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Transferring Projects Between DAWs

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Hello Group--

I have the option of deciding what to do with a laptop I inherited. I wasn't sure I needed another laptop since I already have one for work, but it crossed my mind that I might be able to install CW on it and use it as a portable DAW. The thing is, I love my full PC DAW and it's a ton more powerful than this laptop, so I would only use the laptop for things it can handle, and then transfer the project over to my PC DAW for all the heaving lifting.

--Subjective Question Alert--

Is this worth it? I would love to be able to work on projects while I travel for business, have some extra time at lunch, etc. But, the process of moving a project back and forth between DAWs has me thinking that it might not be worth the trouble. Que up this awesome forum! There has to be someone here who either does this or has done it in the past that has some insights they can share.

Thanks in advance!

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So, in my scenario, just a bundle file back and forth and as long as I don't try anything like applying 3rd party plugins on one DAW where I don't have them installed on the other, I'm good?

 

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Bundle is not the way  most of use would do this.  You just transfer the whole project folder(s) which should all be on a portable back up drive anyways. 

I've been working between 2 or 3 machines for years now and have never had any issues.   

As I said all your projects should be stored in a main folder and then that folder should have been backed up to an external drive for safe keeping. Make sure you date the containment folder. 

I have 3 DAW set ups right now. Main DAW is a typical i7  It has 3 Drives.  No data on C.  Working data on E and then backups on G. Then an i5 Laptop which has 2 drives same set up but no back up drive.  Both have all the same VST's and are fully licenced so projects all run smoothly on both  of these machines.   It is worth noting that most all VST's like Melodyne and AD2 allow for 2 machines.   Then the 3rd laptop is a 2008 duo core Sony with only 1 SATA drive which I use differently.   All run the latest CbB  as well as have Splat and various older versions still installed. 

Here's a step by step of how I copy from machine to machine.  

On my main DAW I use a Data Drive (E) to store all my projects.  Each song  ( project) folder is inside an ALBUM folder.  Album folders keep different types of project tidy.  -- Live Band performance,  Backing Tracks, Original Songs, Sock Monkey Album

 Old albums and inactive stuff are kept  elsewhere on backup drives .  

All are backed up to the 3rd (G) drive as well as an External drive whenever possible. I will date the new  Folder, example _ "Original Songs Feb 24 2019 " after I copied it over to the BU drives.  

When I need to use the laptop  I hook up the external drive and I copy over the latest version of the "Album" that will be worked on.   Note:  Now that Album is stored in a minimum of 4 places!  

I work on the songs and save them into that same folder and when they need to go back to my main DAW I simply Re name  the Album folder using current Date'. I then copy it to the external,  and then copy back to the E drive of the main DAW.  I could now choose to delete the older folder but I usually don't do this until my (250 GB) SSD E drive is passing 60%.  

The Laptop is used for live recording and right now is living at my partners house over the winter. He is laying down all his parts ( audio only)  to our 65 song "album" .  I am also working on some of the same songs so it will only be a matter of  copying his audio tracks once he is done back to the main DAW.  

 

The Sony I use in the Family room to edit and adding some additional instruments like Mandolin. Because I cannot authorize certain VST's I will just freeze synths first and save a special copy in a different folder marked as such.    But if you can it is well worth the effort to fully load up your Laptop with everything possible as this also serves as a solid back up in case your main DAW goes south.  

If not, it's a minor hassle to either ignore all the warnings about the missing stuff and then just swap them out with what's on hand. I didn't freeze some songs and therefore I didn't have AD2 on the 3rd laptop  so just swap it over to SI drum kit or even Session drummer.  I actually liked one song better with SI drum kit.. now that's weird.  

Edited by Cactus Music
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Hi:)

 

I just have a OneDrive folder, and doesn't matter where I work, whether in studio or in my home, I backup the last work to that folder and on the other PC I only have to copy it to the Record partition. So always the newest version on OneDrive. Additionally there's a Backup Partition on both PCs where I copy the last work from each PC to it. All with a Autohotkey Keystroke within Cakewalk to copy the last 5 Working Dirs to OneDrive and the Backup Partition.

 

Bassman.

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I've got a very basic install on my work laptop, just CbB and Rapture Pro & CA-2A from CCC, with a M-Audio KeyStation 32 as a controller. Sticking to stock plugins keeps the disk space footprint small (I don't want to upset the IT department!).

My intention was to use as a sketch pad for ideas during my lunch, but to be honest I never really get the time. I'm a Software Development Manager, and our office is open plan, so I find I more than often work through lunch as it's the one time I get some peace to get work done!

It's main use now is for taking screen shots, or trying things out when answering questions here.

If I'm travelling, I'll bring my own laptop which has the same setup as my studio PC.  I use a combination of batch files & a cloud backup (Mega) for keeping projects in sync.

My CloudSync folder is set to F:\Projects, where as my Cakewalk directories are SEQUENCE for projects, WAVEDATA for my global audio directory, PICTURE for my picture cache, and TEMPLATES for my templates.

CopyToMega.bat:

ROBOCOPY F:\SEQUENCE F:\Projects\SEQUENCE *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT 
ROBOCOPY F:\PICTURE F:\Projects\PICTURE *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT 
ROBOCOPY F:\TEMPLATES F:\Projects\TEMPLATES *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
ROBOCOPY F:\WAVEDATA F:\Projects\WAVEDATA *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT

CopyFromMega.bat:

ROBOCOPY F:\Projects\SEQUENCE F:\SEQUENCE *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT 
ROBOCOPY F:\Projects\PICTURE F:\PICTURE *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT 
ROBOCOPY F:\Projects\TEMPLATES F:\TEMPLATES *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT
ROBOCOPY F:\Projects\WAVEDATA F:\WAVEDATA *.* /XO /E /COPYALL /DCOPY:DAT

This does involve having two copies of my projects, however:

  1. It stops the cloud sync from accessing any "active" projects
  2. I can decide when I'm ready to sync the projects

 

Edited by msmcleod
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I used to take with me a 10-year-old laptop for editing Sonar projects while sitting on a train or a bus. Some plugins were missing, but that didn't prevent me from working on the projects. I also used a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a small lightweight USB interface (Line6 GX). When finished I would copy the project back to the main DAW PC via a flashdrive. I always used project folders and never bundle files.

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I would say that it might depend on what scope of editing / writing etc you needed to do offline . If it was straight up editing  - I would bounce out stems of tracks that are already complete and just edit a few offline - then transfer those couple of tracks back.

I think going for a full project transfer would be a headache - and maybe expensive to duplicate usable VSTi's.  Having  some basic midi instruments - maybe just to fill out monitoring might be a good idea. I don't know if the TSS synth covers enough ground - I've only used it for a few filler tracks. Drums would probably be the most important thing to be able to keep compatible between both DAWS.

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1 hour ago, RBH said:

I would say that it might depend on what scope of editing / writing etc you needed to do offline . If it was straight up editing  - I would bounce out stems of tracks that are already complete and just edit a few offline - then transfer those couple of tracks back.

I think going for a full project transfer would be a headache - and maybe expensive to duplicate usable VSTi's.  Having  some basic midi instruments - maybe just to fill out monitoring might be a good idea. I don't know if the TSS synth covers enough ground - I've only used it for a few filler tracks. Drums would probably be the most important thing to be able to keep compatible between both DAWS.

 

 It is actually very easy to have 2 identical workstations.  Sure there might be  a few high end VST plug in's out there that don't allow 2 installations but most either do or use ilock type USB dongle.

If the OP is just using stock Cakewalk supplied stuff there is no issue at all.  It take a few seconds to copy over complete projects. Messing with stems would take a lot more work.

I have worked between 2 computers for a long, long time now as I remember I started this with Sonar 7.   I have never lost a project or had one go south on me. 

John the reason most of us do not trust bundle files is that there's a 1 in 100 chance they can become corrupted and then you are screwed. Project files if they become corrupted can be salvaged. Bundle files are a leftover from  bygone days when hard drives were a lot smaller and transfer speeds were slower. 

There's no reason NOT to use project folders for transfers and backups.   

I also back up each project as a MIDI file. That is the most iron clad future proof format I know of. I can still open all my original files that I made in the 80's.  And I would expect to still be able to open them 20 years from now.  For many of us midi is a large chunk of the work that goes into the backing track part of our recordings.

If your projects are all audio then you sure as heck want that Audio folder copied to back ups 100% intact.  

 

Edited by Cactus Music
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If the laptop is low spec, that should not be a problem for just editing. It should be ok if you set the buffers high enough. If you still get drop-outs, then just click the Archive button on some of the tracks that you are not using and these will then be ignored by the audio engine. You might find that you can work on some bigger projects than you originally assumed.

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