I don't know what DAW to try anymore

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Phazma
KVRist
47 posts since 22 Nov, 2015

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:59 am

Years ago I started with FL Studio, but dumped it once FL12 came out, because I wanted to change to a more linear workflow with more audio editing flexibility and better organization (no automation clips all over the place or tracks not directly being related to mixer channels etc).

I went to Logic for a while and loved many things about it, specially the smooth feeling interface, but hated its very cumbersome automation which doesn't allow vertical lines, no spontaneous switching between moving or not moving automation with region and I hated bugs like automation values not resetting properly on stop or the very nasty loud noise bug which led me to search further. Also I missed a way to pitch audio in semitones without stretching it (like in a basic sampler).

I tried Cubase, but it was immediately clear that it would not work for me as after Logic a smooth up/down/left/right navigation with the magic mouse scroll surface as well as the same for horizontal and vertical zoom by holding a modifier was a must and Cubase scrolls in steps/chunks of pixel and doesn't even offer vertical zoom via mousewheel+modifier. Furthermore quickly deleting things is very important for me and in FL as well as Logic I was able to do so with just a right click but in Cubase you have to select the eraser before erasing or select the event and hit the delete-key and that takes too long for me.

Intrigued by all the customizability I tried Reaper and I managed to build a workflow that is pretty close to what I have in mind. The scrolling and zooming is choppy like in Cubase but with some tricks I was able to change it to some extent and make it at least workable. Also deleting was not really fast but I could live with it by modifier-clicking items. However what made Reaper a no-go is the response of the interface. For example when zoomed out and wanting to move an item that has a fade, even when dragging many pixels away from the fade, instead of moving the item I was changing the fade. So all editing operations became painful and involved a lot of undoing.

As with Reaper I fell in love with item/event-based effects that can be automated inside the single event, this became another must for my DAW. Studio One now seemed the ideal candidate. Everything is reachable fast and draggable, the interface is responsive, you can load and automate effects on events and while perhaps not as flexible as Reaper, it seems to have most things I need except for sampler-type pitching of audio or tape-stops (like in Logic, loved that approach).
What makes Studio One unusable though is the awkward response of zooming via mouse+modifier. A little swipe suffices to go from maximum to minimum track height or from the whole arrangement to the samples of a waveform. All-tough all other things feel pretty much spot on, this makes also Studio One very painful to use.

I was then considering Ableton but when I found out it doesn't even have custom/remappable keyboard shortcuts (let alone macros) I didn't even download the demo. And I tried Bitwig but it was totally confusing, the actual mixer for example is tiny while there is a huge space for "scenes" that I have no clue what they are used for, also you have smooth horizontal zoom with mouse modifiers but you have to drag the space between tracks while holding alt to zoom general track height.

So I am starting to feel desperate, I have to use a DAW yet all of them seem to get in my way. Is there any DAW left that might suit me better than the ones I tried or do I have to bite the bullet and use one of those I already tried?
What I am looking for is just a traditional linear DAW with arrangement in the middle, browser on the right, inspector and tracks on the left and a nice big mixer (or fullscreen piano roll when needed) on the bottom screen. It should allow smooth navigation with only the mouse and modifier keys where I can zoom wherever I am without having to reach some slider or timeline or similar and without chunky zooming steps. Editing (and specially) deleting should be easy and doable with just single clicks, drags (and modifiers) without having to constantly change tools and sample-based sounddesign should be facilitated (like pitching with or without stretching, stretching with various algorithms, tapestops, event-envelopes for volume, pitch, pan and so on).

Ideally it has a piano-roll and sampler like FL Studio, smooth interface navigation like Logic, custom shortcuts, macros and stuff like Reaper, easy and responsive layout, automations and drag&drop mentality of Studio One and advanced features like automatable event/region/item-based fx chains, folder-tracks that act like busses and that can be nested and so on. I don't care about DAW-plugins or sample/midi content, actually the smaller the installation the better. Also I don't use external controllers exept for a traditional midi keyboard and input midi and automation with my mouse, so it can be less elaborate on the performative side but has to feature a fast mouse-based workflow.

Hope someone can come up with a suggestion. Right now the closest are Studio One and Reaper but until S1 doesn't fix mouse-zooming and Reaper doesn't fix the clunky interface I hope there are other alternatives.

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Michael L
KVRAF
3000 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:10 am

To be or not to be?
Bb

andypryce
KVRist
221 posts since 2 Nov, 2014

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:47 am

You will always find something not fitting your workflow in every DAW. It is about what you can tolerate. I have tried almost all of them and always came back to Studio One. Despite it's shortcomings and (imho) not so good UI, it is the least bothering and fastest for (my) workflow.

lobanov
KVRist
409 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:49 am

It seems you think more about the usability than about the music. The perfect DAW doesn't exist. Choose one of the DAWs you've tested, don't waste your time.

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antic604
KVRAF
3576 posts since 4 Jan, 2017 from Warsaw, Poland

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:57 am

If Bitwig was confusing to you, then might I suggest having a look at Usine Hollyhock 3? After that, Bitwig will seem easy and straightforward ;)

https://youtu.be/1sYuaGQW0aw

http://www.sensomusic.org/
Bitwig 3 // Reason 11 // Studio One 4 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - Psytrance in Bitwig Studio tutorial

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Forgotten
KVRAF
8428 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:00 am

Maybe try Logic again? It’s constantly being updated, so maybe some of your concerns have been addressed?

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EnochLight
KVRAF
1569 posts since 21 Mar, 2012 from your mom

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:19 am

Phazma wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:59 am
Years ago I started with FL Studio, but dumped it once FL12 came out, because I wanted to change to a more linear workflow with more audio editing flexibility and better organization (no automation clips all over the place or tracks not directly being related to mixer channels etc).

I went to Logic for a while and loved many things about it, specially the smooth feeling interface, but hated its very cumbersome automation which doesn't allow vertical lines, no spontaneous switching between moving or not moving automation with region and I hated bugs like automation values not resetting properly on stop or the very nasty loud noise bug which led me to search further. Also I missed a way to pitch audio in semitones without stretching it (like in a basic sampler).

I tried Cubase, but it was immediately clear that it would not work for me as after Logic a smooth up/down/left/right navigation with the magic mouse scroll surface as well as the same for horizontal and vertical zoom by holding a modifier was a must and Cubase scrolls in steps/chunks of pixel and doesn't even offer vertical zoom via mousewheel+modifier. Furthermore quickly deleting things is very important for me and in FL as well as Logic I was able to do so with just a right click but in Cubase you have to select the eraser before erasing or select the event and hit the delete-key and that takes too long for me.

Intrigued by all the customizability I tried Reaper and I managed to build a workflow that is pretty close to what I have in mind. The scrolling and zooming is choppy like in Cubase but with some tricks I was able to change it to some extent and make it at least workable. Also deleting was not really fast but I could live with it by modifier-clicking items. However what made Reaper a no-go is the response of the interface. For example when zoomed out and wanting to move an item that has a fade, even when dragging many pixels away from the fade, instead of moving the item I was changing the fade. So all editing operations became painful and involved a lot of undoing.

As with Reaper I fell in love with item/event-based effects that can be automated inside the single event, this became another must for my DAW. Studio One now seemed the ideal candidate. Everything is reachable fast and draggable, the interface is responsive, you can load and automate effects on events and while perhaps not as flexible as Reaper, it seems to have most things I need except for sampler-type pitching of audio or tape-stops (like in Logic, loved that approach).
What makes Studio One unusable though is the awkward response of zooming via mouse+modifier. A little swipe suffices to go from maximum to minimum track height or from the whole arrangement to the samples of a waveform. All-tough all other things feel pretty much spot on, this makes also Studio One very painful to use.

I was then considering Ableton but when I found out it doesn't even have custom/remappable keyboard shortcuts (let alone macros) I didn't even download the demo. And I tried Bitwig but it was totally confusing, the actual mixer for example is tiny while there is a huge space for "scenes" that I have no clue what they are used for, also you have smooth horizontal zoom with mouse modifiers but you have to drag the space between tracks while holding alt to zoom general track height.

So I am starting to feel desperate, I have to use a DAW yet all of them seem to get in my way. Is there any DAW left that might suit me better than the ones I tried or do I have to bite the bullet and use one of those I already tried?
What I am looking for is just a traditional linear DAW with arrangement in the middle, browser on the right, inspector and tracks on the left and a nice big mixer (or fullscreen piano roll when needed) on the bottom screen. It should allow smooth navigation with only the mouse and modifier keys where I can zoom wherever I am without having to reach some slider or timeline or similar and without chunky zooming steps. Editing (and specially) deleting should be easy and doable with just single clicks, drags (and modifiers) without having to constantly change tools and sample-based sounddesign should be facilitated (like pitching with or without stretching, stretching with various algorithms, tapestops, event-envelopes for volume, pitch, pan and so on).

Ideally it has a piano-roll and sampler like FL Studio, smooth interface navigation like Logic, custom shortcuts, macros and stuff like Reaper, easy and responsive layout, automations and drag&drop mentality of Studio One and advanced features like automatable event/region/item-based fx chains, folder-tracks that act like busses and that can be nested and so on. I don't care about DAW-plugins or sample/midi content, actually the smaller the installation the better. Also I don't use external controllers exept for a traditional midi keyboard and input midi and automation with my mouse, so it can be less elaborate on the performative side but has to feature a fast mouse-based workflow.

Hope someone can come up with a suggestion. Right now the closest are Studio One and Reaper but until S1 doesn't fix mouse-zooming and Reaper doesn't fix the clunky interface I hope there are other alternatives.
Give Reason 11 a try. You get 30-days to kick the tires. Might be pleasantly surprised (or not). :party:
Win 10 | Reason 11 | Studio One 4.5 | i7 3770 @ 3.5 Ghz | 16 GB RAM | Mushkin Reactor 1TB SSD | RME Babyface Pro| Nektar Panorama P-4 | Akai MPC Live | Roland System 8 | Roland TR-8 with 7x7 Expansion | Roland TB-3 | Roland System 1 | Roland MX-1

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mgw38
KVRAF
2220 posts since 26 Jul, 2015 from Philadelphia

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:25 am

Digital Performer seems underrated. A lot of pros use that. Worth a look. It is one of the DAWs I do not own so I could not tell you if it ticks your boxes, but the latest version seems really well rounded.

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rod_zero
KVRAF
3044 posts since 28 Jan, 2011 from MEXICO

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:25 am

Drop the magic mouse and get a more traditional one and see how it changes the way you interface with your DAW.
dedication to flying

jonljacobi
KVRian
1353 posts since 16 Jan, 2013 from USA

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:34 am

No DAW is going to fit you perfectly. I use Live because it's particular approach works best for me, but I have nits with it as well as all the others. In the end, take the logical approach and use the one that gets you where you need to go with the least amount of fuss, then just learn to live with the stuff you don't like. You didn't mention Reason, Digital Performer, Cakewalk, or Pro Tools.

You mentioned Bitwig, but you talked about a tiny mixer and launch buttons so I'm guessing it was a pretty cursory inspection. You can hide the former and make the latter very, very large. Perhaps spend a bit more time digging into the various programs before forming a final opinion.

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dakkra
KVRian
1096 posts since 4 Oct, 2012 from Utah

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:37 am

By the sounds of it, Studio One was nearly a home run for you. I've been in many debates here about the "perfect DAW" and every debate has ended the same: there is no such thing. All you really can do is find the DAW that best fits your work style. For me, that happens to be Bitwig. Like you, the mixer on Bitwig does frustrate me, but I'm willing to work with that so that I can have all the other features that drove me to it.

This thread is going to turn into everyone pitching their favorite DAW to you, some who won't even read the original post. The best advice I have is find something that works best for you. It won't be perfect, but it'll be as close as there is. Every DAW has it's pros and cons, that's why there's still competition among them. Otherwise, we'd have one standard DAW and no competition (how boring).

I'm a modular fan, so Bitwig and Mulab are my choices. However, you've expressed a dislike about the small mixing panel of Bitwig, and Mulab has a similar design choice. So on that alone, neither of these will work for you, if it really is a deal breaker. If you think you could work with it, both software provide an extensive amount of flexibility and features. One might have to dive deep to find them though.

Edit: well jonljacobi beat me to it :clap: 8) :hug:
Soft: Bitwig/Mulab, MUX, MXXX/MSoundFactory, Falcon, Synthmaster(One/2), Melodyne 4 Studio
Hard: Scarlett 2i2 V2, Schiit Audio Magni V3, Sennheiser HD6XX, JBL LSR 305(x2)
Comp: Ryzen 2700x, GTX 1080, 32gb ram, 1tb NVME SSD

chk071
KVRAF
22722 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:38 am

Phazma wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:59 am
Years ago I started with FL Studio, but dumped it once FL12 came out, because I wanted to change to a more linear workflow with more audio editing flexibility and better organization (no automation clips all over the place or tracks not directly being related to mixer channels etc).

I went to Logic for a while and loved many things about it, specially the smooth feeling interface, but hated its very cumbersome automation which doesn't allow vertical lines, no spontaneous switching between moving or not moving automation with region and I hated bugs like automation values not resetting properly on stop or the very nasty loud noise bug which led me to search further. Also I missed a way to pitch audio in semitones without stretching it (like in a basic sampler).

I tried Cubase, but it was immediately clear that it would not work for me as after Logic a smooth up/down/left/right navigation with the magic mouse scroll surface as well as the same for horizontal and vertical zoom by holding a modifier was a must and Cubase scrolls in steps/chunks of pixel and doesn't even offer vertical zoom via mousewheel+modifier. Furthermore quickly deleting things is very important for me and in FL as well as Logic I was able to do so with just a right click but in Cubase you have to select the eraser before erasing or select the event and hit the delete-key and that takes too long for me.

Intrigued by all the customizability I tried Reaper and I managed to build a workflow that is pretty close to what I have in mind. The scrolling and zooming is choppy like in Cubase but with some tricks I was able to change it to some extent and make it at least workable. Also deleting was not really fast but I could live with it by modifier-clicking items. However what made Reaper a no-go is the response of the interface. For example when zoomed out and wanting to move an item that has a fade, even when dragging many pixels away from the fade, instead of moving the item I was changing the fade. So all editing operations became painful and involved a lot of undoing.

As with Reaper I fell in love with item/event-based effects that can be automated inside the single event, this became another must for my DAW. Studio One now seemed the ideal candidate. Everything is reachable fast and draggable, the interface is responsive, you can load and automate effects on events and while perhaps not as flexible as Reaper, it seems to have most things I need except for sampler-type pitching of audio or tape-stops (like in Logic, loved that approach).
What makes Studio One unusable though is the awkward response of zooming via mouse+modifier. A little swipe suffices to go from maximum to minimum track height or from the whole arrangement to the samples of a waveform. All-tough all other things feel pretty much spot on, this makes also Studio One very painful to use.

I was then considering Ableton but when I found out it doesn't even have custom/remappable keyboard shortcuts (let alone macros) I didn't even download the demo. And I tried Bitwig but it was totally confusing, the actual mixer for example is tiny while there is a huge space for "scenes" that I have no clue what they are used for, also you have smooth horizontal zoom with mouse modifiers but you have to drag the space between tracks while holding alt to zoom general track height.

So I am starting to feel desperate, I have to use a DAW yet all of them seem to get in my way. Is there any DAW left that might suit me better than the ones I tried or do I have to bite the bullet and use one of those I already tried?
What I am looking for is just a traditional linear DAW with arrangement in the middle, browser on the right, inspector and tracks on the left and a nice big mixer (or fullscreen piano roll when needed) on the bottom screen. It should allow smooth navigation with only the mouse and modifier keys where I can zoom wherever I am without having to reach some slider or timeline or similar and without chunky zooming steps. Editing (and specially) deleting should be easy and doable with just single clicks, drags (and modifiers) without having to constantly change tools and sample-based sounddesign should be facilitated (like pitching with or without stretching, stretching with various algorithms, tapestops, event-envelopes for volume, pitch, pan and so on).

Ideally it has a piano-roll and sampler like FL Studio, smooth interface navigation like Logic, custom shortcuts, macros and stuff like Reaper, easy and responsive layout, automations and drag&drop mentality of Studio One and advanced features like automatable event/region/item-based fx chains, folder-tracks that act like busses and that can be nested and so on. I don't care about DAW-plugins or sample/midi content, actually the smaller the installation the better. Also I don't use external controllers exept for a traditional midi keyboard and input midi and automation with my mouse, so it can be less elaborate on the performative side but has to feature a fast mouse-based workflow.

Hope someone can come up with a suggestion. Right now the closest are Studio One and Reaper but until S1 doesn't fix mouse-zooming and Reaper doesn't fix the clunky interface I hope there are other alternatives.
hibidy... is that you?...

Giova942
KVRist
88 posts since 2 Mar, 2016

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:39 am

Phazma wrote:
Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:59 am
I tried Cubase
....and doesn't even offer vertical zoom via mousewheel+modifier.
Yes it does.

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Tj Shredder
KVRAF
3760 posts since 6 Jan, 2017 from Outer Space

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:42 am

I can recommend to go back to analog multitrack tape. Simplifies your life as you would not even try to enhance your workflow... Most world hits in the 80s/90s had been done with it.

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jancivil
KVRAF
19406 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from No Location

Re: I don't know what DAW to try anymore

Post Thu Sep 26, 2019 7:43 am

"in Cubase you have to [...] select the event and hit the delete-key and that takes too long for me."
I got a kick out of that.

:troll: :tu:
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