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My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby desmond » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:02 pm

blinddrew wrote:Most DAWs can do far more than they are regularly used for, so why use more than one?

There are of course some reasons for this - perhaps you like to work in DAW A, but also need to work in DAW B for compatibility / collaboration purposes (ie, some people you work with use a different DAW and it makes more sense to work in that DAW for those sessions, or perhaps you need to deliver a project in a different DAW format).

For me, although my main DAW is Logic, I also use Live as a secondary DAW because it has a workflow and set of tools that's unique and not covered that well by Logic (eg, all the actual live jamming stuff), so there's less overlap there in those features.
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby blinddrew » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:16 pm

Good points well made. Whilst i'm at i shall further undermine my own argument by bringing in the work vs home scenario; i use Reaper at home but Cubase at work.
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Terrible.dee » Sun Jul 07, 2019 9:57 pm

I understand the question

and I'll give you the answer...THE RIGHT ANSWER,

because this bizarre "feature implementation" affects each and every person who works with digital audio (I'm pleased to say, now that I've gone "tape" this isn't as much of a thing for me, but its impossible to completely avoid digital, so..)

What's more, I don't even USE the DAW with my "Fav feature" for work anymore. When I quit making myself available for engineering/producing/mixing jobs, because I was MISERABLE, and made the decision I was only going to offer my services as a Composer/Songwriter to pay the bills, part of making that break was changing DAW's, The Library I went to work for wanted all composers standardized using Logic so cues could be shuffled about between composers, and play to everyone's strengths, but this was before that, I just NEEDED to look at something that didn't remind me of Producing/Engineering.

I hate the work that this feature makes so easy, but the feature its self should be the bar thta all DAW's measure up to, but bizarre as it is, after all these years.....not a SINGLE other DAW has brought their specs up to the gold standard of the...

AUDIO EDITING IN PROTOOLS

Yep, only ONE DAW has acceptably implemented the editing of digital audio....ONLY ONE!!

I have NO IDEA why this is still the case, it makes ZERO sense (Just like the Audio editing on other DAW'ss) I can't fathom how something so basic, so intrinsic, so important can be so completely f%$k'd up by all but ONE.

For this reason, it's better to go from another DAW to Protools, when you go the other way...WOW...let me tell you...It is INFURIATING.

How these other software designers so completely BOTCH this, I can't understand. But I'll never forget learning Logic, checking out where and how all the basic stuff is. I was like "You gotta be F&%k'n KIDDING ME!?!? IT'S NOT THAT HARD! WHY DO YOU MAKES THINGS WORSE THAN THEY NEED TO BE!?!?"

It's like you have all these hotels, they are all great, have pools, nightclubs, casinos ect ect, and in most respects they are all pretty much the same thing...............

.......except only ONE hotel has indoor toilets, at all the others you have to use an outhouse or chamber pot.
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Re: Logic Pro X : My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Terrible.dee » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:22 pm

Dave B wrote:I'm sure other DAWs do these as well. I'm struggling a bit, but things that I find ultra useful are :

1. The take management for overdubs. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

2. Drum replacer. Basically, it's a 'spike to midi' translator and it's very useful to me for a variety of jobs. The obvious one is beefing up recorded drums, but there are other uses I can think of (and sometimes try). It's not particularly clever, but it's a very handy thing to have

3. Tempo detection. Again, not world changing or the one killer feature, but it's a useful tool for me when importing recorded audio.

4. The sheer volume of content. Bit of a double edged sword here - on the one hand, it's all great content but it does take ages to download and a shedload of hard drive space

5. The environment. I've only scratched the surface of this, but already found interesting ways of doing things and solved one issue I have

The Environment?

Yeaaah......I think your choice of words shines a light on the nature of the "environment"

You've found "Interesting ways of doing things" and "Solved an Issue"

I maintain to this day that the environment is the very symbol of Logic...

Over-complication for its own sake, taking something simple and adding unnecessary levels of complexity thereby becoming a distraction from the "reason de etre'

You open a DAW why? Either because you have some creative inclination, or someone else is paying you to assist them with theirs. I'm a firm believer in that tools should only assist, they should never try to become the star of the show, one doesn't open Logic with the idea of "I'm going to do some LOGIC'ING" But that is exactly what things like "The environment" lead to.

I am no novice when it comes to MIDI, I can program a DX7, work with hexadecimal sysex strings, I program a battalion of synths, drum machines and samplers from hardware sequencers, as a composer, I program nuanced orchestral performances using any and all parameters (And for this, I actually REALLY LIKE Logic, I can access dozens of automation lanes with ease)....I even know how to use a f'n Octatrack... (Although the manufacturer imposed restrictions, that bring it BELOW acceptable MIDI specs for 1985, disqualify it as a sequencer for me....A QY70 blows the Octatrack out of the water when it comes to MIDI, that's not good, one is $1400 the other is $100, someone needs to ask Elektron why it is they can't top a budget sequencer released in 1995)...

...but to this day, I have NEVER found a practical use for the environment, the only times I've HAD to venture in was when Logic's inability to work with hardware MIDI units led me there on a wild goose chase.

While there, I see stuff....but what I see are things that DO NOT NEED TO BE THAT COMPLICATED. THIS is how Logic, as a tool, always seems to be trying to take over the job, and make it about the tools, not about the muse.

If someone could justify the existence of the "Environment" I'd LOVE to hear it.
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Re: Reaper & Cubase: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Terrible.dee » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:25 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:I use Cubase and Reaper. There are too many features to list, and we can take the basics for granted. So instead of my 'top' five, here are 'five of the best' features of each...

Reaper
1. Parameter modulation. Wow. Every DAW should have this.
2. Mouse modifiers — way more powerful than keystrokes alone. Every DAW should have this.
3. Scripting support — there's a whole community of people who will adapt this DAW to meet your needs! Every DAW... ah, you get the picture.
4. The routing flexibility. Drag and drop sends. Sends and receives on every track. Folder-busses. Up to 64 channels inside every stereo track. Routing matrix for each and every plug-in.
5. Prolific updates, with new features and bug fixes pretty much every month or two.

I've not even talked about the tiny download size, the stability, the CPU efficiency, the various grouping/linking options, the ability to run it off a pen drive... etc etc.

Cubase
1. The Chord Track, and its integration with both Variaudio and MIDI. Elegant and helpful.
2. Quadrafuzz V2. Utterly brilliant plug-in (even if the default presets aren't!)
3. Groove Agent's Acoustic Agent, the drum editor and drum maps.
4. The Control Room.
5. Automatic vocal alignment (even if Revoice Pro is better, it's good, and this is bloody brilliant to have inside your DAW).

Hmm......I think I may have to give Reaper another go
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Panas1 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 10:47 pm

damn. I wrote a wish list and then re-read the thread title... :headbang:
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Reaper: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions.. BUT...

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:43 am

I love Reaper for many reasons and all of them are covered by previous posters.

- Fast Startup and zappy performance
- Scripting - write your own plugins in script ... just wow!
- Handles anything you drop into it
- Customisable
- Sensible Licensing

However, in respectful if direct contravention of the spirit of this thread... (sorry Ian, I'm spitting teeth right now!)

... Reaper's MIDI functionality is in some ways abysmal. It's non-intuitive, awkward, obscure and downright frustating compared to other DAWs.

I'm still using Reaper, it's incredibly powerful and flexible. Audio-wise it's everything you could wish for but when it comes to MIDI ... just ... AAAAARRRGGGHHHH!

Example. Go into the MIDI editor. Now select and delete a section of the take you don't want, leaving the rest. Default cursor is an "insert content" pen. Select a timeline and hit 'delete' ... nothing happens. Where is the rubber band to intuitively drag around the notes so you can hit 'delete' to remove them? Oh, there isn't one. WHY NOT?!

Right click - you have select all, select previous note, select next note, select previous note with same pitch, select next note with same pitch and select all notes with same pitch.

There is no option to select "slap Cockos in the face with a wet haddock because I want to select all notes in a give time range". Frankly, there should be.

Seriously it's infuriating. I get you can delete things in various ways but really, as a modern app it's terrible at sensible MIDI operations. Don't get me wrong, I think Reaper is awesome in pretty much every way other than MIDI editing. I just wish it was more intuitive.

-sigh- I now have to get back to figuring out how to do something MIDI-wise in Reaper that in Logic was trivial. I've been using DAWs for years and if it takes me 20 minutes+ to find a way to do something that should flipping obvious there is something wrong with the picture.

Rant over (Edit: Not quite!) - I'm sure I'l have figured it out before most people read this but for the love of the spaghetti monster... why is it so difficult?

PS: Yep. It's there. You drag with the right mouse button to select an arbitrary range of notes. Exactly the same as ... wait, no other sane piece of software on the planet. Why not a rubber band icon? I am now heading back to the session because I've got things to accomplish and if I continue I'm going to explode!

Not being funny, I really do like Reaper but I seriously don't like the way it breaks normal expectations of how things should work. It's almost as if it's doing it just to be different, and there are well established user patterns that really should't be deviated from.

Don't get me started on the hideously broken window view in the MIDI editor when you start copying and pasting sections of notes. Or the fact that it sometimes introduces a spurious ghost note into the end of the section you just pasted if it's the last section of the track. No, really... don't...

AAARGGGH :headbang:
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:35 am

PPS: As I'm on a roll.

Boot up Reaper. Do some stuff. Now power up a new MIDI source such as a Prophet-6, Kronos or OB-6. Reaper sees that new MIDI interface, adds it to the known list and helpfully defaults to ignoring it, going so far as to mark it 'disabled' in the device list in the options until you hunt that thing down and confirm that, uh, you really turned that device on for a reason.

And if that wasn't enough - having recorded a MIDI part in perfect sync with a recorded audio bass riff, when repeatedly copy/pasting the MIDI part in the track view using the convenient automatic 'paste the next MIDI part exactly at the end of the last one you pasted' feature ... it keeps perfect time from for the first few copies then drifts out of time subsequently. And no, before anyone asks, it's not because of a missing 1/16th note on the MIDI pattern or anything, it's bang on the right length and it still loses sync. I've done this dozens of times in Logic with no issues whatsoever.

Words fail me.

Sorry all it's been a long night and I'm still at it. Right now Reaper has given me so much pain tonight with things MIDI that I can only assume some mischievous deity imposed it on the Universe despite Cockos's best efforts to argue otherwise.

One can only scream "WHY?" so many times before you go insane or adopt a silly mood as a last ditch self-defence mechanism.

Don't let me derail a lovely thread with my petty rants. I feel guilty enough already. In the unlikely (and why should you?) event that anyone feels the need to respond, let's take that one to the Lounge. MIDI is badly broken in Reaper.

Sorry Ian :blush: - my original 5 good points remain nonetheless.
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 6:34 am

Yep .. bug confirmed:

Here's the section that fails to align:

Image

And here it is in context:

Image

Only the first section (sections being indicated by the white semi-triangular indents on the bottom end of the track timeline) was recorded. The others were cut and pasted repeatedly. At the point indicated, Reaper decided to offset the paste by a negative amount.

Going to find the correct means to report this as a bug but I'm still grrrr... this has taken me time I can't afford to track down :-(
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Re: Reaper: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions.. BUT...

Postby Matt Houghton » Mon Jul 08, 2019 9:58 am

Eddy Deegan wrote:You drag with the right mouse button to select an arbitrary range of notes. Exactly the same as ... wait, no other sane piece of software on the planet. Why not a rubber band icon?

I know what you mean about the Reaper defaults— some are frustrating at first if you're migrating from another DAW. But for me, this default works really, really well. Perhaps it's because I'm using a trackpad? A one-finger tap moves the playhead, a one-finger click/drag creates a note or selects a single note (with the usual Shift and Cmd modifiers to increase that selection, as with pretty much every piece of software ever...) and a two-finger click-drag marquee-selects multiple notes. It seems pretty logical to me, but as with everything in Reaper, it's really easy to change — the Mouse Modifiers in Preferences, like the Actions, are searchable...
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Re: Logic Pro X : My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 08, 2019 11:51 am

Terrible.dee wrote:The Environment?

So, I guess I'm claiming this one... :headbang:

Terrible.dee wrote:You've found "Interesting ways of doing things" and "Solved an Issue"

Yep - Logic is pretty good at letting you do some things that some power users need, without it getting the way for the people that don't need those things.

Terrible.dee wrote:I maintain to this day that the environment is the very symbol of Logic...
Over-complication for its own sake, taking something simple and adding unnecessary levels of complexity thereby becoming a distraction from the "reason de etre'

Well I couldn't disagree more. I'd say probably 90% or more people never even open the environment window, nor have a reason to do so, so it certainly isn't a "distraction" to most folks - and Logic's development has focused on repackaging up some of the stuff you used it for into "friendlier" and more accessible ways - eg MIDI plugins, or the "External Instrument" software instrument and many more ways - and pushing the environment features away from the casual users who don't want to go there.

The Environment has a reputation for being "over-complicated" but it is no more complicated than connecting MIDI devices together - indeed, that was entirely the paradigm the environment uses. Of course, back in the days when Logic was a MIDI-only sequencer, and all users had a bunch of MIDI gear, the paradigms were more familiar to most - many people these days don't have much of a concept of MIDI, even though they're using it, so it's perhaps less obvious to the youngfolk.

I actually think the biggest barrier to the environment for those folks who shy away for it is that they just have no use for it - and thus they kind of look at it blankly, shrug, and close it again.

Terrible.dee wrote:I'm a firm believer in that tools should only assist, they should never try to become the star of the show, one doesn't open Logic with the idea of "I'm going to do some LOGIC'ING" But that is exactly what things like "The environment" lead to.

I love the fact that I can, should I want to, build extra functionality in my DAW to assist me *more* than it would otherwise do. But I don't have to. it's the same as scripting in Reaper - don't care about it, then ignore it, and it doesn't get in the way. However, for a small subset of power users, it's a godsend that lets them improve their workflow significantly.

In fact, the environment, and it's possibilities, was probably *the* key reason I moved from Notator to Logic 1.x back in the day. Things I couldn't do but wanted to in Notator could now be handled easily.

Terrible.dee wrote:...but to this day, I have NEVER found a practical use for the environment

That's fine. Not everybody needs every tool. I can't say I spend a lot of time in the score editor either, but that doesn't mean I don't think it should be there... And the score editor is certainly complicated, and requires understanding of the principles of notation, and layout, and what makes a good readable score. But again, it's not like the score system is a distraction for the people that don't need it - they just don't open that window. It's the same principle as the Environment.

Terrible.dee wrote:While there, I see stuff....but what I see are things that DO NOT NEED TO BE THAT COMPLICATED

So, firstly, it really isn't complicated. You can demonstrate the principles, and the key concepts, in a couple of minutes. However, people (being as we are) *are* complicated, and often have complicated needs. And in this manner, if the environment has a weakness, it is if anything (imo) *too simple*.

The fact that the tools in the environment are inherently very simple (something to output MIDI messages, something to transform MIDI messages, something to monitor MIDI messages etc - there's only a handful of types of object) means that *if* you need to do something complicated, it can become a bit of a mess to implement. For example, let's say you want to store the value of a note played for some reason - there is no concept of a store, or "variable", so you have to create faders to "hold" that value. This is where stuff gets unintuitive, and over-complex. With some work, some new objects, including getting the MIDI Scripter plugin into the environment, then developing solutions to needs would result in much *simpler* environment setups. But I digress...

Terrible.dee wrote:If someone could justify the existence of the "Environment" I'd LOVE to hear it.

The thing is, if you need it, you know you need it. It's a bit like talking about workflow and automation tools to people who are happy using their Mac with the mouse. I can hardly bear to use a "plain" Mac, it feels slow and constrained and annoying - I use all kinds of enhancements to make my experience better, faster, more efficient, less frustrating. I use LaunchBar, Keyboard Maestro and all kinds of other tools, and they are a necessity to me in a myriad of ways. But talking about how cool these automation tools are to another person doesn't take into account that that person just might not be interested, or need it, or even want to change a known workflow, even if the new workflow would be much better. Some folks are happy enough just to do things the way they know works.

So if you have no use for the environment, there is no point me going on about why it's important for *me*, because those things are clearly not important to you. You'll find the comments unconvincing.

Lastly - because of the fact that since Apple's acquisition of Logic, they have been working to simplify and streamline, and most of their development choices you can understand, even if some of them were a little annoying to long-term power users. And many of those things which were once environment-only solutions can now be done in other ways (the MIDI plugins and MIDI Scripter are some examples, and there are plenty more).

But also times have changed, and gone are the days when Logic for me sat in the middle of a roomful of MIDI gear. Probably 90% of the time now, I'm not even firing up my hardware MIDI interfaces or gear, and Logic is being an audio workstation, a software synth, sampler and so on - and as such, my environment use is much less these days, compared to my Logic 1-5 days.

The Environment is still there. It still underpins Logic, tracks still have Environment objects assigned to them, an Audio Track 1 object is an environment object, and so everyone is using the Environment, even if they have no need to do anything custom or even open up the environment window. But it has been neglected and under-developed, so Apple's treatment of it seems to indicate how they feel about it - it has to stay for project compatibility, removing or changing it would be a significant amount of foundational work on a large legacy codebase, and it's a set of tools that are less relevant to the userbase than ever before. So, it stays, it gets hidden away as much as possible, and we make every effort to not require a typical user to need to go there to do anything they regularly need to do, while still being there for those that *do* have a use for it, or have developed custom solutions in the past that still work for them, and would be painful to lose.

It's old, it's under-developed, it's over-simple, it's paradigm is probably out-dated, and it's not important to most users.

But it's helped me out tremendously over the years, and I love software where you can develop custom solutions for things that would otherwise get in the way of my creativity, should you need to.

If it's not important to you - that's Ok too. :thumbup:
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby ManFromGlass » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:35 pm

A practical example of why I needed Logics environment -
Back in the day I had a fully loaded JV 1080. Some kind soul, (or anal-retentive person :thumbup: ) took the time to enter every single patch name in a multi instrument in Logics environment, actually a few multi instruments. I downloaded it and copied and pasted it (them) into my master template. I could now pull up any of the tons of patches in Logic and it would be the correct one. A small but very useful, to me, feature that saved me lots of time and frustration over the years.
I’m no code head but is wasn’t brain surgery to figure out how to implement the multi instrument.
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby desmond » Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:39 pm

ManFromGlass wrote:Back in the day I had a fully loaded JV 1080. Some kind soul, (or anal-retentive person :thumbup: ) took the time to enter every single patch name in a multi instrument in Logics environment

Before you give glories to that painstaking effort, It's actually not that hard - just copy the patch names column in the PDF manual or patch listing, and paste them into the multi-instrument.

With SoundDiver back on Win/OS9 days, you could even get them automatically as Logic and SoundDiver would talk to each other, but on the Mac this didn't make the transition to OSX...
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Re: Reaper: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions.. BUT...

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:43 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:You drag with the right mouse button to select an arbitrary range of notes. Exactly the same as ... wait, no other sane piece of software on the planet. Why not a rubber band icon?

I know what you mean about the Reaper defaults— some are frustrating at first if you're migrating from another DAW. But for me, this default works really, really well. Perhaps it's because I'm using a trackpad? A one-finger tap moves the playhead, a one-finger click/drag creates a note or selects a single note (with the usual Shift and Cmd modifiers to increase that selection, as with pretty much every piece of software ever...) and a two-finger click-drag marquee-selects multiple notes. It seems pretty logical to me, but as with everything in Reaper, it's really easy to change — the Mouse Modifiers in Preferences, like the Actions, are searchable...

Thanks Matt - I was having a bit of a crisis last night with something I very much needed to get done and it seemed Reaper was fighting me every inch of the way! Got there in the end and it is easier with a couple of things now I know how it does them (and to be fair, that's my fault for not knowing them in advance).

I still think the MIDI functionality is behind the audio, especially in terms of editing, but thanks for shining a little sensibleness on it :thumbup:
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:45 pm

They do say that Reaper is a journey from Aaargh! To Aah!
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Pro Tools: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Sam Inglis » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:51 pm

Despite it being one of the most widely used DAWs, hardly anyone has posted their favourite Pro Tools features and functions, so I'll bite.

(1) It's NOT customisable.

The more I use it, the more I think this is a strength rather than a weakness. Pro Tools has an amazingly deep, consistent and well thought-out system of key commands that you can't change. And I don't want to. They have been set up by people who know the program far better than I ever could. I will become a more effective user by learning those shortcuts than by trying to devise my own.

(2) Audio editing.

This has already been alluded to. Pro Tools just got it right first time and although vaguely similar features have been added in other DAWs, like the Range Selection tools in Cubase, they don't have the same beautiful simplicity.

(3) Mix and Edit groups.

See above.

(4) AudioSuite plug-ins.

Yes, it is still really useful to be able to apply audio effects off-line in a really simple way. No it's not the same as bouncing or rendering a real-time effect. And there are processes you can apply using AudioSuite that aren't possible in real time.

(5) Mono / stereo / surround handling.

A variant on (1) really. I actually dislike DAWs where a single track type can be a container for mono, stereo, MIDI, surround or whatever. It's just confusing and you never quite know what you have on any given track. Pro Tools just has mono tracks that scale up through stereo and mullti-channel, and it's really clear what the track contains and what any plug-ins are doing to increase or decrease that channel count.

One related tiny feature that PT gets right and nothing else does... want to split a stereo clip to two mono ones or vice versa? Simple, just drag it onto a pair of mono tracks!

(6) The Import Session Data... option.

Makes it super easy to import exactly what you want from an existing project into the one you're working on.
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Re: Reaper: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions.. BUT...

Postby ConcertinaChap » Mon Jul 08, 2019 2:58 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:Don't get me started ...

I don't think we need to :)

I think there's the makings of a great Reaper Techniques article there.

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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Matt Houghton » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:16 pm

blinddrew wrote:They do say that Reaper is a journey from Aaargh! To Aah!

Yep. That's spot on. I've always maintained that moving to Reaper from another DAW requires a significant upfront investment of your time, and some non-urgent non-critical material to use while you figure out your workflow. Then the many pennies start to drop and you wonder how you lived without it...
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby CS70 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:24 pm

Terrible.dee wrote:AUDIO EDITING IN PROTOOLS

Yep, only ONE DAW has acceptably implemented the editing of digital audio....ONLY ONE!!

Whatever it is that you smoked, must have been pretty good! :D
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Re: My Top 5 DAW Features & Functions

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:39 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:I've always maintained that moving to Reaper from another DAW requires a significant upfront investment of your time, and some non-urgent non-critical material to use while you figure out your workflow.

(My emphasis)

Yep, that one I can attest to, as I learned it the hard way last night. That was 100% my fault of course :D
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Eddy Deegan
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