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So I'm looking for a piece of software for recording multi-track live audio (PC or Mac is fine, I have system for both). That meets several key requirements:

  1. Can record at least 4 tracks
  2. Works with basic USB/Firewire audio interfaces (eg M-Audio gear)
  3. Does full mixing and at least basic effects (ie: want compressors on several channels)
  4. Can create aux sends and send them out live to the outputs on the M-Audio gear

I'll be recording a podcast and interviews with remote guests (via Skype) and really want to cut down the amount of post processing work needed and be able to carry the least amount of equipment with me, hence the desire for software that can handle both the recording mixing AND the live mixing for the mix-minus feeds back.

Thanks,

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Does your M-Audio gear come with some DAW?? I remember when M-Audio would ship with some limited version of Pro-Tools.. Maybe you could use that.. –  notthetup Apr 23 '11 at 17:57
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I'd be interested in learning more about your setup. Any chance on getting a blog post or something? –  Kyle Cronin May 20 '11 at 20:27
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We're using a bit of a temporary one for now - once it's finalized we will. –  Alex Miller May 21 '11 at 15:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Reaper is a DAW for PC or Mac which will allow you to record as many tracks as your interface will allow. It comes with many standard effects and supports VST plugins as well. It supports just about any routing configuration you can think up. It also has an excellent "how to" manual to get you started with recording in Reaper.

Reaper's project and track templates should help reduce the amount of post processing you need to do. It also has several different ways to automate repetitive tasks using macros and such. Just about every action has its own customizable keystroke.

It goes for $225 ($60 discounted license for non professional use) and has a fully functional non-expiring demo to allow you to properly evaluate the program.

I am currently using Reaper with an M-Audio ProFire 2626 interface recording 4 tracks (44.1kHz/24bit) at once with no issues on a Pentium 4 2.8gHz single processor machine with 4gb ram. On playback, I frequently have 5 or more tracks with several real-time effects each with no trouble.

If you are looking for something for free, try Audacity. I have only used it for 2 track recording from my PC sound card, but it does support multi-track recording. It may require some effort to get it to work with your interface, and it does not support real-time effects, but it is free.

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Reaper seems to fufill everything I need to do and at a great price point. Thanks! –  Alex Miller Apr 13 '11 at 20:40

Reaper is awesome, but you should not discount Pro Tools, which now is unified and works with any compliant hardware (not just Digi/MAudio). There is a reason why it's the industry standard among professionals. For you application as you've stated it, there are many DAWs that will fit the bill, including the aforementioned Reaper, but for broadcast recording and cleaning up lower grade audio without going into a dedicated audio editor, Pro Tools may have more pre and post processing plug ins that are useful.

Some will try to suggest that Pro Tools' real-time processing and bounce would slow your workflow. The truth is, if you know what you're doing with bus paths, you can treat your audio and mix it, then send the whole mix to a separate track, from which you can instantly export your final, polished product. We do it with up to 32 simultaneous channels at work, and we export two-hour concerts in ten to fifteen minutes.

The quality of work Pro Tools produces makes it the #1 choice for most audio recording applications.

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I'm pretty sure Fl Studio can do all of that : http://www.image-line.com/

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