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Recommend me what to buy to aspiring composer, dont recommend without reading though please :P

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Can Reaper do the job for those ?

Sure, I was just giving an example, Cubase is a well-known professional DAW. I have nothing against REAPER.

Except for, well, its really messed up MIDI routing system. Tried to get MIDI tracks to send data to Kontakt for like an hour. Couldn't figure it out. It's a pain in the ass. Sure once you figure it out or look it up you can easily replicate it, but I'd rather get something more straightforward. But realistically speaking, I'd get REAPER because it's not $200 for every new version.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell if you're speaking on those terms, I'd get FL for life time free updates and awesome MIDI composing workflow. (y) But as far as cost is concerned, REAPER is the best way to go.

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Samples only don't matter if you're not working.

With that said, 50-90% of the work involved in producing music professionally is using and programming samples.

Which is why you can spend so damned much on those suckers.

I mean I agree, but he can have all the samples in the world and his music will still suck if he doesn't know what he is doing.

I have no opinion on Reaper, but I will say that if you're interested in composing or producing music, you should make sure that your DAW is GREAT for MIDI and CC editing.

Especially if you want to make the ancient VSL Orchestra set in Komplete sound good.

There's nothing necessarily wrong with the midi and cc editing in Reaper either, but it is just in its infancy right now. The tempo map is sort of a piece of trash, but it is workable. Reaper is still good enough to be used professionally for orchestral music. I'd prefer a midi setup similar to Sonars, but Reaper isn't quite on that level MIDI-wise is sort of the point I was making. You can still make old stuff sound very nice. And I really recommended Reaper due to its cost since he is just starting out. If he buys a decent orchestral bank, he probably doesn't have the money for a nice DAW too and Reaper is the best thing you can get for the $$.

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I think this thread can be bottom lined pretty easy. His brother wanted to compose music. COMPOSE.

Get FL Studio & MIDI Keyboard (plus the necessary cables to connect midi keyboard to computer)

Get some kind of music notation software

Some samples (be they free soundfonts or higher end stuff like EWQL) to make mock up recordings of his compositions.

Composing music and producing music are not the same. Samples will also never replace real instruments, which you should try to get as many of as possible.

On the production end there are a few things you can do to make your compositions and recordings come to life.

1. Learn how to record, mix and master music on your own.

2. Take courses at local studios or schools to learn how to do it on your own.

3. Collab with freelance mixers/producers to handle the mixing and mastering end of your music.

4. The best route (imo), hire a professional studio with high-end gear, session musicians, perfect listening environments and educated, skilled, and experienced audio engineers. This produces the best results possible and is not actually that expensive. In the next few months I'm taking many of my songs that I composed for games to a professional studio for all of those things and it fits within the budget just fine. My band is also setting up some time later this month to get some of our songs professionally mixed and mastered. The studio offers great quality and affordable prices. Quality that few can truly get with just a home studio.

Each of those methods has it pros and it's cons. Always involving time and cost. Some people like to learn all the audio and producing stuff on their own because they enjoy it. Others are like me and aren't really interested in that stuff, we just do what we love and feel we are best at; composing and playing music.

While being able to handle both the composition and production elements of music is unquestionably a great skill to have, it is not a requirement to have killer production skills of your own to become a great, successful composer and musician. As the composition and musical performance should always be the main focus and never take a back seat.

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Also, get FRUITY EDITION of FL Studio (the $100 one) and don't even bother with any of the other IL products. They're all synths and effects you don't need for orchestral. Fruity Edition has the Juice Pack (default FL effects bundle), which is great and fine for reverberation and delay for orchestral purposes. There's no need for the audio recording/editing capabilities of Producer Edition if you're making orchestral music.

Also, Metal Man. Interesting fact:

As far as cost goes, getting EWQLSO Gold on sale for $250 (special sale) plus $100 for Fruity Edition FL Studio is $350. Less than Reason's cost and it has better orchestral sounds as far as I've heard. I'm not saying it's a better idea, I haven't used Miroslav much, but it might be a way better investment since EWQLSO Gold contains an entire orchestra with loads of articulations.

Here's my theoretical recommendation list:

FL Studio Fruity Edition $99

M-Audio Keystation 61es ~$149.99

Finale Songwriter $49.95 (Don't need the whole shebang, just music notation editing)

EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Gold (Wait until a special sale for this, it went 50% off for $250 back in September)

Ideal total: $550, or $800 if you don't wait for a Symphonic Orchestra sale.

His workflow would be writing the song in Finale with his keyboard and his mouse using notation he can understand. He then sends the MIDI data to FL Studio to edit key switches, CC data, and adjust note timings and velocities for humanization using the EWQLSO library for instrument playback.

He can produce in the box with FL Studio, as all the essential effects like EQ and Delay/Reverb are included with a generously flexible mixer. For sake of saving his computer from being fried, he should disable the reverb in Symphonic Orchestra, since it just gobbles up CPU. I would recommend a nice pair of budget mixing headphones like AKG k240s for ~$100 to accurately hear what's going on in his music. There's no need for expensive monitors and acoustic treatment yet, not until he becomes confident enough that he knows essential principles of mixing & mastering.

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I include production because that's the next step in the growth of a composer looking to create orchestral compositions.

Especially if he wants to be anything more than a hobbyist.

I don't care what he gets, but if he gets Reason, he's painting himself into a corner.

If all he ever wants to do is compose music and never produce, then Sibelius or Finale will do him just fine--forever.

But we know that's not where this will lead.

You have to keep an eye on where you might grow in the future, when making purchasing decisions now.

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You have to keep an eye on where you might grow in the future, when making purchasing decisions now.

Same with computers. Don't buy a computer that's good nowadays. You need to buy a computer that's ahead of its time so it will last you.

Rockin an i7 SB, my music workload won't catch up to my CPU for a long time, but if I went with something less powerful like an AMD Phenom II X4, I would be hard pressed to upgrade in like a year or two because of my project weights and VSTs' tendencies to become more CPU intensive. Then I'd be spending MORE money than if I just got the killer PC in the first place, rather than getting a "good" PC then upgrading to another "good" PC in the near future.

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edit:

Well according to professionals who used the real SSL, it's just like using the real thing. They don't think that it's just a font but the real sound.

So the most we get from that mixer is... the sound of a faithfully modelled Solid State Logic console..

I guess I'll just have to disagree.

On my site you will find a picture of me at an SSL AWS 900+, which is identical to the 9000k/4000e (actually includes a switch for both EQ styles G and E).

There's a reason for the hardware, there's a reason why people still spend 100,000 on a 24 channel console: Because hardware SOUNDS different.

I am a pro, and I've used an SSL, and Reason consistently sounds outdated to me.

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I guess I'll just have to disagree.

On my site you will find a picture of me at an SSL AWS 900+, which is identical to the 9000k/4000e (actually includes a switch for both EQ styles G and E).

There's a reason for the hardware, there's a reason why people still spend 100,000 on a 24 channel console: Because hardware SOUNDS different.

I am a pro, and I've used an SSL, and Reason consistently sounds outdated to me.

Im with this guy

If he is super serious about composing music then he would get "PROTOOLS 9"

It also has Notation view as well; Midi is not that much of a pain in the ass, hell its way better then abletons and I still can make stuff like this http://soundcloud.com/aires/black-ops-valhalla and this

http://soundcloud.com/aires/old-reflection-entry

I use Ableton Live 8 and Cubase 5 (about to get 6 when my other pc comes in) and for notation I use "CakeWalks Home Studio 2004" (yah I know its old as hell but guess what? IT WORKS GREAT FOR ME).

But If he plans to go into Big times studios,OTB Mix,or Go nuts with hardware mixers or consoles in the future, then definatly tell him to pick up "Protools" 9 or "Cubase 6" and if he has a mac then try out "Logic",it rocks. (he may need to by a protools ready interface but im sure they made version 9 avalible without the need of a interface!). Protools feels like Ableton to me, unparalleled audio editing and routing capabilites and a great recording tool; not to forget to mention they both look cool ;). The learning curve for both daws are a little mild but when you look at some tutorials (and even BOOKS/MANUALS!), he will feel right at home.

but this is just my opinion, GOOD LUCK! ;p

Offtopic**

BTW CAN ANYBODY ANALOG SUM? OR WANT TO SELL ME AN A/D CONVERTER SO I CAN START SUMMING, I GOT SOME RACK GEAR FROM A FRIEND WHO WHATS TO BUY NEW EQUIPMENT AND REPLACE STUFF.

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Im with this guy

If he is super serious about composing music then he would get "PROTOOLS 9"

It also has Notation view as well; Midi is not that much of a pain in the ass, hell its way better then abletons and I still can make stuff like this http://soundcloud.com/aires/black-ops-valhalla and this

http://soundcloud.com/aires/old-reflection-entry

I use Ableton Live 8 and Cubase 5 (about to get 6 when my other pc comes in) and for notation I use "CakeWalks Home Studio 2004" (yah I know its old as hell but guess what? IT WORKS GREAT FOR ME).

But If he plans to go into Big times studios,OTB Mix,or Go nuts with hardware mixers or consoles in the future, then definatly tell him to pick up "Protools" 9 or "Cubase 6" and if he has a mac then try out "Logic",it rocks. (he may need to by a protools ready interface but im sure they made version 9 avalible without the need of a interface!). Protools feels like Ableton to me, unparalleled audio editing and routing capabilites and a great recording tool; not to forget to mention they both look cool ;). The learning curve for both daws are a little mild but when you look at some tutorials (and even BOOKS/MANUALS!), he will feel right at home.

but this is just my opinion, GOOD LUCK! ;p

Or he can get something that's useful to him now. Pro Tools is good for audio editing. That's it, really.

This guy wants to do MIDI orchestration. You don't pick up Pro Tools for its MIDI capabilities. (I wouldn't even call them capabilities, they're god awful). Try reading the first post.

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Or he can get something that's useful to him now. Pro Tools is good for audio editing. That's it, really.

This guy wants to do MIDI orchestration. You don't pick up Pro Tools for its MIDI capabilities. (I wouldn't even call them capabilities, they're god awful). Try reading the first post.

I know I read, Protools midi is not as bad as people say, especially if he plans on getting a midi keyboard. If you wana see bad look at homestudio 2004, I wrote alot of midi on my remixes on this site for concept and for actual use.

I think its all up to prefrence. Also Imo Abletons vst quality for some plugins is ASS...in my opinion tho

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Protools midi is not as bad as people say, especially if he plans on getting a midi keyboard.

Pro Tools MIDI sequencing is as bad as everybody says, I can confirm this (having experience with it) along with merely pointing out that even Pro Tools users admit it.

Abletons vst quality for some plugins is ASS...in my opinion tho

Are you aware this sentence makes absolutely no sense?

If you're going to post some serious advice to someone at least be decent and proofread your god damn posts. I take no issue with you suggesting Pro Tools. Except your reasons for it over other DAW's are basically null at this point.

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Pro Tools MIDI sequencing is as bad as everybody says, I can confirm this (having experience with it) along with merely pointing out that even Pro Tools users admit it.

Are you aware this sentence makes absolutely no sense?

If you're going to post some serious advice to someone at least be decent and proofread your god damn posts. I take no issue with you suggesting Pro Tools. Except your reasons for it over other DAW's are basically null at this point.

Maybe its your opinion that its bad, not everybody will have the same issues as another person.

just saying.

But why dont we just tell op to tell his friend to demo DAWs that can be trialled....and not play favorites.....

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Maybe its your opinion that its bad, not everybody will have the same issues as another person.

just saying.

Yeah, but the majority opinion is usually referred to as, "consensus". The consensus on Pro tools seems to be that it's MIDI sequencing is inferior to many other daws. Which is useful knowledge to keep in mind when making a purchase.

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Unfortunately, there is no perfect DAW.

I recently switched to Cubase 6 from SONAR X1 for two and a half reasons (after being a Cakewalk user for almost 14 years):

1) Steinberg invented VST, and I've never had such a stable experience. I use some pretty esoteric plug-ins, stuff you'd only really make use of in orchestral production. Lots of room emulation, stage positioning, reverb stuff. I also use extremely intense patches that can require a TON of very minute and carefully programmed MIDI CCs, so I need an editor that runs stable with patches that have a lot of MIDI CCs flying both in and around.

2) Mother F***ing Arranger Track. There is nothing on the market, not Ableton, not SONAR, that does non-linear playback like Cubase. With Cubase I can actually audition musical INTERACTIVITY, and when you work in games, man, that's the magic word.

2.5) Folders inside of other folders. You might not think that's a big deal, but when you have 40-100 tracks of Orchestral Articulations, organization is paramount.

What's important is finding a DAW that satisfies your friends mental workflow--one that works with his ideas and not against his ideas.

Because here's the honest truth about those whole damned mess:

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

You want the distance between the idea you have, the inspirational spark, and the resulting music/sound/audio/product/whatever, to be as SMALL AS POSSIBLE.

Unfortunately, it can't be non-existant.

So you need not only something that works for you, but something that doesn't feel like work.

You really won't be able to figure what that is until you try everything.

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Unfortunately, there is no perfect DAW.

I recently switched to Cubase 6 from SONAR X1 for two and a half reasons (after being a Cakewalk user for almost 14 years):

1) Steinberg invented VST, and I've never had such a stable experience. I use some pretty esoteric plug-ins, stuff you'd only really make use of in orchestral production. Lots of room emulation, stage positioning, reverb stuff. I also use extremely intense patches that can require a TON of very minute and carefully programmed MIDI CCs, so I need an editor that runs stable with patches that have a lot of MIDI CCs flying both in and around.

2) Mother F***ing Arranger Track. There is nothing on the market, not Ableton, not SONAR, that does non-linear playback like Cubase. With Cubase I can actually audition musical INTERACTIVITY, and when you work in games, man, that's the magic word.

2.5) Folders inside of other folders. You might not think that's a big deal, but when you have 40-100 tracks of Orchestral Articulations, organization is paramount.

What's important is finding a DAW that satisfies your friends mental workflow--one that works with his ideas and not against his ideas.

Because here's the honest truth about those whole damned mess:

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

You want the distance between the idea you have, the inspirational spark, and the resulting music/sound/audio/product/whatever, to be as SMALL AS POSSIBLE.

Unfortunately, it can't be non-existant.

So you need not only something that works for you, but something that doesn't feel like work.

You really won't be able to figure what that is until you try everything.

Pretty badass post I'd say.

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Thanks people please dont go arguing about your choices too much :P In the end I'm giving my brother the demos of the programs and once he tells me which ones he doesn't like at all I'll cross those off the list and choose the possible "best" of the ones remaining, picking from the ones he likes is the best chance of the idea sticking anyway. Then if he goes pro someday he'll go look for the stuff he needs on his own.

Unless I am wrong he already has a midi keyboard so he would just need the pc connector (which I'll bet the keyboard came with, and if it didnt I have already looked for one on ebay for a friend in the past so I'm more accustomed to what that is about).

Also I like the idea of that workflow where he plays on the piano keyboard, it gets written using those music symbols on the pc and then those can be fed to the daw. It will probably be a pain to get it setup the first time (mis-comunication mostly) but once done he's gonna love it.

Also I can't believe those old midi files I toyed with as a kid are the base for current-day digital audio :P But I guess it can indeed work haha.

And I can't believe as well that hiring an entire set of musicians, audio engineers, the place, and everything could be cheap, but I suppose they are playing stuff there all day and earn their living that way because otherwise they wouldn't be hired that often.

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Maybe its your opinion that its bad, not everybody will have the same issues as another person.

just saying.

But why dont we just tell op to tell his friend to demo DAWs that can be trialled....and not play favorites.....

Like I said before, Pro Tools has crappy MIDI editing. I wouldn't recommend it for a MIDI composer, especially since he's not into mixing and mastering (which is the only thing Pro Tools is good for). You need to get him something that has the capabilities that he wants and GOOD ones.

Don't take SonicThHedgog's advice and buy him Pro Tools, which will over complicate his workflow banking on the slight chance that your brother will go into professional mixing and mastering.

It can not be stressed enough that this guy wants to COMPOSE, people. Not "professionally record and produce". He needs a program with a straightforward system that works well with MIDI composition.

Cubase is way better in this case.

FL Studio is cheaper with a different type of modular workflow that works powerfully for people who can wield it properly.

Ableton Live is great for MIDI Sequencing, better than Pro Tools, but all the included tools at that price may not be necessary for an orchestrator. Its workflow is based in clips too, so that ends up subconsciously encourages "blockular" style composing: all of your musical phrases start at the beginning of one measure and end at the last, the last being a power of 2, usually 4, 8 or 16. Good for electronica, but orchestral moves around more than that.

Reason does not allow for VST's, so for great samples, you can rule that out too.

Can not comment on Sonar, it's one of the few popular DAW's I haven't used. Neither can I comment on Logic. Garageband is god awful, though. :nicework:

Sure, the Pro Tools MIDI may be ok to some people who like crappily implemented software gimmicks (like SonicThHedgog), but why spend all that money on a lackluster system your brother needs when he can get so much better in other software? And why buy tools your brother won't even use?

Rule out Pro Tools at this point. It's a great DAW. But it's not a good MIDI sequencer. At all.

Your brother needs a DAW that is/has a good MIDI sequencer. I'm aware there is no best DAW. But I am giving what the better DAW's are for what you told us your brother wants to do.

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Thanks people please dont go arguing about your choices too much :P In the end I'm giving my brother the demos of the programs and once he tells me which ones he doesn't like at all I'll cross those off the list and choose the possible "best" of the ones remaining, picking from the ones he likes is the best chance of the idea sticking anyway. Then if he goes pro someday he'll go look for the stuff he needs on his own.

Unless I am wrong he already has a midi keyboard so he would just need the pc connector (which I'll bet the keyboard came with, and if it didnt I have already looked for one on ebay for a friend in the past so I'm more accustomed to what that is about).

Also I like the idea of that workflow where he plays on the piano keyboard, it gets written using those music symbols on the pc and then those can be fed to the daw. It will probably be a pain to get it setup the first time (mis-comunication mostly) but once done he's gonna love it.

Also I can't believe those old midi files I toyed with as a kid are the base for current-day digital audio :P But I guess it can indeed work haha.

And I can't believe as well that hiring an entire set of musicians, audio engineers, the place, and everything could be cheap, but I suppose they are playing stuff there all day and earn their living that way because otherwise they wouldn't be hired that often.

I said "affordable", not cheap lol. Also the more stuff you would want a studio to do, the more money they want. I should elaborate further that mixing and mastering is primarily what I am going to get them to do. Session musicians for any instruments I simply can't play/get someone I know to play and I'm not happy with just the sampled route. Plus, it is easier to use the studio route when it is not coming out of your pocket entirely, but that is a story for another day.

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Unfortunately, there is no perfect DAW.

I recently switched to Cubase 6 from SONAR X1 for two and a half reasons (after being a Cakewalk user for almost 14 years):

1) Steinberg invented VST, and I've never had such a stable experience. I use some pretty esoteric plug-ins, stuff you'd only really make use of in orchestral production. Lots of room emulation, stage positioning, reverb stuff. I also use extremely intense patches that can require a TON of very minute and carefully programmed MIDI CCs, so I need an editor that runs stable with patches that have a lot of MIDI CCs flying both in and around.

2) Mother F***ing Arranger Track. There is nothing on the market, not Ableton, not SONAR, that does non-linear playback like Cubase. With Cubase I can actually audition musical INTERACTIVITY, and when you work in games, man, that's the magic word.

2.5) Folders inside of other folders. You might not think that's a big deal, but when you have 40-100 tracks of Orchestral Articulations, organization is paramount.

What's important is finding a DAW that satisfies your friends mental workflow--one that works with his ideas and not against his ideas.

Because here's the honest truth about those whole damned mess:

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Tools are the only thing standing between conception and product.

You want the distance between the idea you have, the inspirational spark, and the resulting music/sound/audio/product/whatever, to be as SMALL AS POSSIBLE.

Unfortunately, it can't be non-existant.

So you need not only something that works for you, but something that doesn't feel like work.

You really won't be able to figure what that is until you try everything.

Yes This!, Demo EVERYTHING YOU CAN.

Even the crap people hate on could be something you like! just keep your mind open and try everything.....EVERYTHING.

Music is not cheap, but you sometimes have to save and spend to get what you desire.

Here is a short major DAW list

Cubase

Ableton

Protools

Logic

Sonar

Nuendo

FL Studio

Sony Acid

Reaper

Offtopic line-----------------------

#TeamCubaseFTW

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I don't believe there is a ProTools demo.

Logic and Digital Performer are out of the question, as his friend has a PC.

Nuendo is about 1800 dollars, and probably out of the question, also, it would be useless without the Cubase add-on, in which case you might as well get Cubase.

Cubase's demo will require a Steinberg or Vienna Key.

Acid is more like a loop-based/remixing tool.

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Don't get Reason, there's very little point if the goal is to do anything classical or if your friend wants to grow and mature and eventually move on to bigger things.

Reason will be a waste of time in this respect.

Not supporting VSTs is not a benefit to Reason, it is a draw-back, a limitation.

Moreover, Reason doesn't support any other format (VST, RTAS, AU, DirectX, etc).

Sample developers are not generally interested in developing virtual instruments for Reason for two, well, reasons: There are so few people using it, that it's literally a waste of development resources, and the Refill scripting native to Reason is way behind the times.

Just thought I'd jump in and poke at the "so few people using it". Reason was in fact the number two best selling music application in the US last year second to Avid's products. This year I think it's third after NI and Avid.

It's very curious that people think Reason is not used much when it's with all certainty one of the most widespread music creation applications ever. Oh and I can back this up as I work at Propellerhead now so I've seen the annual MI Sales Track figures. ;)

But yeah, if you want to go for hyper realistic orchestra libraries there's not the same solid support in Reason. Top of the line there is still Miroslav and while it certainly gets the job done it's not the best.

Bottom line though: try them all and see what might be a good fit. The Reason demo is unlimited and the complete application including all the sounds, saving etc. Just can't export audio/open song files.

For other DAWs I know some have trial versions and demo versions. Go get them all!

2 cents etc.

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Just thought I'd jump in and poke at the "so few people using it". Reason was in fact the number two best selling music application in the US last year second to Avid's products. This year I think it's third after NI and Avid.

.

Sales don't paint an accurate picture. No one actually buys FL Studio for example (unless they're serious and wanna be a pro)... but a ton of people pirate it, that population is way bigger than the people who buy it. Way. Way. Bigger.

Not saying this has any bearing on what Dannthr is saying, I agree with him that sample developers might not want to invest time into Reason for reasons that its sampler doesn't have as much financial opportunity as something like Kontakt.

Sure Reason is second best-selling music software compared to others individually, but when you add up all DAW's together that can handle VST's like Kontakt and compare them to Reason, it starts to look overwhelmingly small in comparison. It ends up being a comparison of one slice of the DAW pie graph to the entire rest of the pie.

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