with both feet a wiser choice?

    Thanks.
    You might also check out Studio One from Presonus if you haven't already. They have a free demo and three versions.

  7. #7

    Re: Daw

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Stan, I need to point out that Audacity isn't DAW software, it's an audio editor - which is a different animal. It's great, and it's on my list of cool free things in this week's Tip of The Week round up of good freebies.

    The difference is that in recording programs like Sonar, Cubase, Reaper - you're in a multi-track environment, with crucial MIDI editing capabilities, as well as the ability to do sophisticated audio editing and mixing. In the full fledged versions of those programs, you can work with 100's of tracks at a time.

    A sound editor, like Audacity, is for mastering 2-track mixes. You can do a lot of things with Audacity, Sound Forge, and other programs in the audio editor category - but you can't produce ARIA driven productions of the sort that we do in our DAW programs.

    With an audio editor, you put the finishing touches on your mix output from either DAW software or notation software.

    Randy
    G'day Randy. I never really have given Audacity much of a try. I'm glad I didn't if it only works with 2 tracks. I mainly use Real Band but also have and use Mixcraft 6. I think there are a number of daws that let you try before you buy, but I don't know if they allow all of the features to work. Mixcraft allows a 30-day trial. I'm using GPO with Real Band with no problems. Real Band is not free though

  8. #8
    Senior Member Silh's Avatar
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    Re: Daw

    Audacity is designed around one thing, which it does quite well, and that is playing with digital audio. However, as noted, it is not a DAW, and does not handle MIDI at all. But, it's great for mixing a whole bunch of wave files together, fading in and out as needed, tweaking volume envelopes, time offsetting, cropping, and a whole lot of other things.

    To clarify a bit of possible confusion about Randy's mention of '2 tracks', Audacity is mainly used for 2-channel (ie. stereo) audio editing, however you can take as many (2-channel stereo or mono) 'tracks' as you want (theoretically ... I have managed to crash [an old version of] Audacity before when using way too many tracks at once) and edit/mix them together. I remember reading somewhere about surround mixing on it, but I have never looked into it, so I can't comment on if it does that at all.

    It's quite a capable program; perhaps a downside of it is that ASIO support is not included by default due to conflicts with the Steinberg licensing of ASIO, though the user is free to compile from the source code and include ASIO support for personal use only if they want to do so... probably only required if one really needs the low latency for playback and recording in Audacity... but I think most of the editing people use it for doesn't really require it.

    But back to the DAW question, it really is a matter of personal preference and workflow... which one of them lets you do what you want/need in the most comfortable (perhaps fastest? if working on projects under time constraints) way, and the best way to find that out is to spend some time using them.
    -- Matt Wong

  9. #9

    Re: Daw

    Thanks, all, for the advice. I used COMB, but that "midi organ effect" turned my off. I stopped using COMB (my main focus is concert band) when I ran into this problem, and for various reasons, never returned to solve the issue. Now it's time. My plan now is first to reacquaint myself with COMB2. Then I'll be using 30-day trials with a few DAWs.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  10. #10

    Re: Daw

    Quote Originally Posted by Silh View Post
    Audacity is designed around one thing, which it does quite well, and that is playing with digital audio. However, as noted, it is not a DAW, and does not handle MIDI at all. But, it's great for mixing a whole bunch of wave files together, fading in and out as needed, tweaking volume envelopes, time offsetting, cropping, and a whole lot of other things.

    To clarify a bit of possible confusion about Randy's mention of '2 tracks', Audacity is mainly used for 2-channel (ie. stereo) audio editing, however you can take as many (2-channel stereo or mono) 'tracks' as you want...and edit/mix them together...
    Excellent, thanks, Matt - I've edited my original post to say "2 channel" instead of "2 track." I'm in the potentially confusing habit of referring to exported mixes as "2 track masters" when, as you say, it's more accurate to say "2 channel" i.e. stereo.

    You've described Audacity well. It's a dedicated audio editing program. The distinction between that and a full multi-track audio/MIDI recording program can be unclear to a newbie who hasn't used either kind of program yet.

    Here's something interesting about Audacity - I've become aware in recent months of groups producing radio style dramas online. The people in the group I've started to get involved with, Pendant Audio, almost without exception use only audio editors to put the shows together, and Audacity is the program they refer their newbies to.

    When I went through a class to get oriented to the way they assemble their shows, the man in charge of the class said he'd never worked with someone using Sonar. I was surprised - these shows are comprised of dialogue tracks recorded by people all over the country, and the director/editor of a show needs to mix all those pieces of audio together with sound effects and music - Seems like the kind of project where a multi-track audio program like Sonar or Cubase is a must.

    But no, these folks put all that together in Audacity and other audio editors - importing all the tracks, and then doing as you've described, Matt, doing all the mixing in that audio editor environment where audio clips are all disconnected and free floating from each other. I can't imagine! SO much easier in an actual recording program like Sonar.

    Quote Originally Posted by gogreen1 View Post
    Thanks, all, for the advice. I used COMB, but that "midi organ effect" turned my off. I stopped using COMB (my main focus is concert band) when I ran into this problem, and for various reasons, never returned to solve the issue. Now it's time. My plan now is first to reacquaint myself with COMB2. Then I'll be using 30-day trials with a few DAWs.
    That's a very good move, Arthur "gogreen1," to try out some DAW software programs so you can find out which one you may prefer.

    Some basic questions about using MIDI in any of those programs may very well come up, so please feel free to post questions here on that topic when and if they come up during your trials.

    It's been noted that using COMB seems to work best in DAW software, where it can be a powerful addition to someone's virtual instrument collection. I remember when it first came out, it was quickly discovered that the best way to layer its instruments was by using small timing offsets on the MIDI tracks, avoiding having instrument envelopes always opening at the same time together - that's the source of the "organ effect."

    Best if fortunes in your explorations, Arthur.

    footnote - "DAW" stands for Digital Audio Workstation, and refers to the hardware set up in a computer oriented studio. All sorts of software can be used in set ups like that, with audio/MIDI recording programs, audio editors, and notation programs being the most common. Usually when people refer to "DAW software," they're talking about audio/MIDI recording programs like Sonar, Cubase and Pro Tools. And it's become common to just say "DAW" when referring to those programs, but it's not actually accurate.

    Here's a typical looking DAW:



    Randy

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