Which recording software should I buy ?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by DreamJazz, Dec 15, 2003.

  1. I'm looking to start recroding, I'll be doing Bass, Keyboard, Guitar, and maybe drums. But I would like a recording program that comes with a good drum machine like Reason which I have some experience with and liked very much. Is Fruityloops a good drum machine, equipped with more than just techno, and electronic drum beats ? I will mostly be doing Rock, Prog and Metal beats and want to get a convincing sound.

    The local music store carries Cakewalk Home Studio, as well as Cubase. But what Program should I look at and what version, etc. so that I get a drum machine with it and the best all around features ? The guys at the music store are really no help when it comes to this.

    I'm going to have to invest in the software as well as a mixer of some kind, I'm looking for something cheap and effective, with a sliding graphic EQ at least 7 band. Any product suggestions for this ?

    Your help is greatly appreciated,
  2. Chuck,

    Are you hoping to record all these instruments together at the same time i.e. Record a band session straight onto the computer? If so then you'll need software that allows you to record simultaneously across lots of tracks and allows you to route the inputs from your soundcard to each track. The software you mentioned may do that, but it would be good to check.

    If you're doing this one instrument at a time then the situation is obviously a lot simpler (in some ways! :) ). I'd recommend FL Studio (Fruityloops) as a drum machine / editor. Its interface makes it very easy to program drum parts really quickly. Also because you can assign any sample to a "track" within FL you can choose your drum kits to sound like anything you like. Open a new track, assign say a bass drum sample to it, then program in your bass drum part. It's quite straightforward. Most of the examples in FL are techno or electronic kits, but you can also find lots of decent "regular" drum kits as well. If you have any difficulties finding them, PM me.

    Cubase also has a drum map tool which makes programming easier. It's not quite as easy as FL, but still quite easy to get into if it's your first try. I think Cakewalk HS may now have drum maps, it didn't used to.

    Reason isn't really a good choice here because it really is geared towards dance music and doesn't offer the same audio recording facilities as the other software - it *may* be possible, but probably won't be intuitive.

    My preference would be to go with FL Studio if you want to program up drums and record audio tracks. It has a rather quirky interface (compared to Cubase or Cakewalk) but it will do everything you want, and you get free updates for life. I don't think there are great differences between Cakewalk and Cubase these days. If you pick the latest version of HS then you get access to the VST effects used by Cubase as well as DirectX plugins. Why not download a copy of each and see how you get on with them?

    Hope this helps,
  3. I want a really developed recording program that can give me a lot of control, although FL may be simple to use for recording I'm not sure it could give me what Cubase or Cakewalk could.

    I'll be doing live recordings of all instruments at once as well as doing one instrument at a time so I need something versitile.

    Would I be able to create drum beats in Fruity Loops and import them to Cubase or Cakewalk to use on my tracks ?
  4. Hi Chuck,

    Yup, you can easily create drum tracks in FruityLoops and either mix them down to a WAV file to import into Cakewalk or Cubase, or use FL as a VSTi plugin. The latter option is a little more tricky if you're new to this game, but allows you to control FL sounds and sync up FL with your "parent" sequencer. FL also has some really insane effects for twisting loops and samples beyond recognition if that's your thing...

    If you want to use FL as a VSTi then you need the FL FruityLoops edition. If you just want to use it to program drum patterns and save/export as a WAV file then FL Express is enough. I've used the mix down / save as WAV option for pulling rhythm files over to Cakewalk and it has worked really nicely.

    From the sounds of it you should go with Cubase or Cakewalk as your main sequencer but get FL Express or something as a drum sequencer. Then you get best of both worlds. Which (Cubase or Cakewalk) is best for you is really a matter of personal taste - whichever helps you get the results you want quickest.

    EDIT: If you're recording several tracks at once then it would be a good idea to get a good soundcard with multiple inputs (4+). You can then use your sequencer to mix and apply EQ. I suspect this might be a better option than mixing to stereo in a mixer before recording. You can then re-edit, apply effects, and EQ each part separately rather than trying to apply broad EQ to a whole mix. A decent soundcard would also let you have a separate monitor output which would allow you to have a click track if that's needed.
  5. Are there any free downloadable drum machines available that you guys would recommend?
  6. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    Try this website:


    I've found TONS of good stuff on here.

    Also, AFAIK, both Cubase AND Sonar will record multiple inputs, the key is to have a soundcard that will accept and distribute multiple simultaneous input, like this for example:

  7. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    It's hardly the only choice, and may not be the best for everybody, but I like Tracktion, which Mackie distributes. Great audio recorder (though MIDI freaks assert that its MIDI editing is not state of the art), flexible, easy to learn, and comes with a lot of plug-ins, like effects, a sample player, and a drum machine.

    With any good software recorder, you'll need to invest in something that will enable you to get good quality audio into your computer. Something like the PreSonus Firepod might work.