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in your opinion: Which DAW?


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I used Sonar for 7+ years, but eventually there were too many deal breakers for me. No batch rendering... really, Cakewalk? I'm much happier with Reaper. I honestly can't think of any feature i miss from Sonar.

Cubase does Batch Exporting/Rendering as well.

Or more specifically, multi-track rendering (which is not the same as batch processing).

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I think most of the "traditional" daws can do it. Except, bafflingly, Sonar. And that was just one item out of a laundry list for me. The exceptionally clunky and limited key binding. The even more clunky way to configure control surfaces. No macros (ok there's CAL, lol). Slow and painful automation. No multi-out midi tracks. General feeling of inefficiency.

Ok there is one thing I miss from Sonar, the track inspector. You can rig up one in Reaper, at the expense of the full mixer.

Ok, another one - tempo automation feels less risky. Every time I do it in Reaper I feel there is a potential fuckup on my hands. Maybe I'm not doing it right.

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I think most of the "traditional" daws can do it. Except, bafflingly, Sonar. And that was just one item out of a laundry list for me. The exceptionally clunky and limited key binding. The even more clunky way to configure control surfaces. No macros (ok there's CAL, lol). Slow and painful automation. No multi-out midi tracks. General feeling of inefficiency.

Ok there is one thing I miss from Sonar, the track inspector. You can rig up one in Reaper, at the expense of the full mixer.

Ok, another one - tempo automation feels less risky. Every time I do it in Reaper I feel there is a potential fuckup on my hands. Maybe I'm not doing it right.

Cubase is amazing for Tempo Automation--it's just a track you put in your edit window next to all your other tracks, so it's very easy to see where you're making your changes and it's very slick for drawing tempo changes over MIDI passages.

A track inspector is crucial, to me. Cubase has a track inspector in basically the same place as SONAR, it's just arranged a bit differently.

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I'm another of those "I used to use Cakewalk" guys. I started with Cakewalk 7 and used it till about Sonar 3. Switched to Cubase SX2 and never looked back.

Also, Dan, as far as dragging audio in and out of Cubase, they took that feature out when they introduced the Media Bay in C4. I haven't yet tried dragging the audio out into another program, but you can drag and drop anything from the media bay into any part of your project.

Also instrument tracks are not meant for multitimbral plugins. Without instrument tracks I'd lose my mind because I can't stand loading a MIDI+Audio track for one instance of a monotimbral synth. And the fact that they accept both audio and MIDI inserts is fantastic. I love em.

Edited by SnappleMan
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I'm another of those "I used to use Cakewalk" guys. I started with Cakewalk 7 and used it till about Sonar 3. Switched to Cubase SX2 and never looked back.

Also, Dan, as far as dragging audio in and out of Cubase, they took that feature out when they introduced the Media Bay in C4. I haven't yet tried dragging the audio out into another program, but you can drag and drop anything from the media bay into any part of your project.

Also instrument tracks are not meant for multitimbral plugins. Without instrument tracks I'd lose my mind because I can't stand loading a MIDI+Audio track for one instance of a monotimbral synth. And the fact that they accept both audio and MIDI inserts is fantastic. I love em.

Well, it's not that I can't drag it that bothers me, it's the assumption that their audio editing capabilities are superior to those found in a wave editor like WaveLab or SoundForge and they're not. So it's very frustrating for me when I'm doing sound design to have to render out, then edit, then reimport, etc, etc.

At least with Pro Tools, the editing workflow is highly detailed and efficient and you don't have to pull up some kind of sub-window or deal with multi file clips or anything like that.

As far as Instrument Tracks, if I'm making a song, I'm with you on that one--if I'm like, I just need a synth, like Zebra or Diva that is monotimbral, I will use an Instrument Track.

But when I'm making non-linear music, I no longer use Instrument tracks because I've devised a workflow that allows me to create multilayer music fairly efficiently and it requires that instrument tracks not be in my template.

Argle, Cubase also has a fairly impressive Melodyne style pitch detection and manipulation system built into its own wave editing window.

It's actually pretty sweet--it's not on the level of something like DNA, but few things are.

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Studio One has ARA (Melodyne integration). Very cool. Sort of what Sonar has done with V-Vocal for years, but Melodyne is actually good. A large point in Studio One's favor. Hopefully it comes to other DAWs.

Cubase has something similar, I think that's pretty standard now.

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  • 2 weeks later...
People have said Cubase and ProTools work well with MIDI. I would say FL also works pretty well with MIDI. Interesting benefits:

- Ghost channels help you to see notes from piano rolls belonging to other instruments as you write. Enable with Alt+V. Great for textural harmonies.

- Horizontally stretch/compress a selection of notes proportionally (right Shift). Useful if you want to clone a pattern and adjust to a different time signature or tempo or something.

- Can easily do meticulous MIDI event edits and sequencing because of window resize and keyboard shortcuts (Alt+Click drag for smooth event edits, and Alt+Shift+Click drag for non-quantized notes).

Only thing FL can't do that really bugs me is CHANGE THE COLOR SCHEME TO NOT BE DULL-GRAY, GOD DAMMIT!

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  • 2 weeks later...

FL Studio is absolutely the best MIDI editor I know of, hands down. Someone I know described going from FL to Logic as feeling like you've suddenly dipped your mouse in molasses, and I couldn't agree more; FL is just so, so good for working fast. Other DAWs handle samples and effects and other things a lot better overall but if you're primarily working with MIDI I'd go with FL 100%.

For everything else: Pro Tools. So much of my workflow has involved going from FL to directly mixing+editing in Pro Tools that it feels second nature, now. I can't think of a better audio editor, at least none I've used.

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Just use which ever DAW you feel most comfortable in. If you aren't having any issues in Cubase you should stick with it and master it.

I've used Reason, Ableton, Pro Tools and Logic - I feel most comfortable in Logic and prefer it over any other DAW. But that's just me. Different hats for different cats!

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Basically, I think whatever works for you and your workflow is the DAW for you - no need to argue on a 'master race' or anything like that, just something you know inside-out and love to use. In that sense, mine would be Acoustica Mixcraft. I've been trying to get into Cockos REAPER, but I'd have to say, Mixcraft, due to me having worked with it for a year now, has to be my more preferred program.

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I started with FLStudio and I had a Lite version of Ableton Live 8 bundled with my midi controller but I never got the hang of it. Until I recently tried the Live 9 demo and really dived into it. Damn, how could I work without that. And now I'm thinking of upgrading to 9 because I started to like it so much

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