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Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

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KVRian
 
553 posts since 24 Mar, 2013, from Amsterdam

Postby Spiritos; Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:47 am Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

I've been working with Sonar X2 for a little over a year now and although I like it, just recently I got my hands on Ableton Lite. For some reason I'm very drawn to Live (lots of resources and thus support) but I find the GUI quite annoying and confusing. Ugly even.

Now I've kinda got my mind set on learning myself to work with Live as I want to keep the option open of performing live with it one day.

As I am still in the learning phase I realise I have some years ahead of me but one thought is bothering me:

I know some people work with multiple DAWs, using Live as a sketchpad then mixing in another and I also know once you understand the basics learning a new DAW will become increasingly easier when mastering one or two already.

The only question I have is 'Isn't Live that different from other DAW's (focussing on live performance and working with samples/clips that having learned it will only help you so much in transitioning to another DAW' and would it thus be better learning Sonar's ins and outs first?

So this is not a topic about which DAW is better but more of a question for the long run. I don't see myself mixing in Ableton as I respond better to a GUI's colours and different layouts for different VST's -as it is in Sonar- but I find my attention drawn to Live nevertheless.

Also inspired by the thread 'getting started, things you wish you knew' (viewtopic.php?f=74&t=404515).
I'm wondering about the perspective of people who have worked with multiple DAW's.
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KVRAF
 
1686 posts since 29 Sep, 2005

Postby dsan@mail.com; Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:51 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

The following are JM2C and HO.

Let's take this one step at a time:
Spiritos wrote:I've been working with Sonar X2 for a little over a year now and although I like it, just recently I got my hands on Ableton Lite. For some reason I'm very drawn to Live (lots of resources and thus support) but I find the GUI quite annoying and confusing. Ugly even.

As with any piece of software, few have the ability to be able to customize the interface. Live is no exception.

When I first started using Live I was quite confused by the GUI: however, a.) This was mainly becasue of working with linear DAW's for years, and 2.) You get used to it. Actually, aside from the colors used, I quite like the layout now and prefer working in session view. It is possible to skin the GUI but I am not one to be bothered.

Spiritos wrote:Now I've kinda got my mind set on learning myself to work with Live as I want to keep the option open of performing live with it one day.

I enjoy people with open minds. It leads to many great things.

I do not use Live in a live setting, however, this is exactly why Live was created.

While it is more orietated to DJ's and such, I prefer opening Live to sketch, for the ease of use in creating short phrases, mixing, matching until I get the full phrase ( a certain number of measures) just how I want it; then taking the sketch to Sonar X2 or S1 or C6 for finishing. I do not like Live for effects. MMV on this. I've read here a lot of posts that love Live's effects. To me they sound muddy.

Spiritos wrote:As I am still in the learning phase I realise I have some years ahead of me but one thought is bothering me:

I firmly believe the learning process never ends for open minded people.

You already get DAW's and the work Spiritos, so learning Live will not be that difficult for you; difficult enough but you will get it fairly quickly.

Spiritos wrote:I know some people work with multiple DAWs, using Live as a sketchpad then mixing in another and I also know once you understand the basics learning a new DAW will become increasingly easier when mastering one or two already.

See above

Spiritos wrote:The only question I have is 'Isn't Live that different from other DAW's (focussing on live performance and working with samples/clips that having learned it will only help you so much in transitioning to another DAW' and would it thus be better learning Sonar's ins and outs first?

I only want to respond to the last part here - Yes, you should learn a DAW's ins and outs completely - at least to the point of what you need from a DAW. There are some things in Sonar (actually all my DAW's) I will never need. While I know a bit about them, enough to be dangerous, I really do not know the ins and outs - but I feel I do not need to. If something comes along I do not know or understand I do the leg work to figure it out.

Now, just because you should learn the ins and outs of one Daw, this does not mean you shouldn't learn the ins and outs of another. Why limit your learning?

Spiritos wrote:So this is not a topic about which DAW is better but more of a question for the long run. I don't see myself mixing in Ableton as I respond better to a GUI's colours and different layouts for different VST's -as it is in Sonar- but I find my attention drawn to Live nevertheless.

Also inspired by the thread 'getting started, things you wish you knew' (viewtopic.php?f=74&t=404515).
I'm wondering about the perspective of people who have worked with multiple DAW's.

I'm glad you do not seek the "Which is better" solution. They are all good and do what they are intended to do. The "better" part is "Which works for you?" They all have their plues and minus. If, for you, the minuses outweigh the pluses, move on. Life is too short.

Personally, I enjoy working in Live. It is my first DAW to open when I am ready to start a new song.

I do not enjoy finishing in Live. For reasons stated earlier.

My ONLY problem with Live is keeping it running. On my system it is crash prone. I continue to investigate becasue I know on many other's system it is not crash prone. I hope soon to solve this problem.

HTH Spiritos!

Happy Musiking!
dsan
My System:
W7, i5, x64, 8Gb Ram
KVRian
 
1319 posts since 11 Jun, 2005, from Phoenix, Arizona

Postby UncleAge; Sat Mar 01, 2014 7:02 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Spiritos wrote:The only question I have is 'Isn't Live that different from other DAW's...

Well, depends on how you plan to use it. Most of the popular DAWs have a bit of overlap however, you will notice as you continue along, that the workflow can be very unique in each even though they appear to be the same on the surface.

I saw a video once of a guy well versed and comfortable working in Pro Tools, he was doing a bunch of audio editing. That was the first time I had seen such a thing in PT and all I could say was wow. PT developed that capability over a number of years to meet their customers needs. Nothing from that video would translate to Live. Likewise there is nothing in this video https://vimeo.com/5962875 that would translate to Pro Tools. You know, horses for courses and all that...

I classify Live as more of an instrument. When I open it up my mindset is not that unlike my mindset when I sit down to play my guitar or bass. I'm looking to create when I open up Live. Now I'm not always looking to write a song. Sometimes I'm looking at things from a sound design angle. I feel that Live works well with my thought processes and keeps a lot of tools at my finger tips that I find useful. However, that's when I am working with audio. It's somewhat limited when working with midi and vsti's.

FL Studio is another app that has a very unique workflow. It has a lot of tools at your fingertips when working in the piano roll. And if you develop a workflow around those tools you will surely miss them when transitioning to just about any other DAW.

In the end there are things you will learn in any of them that will transition to other apps. I mean if you are brand new there are soundcard issues, midi connections, and all sorts of stuff that once you have it under your hat in one app you'll find it easier to tackle in another. If you're a newbie the idea of arming tracks or monitoring tracks, take management, automation and a whole slew of stuff that most of us who have done it a while take for granted will seem foreign to you. In that respect yes, learning any DAW at a deep level will help you ask better questions. The thing is we all come up with a different list of questions based on what we need/expect/want.

I find S1, Live and Reaper useful. And if the folk at Image Line slipped-fell-hit-their-head and came up with a native FLS for OSX I would use it as well. In my studio the instruments come first, the DAW is secondary. I was a musician long before I started to record anything. I approach my workflow accordingly. And in my Studio I see/use Live as more of an instrument than multitrack recorder. As always, ymmv...
KVRian
 
553 posts since 24 Mar, 2013, from Amsterdam

Postby Spiritos; Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:26 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Thanks @dsan and @UncleAge for your most elaborate responses!

I suppose what I find most difficult about Live is the uniformity of all native plugins as opposed to Sonar where every VST has it's own GUI. Also the fact it's geared towards performing and thus the Session View pushes me into thinking I need to do something with it even though I rarely work with samples/clips.

My mind still is configured as a '4-track Tascam Porta Studio' and I find the transition to Live bestranging in that manner, hence my question.

However I do notice knowledge from Sonar and tutorials is applicable to Live so in that way I feel somewhat reassured plus I'll take your words for it things will fall in it's place.

@dsan: You're quite right saying nothing should stop me from learning 2 DAWs. I guess I've a hard time deviating from this idea of a 'best and ultra efficient' way of learning.

@UncleAge: I second the notion of Live feeling more of an instrument. One of the roots of my doubts. I want to take this hobby seriously (and have fun!) but somehow I have this irrational association of Live being a 'toy' and a detour in the way of proper learning.

Once again, tnx for taking the time to respond.
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KVRAF
 
1686 posts since 29 Sep, 2005

Postby dsan@mail.com; Sat Mar 01, 2014 8:48 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Spiritos,
Live is no more a "toy" than any other DAW. I find it extremely useful in getting ideas down.

As for that Porta Studio concept: In my mind these DAWS are just that, although easier. No fiddling with the cassette. :hihi:

I will agree, for me, the GUI of the plug-ins is an immediate turn off. Perhaps this contributes to why I do not like finishing in Live - I never really thought about it. A psychological thing - if it looks bad it's going to sound bad. Hmmmm......

See....your questions has got me thinking now :D Good job :tu: Perhaps I should give Live's instruments and effects another look into.

I don't know that I would just go plunking down the money just yet. I think I would give your Live Lite a whirl for a bit. But TBH, the Lite version caused me to buy the Suite :hihi:

After I had learned a bit it just seemed so intiutive to work in the manner Live does.

Now, if I could just get it to stop crashing :x

I'm more into the fun part of music making. Actually, while I am sincere (passionate) in whatever I do, I take very little "seriously". Except for the heart attack I had. :hihi:

But, seriously (pardon the pun), life is just too short to be serious. You know? You gotta have fun to understand the true meaning. ;)

HIH

Happy Musiking!
dsan
My System:
W7, i5, x64, 8Gb Ram
KVRist
 
490 posts since 14 Feb, 2006, from Berkeley, CA

Postby Winstontaneous; Sat Mar 01, 2014 11:46 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Go as the way opens--use what feels good. In my book "toy" and "instrument" are not negatives - they connote playfulness and musicality, which are often lacking in electronic music. It's good to try out demo versions and go for the 1 or 2 that you really click with. Having DAWs with different strengths (like Sonar and Live) makes more sense than using ones with lots of overlap. Ableton allows license transfers while Sonar (did/doesn't)...pick up a used Live license and you won't be out much if you decide to sell.

I'm a bit of a DAW ho, I own and love:
- Reason - great for actually getting things done!
- Reaper - awesome for audio manipulation, complex routing & pitch/time shifting
- AudioMulch - incredible internal FX/digital feedback, interesting audio-only paradigm
- Logic Pro X - tremendous value and bundled plugins, has notation
- Tracktion - fun & simple, the closest I've found to my Tascam cassette 4 track...not too many options to get in the way
- ReNoise - crazy fun tracker goodness
- Adobe Audition - no MIDI, but incredibly deep audio editing
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ew
KVRAF
 
9301 posts since 22 Jul, 2002, from Eagan, MN

Postby ew; Sat Mar 01, 2014 1:00 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Spiritos wrote:I suppose what I find most difficult about Live is the uniformity of all native plugins as opposed to Sonar where every VST has it's own GUI. Also the fact it's geared towards performing and thus the Session View pushes me into thinking I need to do something with it even though I rarely work with samples/clips.

With Live's native plugins- yeah, they all look sort of the same. That's to be expected, though, considering that they're designed to fit in that space. And, your non-native plugins show a full GUI when you click on the edit icon; that would be a better comparison.

My mind still is configured as a '4-track Tascam Porta Studio' and I find the transition to Live bestranging in that manner, hence my question.

That's actually Live's strong point- its resemblance to a tape recorder if you so wish. You can ignore the clip model and just record full length tracks for clips a lot quicker than with Sonar IMO. Remember that Live for the first couple versions was audio and native effect plugins only; no MIDI or VSTs/AUs, either as effects or instruments.

I've been using both Sonar and Live since their first release versions, and I've gradually gone from using Sonar for almost everything and using Live and Reason as ReWire slaves to Sonar (starting with Sonar 2; Sonar 1 didn't do ReWire) to using mostly Live. But, I've also gone back to using my DAWs more as a tape recorder than as a MIDI environment as well. If I need to sync to external timecode, I'll use Sonar. Otherwise, it's usually Live. YMMV, of course.

ew
A spectral heretic...

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KVRist
 
261 posts since 6 Mar, 2011, from Pleasanton, CA
 

Postby wesleyt; Sat Mar 01, 2014 2:56 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Learning a second DAW (or a third or more) is like learning a second language: it allows you to better understand and converse with the music-making world.

I have a primary DAW (Logic) like I have a native tongue. But I use Live, Numerology, and a bit of Renoise, AudioMulch, and Bidule, to open my possibilities and look at music from other angles.

Just like learning Spanish in high school opened me up to learning more about Europe, which led to learning more about the Mediterranean world, and then the Middle East, Africa, and Asia.

Choose your options to best complement what you already know and you will grow in ability and understanding.

It's IMHO best if we never stop learning, exploring. Keep an open mind and strive to see other's perspectives. It's how we grow, and I think we should never stop growing—in music or in life.
Seasoned IT vet, Mac user, and lover of music. Always learning.
KVRian
 
553 posts since 24 Mar, 2013, from Amsterdam

Postby Spiritos; Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:27 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Great responses you all. Really helpfull!

Main point I distill from the feedback is keeping an open mind, seeing 'different' as an oportunity and most of all have fun. I can't argue with that! :)

I guess as a relative newcomer to the digital world the neverending stream of possibilities can seem a little daunting from time to time and it's hard to see a clear path so the occasional perspective from others is appreciated!
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KVRAF
 
3990 posts since 6 Aug, 2003, from San Francisco Bay Area

Postby deastman; Sat Mar 01, 2014 3:40 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

I've been working with Sonar for years, and Live for just over a year now. I still turn to Sonar for linear composition and for scoring to video. I use Live as a playground for experimentation and when I want to work more in a clip/loop context. Of course you could do this with Sonar too, but I find I respond better to Live's session view, warp markers, signal routing, and a lot of other workflow niceties.
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KVRian
 
828 posts since 7 Oct, 2005, from Auckland

Postby EnGee; Sun Mar 02, 2014 2:28 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

I wish I had chosen Live 4 as my main DAW years ago!

Anyway, although I have Sonar,Cubase and Live, but I'm using Live now as my main DAW. I already sold Studio One and if I can I would sell the others as well.

I find that one DAW is better for me to be productive. I know there is no perfect DAW, but I don't like to keep going back and forth between the DAWs. I'm not a mixing or mastering engineer, so I could do all my music with only one DAW.

Live Suite can be the all in one for me. It might look expensive, but I wish I bought it instead of spending the money here and there. It has excellent plugins and instruments that can cover all my needs. 'Reason' would be my other choice to use as the just one tool to be productive. It might feel being 'limited' but that can be a good way to be creative to fill this gap instead of looking around for the missing tool.

My advice is to choose your tools according to your style of music and get stuck to them. Duplicate tools are only distracting for the mind. This is of course just a different opinion and might not work for you :-)
KVRist
 
261 posts since 6 Mar, 2011, from Pleasanton, CA
 

Postby wesleyt; Sun Mar 02, 2014 4:46 pm Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

EnGee, you have a very good point. Some people may only need one DAW, and that is fine. Constraints are very good. I do sometimes experience the paralysis of choice, usually when choosing a synth; I often get past it by enforcing constraints on myself.

I advise beginners to start with one daw and stick with it until they know it well, and then only add a second if you're trying to solve a problem. Logic was my first, and Live was my second, for its non-linear session view.

I got into my multiple DAWs because I was curious. Thankfully, my DAWs don't overlap much, so I don't run into paralysis of choice much here.
Seasoned IT vet, Mac user, and lover of music. Always learning.
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KVRian
 
828 posts since 7 Oct, 2005, from Auckland

Postby EnGee; Mon Mar 03, 2014 12:55 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

wesleyt wrote:
I advise beginners to start with one daw and stick with it until they know it well, and then only add a second if you're trying to solve a problem. Logic was my first, and Live was my second, for its non-linear session view.



Good advice :-)

I also think the GUI/Workflow and general feeling is very important when choosing a DAW (of course it should be stable first!). btw, I think Ableton Live is very elegant in design/colours :D

Although we can do all kind of music with all the different DAWs but there are some DAWs that are more towards Rock/Pop or Guitar/Audio while some others are more for Electronic genres or beat/synths.
KVRian
 
553 posts since 24 Mar, 2013, from Amsterdam

Postby Spiritos; Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:41 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

EnGee wrote:Although we can do all kind of music with all the different DAWs but there are some DAWs that are more towards Rock/Pop or Guitar/Audio while some others are more for Electronic genres or beat/synths.


Yes, I've been noticing this too. I feel the Cakewalk forum is more populated by rock-oriented people while Live draws alot of electronic musicians.

Question though, for my understanding and to make this statement more concrete:

Aside from Session View which in a way pushes you to work with samples and clips and thus being geared towards electronics are there any other reasons you can think of why Live is more for electronic music?

The reason I'm asking this, is because I notice my musicmaking -when working with a DAW- is drawn to electronics, even though I've been an analogue musician for years and I intended to use my DAW to complement my singer-songwriter stuff..
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KVRian
 
828 posts since 7 Oct, 2005, from Auckland

Postby EnGee; Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:37 am Re: Question for the seasoned multiple DAW owners

Actually I wrote exactly about the points you ask Spiritos! But, I deleted the paragraphs because I felt I'm talking a lot!

First of all, I think it is mostly psychological feeling really, but that doesn't mean it is not an important thing. I can do everything in any DAW of course, but the steps and way of thinking would be little bit different because the workflow is different.

Live has it all in my opinion (except of the notation and music staff). You can use it just for loops or testing many choices and how they fit together, or by defining the intro, verse, chorus ..etc from song structures and do it section by section, Or you can use it the linear way (ignoring the session view and just use the arrangement view).

Anyway, the strength of Live IMO is that it is a very well thought of as a software. The Standard edition is the best and most complete between the other non full version DAWs. For example, Sonar Studio doesn't have EQ expanded view in the pro channel :x This makes me load two effects Sonitus EQ and Voxengo Span to be able to visualise the cut and boost. This is for me an essential workflow even before the mixing.

Live also has all the midi necessary and can do a lot really (in audio as well, anyway it started as audio host!). It has great midi/audio effects which (like Reaper) you can see them all in a rack (midi effects-instrument-audio effects)

I was surprised about the drums in Live. it has so many kits (more than any DAW I had), when you drag a drums rack, it automatically make it a group with audio channels for every kit instrument. That make it so easy, also editing is fantastic. I mean Studio One made me buy Geist. Now Live makes me selling Geist! I don't need Geist anymore really! When I upgrade to Suite, I would sell most of the synths I have now because the included instruments are so usable and good that I don't think I need so many synths anymore.

I understood Live's strength/workflow fully when I bought the tutorials by Olav Basoski in macprovideo. Yes, I know they are about EDM but they apply on any electronic genre. When I watch them, I think about my own composing/sounds. You might watch few of every tutorial.

Anyway, to be fair, I do believe that most of the DAWs now are really amazing and it is very difficult to choose one of them. It is almost like choosing a new car! I helped my sister to buy a car and my head was spinning those days from the many choices :wheee:

Now I talked a lot :-o
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