Daw overload/complexity confusion - which one?

Guitar Tricks Forum > Recording > Daw overload/complexity confusion - which one?

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 1283

Individual DAWs have been discussed here before, but seeking a wider considered if specific opinion/advice from those more experienced than me and currently using one regularly.

At a point where I need/want to use one more and more. I'm prepared to spend for quality practical software, but once (other than occasional version upgrades), and don't like to spend more than is necessary to meet my current and foreseeable needs. It doesn't have to be the most powerful or complex software. Rather practical, acceptably featured with a well thought through evolved ergonomic interface which isn't cumbersome or need to be constantly referring to its manual two years on to use. Compounding that, IME the learning curve to truly comfortable competency with any of them is considerable, so I'd prefer to pick just a chosen one meeting my criteria, and then stick with it.

So far I've tried the genuine freebies/cheapies, .e.g. Audacity & Reaper.

Traktion came inc. FOC with my Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD, but like the bundled and 'free' versions of PreSonus Studio One, they exist primarily to sell you their upgraded versions and/or expensive value added plugins. Looking at PreSonus Studio One, I liked it, but its featureset is limited without buying into a higher segment. I'm currently trying out NCH Wavepad, and have looked at IKM Amplitude which I haven't, yet. It receives positive accolade/feedback.

I quite liked the approach of PreSonus Studio One, but it's heavily segment price tiered and the Pro version is very expensive. Whilst it undoubtedly has all the bells and whistles, it reminds me of Photoshop with a zillion features I'd never need or use. I used to like Paintshop Pro when it was owned and developed by JASC before Corel bought and forever altered it. With this in mind, I'm currently looking at/investigating whether PreSonus Studio One Artist might meet my need. It's pricing is amenable.

Hence I'm interested to hear from those who've trodden this path before me, of your experience, opinion of comparatives you've tried, and what you use now having settled upon as your preferred DAW.

My use is home studio personal only. Most of my (Blackstar) amps and amp sim pedals can USB DI to Win10 PC & laptop, but I use TS DI or mic into my Behringer U-phoria UMC204HD interface USB'd to a Win 10 PC monitored through PreSonus Eris speakers most of the time.

Cheers & thanks in advance for any related experience, opinion, advice which might be forthcoming.

#1

Individual DAWs have been discussed here before, but seeking a wider considered if specific opinion/advice from those more experienced than me and currently using one regularly.

At a point where I need/want to use one more and more. I'm prepared to spend for quality practical software, but once (other than occasional version upgrades), and don't like to spend more than is necessary to meet my current and foreseeable needs. It doesn't have to be the most powerful or complex software. Rather practical, acceptably featured with a well thought through evolved ergonomic interface which isn't cumbersome or need to be constantly referring to its manual two years on to use. Compounding that, IME the learning curve to truly comfortable competency with any of them is considerable, so I'd prefer to pick just a chosen one meeting my criteria, and then stick with it.

So far I've tried the genuine freebies/cheapies, .e.g. Audacity & Reaper.

Traktion came inc. FOC with my Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD, but like the bundled and 'free' versions of PreSonus Studio One, they exist primarily to sell you their upgraded versions and/or expensive value added plugins. Looking at PreSonus Studio One, I liked it, but its featureset is limited without buying into a higher segment. I'm currently trying out NCH Wavepad, and have looked at IKM Amplitude which I haven't, yet. It receives positive accolade/feedback.

I quite liked the approach of PreSonus Studio One, but it's heavily segment price tiered and the Pro version is very expensive. Whilst it undoubtedly has all the bells and whistles, it reminds me of Photoshop with a zillion features I'd never need or use. I used to like Paintshop Pro when it was owned and developed by JASC before Corel bought and forever altered it. With this in mind, I'm currently looking at/investigating whether PreSonus Studio One Artist might meet my need. It's pricing is amenable.

Hence I'm interested to hear from those who've trodden this path before me, of your experience, opinion of comparatives you've tried, and what you use now having settled upon as your preferred DAW.

My use is home studio personal only. Most of my (Blackstar) amps and amp sim pedals can USB DI to Win10 PC & laptop, but I use TS DI or mic into my Behringer U-phoria UMC204HD interface USB'd to a Win 10 PC monitored through PreSonus Eris speakers most of the time.

Cheers & thanks in advance for any related experience, opinion, advice which might be forthcoming.

bbriant

Registered User

Joined: 11/07/17

Posts: 95

Hi

I use studio one

I find it like you say packed out?

But there are plenty of video lessons for the parts you want, so you can go straight to them without having to go from the beginning.

I personally prefer to upgrade my interface to the newest version than the daw?

Because I still have not investigated the full potential of artist yet?

I have just upgraded my interface to a studio 68c with that you get studio one 5 artist?

It seems to have a few more drag and drop options has far as I can see so far?

I find all daws challenging if I need to do more than just record?

Hope this helps.

#2

Hi

I use studio one

I find it like you say packed out?

But there are plenty of video lessons for the parts you want, so you can go straight to them without having to go from the beginning.

I personally prefer to upgrade my interface to the newest version than the daw?

Because I still have not investigated the full potential of artist yet?

I have just upgraded my interface to a studio 68c with that you get studio one 5 artist?

It seems to have a few more drag and drop options has far as I can see so far?

I find all daws challenging if I need to do more than just record?

Hope this helps.

JeffS65

Full Access

Joined: 10/07/08

Posts: 1541

Originally Posted by: manXcat

So far I've tried the genuine freebies/cheapies, .e.g. Audacity & Reaper.

Hey manX, I've seen more than one pro mention that Reaper is pretty good and has quite a lot of features given that it is free (with suggested donation). A great software given that it nearly has no cost.

Originally Posted by: manXcat

Traktion came inc. FOC with my Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD, but like the bundled and 'free' versions of PreSonus Studio One, they exist primarily to sell you their upgraded versions and/or expensive value added plugins. Looking at PreSonus Studio One, I liked it, but its featureset is limited without buying into a higher segment.

...........

I quite liked the approach of PreSonus Studio One, but it's heavily segment price tiered and the Pro version is very expensive. Whilst it undoubtedly has all the bells and whistles, it reminds me of Photoshop with a zillion features I'd never need or use.

I don't think you could lose with Presonus. They're an established quality DAW. I'd be more apt to go with Presonus before going to a Protools. Protools now requires a subscription and I've always had a little bit of a stinkeye on how much more you can get given the cost. I have a Mac so I have the 'free' Gargeband and it is very feature rich but when I really start (bothering) to dig deep in recording, I'll bump up to Logic Pro (Mac's other recording software) for a couple hundred bucks. But for under $300, Presonus is hard to beat, I think.

To your point about the pro version of Presonus, there's a good point there too. I mean, your comparison to Photoshop was very on point too. I did freelance graphic design for a good number of years (not shocking...CD packages, DVD covers, posters etc) and I lived and loved Photoshop. But it was a tool that made me money and I needed that level of tool to do the quality of work I needed to do. I haven't done freelance in a good bit of time and when Adobe started forcing subscriptions, I figured why bother. At this point, I'd only been using it to make funny (but awesome) Christmas cards. Not exactly a 'need'.

Same I thing applies to a DAW, I think. Sure, you may get a gazillion more features and features that a recording pro might need. For the same reason I'm still happy fiddling with Mac's (free) Garageband; it's got plenty of features for my skill level.

Originally Posted by: manXcat

I'm currently trying out NCH Wavepad, and have looked at IKM Amplitude which I haven't, yet. It receives positive accolade/feedback.

I've had Amplitube guitar sim software for a long time (I did a review of it here a very long time ago). It was pretty great then and I'm sure even better now as amp sims have vastly improved over time. I still have it and never upgraded to new. But see right below....

Currently though, I've been using Postive Grid's Bias FX 2. Right now, it's like 50% off. I really like it too. There is a warmth to the sims that I like. Bais FX 2 comes with 30 amp types, 40 effects and a couple dozen preconfigured rigs. My time using amp sims, I've learned that, like and amp, you need to fiddle with them to get what you're looking for. The other part I like is their amp cabinets (IR's, or impulse response). Truthfully, this is where the rubber meets the road. Historically amp sims didn't do a good job of replicating the sound coming out of a real life cabinet. However, with new understandings of how a cabinet pushed air (ie - wavelengths), this is getting much better and for Bias FX 2, their cabinet IRs are really quite good.

Bias FX 2 for the standard version, is on sale for $49.99 (just looked now). With that pricing, I'm going to jump up to Professional. Why not, ya know? Cheap!! I have a new Mac Mini coming tomorrow so I'll be loading that up in to the new Mac.

...So there's some imput. Some from experience and some from 'what I've heard'.

The real trick with DAWs at any level is to understand some base recording concepts about gain staging (ie - the imput level you're driving in to the DAW), good EQing skills and how to layer instruments. Some people will lay down a guitar track and think that it sounds rather lame. It probably does. Tricks like gain staging, recording seperately played guitar tracks each panned hard left and hard right give the wider sound. how the bass underlies all that. Even some tricks I learned when I sat in some studios in the past and seeing some mixing tricks. It opened me up to broader thinking about recording and mixing, like one of them is to split the bass drum out to two tracks and have one track to EQ the bottom end and the other track to EQ in the snappier part of the hit. Things like that that you learn from playing around.

If you hadn't already done so, it's worth checking out Graham at Recording Revolution. Lot's of free blogs (and yes, he does sell lessons and packages too). But there is a ton of free blogs and videos to help with some basic concepts.

Ok, I'm done yammering.....

#3

Originally Posted by: manXcat

So far I've tried the genuine freebies/cheapies, .e.g. Audacity & Reaper.

Hey manX, I've seen more than one pro mention that Reaper is pretty good and has quite a lot of features given that it is free (with suggested donation). A great software given that it nearly has no cost.

Originally Posted by: manXcat

Traktion came inc. FOC with my Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD, but like the bundled and 'free' versions of PreSonus Studio One, they exist primarily to sell you their upgraded versions and/or expensive value added plugins. Looking at PreSonus Studio One, I liked it, but its featureset is limited without buying into a higher segment.

...........

I quite liked the approach of PreSonus Studio One, but it's heavily segment price tiered and the Pro version is very expensive. Whilst it undoubtedly has all the bells and whistles, it reminds me of Photoshop with a zillion features I'd never need or use.

I don't think you could lose with Presonus. They're an established quality DAW. I'd be more apt to go with Presonus before going to a Protools. Protools now requires a subscription and I've always had a little bit of a stinkeye on how much more you can get given the cost. I have a Mac so I have the 'free' Gargeband and it is very feature rich but when I really start (bothering) to dig deep in recording, I'll bump up to Logic Pro (Mac's other recording software) for a couple hundred bucks. But for under $300, Presonus is hard to beat, I think.

To your point about the pro version of Presonus, there's a good point there too. I mean, your comparison to Photoshop was very on point too. I did freelance graphic design for a good number of years (not shocking...CD packages, DVD covers, posters etc) and I lived and loved Photoshop. But it was a tool that made me money and I needed that level of tool to do the quality of work I needed to do. I haven't done freelance in a good bit of time and when Adobe started forcing subscriptions, I figured why bother. At this point, I'd only been using it to make funny (but awesome) Christmas cards. Not exactly a 'need'.

Same I thing applies to a DAW, I think. Sure, you may get a gazillion more features and features that a recording pro might need. For the same reason I'm still happy fiddling with Mac's (free) Garageband; it's got plenty of features for my skill level.

Originally Posted by: manXcat

I'm currently trying out NCH Wavepad, and have looked at IKM Amplitude which I haven't, yet. It receives positive accolade/feedback.

I've had Amplitube guitar sim software for a long time (I did a review of it here a very long time ago). It was pretty great then and I'm sure even better now as amp sims have vastly improved over time. I still have it and never upgraded to new. But see right below....

Currently though, I've been using Postive Grid's Bias FX 2. Right now, it's like 50% off. I really like it too. There is a warmth to the sims that I like. Bais FX 2 comes with 30 amp types, 40 effects and a couple dozen preconfigured rigs. My time using amp sims, I've learned that, like and amp, you need to fiddle with them to get what you're looking for. The other part I like is their amp cabinets (IR's, or impulse response). Truthfully, this is where the rubber meets the road. Historically amp sims didn't do a good job of replicating the sound coming out of a real life cabinet. However, with new understandings of how a cabinet pushed air (ie - wavelengths), this is getting much better and for Bias FX 2, their cabinet IRs are really quite good.

Bias FX 2 for the standard version, is on sale for $49.99 (just looked now). With that pricing, I'm going to jump up to Professional. Why not, ya know? Cheap!! I have a new Mac Mini coming tomorrow so I'll be loading that up in to the new Mac.

...So there's some imput. Some from experience and some from 'what I've heard'.

The real trick with DAWs at any level is to understand some base recording concepts about gain staging (ie - the imput level you're driving in to the DAW), good EQing skills and how to layer instruments. Some people will lay down a guitar track and think that it sounds rather lame. It probably does. Tricks like gain staging, recording seperately played guitar tracks each panned hard left and hard right give the wider sound. how the bass underlies all that. Even some tricks I learned when I sat in some studios in the past and seeing some mixing tricks. It opened me up to broader thinking about recording and mixing, like one of them is to split the bass drum out to two tracks and have one track to EQ the bottom end and the other track to EQ in the snappier part of the hit. Things like that that you learn from playing around.

If you hadn't already done so, it's worth checking out Graham at Recording Revolution. Lot's of free blogs (and yes, he does sell lessons and packages too). But there is a ton of free blogs and videos to help with some basic concepts.

Ok, I'm done yammering.....

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 1283

Thank you Jeff.

Apols for my belated response. I've been very busy investigating your suggestions, particularly in trialing Black Friday deals to determine which before they end.

Meat 'n taters stuff I was wanting, still being digested.


Still favouring PreSonus Artist as DAW, especially at its Black friday promo price.

BIAS FX2 though different from what I was wanting is a fabulous toolbox, also currently an incredible deal, down even more to just USD$39 for the Standard ver.

But wait, there's more....

Will return with more deserved response shortly.

Cheers,

manXcat

#4

Thank you Jeff.

Apols for my belated response. I've been very busy investigating your suggestions, particularly in trialing Black Friday deals to determine which before they end.

Meat 'n taters stuff I was wanting, still being digested.


Still favouring PreSonus Artist as DAW, especially at its Black friday promo price.

BIAS FX2 though different from what I was wanting is a fabulous toolbox, also currently an incredible deal, down even more to just USD$39 for the Standard ver.

But wait, there's more....

Will return with more deserved response shortly.

Cheers,

manXcat

manXcat

Full Access

Joined: 02/17/18

Posts: 1283

Originally Posted by: bbriant
I use studio one ...snip> Hope this helps


Thanks.


Agree DAWs are challenge to learn as a novitiate, no matter whose.

#5

Originally Posted by: bbriant
I use studio one ...snip> Hope this helps


Thanks.


Agree DAWs are challenge to learn as a novitiate, no matter whose.

ShortFuze

Full Access

Joined: 04/03/21

Posts: 10

I own 3 DAWs

Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio

Ableton Line 10 Suite

FL Studio 20 Signature Edition

Most DAWs have free trials, so it's worth trying them out to see what you like.

I personally over the years have ended up with these three, because I like them all for different reasons.

Mixcraft is great for its ease of use, and simple interface, as well as the ability to do video editing along with audio.

Ableton is the master of live performance, lining up one shots, or entire tracks etc, with a simple click or using the Push hardware along with it.

FL Studio is the one I use the most, it comes in a variesty of versions, so you can start small and upgrade as needed. It also allows you to use multiple monitors (Live was restricted to two, as far as i know) Also FL studio has an insane amount of documentation and tutorials and a simple interface (in my opinion, Live is much more of a learning curve)

And finally FL studio loads WAY faster then any other DAW I have ever used, 2-3 seconds on my PC, where Live may take a minute or more to initialize and load.

Epiphone SG Muse - Jet Black

Ernie Ball regular slinky strings

Line-6 Spider-V 240 MKII Amp

#6

I own 3 DAWs

Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio

Ableton Line 10 Suite

FL Studio 20 Signature Edition

Most DAWs have free trials, so it's worth trying them out to see what you like.

I personally over the years have ended up with these three, because I like them all for different reasons.

Mixcraft is great for its ease of use, and simple interface, as well as the ability to do video editing along with audio.

Ableton is the master of live performance, lining up one shots, or entire tracks etc, with a simple click or using the Push hardware along with it.

FL Studio is the one I use the most, it comes in a variesty of versions, so you can start small and upgrade as needed. It also allows you to use multiple monitors (Live was restricted to two, as far as i know) Also FL studio has an insane amount of documentation and tutorials and a simple interface (in my opinion, Live is much more of a learning curve)

And finally FL studio loads WAY faster then any other DAW I have ever used, 2-3 seconds on my PC, where Live may take a minute or more to initialize and load.

Epiphone SG Muse - Jet Black

Ernie Ball regular slinky strings

Line-6 Spider-V 240 MKII Amp