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Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 3:57 pm

blinddrew wrote:Yep, whether Autotune-like plugin-style processing, of full on pitch and timing editing environments like VariAudio and FlexTime/FlexPitch etc.

I tend to prefer Melodyne for these tasks over Logic's FlexPitch as it's more consistently reliable for me, but it really depends on the use case and I'm not doing enough of this stuff at the moment to have a real deep insight into where it works fine vs where it doesn't...

Okay, I missed this list. Good to know there are lots of options for vocal processing plug-ins. Are, by the way, most plug-ins fairly universal these days and compatible with most DAWs?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby desmond » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:03 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:Are, by the way, most plug-ins fairly universal these days and compatible with most DAWs?

Well, there are two kinds of "plugins". You have the plugins that either come with, or are part of the DAW. You may or may not be able to use these in other DAWs, depending on how they are implemented. In the case of something like Logic, or Live, the instruments and FX are part of the DAW, and you cannot use them directly in another DAW.

And then you have third-party plugins, which should basically work with anything as long as the plugin comes in a format the DAW supports.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby The Elf » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:40 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:To your point, I am actually VERY interested in mangling vocals in addition to pitch correcting them...
Then I will also point out Cubase's Padshop (dreadful name...) that will let you do granular synthesis tricks with vocals. It's something I've only just started using, but it's very inspiring.

A quick YT search gave me this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSPRQc7674g
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 4:57 pm

desmond wrote:The fact that these fragile, and easy to do procedures can so easily cause data loss and other problems suggests that different DAW developers have had technical challenges to implement this properly - and given that it seems pervasive across a lot of DAWs, it's not like it's only Apple that have had problems trying to get it to work properly.

Yeah, haven't tried with other DAWs - I've just used Melodyne with Cakewalk with ARA and as I said it had never failed me. Which means it should be possible to make a robust implementation. Hence my guess it's a matter of priorities. However, I don't know ARA (or ARA2) design and APIs, tough, so it may be that it relies on the DAW signal flow to be designed on a certain way, and if it isn't, it's probably too complex/expensive to change its architecture... especially to support a third party product made by another company.

Nothing more, I was just surprised of hearing these probs because that's the one part of CW that has never given me any in years. There are others that have, believe me... :D
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 23, 2020 5:05 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:Are, by the way, most plug-ins fairly universal these days and compatible with most DAWs?

There are different formats, since in early years most DAWs made their own and try to grab "market share", with third part developers using them.

Nowadays many of the proprietary ones have disappeared, but there's still some DAWs which support only their own format (Reason, perhaps? Not really sure, obviously things change with newer versions and I don't particularly care to keep up to date with features of platforms I do not use).

One of the most common formats - the standard if there is one, at least in Windows world - is VST from Steinberg (which just released a new version a month ago) and there's literally gazillion of effects in that standard. Basically any third-part plugin made in the last years has a VST version (a VST3 version, recently, but lots of VST2).

In addition many DAWs will still support their own proprietary format or even oddities like DirectX in Windows - my favorite go-to gate is a DirectX!

So if your DAW of choice does not support VST, you risk to cut yourself out of part of the thrid-part plugins market.

Which may not be a bad thing. It's the man that maketh the music, not the effects :D
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Dennis J Wilkins » Sun Aug 23, 2020 7:40 pm

Lots of replies so far, and I can throw in a couple ideas. I currently use both REAPER (5.98) and Studio One (4.6) and have Notion. I use REAPER mostly for testing software (I beta tests and write product reviews), and when I need to plumb sound and MIDI every which way which REAPER can do beyond any other DAW. I use Studio One for product testing and for music production which it excels at. S1 also includes a basic version of Melodyne and works very well with the Pro version (which I use for its polyphonic capability).

I see REAPER as an engineer's DAW -- it can do almost anything with both audio and MIDI, but you often need to "assemble" a configuration from the basics (which I like). I see Studio One as a musician/producer's DAW and it is excellent for quickly creating music with some really powerful tools like its chord detection and chord track, its arranger track, and the built-in link to Melodyne. I've rarely used its link to Notion, and use Notion mostly standalone when I've used it, though I mostly work in a DAW environment.

REAPER is cheaper and extremely good bang-for-buck, but significantly different to operate than S1. If you've used S1 in the past (or most any DAW other than REAPER) S1 should be easy to master with little pain. And if you have a (legal) copy if Studio one 3.x, I think you can upgrade to version 5 for $150, which also makes it good value for money.

Either of these can use VST, VST3, and VSTi and VSTi3 plug-ins, and both come with a good range of built-in plug-ins (some that only work in their respective DAWs). I'd have to say that Studio One has pretty much everything and anything you really need to create music, whether by recording audio or using it's virtual instruments, or a combination. It even has a "mastering" mode if you do your own final polishing. If someone can't make professional quality music with it, it's not a limitation of Studio One!

Of course that can be said of any DAW today once you master it! Hope all the comments so far are useful. Good luck on whatever you choose.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby merlyn » Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:27 pm

I use Musescore and I haven't found anything it can't do. I saw someone posted a full orchestral piece they had done with Musescore :

https://musescore.com/lminiero/the-wind-and-the-lake

It comes with a soundfont so you can hear what you're doing, but I wouldn't think you'd use this for producing the finished audio. It's free as in it doesn't cost anything, which is in its advantage. It's also free as in free speech and that has some advantages too -- no dongle, no license, install it on as many computers as you want, give it to your friends. Personally I choose free software where possible.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Zukan » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:47 am

Use whatever works for you.

I have around 4 DAWs sitting here in front of me and none of them could be termed as my 'go to' DAW. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Download the trials and see which rocks your boat.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Folderol » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:55 am

Zukan wrote:Use whatever works for you.
Absolutely!
However, it does require investing some time in trying different ones to find out which that is.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:01 pm

Zukan wrote:Use whatever works for you.

I have around 4 DAWs sitting here in front of me and none of them could be termed as my 'go to' DAW. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Download the trials and see which rocks your boat.

I agree with your insight here. I won't know what works until I try it; but trying different programs is expensive and time-consuming. So that's why I'm hoping to get a very general overview of some essential strengths and weaknesses of some of the main DAWs.

I'm intrigued to hear what you're working with. Can you please briefly describe which programs you use and what those strengths and weaknesses are for you? When and how would you use certain DAWs for certain types of projects or in certain contexts?

Do you have any experience using notation software? How about editing music to video?

In my mind now, currently with my newbie understanding, Studio One could function as my main DAW for all things recording and editing due to its seeming ease of workflow. Reaper might be useful if there's issues with plug-in compatibility or if I want to do something specific that can be potentially customisable. Cubase seems quite powerful and has some nice production features related to media management, mixing, and specific plug-ins. And then Ableton Live could be used for live sequencing and processing, not to mention video editing.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby The Elf » Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:09 pm

Folderol wrote:
Zukan wrote:Use whatever works for you.
Absolutely!
However, it does require investing some time in trying different ones to find out which that is.
Time well spent, however. When you get invested in a DAW it does last a long time.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby S2 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 2:40 pm

I use Logic, for no other reason than I'd bought a Mac and it was £159 (or it might have been £139 - I can't remember) for the full version which seemed to be pretty good value. I like the look of it and I find it easy to use, but then I don't use any others so it's a little difficult to compare. (I have used Reaper very briefly on a laptop to record a multitrack live gig but transferred it all to Logic once I'd done it).

I've no idea if it's good, bad or indifferent, but expensive it wasn't!

I do seem to get a lot of major updates to it, none of which have cost any money, which is also good value, but then I expect most of the other major players also do this.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Zukan » Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:11 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:
Zukan wrote:Use whatever works for you.

I have around 4 DAWs sitting here in front of me and none of them could be termed as my 'go to' DAW. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Download the trials and see which rocks your boat.

I agree with your insight here. I won't know what works until I try it; but trying different programs is expensive and time-consuming. So that's why I'm hoping to get a very general overview of some essential strengths and weaknesses of some of the main DAWs.

I'm intrigued to hear what you're working with. Can you please briefly describe which programs you use and what those strengths and weaknesses are for you? When and how would you use certain DAWs for certain types of projects or in certain contexts?

Do you have any experience using notation software? How about editing music to video?

In my mind now, currently with my newbie understanding, Studio One could function as my main DAW for all things recording and editing due to its seeming ease of workflow. Reaper might be useful if there's issues with plug-in compatibility or if I want to do something specific that can be potentially customisable. Cubase seems quite powerful and has some nice production features related to media management, mixing, and specific plug-ins. And then Ableton Live could be used for live sequencing and processing, not to mention video editing.

In terms of cost versus performance Reaper is in a league of its own. I tend to use that above the others. My favourite, in terms of layout etc, is Harrison Mixbus but it has a GUI resizing issue which makes it unusable for me, so I leave it as is until they resolve this particular problem. Cubase, which I have been using since its inception, is hogging my CPU badly. It is making it difficult for me to chain plugins on inserts and freezes on occasion. I literally have to render the tracks to free up CPU resources. So, I use Reaper as it is extremely streamlined and hardly touches the CPU load. I have recently acquired presonus Studio One and I do like it. I am not 100% happy with its workflow but it behaves well.

I have thought about using hardware sequencers for writing music and an editing suite for mixing/mastering but it does involve working with a different mindset and setup, and am I really in the mood to restructure everything just for this? I'm not sure.

Like I said, Reaper serves me best for now but Studio One is starting to tick a lot of boxes for me. If and when I upgrade my PC I will reconsider Cubase as I have been using it for years and like its workflow the best.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:14 pm

merlyn wrote:I use Musescore and I haven't found anything it can't do. I saw someone posted a full orchestral piece they had done with Musescore :

https://musescore.com/lminiero/the-wind-and-the-lake

It comes with a soundfont so you can hear what you're doing, but I wouldn't think you'd use this for producing the finished audio. It's free as in it doesn't cost anything, which is in its advantage. It's also free as in free speech and that has some advantages too -- no dongle, no license, install it on as many computers as you want, give it to your friends. Personally I choose free software where possible.

Thanks for your feedback! By "sound font", interesting term by the way, do you mean instrument pack? Are there particular instrument packs that you'd highly recommend for realism of sound and ability to manipulate sounds with finer control (length of note, attack and decay, etc.)? Can you easily manipulate notes within MuseScore? How easy is it to shuttle the MIDI tracks between MuseScore and your DAW? And does it support video integration well?

Lastly, as a fan of free software, are you also a fan of Reaper? Does that program also meet most of your needs?
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:21 pm

Zukan wrote:In terms of cost versus performance Reaper is in a league of its own. I tend to use that above the others. My favourite, in terms of layout etc, is Harrison Mixbus but it has a GUI resizing issue which makes it unusable for me, so I leave it as is until they resolve this particular problem. Cubase, which I have been using since its inception, is hogging my CPU badly. It is making it difficult for me to chain plugins on inserts and freezes on occasion. I literally have to render the tracks to free up CPU resources. So, I use Reaper as it is extremely streamlined and hardly touches the CPU load. I have recently acquired presonus Studio One and I do like it. I am not 100% happy with its workflow but it behaves well.

I have thought about using hardware sequencers for writing music and an editing suite for mixing/mastering but it does involve working with a different mindset and setup, and am I really in the mood to restructure everything just for this? I'm not sure.

Like I said, Reaper serves me best for now but Studio One is starting to tick a lot of boxes for me. If and when I upgrade my PC I will reconsider Cubase as I have been using it for years and like its workflow the best.

Thanks for sharing. That is a concern I have with Cubase as I have an older computer that maxes out at 16GB of RAM (after my recent upgrade). (I also really don't like dealing with electronic licenses.) Cubase looks powerful though. I'm curious to hear how its workflow differs from that of Studio One? And what boxes does S1 tick especially well for you?

And are there particular hardware sequencers and editing suites that you have in mind for your hypothetical switch-up?
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