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DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:55 am

tonemangler wrote:The only thing I would say is perhaps it's ability to work with video might not be as comprehensive as other programs

I make quite a bit of video work and it never occurred to me to use a DAW for it :)
My (unsubstantiated) impression is that any DAW is as bad to do video, as a video NLE is bad at doing audio..
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby blinddrew » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:26 am

*cough*
Ahem.
Reaper's actually not bad to work with for video.



P.s. it's now next week so it's my turn... ;)
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:59 am

blinddrew wrote:*cough*
Ahem.
Reaper's actually not bad to work with for video.



P.s. it's now next week so it's my turn... ;)

:D
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby James Perrett » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:26 pm

I find most video editors really clunky (coming from an audio background) so Reaper's video editing seems far more intuitive. I believe Vegas works in a similar way as it originally started out as a multi-track audio program before transitioning to video.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby The Elf » Thu Mar 14, 2019 4:49 pm

Cubase does a very good job of audio to video - I don't know how I'd do it without!
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby TrossProx » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:15 am

So thanks for the responses everyone. I went ahead and started trying out Cakewalk by Bandlab because... well, it's free. I am definitely interested in looking at demoing other DAWs, but this seemed like an easy place to start. I have to say, I'm a bit lost so far. I'm just looking for a good tutorial to get some basics down, but everything I can find is really not for beginners. It kind of surprises me since since this sofware went free, you would expect there to be a decent sized new userbase of noobs :tongue: .

If I have to just power through and figure it all out through trial and error, I guess that's how it will be, but I'm also wondering if there are legit tutorials (free or pay, preferably free) for other DAWs that just make more sense? I know there must be other noobs out there somewhere.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:55 am

Maybe to sit down with someone who can talk through DAW basics and how to find your way around would help.

Both The Elf and Zukan of this parish offer 1:1 (paid for) on-site tutorials. Well-worth the money. Both very very knowledgeable and pleasant and friendly guys as well!
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby CS70 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:58 am

TrossProx wrote:If I have to just power through and figure it all out through trial and error, I guess that's how it will be, but I'm also wondering if there are legit tutorials (free or pay, preferably free) for other DAWs that just make more sense? I know there must be other noobs out there somewhere.

They're pretty much all complex beasts, the good ones - because they allow you to do commercial level-production. I remember well the first time I installed one!

A song is made by one or more tracks containing audio. This audio comes either from recording sources (using microphones), or by synthesizing it by some other way. The most basic recording is made by one single track: you record something, you play it, that's it.

Most songs tough are made by many tracks, which then need to mixed together to create the overall song. They are mixed together by sending their content to a common "master" or "main" bus (a track where you send content from other tracks instead than a played source is usually called "bus", but they're otherwise very similar), deciding the volume level you want to send it by means of a fader (a slider). Balancing the various track so that the overall sound good is called "mixing".

Each track has therefore an input (to receive audio from say a microphone, or MIDI from a
midi device, either external or running on the same computer) and an output (which by default is the master bus). The input is in use only when you "record" - while if you just "play", any existing content of the track is sent to the output. The output of the master bus is usually sent to your physical audio hardware - your interface and your speakers.

Once you have recorded some content in a track, it appears as a "clip" (you see it as a graphical waveform inside the track). When the project is played, all tracks play together in sync and you normally have a cursor (a long vertical line) which shows you where you are.

Normally tracks are organized in "projects" or "sessions", where all the tracks you have recorded for a song are listed, you can access the faders for each (and therefore "mix" the song) and otherwise work on the song as a cohesive unit. Once you have your recordings and your balance, you export the song so that it can be played by any music player (say mp3, WAV format or whatever) or printed to a CD or even vinyl.

Any DAW allows you in some way to:

- create a new project/open an existing/save it
- create a new track in a new project (and obviously delete one)
- enable recording for one or more track (by default, the DAW just plays back) or mute it
- edit and manipulate clips in tracks (by splitting, cutting, moving them around, merging, stretching etc)
- use the physical inputs you have in your system to record something (e.g. if you have a 2 channels interface which allows you to record two microphones at once, the DAW will allow you the select, in every track, which of the two you want to use).
- play back what you have recorded
- balance the contents of tracks to send them to a main bus
- add effects to each track (either regular or bus) to manipulate the sound: equalization, compression, and dozens of other possible way to process the originally recorded sound.
- export the result in a file (which is then what you play with any music player)

To make an example: to record a guitar, you need to set up a microphone, connecting it in hardware to a physical channel in your interface via a cable , which in turn is connected to the computer. Then you open the DAW, create a project, create a track, select the input corresponding to the hardware interface channel and enable recording on the track. You push the big "Record" button on the control panel at the top - and start playing.


For synthesized content, the mechanism is identical: if your synthesizer is an external device (say a keyboard), you connect it to your interface and proceed as above (the DAW doesn't care where the signal comes from). If you want to use a software synth, which is already running in the computer and usually outputs midi, you need to create a different type of track (in other DAWs, there's no such distinction but Sonar uses two type of tracks, Audio and MIDI, to differentiate the content), and select the "output" of the synth (which is a virtual output, typically a MIDI channel) as track input. Then you proceed as above, push record and play. Only caveat is that while you're doing this, the computer is both recording and running the synth so in general need to be more powerful than if you only record external sources.

So in conclusion, when you open up the DAW, you normally create a project (either totally empty or via a pre-made "template"), set up your physical connections, set up the tracks so have their inputs from the correct channel and then record. Once done with the recording, you edit, mix. Once satisfied with your mix, you export the result.

Each DAW allows you to do something like that in some way.

For Sonar, is "new Project" (select an empty one for starters), then right click and "new audio track" which creates a track and shows you the vertical "channel" on the left (with a fader plus many knobs etc). The input/output selected for track ar at the bottom of the "channel". The rest of the element in the channel allow you to use the pre-defined effects that Sonar provides on every channel, to add other effects, to send the track content to one or more other buses besides the "output" one, to alter the gain of the overall content.

What this doesn't tell you is about the hardware/physical connection but there's plenty material for that I'd think.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby blinddrew » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:24 pm

I can endorse the Elf's 1:1 tuition sessions, well worth the (very reasonable) price if you're thinking of making this a regular pastime. :thumbup:
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby The Elf » Fri Mar 15, 2019 4:41 pm

:blush: Shucks, guys!

I'm happy to help, but at the moment I'm absolutely inundated with work requests. By all means drop me a PM if you are interested and I'll see if my travels might allow it.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby tonemangler » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:04 pm

TrossProx wrote:I have to say, I'm a bit lost so far. I'm just looking for a good tutorial to get some basics down, but everything I can find is really not for beginners

If you search for Sonar tutorials you can find lots of beginner tutorials. Cakewalk by BandLab is fundamentally the same as Sonar X series right up to Sonar Platinum. Any tutorial of those versions will give you beginner information. You can also see tutorials on the old Cakewalk website, in the Cake TV section. Go to Sonar University Icon and click "Get Started" here is the link
https://www.cakewalk.com/CakeTV

There are third party videos as well. If you want to dig deeper there are several good pay for tutorials at Groove3.com. Good Luck
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby TrossProx » Fri Mar 15, 2019 10:12 pm

CS70 wrote:They're pretty much all complex beasts, the good ones - because they allow you to do commercial level-production. I remember well the first time I installed one! ....

Seriously, thank you for that overview. I hope other people get a chance to see that who might also be starting out! That's really great.

A lot of what I'm stuck on is functionality one level "above" the absolute basics of "what is a clip". Just to give a brief idea, it's stuff along the lines of, How do I select another instrument for my recorded MIDI input? It looks like all I have is this "Cakewalk TTS-1", although I think I can find other "instruments" in my file directories which I have tried adding. For that matter, is there a difference between "instrument" (as some synth playing back note values) and "VST instrument"? And then, there is just inputting from MIDI keyboard itself. I can't find a way to input MIDI in "step time", meaning I select a quarter note perhaps with a keyboard shortcut, then I play middle C with the MIDI keyboard, then I select eighth note and input more notes... This is much faster than using point and click, and makes sense when you don't want to record. Do people not input notes this way in the DAW world?

I'm not looking for answers to these questions by the way, I'm just trying to give a feel for the level I'm on. I've been going through the Sonar documentation which has answered some things, but I'm still unable to figure out things that should be basic. Maybe this thread is going beyond just looking for a DAW, so sorry for that!



The Elf wrote::blush: Shucks, guys!

I'm happy to help, but at the moment I'm absolutely inundated with work requests. By all means drop me a PM if you are interested and I'll see if my travels might allow it.

Thanks a lot, and I will definitely keep this option in mind! It might be difficult to figure everything out without some form of coaching.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby Trensharo » Sat Jun 08, 2019 7:35 pm

ef37a wrote:Samplitude never seems to get a look in at these DAWfest!
I gave it a good look. I bought it 3x and refunded it 3x. MAGIX had a $149 promotion for the Suite version. It's a good package, but...

The feature set is formidable, but the usability is God-awful, IMO. The UI is terrible. Docking is terrible. The documentation is terrible (but it does have context-sensitive help files). It has some of the biggest, deeply nested menus that I've ever seen.

If Office had menus like these, Microsoft would never have heard a peep about the Ribbon :-P

The Context Menus can be quite large, as well. Samplitude needs about 3-4 extra top-level menus in the menu bar so that they can better organize things. It has, probably, the worst-organized menu system I have ever experienced.

It uses position based mouse operations - which are, naturally, lacking in intuitiveness. It feels very mouse driven.

Terrible instruments. Plug-Ins are getting a bit dated, but many of them are very decent.

It uses odd key combos for basic Windows operations... key combinations that are standardized across 99.9% of Windows Applications. It's Windows-only. Some have hinted that it's because they use the German key combinations even in the English-localized version... Lazy.

Also, it's pretty much undocumented outside of Kraznet's channel... which aren't really Tutorials. They're more "this is what Samplitude can do." So brief, that they are not much more than what you get in the documentation (which is not good, and filled with translation errors).

You aren't going to learn a whole lot from those YouTube videos, especially considering how "against the grain" this software is - in terms of UI/UX and general operation of the DAW.

A beginner on Windows really should default to Cakewalk. I wouldn't even bother with Reaper. Use that $60 to buy an Audio Interface or something.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:32 am

Trensharo wrote:
ef37a wrote:Samplitude never seems to get a look in at these DAWfest!
I gave it a good look. I bought it 3x and refunded it 3x. MAGIX had a $149 promotion for the Suite version. It's a good package, but...

The feature set is formidable, but the usability is God-awful, IMO. The UI is terrible. Docking is terrible. The documentation is terrible (but it does have context-sensitive help files). It has some of the biggest, deeply nested menus that I've ever seen.

If Office had menus like these, Microsoft would never have heard a peep about the Ribbon :-P

The Context Menus can be quite large, as well. Samplitude needs about 3-4 extra top-level menus in the menu bar so that they can better organize things. It has, probably, the worst-organized menu system I have ever experienced.

It uses position based mouse operations - which are, naturally, lacking in intuitiveness. It feels very mouse driven.

Terrible instruments. Plug-Ins are getting a bit dated, but many of them are very decent.

It uses odd key combos for basic Windows operations... key combinations that are standardized across 99.9% of Windows Applications. It's Windows-only. Some have hinted that it's because they use the German key combinations even in the English-localized version... Lazy.

Also, it's pretty much undocumented outside of Kraznet's channel... which aren't really Tutorials. They're more "this is what Samplitude can do." So brief, that they are not much more than what you get in the documentation (which is not good, and filled with translation errors).

You aren't going to learn a whole lot from those YouTube videos, especially considering how "against the grain" this software is - in terms of UI/UX and general operation of the DAW.


... but apart from that, you generally like it... :lol:
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby ef37a » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:51 am

Hi Mike. Perhaps it is because son and I "grew up" with Samplitude SE8 (and MAGIX Studio 6 afore that) that I am rather shocked by that slating of the DAW?

Pro X 3 was reviewed in SOS not so long ago and got a very good rating iirc? (will have a shufty soon) I have personally suggested Sam in various forms and forums, the free Silver was excellent in my view and never had anything like that diatribe levelled at me!

I did buy Sonar Cakewalk (el6) and found it MOST peculiar to setup and get around. Son was better with it but soon gave up and went back to Sam 8SE. He also used Cubase E6 but only for MIDI work and a kbd when it gave him the lowest latency with a 2496 card.

Dave.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby fruitcake » Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:56 pm

When I first started the choice was either Opcode Vision or MOTU Performer (not Digital yet). I went with Performer because a nearby studio was selling it’s license for cheap.

The way I learned it was by alternating between reading the 600 page manual in a 3 ring binder to figure out how to get it to trigger my outboard synths, or input a sequence, send a patch change, etc., then applying some of that info practically. Back and forth between having a concept then figuring out how to do it.

I still work basically the same way. There is plenty to still learn and improve on. I’ll have an idea I want to record, when I run into a knowledge wall I pull up the pdf manual and search, or search YouTube. I also have become fond of the paid online tutorials. Lynda.com is one that I have free access to through work. There are some very helpful tutorials on plugins. I was also given a subscription to Groove3 that I haven’t had the time to check it out yet.

It was very slow going in the early years. But now I’m so ingrained to the MOTU workflow, working in another DAW is really hard. I’ve tried Logic, but I get frustrated trying to do something I could easily do in DP in seconds.
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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby ef37a » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:02 pm

Yes Fruitcake, if there is one thing I would like to get it is an A4 tomb user manual for Pro X3!

I have looked for paper manuals online but Google is SO stupid it keeps coming up with video tutorials. Maybe there is no such thing but people have written reams about Cubase (got a couple) and I dare say the printed word on Pro Tools would fill a small provincial library!

If anyone knows of such book I would be much obliged for a shout?

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Re: DAW to start with (plus other stuff I should know)

Postby fruitcake » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:06 pm

ef37a wrote:Yes Fruitcake, if there is one thing I would like to get it is an A4 tomb user manual for Pro X3

Dave.

I can’t say I miss the 5lb manual. I find searching a PDF much faster. Although I did learn a lot of things I wouldn’t think of with some bedtime perusing of software manuals.
At present my bedtime reading is “Mixing with Impact”. There’s a write up on it in SOS. A real page turner!
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