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Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

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Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby daskoyne » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:32 pm

Hi all,

I've been playing music for a few years and have recorded in studios as a musician but i am now undertaking the daunting task of starting a small home set up for recording demo's. About 18 months ago i bought a Line 6 KB37 toneport and a cheap copy of Tracktion 2, but due to the arrival of my 1st born didn't get much chance to use them. The computer I had has since knackered so I just bought a reasonble spec laptop with windows 7. The nightmares of getting the various bits of software to run made me think about starting again and I recently heard about Mixcraft 4 (soon th be 5). So, my question is what would others recommend? Any alternitives to these? I will primarily be recording on my own or with 1 other person, so I dont need loads if inputs etc. I'm also looking for demo ish quaility, not top end pro stuff (I quite like lo fi production anyways) but I do want felxibility to be able to use VSTs and effects. Any thoughts are welcomed,

cheers
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby grab » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:04 pm

I used Mixcraft 3 for a bit. It wasn't bad for what it did, but I'd not used it very long before I started finding it extremely limiting. Its routing abilities were very basic (in particular, it couldn't do sidechaining at all), and the features list for Mixcraft 4 doesn't suggest they've improved it much there. As something non-frightening to start with though, it was OK.

Reaper isn't anything like as user-friendly, but it's a *lot* more powerful, and it costs about the same as Mixcraft. If you're looking for a novice-friendly Garage-Band-alike, Mixcraft is worth the money. If you're ready for sussing out a proper DAW and can't justify getting anything more expensive, go Reaper.

I've not used Traktion so I couldn't say on that score.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby The Elf » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:25 pm

Welcome! :D

The KB37 is a great device for getting started. I've set a few of these up now for friends and family.

Since you're wanting low cost, flexibility and the use of VST technology I'd also suggest looking at Reaper. You can get started for free and see how you get on before paying for the software.

Give yourself a little time to get familiar with the settings and routing - some of it is not obvious. But the time spent will be worth it.

Above all, be patient with yourself; allow yourself to play, make mistakes, back-track and mess things up. All the time you'll be learning - get a handle on Reaper and you could then turn your hand to any other DAW that takes your fancy.

I always approach new recording technology by working on a cover song; something familar enough so you can switch your creative brain off for a while and just concentrate on the technicalities. It's also good fun!

HTH!
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:44 pm

I could never get my head around Tracktion as it is just too different from any other software I've used. I find Reaper much easier to use but it takes a little time to find some of the deeper features.

Cheers

James.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby daskoyne » Thu Feb 04, 2010 2:21 pm

Well, Reaper seems to be a common recommendation. I've just checked out their site and it all looks pretty impressive (I suppose with a 30 day free trial I can afford to find out myself). The only thing thats concerning me is that the free user guide is 400 pages! Is it really that complex to get into? I accept I'm going to have to put the work in to learn any software, but is the learning curve with Reaper acceptable for someone like me (who really is pretty clueless on the technical side of recording). Thanks for the advice guys.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:24 pm

Maybe you could start with Audacity which is completely free.

It's much simpler than Reaper and doesn't have many of the bells and whistles that some would judge to be essential. However, it does have all the fundamentals of multitrack recording and mixing and there are also effects to play around with too.

I started with Audacity and it helped me learn the basics before moving on to more complex DAWs.

There are also some tutorials available - both 'official' ones and on YouTube. However, the YT ones are of 'variable' quality! :)
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby The Elf » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:20 pm

daskoyne wrote:Well, Reaper seems to be a common recommendation. I've just checked out their site and it all looks pretty impressive (I suppose with a 30 day free trial I can afford to find out myself). The only thing thats concerning me is that the free user guide is 400 pages! Is it really that complex to get into? I accept I'm going to have to put the work in to learn any software, but is the learning curve with Reaper acceptable for someone like me (who really is pretty clueless on the technical side of recording). Thanks for the advice guys.
My car came with a 250-page manual, but all I ever read was how to lift the bonnet and change a brake bulb! :D

Don't be put off by the manual for any DAW - read the 'Getting Started' part and work through the example, then just dip into the manual as you need.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby daskoyne » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:02 am

Haha, sage words Elf. I downloaded the Reaper manual and skimmed through and there wasn't anything too scary there. A few people have advised me to download the trials of a few of the different softwares availible, which is of course sound advise. The problem for me at the moment is that with work and family commitments time is such a precious commodity. I have managed to allocate myself a 4 hour block per week for recording, I'm so eager to get going I didn't want to have to wait a month trying and learning software before i could get going properly. So anyways, a bit more research into Reaper has convinced me to download the 30 day trial and see what i reckon. I will be starting with modest aims anyway, mostly a beat, a couple of guitar parts and colouring with a bit of VST piano/synth/strings. As I get into the swing of things and get a little more ambitious i want something that can expand with me, from what I've read Reaper sounds like it more than fits the bill. By my reckoning I will get about 20 hours hands on time with the trial version of Reaper which should allow me to decide if its up my street. If it seems I'm punching above my weight I will try maybe Audacity (which reviews extremely well for freeware) or Mixcraft which seems to be one of the easier DAWs to start with.

Thanks for the adivce all.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby Rich Hanson » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:25 am

In regards to Tracktion, which was my first DAW software and I used it for a long time (from an early iteration of version 1 to the most recent release of version 3), it would depend on the version and what you require. Version 2 was stable and the options limited and it also doesn't account for multicore/multiCPU, version 3 added some bells and whistles and multicore support but severely broke reliability for many people.

One of Tracktion's greatest strengths is its "everything in one screen" design, but for some this also seems to be its biggest weakness. What many people like is the instant visual feedback of your signal routing.

The principle reason I no longer use it is that I want multi-core support (rules out versions 1 and 2) but version 3 does not play nicely with some of the plug-ins I like to use. Also, I don't particularly like the quantise implementation (although I'm weaning myself of quantising!)

These days I'm using Reaper, although if Mackie ever get their finger out and start re-developing Tracktion I would be sure to give it another look.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby James Perrett » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:53 pm

daskoyne wrote:By my reckoning I will get about 20 hours hands on time with the trial version of Reaper which should allow me to decide if its up my street.

The great thing about Reaper is that they leave it up to your conscience whether you register it or not. I must admit that I tried it for longer than 30 days before registering it.

Cheers

James.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby 4TrackMadman » Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:16 pm

Continuing with Tracktion might not be a bad idea, I am just wary that they haven't released any updates in a while so they might can the software.

If you're doing collab you might also want to look into EnergyXT2 - simple to use and has its own strenghts. There is also N-Track in the budget range that is pretty decent.

I found Mixcraft limiting as already mentioned but for collab it is perfect as it is low cost and no frills.

Reaper is a good choice, so is Sony Acid Music Studio at about $60.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby daskoyne » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:52 pm

Well I downloaded Reaper and so far so good. It is easy enough to record a few basic tracks but certainly seems powerful enough for when Im ready to progress to something more complicated. It took some doing to get the KB37 working without loads of dropouts and stutters (it seems ridiculous that a company as large as Line 6 still aren't officially supporting Windows 7), but I got there in the end.

1 thing I was wondering was would I be able to use some of the free suff that came with Tracktion 2 (Sampletank LE, Amplitue LE and RMVI drum stuff). I've tried installing them but I cant get reaper to recognise them. Is this because they are specific to Traktion or am I just dong something wrong?
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby Rich Hanson » Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:39 am

Yes, I'm afraid that the plug-ins supplied with Tracktion will only work with Tracktion, although I think they all had a reduced price upgrade path - certainly LinPlug did with the RMIV.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby Jormyn » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:00 am

Tracktion has essentially been dead for two years. There are some project-killing bugs that haven't been fixed, and Mackie hasn't even acknowledged their existence.

If you can find 2, it's pretty solid. Otherwise, I'll echo the suggestion of Reaper.
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Re: Mixcraft or Tracktion? Help on starting home recording

Postby 4TrackMadman » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:59 pm

Unfortunately the plugs are Traction specific.
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