DAW advise

I’m looking a reasonably priced DAW to use with my op-1, eurorack, K4 and Microbrute. Two decades ago I was a cakewalk user. Last week I tried Ableton and this seems to be working quite nicely. But maybe I’m missing out on another good tool. I’m wondering what DAW you guys are using.

Do you if the is a certain fixed moment in the year the software vendors have big discounts?

I’ve been into Propellerhead Reason for years, since version 4 if memory serves right. I’ve always loved the interface and the workflow but since they integrated full audio file support in Reason 7, I couldn’t be happier. Reason 8 is coming in September and I’m looking forward to it. Then again, Reason is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea…I’d say it’s sooo Swedish …and unique…just like the OP-1 :slight_smile: … the bottom line is that with Reason you can’t use any of the VSTs and plugins that work with most DAWs …but with v7 they opened the path for developers and great Reason-only (well, some developers will seem familiar…) VSTs galore in the Propellerhead shop. These days, however, I mainly use Reason for laying tracks and mixing-mastering… I rarely use the pristine sounding stock-VST synths that Propellerhead have been known for… those are truly great but I enjoy my hardsynths and iOS music apps a lot more…I use the amazing effects a lot though when I mix and master. As for pricing, if you buy v7 now you’ll get the upgade to 8 free of charge. The price is now EUR 369.

Download demos for a lot of them and see what you like. You really need to get the demos to see which one you work best in to make the decision of what to buy.

I think you can upgrade to SONAR from a lot of really old Cakewalk software, might be worth looking into if you’re still on a PC.

Ableton has 30% off sales a few times a year, if I had to guess November/Black Friday would be the next big one. Live is notorious for MIDI timing issues when running external hardware.

Reason is love or hate. Either you love patching cables with a mouse or you don’t. It does auto-connect most things when you drop a device onto the rack, but where’s the fun in leaving it alone?

Cubase has a demo but you still need eLicenser bullshit. Fuck you, Steinberg.

Studio One is a newer DAW that I personally enjoy working in, and if you can snag a copy of Artist from someone (comes with every Presonus interface) then an upgrade to Professional is less expensive.

REAPER is pretty awesome I have to say. You get a lot for your $60, and the demo is fully functional and never expires (though you do agree to stop using it or purchase a license after… 60 days iirc, Or 30, I forget. either way it is a very generous demo).

I think Bitwig was rather brave asking $400 for Bitwig Studio seeing how new it was, but that’s their right and you do seem to get a lot (I have not demo’d it). If you like Live, it could be worth looking into.

Unfortunately, the only two trackers I know of don’t have audio recording natively (Buzz and Renoise), though Renoise is pretty easy to sample with and then go to work, if you think you’d enjoy working the tracker way.

There are surely others I haven’t mentioned that people may recommend.

Thank you both for the response. I switched to a Mac Book Pro a couple of years ago. I’m going to give Reaper a spin. Am also not a Cubase fan.

What about the MIDI timing issues? LIve 9 seems to be the de facto?

I have and use ableton, but I am not a lover of it. Used to use cubase I got it for the iPad and it works for super portable moments.

How will you use the DAW?

If you are going to use it as a multitrack to record your music then really any DAW will do. Different people will recommend different things depending on what’s good for them - you need to find what’s good for you so as KrisM says you should maybe just download a few demos and see how you go.

The great thing about Ableton Live and Bitwig is their Clip Launch Modes. This makes it a great tool for live performance but where I find Live at it’s greatest is that you spend a little time setting up loops and clips to launch then use a Launchpad (or ipad app) to launch clips,scenes and tweak parameters and just record this jam.
Then once that’s done, jump into the timeline mode and chop up your recording into a remix. In my experience you’ll get far more experimental and different results than if you sit down and try to plan these kind of arrangements :wink:

if you can score a Live Lite copy (comes with all sorts of gear especially from Novation) you can save $100 off upgrades to Live Standard or Suite. A Launchpad Mini will pay for itself with this offer. It ends September 10th.

Check KVR, I’ve given away two copies of Live Lite over there (or maybe one was ohpeewon…) and seen others doing the same.

if you’re already a registered Cakewalk customer they’ll sell you an upgrade to SONAR X3 Producer for $225.

Almost seems too good to be true, so I emailed them. Be aware that they do not allow license transfers, so if you buy SONAR you are SONAR FOR LIFE lol…

but there is a demo >.>

Thanks @spacetravelmadeeasy for adding details yeah think it really b=depends on your end usage too!

I usually record to a Zoom R8 multitracker or iPad. I have Ableton and Logic on my computer but rarely use either these days.

Logic is a steal if you own a Mac!

Like jooga, I’m a Reason veteran, but even though it now handles audio and does some things nicely, I don’t think Propellerhead have grasped what is necessary when it comes to hassle free wave-editing and arranging. Also, why the heck is Reason’s ‘Kong’ device so horrible?

Anyway back on track - if you own a Mac, I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t buy logic.



To give a little more detail; Reason is a great modular, sound design sandbox but still barely ranks as fully fledged DAW. Ableton Live is superb at what it does, but you’ll be somewhat stuck in the paradigm of clip launching (awesome if that’s what you want)
Logic on the other hand, is a straightforward, powerful DAW and since the Apple buyout it’s a great price but exclusively for Mac users (£139.99)

It’s perhaps a shame that there is no killer app - but if there was it would probably be bloated and unwieldy and would also end up costing the same as multiple DAWs anyway…

Back on the old forum I took a poll of everyone to find what DAW they used and if I remember correctly Ableton was the clear winner by a super wide margin. I think Logic, Reason, and Reaper were popular too. This means nothing, of course, but just FYI.

I recently started fiddling with live which I hated for no good reason

now i love it it’s so modular !

Ableton Live tops a lot of “favourite DAW” polls for a reason hehe

Ableton Live seems pretty dope. It is actually the only DAW that kinda makes me curious to shift some production to the PC. It is pretty non linear way of making music and perfect for spazzes like me.

I switched from Logic to Live when Ableton had the “free Max For Live with purchase of Live!” promotion. $200 program for free in addition to Live. I need not explain what kind of bargain that is! I saved additional dollars by buying a bundle with Novation Launchpad which included the upgrade from Live Lite (or whatever version came with Launchpad) to full Live.

I found Live to be much easier to use than Logic, plus all the experimentation that could be done by adding M4L devices made it bananas.

I still have my MOTU 828 MkII interface lying around so if/when the time comes again that I want to record more than 2 audio inputs at a time, and also record MIDI, I’ll probably fire up Live again.

But for the moment I’m loving the relative simplicity of my Zoom.

I am a Live 9 user and it’s my go-to DAW.

If you have an iPad, then I would also suggest taking a serious look at the “FL Studio Mobile HD” app and “FL Stuido” DAW. You can make songs on your iPad and then continue working on them in the full DAW.

making your own max4live devices is pretty fun.

i also noticed that u can use it to make/edit regular max patches if your 30 day trial has run out.

in Max 7 you can drop M4L devices right into the patcher. I can’t wait.

dope! max is kind of a wormhole. i wish they would make it hardware-able like arduino is