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DAW with the best Virtual Instrument capability
Old 19th May 2019
  #1
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DAW with the best Virtual Instrument capability

Its been nearly 5 months and I still cannot decide which DAW to this day suits my taste after months of searching and using trial versions and checking fourm searching I cannot decide which DAW has the best Virtual Instrument Capability as in a DAW that has the ability to produce any Instrumental Sound and adding effects and editing insturmental sound tunes. I have also done my fair share of research and decided to narrow down to Cubase Studio One and Digital Preformer in case you are wondering what genere of music i hope to produce then it is mostly Orchestral like Audiomachine Two steps from hell and Hans zimmer although an electic house capablity would also be nice also sorry for writing too long its just that i am frustrated and checked every daw but i only know the baisics but i dont mind the complexity the learning curve or the workflow as i can manage it my own i just need to look for a daw that has the virtual capacity to play any instrumemt list of daws i have tried
  • Cubase
  • Abelton Live
  • FL Studio
  • Pro Tools
  • Digital Preformer
  • Studio One

P.S I dont have Mac as my first obvious option was obviously Logic Pro and i HATE MAC becz you cant do **** there i.e photo prudction game development playing games etc
Old 19th May 2019
  #2
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The secret with orchestral libraries is articulation scripts which are suited to your workflow.

Have a look at the Music for Picture forum to get more insight.

Hope that helps
Old 19th May 2019
  #3
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Umm no its not just the focus of Orchestra I want to produce but particularly any Acoustic instrumental pieces as well however compared to other DAWs I find Cubase Better as it allows to produce the sound variant and instrument and modify it to my needs in fact i might just pin to Cubase but the only thing i can do there is create covers or modify the covers of existing midi files from other composers Abelton on the other hand has a nice workflow that actually allowed me to create a few beats but not an actual sound but its virtual instrument system is horrible and only suited for EDMs while in cubase i can create easilly EDMs and Accoutic or Orchestra but only covers of existing music like Coldplay or Two steps from hell so it would be nice if you guys can suggest me a cubase and abelton live Hybrid sort of a thing :P also thank you for replying i dont think anyone as going to actually answer my queston
Old 19th May 2019
  #4
If you're on PC just pick one that runs well on your system . Cubase would be my choice out of those, but frankly they can all basically do anything you need to do, some might just require a few extra clicks compared to another.
Old 19th May 2019
  #5
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Umm thanks for the opnion i will see more into cubase for now but i am really curious about studio one and digital preformer and just want to know any major diffrences or adantages of studio one against digital preformer against cubase in comparrasion to virtual instrument editing and production thanks
Old 19th May 2019
  #6
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Hasn't sonar/ Cakewalk ALWAYS been the king of midi and vst instruments? Still the best darn Daw ever. Bandlab now gives Sonar for free don't they? I think you can still buy So ar Platinum, not sure, but the free Bandlab Sonar is still better than reaper, and Platinum is the best daw ever.
Old 19th May 2019
  #7
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wakestyle's Avatar
You say you want a DAW that can play virtual instruments well, but that is still a pretty open subject. Does that imply that you want to use a midi controller to mainly 'play' parts into the sequencer? or maybe best midi editing features are song building tools, or some kind of algo composition...
I find Cubase instrument tracks ok but lots of people say that daw like Logic do a better job in simplifying the midi+audio+vsti concept so that it's just combined into one simplified channel, whereas in Cubase you can separate midi/audio tracks and can be a bit more to handle for someone not adjusted to it's concept. And the bouncing of tracks is another big contention between DAW's as the method varies a lot and many people want to be able to still make midi edits long after printing the audio, as an example.
Old 19th May 2019
  #8
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Sonar and Cubase have the most evolved MIDI tools, logic is good for MIDI too. Pro tools and Studio one are best if you are not deep into midi and are mainly concerned with Audio workflow only. I dont know much about DP.

Sonar has a very clever VST implimentation. In theory the most efficient, but not compatiable with everything. The VST started with Cubase. Since Sonar is on shaky ground with multiple sales over the past few years. I went with Cubase.

Pro tools is AAX vs VST, plugs tend to cost more and less of them are available in that format. Studio one has a bug of no mutes for E-drum(poly aftertouch). Cubase does not have vary-speed like Pro tools.
Old 19th May 2019
  #9
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Thanks for the replies but i should have told you guys that i have no hardware or any actual instruments that i use for my production so to understand my situation think of me as a guy that likes to produce musical melodies of instruments with only his laptop on the move and compile them to a song as well I also use Adobe Audition too which i use to master and post edit my songs (i mean if i happen to complete them :P) Also i need to check sonar i havent tried it before and was really put off by its design guess i need to check the book not by its cover now Also is there any way I could us Logic Pro on Windows? I also happen to know a bit of programming like python and C++ etc if that may help in daw production in fact i am way better in programming than music production...
Old 19th May 2019
  #10
I don't think you quite understand how this works - the DAW just runs the vstis - some daws come bundled with more vstis than others, but in the end most pro users are using premium third party ones - any of the daws you mention have quite a bit of decent included stuff, but you can always buy more or add free vstis as well. You're overthinking this.
Old 19th May 2019
  #11
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Yeah but that is exactly what i am asking ii want a daw that can run vstis which i know most can do and the ability to edit or tune the vsti sound production like when i used abelton live the virtual insturment editing options were too disoriented and messy and i just messed up with the sound cubase on the other hand allowed me to edit to the degree i wanted it to do
Old 19th May 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
Yeah but that is exactly what i am asking ii want a daw that can run vstis which i know most can do and the ability to edit or tune the vsti sound production like when i used abelton live the virtual insturment editing options were too disoriented and messy and i just messed up with the sound cubase on the other hand allowed me to edit to the degree i wanted it to do
Well, but no one could give you answers regarding your subjective feelings about DAWs and sequencers.
Disoriented, desired degree of control - all that can vary for different people.

Essentially you can use 3rd party virtual instruments in almost any DAW out there, you can do pretty much the same things there, albeit with different degree of flexibility..
Some DAWs are certainly more focused to particular style of music production..

For example PT have more refined toolset for multi-track audio editing and mixing, project exchange and strong integration with their own hardware (so it really behaves as single system).

Ableton Live can have its benefits for live performance and composition of loop/pattern based genres, has very streamlined use of external controllers.
On the other hand, its engine doesn't use advanced performance optimizations, so you can choke it much earlier than lot of other DAWs.

Cubase supports pretty much anything you can imagine.. in both audio and MIDI. Especially latter aspect can be its main point for its use. From MIDI editing, notation, chord tracks, through real-time transformation up to advanced features, like per-note note expression, articulation switching for sample libraries.. etc.
On the other hand.. for someone that can be really overwhelming with lot of options and software can feel like behemoth compared to some newer leaner alternatives.. (on the other hand, that applies to almost any DAW with such amount of features).

Logic is out of game, as you're on PC.

Reaper can be interesting for someone (I like it), but it's very specific DAW, it's very affordable, reliable, performs great, it has superb options for total customization and extension..
But, there are basically no included VIs or plugins with nice UI. Lot of advanced features, which are standard at say Logic or Cubase are there available just via those user contributed extensions (almost always with certain UI limitations compared to native functionality).
Also for lot of tasks there isn't prepared any fixed workflow. Other DAWs has pretty much defined set of functions from vendor and certain use cases in mind, that's also typically documented and presented in tutorials.
In Reaper, there can be equivalent functions too, but you don't find them in menu nor binded to keystrokes.. but if you find them by keyword or ID, you ca assign them to keystrokes, put to menus, group them to your macros, call them from your scripts or extensions.. (LUA, Python, C++, its own script language)
That's of course super powerful, but that can be also very daunting, if you'd like to do music (and relax from programming at work) and want some functionality above basic toolset.

Despite of those basic characteristics, you can find all sorts of people, having own reasons to prefer one DAW to another.
Eg. someone, who mix and finish audio in Ableton.. Other do big MIDI orchestral sessions in Pro Tools, although it's not typical.
Or record live multitrack audio, control lights and pyro show from Reaper accessed from web browser

Michal

P.S.: use some dots or commas

Last edited by msmucr; 20th May 2019 at 08:36 AM..
Old 20th May 2019
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
Thanks for the replies but i should have told you guys that i have no hardware or any actual instruments that i use for my production so to understand my situation think of me as a guy that likes to produce musical melodies of instruments with only his laptop on the move and compile them to a song as well I also use Adobe Audition too which i use to master and post edit my songs (i mean if i happen to complete them :P) Also i need to check sonar i havent tried it before and was really put off by its design guess i need to check the book not by its cover now Also is there any way I could us Logic Pro on Windows? I also happen to know a bit of programming like python and C++ etc if that may help in daw production in fact i am way better in programming than music production...
In your case, you should watch out for FL and BRSO Articulate videos on YT. Very powerful tools in the right hands if you write scores strictly with a mouse on PC.
Old 20th May 2019
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
i need to check sonar i havent tried it before and was really put off by its design guess i need to check the book not by its cover now
You should. It's now free after all and you have nothing to lose. I love the virtual instrument rack better than most out there. Keep in mind though, the free version lacks the included instruments that it once came with because Bandlab lacks the 3rd party agreement that Cakewalk previously had. It's still a great program for instruments and midi and shouldn't be overlooked as most people wind up getting better 3rd party virtual instruments anyway besides the plethora of quality freeware out there.

Cubase is a great choice as well and comes with plenty to get you started and solid midi. The price of admission is steep but worth it if it fits your comfort zone'

Fruity Loops comes with plenty of everything and there's a demo.

Besides all this you'll need a keyboard controller and audio interface to trigger all these instruments so Keep that in mind for your overall budget.
Old 20th May 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Well, but no one could give you answers regarding your subjective feelings about DAWs and sequencers.
Disoriented, desired degree of control - all that can vary for different people.
Yes I understand now what you actually mean when i put some thought into it myself as well and realized its more about using the tool in different methods to preform the task you need like using a fork to eat pudding and spoon for noodles (ok thts a terrible example but you get the idea :P)

Quote:
Besides all this you'll need a keyboard controller and audio interface to trigger all these instruments
but i have been told by others that I can hypothetically (whatever the hell that means) can create any music with just keyboard and mouse and of course my brain -_-


Also i am really confused with cakewalk there is sonar and a band lab one?? is it like bandlab owns cakewalk and cakewalk owns sonar kind of a thing? cause i need to know the difference between Sonar Platinium and Bandlab and like what made them actually have different softwares and do they have diffrent purposes or difftent features etc?


P.S yeah sorry i am really medicore when it comes to english as it isnt my native language but in reality i am better in english then as compared to others
Old 20th May 2019
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post

but i have been told by others that I can hypothetically (whatever the hell that means) can create any music with just keyboard and mouse and of course my brain -_-
You can but that would be unnecessarily tedious and laborious not to mention limited.


Quote:
Also i am really confused with cakewalk there is sonar and a band lab one?? is it like bandlab owns cakewalk and cakewalk owns sonar kind of a thing? cause i need to know the difference between Sonar Platinium and Bandlab and like what made them actually have different softwares and do they have diffrent purposes or difftent features etc?
Cakewalk went under and is no more. A company called Bandlab acquired the rights to Sonar and offer it free minus the extras.

Last edited by Alndln; 4 weeks ago at 04:20 AM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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Ok after two to three days and trying every daw there is why is that only cubase has this system of choosing instruments? Image:

https://i.imgur.com/qdZw3jQ.png

I mean it is so convieneant and useful why isnt like an essential in all daws and is one of the MAIN reassons why i want to stick to Cubase or maybe i am not looking at the right daws i even updated my list of daws i have checked:

1.Abelton Live (It kinda has it but not as intuitive as cubase
2.Cakewalk (Had a really crappy patch system where you choose it from and they were all numbers no way to differentiate other instruments like the hell?)
3.Digital Preformer ( Same as Cakewalk)
4.Pro tools (Same as Cakewalk)
5.Reaper ( Same as Cakewalk)
6.FL studio (Simmilar to abelton)
7.Not even Studio One

And that pretty much sums up nearly all the indstry standard daws

Ok i checked how the patch system works and it does have names for diffrent instruments but it only has 4 to 6 string instrument while cubase has about 23 - 28 and the funny thing is its the same instrument shared that uses the patch system i.e digital preformer studio one reaper pro tools cakewalk plz let me know is there anything i am actually doing wrong because its the same procedure i do with every daw right click the track page and choose and new instrument

Also one last thing just how important is cubase pro as compared to artist if i just want to create music based on instruments and stuff like that

Last edited by Roiemen; 4 weeks ago at 12:30 PM.. Reason: ah i forgot to add essential details
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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biksonije's Avatar
 

Ableton for quick sketches and rough ideas thou you can do it all within Ableton. And also ProTools. Very powerful systems for music production.

Krešo
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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@ Roiemen Please use commas and dots to separate sentences!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Yes, concept for working with presets for plugins and instruments is different and more advanced in Cubase from other DAWs.
It has rather nice common dialogs in with tags, search, rating, custom attributes.. It's not limited just to presets for effects or instruments, but also there can be loops, complete track presets, patterns etc. All can be controlled from Media Bay.

IIRC that is related to Steinberg's release of VST3 format, when they also added new system for storing presets - each at its own file with .vstpreset suffix. If those are stored in right directory structure on your drive, then Cubase load them and make presets from there available in global search.
Naturally all stuff bundled with Cubase or sold by Steinberg has all those presets right.
But if you use 3rd party plugins and instruments, then it's not really given, that its vendor included also preset files in this format. Sometimes it's installed automatically with such plugin or instrument, especially if it's already in VST3, but you might find many instruments and effect without those.
Sometimes you might find those presets for 3rd party instruments as downloads by volunteers, who shared their converted presets with other users.

Live uses the similar concept for their browser, but all the features are available only for built-in content, instruments and plugins.

Reaper can show presets for plugins and instruments in FX browser, but you need to save those to own internal format, so it can be more useful only for working with your own created presets.

If that's killer feature, I don't know, but it can definitely more pleasant to use instead of internal presets at every single instrument.

With regards to comparison between Cubase editions.. check their very comprehensive table.
https://new.steinberg.net/cubase/compare-editions/
There are certainly differences in track counts, included stuff and some features.
While Pro version gains many advantages for audio mixing, there are also some things, which might be interesting for you as well..
Definitely useful feature in Pro is VST expression maps, which allows you to work easier with articulations in orchestral instruments.
https://steinberg.help/cubase_pro_ar...on_maps_c.html

But well.. Cubase is powerhouse.

Michal
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
2.Cakewalk (Had a really crappy patch system where you choose it from and they were all numbers no way to differentiate other instruments like the hell?)
All I ever see is the names of the instruments in Sonar 8.5 or Sonar Platinum or Bandlab Sonar. I have no idea why your seeing numbers instead. That's crazy.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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So,umm only cubase has this functionality then right? i will have to look into reaper once more again, and give it another chance, the thing is i can actually get cubase artist, i just want to be sure if it is really worth the trouble. I actually have cubase 5 installed already, and just wanted a good alternative for cubase and as i have been told that the only cubase thats worth paying attention to is cubase pro, but it is really expensive sooo... yeah i dont think vst expression maps is my thing as like i previously posted, i am more into making instrumental music with keyboard, and to my understanding of what vst expression maps do it is more like a midi exclusive so maybe artist may be it for me.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alndln View Post
All I ever see is the names of the instruments in Sonar 8.5 or Sonar Platinum or Bandlab Sonar. I have no idea why your seeing numbers instead. That's crazy.
Yes i did later state that even i see the names too but instrument set is really limited for some reason compared to cubase? like shouldnt they share the same vst right so why does it have 5 to 6 string instruments while cubase has atleast a 20 of them

Can you plz send me a screenshot so i can see you interface as well? maybe there is something i have missed.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #24
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Ableton is the best if you want to use your daw as an instrument but beware because if you want to be prepared for the future it's the best to use a daw that is compatible with MPE to make the most of playing next generation VST's.
Ableton and Studio One doesn't support it, a few others do.
Cubase does support it and is on sale now from 559 down to 279 euros so I would say that Cubase is a very good choise at this moment.
Cakewalk and Traktion are free an also supports MPE natively.
Here's a list for daws that supports MPE;

https://support.roli.com/support/sol...nd-instruments
Old 4 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
Yes i did later state that even i see the names too but instrument set is really limited for some reason compared to cubase? like shouldnt they share the same vst right so why does it have 5 to 6 string instruments while cubase has atleast a 20 of them
Most of the instruments that came with Sonar were 3rd party when it was owned by Cakewalk, but now that Bandlab owns the rights to the program they don't have the same agreements with those companies. If they did they would have to charge money for the program.

Quote:
Can you plz send me a screenshot so i can see you interface as well? maybe there is something i have missed.
When I get a chance sure, but keep in mind I use my own custom templates rather than the included ones.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #26
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For now I just found a photo from an older version of Sonar's instrument rack that's pretty much the same except you have to configure it to float over the mixer or track view if you want that.




Choose the top left + button to choose from a list of instruments. Choose the properties button (3rd from the left) to see the instrument. Other buttons refer to Automation etc. In this instance there are about 3 instruments loaded.

Last edited by Alndln; 4 weeks ago at 11:48 PM..
Old 4 weeks ago
  #27
My vote is for Cubase

If you are into routing Midi and audio you can't beat Cubase and RME on a PC.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #28
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greggybud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
Umm thanks for the opnion i will see more into cubase for now but i am really curious about studio one and digital preformer and just want to know any major diffrences or adantages of studio one against digital preformer against cubase in comparrasion to virtual instrument editing and production thanks
This guy does a great job comparing DAWs.
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/DAW-Chart.html
Old 4 weeks ago
  #29
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Ok.... so after a number of numerous comparisons, i ended up deciding that its best to have more than one daw in my pc is way better so i simply picked the top 4 daws in my opinion and just wanted to tell in case anyone (I really doubt it) has the same queries or faces the same dilemma as me:

1. Cubase: I dont know i just seem to really like its work flow and overall design and it just suits me but i seem to have the broken copy of cubase 5

1\2. Digital Preformer: I dont know i really like the design and i think is a good rival against cubase in my opinion i just haven't used it enough but shows great potential of daw of choice and it suppourts mpe i think....

3. Cakewalk: did like the overall design but the choossing virtual instruments is a problem simmiliar to Reaoer i believe i need more time investment to get an actual hold on this daw.

?\4. Reaper: Honestly the design is confusing and piercing for first timers as it has way more tools than any daw i have used may need some time investment too before i actually get the hang of it but hearing how capable his daw i might just give it a whirl or two so its definatley upper than the most

you are welcome to screw my opnion if you think otherwise because to be honest i just got into daws and i am already havving a tough time understanding music in theory
Old 4 weeks ago
  #30
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greggybud's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roiemen View Post
you are welcome to screw my opnion if you think otherwise because to be honest i just got into daws and i am already havving a tough time understanding music in theory
I'm not sure what you mean by "music in theory" but I think that is a bad choice for someone who "just got into DAWs." It's like the user who purchased 25 EQ's and 25 compressors all at once, but really doesn't know any of them very well. Which EQ do you use for a given specific audio objective? You are much better to select a few EQ's that are different, and really LEARN them. The same goes for any DAW. The Cubase 10 manual is 1,156 pages of information. While I don't suggest you read it entirely, that should give you an idea of what you are getting into. Start watching Cubase videos by Greg Ondo.

I'm guessing the average Cubase user only uses 10% of it's features. But even really LEARNING that 10% can take months. I have been using Cubase since 1997 and not once have even opened Score.

DAW's are like automobiles. There is no one "best" DAW. Learn to drive one the best you can because if you don't you might crash and end up blaming the automobile when really it was the drivers fault.

If you really want to know the differences and opinion, then the link I gave you is a great resource.

Here is the comparison between Cubase 8.5 and DP8.5.
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/mus...ubaSeeSaw.html

Here is why Robert doesn't like DP10
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/mus...former-10.html

If you really want to know about Cubase 10 go here:
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/mus...10-update.html

Cubase 5 is very old and is little reflection of what is C10 today. Maybe download a version like Cubase LE, then if you like it, get a dongle and upgrade.
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