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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 » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:25 pm

S2 wrote: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).

Logic is slick looking -- very squeaky clean in my eyes (those instrument icons for the tracks are unique -- can they be removed, by the way?). In a way, in the realm of aesthetics, or dashboard GUI ergonomics, Logic seems like its on one end of the spectrum with Ableton, and maybe Reaper, on the other.

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby desmond » Mon Aug 24, 2020 8:38 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:those instrument icons for the tracks are unique -- can they be removed, by the way?)

Yes, Logic is very configurable, and is imo the cleanest looking DAW around (which works for me). My general working environment is very clean, but in no way limits me - good combination! :thumbup:

Sunshine82 wrote:In a way, in the realm of aesthetics, or dashboard GUI ergonomics, Logic seems like its on one end of the spectrum with Ableton, and maybe Reaper, on the other.

Yes, the Apple way is to try to hide the complexity a bit, which has advantages and disadvantages, but I might prefer it to Reaper's double click on an item and have a dense dialog full of hundreds of options.

Also in Logic there isn't much faffing around in dialog boxes for the majority of stuff. Plus Logic is by far the biggest bang for the buck, and has by far the best and most included content in terms of instruments, plugins, presets, audio/loop content and so on. Plus no update fees.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Aug 25, 2020 2:06 am

Sunshine82 wrote:
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?

I don't.

There is no connection between Protools and MuseScore, and I don't want there to be.

Protools makes audio.

Musescore make charts that people can read.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:03 am

The Pool in S1 is not a sophisticated file management system as far as I can tell. I'm sure I don't fully grasp its capability but in the years I've been using it, it's mostly been handy for de-cluttering. It allows you to manage the audio and midi files associated with the specific song you're working on in a pretty limited way. Very little more than just a browse feature. I'm sure someone with more experience can set the record straight but that's my take on it.

The premise of non destructive editing that DAWS offer forced me to adopt a different paradigm for content management than I have for discrete files (documents, photo's, etc.). I've had to learn to let the DAW use it's default locations for file management and leave it alone. As I'm not big into samples I don't really understand your use case but perhaps the desire for file management might be a red herring? It was in my case although I wish there were better options for naming, renaming things. S1 did add track notes which are a god send for peeps like me.

But I'll tell ya what I like about it. I can pop out both the mixer window and the editor window from the main page, spread them out across my screens and jump in where I need to. The editing suite for MIDI is easy as pie to use, gives access to all parameters for tweaking, so between the instrument's native capability and on the fly editing, it's hella easy to get a MIDI performance exactly where you want it to be. I do a fair bit of drum programming in Superior Drummer 3 and can tweak a full drum track to a song in a matter of hours.

I like the mixer sections configurability for views, I really like the I/O configuration page. It's compatible with many other products, not just ARA ( I have Melodyne 4 Editor and it works fine), but also deep integration with Softube's Console 1, which is a joy for me.

I don't like some of the ways event handling is managed, it's hard to explain but it doesn't always drag and drop like I want. I hate the way the track colors change if you mouse over the wrong spot! Oh, and the timeline resizing still messes with me. Quibbles aside, I can get the sounds I want quickly and I can manipulate them easily. The by product of many painful experiences any DAW has in store for you. Just like recording, you gotta commit.

If you plan to work extensively with others, as mentioned earlier, keep that factor in mind.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Tue Aug 25, 2020 11:02 am

DC-Choppah wrote:I don't.

There is no connection between Protools and MuseScore, and I don't want there to be.

Protools makes audio.

Musescore make charts that people can read.

Thanks. While I do understand the differences between the two programs, how each serve their own function, and I now understand that you don't combine their functionality, what I'm stumbling towards is the underlying principle of how easy it is (or not) for people to shuttle media back and forth between programs like these two (especially programs from different designers).

In my mind, there's a virtue when using a DAW and notation program that are fully compatible, like Dorico and Cubase or Notion and Studio One. However, perhaps it's become much easier to export and import program files these days? Otherwise, you probably first have to export the media from program one, save it to an external location, then import it into program two, make changes, then flip this process. Perhaps not too painful, but potentially more tedious as a workflow.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby merlyn » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:07 pm

Sunshine82 wrote:By "sound font", interesting term by the way, do you mean instrument pack?

Yes, it's a free format for sampled instruments or banks of sampled instruments. As far as I know with proprietary formats like Kontakt, developers of sample packs have to pay a license fee to Native Instruments.

Can you easily manipulate notes within MuseScore?

Musescore is like a word processor for notation, so yes, copy, paste, transpose. When I'm using it I use the computer keyboard more than the mouse, so it's quick. It does get to the point where, if you want a lot of control and nuance, you'd be better playing it, either on the instrument and record it, or use a MIDI keyboard to get subtle phrasing and dynamics. I have a friend who writes orchestral music and he often plays the parts in with a MIDI keyboard.

How easy is it to shuttle the MIDI tracks between MuseScore and your DAW?

You did ask ... :)

I manage to avoid doing that by using JACK https://jackaudio.org/ on Linux so I can use several applications at once. I think you can get JACK for Windows but I wouldn't recommend trying JACK until you've got a feel for the individual applications and in general I'd recommend a 'one step at a time' approach.

When did a DAW become a piece of software? A Digital Audio Workstation used to refer to a bit of hardware. If you say "I'm buying a Dell Workstation" that would refer to hardware. At some point the term 'DAW' started referring to software, with the implication that musicians and engineers would run only one piece of software. I'm old school in the sense that I have more than one audio program and can connect them together with JACK.

I can use Musescore as my sequencer by taking the MIDI output into a MIDI track on my DAW.

Lastly, as a fan of free software, are you also a fan of Reaper?

I've used Reaper and I thought it was good. It comes with everything you need. It isn't free software, though. There's free as in free beer and free as in free speech, and to be free as in speech the source code has to available to download, re-distribute, modify and re-distribute the modified version. The DAW i use, which is free as in speech is Ardour https://www.ardour.org/. If you want a pre-compiled binary you do have to pay at least a small amount. Ardour is the code base for Harrison Mixbus and its focus is audio.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby desmond » Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:27 pm

merlyn wrote:As far as I know with proprietary formats like Kontakt, developers of sample packs have to pay a license fee to Native Instruments.

Not quite. (I'm still surprised there seems to be quite some confusion over this).

I can make a Kontakt instrument, together with samples, a custom interface, scripting and so on (in fact, I did - see my sig for an example) - and anyone who owns the *full version* of Kontakt can load and use it.

Anyone who *doesn't* have a full Kontakt license can load those instruments into the free Kontakt Player, but this will time out after 15 mins or so of use. The only instruments that the free Kontakt Player will load are the more expensive commercial libraries, as those libraries pay a (significant) license fee to NI to let them run in the free Kontakt Player.

So, if you've bought Kontakt, you can create, sell, download, and use any Kontakt format instruments without a problem and without having to pay anything to NI.

If you *haven't* bought Kontakt, you can still buy the commercially licensed for Kontakt Player libraries and use them, but you can't freely create, download and use any non-Player licensed instruments.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby DC-Choppah » Thu Aug 27, 2020 4:38 am

Sunshine82 wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:I don't.

There is no connection between Protools and MuseScore, and I don't want there to be.

Protools makes audio.

Musescore make charts that people can read.

Thanks. While I do understand the differences between the two programs, how each serve their own function, and I now understand that you don't combine their functionality, what I'm stumbling towards is the underlying principle of how easy it is (or not) for people to shuttle media back and forth between programs like these two (especially programs from different designers).

In my mind, there's a virtue when using a DAW and notation program that are fully compatible, like Dorico and Cubase or Notion and Studio One. However, perhaps it's become much easier to export and import program files these days? Otherwise, you probably first have to export the media from program one, save it to an external location, then import it into program two, make changes, then flip this process. Perhaps not too painful, but potentially more tedious as a workflow.

Protools has a 'score editor'. But in reality it is just the same information as the MIDI editor, but in musical notation form. And less information actually since all of the MIDI velocity and stuff isn't seen. So you can't use the MIDI score to edit the real performance very well. All you can do is move dots around? So might as well just use the MIDI editor for making music come out of the speakers.

Score editor will try to make music notation, but it is not something you can hand out to pros to read in a session. The real performance is too complex and nuanced and makes for charts that are hard to read. So that doesn't work very well.

But I can sit down at Musescore with my MIDI keyboard, and play each part as I want it to read (not sound but read). I can actually listen to the real piece (final Protools version) and play each part in a square, but readable fashion. One part at a time. Now I have the whole score. But I have to play it like I want the score to look. Simple, square, readable. Leaving some room for interpretation.

Once the parts are in, it is mostly about using Musescore to make it look readable and be an easy chart to read. I don't want people messed up by the mechanics of the chart. That is a skill I am learning to get better at. That last step of making it readable is where most of the work is. And it has nothing to do with the DAW.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:01 pm

Watchmaker wrote:The Pool in S1 is not a sophisticated file management system as far as I can tell. I'm sure I don't fully grasp its capability but in the years I've been using it, it's mostly been handy for de-cluttering. It allows you to manage the audio and midi files associated with the specific song you're working on in a pretty limited way. Very little more than just a browse feature. I'm sure someone with more experience can set the record straight but that's my take on it.

The premise of non destructive editing that DAWS offer forced me to adopt a different paradigm for content management than I have for discrete files (documents, photo's, etc.). I've had to learn to let the DAW use it's default locations for file management and leave it alone. As I'm not big into samples I don't really understand your use case but perhaps the desire for file management might be a red herring? It was in my case although I wish there were better options for naming, renaming things. S1 did add track notes which are a god send for peeps like me.

Thanks for sharing. Interesting feedback. Commitment is key.

Someone told me that you can link S1 to an external location where a folder scheme can be created to your liking. I think this can be done via the File tab? And i guess there are third party apps that can help store samples and loops. If my titling conventions are tight enough then things wouldn’t have to be deeply nested.

Overall, S1 still sounds like a strong DAW. I may want to wait for some more updates to clear first though as some Mac users have been working through the kinks with the recent update.
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Re: Favorite DAWs and Composition Software and Why?

Postby Sunshine82 » Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:31 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:But I can sit down at Musescore with my MIDI keyboard, and play each part as I want it to read (not sound but read). I can actually listen to the real piece (final Protools version) and play each part in a square, but readable fashion. One part at a time. Now I have the whole score. But I have to play it like I want the score to look. Simple, square, readable. Leaving some room for interpretation.

Once the parts are in, it is mostly about using Musescore to make it look readable and be an easy chart to read. I don't want people messed up by the mechanics of the chart. That is a skill I am learning to get better at. That last step of making it readable is where most of the work is. And it has nothing to do with the DAW.

Thanks for explaining your workflow. MuseScore sounds plenty capable enough. I may start with that and then transfer to Notion later on. :thumbup:
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