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Is there any reason to use a daw in 2020?
Old 31st March 2020
  #1
Is there any reason to use a daw in 2020?

Despite all the conventional wisdom saying the daw is the ultimate solution to all electronic music and nobody in their right mind would ever try making music without one it seems in recent years we suddenly have a slew of innovative hardware units focused on not using the daw. I remember not very long ago so many were absolute in their belief that grooveboxes were dead and buried forever and resolute in their eternal damnation of hardware sequencers. I remember being told I was a lunatic to think anyone was ever going to make new hardware sequencers.

How quickly times change. How interesting that the obscene ravings of a drooling madman have materialized into real actual products and popular ones to boot. How funny that the impossible and delusional desires for new grooveboxes has turned into more new grooveboxes than you can shake a stick at.

And also how surprising that people who are totally sane are actually making music without a daw. And having fun doing it no less.

Clearly the daw is still a popular tool but its certainly not the only option anymore.

And now that there are plenty of other options available do we really still need daws?
Can we happily and productively get along without them?

Besides a big hole in the hardware Midi router/processing area what other essentials are missing from the dawless ecosystem?
What not-daw-centric products could we use more of to continue onwards down the hardware path?
Old 31st March 2020
  #2
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as long it's only about jamming / rough composing I don't see any need for a daw at all, but as soon it comes to recording & post processing I'm glad the days of pricey multi-track reel 2 reel days are over
Old 31st March 2020
  #3
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Westlaker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
What not-daw-centric products could we use more of to continue onwards down the hardware path?
I'd love to see a new generation of digital multitrack recorders.

My recording hub is the Korg D3200 (in conjunction with sequencer on the Kronos). I'm perfectly happy with it -- it's dead simple ("plug and play"), has enough features for my needs, and really does sound very good.

Nevertheless, I still dream of this exact machine but with improved specs: more inputs, more tracks (at 24/48), more aux sends, and dedicated knobs for pan, send levels, and EQ. And a bigger screen (though there is an after-market hack for a VGA out).

Anyway, yes: anything to minimize computer use in studio is great in my book (for *me*: I realize it's a perfect solution for most)...
Old 31st March 2020
  #4
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Sharp11's Avatar
 

Why would you want to eliminate the fun and possibilities a simple DAW provides you? Where you can mix and further sculpt and paint your awesome dawless jam into a full all out masterpiece, either alone or in collaboration with others?

More fun = more fun.

Furthermore, if you've any idea of having a professional career writing for video games, television and films, you'll have a DAW. One day ...
Old 31st March 2020
  #5
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It would take hardware worth millions of $ to be able to do everything REAPER can do at $225.
Old 31st March 2020
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Westlaker View Post
I'd love to see a new generation of digital multitrack recorders.

My recording hub is the Korg D3200 (in conjunction with sequencer on the Kronos). I'm perfectly happy with it -- it's dead simple ("plug and play"), has enough features for my needs, and really does sound very good.

Nevertheless, I still dream of this exact machine but with improved specs: more inputs, more tracks (at 24/48), more aux sends, and dedicated knobs for pan, send levels, and EQ. And a bigger screen (though there is an after-market hack for a VGA out).

Anyway, yes: anything to minimize computer use in studio is great in my book (for *me*: I realize it's a perfect solution for most)...
Agreed. I find the majority of the mixer integrated multitrack recorder units somewhat lacking in connectivity such as analog sends and inserts. This is especially true of newer ones which trade analog/digital I/O for USB and daw integration which to me seems too redundant. If you're going to use a daw anyway it strikes me as highly desirable to have the freedom to choose the interface I prefer best to the one built into the recorder. I use an Allen & Heath Qu32 and I'm always wishing I could trade the USB interface for an array of external digital I/O such as ADAT etc.
Old 31st March 2020
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
It would take hardware worth millions of $ to be able to do everything REAPER can do at $225.
Conversely it would take millions of man hours and tens of millions of clicks to get Reaper to do everything my studio can do easily and without aggravation. And spending money on fun is never badly spent money

Anyway this isn't a comparison thread it's for discussion of hardware workflow and products. We don't need the agonizing endless debates.
People are working without daws for better or worse. How can we make it better yet?
Old 31st March 2020
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
Conversely it would take millions of man hours and tens of millions of clicks to get Reaper to do everything my studio can do easily and without aggravation.
Nope.
What i said was possibly an understatement, what you said was an overstatement and then you could save it as a default project and/or have it loaded with 1 click (or a voice command) if you put it as an icon on your desktop.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
And spending money on fun is never badly spent money
Believe it, or not:
Some people love computers and have a lot of fun while working with them.
From this point of view, working with hardware is a huge PITA even if supported by a software DAW and even worse if 100% hardware.
Old 31st March 2020
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mutantt View Post
Nope.
What i said was possibly an understatement, what you said was an overstatement and then you could save it as a default project and/or have it loaded with 1 click (or a voice command) if you put it as an icon on your desktop.


Believe it, or not:
Some people love computers and have a lot of fun while working with them.
From this point of view, working with hardware is a huge PITA even if supported by a software DAW and even worse if 100% hardware.
Okay, moving on.
Old 31st March 2020
  #10
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Bignatius's Avatar
Necessary? No.

Helpful in some Use Cases? Absolutely.

Reaper is an overglorified Tape Deck, for me. It and the X18 give me 18x simultaneous Line I/O to loads of HD space.

I use stuff like that because I don't have and can't afford a building full of 2" Tape and the maintenance staff to boot.

I haven't even opened up Ableton Live in months now, except to export some stems a while back.

Haven't used a VST for anything in months, either, and I don't use the X18's onboard Effects at all.

Still composing and arranging Songs, not just noodly Jams, but definitely deliberately in a more Live Performance scenario.

That said, I could very well fire up Ableton next week if my mood strikes me, ya never know, but I doubt it. I'm pretty over all that...
Old 31st March 2020
  #11
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
You've been around a long time and you know the answer to the question. If you want a discussion about how people feel about using DAW vs Alternatives, ask that.
Of course there are reasons for using a DAW in 2020 There are 100s maybe 1000s of reasons to use a DAW in 2020.
Probably the most prevalent reason is VST instruments and effects. Sure, some are standalone but that is not how most people use them.
Next is the A part of the DAW. Most groove boxes are sequencers only. Those don't allow for the recording or manipulating of Audio.
Next is the W part of the DAW. Groove boxes are very handy and quite immediate. But if one needs to get into the nitty gritty of a track, a Workstation can make that an easier process what with their piano rolls, logical editors, automation, and many other things.

So to sum up, the only right answer to this question is a resounding YES. There are tons of reasons. But you knew that already.

EDIT: Who ever said it was the only option? It's never been the only option. We've got sequencers, tape, digital audio recorders, loopers etc. No one ever said that a DAW was ever the only option.
Old 31st March 2020
  #12
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I guess some can get it done DAW-less if all they do is completely electronic instrumental music that is relatively minimalist and doesn't require extensive mix automation. Problem is, a lot of electronic music does also incorporate vocals and some non-electronic instrumentation. As soon as you start bringing those into the picture, other solutions become cumbersome by comparison and aren't apt to give you the same fine degree of control. Hardware can be fun when it comes to synths and related gear, but as far as the actual recording environment? I want that canvas to be big, open and confront me with as few limitations as possible. That's exactly what the non-linear editing, unlimited tracks and total mix automation of the modern DAW offer, all on a big screen where you can readily see what's going on, and usually with a decent amount of customization possible.
Old 31st March 2020
  #13
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For some people, it's the only way to make music
Old 31st March 2020
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by pr0gr4m View Post
You've been around a long time and you know the answer to the question. If you want a discussion about how people feel about using DAW vs Alternatives, ask that.
Of course there are reasons for using a DAW in 2020 There are 100s maybe 1000s of reasons to use a DAW in 2020.
Probably the most prevalent reason is VST instruments and effects. Sure, some are standalone but that is not how most people use them.
Next is the A part of the DAW. Most groove boxes are sequencers only. Those don't allow for the recording or manipulating of Audio.
Next is the W part of the DAW. Groove boxes are very handy and quite immediate. But if one needs to get into the nitty gritty of a track, a Workstation can make that an easier process what with their piano rolls, logical editors, automation, and many other things.

So to sum up, the only right answer to this question is a resounding YES. There are tons of reasons. But you knew that already.

EDIT: Who ever said it was the only option? It's never been the only option. We've got sequencers, tape, digital audio recorders, loopers etc. No one ever said that a DAW was ever the only option.
There's a disconnect in your understanding of this thread. So I'll attempt to clarify.

Are there any missing pieces or market holes that still make it absolutely necessary to use a daw out of pure necessity? If so then what are those missing necessities?

No intent on discussing how people feel about the topic.
Old 31st March 2020
  #15
Absolutely yes.
I'm using Logic to mix and I'm intergrating Bitwig as a sort of super-sampler-sequencer-controller-hub with the modular on the laptop.

When mixing it offers a degree of flexibility and ease to organize audio recordings, sequences, that no other platform has.
Or you'd be recording on, cutting, and archiving tape. That's just not practical or you'd have to specialize in that. And I don't want to do that.
A harddrive recorder (like Radar) sure, that would work, but I prefer the flexibility of a DAW. Both are computers.

As an intergrated instrument, like I'm using Bitwig, sure, there's other solutions, hardware sequencers, combined with samplers. It's just that the software is cutting edge and combines a lot of functions in one program, one workspace. And that way of working just appeals to me.
A modern sequencer or sampler, as well as a harddisk recorder is a computer, just for one function. That's how I see it.
It really depends on your preferences, and what kind of demands you put on the workflow.
If you're inspired by using hardware sequencers, samplers, synths only, and a computer is sucking out the creativity, don't use a computer.

Last edited by Reptil; 31st March 2020 at 06:36 PM..
Old 31st March 2020
  #16
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cjogo's Avatar
Bought my first DAW in the early 90's --- had 6 since then ---ended up with the ROLAND VS setup about '96 .... haven't changed since ... just a glorified tape deck. Did add REAPER for just stereo mixdown . MIDI still a large part of our productions ..
Sure most of this setup could fit in a modern day laptop


But >>I like that I can produce a full CD without the need to see a WAV on a screen /use a mouse -- till the last mixdown. Then its only used to trim the top & end. The post work is still faders and knobs > in our mainstay DAW

It also requires one to match the equipment with the client ---- haven't had to use a loop/drum machines for nearly 30 years. 80% of the production is in pre -- not post.
Old 31st March 2020
  #17
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Since discovering VCV rack and the host plugins, I've been happier and more productive than ever.

It lends itself nicely to jamming and recording, and I'm building up a library that eventually I will need to use a DAW to bring them all together.
Old 31st March 2020
  #18
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
Conversely it would take millions of man hours and tens of millions of clicks to get Reaper to do everything my studio can do easily and without aggravation. And spending money on fun is never badly spent money
I’m not so sure about this one.
Old 31st March 2020
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deviljho View Post
I’m not so sure about this one.
How could you be? Have you used my studio?
Old 31st March 2020
  #20
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pr0gr4m's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
There's a disconnect in your understanding of this thread. So I'll attempt to clarify.
Wrong! I understand the thread and it's frivolous nature. My response was an answer to your title question.

Actually, you have illustrated that the disconnect was yours. The disconnect is between your title question (akin to a sensationalist headline or clickbait - the bait hooked me) and what you were "really" asking when you clarified with...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
Are there any missing pieces or market holes that still make it absolutely necessary to use a daw out of pure necessity? If so then what are those missing necessities?
If that was what you really wanted to know, why not ask that (Is a DAW a necessity?) instead of the ridiculous one in the title?

EDIT: Necessity is determined by the artist. Maybe one person doesn't NEED to use the things a DAW offers. I proffered 3 things that could be considered as reasons why a DAW would be required, which illustrates that I completely understood the point of the thread, thank you very much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
Clearly the daw is still a popular tool but its certainly not the only option anymore.
Anymore? It never was the only option...never in the history of music. Your premise is flawed.

Frivolous indeed.
Old 31st March 2020
  #21
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channelite's Avatar
I feel I made more interesting and better songs with hardware, recording the jam to my iPhone. Then I can listen to them wherever and evaluate them. The daw process for me isn’t as creative and it’s a hassle to export the songs to my phone to listen to them out of the studio.
Old 31st March 2020
  #22
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Don't Anger Wolverine?
Old 31st March 2020
  #23
Depends on what I’m doing. For producing tracks (the few that I actually make) I use Logic Pro X, because it is far easier to structure the tracks (and re-adjust later). Granted, I’m mainly recording the “pop songs” that my elementary-age kids are making up on the fly (these will never be released!!) but in general I tend to do more compositional soundtrack stuff.

Now that I’m in lockdown mode I’m looking for other creative outlets, mainly ways to jam with electronic hand drums over a synth “bed”. I’m just now figuring out how to use AUM on my iPad for this... having Fugue Machine drive a few different softsynths on my iPad seems very promising for this use case, I haven’t actually tried drumming on top of it, but I can foresee my iPad becoming the center of a “dawless” setup using my iPad synths combined with 1 or 2 hardware synths. It’s just a matter of determining if I have all the right dongles.
Old 31st March 2020
  #24
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A DAW can be the ultimate sampler. And it is terribly convenient for arranging and for syncing to time code. If you have a lot of tracks and playlists of takes i can’t think of a faster way to do this. It’s not the only way to do things but if you have a lot to manage and have to work against the clock then it has its place, for sure.
Old 31st March 2020
  #25
Nope. Well not for me.

Music is my only escape from computers, helped by being a Linux user so any closed source proprietary software is completely off the radar.
Old 31st March 2020
  #26
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cane creek's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post

we suddenly have a slew of innovative hardware units focused on not using the daw.
and then 99% of the time those ideas on the hardware end up in a DAW for further editing/mixing/idea-catalysis to a track etc..
Old 31st March 2020
  #27
A big hole I'm seeing is multitrack recorders with Midi. I can't seem to find any new ones with DIN Midi. Has this completely gone by the wayside?


Quote:
Originally Posted by iksrazal View Post
Music is my only escape from computers, helped by being a Linux user so any closed source proprietary software is completely off the radar.
Same here! I've got Win XP and Ubuntu. By the end of this year all Windows and Macs in my household will be replaced with Linux. Good riddance to forced obsolescence and being a magnet for malicious software by the buttload.

Last edited by Hollowman9; 31st March 2020 at 09:02 PM..
Old 31st March 2020
  #28
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Westlaker's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollowman9 View Post
A big hole I'm seeing is multitrack recorders with Midi. I can't seem to find any new ones with DIN Midi. Has this completely gone by the wayside?
It has. D3200 has it (MMC and MTC)...
Old 31st March 2020
  #29
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Acid Mitch's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bignatius View Post
Don't Anger Wolverine?
I’d rather anger Wolverine than the Hulk.
Old 31st March 2020
  #30
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chaocrator's Avatar
for me, 2 reasons:
1) mixing
2) mastering.

this is where DAW shines.

everything else is done OTB.
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