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Name the absolute easiest-to-learn DAW
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Terry McInturff
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5th January 2009
Old 5th January 2009
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Name the absolute easiest-to-learn DAW

Im so 20th century, it's embarassing.

Im an old analog guy, I guess. Thats the world that I understand. I am FAR from a computer expert!

But it seems that Im finally going to enter the world of computer recording at last. I'll be incorporating my older, but dear to me, WR-DA7 digital desk.

I'll be running XP.

What is the easiest...EASIEST DAW to learn, from absolute scratch?

Many thanks!
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5th January 2009
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For me it was Pro Tools, but everyone's answer will vary.

Before I tried Pro Tools, I messed around with Cool Edit Pro and Cakewalk. Neither of them really was comfortable to work in. Cool Edit was way to simplified, and Cakewalk was just messy.

I was coming from the world of 4-track cassette in my younger years, and right before Pro Tools, I was running ADATs with a Tascam mixer.

Pro Tools was like a no brainer. Sat down with it, and could instantly do things. It's very much like sitting down at Microsoft Word for the first time. Doesn't take long before you're cruising thru any and all everyday tasks. And for anything more advanced, it only took me a few minutes to work it out. Very intuitive.
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Over the years this i have noticed.. and it seems to work as a general rule of thumb....

Those who have a background in engineering and mathematics seem to favour the Logic path


Those who are a tad less *organised" thought wise, and prefer visual cues go for Cubase

I'm and old tape head.. A work colleague actually pointed out, i use a DAW very much like a tape machine. In my experience Samplitube, Reaper and Pro Tools all veer towards the visual side of things...

Overall, if you were put me on the spot and say.. which is the easiest paltform to use and actually get your head round... I'd say....

Pro Tools, Reaper..... Cubase/Samplitube...... Logic
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5th January 2009
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+1 to Firemoon.

They're all going to have learning curves depending on the users experience; do they even know what midi is for example?
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5th January 2009
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I say all are easy to learn the basic tasks and the manual + gearslutz will teach you the rest. Maybe add a training video...

It just matters on which one you pick. I say, pick whichever one works with your hardware the best.
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I would have to say Kristal Audio Engine (kreatives.org). It's the simplest one I've seen, and I learned to use it having absolutely no experience in digital recording (or much recording at all), and very little computer experience. And it's free.thumbsup
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Having had to learn many different programs, I prefer to just jump in and start recording while keeping the manual near by. You can spend days of wasted reading if you go through the whole manual because you're not going to use everything in there (and most of it will be forgotten). But if you read the first few pages, then start doing what you normally do for recording, you can just look it up as you go in the manual.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BOWIE View Post
Having had to learn many different programs, I prefer to just jump in and start recording while keeping the manual near by. You can spend days of wasted reading if you go through the whole manual because you're not going to use everything in there (and most of it will be forgotten). But if you read the first few pages, then start doing what you normally do for recording, you can just look it up as you go in the manual.
That's basically what I was trying to say. The easy stuff of setting up a track is as basic as using the internet, it says how to do it in letters on the screen. More advanced stuff... it says so in the manual. They are all the same to me (for the basics, the advanced stuff I only know some cubase)
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5th January 2009
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I like Reaper as a first DAW software because of the price (free to try). Cubase LE is fairly easy to use. Sonar and Nuendo seem more complicated on first look, and expensive.

I don't think you should worry about how easy it is to learn. Pick one and dive in.
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I like Tracktion. I still use T2, I never bought T3. I mainly use Logic now but Tracktion is super easy to use. Doesn't even have a mixer view.
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If you were on a Mac, I'd say GarageBand, hands down. It's kind of dumbed down and there are some limitations to it but it seems to be utterly un-intimidating. I noticed Logic listed above (also Mac only); while it's a powerful program, I've never got the impression it was especially easy to learn.

Back in PC land...

I'm an old tape guy, myself, but I've been doing digital audio forever. I use Sonar and I really like it. Some folks take to it right away and some never seem to. (Like so many DAWs, actually.)

One option that more than a couple of folks coming from tape or hardware recorders seem to have responded well to was Mackie's Tracktion. It uses 64 bit internal math, which theoretically provides higher processing resolution (probably not a big deal, frankly, but worth noting). Its interface is a bit unusual but that seems to make it easier for some folks. And last time I checked it was reasonably priced.

All that said, I think it's worth mentioning Reaper, which is absolutely the fastest evolving DAW in the marketplace, has a very affordable non-commercial license and is still quite reasonable for the full pro license. It's not necessarily easy but it's not necessarily hard, either. Anything powerful, seems to me, is going to have a certain amount of complexity, whether it's Logic, Cubase, Sonar, Digital Performer, Samplitude, Reaper or some other...

Your an old tape guy -- you're tough... you can take it.
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5th January 2009
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Easiest?

Garage Band or Ableton live.

Most full featured and pro mix worthy may be anther question altogether, though.
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I've used PT, Sonar, Cubase and Samplitude.

I'm using Samplitude now and I think it's easiest for a dumbass like myself to understand.

But that's the rub. What's easy for someone, won't be easy for another and vice versa.

It's personal preference and that will always vary.
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If you want an easy, intuitive PC based program, Adobe Audition is great. Not widely used but sounds fantastic and with nice color-coding and easy editing. I use it because it doesn't slow me down when I'm songwriting. I also have Cubase which I hate (not as much as PT though).
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Hi Terry.

As I told you on the DA7 forum, Protools is just the ticket for old analog console/tape machine Dawgs like us. You'll learn to love it, trust me.
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RADAR.

Easiest to transition. Esp if you already have a console and lots of outboard.

And it sounds great.
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I pretty much started out on Cubase, I find it to be the easiest, but that may just be because it's what I learned on.
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if you're used to console signal flow then it is Protools. Problem is that LE (even in PT8) is still not great compared to the value you get with things like Logic. Sill - hat's not what you asked..... PT signal flow works pretty much the same as your used to.
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I actually learned on Sonar and found it very easy to use. At the moment I'm using Live Lite (what came with my interface...) and am actually finding it very intuitive.
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Easiest DAW

I'm using sonar producer that's head and shoulders above MY talent grade but does a great job. It IS complicated. Easiest to start with-Audacity, and it's free. If you want a 24 track easy version that's real user friendly to start learning and it's reasonable, search for a program called acoustic reasearch. I think their url is acoustic-research.com. I bought it as an experiment and it' reasonable and easy to learn for an analog guy. Also, you can email them with any questions and they are nice about actually answering! Like I said, I'm using sonar producer and it's really got a learning curve to it but it does a LOT more than Iam capable of.
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5th January 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randall View Post
I have steered clear of PT for many reasons.. PTHD is expensive and propriatary.
Same here. Avoid proprietary at all cost.

Based on word of mouth, Reaper is first to come to mind.

Based on watching musicians around me, GarageBand. (but they all use Macs)

Based on personal experience, Tracktion.

But if you decide to try Tracktion, make sure you do 3 things: Verify completely all hardware compatibility; Avoid like the plague all things Steinberg (especially Groove Agent); Avoid like the plague all thing Native Instruments.

If I had chosen EZ Drummer and Sonik Synth in the first place (instead of Groove Agent and NI-controlled stuff) I would probably still be using Tracktion. I installed it, and had an 8 track tune recorded and mixed the first day. Never used any software before that. I gradually had problems with it, but learned later (after I had switched to Sonar) that my problems were all caused by Steinberg and NI.
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Audacity.

Of course, easiest is not always the most advisable goal to shoot for...
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what are your needs? why would you want to jump into DAW?

tracking, mixing, MIDI, editing, mastering...
will it replace or complement you analog equipement?

make a list of your needs and your projected workflow. based on that, help might be more specific.

make sure you are aware of the hardware you need to setup YOUR DAW (i/o units /convertors / clocks and such)

some hardware will dictate the software you can use and vice versa, some hardware might include all the software you need (motu/protools/...)


and in the end...

choose something that a big community uses for the same purpose you would. make sure to check out the support and user forums FIRST.

as a newbie you'll depend on some sort of help anyway, regardless of the DAW you choose. make sure it is available at ANY time.
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Mackie Tracktion is about as straight forward as it gets if you need a basic DAW.

Otherwise I'd say Pro Tools is the most intuitive.
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Whatever you choose, stay away from Logic. The product name is a sarcastic joke if there ever was one!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixedupsteve View Post
I like Tracktion. I still use T2, I never bought T3. I mainly use Logic now but Tracktion is super easy to use. Doesn't even have a mixer view.
I liked Tracktion, too, but it's been orphanware for over a year.
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You folks are THE BEST....many many thanks!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balaperdida View Post
I liked Tracktion, too, but it's been orphanware for over a year.
What does orphanware mean?
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From a hack musician with no technical recording training:
Garage band - really easy
Logic - not easy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balaperdida View Post
I liked Tracktion, too, but it's been orphanware for over a year.
Thanks for the heads up!

I was almost thinking of checking to make sure it was still an active product. My bad.
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