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Thread: Basic Home Recording Studio?

  1. #51
    Member hippypants's Avatar
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    DAWs. I've been looking at Ableton Lite. It's still pretty daunting for the beginner. And while I was looking at it, I wondered why whoever came up with the DAW, didn't do it like a cassette recorder? That would seem like an easier concept than what they have. Everybody is already familiar with a recorder and it's just a GUI type interface anyway. It seems like they could have done it that way, then you could designate what track you want to record on, 1, 2, 3 etc., push the record button and you're on your way. They could still have it where it all synchs with the other tracks etc. And then you'd still be able to toggle between that and the other interfaces to adjust and tweak things when it comes to that stage of the process. Thoughts?

  2. #52
    That's pretty much how any DAW works. You arm your tracks, press record and go!

    Ableton Live is the exception because it is made for live performance. I once installed the lite version which came with one of my audio interfaces and could never figure it out. Too complicated for me, and I really couldn't find any use for it in live performace either.
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  3. #53
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    After messing around over the last 15-20 years with Cubase, Logic, Sonar, Studio One, and now Reaper I eventually decided that the best approach was to figure out how to use the DAW just as you suggest - make it simulate a multi-track tape recorder as much as possible. In other words, figure out the shortest path from plugging in an instrument or microphone to firing up the software to pressing the record button.

    That's not always as easy as it sounds. Something like Garage Band probably has as close to a minimally stripped-down design as you could hope for. Perhaps there are Windows-based programs that do the same thing, but I personally don't see the point as long as you learn to home in on just the functions you need. It won't be long before you're going to want the additional functionality, so a simplified interface may eventually begin to slow you down as you then have to go hunting for those additional functions which are not front and center.

    Reaper is free to try out for 60 days I think.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Plasmatopia View Post
    Reaper is free to try out for 60 days I think.
    Reaper is a really good option, I tried it for a while and really like the flexibility. But it took me a while to figure out some basic stuff, like sending effects to another bus, setting up VST instruments, etc. But that's probably a bit more advanced than just using it as a tape recorder. If you just want to arm a few tracks, press record and play, I think it is straight forward enough.

    The one I've been using lately is Cakewalk. It is now free, and has all the features you might ever need. It is also very simple to figure out for the basic stuff. And the more advanced stuff is also there for when you need it. I think it is worth a try, especially being free...
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  5. #55
    Member hippypants's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, pmrvian & Plasmatopia. I'll look into those.

  6. #56
    Member hippypants's Avatar
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    Here's a pretty good video for Ableton--at least it's understandable. It's one of the better ones I've found.


  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmrviana View Post
    The one I've been using lately is Cakewalk. It is now free, and has all the features you might ever need. It is also very simple to figure out for the basic stuff. And the more advanced stuff is also there for when you need it. I think it is worth a try, especially being free...
    The simplicity and intuitiveness of Cakewalk is the main reason recording engineers haven't taken it seriously as anything more than a hobbyist's toy. Possibly for the sake of their own job security, they feel if it doesn't require an advanced degree to operate, it has no place in a studio.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  8. #58
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    Is there a Cakewalk manual available?

  9. #59
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    Is there a Cakewalk manual available?

    I have a book on Sonar 6 I can send you, lol.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    Is there a Cakewalk manual available?
    https://www.cakewalk.com/Documentati...&help=toc.html
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  11. #61
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    I don't suppose they have all of those links compiled in a pdf somewhere?

    I just ordered The Power in Cakewalk Sonar from Amazon.

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    I don't suppose they have all of those links compiled in a pdf somewhere?
    I don't think so, even in the installation package there is no pdf. The help menu from the software redirects you to those same web pages.
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  13. #63
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    It turns out there is a pdf manual:

    https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.p...help-available

    Did I mention that it's 2188 pages long?

  14. #64
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soc Prof View Post
    It turns out there is a pdf manual:

    https://discuss.cakewalk.com/index.p...help-available

    Did I mention that it's 2188 pages long?

    I guess that's what happens with super intuitive applications.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  15. #65
    Sonar may not be intuitive, but I'll be stuck with it forever, because I know it like the back of my hand. I don't relish a learning curve. I'm 60 years old! Ive been using Sonar since I was in my 40's. Now get off my lawn yadamkiddya!

    I do have some issues, but I am not interested in an upgrade from 8.5. I think if my Sonar dies, I will just give up. I tried ableton. What a pos. perfect for a non-musician who loves letting the computer do everything for them. Its too smart for its own good. I was disabling most of its functionality just to get tracks to work like I want them to. I could not get the hardware to sync up (I think its called a launchpad) I just wanted to use the launchad to start my mp3's when I play live. Turned out to be a complete headache and I abandoned it. I was also hoping I could run my lights from it. No documentation. Only if you want to use it for Rap or Electronica.
    I got nothin'

    ...avoiding any implication that I have ever entertained a cognizant thought.

  16. #66
    Occipital Provocatee Plasmatopia's Avatar
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    I can't say I've found any DAW I've encountered to be intuitive. I find them all to be a pain, but I blame myself. I just don't spend enough time with it to get good at it. Certain functions are going to exist in any DAW and usually it's not too hard to go looking for that same function in a new DAW. But sometimes even commonly used functions are named differently, so that throws a spanner into the works.
    Just sitting at home rocking back and forth and jealously caressing my invisible collection of theoretical assets.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yodelgoat View Post
    Sonar may not be intuitive, but I'll be stuck with it forever, because I know it like the back of my hand. I don't relish a learning curve. I'm 60 years old! Ive been using Sonar since I was in my 40's. Now get off my lawn yadamkiddya!

    I do have some issues, but I am not interested in an upgrade from 8.5. I think if my Sonar dies, I will just give up. I tried ableton. What a pos. perfect for a non-musician who loves letting the computer do everything for them. Its too smart for its own good. I was disabling most of its functionality just to get tracks to work like I want them to. I could not get the hardware to sync up (I think its called a launchpad) I just wanted to use the launchad to start my mp3's when I play live. Turned out to be a complete headache and I abandoned it. I was also hoping I could run my lights from it. No documentation. Only if you want to use it for Rap or Electronica.
    Cakewalk/Sonar is now free, so you really have nothing to lose upgrading it.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  18. #68
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    I've used REAPER for about 15 years now and like it a lot. I only ever scratch the surface of its capabilities since I mostly just use it as a basic multitrack. It works very well with VSTi. I also employ Adobe Audition 1.5 for editing since I'd cut my teeth on its immediate predecessor, Cool Edit Pro, and love the easy work flow.

    That said, as pmrviana mentioned above, I've never quite figured out how to do proper sends on REAPER; that is, setting up blank tracks that are strictly designated for effects such as reverb, delay, and compression and then sending everything to those instead of putting redundant effects on the individual instrument tracks.

  19. #69
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    I just got my The Power in Cakewalk Sonar book in the mail today. It's a much more manageable 202 pages. It only covers the basics, but that's all I need right now. The book was written for Sonar X2, so I'm hoping the basics haven't changed that much. The most recent tutorial book is Sonar X3 Power!: The Comprehensive Guide. Nothing for Sonar Platinum or Cakewalk by Bandlab.

  20. #70
    Member frinspar's Avatar
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    I grabbed the free Cakewalk last year. It's fine, but too much for my needs. I'm low-maintenance and lazy. So I'm good with any of the multi-trackers in Animoog, JamUp Pro and especially Garage Band.

  21. #71
    I put in about 15 years with Cakewalk up through when it closed down (pre-Bandlab buy-out), and during the last couple of years also tried Studio One and Reaper. I ended up sticking with Studio One because the work-flow design is (for me at least) the best thought-out version. YMMV of course.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMac View Post
    I put in about 15 years with Cakewalk up through when it closed down (pre-Bandlab buy-out), and during the last couple of years also tried Studio One and Reaper. I ended up sticking with Studio One because the work-flow design is (for me at least) the best thought-out version. YMMV of course.
    Long time Cubase user, which I still use and love(Cubase 6), but wound up trying the free demo of Studio One and I agree with your opinion regarding it's workflow. It's very similar to Cubase to me, but has a much better workflow, as if PResonus took everything they liked and then improved the workflow from suggestions by users. Presonus seems to listen to it's users and often implement suggestions when possible and put them in a free update.
    I'm currently working with both DAW's, Cubase6 and purchased Studio One Artist version with the VST add on for 3rd party plug ins. I also think the plug ins that come with Studio One are quite good.
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  23. #73
    I love Cubase, currently using 8 Pro. Started with Cubase 3.1 on a Atari, something like 25 years ago. It has possibilities I don't use, but that is always the case. The things I use are mostly in the most expensive version.

  24. #74
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    Fun fact: both the VST pugin and ASIO sound driver standards are Steinberg/Cubase inventions.
    "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"--Dalai Lama

  25. #75
    I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this or not, but if you're looking to expand your lineup of instruments but can't afford real ones, one of the biggest (and arguably best) creators of virtual instruments has put up nearly everything they've done for an affordable monthly cloud subscription. Back in the day, I had to buy these individually--overall, I spent thousands. I almost feel insulted.

    Nevertheless, they work wonderfully and I've yet to find any other virtual instruments that sound as good. Never had any compatibility issues with my DAW (Digital Performer 5 and up) either, which is always a plus. Though bear in mind, many of these (especially their orchestral instruments) are resource hogs like you wouldn't believe and require a good deal of know how, both mechanically and musically.

    But totally worth it.

    When it comes to DAWs, I really wish there were better options all around. Every one of them is an unintuitive mess with a manual big enough to kill a small dog if dropped on them. I love Digital Performer because it's got me through years of composing, recording, editing and mixing, but it's like a love born from a bad relationship that's gone on so long I can't end it. There's nobody else I can count on to get the job done. So what if it hits me sometimes and tells me I belong in a landfill? So long as it doesn't abandon me, all is well!

    My advice would be to experiment with a wide range of DAWs if possible, and once you find one that makes you want to kill yourself a little bit less than the others, stick with it, really learn the shortcuts and controls and pray the next update doesn't destroy five years of work.

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