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gjamer

best value DAW

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I'm seriously thinking of getting back into home recording, the thought of arsing around with software updates, re-learning this, re-loading that etc etc scares me off though. I'm a windows user, although I did use Garageband a few back when I had a mac book on loan and loved it, apple do seem to have music production nailed. However, I'm sticking with windows for the time being, I have a copy of cubase Elements which is Ok, but was wondering which DAW is best suited to a guitarist/bassist who wants to quickly knock together working demo's when inspiration strikes. I realise this is entirely subjective, but surely there is a half decent DAW out there for eager but slightly dim-witted guitarists who dont have bucket loads of cash and patience.

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Just now, JapanAxe said:

I found Reaper not too hard to learn, comes in at about £60.

I love Reaper. I especially like that you can try it out for free, with no limitations whatsoever for 30 days, but if you are like me, you'll have decided in about 30 minutes that you like it and I stumped up the cash straight away. Many years later I still use it, even for Pro releases. 

 

Cockos Reaper has a great user community and forum as well as a whole host of add-ons and built in plug ins. I, for fun have completely reskinned my DAW too. It looks like Logic Pro X! (There's nothing wrong with the default look by the way, it's just that I am actually trying to learn how to use Logic too ha!)

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Reaper.

Without doubt.

It's my favourite DAW regardless of price.

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I'm a reaper man , it was recommended to me by 51mOn , and after a few kicks in the right direction I am on the right path , and I was a total DAW virgin till around 4 years ago 😳 .........

 

Some might say they can't tell the difference after 4 years 😂

 

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Hmmm, I have tried reaper but only briefly.  Just recorded a few bits and then moved on to try something else, I stuck with Cakewalk, guitar tracks pro if I remember correctly, for the longest spell, but that could be quite “jittery” at times. I will definitely give reaper another try, seems very popular.

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I'm struggling with Reaper, it just doesn't to me at least seem logical or at intuitive. I've used Logic Pro for years and years, I'm just very used to it. I'm having to use Reaper for my postgrad course, it seems to be the DAW of choice for many electroacoustic composers, mainly due to it's multichannel diffusion capabilities.

Reaper is cheap though.

For me the best value is Logic Pro, that's amazing value. 

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10 hours ago, ambient said:

I'm struggling with Reaper, it just doesn't to me at least seem logical or at intuitive. I've used Logic Pro for years and years, I'm just very used to it. I'm having to use Reaper for my postgrad course, it seems to be the DAW of choice for many electroacoustic composers, mainly due to it's multichannel diffusion capabilities.

Reaper is cheap though.

For me the best value is Logic Pro, that's amazing value. 

Wow....

Its the most logical DAW I've ever found :D, a track is a track is a track. Any track can have any amount of channels, any track can instantly become a group, any track can handle playing back any  type of item.

Routing to make a track the equivalent to an aux channel on an old desk is drag and drop, you can route signal through extra channels in a track if you want to take this stuff to its logical extreme as well (don't know another DAW that can quite handle that actually, they probably can now but they couldn't for ever). The routing is simply amazing.

You can add fx to any track, because they all work the same you always do this in the same way.

Automation is trivial, and its the same for all tracks.

To me it really feels like an extension of a large scale SSL console of old in a lot of ways.

Plus I can not harp on about the built in fx enough, multiband compression with unlimited bands, unlimited bands eq, convolution reverb etc etc etc all built in to the DAW and all sound incredible.

I love it to bits.

Obviously if it doesn't work for you it doesn't work for you, horses for courses etc

 

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I too found it unintuitive compared to Cakewalk Sonar. I managed to find my way around Sonar without having to read the manual for most things, but I struggled to do some pretty basic stuff in Reaper without diving into the documentation.

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Hi,

I quite liked the 'horses for courses' comments - recommendations are valuable but don't worry if you don't get on with a particular product.  Most DAWs have a cheap or free version that you can try and see how intuitive it is to you.  I'm in early days on DAW, and am currently using Audacity (free) which being shareware does provide a lot of support through forums etc.  I'm tempted some time to try Cubase, because apart from being very popular in studios, there is a cheap version that can subsequently be extended to go as far as you want.  Maybe I'll try Reaper as wewll some time!

I use Audacity on a Linux Mint laptop - as this is a less demanding operating system than Windows, I can use old-ish equipment that can be very cheap to set up if you want to experiment.

Cheers

A

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I understand what Ambient is saying and yes, 'Reaper' is great value for money. It's just different strokes for different folks.

A DAW is more than just an engineering tool box, it is also traditional composing/sound design/game music software etc....

(A big list to choose from, Reaper, Digital Performer, Logic, Cubase/Nuendo, Studio One, Reason, Samplitude, plus a few more).

Workflow, layout, video handling, notation, sound libraries available, drag & drop etc, all come into play. These days, all DAW software is up to the job. Most of the vendors offer 30 day unrestricted demos, try them all.

What fits one person might not fit someone else.. If you are a novice & want to use midi, Reaper doesn't come with any sound libraries, you will have to buy third party, so the cost will start to mount up.

But, saying that, there is plenty of free stuff out there that is very good and in some cases, excellent.

(there are download links in this same recording forum). 

 

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1 hour ago, 51m0n said:

Wow....

Its the most logical DAW I've ever found :D, a track is a track is a track. Any track can have any amount of channels, any track can instantly become a group, any track can handle playing back any  type of item.

Routing to make a track the equivalent to an aux channel on an old desk is drag and drop, you can route signal through extra channels in a track if you want to take this stuff to its logical extreme as well (don't know another DAW that can quite handle that actually, they probably can now but they couldn't for ever). The routing is simply amazing.

You can add fx to any track, because they all work the same you always do this in the same way.

Automation is trivial, and its the same for all tracks.

To me it really feels like an extension of a large scale SSL console of old in a lot of ways.

Plus I can not harp on about the built in fx enough, multiband compression with unlimited bands, unlimited bands eq, convolution reverb etc etc etc all built in to the DAW and all sound incredible.

I love it to bits.

Obviously if it doesn't work for you it doesn't work for you, horses for courses etc

 

I know, I can do all that in Logic Pro in the blink of an eye, but I really struggle to do anything with Reaper. It just does odd things. Take importing audio files, in Logic pro you click 'file', down comes a drop menu, and you'd click 'import audio'. Nice and simple, plus it would drop the audio file at the start of the arrange window, whereas Reaper it's the 'insert' button that you click on, and 'media type', so not to me at least intuitive, plus when you import an audio file or media type as it calls it, it doesn't automatically drop it at the start, unless you tell the curser to go back to the beginning each time, it'll drop it at the end of the previous file. If you're recording into it, you have to switch on monitoring. Logic Pro automatically creates a folder for each project and saves the files for that project there, Reaper doesn't do that, at least not automatically. To me at least it's a lot of messing about.

I do all my recording/composing in Logic Pro,  I'm also doing stuff analogue too,  on tape, and editing the sound files, that's done in Logic Pro. 

Logic also comes with a massive library of sounds, a huge library including drums, orchestral, a fantastic array of synths and keyboards and they're really excellent. I've bought other libraries, mainly from Spitfire audio to augment the ones that came with it, and they integrate ever so easily into Logic. So if you want to get into composition, rather than just audio recording then it really is an amazing bargain. 

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3 minutes ago, ambient said:

I know, I can do all that in Logic Pro in the blink of an eye, but I really struggle to do anything with Reaper. It just does odd things. Take importing audio files, in Logic pro you click 'file', down comes a drop menu, and you'd click 'import audio'. Nice and simple, plus it would drop the audio file at the start of the arrange window, whereas Reaper it's the 'insert' button that you click on, and 'media type', so not to me at least intuitive, plus when you import an audio file or media type as it calls it, it doesn't automatically drop it at the start, unless you tell the curser to go back to the beginning each time, it'll drop it at the end of the previous file. If you're recording into it, you have to switch on monitoring. Logic Pro automatically creates a folder for each project and saves the files for that project there, Reaper doesn't do that, at least not automatically. To me at least it's a lot of messing about.

I do all my recording/composing in Logic Pro,  I'm also doing stuff analogue too,  on tape, and editing the sound files, that's done in Logic Pro. 

Logic also comes with a massive library of sounds, a huge library including drums, orchestral, a fantastic array of synths and keyboards and they're really excellent. I've bought other libraries, mainly from Spitfire audio to augment the ones that came with it, and they integrate ever so easily into Logic. So if you want to get into composition, rather than just audio recording then it really is an amazing bargain. 

Sounds to me like it does things a little differently to what you are used to. Personally I prefer audio to insert at the cursor point.

Also I use it for mixing/mastering more than composition, and prefer the extreme lightweight of Reaper compared to the monster that is Logic Pro. I can use any VSTi out there with it, and its 64/32bit bridge has always been a super strong point compared to many other DAWs

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1 minute ago, 51m0n said:

Sounds to me like it does things a little differently to what you are used to. Personally I prefer audio to insert at the cursor point.

Also I use it for mixing/mastering more than composition, and prefer the extreme lightweight of Reaper compared to the monster that is Logic Pro. I can use any VSTi out there with it, and its 64/32bit bridge has always been a super strong point compared to many other DAWs

It does do things a little differently. I'm like where's that?????? I end up posting on Facebook and the legion of people I know who use it come to my aid. I'm really just using it for diffusion. I spent last night bouncing 14 tracks down and importing them into a Reaper project that I've got to take into uni later for a tutorial. Reaper's multichannel capabilities are amazing, especially when combined with some of the GRM plugins.

Really, I just need to spend more time with it.

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A few years ago I tried Reaper and found it to be much more user friendly than the version of Cubase I was using at the time so switched and I haven't looked back, not that I do much recording these days.

 

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Reaper is excellent value for money, and I do use it sometimes, but I still gravitate towards Logic as a more intuitive DAW.

Si

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If I put a quid in the swear box can I rant about Logic foibles verses Reaper? If I set channel 5 to record in Reaper, it will record on that channel, no matter which other is in focus. So WhyTF does Logic insist on recording on whatever channel you have in focus, even if it isn't specifically armed? That makes no sense.

In Logic you absolutely can not set separate two channels to record off the same hardware input. That makes no sense. Reaper again sets no such limitations. I could go on lol :)

I do really like Logic, I use it a lot, but it is SO annoying at times!

 

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16 minutes ago, dood said:

If I put a quid in the swear box can I rant about Logic foibles verses Reaper? If I set channel 5 to record in Reaper, it will record on that channel, no matter which other is in focus. So WhyTF does Logic insist on recording on whatever channel you have in focus, even if it isn't specifically armed? That makes no sense.

In Logic you absolutely can not set separate two channels to record off the same hardware input. That makes no sense. Reaper again sets no such limitations. I could go on lol :)

I do really like Logic, I use it a lot, but it is SO annoying at times!

 

I think every DAW has it's 'intricacies', my most hated Reaper one is it's channel output routing, stupid compared to Logics (and most other DAWs) :)

Si

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20 hours ago, gjamer said:

...surely there is a half decent DAW out there for eager but slightly dim-witted guitarists who dont have bucket loads of cash and patience.

I think Reaper is unquestionably the "best value" DAW at around £60 and also Logic at around £140 if you want Gigabytes of sounds throw in (e.g. drum loops and other ready-made accompaniment). Ableton Intro is also worth a look at £55.

In terms of usability/suitability, it's an open field based on whatever workflow suits you best and people will always recommend whatever they themselves use.

I've tried Cubase, Logic, Reaper, Ableton and Reason. I've settled with Reason because it best caters for how I like to work - I love its emulation of analog routing; I find it the most intuitive DAW to use and it feels the most like 'play time' rather than 'work time', which is important for me. But it's more expensive at £230, which might be overkill if you just want something for jotting down ideas.

Ultimately, all DAWs are equally good at achieving the end result - they just offer slightly different ways of getting there. Best advice it to download the demos and try them out for yourself. You might find that the "best value" for you is actually something a little more expensive, but is better suited to how you like to work. I think money is always well spent if it saves on frustration.

20 hours ago, gjamer said:

...the thought of arsing around with software updates, re-learning this, re-loading that etc etc scares me off

Unfortunately, all DAWs involve some degree of software updates, learning stuff, etc. So it's best to approach this with the understanding that some amount of arsing around is unavoidable :) 

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Reaper is my DAW of choice and it has a lot of documentation and Youtube is your best friend.

Another one to look at is Tracktion, version 6 is totally free and is very easy to setup and use. It's screen could look a bit different but once you get used to it it's a breeze.

If you decide to go with Reaper, check these channels:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrObLJdQqZFZKKW5SCU7ebw

And for more detail tricks and tips 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq297H7Ca98HlB5mVFHGSsQ

For an introduction on Tracktion please check these ones:

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, dood said:

Cockos Reaper...

Hey! Why didn't that come out as 'Pinktorpedoos Reaper'??

 

  • Haha 2

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11 minutes ago, discreet said:

Hey! Why didn't that come out as 'Pinktorpedoos Reaper'??

 

Ha ha ha!! Because BassChat knows it's a great app!

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The best DAW to use is the one that most closely matches the way you want to work, or failing that the one that majority of people you collaborate with use. Other than that they are all much of a muchness these days when it comes to features, so I'll take ease of use and ease of transferring projects between different machines over everything else. 

I'm a Logic user because back in the mid 90s when I bought my first computer for music, the person I was mostly collaborating with, was also a Logic user and that meant it was simple to exchange song ideas. Left to my own devices I'd have probably chosen Studio Vision, because of all the DAWs I'd seen this was the one that most closely matched the way I'd like to work. Luckily I didn't because within a couple of years it was dead following Opcode's acquisition by Gibson - a similar fate that has recently befallen Cakewalk. 

TBH once you've got used to how a particular DAW works its becomes easier to use, and you are going to be reluctant to change hence...

And that for me is the next most important thing when it comes to picking a DAW. How long is it likely to be around. Logic is pretty safe because it is one of Apple's core Pro Applications, as for the others it very much depends on the whims of their parent companies. The future for ProTools has been looking particularly dodgy for the last couple of years with Avid's on-going problems. Plus their reliance on the less than brilliant iLok copy protection.

And that brings the last key feature - copy protection. Reaper doesn't need it because it's essentially free and if you are going to pay for it, then it is stupidly cheap. Logic is also relatively cheap (certainly these days the full version cost less than the price an upgrade used to) and is tied to your App store account so it doesn't really need anything more than that. Personally I'd be suspicious of anything requiring an iLok to function. Whilst the idea is excellent the implementation is less than brilliant, and if there is a problem with iLok it can render all your iLok protected software useless, as has happen several times in the past few years to large numbers of their user base.

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