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I have been a musician for years and decided a few months ago to record some music at home. I got the M-Audio Keystudio that came with ProTools SE because it was cheap and I wanted to make sure I was really committed to doing this before spending much money.

Well I really do want to do this and found that this setup is very limiting and I am ready to move on.

I just want to create some really good demos to send out and see if maybe I am good enough to make a career switch, or more likely, to save for my kids.

Since I am familiar a bit with ProTools now, should I stick with it? Is there software that would still work with this cool little keyboard but be aimed more at the home studio newbie?

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In what ways do you find it limiting? –  BenV Jan 9 '11 at 20:47
    
Just a few things. And it could be that it's a noob thing. First, the amount of instruments available. There are not enough, I cannot seem to find the sound I am looking for at all. Second, the way you edit each track seems cumbersome. I watched several youtube videos where there were using Native Instruments and a few others and the editing just looked easier. I guess that's it for now. –  c1tadel1 Jan 9 '11 at 22:19
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Your title implies that you want to replace the keyboard but the actual questions seems to indicate you like the keyboard and are looking to upgrade your DAW. Could you clarify what you're looking for? –  BenV Jan 10 '11 at 3:58
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3 Answers

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I haven't ever used a KeyStudio before but I presume it's a MIDI controller that'd work with any DAW. This answer assumes that is the case (the website seems to suggest this but I'm never quite sure.

Any DAW will be at least fairly complex. On the Mac, GarageBand seems to be a popular choice for starting out. It was my first real DAW, and through it I was able to figure out the basics of recording and eventually moved on to other software when I wanted more features. If there's a specific feature you're missing, it might be worth looking into what software has it, but if it's just that you aren't quite sure how to use Pro Tools, then switching software won't be nearly as effective as getting together with some like-minded friends and having someone teach you the ropes. If you have really specific questions, ask them on a site like this.

Judging by your comment, it sounds like the real problem is that you can't quite dial in the sound you want with the software instruments you have available. If that's it, then the real solution is to figure out what it is you want and then match that to a tool - in other words, find the right plugin for a job. Since I don't know anything about what you're trying to do I can only suggest that you find a community online that's dedicated to that style, and see what they recommend.

For general work I've never really found one major DAW to be far and away better than any other.

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DAW = Digital Audio Workstation. I'm a noob and had to look it up. Thought it might be helpful to others to document it. –  Blankasaurus Jan 12 '11 at 15:21
    
Oh, yeah, I figured it was safe to say since it was linked in a comment on the main question. We should probably put some terms like this in an FAQ, as I can definitely see it being confusing! –  Warrior Bob Jan 12 '11 at 20:40
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Re: M-Audio Keystudio

It's a nice controller keyboard. I don't know which one you have (no. of keys). I've got the small 49i and used it mainly as a quick way of setting up a keyboard to my Mac to try out virtual synthesizers or recording small musical snippets. I've never used it together with Pro Tools, but I can say that it's definitely compatible with other DAWs or virtual instruments. The onboard sound is mediocre from my point of view, so you might want to extend it with additional virtual instruments. For serious keyboard playing and recording I'm using a full-sized master keyboard with weighted keys.

When you search for something to control your DAW, there are special DAW controllers with various levels of functionality the probably do a better job than the KeyStudio keyboard controller.

Re: Pro Tools

I've never worked with Pro Tools, because there's two things that kept me off:

  • It's not only a software it's a platform. You always need the software AND the Pro Tools compatible hardware to run it. If that's not a problem, go on.
  • Pro Tools doesn't have a great track record regarding their support for the latest version of the operating system, at least on the Mac. So it can happen that you can't upgrade to the latest version of the OS for some time, because Pro Tools either wouldn't run or wouldn't be officially supported. If that's no problem either and your happy with Pro Tools functionality and usability, you can of course stick with it.

Some people quickly get religious about their favorite DAW. At the end, it has to work for you and shouldn't put barriers in front of you, that's all what matters IMHO. Switching to another DAW is always a pain, because you probably need some time to really get used to it and achieve the same level of productivity, that you had on the previous software. But if another software better suits your needs, the effort of learning the new user interface and workflows might be worth it.

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You have at least two options:

  • Upgrade to a different version of Pro Tools - I'd look at Pro Tools 9
  • Switch to Ableton Live - compatible with M-Audio hardware

I've only used Pro Tools so I can't give you a first hand comparison.

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