What DAW are you using, and how would you review it?

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Currently I'm trialing Cubase Pro 9, and have been a long time Logic user (since 7).  I've also been using Studio One 3 this year though some frustrations with it have led to me doing the 30 day Cubase trial to see if the grass is greener anywhere else.

So what DAW are you using, and why?  Does it have any limitations that affect you, or general things that you'd want improved?
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 1806
    I have used Cubase for about  8 years, and totally love it, wav manipulation is fantastic it's well laid out, and easy (ish) to use, I see a daw a bit like windows these days, it's a gateway to my other programs and not something I worry too much  about,  as within Cubase my vsts and plugging do alot of the hard work, however I would love to upgrade to Cubase 9 but for amatuer production I won't be spending 500 quid... So I'll stick what I'm using :) 
    www.deadhappyband.com
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  • Danny1969Danny1969 Frets: 2895
    My work is all generally multitracks of real audio such as real drums and recorded pianos, keys, guitars  rather than virtual instruments or samples so I still use Protools,  as it's the best tracking combination of software and hardware if you need multiple monitoring with zero latency. 
    I also have Samplitude, Studio One, Reaper and Cubase but Protools gets the most use. All are extremely powerful in what they can do with a modern computer 
    www.2020studios.co.uk 
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  • equalsqlequalsql Frets: 2684
    edited June 8
    I use and recommend Cockos Reaper. It's an incredibly powerful DAW at a very low price: $60.

    It can seem daunting to new users, but actually it's quite easy to use.

    The trial version IS the actual full version, registration is honour based. There is a great user community and loads of free training videos.  It supports all the usual plug-in standards and comes with a decent selection of signal processing VSTs.

    Natively it is perhaps not as pretty as other DAWs but because the theme-engine is open to 3rd party developers there are plenty of superb free themes available built by enthusiastic supporters.

    If there is a down side it's that no VST instruments are supplied.

    My only big criticism of Reaper is that is does not support MIDI feedback to controllers natively.

    It is supported when using the Mackie protocols so controllers like the Icon QCon, Panama 4 keyboard work fine with their supported implementations, but if you are using something like the MIDI Fighter Twister rotary controller, if you make a change to a mapped controller input on the screen, it is not reflected back on the physical controller's display. However recently someone has scripted a tempory(?) solution to this.
    see:

    http://forum.cockos.com/showthread.php?t=94384&page=5

    (pronounced: equal-sequel)   "I suffered for my art.. now it's your turn"
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  • stratman3142stratman3142 Frets: 539
    edited June 8
    I've been using Reaper for nearly 10 years (since version 1.888). It was my first DAW. I feel like (musical recording wise) I've grown up with it.

    I stuck with it in the early days because it had a good and helpful user community. The Reaper forum was the first forum I joined. Also, I enjoyed sharing knowledge and taking part in music collaborations on the forum.

    Now I stay with it because it does everything I need and has been super reliable. I like the idea that's it's got a small development team and it doesn't seemed to be weighed down with big company bloat.

    I find it very logical and easy to use at a basic level but maybe that's partly because I haven't used other DAWs, so I approached it as as open book. I probably haven't scratched to surface of what it's really capable of and still occasionally go back and work through the excellent Kenny Gioia videos. Plus there's an excellent manual written by Nicholas.

    It's not a competition
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 11997
    I'm on Cubase Pro 9 .. been with Steinberg since the 1990s. It does everything I want in a DAW, is rock solid and stable and not CPU hungry.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 80
    I'm another Cubase guy, Pro 8 for me - mostly because I've been using Cubase since it was on the Atari. I've also got Ableton Live which is great for getting ideas together, however once I get a basic structure I export the tracks and finish off in Cubase.
    The dongle is a PITA, however.
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  • TimmyOTimmyO Frets: 2490
    Logic - I could never think about spending c. £500 on one of the other top-flight DAWs when I don't earn money from it. For Mac owners I think Logic is a bit of a no-brainer
    "It's OK, I've got a baguette..."
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 370
    Using Reaper at the moment. I used M-Audio Protools for a while and prefer it, but that business with the dongle and M-Audio only interfaces annoyed me.
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  • IMC1980IMC1980 Frets: 10
    I got an old sealed copy of Sonar 8 producer and was able to get a cheap upgrade path with it to Sonar X3 a couple of years back, dealt with the learning curve and moved to Sonar Platinum with lifetime updates last year.

    I have only ever used Sonar, but for the most part, I love it. The Pro Channel is great to use, especially the EQ, the 1176 and SSL 4K bus compressor.

    There are a few quirks that irritate; the "undo" function does not list the correct previous action and sometimes bus automation reads can fail, but overall I am happy with it. Plus, with monthly updates, there is a consistent stream of new features and bug fixes, so you don't have to wait for the annual update.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    To those running Cubase - do you feel the zoom is sluggish compared to other programs?  Honestly it's really bugging me.  The whole experience of moving about it so much more cumbersome than Studio One and Logic (and the sessions I have in both of those have more tracks and more plugins, so it's not that)
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 1806
    edited June 9
    The best thing to zoom I find  is use the button which shows the over all track at the top you can then zoom in really quickly, 
    www.deadhappyband.com
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 658
    Studio One Pro here....been through Cubase and Sonar...@guitarfishbay....what are your frustrations with S1 ?


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
    Presonus Studio One Pro.
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  • digitalscreamdigitalscream Frets: 10401
    Reaper here. I tried a few different DAWs when I first started with the Eleven Rack - Pro Tools, Cubase etc - and just didn't "get" it. Nothing really clicked until I tried Reaper, and everything instantly came together. The whole interface is incredibly logical to my mind, and the price is incredible for the features you get (not least the ability to split the processing across multiple machines). Not only that, but when you buy a licence you also get all the upgrades for the next two versions.

    As an added bonus...even if you don't buy Reaper, you can download the entire plugin pack for free for use with any other DAW that supports VSTs.
    "Mains is ouchy if you get it up you" - Sporky
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889
    edited June 9
    spark240 said:
    Studio One Pro here....been through Cubase and Sonar...guitarfishbay....what are your frustrations with S1 ?

    @spark240   Studio One 3 frustrations

    Crossfade behaviour - no option to change default crossfade size, which is almost always too large and crossing over my transients.  When inserting a new crossfade after cutting an event with a crossfade on the other side already it resets the existing fade when inserting the new one.  My initial reason for getting Studio One was to suppliment Logic with slip editing, but I feel I spend as much time adjusting fades as I do actually slipping.  In Cubase cross fading can be either auto on split, or you can insert a manual fade (with a preset length) and adding a new fade on an event that has a fade on the other side leave the existing fade alone...

    Paste behaviour on existing sections - in Logic using the marquee tool makes this pretty seamless over the top of the old section, however in Studio One I have to delete before I paste otherwise when I crossfade it'll take the underneath events into account and cross fade with those.  A minor thing but annoying nonetheless.

    Group behaviour - Having to press alt to select every time I want to do an action independent of a group is slow and frustrating.  In Logic I can select which actions I want grouped and which I don't, which seems ideal to me.  

    General 3.5 issues:

     - Level meter plugin in my inserts no longer works during tracking under green Z and only works during playback, making it useless.  I have to pull up the console now to look at the input meter there, wasting screen space.  

    - Encountered bug where sound was being monitored but not recorded, I had to remove and set up inputs again, despite the fact nothing has changed.  This bug happened between sessions already in 3.5, so wasn't caused by updating to 3.5.

    - Not a fan of the new default monitoring behaviour (unable to hear recorded audio when record/monitor enabled) but I've just discovered you should be able to get it to auto monitor on punch in which would be the same behaviour as Cubase so acceptable to me...


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  • SporkySporky Frets: 10775
    FL Studio - I bought it when it was FruityLoops and have had free upgrades ever since.

    I like it; I originally wanted a PC-based drum machine, more or less, but the audio recording that's been added is straightforward, it integrates fine with Kontakt and NS Kit and there are plenty of free generators and (of course) VSTs and so on.
    Ich bin ein Hamburgler.
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 80
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    To those running Cubase - do you feel the zoom is sluggish compared to other programs?  Honestly it's really bugging me.  The whole experience of moving about it so much more cumbersome than Studio One and Logic (and the sessions I have in both of those have more tracks and more plugins, so it's not that)
    I use a combination of the overview (as suggested above) and the G and H keys on the keyboard to zoom in and out - seems pretty easy to me, but perhaps that's just long familiarity. I haven't used Logic since you could get it for PC, and I have just recently tried Studio 1 for a change, but haven't had the chance to play with it much - also the first thing I did was to use the Cubase keyboard shortcuts! Studio 1 looks like it will be excellent for mastering.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889
    It's not difficult, it's slower.  As in if I hit zoom in 5 times on Logic or S1 it's happening really quick.  If I do it on Cubase it takes twice as long.  If i send a load of zoom key commands in one go Cubase will actually lag and take a while to complete all actions.  This doesn't happen in S1 or Logic - both of which I have far larger projects in.  Scrolling about is also quite clunky compared to S1 and Logic.  

    I found this thread which at least shows they're aware of the slow GUI https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=115038
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 658
    spark240 said:
    Studio One Pro here....been through Cubase and Sonar...guitarfishbay....what are your frustrations with S1 ?

    @spark240   Studio One 3 frustrations

    Crossfade behaviour - no option to change default crossfade size, which is almost always too large and crossing over my transients.  When inserting a new crossfade after cutting an event with a crossfade on the other side already it resets the existing fade when inserting the new one.  My initial reason for getting Studio One was to suppliment Logic with slip editing, but I feel I spend as much time adjusting fades as I do actually slipping.  In Cubase cross fading can be either auto on split, or you can insert a manual fade (with a preset length) and adding a new fade on an event that has a fade on the other side leave the existing fade alone...

    Paste behaviour on existing sections - in Logic using the marquee tool makes this pretty seamless over the top of the old section, however in Studio One I have to delete before I paste otherwise when I crossfade it'll take the underneath events into account and cross fade with those.  A minor thing but annoying nonetheless.

    Group behaviour - Having to press alt to select every time I want to do an action independent of a group is slow and frustrating.  In Logic I can select which actions I want grouped and which I don't, which seems ideal to me.  

    General 3.5 issues:

     - Level meter plugin in my inserts no longer works during tracking under green Z and only works during playback, making it useless.  I have to pull up the console now to look at the input meter there, wasting screen space.  

    - Encountered bug where sound was being monitored but not recorded, I had to remove and set up inputs again, despite the fact nothing has changed.  This bug happened between sessions already in 3.5, so wasn't caused by updating to 3.5.

    - Not a fan of the new default monitoring behaviour (unable to hear recorded audio when record/monitor enabled) but I've just discovered you should be able to get it to auto monitor on punch in which would be the same behaviour as Cubase so acceptable to me...


    Ok, I see, cant say as Ive used crossfades too much so not so much of an issue for me, I suppose as its the only DAW I use now I cant compare to anything else ;-)


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
    Presonus Studio One Pro.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889
    To be honest, given how slow and clunky the GUI is in Cubase I'm not really gaining much with the autofades/default fade options over doing all the extra actions in S1 anyway.  I'm going to continue to use it over the full 30 day trial, but unless there's an update fixing the sluggishness I'd be unlikely to buy a license.
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 1839
    PT but if I had to start over I'd buy Reaper
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 11997
    To be honest, given how slow and clunky the GUI is in Cubase I'm not really gaining much with the autofades/default fade options over doing all the extra actions in S1 anyway.  I'm going to continue to use it over the full 30 day trial, but unless there's an update fixing the sluggishness I'd be unlikely to buy a license.
    What video card have you got? I get no sluggish response - it smooth and very fast. You can customise your views and save them - it's about setting up the workflow that suits you.
    My pump-action drivel gun is smoking hot today!
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  • GilgaFrankGilgaFrank Frets: 21
    I've used Cubase since it came on two floppy disks for the Atari 1040. The computer has changed to a Windows PC and it's a few versions on but it's still Cubase for me.

    I've got Reason installed but I use it more as an expansion for Cubase. Also bought Reaper but I just find it to be a badly laid-out mess most of the time, things are never where I expect them to be so I end up using Cubase every time.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889
    Fretwired said:
    To be honest, given how slow and clunky the GUI is in Cubase I'm not really gaining much with the autofades/default fade options over doing all the extra actions in S1 anyway.  I'm going to continue to use it over the full 30 day trial, but unless there's an update fixing the sluggishness I'd be unlikely to buy a license.
    What video card have you got? I get no sluggish response - it smooth and very fast. You can customise your views and save them - it's about setting up the workflow that suits you.

    I seem to have got to the bottom of it, went through the menu unchecking anything unecessary and it seems it might be something to do with hitpoints.  Whatever it was, it's working more smoothly now
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  • duotoneduotone Frets: 148
    StudioOne user here. Tbh I haven't spent enough time with it yet to be able to use it confidently, am still very much in the beginning stages. 

    Using StudioOne as it came with my Presonus audio interface I bought, mainly bought that one as it works with iPad & PC, most of the other ones seemed to only work with one or the other & I didn't want to end up buying another one further down the line.

    Am tempted to try Reaper due to all the praise it gets on here, but will resist and persevere with what I have.  It definitely does way more than I would need to use it for, but I guess that's the good thing, that once you have it you can pretty much use it for any project 
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 1283
    Apple Logic Pro X. (Began with Logic 8.)

    @guitarfishbay What - other than lassitude or a change of host computer - prompted you to consider abandoning Logic? 
    I fear the Geeks, even when they bear GIFs.
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  • blobbblobb Frets: 415
    Record into Cubase, mix in Mixbus.
    Feelin' Reelin' & Squeelin'
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 5889

    Multiple issues, mostly around editing.

    No slip edit

    Fades not as user friendly as other programs

    Restrictive way of handling comping versus other programs

    Historical poor waveform drawing - though this is fixed in 10.3 for me. Previously it would draw as a blob until zoomed in super close, making it hard to see anything

    Flextime bugs - unsure if these are now fixed but I prefer slip editing by hand anyway.

    Track limit, which seems arbitrary given you can power off tracks. 

    --------

    It wasn't purely based on negatives, some of the reasons I checked out Studio One 3 were

    Scratch Pads. Super useful for A/Bing things, have used it a lot when writing vocal harmonies. 

    Instant access to Melodyne including at take level. However in practice just having slip on the event level of comping has meant I've not needed this, though theoretically it is still an advantage as Notes could be stretched in Melodyne across take boundaries.

    Event FX with recall of original audio. Kind of like an easily reversible bounce in place
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  • TTBZTTBZ Frets: 396
    edited June 11
    Reaper here. I tried a few different DAWs when I first started with the Eleven Rack - Pro Tools, Cubase etc - and just didn't "get" it. Nothing really clicked until I tried Reaper, and everything instantly came together. The whole interface is incredibly logical to my mind, and the price is incredible for the features you get (not least the ability to split the processing across multiple machines). Not only that, but when you buy a licence you also get all the upgrades for the next two versions.

    As an added bonus...even if you don't buy Reaper, you can download the entire plugin pack for free for use with any other DAW that supports VSTs.
    Agree with all this, plus what @stratman3142 says. I've used Reaper for years and to me the layout is the most logical of all the DAWs. That said I'm hardly a "power user" - I rarely use more than 4-5 tracks for the kind of thing I record. I used Pro Tools a lot at uni, more for audio for video (5.1 mixes and all that stuff) but still not a huge fan of it, to me it just feels clunky. If I was in a proper studio environment I can see how it'd be useful though, the engineer we recorded with yesterday was a wizz with it and made it all look effortless. I'm sure you can probably get Reaper to behave in a similar way if you want though.

    Oh and Ableton is disgusting, what a cluttered horrid mess.
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  • wave100wave100 Frets: 80
    TTBZ said:


    Oh and Ableton is disgusting, what a cluttered horrid mess.
    I think you are doing Ableton a disservice - it has a different work flow to Reaper and more "time line" oriented DAWs but is excellent for throwing some loops together quickly if you are doing more "dancy" tunes. I am in the process of finishing an album, all the tracks (except 1) were started in Ableton then exported to Cubase to be finished off. I also record more song based material for which Ableton is not the best choice (for me anyway, I suspect more experienced Ableton users might not find this to be the case.)

    I also have the intention of performing some of my album live, for which I will be exporting loops from Cubase then using Ableton to play them back as required. It's all about choosing the best tool for the job.
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  • frank1985frank1985 Frets: 414
    FL studio user here...I know there are probably better DAWs out there but it looks pretty and is very intuitive.  
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