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Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

For everything after the recording stage: hardware/software and how you use it.

Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Rich Hanson » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:49 pm

dBerriff wrote:If you decide to stick with Studio One then Presonus has Notion for scoring and that is supposed to integrate well (I don't own Studio). It is one of the cheaper scoring packages, although not free. I have got used to it and its peculiarities but only for single instrument band parts. I do not know if it covers microtonal scoring. All the mark-up I need for big-band bass parts is present and correct.

There is a free version of Dorico - Dorico SE. It supports 2 instruments but that is enough to try it out.

Probably worth noting that Studio One 5 now has score editing built-in, albeit without the layout and printing features of Notion.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:38 pm

RichardT wrote:Re DAWs, I can't really advise. I use Cubase, but I have no experience of any other, apart from Ableton. Ableton is a very different kettle of fish - I used to use both, but then I consolidated into Cubase.

Re scoring software, I much prefer Dorico to Sibelius because of the better quality of output, which requires much less adjustment than in Sibelius. Dorico is pretty good at microtonal music, I gather, though I have not used that myself. Can't comment on Musescore.

Thanks for the feedback. Do you find that Cubase can accomplish the same or similar things that Ableton can?

Dorico seems to have a better workflow and layout. Do you have any experience with Finale or Notion? How about importing/exporting audio between DAWs and composing software? Whatever software I settle with I'd like to have the ability to manually manipulate individual notes, duration and attack/decay, etc., either within the composing software (perhaps even live during playback?) or outside of it.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:40 pm

The Elf wrote:A Cubase user here too. I'm completely at one with it, and there are a few features I consider essential - VariAudio and Control Room being prime examples. I don't use score editing features.

Do most programs offer some sort of pitch correction plug-in for vocals? Is that pretty industry standard these days? It seems that Cubase is quite a powerful program. Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:43 pm

shufflebeat wrote:I'm also a Reaper user on a semi-unprofessional basis, having come from Cubase and Reason.

Reaper has all the flexibility anyone (I think) could wish for but requires you to understand what you're trying to do if you choose to exercise your options. It's supported by a few devs but decisions are informed by a huge forum base so updates tend to be useful and well executed.

Thanks for the feedback. I wasn't familiar with Reaper before. It is a tempting option. I appreciate its price and its flexibility of spirit. I do thrive in more structured workflows though. Are there any features specific to Reaper that you've found are especially helpful?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:45 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:I use ProTools to make music and MuseScore to make charts.

Thanks for sharing. So why not stick with Dorico which would sync more directly with ProTools? What are the winning features of MuseScore? Is there anything especially beneficial about that program for composing? How do you manage the shuttling of audio back and forth between the DAW and third-party composing software?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:50 pm

CS70 wrote:
Sunshine82 wrote:Hi, all.
Personally I've used Cubase in the past, use Cakewalk currently and can do something on a Protools session if needed. All cracking programs with which any job can be done. Reaper is also mentioned as a great tool as well - but again I have the feeling all the "big" ones are, once you know them well enough,

The reason I use Cakewalk is because I know it best, it's now free but still magnificently maintained and maintenance doesn't get in the way (downloaded the last update yesterday, 2 minutes, while doing something else). It's rock solid (as most big DAWs, so long the interface drivers are rock solid). It does support all my workflows - which are mostly about recording physical instruments and mixing songs, with the occasional dash in sample land for drums, strings, background vocals etc - either for demos or to complement said "real" recordings. It also supports seamlessly (no crashes!) certain old 32 bit effects which I love.

But can't honestly say that Cakewalk is the "best" - it would be silly I think.
It's a tool - over a certain threshold the better you know, the better it is.

If I were a beginner, I would stick to the "big" ones, simply because of the ironing of wrinkles above, and the degree of support material and social that you can find online.
But that's just an approach.

Very good point from DC-Choppah to use different software for different needs.

Thanks for the thorough feedback!

I enjoyed using Cakewalk back in the day. It was powerful. But it was never intuitive. Since it's not made for Mac (unless that's changed), Studio One was recommended as an alternative DAW to me several years ago; it was billed as similar in look and feel.

I'm curious to hear if you've found any DAWs that work well when used together?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:52 pm

The Elf wrote:
Sunshine82 wrote:...and 5) a program that has a strong and flexible internal "file management system" for building and maintaining a sound library (I would like to create an internal library full of samples that I gather from audio recordings, but I want to be able to systematise the management of where these clips are stored and how they are retrieved).
Cubase has Media Bay, which is the only comprehensive integrated file management system I've seen in a DAW. I can't comment on it, because I've never felt the need to use it. I'm sure there are plenty of guidance videos out there if it's of specific interest. I wouldn't choose a DAW on the basis of something I could do with a folder system, though.

Thanks for pointing that out. I was just informed that Studio One has a fairly robust internal file management system, too, called the "Pool." That's a fairly strong need on my part since I'll be working with many, many samples and need to keep them organised. :)
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:54 pm

RichardT wrote:Something else to consider is the longevity of your choice. You may end up with many years worth of projects in your DAW and it can be a real pain swapping to a new one with that legacy around. For me it’s great that I can easily work on projects from 10 or 15 years ago.

Some products seem to be almost ‘stuck’ in terms of a lack of new development and so do not make a good choice from the longevity point of view. Sibelius springs to mind here.

This also should lead you to one of the big players in the DAW world, and away from a niche product, even if it might have better functionality in the areas you want.

Good point. I'm curious to hear what composing programs are doing a good job staying relevant and updated. Dorico? Finale? MuseScore? Maybe Notion will continue to develop?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 8:56 pm

dBerriff wrote:If you decide to stick with Studio One then Presonus has Notion for scoring and that is supposed to integrate well (I don't own Studio). It is one of the cheaper scoring packages, although not free. I have got used to it and its peculiarities but only for single instrument band parts. I do not know if it covers microtonal scoring. All the mark-up I need for big-band bass parts is present and correct.

There is a free version of Dorico - Dorico SE. It supports 2 instruments but that is enough to try it out.

Do you have any experience using any other scoring software? How do you find using Notion with a different DAW? Is it a hassle to shuttle files back and forth? What is especially peculiar about Notion? Is there anything especially admirable about it? I'm leaning towards that program for its functionality with Studio One specifically. Dorico seems enticing; MuseScore is free...
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:01 pm

OneWorld wrote:I think it's like making a cup of tea, some put the milk in first and others don't and of course some don't bother with it at all and have a more stripped down cuppa

I hear you. This is a very arbitrary topic. I really don't want to split the issue around what is the best or worst DAW. I recognise that it is subjective and contextual to the needs of the user.

But what I'm interested in is knowing what features people find especially helpful or less helpful about their chosen programs. How have your programs changed your approach to music making? What would you like more of in regards to its future development? What couldn't you live without?

These insights give me grounds not just for making a decision now for what I'll work with but in keeping my eye and ear open to future developments with other programs. Pour that tea and make it hot!
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:13 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:
The Elf wrote:
Sunshine82 wrote:...and 5) a program that has a strong and flexible internal "file management system" for building and maintaining a sound library (I would like to create an internal library full of samples that I gather from audio recordings, but I want to be able to systematise the management of where these clips are stored and how they are retrieved).
Cubase has Media Bay, which is the only comprehensive integrated file management system I've seen in a DAW. I can't comment on it, because I've never felt the need to use it. I'm sure there are plenty of guidance videos out there if it's of specific interest. I wouldn't choose a DAW on the basis of something I could do with a folder system, though.
Thanks for pointing that out. I was just informed that Studio One has a fairly robust internal file management system, too, called the "Pool."... That's a fairly strong need on my part since I'll be working with many, many samples and need to keep them organised. :)
Is that maybe the same 'pool' that also exists in Cubase? i.e. the audio files created in the current Project? If so Media Bay is very different - it exists to to organise your media libraries. You can gather loops with similar BPM, for example, or channel templates and such. As I said, I don't find any reason to make use of it - I have all my sample libraries carefully foldered.

But I'm not an afficianado of Studio One, so I may be completely wrong.

Anyone?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:17 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:
The Elf wrote:A Cubase user here too. I'm completely at one with it, and there are a few features I consider essential - VariAudio and Control Room being prime examples. I don't use score editing features.
Do most programs offer some sort of pitch correction plug-in for vocals?
Not as integrated as VariAudio, from what I can see. VA really is a gem, regardless of any other consideration. Melodyne is probably closest, and in some ways more capable, but it's a separate third-party plug-in, and without the integration I've always found it much less friendly to say the least.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby MOF » Sun Aug 23, 2020 1:04 am

I use Logic at home and Garage Band on my iPhone when I’m out and about, I then import those songs into Logic to finesse them.
I presume by ‘composing’ you mean notation? Logic has that plus a piano roll.
Samples can be organised by you into folders and sub folders as you wish and then imported into Logic, you can save songs with all associated data (duplicated, not a pointer to the file) so that a whole project can be sent to someone else to work on.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:02 pm

The Elf wrote:Is that maybe the same 'pool' that also exists in Cubase? i.e. the audio files created in the current Project? If so Media Bay is very different - it exists to to organise your media libraries. You can gather loops with similar BPM, for example, or channel templates and such.

I'm not sure. It might be modelled after the Cubase Media Bay. I'd love to get some experiential clarification about this issue. My limited understanding is that it can encompass all media within Studio One, not just what is specific to a particular project. It may also have tiers and layers of categorisation that it allows. But I'm not sure.

Interesting to hear about the cataloguing within Media Bay. That does sound like a helpful feature. I wonder if any other DAWs offer such a feature for managing media?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 12:04 pm

The Elf wrote:Not as integrated as VariAudio, from what I can see. VA really is a gem, regardless of any other consideration. Melodyne is probably closest, and in some ways more capable, but it's a separate third-party plug-in, and without the integration I've always found it much less friendly to say the least.

I'm curious to hear about the challenges of working with non-integrated plug-ins. If they are not native, how does that pose problems? Where/what are the limits of Melodyne?
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