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Which Big 4 DAW is the most user-friendly for a complete noob?
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cactus_farmer
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#1
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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Which Big 4 DAW is the most user-friendly for a complete noob?

Which DAW - Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live or Pro-Tools would you recommend as having the easiest-to-use interface for a complete noob who has not used any of them before?

The tracks I will be doing will be a mix between MIDI and recorded. Probably MIDI drums and synth, recorded guitar and vocals.

From what I gather, Logic is very good at MIDI-editing, Cubase is very good at editing recordings. I don't know much about Pro-Tools at all.

I know a major benefit of Ableton is its intuitive sample tempo-altering without degrading the original loop. I'm not so much a sample guy, so that may not be of much benefit to me. Also, don't plan to use the DAW live. But I have heard good things about it's easiness-to -use, so will that alone make it more worth my purchase? I have heard people say that it takes them 2 minutes to do things in Ableton that it takes them 20 minutes to do in Logic. But that may be the sample-editing, of course. Does EVERYTHING take much less time in Ableton Live?

I run a Mac, by the way - thanks a lot in advance for responses...
#2
5th March 2012
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PT is the simplest of them all, only Edit and Mix windows... Logic is deeper but might be more for you if you want presets/sounds....
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5th March 2012
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Pt hands down.
#4
5th March 2012
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+1 for Pro tools here too, by far
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Studio One is very quick and easy to use. You can track, mix and master in it. It has the best plug ins that come with a DAW. The pro-eq has a built in spectrum meter which makes difficult eq'ing less of a ball ache. The metering is great and based on the K-system, the workflow is super fast.
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Get whatever all your friends have got, so they can help you when you need it, and easily exchange sessions.
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#7
5th March 2012
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Pro Tools
#8
5th March 2012
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ProTools by far I got logic and i still struggle but it is 64bit
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none of the above as far as ease of use out of the box.....for that award i go to FL studio...very intuitive and preset with samples/plugs etc.....however i use cubase and enjoy the workflow more lol
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5th March 2012
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I've used all of the above and if you ask me the answer to that question is really going to be subjective. Anybody you ask that question to here is simply going to recommend that you get what they use because they feel THAT product is the best. That may or may not be the best advice for you.
I'd watch some video demos on youtube or maybe get some hands on demos in person at your local Goiter Center, check the websites and see if there's a demo version of the software you can download for free. Get a feel for the work flow. These days there's more similarities than differences between the software packages; the differences are mostly cosmetic at this point, with the same features being accessed in different ways. The most valuable advice I can offer is to find the platform that YOU are most comfortable with. You might want to give Digital Performer a look as well.
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Studio One Professional 2.0 IMHO. But I agree with adamcal that getting what your friends are using is a good idea. Honestly though there isn't a bad DAW on the market these days so you really can't make a horrible mistake no matter what you choose.

I would suggest you hunker down and take the time to learn whichever program you choose. Don't be tempted to jump ship early on to another DAW because you might be frustrated. The grass isn't any greener on the other side and you may solve one problem but be confronted with a different set of problems.

Give yourself some time to learn the basics.
Go through the tutorials.
Check out YouTube for examples.
etc.

Best of luck!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayson_p View Post
I've used all of the above and if you ask me the answer to that question is really going to be subjective. Anybody you ask that question to here is simply going to recommend that you get what they use because they feel THAT product is the best. That may or may not be the best advice for you.
I'd watch some video demos on youtube or maybe get some hands on demos in person at your local Goiter Center, check the websites and see if there's a demo version of the software you can download for free. Get a feel for the work flow. These days there's more similarities than differences between the software packages; the differences are mostly cosmetic at this point, with the same features being accessed in different ways. The most valuable advice I can offer is to find the platform that YOU are most comfortable with. You might want to give Digital Performer a look as well.
totally agree

I have been using logic since version 1. As a result I think Logic is by far the easiest, but it is totally subjective. Get the one your mates have got is the best advice I have seen here!! We all need a helpline!!

If you have a mac, it may have come with garage band. That is very easy and works in a similar way to Logic, since it is essentially a cut down version. That may lead you into logic. Otherwise go with your mates!!

long
#13
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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I was exposed to PT, Logic and Pyramix at the same time.

I realised immediatelly why people use Pro Tools. It is by far the easiest of the three and also "makes sense" to an engineer who uses mixers and cables and plugs stuff together.

Pyramix is stupid but I have had to use it a lot and know how to set it so it will record and not **** up. Then I breath a sigh of relief when I can get the BWAVs out into something else.

Logic just really is stupid. I see the value now for a songwriter because it is so cheap and you get all the virtual instruments in the world! But that wasn't so maybe 5 years ago. Logic can snap all regions to their respective timestamps which pro tools can't do!

Cubase I have no real experience of, and also can't understand what it offers? I think that people who are using Cubase use it just because that's what came with their computer / interface or what got sold to them in the shop, and they got used to it.

Ableton is more of a recent thing for me, and for electronic music production it has some things which nobody else does. When it first came out the clip based instead of timeline based thing was revolutionary. Newer things like how samplers are integrated into effects racks and the routing that is possible there, I don't think you can do anywhere else. In fact the routing in the mixer is better than Pro Tools, you really can do anything that your head can imagine, complex sidechain stuff as well is easy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
Logic can snap all regions to their respective timestamps which pro tools can't do!
.
Not true.

-Ben B
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5th March 2012
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Look into Reaper.
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Pro Tools or Reaper for editing and mixing, I'd suggest Cubase or FL Studio for music creation with MIDI and VI's or Logic on a Mac.

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#17
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
Pyramix is stupid but I have had to use it a lot and know how to set it so it will record and not **** up. Then I breath a sigh of relief when I can get the BWAVs out into something else.
Out of curiosity, could you say a bit more about what you didn't like in Pyramix? Thanks.
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#18
5th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loopy View Post
Studio One Professional 2.0 IMHO. But I agree with adamcal that getting what your friends are using is a good idea. Honestly though there isn't a bad DAW on the market these days so you really can't make a horrible mistake no matter what you choose.

I would suggest you hunker down and take the time to learn whichever program you choose. Don't be tempted to jump ship early on to another DAW because you might be frustrated. The grass isn't any greener on the other side and you may solve one problem but be confronted with a different set of problems.

Give yourself some time to learn the basics.
Go through the tutorials.
Check out YouTube for examples.
etc.

Best of luck!
Studio One is a one stop solution for all stages, be it tracking, mixing or mastering. It's got the best metering - the k-system, the best plug-ins, PRO-EQ (built in spectrum meter), compressor, limiter etc for dynamics. Not sure about tools for creating delays, reverbs etc cos I use Lexicons and Eventides for that. It's got fantastic integration for polyphonic pitch manipulation with Melodyne (ARA technology first). I really can't fault it in any way, it's fast, the tools are excellent and it's easier to get things done.

The others have tons of strengths, Cubase is excellent for midi, nothing it can't do but it's not great in terms of fast workflow. Pro tools is great cos it's clean and clear and easy to use and difficult to fault especially now it's opened up to ASIO and VST etc. Trouble is it doesn't integrate with Melodyne and is somewhat slower than S1 - for me anyway. Logic is Mac only now, it was very good when it was EMagic before Apple ruined it. Ableton is a loopers paradise, it's an amazing playground for sketching out ideas. Doesn't make a lot of sense if you want a more tracker / mixer set-up. I'd say it's great for creating midi ideas, which is what I use it for, constructing midi tracks. Fruity loops, my friend swears by that program but I don't like the GUI, so I've never really tried it out.

What are you leaning towards?
#19
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben B View Post
Not true.

-Ben B
Pro tools will spot only to one timestamp, so all regions line up together.

Logic will spot regions all to their respective timestamps.
#20
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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In my opinion, if your really worried about not being able to utilize these programs properly, go with something more basic first off. I started with Sony ACID and really, once you learn one of them, you learn them all; it just takes time to understand their different nuances.

I would say go with logic, but that's only because I know how to work it so it feels easy to use :P
#21
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+1 reaper
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Although I am cubendo user, I have been demoing Studio One v2, and if I had to start over this would be my DAW without question.

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#23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRick View Post
Look into Reaper.
This would be my vote as well. I've used Cubase for years and have some PT experience. Reaper is super simple to use.
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5th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iain_m View Post
Out of curiosity, could you say a bit more about what you didn't like in Pyramix? Thanks.
I have used Pyramix for large multitrack recordings where you DO NOT want it to drop out of record.

It seems like Pyramix involves A LOT of windows and menus, catering for every conceivable situation, instead of just giving you the controls and letting you use it.

Imagine two menus which offer the same things:

MENU A

2 or 4 slices of toast with your choice of butter, jam, marmalade.

MENU B

2 slices of plain toast
2 slices of toast with butter
2 slices of toast with jam
2 slices of toast with jam and butter
2 slices of toast with marmalade
2 slices of toast with marmalade and butter
2 slices of toast with jam and marmalade
2 slices of toast with jam and butter and marmalade
4 slices of plain toast
4 slices of toast with butter
4 slices of toast with jam
4 slices of toast with jam and butter
4 slices of toast with marmalade
4 slices of toast with marmalade and butter
4 slices of toast with jam and marmalade
4 slices of toast with jam and butter and marmalade

You seem to have to use "wizards" when creating a session. And, for example, if you forget to select 1-1 routing while creating a session it seems painfully slow to do this afterwards, and I found just ditching the session and starting again.

There are lots of dangerous defaults. Seriously, i just want a recording, I don't want to check 15 windows of settings just to make sure. You cannot give PMF files to people. Who cares about PMF? There is no reason to use PMF. No it is not "quick and easy" to convert to BWAV afterwards. Especially if you don't have a Pyramix rig! And even if you do IT WILL take some hours.

"It's OK, I ticked the box that said BWAV." Yeah, but you ALSO have to select the option to NOT make a multitrack BWAV file. Who wants a 64 track recording in one BWAV multitrack file? WHO? And what's the file size limit? 4gb? 2gb? Who cares, whatever the limit, 64 tracks of audio will fill that pretty quick. And what happens when the limit is reached? NOTHING! You still have a nice 'recording' window until you hit stop and everything on the timeline vanishes and there is no audio on disk.

Who cares if it has a good "fade window". Why should there be a separate "fade window" anyway. What edit in the world can I NOT MAKE with Pro Tools?

Who cares if there is some fancy asymetric fade options? I don't care. Is duplicating tracks in pro tools and having in/out material on different tracks a crime? Does it take longer? No.

Pyramix can run at native DSD rates. Who cares? Seriously, how many DSD releases have just been re-releases of existing works? Want to bet how many of these have just been up-sampled? Maybe there are some native recordings and releases, but seriously, how many Chopin recitals does the world need?

Who has ever (or knows a friend who has) listened to a finished commercial DSD recording at home or in the car?

Who cares about DSD?

Oh, and Windows

That was fun!
#25
5th March 2012
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depends on the kind of music you want to produce.. beside of that knowing protools dont hurts..

for electronic music ableton is better or for beginners reason or fruityloops are a more fun thing to learn the stuff.
#26
5th March 2012
Old 5th March 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimdrake View Post
It seems like Pyramix involves A LOT of windows and menus, catering for every conceivable situation, instead of just giving you the controls and letting you use it.(...)
Wow, ok, thanks!

I'd probably disagree with you about the usefulness of the crossfade options (since I find these very helpful in Samplitude), though I realise that the gap has closed since PT10, which no longer renders each fade to disk, and is therefore more flexible.

But your points about the general workflow are interesting to hear. Were you on a Masscore or Native system?
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Studio one and a one year all access pass to groove3.com.
#28
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In my opinion, learning a new discipline is hard, and very little is amazingly different among any of the major choices. No doubt about it, you have to study to learn these programs. Cakewalk, which is now Sonar, was one of the easier ones to use. Simpler with fewer features will be easier to use. The problem is that the really powerful programs are hard to learn. But the BASICS are about the same, no matter which program you pick. And int he long run, don't you want to learn the most complete program you can buy? Or do you want to start with something more limited, then STILL have to learn the more complete program later? Where is the benefit in that? Because the complexities don't get int he way, they are hidden in menus... if you ignore them, they'll ignore you.

It used to be that one had to own several programs to get anything done. Now a single DAW plus some plug ins will do everything you need... so you only need one, look over the options and pick carefully. There is a difference in how they all look and feel when you are using them. I usually liken the difference to that of tennis shoes. Nike, Rebok, New Balance... all good shoes, all get us down the road, but some like the feel and fit of one over the other.
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#29
5th March 2012
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I own licenses for PT9/10, Studio One V2 and Reaper 4.x, and find that Studio One is my preference for mixing, because of it's many integration points and easy-to-understand workflow.

PT is more the "industry standard", but only valuable for you (IMHO) if you think you'll be exchanging project work with other PT users.

I use Reaper to track, as it's the most light-weight and reliable for live/location multitrack work (which I do nearly exclusively).

I'd say download the Studio One V2 demo from Presonus and give it a test-drive. I also really love the Melodyne integration for fixing "pitchy" notes. A demo comes with Artist and Producer, and you get a basic Melodyne license when you buy S1 Pro.

I hope this helps! :-)
#30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamcal View Post
Get whatever all your friends have got, so they can help you when you need it, and easily exchange sessions.
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