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Easiest DAW for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by plaidbeer, Dec 22, 2017.

What DAW is the easiest to learn for a beginner?

  1. Ableton Live

    6 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. Reason

    1 vote(s)
    2.4%
  3. Logic

    13 vote(s)
    31.0%
  4. Reaper

    14 vote(s)
    33.3%
  5. Studio One

    14 vote(s)
    33.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. plaidbeer

    plaidbeer Member

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    I primarily play guitar these days but have several soft synths as well as effects (Ampitube, Valhalla, Guitar Rig) that I'd like to use to try to start writing music again. A long time ago, I got a lot done with just an Ensoniq ESQ-1 synthesizer and its internal 8-track sequencer and an Alesis HR-16 drum machine.

    I'm looking for a DAW that's relatively simple to use and intuitive in terms of getting ideas down. The way I used to work was creating a 2, 4, or 8-bar sequence and then placing it in a position within a song (chaining sequences to create the song). I did this for the verses, bridge, chorus, outro, intro. Primitive, I know, but dead simple. I've tried using GarageBand but it no longer recognizes my Korg Legacy Collection synths (even after I've re-installed them and included the AU versions numerous times) so that's a no-go.

    Any suggestions based on your experiences with the options I've listed in the poll? Thanks.
     
  2. Papanate

    Papanate Gold Supporting Member

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    Garageband is your best bet for ease of use and being intuitive.
    Regarding your Korg stuff - have you tried this advice from Korg?

    Please perform the following steps to use the KORG Legacy Collection on GarageBand 10.

    1. Authorize each software on Standalone.
    2. Run Applications/Utilities/Terminal, and paste the following command.

      ln -s ~/Library/Application\ Support/KORG ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.garageband10/Data/Library/Application\ Support/

    3. Launch the GarageBand 10.


    If you have a newer version of GarageBand - then get an older one and have at it.
     
    JiveJust, el capitan and plaidbeer like this.
  3. micycle

    micycle Member

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    Everything is going to come with a learning curve, and Logic was a pretty weird one for me to get used to coming from 15+ years of Sonar use. I love it now. That being said it but might be worth checking it out if you're comfy with the Garageband workflow (not to mention you can open your Garageband files in Logic). It can be as easy or complex as you want, and I've found it to be an insane bargain for what you get. I use a ton of 3rd party plugins but if I had to I could do without them and probably still get everything done with Logic's hundreds of built-in instruments and effects.
     
    plaidbeer likes this.
  4. Digitalman

    Digitalman Member

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    I’d vote GarageBand. From there I went to Logic then to Ableton Live.
     
  5. jelloman

    jelloman Member

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    Take a look at Mixcraft...
     
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  6. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    I'm still dabbling but this appeared easiest so far (next to Audacity). Audacity is IMO the winner but it is somewhat limited.
     
    jens5 likes this.
  7. Madguitrst

    Madguitrst Member

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    I agree with jelloman: Mixcraft
    It is very intuitive but it's not a toy DAW, it's very capable.
    The Pro version is nicely loaded with VSTs and VSTis and is on sale right now.

    There's also Tracktion, my first DAW.
    I still love the workflow but it's not quite conventional.
    Those who like it, like it VERY much.
    Most others want something more conventional.

    I have Reaper and Studio One (the latter of which has been my overall preferred DAW since it's release), but I enjoy working in Traction for my tracking and dig working in Mixcraft for that and for tech not interfering with creative juices....it has really matured perfectly: many more features, rock solid, as intuitive as ever, and maybe the best bang for the buck, if you're including the VSTs and VSTis that come with it (otherwise, Reaper is the easy champ there).

    For what info you've provided, Mixcraft is highly recommended.
    Download a trial and see what you think.

    https://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/

    https://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/reviews.htm
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2017
  8. shredtrash

    shredtrash Supporting Member

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    I only have experience with Ableton and Reaper. I much preferred Reaper. I found it to be really intuitive and there are tons of instructional videos to help you out. I was making music pretty quickly once I got it and I was a total newb. Plus, it's CHEAP for a full license (I paid $60). Highly recommend Reaper!
     
  9. plaidbeer

    plaidbeer Member

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    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions so far. Btw, Mixcraft is Windows only and I use a Mac. I don't have nor will I be installing Bootcamp, so unfortunately, that's not an option.
     
  10. Able Grip

    Able Grip Member

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    Studio 1 Pro 3.x
     
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  11. el capitan

    el capitan Member

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    I went from GarageBand to Studio One 3 Pro, easy peasy. I had ProTools too and never used it bc it was no fun.
     
    PBGas likes this.
  12. JiveJust

    JiveJust Member

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    Since you have a Mac I’d suggest GarageBand as other already have. It’s dead simple, has a great sounding drummer feature and has tutorials accessible from the hell menu that will step thru the entire process.

    I use to record my songs the same way as you. In GarageBand it’s even easier to get the outline of a song done.

    You can record the entire song to a click then open a drummer track and have it follow the guitar, bass or any track. Then to change up the verse or chorus you just cut and replace that section and change what parts of the drum kit you want to use just clicking on the different drums or move the intensity to add fills.



    I use it the same way in Logic as it’s drastically increased my productivity. Did I mention the GarageBand/Logic drummer sounds great?
     
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  13. plaidbeer

    plaidbeer Member

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    Thanks, all of you. You’ve all been very kind and helpful with your recommendations.

    Due to Korg switching servers and authorization systems, I had to reinstall the Legacy Collection and it now shows up and works in GarageBand without any problems. So I think I’m going to give GB a go before trying anything else. Thanks again.
     
    ctreitzell and JiveJust like this.
  14. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    coming from sonar, I didn't find studio one to be the most intuitive thing in the world, but hey, it works. solid feature set, but you'll have to pay for some things I found essential, like making mp3s or using vst's.
     
  15. Crowder

    Crowder Dang Twangler Silver Supporting Member

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    Considering the type of music and tools you describe, I'd lean more toward something like Ableton. It's not super-intuitive for someone coming from traditional DAWs or tape-based recording, but it is designed for people who use loops and samples, and it excels in that use.
     
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  16. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    In my experience wrapping my head around recording over the past few years, the beginner's learning curve isn't so much in the DAW as it is in gaining fluency in the concepts (gain staging, arming tracks, solo/mute, etc.). When starting out, one's workflows generally aren't (and generally shouldn't be) so complex that one DAW is hugely easier than another.
     
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  17. explorer76

    explorer76 Member

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    I recorded my whole CD (see my sig) using Ableton Live mainly because I am used to that program. While it's true that Ableton Live is geared more towards creating loop-based music and stuff that a DJ would play then setting all that up for easy live use, it is absolutely more than capable of being used to record in the traditional sense. Plus, I feel that the built in effects that come with the program sounded damn good for my needs. I didn't need to go crazy buying or downloading add-ons to get a useful compressor or reverb, etc.

    If I wasn't so used to Ableton Live and could afford it, I would get Cakewalk Sonar just because it was the first DAW I ever messed with. Failing that, I would get Reaper since it is affordable, excellent and very well supported.
     
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  18. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Just a warning that basic Studio One Artist level does not allow VST plugins.
     
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  19. frdagaa

    frdagaa Supporting Member

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    Good choice. Inexpensive but powerful enough for many purposes and flows nicely into Logic, which is a full fledged DAW with a great features/$ ratio.
     
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  20. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    Sonar would be a poor choice at this point given its end-of-life status as a product.
     
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