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Keith R. Starkey

What about for mixing classical and jazz from Musescore?

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Greetings all,

I write orchestral, jazz band and some choir music using Musescore notation software, and all I want to do is bring that work into a DAW and get a good, realistic sound. My purpose is namely for my own listening enjoyment and maybe sharing with others. Note: I will never be recording or writing through a DAW. All I need to do is learn how to mix so I can get the VSTs (and whatever else is needed ) to sound good. (I realize I'll probalby have to obtain VSTs elewhere, and that's fine.)

In that I'm new to DAWs, Reaper has come to the top of my list; however, it is a monster of a program, and I imagine the learning curve alone to do what I want to do will be a task of its own. But I've also come across Cakewalk and Mixcraft, and Cakewalk sounds very attractive.

So is Cakewalk a good choice for me or would another DAW be better? Is Cakewalk going to be limited for what I want to do? These are the types of questions I have, so I would appreciate any input you might have.

Thanks much!  

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I have only ever used Cakewalk software so I can't comment on the abilities of other DAWs except that I have read that many folks here have used and still use other DAWs and like them.
But, Cakewalk by Bandlab is an incredibly powerful program that once cost many hundreds of dollars (SONAR Platinum) and is now free, which makes it the best in my view.
 

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4 hours ago, 57Gregy said:

I have only ever used Cakewalk software so I can't comment on the abilities of other DAWs except that I have read that many folks here have used and still use other DAWs and like them.
But, Cakewalk by Bandlab is an incredibly powerful program that once cost many hundreds of dollars (SONAR Platinum) and is now free, which makes it the best in my view.
 

Thanks Greg. Yeah, the program is very appealing from what I've read. Trying to narrow down what will work best for me among Reaper (a monster), Cakewalk, Mixcraft and Mulab. 

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Hey, Keith.  I just posted a question very similar to yours ("Imported Midi Tracks").  I too have written a lot of music in MuseScore (and Finale PrintMusic) and I'm trying to do the same thing you are.  I just want to mix my music using decent-sounding VST instruments to play my midi tracks, but I can't seem to get it to work.  Good luck to both of us.

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Hey Craig_a_h,

Perhaps we should stay in contact on this journey and share the glory when all is said and done! Ha!

As it stands right now, I've got four DAWs I'm considering, all of which, I'm pretty sure, support VSTis, which is a must for me: Reaper, Cakewalk (totally free and well developed), Mixcraft and Mulab. 

Reaper's probably the top dog of these, but it's quite techie, and I am not a techie; however, there's a ton of videos and other kinds of support for it, so one can always find answers. 

Cakewalk used to cost several hundreds of dollars, but it died under its then current developer (Sonar, I believe), and was then picked up by Bandlab. They decided to continue the develpment and, to boot, not charge for it. It's quite the program, as I understand it. 

Mixcraft and Mulab are underdogs but apparently very good programs. Mulab is quite simple and easy to use, so I'm told, which is attractive to me, but still quite powerful and able to do all I want to do. I'll be doing more research on it down the road. It's my second choice so far, that and Cakewalk.

When I used to play video games, I would research the game for as many days as I need to in order to not have to reinvent the wheel, so to speak; I'd learn the ins and outs, the dos and don'ts, the this, that and the other before I'd ever play. So too it's the same here for learining about DAWs: study, watch videos (learning about DAWs in general as I go, reading articles and reviews, etc. Right now I'm spending my time watching a series of great, great tutorial videos by Kenny Gioria, one of the most respected YouTubers on Reaper. I'm not watching to remember, I'm watching to observe the using of Reaper, asking myself as I watch if this is a layout and style for me? As it stands, I think it's a bit too much for me, but it's still early on. We'll see.

I'll do the same, but probably to a lesser extent with the other three programs. Depending on the wealth (or lack thereof) of videos and support options, I'll narrow things down. (Oh, and I'm still doing a refresher through Marc Sabellius's course for Musescore...got brush up!) After all is said and done, I'll pick one and see how it goes.

Finally, the last area of study will be which VSTis to get (free first!).

As for Cakewalk, here are two reviews to which I'm giving a lot of attention: 1) https://www.slant.co/options/26342/~cakewalk-by-bandlab-review and https://www.slant.co/options/26342/~cakewalk-by-bandlab-review.  The first review seems more balanced, and I'm giving it a lot of thought.

Well, good luck.

 

 

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I write using musical notation and I've dabbled some with MuseScore. To me, it seems to be one of the best notation-based products out there. Way better than Notion, which I paid good money for and which I don't really like. I've also dabbled some with Reaper and I find it has a much steeper learning curve than Cakewalk, but I don't believe it can do anything that Cakewalk can't do. CW can hang with the best DAW software out there -- with ease.

I'm assuming that you can produce a good midi file from your MuseScore tunes. That's all you need, when it comes to Cakewalk. I write a lot using Band in a Box and I import all my BiaB compositions into Cakewalk as midi files. Once they're in Cakewalk, I can do pretty much anything I want to with them.  I  can make relatively easy adjustments to the score using Cakewalk's Staff View -- not as comprehensive as MuseScore, but it can get the job done in most cases.

VSTs are an unlimited resource with Cakewalk (and most any other DAW), but don't overlook Cakewalk's built-in multitymbral DX synth -- TTS-1. Its sounds are, for the most part, quite good and it puts almost no load on the CPU.  Because it puts such a minimal load on the CPU, I'll often load multiple instances of TTS-1, not because I necessarily need more than 16 channels, but because TTS-1 becomes an audio track that you can then apply all sorts of audio enhancements to that you cannot do with midi tracks. So I can dedicate EQ and other audio effects to specific midi instruments instead of groups of instruments. And, of course, if a group doesn't require the sort of individual attention by pairing a single instance of TTS-1 with a single midi track, you can always have it work with multiple midi tracks, and it does a good job. I feel it's worth noting that many, if not most, VSTs are monotymbral and you must load separate instances for each midi track. Some VSTs are fairly CPU intensive as well, so this limits their total usefulness.

Since CW is free, I recommend you take your time and give it a proper try with your MuseScore midi files. I think you'll find that there is very little it cannot do. I don't consider myself to be a CW power user, and I'm continuing to learn even though I've been using it for years. There are entire dimensions of this DAW that I've done little more than scratch the surface with. 

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Hey Michael,

Yes, Musescore has come a long way, very long. It's a great program; however, it still suffers from no VST Support, using soundfonts and sfz, I think it is. At any rate, the MIDI output is not enjoyable; the program wasn't written for sound but for composing, so there's the give-and-take of it all.

I will definitely keep Cakewalk's built-in multitymbral DX synth in mind! Thanks for the tip.

I'm not after "realistic" sound in the sense of "Gee, is this a real orchestra?" I just want something that can be enjoyable to listen to. Classical and jazz don't do well with strictly MIDI! We'll see!

Thanks much.

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13 hours ago, Keith R. Starkey said:

Cakewalk used to cost several hundreds of dollars, but it died under its then current developer (Sonar, I believe), and was then picked up by Bandlab. They decided to continue the develpment and, to boot, not charge for it. It's quite the program, as I understand it. 

The last company that owned cakewalk prior to Bandlab was Gibson, prior to that Roland owned it, and it was originally developed as a midi sequencer by Greg Hendershott back in the late 80's and he went on to develop it into a full fledged DAW. His company was Twelve Tone Systems. IIRC the original DAW was Cakewalk and later the name was changed to Sonar so that's a product name. I think it should be fine for your purpose. Each DAW has strong and weak points so it's a good idea to try several.

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Yeah, rsinger, I'm researching the hek out of the subject of DAWs right now, which involves getting familar at the same time with the language, terminology and general overall concept and use of them. It's a workout, for sure. 

I'm just a bit unsure as to trying out several DAWs. The work that goes into learning how each works is going to be, perhaps, a bit too much for me, as opposed to finding one and sticking with it for some time. I'm just trying to figure out what will work with my brain, not being a techie and such. We'll see.

Thanks.

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On 6/30/2021 at 8:59 AM, Keith R. Starkey said:

...Reaper has come to the top of my list; however, it is a monster of a program, and I imagine the learning curve alone to do what I want to do will be a task of its own.

They are all monsters - every one of them. All have a daunting learning curve. They will all create equally great-sounding recordings. Whatever you choose, you can be sure it will require a significant investment in time and effort to obtain fluency.

The main differentiators are not what you can do, but a) how well-supported they are by both the vendor and the user community, and b) how intuitive you find the workflow. On the first measure, vendor and community support, Reaper scores very highly. So does Cakewalk. As for the second measure, only you can determine how comfortable the software is to use. For me, Reaper and I didn't click, even though I have great respect for it on a technical level.

But hey, Reaper's cheap and Cakewalk's free, so grab them both and dive in. Just try to avoid getting discouraged at the outset by reminding yourself that it takes time to get rolling. You may not play video games anymore, but I still find that an occasional zombie-murdering intermission is helpful for concentration and alleviating stress.

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19 minutes ago, Keith R. Starkey said:

I'm just a bit unsure as to trying out several DAWs. The work that goes into learning how each works is going to be, perhaps, a bit too much for me, as opposed to finding one and sticking with it for some time. I'm just trying to figure out what will work with my brain, not being a techie and such. We'll see.

It does take time to learn a DAW. I started with cakewalk in 1990 and I'm sure part of the reason I continue to use it is because I'm familiar with it. I also use Ableton Live. HW often comes with lite versions of DAWs and I usually kick the tires, but nothing has compelled me to switch yet. Good luck.

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Thanks all!

bitfipper said, "You may not play video games anymore, but I still find that an occasional zombie-murdering intermission is helpful for concentration and alleviating stress." 

Tell me about it: I've got over 7000 hours in L4D, THE zombie-murdering game of games! Ah, those were the days!

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Orchestral and choir, and an appreciation for video games...sounds like you should try your hand at video game music. 

Over the past decade the artform has grown in both sophistication and popularity, yielding some truly memorable pieces that have broken out of the game context and  are interpreted live in concerts. And brought unexpected fame to journeymen composers such as Jeremy Soule, who created the soundtrack for my all-time favorite game:

 

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Jeremy Soule...is a god! The John Williams of video game music!

I have several short works of is pinned to my browser, which I play when I'm vegging. Truly an amazing artist.

The minimalism of his style at times in Guild Wars 1, namely, during the tutorial when you are leaving the main gate and heading off a bit to the right, just running through the country side, is not only memorable but stunningly captivating. You are there, in that country, fall colors and all. It is emersion and gripping.

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Hi Keith.....seem to have joined in on an interesting old post. Thanks to everyone in the comments below..I have learned many things.

I still do my midi/sequencing on a very old version of Cakewalk..Pro Audio 8...circa 2000?.......using soundfonts via Coolsoft or Omni midi(drivers?)

TTS , in Cakewalk/Bandlab is a good suggestion for your basic needs. But, to me , it's just another soundfont. However....do not underestimate it's 16 midi channels

like the Roland Sound Canvas....(rompler?)...........and sometimes the sound you are after....... ...just might be in there!!

 

However, I am using CakewalkBandlab...the free one........and I am learning every day the limits of a 4GB laptop!! 

The new program is not the same as the old one....but many similarites still prevail. I feel at home.  Many wonderful tutorials out there...plse chk out "Mike_ Creative Sauce"

on You Tube......nice'n easy.....................basics to advanced.

Lots of good free stuff out there

If you are looking at Orch/Jazz....which I am.....these may help.

ORCH:

Fee VST......then I would recommend.....Spitfire/Labs BBC...(forgot the proper descripton) 

Orhestools via Sampletank( 3 free)....just managed to install that last week...........and Sine player (Orchestral Tools) the spelling is correct.

Free Kontakt player....the upright bass and jazz gtr are getting pretty damned close for me. And yes you can tweak and save as.

Drums?...Sitala sampler....I am playing around with it....(Orange Tree samples "Jazz Funk Kit")

 

Hope this might help you acheive the sound you are after on your device. 

And before I go....don't get fogged by the plethora of gadgets and gizmos....................Beethoven wrote "da da da daaaaah" without any of it!!!! Love and peace.

 

 

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