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Best DAW for my needs?
#2796746 12/30/18 12:42 PM
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What would be the best DAW for piano and classical?

I currently using the free, single-VST VSTHost program. I was thinking about "upgrading" myself to Cantabile, but decided I should poke my head out of the ground and peer around. When I did so, I found Reaper, which looks nicer than Cantabile.

So I've never used a DAW at all before, so I am not biased towards one interface style vs. another. Also, while I am interested in live music, it is more just myself playing the digital piano, either with or without accompaniment, in my home, and I won't be using the DAW to support real live performances, other than for friends and family (assuming I get over my stage fright at some point). This is a rather simple use-case actually. At some future point, I might want to have a couple of VST pianos and other classical instruments to mix together though.

Because I am running Pianoteq and have a computer dedicated to this I call my "piano computer", I would like the DAW to run on Windows 10 and not Mac or tablets, though.

Thoughts?


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796747 12/30/18 12:47 PM
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As a simple DAW to load VST instruments, Reaper is nice and doesn’t cost too much.

Cubase Elements could be handy if you want to have a 128 General MIDI sounds available.


Yamaha CLP150, Bechstein Digital Grand, Garritan CFX, Ivory II pianos, Galaxy pianos, EWQL Pianos, Native-Instrument The Definitive Piano Collection, Soniccouture Hammersmith, Truekeys, Pianoteq
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796750 12/30/18 12:58 PM
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+1 for Reaper!



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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796761 12/30/18 01:30 PM
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Garage Band comes for free with macOS.
P.S. Sorry, missed you don’t use Mac computers. But it’s one of the many reasons to switch to a Mac anyway smile

Last edited by CyberGene; 12/30/18 01:32 PM.

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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796763 12/30/18 01:36 PM
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I would also look here

It is a full featured Windows DAW and is now free with a Bandlab account


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
CyberGene #2796764 12/30/18 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Garage Band comes for free with macOS.

I like this option. Reaper is feature-heavy for what you want to do, I think. Plus the design of Garage Band is very similar to Logic, which I love compared to Cubase.

Of course, all of the big name DAWs have most of the same features, it's just the layout/design that really is a personal preference. With Cubase, I find that there are HUGE features hidden behind teeny little arrows that can easily be missed, and the version I used a couple of years back was very unstable for Macs.


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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796770 12/30/18 01:53 PM
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I think your current host is a good choice because it's simple.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I currently using the free, VST Host program.
For me I want the software to have one selector that lets me choose one of my many virtual pianos ... and nothing else.

There are no programs that are quite that simple, but there are many that are VERY complex. frown

Those might be useful to a music "producer". But that's not me. I like simplicity, and I despise gadgetry.

What is your preference?

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796776 12/30/18 02:08 PM
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With Reaper, I have created different template projects with one VST loaded in each of them. (Some have some VST option set up like the pedal noise which is generally too loud since my pedal is not continuous).

Then I have a kind of VST selector has in the File/Template menu. I can quickly change my VST with a couple of mouse clicks.


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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2796780 12/30/18 02:26 PM
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My favourite is Cubase. I need to use Pro Tools for non-musical stuff, and also have Logic which is perfectly decent as well. For classical music, I think Pyramix is the best DAW. It's specifically designed around the way classical (as opposed to rock) is usually recorded and edited, and has been used on countless commercial classical recordings.

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
EPW #2796784 12/30/18 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by EPW
I would also look here

It is a full featured Windows DAW and is now free with a Bandlab account

+1. I have been using Cakewalk by Bandlab for several months. It is a really great DAW and absolutely free. It is basically the latest/newer version of Cakewalk SONAR - which used to cost a lot. Now, by signing up for a free Bandlab account, you can use this software for free. Highly recommended.

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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797182 12/31/18 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Garage Band comes for free with macOS.
P.S. Sorry, missed you don’t use Mac computers. But it’s one of the many reasons to switch to a Mac anyway smile

Originally Posted by Morodiene
I like this option. Reaper is feature-heavy for what you want to do, I think. Plus the design of Garage Band is very similar to Logic, which I love compared to Cubase.

Yeah, I've used a MacBook for 10+ years, and am in an Apple family where with the only computer, tablet, phone, and watch devices we own that are not Apple-made are one Fitbit on my wrist, and two computers - one for my media server, and the other is my piano-computer.

But my piano computer running Pianoteq is a Windows 10 machine though. That said, I am thinking of upgrading my piano-computer for Pianoteq, and although I was thinking of upgrading it to a faster mini-PC running Windows 10, there is nothing stopping me upgrading it to a Mac mini instead, although it's about twice as expensive as the comparable Windows configuration, as usual for Apple.

I'll give that a think though. If I do change to a Mac mini, then I could use Garage Band. The "total cost of ownership (TCO)" would be higher though (Mac mini price + $0 vs Windows 10 mini-PC price + $50 for Reaper), although it would solve some other compatibility issues for me.

Originally Posted by EPW
I would also look here

It is a full featured Windows DAW and is now free with a Bandlab account

Originally Posted by Osho
+1. I have been using Cakewalk by Bandlab for several months. It is a really great DAW and absolutely free. It is basically the latest/newer version of Cakewalk SONAR - which used to cost a lot. Now, by signing up for a free Bandlab account, you can use this software for free. Highly recommended.

OK, free is always good. I will be investigating Cakewalk and Bandlab then.

Originally Posted by MacMacMac
For me I want the software to have one selector that lets me choose one of my many virtual pianos ... and nothing else.

There are no programs that are quite that simple, but there are many that are VERY complex. frown

Those might be useful to a music "producer". But that's not me. I like simplicity, and I despise gadgetry.

What is your preference?

My preference these days is, easy or complex, let me learn "it" only once. I would like to learn to use one thing and use it forever and not have to learn something new. It seems that Reaper is constantly maintained and updated so this is a +1 for me. I've read about people having to switch from one DAW to another. That's not me. I don't want to switch, ever. LOL. Well, maybe piano, but not a tool like a DAW.

Originally Posted by Frédéric L
With Reaper, I have created different template projects with one VST loaded in each of them. (Some have some VST option set up like the pedal noise which is generally too loud since my pedal is not continuous).

Then I have a kind of VST selector has in the File/Template menu. I can quickly change my VST with a couple of mouse clicks.

OK, this is another +1 for Reaper.

Originally Posted by johnstaf
My favourite is Cubase. I need to use Pro Tools for non-musical stuff, and also have Logic which is perfectly decent as well.

Well this is exactly what I want to avoid. I want to learn and use exactly 1 DAW, ever, since I will never be a music producer! And I'd like it to do everything I can conceive of want to do, ever. (What I can conceive is pretty humble!) LOL

Originally Posted by johnstaf
I think Pyramix is the best DAW. It's specifically designed around the way classical (as opposed to rock) is usually recorded and edited, and has been used on countless commercial classical recordings.

Ok, thanks for this suggestion. The Pyramix Native Essentials package is $457, which isn't horribly expensive, but a big negative for me is that there appear to be no books on Pyramix on Amazon.com, and since I'm not an audio engineer, or even handy with a recording device (LOL), I really would need a book, as just having a user manual would be useless for someone without even the basic knowledge of audio engineering.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797185 12/31/18 05:51 PM
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I really feel the same way ...
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
My preference these days is, easy or complex, let me learn "it" only once. I would like to learn to use one thing and use it forever and not have to learn something new.
I, too, like to learn a thing just once.

I've never used Reaper, so I looked for the manual online. It's 466 pages long!
This software is WAAAAY too complex for me. I doubt I could learn it even once.

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797196 12/31/18 06:23 PM
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Reaper is the Geeks DAW smile

Cakewalk has been around for 30 years and I don't think they will be going anywhere soon. They have a new forum up and running https://discuss.cakewalk.com/ A lot of the old timers are on the new forum that only started 11 days ago. Scook is very knowledgeable and usually quick with a reply. I'm a bit rusty on the software due to health reasons. Hoping to get back to it in 2019.

Not trying to sway you either way but for free now worth a look to see if you click with it.

Ed


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
EPW #2797198 12/31/18 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by EPW
Reaper is the Geeks DAW smile

Cakewalk has been around for 30 years and I don't think they will be going anywhere soon. They have a new forum up and running https://discuss.cakewalk.com/ A lot of the old timers are on the new forum that only started 11 days ago. Scook is very knowledgeable and usually quick with a reply. I'm a bit rusty on the software due to health reasons. Hoping to get back to it in 2019.

Not trying to sway you either way but for free now worth a look to see if you click with it.

Ed

Only slight negative is that the latest book I've found on Cakewalk Sonar is 4.5 years old, published in April 2014. Has the software changed a lot since then? (As mentioned, no audio engineering background whatsoever, so I'm going to need something more than just a user manual to get me going.)


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797205 12/31/18 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Ok, thanks for this suggestion. The Pyramix Native Essentials package is $457, which isn't horribly expensive, but a big negative for me is that there appear to be no books on Pyramix on Amazon.com, and since I'm not an audio engineer, or even handy with a recording device (LOL), I really would need a book, as just having a user manual would be useless for someone without even the basic knowledge of audio engineering.


If you only want one DAW, you need to bear in mind that Pyramix has no MIDI or VST instrument functionality. It's for audio only. You can use another DAW to host your VST and send the audio to Pyramix. That seems cumbersome, and perhaps it is, but when it comes to assembling a recording with hundreds of edits (as is typical in the classical music world) it's in a league of its own.

I don't know of any books written about Pyramix. Just the 800 page user guide. grin

Last edited by johnstaf; 12/31/18 06:58 PM.
Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797212 12/31/18 07:39 PM
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Reaper is well maintained, cross platform (Runs on WIndows, Mac & Linux), low cost (one time $60 fee with some free upgrades), and is pretty good.To me, Reaper already has all the features that I'd look for in a commercially licensed DAW.

I'm wondering if anyone here has tried some of the open source & Free DAWs like Ardour and LMMS.

Last edited by halherta; 12/31/18 07:41 PM.


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Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797214 12/31/18 07:40 PM
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I would second Reaper.

Another sleeper-candidate is Mixcraft 8. Mixcraft excels at ease-of-use and getting users started quickly. Depending on the version, Mixcraft also comes with instruments, notation abilities, etc (an advantage over Reaper).

Mixcraft 8 --Click Here.

If you decide to grow, I would suggest Pianoteq. Instruments I would recommend Sampletank or Miroslav Philharmonik. Watch for sales at IK Multimedia.

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Scooby Hoo #2797221 12/31/18 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooby Hoo

Another sleeper-candidate is Mixcraft 8. Mixcraft excels at ease-of-use and getting users started quickly. Depending on the version, Mixcraft also comes with instruments, notation abilities, etc (an advantage over Reaper).


Reaper now has notation, but it's very basic. Cubase, Logic, Digital Performer, and Pro Tools are ok, but no DAW has really good notation abilities. I'm a longtime Finale user for my notation needs, but instead of upgrading I'm going to switch to Dorico. Hopefully there will be some integration with Cubase at some stage in the future.

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
Tyrone Slothrop #2797222 12/31/18 08:25 PM
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One DAW that hasn't been mention is Studio One. It has created quite a stir in the last few years, but I've never used it.

Re: Best DAW for my needs?
MacMacMac #2797230 12/31/18 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MacMacMac
I've never used Reaper, so I looked for the manual online. It's 466 pages long!
This software is WAAAAY too complex for me. I doubt I could learn it even once.


466 is a small manual for a DAW. Cubase or Logic Pro need a near 1000 pages.

However, you won’t need to learn all the options. You will need the option/preferences menu (audio interface settings, VST plugins rescan.... as in all DAW), Insert virtual instrument in a new track. intuitive options (record/rewind/play, click to select an recorded item and suppress it, File/save or file/render (to export in a WAV or MP3 file).

Many other options are not usefull for simple use : you can leave many default option or don’t use some advanced function.

You can compare a DAW with Excel : you can just insert in cells 1,2,3,A1+B1, etc, use dynamic cross table (I am not sure of the English term), macros, Power Query request... depending of your needs. For some uses, it is quite simple, for other, you will need to dig the manual a little longer.


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