Another "which new DAW" question / workflow based

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Hope all are well.  Looking to tap into the collective knowledge here.

Recently switched from an aged Mac to Win 10 and just bought  new interface.  Historically have done multitracking, song based recording.  But now am less band / song focused.

Most of my enjoyment comes from noodling in alt tunings and building up progressions based on this so I was wondering about building a DAW/workflow around this.  Usually i would pass my stuff onto someone else for melody / lyrics / structure, but I am wondering if technology could help me with this next level.

So the ability to record 15 minutes of noodling.
Being able to edit this down into segments.
Building drums and synth melodies over this.  Drums played live from a Roland kit.  Or all from a built in synth / sequencer.
The ability to flexibly arrange the result.

I was thinking along the lines of something of Ableton.  I did download this for the mac, but a combination of it being a bit alien, and too much for the mid 2009 macbook (despite it being pimmped with SSD and RAM) didn't really inspire.

What say you?  Ableton or another?


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  • octatonicoctatonic Frets: 27635
    edited June 27
    Tried Reaper?

    Otherwise Studio One, Nuendo/Cubase.
    You may want to consider an updated computer if you intend on running a lot of VI's.
    An 11 year old computer will cope with a fair amount of audio but modern VI's are very processor and RAM intensive.
    http://uptheoctave.com
    Audio Production Reviews and Technique.
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  • lysanderlysander Frets: 432
    I would recommend studio one - probably the simplest workflow for recording and overdubbing real instruments.
    If you want to go heavily into loops,
    look into ableton live, but it’s less intuitive and more suited to midi than audio.
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  • Bill_SBill_S Frets: 62
    I do a fair amount of what you describe in Studio One pro. Been my DAW of choice for a few years. Very solid, and intuitive 
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  • Ableton isn't really a guitarist friendly DAW tbh. It'll take some noodling sure, but if you want to comp stuff together or do any serious editing, it really isn't too great at that.

    I'd suggest Studio One. There is a free version you can try out, and then they have various tiers of entry. But it's a very easy DAW to use and very user friendly.

    Reaper is a madman. It can do anything to do with audio that you would ever want to do, but it's quite tricky to get your head around and is so customizeable that you'll waste half your life doing that side of things. So I'd suggest other hosts before that one.
    TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE DISASTER
    Anyone who attempts to silence you and prevent you from asking questions on complicated topics, is intent on deceiving you with simplistic answers.

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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 491
    lysander said:
    I would recommend studio one - probably the simplest workflow for recording and overdubbing real instruments.
    If you want to go heavily into loops,
    look into ableton live, but it’s less intuitive and more suited to midi than audio.
    Ableton is the only DAW I've known since getting a 'lite' version with my first ever interface.

    For the OP, there are two sides to Ableton (toggled via the tab key):
    • Arrangement view - the traditional 'recording straight into tracks' approach
    • Session view - you're still looking at the same tracks but this view is geared towards recording 'clips' (which can be looped...and everything, regardless of length, plays nicely). You can build up different versions of clips on each of your tracks (one-click...next take...no stopping) and execute them manually in any order you like or compose them into scenes. A very effective workflow for developing ideas. You can leave it there if you like or you can drag clips into the Arrangement view...or you can hit record and 'play' your clips/scenes into the Arrangement view
    Almost everything I do is audio (very little MIDI)...and I don't do much building of loops. I'm probably not a typical user...but that might be a good thing. Sometimes I go straight into Arrangement view and maybe switch back & forth, just treating the Session view as a mixing console.

    There's a lot of detail but you ignore what you don't need (until you need it). I found it to be pretty intuitive...it can't be that much harder than something like Logic, can it? I don't even know if it's prohibitively expensive to get into these days as I'm in the upgrade loop.
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 1457
    Thumbs up here for Studio One...


    Mac Mini i7, 2.3Ghz.
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  • lincolnbluelincolnblue Frets: 126
    I've just been looking at studio one. I've used reaper in the past but studio one does look good and the Artist version is on sale at £60!

    Can you use other virtual instruments in the Artist version or only the pro? 

    Any particular things that Artist doesn't have that would persuade me to buy the professional or is it perfectly fine as is?
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 183
    Reaper is free to try, for as long as you like. And it does everything well.
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  • MooseAbootMooseAboot Frets: 4
    Thanks for entertaining the "yet another" DAW question.  The knowledge on here is amazing.

    I downloaded both Reaper and Ableton to give both a try, one evening each, and I have found Reaper has got me furthest and enjoying it the most.

    I have managed to get a decent bass plugin and a drum sample / setup loaded (there seems to be loads of accessible freebies and people willing to share online).  Needless to say I don't quite understand how it all works plumbing wise, so without the ability to go an download a zip containing project templates and wav files, that all just plugged in, might very well have just given up.


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  • Bill_SBill_S Frets: 62
    I've just been looking at studio one. I've used reaper in the past but studio one does look good and the Artist version is on sale at £60!

    Can you use other virtual instruments in the Artist version or only the pro? 

    Any particular things that Artist doesn't have that would persuade me to buy the professional or is it perfectly fine as is?
    Unfortunately VST is an add on for the Artist version, which costs an additional £79! If you can go for Pro, you’ll never regret it. 
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  • DodgeDodge Frets: 536
    Waveform and Cakewalk are both very fully featured and also completely free.
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  • andy_kandy_k Frets: 183
    Thanks for entertaining the "yet another" DAW question.  The knowledge on here is amazing.

    I downloaded both Reaper and Ableton to give both a try, one evening each, and I have found Reaper has got me furthest and enjoying it the most.

    I have managed to get a decent bass plugin and a drum sample / setup loaded (there seems to be loads of accessible freebies and people willing to share online).  Needless to say I don't quite understand how it all works plumbing wise, so without the ability to go an download a zip containing project templates and wav files, that all just plugged in, might very well have just given up.


    First step is always the hardest, with Reaper, it helps to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve-as a first step.
    When you have got that process working, save it as a project template called first step.
    When that project evolves into step 2, save it as another project-called, you guessed it--step 2.
    And so on.
    There are plenty of pre made templates on the reaper forum, but it is easier to understand if you built it.
    You can always look at track wiring view-to see how stuff is routed visually, but i struggle to get a single screen view, and personally I'd like to be able to print a hard copy.
    Kenny's youtube has a clear video explaining what each and everything does in Reaper, which is why I prefer it as a DAW over everything else, he is the expert, and if you get past his delivery, he is an absolute goldmine of information.
    Other DAWs seem to rely on a manual, or a random demonstration on youtube search.
    The time you put into any DAW is an investment, on top of the expense, but when you are forced to pay for upgrades to open up features-which is designed to lock you in, if you can afford that - no problem, but no other DAW is as flexible and adaptable as Reaper.
    If you just want a simple, single track recording-it is a template.
    If you want a complex multi-track mix, it is a template.
    If you insist on it looking like Pro-tools, it is a theme and a template.
    If you only want to edit audio, or midi, it is a screenset, or a template, or another monitor.
    It goes on and on forever, so as your experience grows, your list of needs grows, and your template folder grows.
    You can always go back to step 1 and take it in another direction.
    Even the concept of tracks has been maximized in Reaper, there is only one type-which can itself hold up to 64 tracks of audio or midi, it is truly mindblowing.

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  • Bill_SBill_S Frets: 62
    Bill_S said:
    I've just been looking at studio one. I've used reaper in the past but studio one does look good and the Artist version is on sale at £60!

    Can you use other virtual instruments in the Artist version or only the pro? 

    Any particular things that Artist doesn't have that would persuade me to buy the professional or is it perfectly fine as is?
    Unfortunately VST is an add on for the Artist version, which costs an additional £79! If you can go for Pro, you’ll never regret it. 
    @lincolnblue VST support has been added for Studio One Artist Version 5, launched today
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  • FretwiredFretwired Frets: 22451
    I use Cubase - there are different flavours but Cubase Elements is a good place to start. You can try it free for a month. Checkout this tutorial which shows some features useful to creating a track.




    A good swordsman is more important than a good sword — Amit Kalantri

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  • lincolnbluelincolnblue Frets: 126
    Bill_S said:
    Bill_S said:
    I've just been looking at studio one. I've used reaper in the past but studio one does look good and the Artist version is on sale at £60!

    Can you use other virtual instruments in the Artist version or only the pro? 

    Any particular things that Artist doesn't have that would persuade me to buy the professional or is it perfectly fine as is?
    Unfortunately VST is an add on for the Artist version, which costs an additional £79! If you can go for Pro, you’ll never regret it. 
    @lincolnblue VST support has been added for Studio One Artist Version 5, launched today
    Ah brilliant! Thanks - I had an email to say that because I bought Version 4 just a week or so ago I can upgrade to version 5 for free so that's ace. 
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  • FarleyUKFarleyUK Frets: 1311
    Bill_S said:
    Bill_S said:
    I've just been looking at studio one. I've used reaper in the past but studio one does look good and the Artist version is on sale at £60!

    Can you use other virtual instruments in the Artist version or only the pro? 

    Any particular things that Artist doesn't have that would persuade me to buy the professional or is it perfectly fine as is?
    Unfortunately VST is an add on for the Artist version, which costs an additional £79! If you can go for Pro, you’ll never regret it. 
    @lincolnblue VST support has been added for Studio One Artist Version 5, launched today
    Thanks for the heads-up - you can upgrade to v5 from previous artist versions for £42.

    I'll have some of that!
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    How can you have a DAW that doesn't support VSTs? Does this mean you can't use a VST in it? That seems utterly pointless.
    Especially when you can get full loaded DAWs like Cakewalk, that will do whatever you like, for free.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4792
    edited July 8


    There's a lot of detail but you ignore what you don't need (until you need it). I found it to be pretty intuitive...it can't be that much harder than something like Logic, can it? I don't even know if it's prohibitively expensive to get into these days as I'm in the upgrade loop.

    Logic is a lot more sensibly priced these days £199 new.

    Take a look at Waveform Free if you're still at the dabbling stage -> https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform-free

    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • Bill_SBill_S Frets: 62
    Snap said:
    How can you have a DAW that doesn't support VSTs? Does this mean you can't use a VST in it? That seems utterly pointless.
    Especially when you can get full loaded DAWs like Cakewalk, that will do whatever you like, for free.
    You pay your money (unless it’s free of course)and make a choice. For me, Studio One Pro is worth every penny. I used Cakewalk’s Sonar for 10 years, and have the free fully featured version now, but never use it. 
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 491
    Jalapeno said:


    There's a lot of detail but you ignore what you don't need (until you need it). I found it to be pretty intuitive...it can't be that much harder than something like Logic, can it? I don't even know if it's prohibitively expensive to get into these days as I'm in the upgrade loop.

    Logic is a lot more sensibly priced these days £199 new.

    Take a look at Waveform Free if you're still at the dabbling stage -> https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform-free

    Not dabbling...dyed-in-the-wool Abletonian since Live 4 ;)

    I meant that I don't know how expensive it is to get started with Ableton since I'm tied into its upgrade loop.
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  • JalapenoJalapeno Frets: 4792
    That Waveform comment was meant for the OP @MooseAboot ;
    Imagine something sharp and witty here ......

    Feedback
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  • digitalkettledigitalkettle Frets: 491
    Jalapeno said:
    That Waveform comment was meant for the OP @MooseAboot ;
    ;)
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  • pintspillerpintspiller Frets: 870
    Reaper is a madman. It can do anything to do with audio that you would ever want to do, but it's quite tricky to get your head around and is so customizeable that you'll waste half your life doing that side of things. So I'd suggest other hosts before that one.
    It's only mad if you are a tweaker and fiddler. If you stick to recording and mixing it'll be a quick learning curve.

    I don't worry about skins and stuff.

    I started routing midi drums to other tracks and converting guitar parts to keyboards after and stuff after a few hundred hours.
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    Bill_S said:
    Snap said:
    How can you have a DAW that doesn't support VSTs? Does this mean you can't use a VST in it? That seems utterly pointless.
    Especially when you can get full loaded DAWs like Cakewalk, that will do whatever you like, for free.
    You pay your money (unless it’s free of course)and make a choice. For me, Studio One Pro is worth every penny. I used Cakewalk’s Sonar for 10 years, and have the free fully featured version now, but never use it. 
    Yeah, but, no VSTs?

    I have used Cakewalk for donkey's, going back to the mid 90s. Started with Cubase, then gradually moved over toe Cakewalk. I had the last paid version, full monty, before it went free. The latest version is unbelievably well featured, and for free!
    I have had a few issues with Cakewalk though. It's been glitchy and some of the midi routing can go weird but they seemed to have ironed most of that out with the latest versions. Its' not perfect, and if I were starting again with something that costs money I would probably go down the Cubase/Studio 1 route, but for a free DAW Cakewalk is outstanding and IMO leaves Reaper standing.
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  • Bill_SBill_S Frets: 62
    Snap said:
    Bill_S said:
    Snap said:
    How can you have a DAW that doesn't support VSTs? Does this mean you can't use a VST in it? That seems utterly pointless.
    Especially when you can get full loaded DAWs like Cakewalk, that will do whatever you like, for free.
    You pay your money (unless it’s free of course)and make a choice. For me, Studio One Pro is worth every penny. I used Cakewalk’s Sonar for 10 years, and have the free fully featured version now, but never use it. 
    Yeah, but, no VSTs?

    I have used Cakewalk for donkey's, going back to the mid 90s. Started with Cubase, then gradually moved over toe Cakewalk. I had the last paid version, full monty, before it went free. The latest version is unbelievably well featured, and for free!
    I have had a few issues with Cakewalk though. It's been glitchy and some of the midi routing can go weird but they seemed to have ironed most of that out with the latest versions. Its' not perfect, and if I were starting again with something that costs money I would probably go down the Cubase/Studio 1 route, but for a free DAW Cakewalk is outstanding and IMO leaves Reaper standing.
    It’s good to hear Cakewalk is more stable now. When I was forced to swap DAWs when Sonar went belly up three years ago I moved to Studio One Pro, and within about a week, I was wishing I’d done it years before. The single biggest thing was that SO just worked. It basically never crashed, and that was a whole new experience for me. 
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 3720
    That is good to know @Bill_S re Studio One. I do wonder if a change of DAW would be a good idea. Change is a good as a rest etc.
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  • PolarityManPolarityMan Frets: 5429
    Reaper is a madman. It can do anything to do with audio that you would ever want to do, but it's quite tricky to get your head around and is so customizeable that you'll waste half your life doing that side of things. So I'd suggest other hosts before that one.
    It's only mad if you are a tweaker and fiddler. If you stick to recording and mixing it'll be a quick learning curve.

    I don't worry about skins and stuff.

    I started routing midi drums to other tracks and converting guitar parts to keyboards after and stuff after a few hundred hours.
    Sounds like a support group

    After 10 hours I had recorded a song for my band with midi drums and synths
    After 100 hours I had setup dynamic colour coding so any track with bass in the name turns purple etc.
    After 200 hours I had setup a complex set of folder tracks and sends to cope with any conceivable combination of instruments and saved as atemplate
    After 300 hours I mastered automation items.
    After 500 hours I had installed the SWS extensions and integrated them into my workflow

    Before I knew it I was renting cheap motel rooms so I could get away from my family for long enough to write customer JS plugins and scripts to accomplish tasks that consumed at most a few minutes of my time per month.
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