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Suggestions for a DAW for a beginner to home recording

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Has anybody got any suggestions for the best DAW for someone who is new to home recording and not particularly tech savvy? It must be easy to use and easy to download / setup and get started!

I need to be able to load files sent to me, so that I can record a bass part and then send back to them. It must be grid based and be able to run on Windows 10 (on a modest spec laptop). Ideally, I want to be able to record a part and send it on two tracks, one dry and one through a preamp. However, at the moment I am more concerned with learning how to use the DAW. I can always upgrade at a later date when I’m more confident about recording and have a better idea of what I want.

I am looking at getting a Focusrite Scarlett interface (either a Solo or a 2i2 3rd Gen), but will I be able to get away with the bundled software (I’m quite happy to pay for a DAW if I need to)? Should I pay the extra £25 for the 2i2, or will the Solo will suitable for my needs?

I have a budget of about £200 for both the DAW and the audio interface. Any help or advice is very welcome…

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Posted (edited)

You can try Reaper which is very easy to use for free, or you can pay for it for £60.00 which is great value for money for a great and popular DAW.

http://reaper.fm/download.php

Edited by RedVee
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Several of us here use Reaper, and would be willing to help out with any initial 'teething troubles'. It works well on a system such as yours, and no more complicated not difficult than any other DAW. They all need a certain amount of 'grey cell use', but once into the swing of things, it's a doddle, really, to do exactly what you're projecting. It's free to use for the first few months, then a modest purchase price if you decide to adopt it. Worth a look..? YEY7qB3.png

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Posted (edited)

If you buy the Scarlett it comes with Ableton Lite for free. No need to buy one. I would also go for the 2i2. You never know when you might need the extra inputs

Edited by Bobthedog
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As others have already said, Reaper is excellent. 

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Reaper is good, and I have it, but it has quite a big learning curve. I often find myself knowing it's possible to do what I want ('cos I've done it before) but unable to remember how, or find it again in the menus

 

I started off years ago with a copy of Tracktion that came with some bit of gear I'd acquired. Then they got bought up by Mackie and left to die on the vine until bought out again a few years back. I find it easy to use and pretty intuitive, but with a lot under the hood (and you can also get a free copy). Currently on Tracktion Waveform 11.

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Posted (edited)

Reaper has very frequent updates of new stuff, which I like! It also has a great forum and tuition section if you get stuck., and a youtube Channel

Maybe that is the same case with the other DAW's which I have used but only for brief periods.

Edited by RedVee

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1 hour ago, WalMan said:

Reaper is good, and I have it, but it has quite a big learning curve. I often find myself knowing it's possible to do what I want ('cos I've done it before) but unable to remember how, or find it again in the menus

 

I started off years ago with a copy of Tracktion that came with some bit of gear I'd acquired. Then they got bought up by Mackie and left to die on the vine until bought out again a few years back. I find it easy to use and pretty intuitive, but with a lot under the hood (and you can also get a free copy). Currently on Tracktion Waveform 11.

I think if you’re coming from another DAW, Logic Pro or ProTools, Ableton maybe, there’s a definite quite steep learning curve with Reaper. It does some things it’s own way, and it can definitely be quite frustrating at times. It’s a very deep piece of software, and possibly not very intuitive, but for £60 it’s a steal really.

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You don't say if you're on Windows or Mac, so I'll offer a solution that is available for either...PreSonus audio interfaces come with Studio One Artist (a $99 purchase normally).

Some good choices in your price range:

PreSonus Studio 26c https://www.presonus.com/products/Studio-26c

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 https://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-USB-96

Note that you'll also need a pair of powered monitors to connect to your audio interface, so you might want to look for a bundle like this one:

PreSonus AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle https://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-Studio-Ultimate-Bundle

I have Reaper, but use Studio One almost exclusively. With Studio One Artist, you may want to consider adding 3rd party VST support:

PreSonus Artist Booster Packs https://shop.presonus.com/Artist-Booster

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5 hours ago, TheMaartian said:

You don't say if you're on Windows or Mac, so I'll offer a solution that is available for either...PreSonus audio interfaces come with Studio One Artist (a $99 purchase normally).

Some good choices in your price range:

PreSonus Studio 26c https://www.presonus.com/products/Studio-26c

PreSonus AudioBox USB 96 https://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-USB-96

Note that you'll also need a pair of powered monitors to connect to your audio interface, so you might want to look for a bundle like this one:

PreSonus AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle https://www.presonus.com/products/AudioBox-Studio-Ultimate-Bundle

I have Reaper, but use Studio One almost exclusively. With Studio One Artist, you may want to consider adding 3rd party VST support:

PreSonus Artist Booster Packs https://shop.presonus.com/Artist-Booster

Another vote for PreSonus studio one here. I'm a total noob to recording too. I'd never touched a DAW until a week or so ago. I tried Reaper first and just couldn't get my head around it. Studio One on the offer hand feels much more intuitive, and graphically the interface is much nicer to my eye. I've already managed to lay down some tracks and send some vocals to someone else. There still a fair bit of a learning curve if, like me, you're totally new to recording, but you'll have that with any DAW. I spent several days just watching YouTube videos on different DAW's. The whole thing is a total head thrash, but in the end they all do pretty much the same thing. So try a few out and see which one you get on with the best. Most of them have free versions of free trials, so there's nothing to lose by trying a few different ones. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Newfoundfreedom said:

Another vote for PreSonus studio one here. I'm a total noob to recording too. I'd never touched a DAW until a week or so ago. I tried Reaper first and just couldn't get my head around it. Studio One on the offer hand feels much more intuitive, and graphically the interface is much nicer to my eye. I've already managed to lay down some tracks and send some vocals to someone else. There still a fair bit of a learning curve if, like me, you're totally new to recording, but you'll have that with any DAW. I spent several days just watching YouTube videos on different DAW's. The whole thing is a total head thrash, but in the end they all do pretty much the same thing. So try a few out and see which one you get on with the best. Most of them have free versions of free trials, so there's nothing to lose by trying a few different ones. 

 

My oldest boy has just upgraded from The Artist Version to the Pro version, I think there is some deal on at the moment. It's such an easy DAW to get up and running in no time.

It's nearly all drag and drop, making for an easy work flow. I agree about the interface.

You might have already been watching these tutorial videos from Marcus Huyskens, but if not, they are great.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrUjOjfA1tu30P3mTNXBoIQ

Edited by lowdown
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I'm also a Studio One user, it came with my audio interface and I upgraded it to the Pro version when there was a deal around. I really like it, yes it's the one I know so I would but it does seem relatively easy to understand - I like things where you can get your head round the concepts they have designed around, and it seems like that to me. It's widely used enough that there are lots of tutorials etc.

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All DAW's do a similar thing, I don't think one is more difficult to learn than another when you start your journey. The problem is when you switch from one DAW to another & have to relearn everything you've learned previously (keyboard shortcuts/menu options) etc. I'd go with a cut down version of a proper commercial package (Cubase/Ableton/Studio One) that comes free with one of the many audio interfaces on the market -> then upgrade to the full version as/if you grow into it.

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