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VST Advice Please!

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On 15/06/2020 at 11:43, BigRedX said:

Stop!

Before you download any free plug-ins or buy any of the commercial versions, make sure that you have explored all the ones that come bundled with your DAW.

The most important ones generally are EQ and compression, so make sure you know how to get the very best out of the ones you already have, and then you'll be able to work out if they are sufficient, or if you need something with a more user-friendly interface or more sonic capabilities.

Then move on to Reverb and delay. After that it very much depends on what you want to do and what comes bundled with your DAW.

Personally I've stopped using 3rd party plug-ins, because these is already too much choice in my DAW (Logic) and TBH if I can't get a decent sound it's far more likely to my short-comings as an engineer and not the fault of the plug-ins.

This pretty much saves me typing the same thing!

I'd also add, its worth spending an amount of time researching and learning how each effect works, properly. Some may say "trust your ears" but I think its easy to fall into the trap of sliding from a simple tweak of something or other, to trying every knob and slider and going "ooooh that sounds different!" and latching onto a thing or a sound, when you don't really fully understand what you just did, and it all becomes a bit random. Step back, look at the bigger picture and try to understand from first principles what's going on and what you're trying to achieve by applying the effect or change.

Reaper really is amazingly comprehensive for a free (trial) product and some effects don't need to be complicated. As an example, I recently bought a MIDI keyboard and while the Native Instruments Monark synth has some great patches, the built-in ReaSynth is 100% fully understandable and I was able to get a 100% grip on its controls pretty soon, so able to make the sound I wanted to! Same could be said for its EQ, compressor, limiter, etc

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Selecting a DAW is a very personal choice, and no-one else can tell you what is going the right one for you.

My choice was based entirely on the fact that when I bought it I was collaborating with another songwriter and it made sense for us to both have the same program. Other than that this down to having features that you need and presenting them to you in a way that is intuitive.

All I will say is that on the whole the more expensive DAWs come with more bundled plug-ins, and that Cubase, Logic and Performer have better MIDI functions than the more recent competition (IMO Reaper is comparatively weak in this respect) as they all have their roots in MIDI sequencing rather than digital tape recorders.

If detailed control of MIDI parameters is important to you for controlling instruments (VST or actual MIDI hardware) then I'm look at one of the above. If you are more likely to use it just as a digital multi-track recorder then anything that suits your work flow will be fine.

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I've been using Reaper for a few weeks, I'm going to make the move to Cubase LE now as I'm struggling to run everything I want in Reaper without it crashing... 

It's great for being free, but comes with a few issues. 

Let's see how Cubase does! 

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14 minutes ago, binky_bass said:

I've been using Reaper for a few weeks, I'm going to make the move to Cubase LE now as I'm struggling to run everything I want in Reaper without it crashing... 

It's great for being free, but comes with a few issues. 

Let's see how Cubase does! 

good luck getting to hear yourself play through DAW monitoring rather than Direct monitoring, I've had it a few days and I still can't work out how to do it! It's doing my Nut In!

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2 hours ago, binky_bass said:

I've been using Reaper for a few weeks, I'm going to make the move to Cubase LE now as I'm struggling to run everything I want in Reaper without it crashing... 

It's great for being free, but comes with a few issues. 

Let's see how Cubase does! 

What is causing it to crash? Reaper may be cheap/free but it's a properly supported program, and if you are having issues, you should looking first of all at what/why they are happening rather than blaming a "cheap" DAW. One thing to check is using lots of instance of the same plug-in each on a separate track, all with the same or similar settings, when you would be better off running a single instance on a bus being fed by all the tracks you want to process. It's at time like this that those of us who started recording with hardware when it was complicated and expensive have an advantage in working methods.

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I've been using Reaper for many years now, on rather light-weight hardware (Intel i5-2500 PC, Windows 10 Pro, 12 Gb ram...), and have stuffed it pretty full of orchestral instruments, or several (read 'many'...) Kontakt instances, up to 32 treated drum tracks and much more, and wouldn't use it if it crashed. If Reaper is crashing, maybe another DAW would, too..? Post your issues here, or on the Cockos 'Reaper' forum and get them aired, at least. Solutions may well be not far away...
Just sayin'; hope this helps. B|

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I am ambivalent towards any particular piece of software, be it a DAW, operating system, etc so long as they pretty much cover the features you need, and are equivalent on price. What I do pay respect to, is my own time in learning how to use it properly. I am sure I could transition to another DAW but I've made some significant investment in learning Reaper, so I'd stick to it and solve the tech issues. 

Also its worth mentioning, it has an active and large user base, so whenever I've wanted to find out how to do something in it, or solve a problem, I've always been able to find the answer.

So fair enough after 2 weeks, if its not for you then switch to another. If Cubase crashes too......maybe its not Reaper but a plugin? Or something on your system not right? Is Cubase LE free (trial) too?

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3 minutes ago, paul_c2 said:

Is Cubase LE free (trial) too?

Looking at the product comparison on the Steinberg web site, Cubase LE is a very (the lowest spec) cut down version of Cubase. Personally I wouldn't abandon Reaper for anything other than the full version of another DAW.

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It is in fact Cubase AI 10.5 that I now have. What an absolute pain in the bum 'ole to install! 3 different 32 character codes later... but it's done...

I'm certain I could resolve the Reaper crash issues by digging a bit, but Cubase AI came free with my Steinberg UR44 and comes with a very expansive VST with most things you could need (for now) in it, so I'm keen to at least take a proper look at Cubase and thus take advantage of their powerful internal VSTs before I go back to Reaper. 

Still climbing that big old learning curve at the moment! But at least all my hardware and software seem to work as they should! And I treated myself to a rather tasty PRS Custom 22 to record bítch fiddle, I mean guitar, with! :) 

Edited by binky_bass

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16 hours ago, binky_bass said:

It is in fact Cubase AI 10.5 that I now have. What an absolute pain in the bum 'ole to install! 3 different 32 character codes later... but it's done...

I'm certain I could resolve the Reaper crash issues by digging a bit, but Cubase AI came free with my Steinberg UR44 and comes with a very expansive VST with most things you could need (for now) in it, so I'm keen to at least take a proper look at Cubase and thus take advantage of their powerful internal VSTs before I go back to Reaper. 

Still climbing that big old learning curve at the moment! But at least all my hardware and software seem to work as they should! And I treated myself to a rather tasty PRS Custom 22 to record bítch fiddle, I mean guitar, with! :) 

If you have Cubase installed and it's doing what you want without crashing, and comes with an expanded set of plug-ins; then I wouldn't bother with Reaper.

IMO life is too short to messing about with trying out different DAWs. Apart from the enhanced MIDI capabilities of some of them, they all do pretty much the same thing. So pick one, and stick with it learning how to get the best out of it.

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After some trial and error I'm using

 

EZDrummer 2

Helix Native

NeuralDSP Parallax

NeuralDSP NTS

 

Someone else does the mixing and mastering so I just concentrate on writing and recording.

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Bootsy Variety of Sound

Great set of free vsts there. Love the saturation plugins and compressors, but my favourite is NastyDLA, brilliant tape style delay plugin.

Reaper's built in vsts can be had separately IIRC and are absolutely superb, Reacomp and Reaxcomp are brilliant compressors, and reverb is about the most fill featured built in reverb I've found, being capable of loading convolution verbs and so on.

Tokyo Dawn also has some superb freebies including a fantastic dynamic eq called Nova.

 

TAL have done lovely simple plugins that sound killer.

Molot is a killer drum buss parallel compressor. Phat as f...

I have spent years selecting free vsts and try and stick to about a hundred that I use almost exclusively.

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