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My name is Eddie. I've played the guitar since the dark ages ( 49 yrs old) now and now would like to lay down and layer some guitar work and MIDI work into a DAW. I have'nt worked with many. I found Cakewalk was'nt bad; easy enough but 'weak' as far as ability goes. User-friendliness was'nt exactly a feature of Cubase (did my head in completely). Of late been using M-Audio Session w/Fasttrack USB ( Fun. REAL easy. Not bad for a quicky session but limited functionality overall). Been reviewing Ableton, FL Studio Reaper, Sonar. Spoilt for choice nowadays, it's great. I'm a fairly intelligent guy though I'm no tech head and would like to keep it simple and within my budget ( no more than about £250). Your time would be very much appreciated.

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lol "My name is Eddie. I've played the guitar since the dark ages" and the mascot for Iron Maiden popped right in my head. –  Stephen Saldanha Mar 12 '11 at 13:20
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7 Answers 7

Difficult to say. Sometimes it depends on what you will want to do with it. For projects that you would want to hand in to other people to finish, the choice of DAW is more important.

For straight tracking, editing, and mixing, pretty much any DAW will do - Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, Sonar (by Cakewalk), Record, Studio One, Tracktion, Digital Performer, FL, Reaper even (but read this), the list goes on..

For drastic processing choices are different. Ableton Live is a bit more experimental than other DAWs, especially with clip-based mode. Have seen people produce great material with Sony Acid. On the far end, you can quickly overheat your brain with Renoise, Reason, Audiomulch - convoluted and typically aimed at electronic music producers.

Healthy communities surround all major DAWs - especially the first few above (+ Ableton). You will be glad to see that DAWs have grown up and are more user-friendly than ever. Nice testament (Mac OS X only): Garage Band.

On the Mac I'd easily recommend Logic Express. Not sure on Windows. Maybe Cubase Artist?

Your choice might also be an economy-edition Pro Tools packaged with an M-Audio interface.

Maybe add another £100 to your budget for a wider choice. Or try more alternative offerings. (Steinberg Sequel anyone?).

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I'd agree with the recommendations of Logic Express if you're on a Mac. –  Joe Thomas Cavers Mar 11 '11 at 8:19
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Type in DAW into the search above as I am sure there have been some big discussions on this already.

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Have a look at these posts:

Which DAW do you use?

What DAW should I go for?

There are a lot of very useful comments in these two discussions...

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Magic! Really appreciate your reply. I did review that Pro Tools software + M-audio package as a more comfortable step-up for me, having had so much fun on my journey with M-audio Session w/Fasttrack USB. PRO TOOLS gets the nod for me for being proven quality, collaterally within my budget. Thanks for clearing that s**t up for me!!!

@eddie

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It all depends on what you want to do with it. like for post production, tracking, midi composing, performing

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Consider that you'll need to be able to import video as well -- you don't need to be able to edit it, just import it. Not ever DAW can do this, or do this well. Sonar, for instance, is picky about what type of video it is.

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for music, Ableton everytime, and if this is just for a hobby you can get Live Lite.

  • Easy user interface
  • You can sketch in ideas as well as lay them out in a more traditional DAW style
  • Adding effects is easy, automating effects even easier
  • Brilliant standard instruments straight out of the box
  • easy routing in from external midi or usb / audio inputs
  • Great for sound design sketching not just musical
  • Brilliant warping ability for music and again very easy to use
  • manipulating sounds as you play them is possible, or stick on the LOOPER (in LIVE 8+) and it's like a loop pedal and keep adding effects and go crazy
  • less of a CPU hog

Only downside is that there is no timecode :(

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