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Wanted: DAW with Ease of use and Lots of instrument plug-ins ??

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Modern Growl, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. Windows 7 User -

    Wow, what a lot of choices... my head is spinning DAW.

    I've researched a bunch and hopefully you guys can help me figure out whats best for me.

    I see a lot of Reaper lovers here. The one thing I don't see for Reaper are instrument plug-ins, which I would like to have.

    Sony Acid looks very good, with a lot of different instrument plug-ins... but it doesn't seem too popular here.

    Then you have Pro Tools, FL, Cubase, etc... and just wow... I'm overwhelmed.

    Here are my goals:
    For Practice - create drums and keys to play along to.

    For Recording/Creation: have an EASY to use interface & a wide array of sounds to use. I'm into funk, rock, electronic, experimental Radiohead type stuff... really anything. I would love to have everything from violin plug-ins, to horns, to funk guitar.

    So far it looks like Sony Acid has all the instrument plug ins (at a price) I could want... but there's not a lot of users here of Acid. (plus, I wonder if I create tunes from Acid and share my work, am I violating any of Sony's copyrights?).
  2. I'm guessing you're a windows guy. I don't particularly like Pro-Tools because of how proprietary it is but it's definitely on the more user friendly side of things. But my best reccomendation would have to be Fruity Loops. CRAZY flexible and fairly easy to get into. Perhaps not the prettiest GUI but very functional and it's built EQ, compressors, mixing and mastering plugins are sweet and straight forward. Plus, tons of people use it so it'd be super easy to find tips on Youtube or wherever else on the net.

    It's the one DAW that kind of makes me wish I was a PC guy.
  3. synaesthesia


    Apr 13, 2004
    Check out Ntrack.com. I have tested this, it does the job, is cheap and is quite stable. I use it for desktop sketches, actually on my laptop with a Behringer USB 302 mixer.
  4. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    Ntrack does look good and super CHEAP! I have Sonar x1 producer expanded, but I got into Cakewalk in the 90s so my upgrade path has been relatively painless.

    For drums, I recommend JamStix http://www.rayzoon.com/

    For a sampler, I'm using SampleTank, but I'll bet there are plenty of cheaper options right now.
  5. Thanks. Yeah, FL is tops on my list too.

    The one thing about FL is I don't see many instrument plug ins. Everything is heavy Synth.

    Here's their plug in list:

    Here is Sony Acid's plug in list - much more diverse w/ more real instruments:
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I grew up on Cubase, so that's what I use, but here's what I recommend.

    Put a little learning time into Pro Tools. Whatever you get you're going to have to learn it anyhow, and it's best to start with what everyone else is using. While people used to use lots of different DAWs, it seems pretty much everyone now in all the good studios are using Pro Tools. If I could start all over, that's what I'd do. Spent too much on Cubase already though.

    They all have a learning curve and need some time to learn. Why wasted that time. Put it into something that will be practical in the future.
  7. Also, whats a decent single or dual (I'm just recording myself) interface?

    I see some USB ones in the $100-$150 range
    Then I see some Firewire that are more expensive...

    All the USB ones say they have address latency issues...

    any advice?
  8. MostlyBass

    MostlyBass Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    for windows?

  9. My only issue w/ PT is the price. I can get the Producer Edition of FL for $199.

    That and I'm finding their different versions hard to understand. If I jump into this, I don't want to go with their SE... I'll want something a bit more advanced for the future. But I don't want to drop $600 dollars on Version 10.

    What PT product would you recommend?
  10. sorry - yes. Win7pro

    Core i5
    128SSD (os/software)
    1TB x2 Raid 1
    16GB memory
  11. The problem with real instrument plugins is that (outside of electric piano), unless you plan on dropping some serious cash, they're almost guaranteed to not be all that in terms of authenticity. Logic Pro (though, of course, it's OSX only) probably has the best instrument library but even it falls short in a lot of places. Are you trying to make a specific style of music or you just want a toolbox for everything you could ever imagine? FL Studio seems to be geared more towards the electronic side of things but I'm sure that in the right hands, it be fantastic for recording.
  12. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    Those of us with experience in using these programs should fill you in on a few things.

    1. It's expensive and a source of GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). If you start out with the cheaper options and STOP THERE, then you can probably do this relatively inexpensively. Are you the type who can be satisfied with the cheapest options, though? If not, then do yourself a favor and start out with the DAW that you think is best from the beginning, because you will buy that in the end anyway.

    2. None of the DAWs ship with enough programs to satisfy everything you might want to do. I suggested JamStix above because it's pretty simple to understand and will generate drum tracks for you, vastly reducing the amount of fiddling you will have to do to get the drums going. But an even easier option is to use loops if you aren't looking for a lot of variation from the drums. But, as above, loops cause GAS if you seriously get into them. I like to avoid this and will accept the limitations of JamStix to save myself money and time in the future. Likewise, any sampler that you get had better be the one you really like if you are at all susceptible to GAS.

    3. Speaking of samplers and sounds, if you know what you want, look for special sales on it over time. I got SampleTank through a group buy with a lot sounds for very little money through Sonic Reality. I recently picked up SampleMoog from IK Multimedia for $49 through a summer sale. They are doing something else right now -- Jimmi Hendrix Amplitube, I think.. Anyway, these group buys and sales can save you a lot of money so you should watch for them.

    4. There is a learning curve no matter what you choose. It can be pretty steep if you are a complete novice, but if recording is something that you want to get into, it is rewarding too.

    I'm not very patient and have gone half deaf, but what I can do with what I've got is shown in my sig below. For me, getting the idea recorded as fast as possible is the goal. I don't want to forget something before it's down on "tape". If I were getting into this now, I'd choose the cheapest option for the recording software and spend most of my money on the interface and plugins.

  13. mindwave_21


    Oct 18, 2007
    There's also Studio One, Ableton Live, and the new Bitwig Studio that's in beta.

    I haven't used any of these personally, but I'm hearing a lot of good things.

    I use Reaper personally, but I'm not doing VSTi's, though I think Reaper can handle it anyway.
  14. I'm sure I'll expand, but at the moment I would like to create grooves similar to the Oceans 11 & 13 soundtracks. Just killer stuff. Its funk/fusion - bass line driven... but has a variety of instruments. Some electronics, some horns & strings...
  15. jimc


    Sep 17, 2002
    New Carsmell, CA
  16. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    I've noticed that the Guitar Centers in my area have frequent, free, home recording seminars sponsored by one or another of the software companies.

    Seems like the last time I hit a GC to pick up a delivery, they had a whole section devoted to recording.

    Presonus and Cubase send me emails touting their seminars as well.

    A little test driving might be the way to go.

    All of the daw are tools with a long learning curve.
  17. Gotcha on the learning curve - and honestly I figured I'd have to learn anyhow so I guess throw my "ease" of use out the window.

    I just want something diverse.

    I guess its down to PT (but what version, Express?) v.10 is out of the budget.
    FL - Producer edition
    Sony Acid

    I guess it seems like just pick one and you'll get used to whatever, huh?
  18. phillybass101


    Jan 12, 2011
    Artist, Trickfish Amplification Bartolini Emerging Artist, MTD Kingston Emerging Artist. Artist, Tsunami Cables
    I'd like to grow in this area and while not confused, I don't want to nickle and dime myself either to get to where I want by making a mistake on my first purchase. I'll have to check out a few seminars, or should I just buy studio time. My ultimate goal of course is my own CD. My Mentor suggested I get a Mac and PT as well. Quite a steep investment for the novice. I could buy a Fodera for that price :)
  19. CertifiedLurker


    Nov 20, 2008
    You are not limited to the plug-ins native to the DAW. You can get 3rd party ones and use them within the DAW (VSTs and RTAS). Often enough the 3rd party ones tend to sound better than the built in ones.

    Logic has the reputation of being the easiest to program instruments in.
  20. ThudThudThud


    Jun 4, 2010
    Head over to Home Recording Connection (HRC). It's a forum very much in the high calibre of TB. dB-Masters and the gang will sort you out with every permutation you can think of.

    Everyone there is knowledgeable and patient (good Mods), and it's likely you'll find at least one person in exactly your situation.

    As for drums, "Groove Agent" from Steinberg is amazing.

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