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DAW Wars: The Fanboy Strikes Back

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On 12/23/2018 at 6:01 PM, Alex H. said:

I would like to switch to Linux also but it is not possible since I rely on ton of third party VST.

Also remember Linux Ubuntu studio. This is a free low latency build. I have used it on a USB ssd to make 16 track recordings.

Edited by Gswitz

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@Steev

You mention doing large multitrack live recordings with sonar/cakewalk. I want to speak to that.

On a power failure or abrupt shutdown, sonar will lose all unsaved data, last time I checked.

On a drop-out case, sonar stops recording and doesn't resume. Until you notice, you are losing tape.

Rme digicheck is what I use for live recordings. In my tests, you can pop the battery out of an unplugged laptop while recording and not lose more than a couple of seconds of tape. It's magic.

Additionally, when digicheck loses a buffer, all tracks miss exactly that buffer and keep recording. There is a warning. This means that if you do something stupid to cause a brief interruption, you don't lose more than you must.

On the plus side, sonar/cakewalk has the nice wave forms that help you get your levels set properly. I like that you can scale them up four easy reading.

Edited by Gswitz

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8 hours ago, Gswitz said:

Also remember Linux Ubuntu studio. This is a free low latency build. I have used it on a USB ssd to make 16 track recordings.

I cannot use all my VSTs on this and that is the point. Linux is not a viable option for me now.

Happy end of the year to all!

Edited by Alex H.
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5 hours ago, Gswitz said:

@Steev

You mention doing large multitrack live recordings with sonar/cakewalk. I want to speak to that.

On a power failure or abrupt shutdown, sonar will lose all unsaved data, last time I checked.

On a drop-out case, sonar stops recording and doesn't resume. Until you notice, you are losing tape.

Rme digicheck is what I use for live recordings. In my tests, you can pop the battery out of an unplugged laptop while recording and not lose more than a couple of seconds of tape. It's magic.

Additionally, when digicheck loses a buffer, all tracks miss exactly that buffer and keep recording. There is a warning. This means that if you do something stupid to cause a brief interruption, you don't lose more than you must.

On the plus side, sonar/cakewalk has the nice wave forms that help you get your levels set properly. I like that you can scale them up four easy reading.

I always use Furman regulated power supply conditioning. This not only insures everything gets the proper constant power needed protecting against surges, brownouts, and spikes, everything shares the same ground circuit for the quietest and cleanest sound possible. In the event of a power failure the room will go dark and all music stops.

 However the laptop will automatically switch over to battery power and that will give me time to shut down the DAW normally so I'll still have everything captured up until the time the lights went out..

 I never advise trying to record trying to record a 4 hour show on a laptop using battery powerful. First off, you would have to turn off Power Management to enter High Performance mode and that greatly reduces battery life to the point of being "lucky" to capture 15-20 minutes of the show, but even then Windows would issue a severe battery failure warning to "SWITCH TO EXTERNAL POWER IMMEDIEATELY OR SHUTDOWN WILL OCCUR IN xxx SECONDS!"

 You can set SONAR and CbB to autosave by either "time" or how many "steps" you make, and how many "versions" you want it to save in Preferences> File>Advanced.

985889532_CbBautosave.jpg.94422c8153c379b8ecc3f38ec9877684.jpg

 

RME Digicheck is a utility specifically designed to analyze RME audio interface performance. If you drop  buffers that is the fault of the RME interface AD/DA converters, not the DAW.

CbB already has all the built in tools necessary for spectrum analyzation and signal level metering.  Focusrite has it's own specific Control panel for patching, routing, and setting up buffers, bit depth, frequency speed, and clock source. It's  ROCK SOLID! Set it up once and forget about it, there is no need ever to open it up again until you add or change something like additional ADAT or S/PDIF devices.

 

 However, recording with the Behringer X32 Digital mixer, there is no need to use separate USB audio interface like a Focusrite or RME, because the X32 has a built in 32x32 USB audio interface, and all the analyzers and high quality VST FX plugins modeled after MANY vintage and modern effects we've all grown to know and love. I'm not really sure how many, I'll guess 50? maybe, but it's much more you could possibly choose or need for any application, in any situation, and all built in and running internally being processed in the X32.

 I do not recommend recording FX directly into a DAW unless you are absolutely sure and certain you are getting what you want, and being that the X32 has a built in 32x32 USB audio interface you can always access the FX you used in the X32 later during a mixing secession in CbB. The X32 has seriously good high quality FX plugins, but sometimes I like to switch to my favorites installed on my computer.

All you need to do is remember to SAVE the mix scene in the X32.  And just like CbB, the X32 will remember to set everything up exactly how and where you left off. 

 And what's really incredible is, the X32 does it all at 6 msec IN YOUR FACE ROUND TRIP LATENCY recording a live show at the same time recording up to 32 tracks in CbB though a single USB 2 cable.

 And although I don't HAVE to, I like to bring along and use the X touch DAW controller to control CbB, it makes things less confusing. Use the X32 for live FOH and monitor mixing, use the X Touch for controlling the computer recording.

Up until the time of using digital mixers, I would NEVER have attempted to run live and recording mixes by myself and expect good results.

 You will get 0 msec DAW monitoring through the X32's headphone jack, great for live recording, or by patching the monitor mix through aux channels out to your favorite monitors which is great for the studio.

 Or you could send up to eight audio aux channels to your favorite USB audio interface, but why do that when you can send 32 channels back and forth through one simple USB cable?

 

 

 

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FWIW I am now using REAPER.

I had bought into Studio One when they offered the crossgrade deal and I really got into it. Quite easy to pick up and I really liked the GUI. However, I have since bought a nifty little Microsoft Surface Pro and Studio One doesn't handle the high resolution graphics well at all. I mean, the main DAW is fine but some of the VST like Absynth looks awful. I posted about this on the PreSonus forum and got no help whatsoever.

I almost installed and tried CbB on the Surface but didn't bother. I felt that REAPER was doing such a good job with things graphics related and also with CPU usage that I stuck with it.

 

Apologies to Bandlab I guess for not giving CbB a go but I guess that my reticence is also down to still feeling a bit sore about the demise of SONAR.

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2 hours ago, synkrotron said:

I had bought into Studio One when they offered the crossgrade deal and I really got into it. Quite easy to pick up and I really liked the GUI. However, I have since bought a nifty little Microsoft Surface Pro and Studio One doesn't handle the high resolution graphics well at all. I mean, the main DAW is fine but some of the VST like Absynth looks awful. I posted about this on the PreSonus forum and got no help whatsoever.

This is actually very good information. Would be fantastic to see screenshots of the graphics.

BTW, Absynth looks like like crap on anything... :D Great synth, horrible GUI.

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For me, about 1/2 of the joy in music recording comes from workflow. Cakewalk gave me that. I was very saddened late 2017.., and tried several DAW's trying to compensate ailing friend  with Studio One, Reaper, Cubase and a few others.  I learn fast, but these were not the programs that I liked.  I came back to using my old Cakewalk and figured it should last  "as is" 5 years easily...  and who knows how technology will evolve? I am glad I stayed, not jumping around like a flea. Cakewalk does 110% of what I need to do. It is clean, it is fast. It gets updated regularly.  Forum is a gem. Oh yes, this amazing DAW is free!  

In the big picture, the only request is to have  an offline installer.  Or at least be able to properly backup installed version, so in case something gets updated not to liking, I can "go back" to previous version.  One more request....stay enthusiastic. You are doing a great job!

Thank you!

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14 hours ago, Kuusniemi said:

This is actually very good information. Would be fantastic to see screenshots of the graphics.

BTW, Absynth looks like like crap on anything... :D Great synth, horrible GUI.

Ah, sorry, but I didn't bother with screenshots of Absynth at the time and I have now uninstalled Studio One from my Surface Pro.

I did, however, take a screenshot of Sandman Pro which is a VST delay effect. This one was totally bizarre in that although you could seemingly change the size of the GUI, the widgets were all out of scale, meaning that if you tried to adjust something with your mouse the widget that you tried to click on wasn't actually where the graphic was saying it was. Totally unusable.

I posted on the PreSonus forum about this issue and got absolutely no feedback whatsoever, another nail in the SO3 coffin as far as I was concerned. I also messaged Plugin Alliance and got zero response from them too.

Here's a link to the PreSonus post:-

https://forums.presonus.com/viewtopic.php?f=151&t=31859&p=183633&sid=9a1fee1035cfab3ad16e73b8e1a60f16#p183633

And here's a larger picture of the screenshot:-

Dn4n87FWsAEA9FH.jpg:large

In the image, where there appears to be a popup help box, that is where my mouse if hovering. It's the "Width" control which is in the bottom right hand side of the GUI and visible in the middle of the picture.

 

Totally useless...

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Posted (edited)
On 1/1/2019 at 12:59 PM, synkrotron said:

FWIW I am now using REAPER.

I had bought into Studio One when they offered the crossgrade deal and I really got into it. Quite easy to pick up and I really liked the GUI. However, I have since bought a nifty little Microsoft Surface Pro and Studio One doesn't handle the high resolution graphics well at all. I mean, the main DAW is fine but some of the VST like Absynth looks awful. I posted about this on the PreSonus forum and got no help whatsoever.

I almost installed and tried CbB on the Surface but didn't bother. I felt that REAPER was doing such a good job with things graphics related and also with CPU usage that I stuck with it.

 

Apologies to Bandlab I guess for not giving CbB a go but I guess that my reticence is also down to still feeling a bit sore about the demise of SONAR.

Perhaps my solution applies to your problem.

I have a fantastic desktop PC and cannot imagine it needing more power or RAM for my needs for many years.  i7 4790K, 32GB RAM, SSD drives, PCIe semi-pro sound card (ESI Juli-Xte), etc.  The only thing I never got around to getting was a discrete GPU card (too expensive at the time and now 3x more expensive!  haha - bit miners).

Anyway, last month I purchased Arturia Collection V v.6 (21 software synths) that I could not pass up for $249.  When I installed them, each and everyone of them had graphic problems when loaded for themselves, but not affecting anything else running on my system (i.e. DAW, other VSTi's, desktop images and program)  Only the Arturia programs alone.  You can follow the unfolding of the story and see images I had uploaded to the Gearslutz forums here, if you are so inclined, starting with my post #458: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/1191378-arturia-v-collection-6-a-16.html#post13655738

The solution ended up being to simply update my Intel 4600 graphics driver from the Device Manager.  Not intuitive at all.  But Arturia had me do an uninstall and re-install all to no avail.  A suggestion from the Sonar Cakewalk forums put me on the right track and his suggestion had me going looking, and I stumbled upon the solution.

The updated driver for the internal graphics of the Intel cpu fixed my issue.  Your image is a resemblance to what mine were.

Edited by Toddskins

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On 1/2/2019 at 9:44 PM, Toddskins said:

Perhaps my solution applies to your problem.

I have a fantastic desktop PC and cannot imagine it needing more power or RAM for my needs for many years.  i7 4790K, 32GB RAM, SSD drives, PCIe semi-pro sound card (ESI Juli-Xte), etc.  The only thing I never got around to getting was a discrete GPU card (too expensive at the time and now 3x more expensive!  haha - bit miners).

Anyway, last month I purchased Arturia Collection V v.6 (21 software synths) that I could not pass up for $249.  When I installed them, each and everyone of them had graphic problems when loaded for themselves, but not affecting anything else running on my system (i.e. DAW, other VSTi's, desktop images and program)  Only the Arturia programs alone.  You can follow the unfolding of the story and see images I had uploaded to the Gearslutz forums here, if you are so inclined, starting with my post #458: https://www.gearslutz.com/board/electronic-music-instruments-and-electronic-music-production/1191378-arturia-v-collection-6-a-16.html#post13655738

The solution ended up being to simply update my Intel 4600 graphics driver from the Device Manager.  Not intuitive at all.  But Arturia had me do an uninstall and re-install all to no avail.  A suggestion from the Sonar Cakewalk forums put me on the right track and his suggestion had me going looking, and I stumbled upon the solution.

The updated driver for the internal graphics of the Intel cpu fixed my issue.  Your image is a resemblance to what mine were.

Thanks for taking the time to reply Todd.

As I use a Surface Pro laptop I am not even sure I would be able to update the graphics driver.

Also, as Presonus totally ignored my plight I have decided that I won't be bothering with Studio One again, even if they fixed the issue. Great software, crap support, IMO.

 

cheers, and thanks again,

 

andy

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Posted (edited)

I've always found Presonus Support to be very good as well help from their user forums, second only to Cakewalk. Have you checked your email Spam folder? However nobody is going to support 15+ year old hardware, and oh my how the time flies when we are having fun, and the last legacy drivers for the FirePod v5.x.x were released in 2016 for Win 7, which I have been informed by reliable sources still can be installed in compatibility mode and work flawlessly with Win 10.

 It's pretty much of a stretch to expect  the hardware squeezed into tablet's "Mainboard" to perform as well as a traditional laptop, never mind that of a full size computer workstation with separate dedicated components plugged into a "Motherboard" any DAW will always LUST for..

 I've only experienced SONAR Professional which is very much more computer resource friendly then Studio One on a Surface Pro and runs great on Intel NUK and traditional decent powered laptops, but I still found the performance seriously lacking and unacceptable on a Surface Pro.

 While that little tiny graphics chip paired with an i7 does quite an amazing job with video and supported games, maybe not so amazing running a DAW GUI and Plugin GUI's at the same time, and Studio ONE as well as all other DAWs will scale back graphics for stronger audio processing and things will get increasingly more abysmal without a decent USB ASIO driven audio interface with it's own dedicated powersupply.

If you are running Windows 10 S you will pretty much have to live with things as they are until, or even IF you can upgrade to at least Win 10 Home you cannot install the older Windows "Run Time" component versions many plugin GUIs need to run on.

Edited by Steev

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Posted (edited)

Wanted to chime in on "Dropped Buffers"

Dropped buffers aren't because of your audio interface or the A/D D/A.

If buffers are lost/dropped, it's because the machine can't keep up with the sustained data-flow.

 

High DPC Latency is often a culprit

Edited by Jim Roseberry
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Posted (edited)

Also wanted to chime in on the multiple DAW applications vs. CbB

 

With what I do for a living, I have all the major DAW applications.

Each has incredible strengths... and head-scratching weaknesses

 

For straight up audio work, both Reaper and Samplitude are incredibly powerful (both having Item/Object based editing/processing).

For more advanced MIDI, it's hard to beat Cubase.  Almost all of our professional composer clients are running Cubase.

Studio One is extremely easy to use... and has a nice balance of features/performance.  However, it lacks in more esoteric MIDI features.

ie:  Percentage Quantize is limited to 50%.  Why not let the user choose the desired percentage??? 

ProTools 2018 offers a well balanced feature set, but CPU efficiency (especially when working at the smallest ASIO buffer size) isn't as good as Reaper/StudioOne/CbB.

When it comes to CPU efficiency, Reaper is the top performer.  What's Reaper's weakness?  It's configurable almost to a fault.  Initial configuration can be daunting... especially for less tech-savvy users.  More esoteric MIDI features are lacking compared to Cubase.

Ableton Live is fantastic for working with samples, triggering virtual-instruments/samples (especially live on stage), etc.  It's weakness is on the editing side (lacks many advanced audio editing features found in Reaper/Samplitude, SO4, CbB, Cubase, ProTools).  

 

Even with numerous (good) options available, I'm not 100% settled on which application will be my main DAW software.

Of late, most of my time has been spent with Studio One.

There's a lot to like about SO4, but there's also a lot to like about CbB.

Truth be told, most of us could make do with any of the above.  That's when it starts to feel like we're spoiled by so many quality choices.

 

 

Edited by Jim Roseberry
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I switched over to Cubase when SPLAT went splat.

I use MIDI extensively, and I LOVE the MIDI implementation in Cubase, even though I've barely scratched the surface. It's just light years ahead of Cakewalk in this regard.  And in Cubase I can audition MIDI and audio loops right from the media browser, without having to drag them into the project. This really speeds up my workflow. I requested this feature in Sonar, to no avail.

I know some here will want to shoot me for saying this, but I think Cubase sounds better. (Ducks for cover.) Oh no, not THAT discussion again. 

But I also edit audio for two podcasts, and for this I use CbB. Having used Cakewalk for ~20 years, it's just easier for me to get around in at this point.

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5 hours ago, Hangdog Cat said:

 And in Cubase I can audition MIDI and audio loops right from the media browser, without having to drag them into the project. This really speeds up my workflow. I requested this feature in Sonar, to no avail.

The browser is probably the worst part of Sonar/CbB. I never used it in Sonar/CbB but in every other DAW it is heavily in use.

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I compose classical-style music, but as a hobbyist, not a professional. I find Cakewalk perfect for my needs. I did try some others, using Reaper for a year, but it was quite a struggle to make it work. When the news hit about Sonar going under, I demoed cubase and samplitude.

Cubase is no doubt best for midi, which is what I do, but I work in staff view and event list, not prv, and incredibly, cubase's staff view limits horizontally the number of bars you can select. So you can't select (in staff view) say, 12 bars. It only lets you select to the end of the view. you have to leave staff view and use another view to select further. So that destroyed my workflow. I brought this to their attention, hopefully it will be addressed. But then, probably not many people use staff view the way I do.

Incidentally, that's one thing good about Reaper, their staff view is as powerful as Cakewalk's.

Samplitude I found hopelessly overwhelming. I also tried Mixcraft, but their staff view only lets you work with one inst. at a time. And of course, Studio One does not have a staff view. They do have some degree of integration with Notion, Presonus' notation program (which I use and like), but I haven't tried it so I can't say how well it works.

I went back to using Sonar 8.5 Studio indefinitely until CbB was born. Fortunately, I also had purchased 8.5 Professional, so I had the plugins available for studio, and now for CbB. (I preferred using  Studio as it worked better for some reason than Pro).

 

 

 

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I think Jim's overview of those DAWS was well done. I have been curious about Cubase and midi. Not curious enough to buy it yet. I probably wouldn't use half of it.Everything I need has always been within the limits of what I have.

I know  at least one full time composer who uses Reaper, so I guess there are always exceptions here and there. I think Ableton is also a strong contender for music creation and arrangement. For the first year I couldn't get around it very well. One day things just clicked for me using it. I had to stop thinking in terms of loops and look at it more like parts of a song. This and understanding how the arrangement and session views worked together helped.

For straight up audio tracking and adding in a few midi instruments Cakewalk is the clear winner. Nothing else allows me to get from an idea to a completed work as fast when working in both midi and audio. Even though Cubase is probably the strongest contender in the area of midi, CbB is no slouch either and has been described as a very close second to Cubase. Many of the user base work in nothing but midi and have used only Cakewalk for years.

Edited by Starise
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2 hours ago, Starise said:

I know  at least one full time composer who uses Reaper, so I guess there are always exceptions here and there.

Reaper has gained quite a bit of professional ground, with quite a few game companies only use Reaper for both sound and music.

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This seems to fit in with those who like to wear the programmer hat a lot when making music. I say that because Reaper has been described as needing a lot of setup to get it the way you want it. You need a lot of patience for some of that cinematic/game work. Large templates and track counts. Makes sense concerning stability too. It's a smaller lighter less demanding on cpu program than some others. People who like it can't say enough good about it (Reaper). If a person is prone to get frustrated easily using music software they would probably want to avoid Reaper as a 1st choice. Yes, that kind of person might get frustrated with anything. That would be more so with Reaper IMHO.

 

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