i use sony acid music studio 70 bucks. the equalizer sucks so i use wavepads perfect eq if the 3 band of acid aint good nuf. sony acid took me bout half hour to get 2 tracks make and mixed and output to mp3. i tried cubase, cakewalk , reaper, and audition before that and gave up after about 4 hours on each with a confusion melt down.
cubase would not work with my bose usb speakers. the others were too hard to understand. you click on the r to arm it (whatever that means) then you wire the output to the master mixer .....
huuuuh. of coure the w switch must be activated to ..... and then you render not mix (term i would have immediately understood ) . you render it . had it said render as (mix it and save) . a few more characters. id be done. i think only sony acid is beta tested and improved. you get some fok and say. hey pretend its a video game. record 2 vocal tracks , mix em and then output to mp3. this obvious idea would have made the products easier to learn. or what bout a dvd coming with the product. showing step by step how to record 2 audio tracks mix and produce mp3. then another and another getting more complex . its called getting started.
so im pretty sure acid is the easiest to lean and has knock out features. and with wavepad to complement it. i eq once in a blue moon. or even melodyne to complement it.
whats the difference amound the DAWs. i cant think of any thing that melodyne/wavepad cant complement.
It is quite easy to get any DAW going within 5 minutes... if you read the "getting started" part of the manual. But I think what you say is like me saying: "nevermind photoshop, microsoft paint is easier to use"
I haven't used Acid for so long now, since it was a loop designer mostly, and it might have got awesomely better (the Acid Pro 7 looks quite cool). But I doubt it has the same features and possibilities itself as DAWS like Sonar, protools, digital performer, cubase, etc. ... or maybe it does.
But one thing is for sure, for recording ideas and non professional records "easier must be better", but for sound engineers the equation turns into something like "great sonic engine, smooth workflow, and stability must be better".
Anyways we cannot forget that the DAW is usually the cheaper part of a studio, and I can tell that hardware is far more important sonicly talking. I'd recomend you to get into one of the "hard to understand" DAWS if you are interested in digital audio. There are several user guides through the net.
I totally agree. And the language used in DAWs get complex as functions do. The term "mix" outside a DAW is clear enough, though "save," "mix," "render," "print to file," "export to..." and related terms address different functions within a DAW, and to complicate things more, there isn't a concesus within DAW makers. However, once you get through the initial hassle of learning the ropes of a major, full-featured, all profesional DAW, then undestanding the others isn't so big deal. I used Sonar a long time (up to version 6), for I started my interest in digital audio since Cakewalk Pro Audio 7 (Sonar's predecessor), and moving onto it was simple for me. I love Acid, and I learned it fairly quickly. Cubase and Protools somehow simulate what a hardware mixer and recorder work like, so their signal routing kind of makes sense if you have used the hardware before. To this day, I am unable to make sense out of Abelton's Live, and Fruty Loops is a big msytery to me. Still, beyond technicalities, there's the thing of preference and personal taste. Anyway, like a musical instrument, the basic moves of almost every DAW are easy to learn and use.
I tried to teach a friend the very basics of DAWs. He didn't know a thing about audio pruduction. He wanted to just sit, record, mix, and forget about the whole thing. We found a demo of Acoustica Mixcraft http://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/ and he was up and running in a few minutes. The GUI is very explicit. From that experience I can tell one of the easiest DAWs to use is Mixcraft. I didn't actually get interested in it. It ate up lots of resources because of its graphics, and I already use Pro Tools, so no need actually, but he happily bought it.
To conclude, learning to use Pro Tools is not one of the easiest tasks, but it is worth the learning curve due to the fenefits you get out of it. Midi sux, all PT users might agree, but audio edition is surgeon blade's precise without the hassles of binary calculations that I've seen around the forums when people talk engineer. I am experience trained, mind you.
but if these companies would only beta test their products they would know to use the term mix even in parentheses or even the term blend it alll and output to a music file. its only a few words.
also they could get suggestions on the gui like just click and drag to do time shifting and dont make us plug in a number only have a sliding bar. we dont know what the center freq of the vocals are but we could slide around and find it. i think sony acid did beta testing and adjusted their product and came up with the show me how to function that points to each icon and says
click here now click here not click here. it spoon feeds it to you. thats why i think it is best for beginners. once you get your feet wet and term rendering sinks in , then you can move to reaper or cubase for most sophisticated processing or wavepad for eq ing
The May 2009 issue of EQ magazine I just received has a pretty good roundup of many different workstation software, what special sauce each one adds and what drawbacks. Suffice to say, they are becoming more similar across the board.
I think the biggest question to answer before buying is where you sit on the audio/MIDI scale. Audio is not very processor hungry as MIDI functionality. That's why the basic multitrack audio software apps tend to be cheaper than say Cubase or ProTools, which have lots of bells and whistles for MIDI and advanced editing. So, if you're just about recording a few live instrument tracks and submitting them to Kompoz, stay on the less expensive end. If you're like me and do a combination of live audio, software instruments, editing, mastering (and even video), you must fork over extra dough for the advanced functionality.
Finally, just because the software looks cool, don't assume it produces great audio. They're not created equal. The best 'audio engines' use algorithms that render great tracks. That's really where the rubber meets the road. You also probably want to pick a company that has mass appeal since there will be lots of help out there in the internet world. Just a thought. Reaper is cool, but you won't find a tremendous body of knowledge out there to support you compared to the big guys.
You may want to check out m-Audio. I use a very entry level DAW - m-Audio Session. It does pretty much everything I need at this time. While I would like to 'move-up' to Sonor 7 or 8, I have found Session to be fairly capable. I use is with m-Audio's FastTrack USB (mic/instrument preamp). It doesn't have a ton of bells & whistles, but it does have decent effects, a loop library and is VERY easy to use.
I bought my package with m-Audio's KeyRig49 midi controller - comes with some pretty good sounds as well. For about $200, I have a decent DAW, thats easy to use and has given me an opportunity to make some decent recordings, a few of which I have on this site.
Ultimately though, it's all a matter of what you wish to accomplish.....
sounds great. i bought an m-audio keyboard but there was no drivers for vista 64 operating system so i returned it. one question is is the keyboard of high quality and touch sensitive or just a switch.
i am now using a casio 3800 which has a great keyboard. to me it seems perfect. i can play soft or hard and the music tracks it. it has a midi but again nothin for vista. i quit checkin so they may both have vista now. i could go to xp for 260 dollars but i love vista. my idea is to buy melodyne where midi can be made from the audio recording of anything. but that may be hype.
i use sony acid music studio 7 which can be bought at every software shop for 70 dollars. it seems near perfect to me except for equalizing where i use wavepad.
ill look for a free trial version of m audio. thanks
There is no free trial for Session as it's their 'consumer' product - I got it at Best Buy.
The keyboard is touch sensitive and has midi editing capabilities as well. There are drivers for Vista 64 though I use Vista 32. Check out their site, they have comparible products for pretty decent $$$.
I use Cubase to record to but its not that great for mixing. I export my wav files to Cooledit pro and mix from there. Cooledit has outside panning and volume that make it real easy to listen to the whole mix and adjust your track volumes at any time or your pan. But for some reason cooledit dont have a clean record inn bus or something I just haven't figured out.
I am an Ableton Live man. People sometimes say that Live is hard to learn, which is sort of true. I remember when I first started using it I got really confused, but then I decided Live was the way to go for me, so I went trough some of the lessons it came with, which taught me the program really fast and easily. Why I decided to use Live? Well, I noticed how compact everything was, they really managed to put a lot of different functions on just one screen. Apart from that, where they did use multiple screens to switch back and forward to, they built in real quick ways to switch (simply TAB for the upper part and SHIFT + TAB for the lower part) Also, if you need more space in the different portions of the program, windows fold in and out real easily and quickly. All this while keeping the looks of everything extremely simple, without unneccesarily fancy designs on buttons to make it look like a real life mixing board.
Easiest to learn and use? I don't know, I haven't tried the other ones. Certain functions of Live are still a mystery to me, but the functions I use are not. If I need something new, I learn that function.
Different people use different tools because there is something in there they like, this is really personal. Also, the purpose is to get some work done, to shape the sound in the way you want, and this goes best in a tool that you are familiar with. Getting used to a DAW is time-consuming and demotivating, especially if you are used to a different DAW and trying to learn a new one, because you will automatically expect certain things to work the same way as you are used to in the other program, which they never do.
Also, my reasons for picking the DAW I use are really personal. Other people pick DAWs for other reasons. This not as obvious as I make it sound here - I am trying to say that, I picked Ableton Live because it appealed to me. Not everyone can just pick the program they like, sometimes people have only two different programs to choose from, because those are they only ones that they can get to work with certain other drivers, or with the OS of their choice.
My advice: See which DAW's work with the hardware and software you need. If you need to change to a different OS to get stuff to work better, do so because it is worth it. Then read about what makes these DAW's so special and decide which one would work best for you, for what you do with it(or intend on doing with it) and for the way you prefer to work. Then invest some time in actually teaching yourself this DAW by playing around. Personally, I spent months and months on just playing and recording some covers of songs I liked, just to get really comfortable with Live. This because:
A. For a cover, I have already heard what it sounds like, which makes it easier to create the sound I want. If I have an abstract idea in my head only, it is way harder to shape the sound the way it is in my head because I get distracted by all false attempts. It is not a good idea for me to try and create someting original using tools I am not familiar with.
B. When I finally started recording my own material, I wasn't demotivated by having to use tools that I am not familiar with.
Don't worry HundredProofRye, I was wondering about the same thing this morning. Well I knew what DAW is, but not what the abbreviation stands for. I even googled it and yeah, Digital Audio Workstation.
I've already said it, and I favor Pro Tools because of its audio edition, but I have an update on this topic:
First, Reaper is great, highly intuitive and easy to use. I've started playing around with it, and it has made me set set Sonar aside for a while.
Second: MIDI in Pro Tools doesn't suck anymore. Pro Tools 8 has taken care of midi now. I'm still exploring the cfapabilities of the update, but from the start it's become better and easier. I've had the update just for a week now.
Wow! This is a pretty tough question. Not that you won't get lot's of good info, but that most users haven't used more than one or two, so they've not been able to compare really.
Someone mentioned they can all be up and running in about 5 minutes with a quick start guide.
I beg to differ from personal experience. It all depends on what you run for hardware and what your set up is. Pro Tools took me over three months to get working right. NO exaggeration! It also required buying a new computer, AND a new audio interface. Even Cakewalk took me a while to get the hang of just enough to start mixing.
I have used Cakewalk, Garage Band, Audacity (free, but sucks!) and Pro Tools. I just got Cubase with a recent Zoom purchase too. I love trying different DAW's. They're all quite different from one another. Speed of set up isn't what concerns me the most. It's what I can actually DO with it once it is set up.
I've never found there are ever easy answers to questions like this. Everyone's needs and wants are too particular. You may think all you want to do is "get up and running" as quick as you can, but once you really get into it, that can all change drastically once you find out what's possible. It can be pretty frustrating to find the software you spent a couple of bills on set up quickly, but doesn't do half of what you begin to discover is possible.
My advice: Read a lot about each one, and ask a lot of questions. NO question is stupid! Figure out what all the terms mean, and which of them interest you the most, then go out and compare.
Get the one that'll do the most for you in the long run. Don't worry so much about how quick you can get going with it. It's tempting, I know! Take it from someone who has wasted time AND money on chit that wasn't worth it in the long run. Don't be in a hurry when it comes to choosing software!
One extra feature that makes REAPER a candidate for "easiest to use" is the Cuckos web site and discussion forum.
If judged only as a piece of raw software, with the aid of the downloadable pdf user manual (418 pages), but not using any of the online support available from Cuckos, then REAPER may be one of the most difficult DAWs to learn? The "difficulty level" depends on what you are trying to do, and previous experience. REAPER is easy to get started, using the Getting Started instructions. Once up and running, digging under the hood reveals an endless range of amazing possibilities, functions, menus, structures, and new concepts. So much that it would be easy to get lost.
This "difficulty" is turned on its head if you use the REAPER discussion forum.
The small group of "modestly altruistic" enthusiasts that are the Cuckos company are the designers and owners of REAPER DAW. The give us the Cuckos web site from which the full current version of REAPER can be downloaded for free. $60 user licence fee is payable after a period of trial use. (Don't judge the product by its price. This is a full professional level DAW in both features and quality.)
The Cuckos web site contains the discussion forum area. Questions posted in the forum will often be answered within minutes. Many answers are actually posted by the Cuckos development team members themselves. Some issues raised in the forums become features in the next release version of REAPER.
Subsections in the forum area include: General Discussion Forum, Q&A Tips Tricks and How-To, and "Newbieland" where no question is too dumb to ask!
The total forum contains 21 subsections. Some subsections contain thousands of discussion threads. Forum SEARCH is therefore a vital tool. If viewing the forums as a guest then you have to key in one of those annoying distorted-character-string codes on each search entry. Free sign-up to join the forum solves that problem.
Judged in context, with the support of the community of developers and users in the Cuckos REAPER forums, then REAPER must be one of the easiest DAWs to use - because help and advice is always available if you get stuck, lost, or just slightly unsure of the best way to do something.
I have tried Mixcraft, the trial version, and my computer wasn't so friendly with it. It made my pc really slow. I admit it is extremely intuitive unlike Cubase, sorry you zillions of Cubasers out there, I don't get it. However, Reaper is smooth and nice. I've been using it for a while, and one the things I like the most is its nudging capabilities, comparable to those of Pro Tools. I haven't found out how to deal with elastic audio yet (is it a feature?) but anyway, it is a joy to work with Reaper. I believe for the price you (could) pay, it's the most robust DAW with greart features, and support that I'm going to look into. Thanx for the tip on the forum.
For the price, I'd have to agree about Reaper. I heard so many great mixes done on this DAW that I just had to give it a spin myself - and can say without a doubt there's nothing "inferior" in terms of the quality of what this DAW can deliver. However, I find it less "easy" than Cubase for example simply because I've grown up with Cubase. The second easiest for me would be Pro Tools, followed in third place by Digital Performer. As mentioned in an earlier post, it all depends on what you want to "do" with your DAW.... this determines the ease of use. If you're just going for basic tracking and straight forward mixes, any DAW should fit the bill. As Rick says, they're all becoming much of the same thing. The bigger differences (to me) are seen when using a DAW as a production tool; particularly when using DSP's on-board, when more sophisticated I/O's and outboard gear are in use and where a multitude of routing "solutions" come into play. It is not "easy" to set this up initially and configure the hardware - but when it's done, things can be accomplished quicker in the end. It can take weeks of testing and re-testing to get there - but it's worth it for a "production" environment. This is what makes things "easy" for me. The question of which DAW is "easiest" is tricky one :o)
As I only use ProTools, I can't weigh in on the exact topic. However there is another question that has likely gotten all of us..
This is the parallel topic of what audio software is easiest to set up, install & run on a "standard PC platform?"... I know many folks who have purchased DAW's & been unable to get them to run at all. It seems a lot of folks don't either a) have the mental horsepower or b) go to the trouble to read the manuals & specfications. They then turn to the "expert" to diagnose the problem with their setup which is indeed a complex question of operating system, hard drive, I/O, PC chip, cabling and so forth. ( Hey I got this used PC out of the trash at the Salvation army,,,,,Whattaya mean I gotta have a separate hard drive??,, etc.). Thus each of us might find ourselves at someone else's computer trying to figure out their setup.
Thus "we", the "experts", need to be able to refer them to a simple low cost DAW programme / setup where they can purchase, get running & track away.
Once again, different needs, different skills, different setups, different budgets, different aims at what music production should be. Following up on Rab's idea, the bottom line, I believe, is to add onto the initial question this way:
If applicable, which is your DAW top three list if you have tried more than two? If not, which of both is the better?
1. Pro Tools -Amazing audio edition. Aligning audio and nudging parts is surgeon-blade precise. Some RTAS plugins have no match.
2. Reaper -Straight forward and intuitive. It takes up so little CPU that I can record 16 channels at once without a single clip, click, crackle, pop, or dropout through a USB 2.0 port in a Dual Core Laptop.
3. Nuendo -Found my way around easier than Cubase. It has great mastering tools, drum sequencing is great, perfect VST integration (if a plugin works funny in Reaper or Sonar -even funnier when wrapped for Pro Tools, chances are it will run ok here).
I feel kind of unfair to Sonar, my long time buddy. I left it aside when I bought Pro Tools, for mixing and editing; and got back to it when I added a Tascam interface for multitracking. However, Reaper has displaced it for good.