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

    5 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. Reason

    1 vote(s)
    2.5%
  3. Logic

    12 vote(s)
    30.0%
  4. Reaper

    14 vote(s)
    35.0%
  5. Studio One

    14 vote(s)
    35.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    Just an FYI to those not familiar: "Fruityloops" = FL Studio
     
  2. stevel

    stevel Member

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    1. If you're familiar with Garageband, Logic would be the, er, logical choice.

    There are things about Logic that drive me absolutely insane - more so than almost any other DAW (besides Reaper) - they are absolutely illogical. But for someone who starts with it, or graduates up from GB, it's perfectly fine.

    2. My preference out of all the DAWs I've used is for Cubase. I just like the workflow better, it's far more logical to me (having used many different DAWs and I still do because of work). It seems bigger in Europe than in the states so most people don't know it well (or even have a bias against it - and see, you didn't even list it as an option) but I find it far more intuitive than Logic and it actually works with my external synthesizers.

    3. Reaper is amazing for 60 bucks. But it is so "non-standard" to me - this is even evidenced by the fact that while you can customize most everything, someone put together a set of custom menus for it so it worked like "standard" DAWs - because it basically was designed by programmers who weren't concerned with user interface. I found I spent more time trying to tweak Reaper to work like all other DAWs than I did actually using it. And in the end I gave up on it. There are some features that are really nice but it doesn't support external synths as well as Cubase and I was actually having some glitches with it that Cubase doesn't exhibit, so I threw away that 60 bucks.

    If you start on Reaper, and learn it, you'd probably be very happy with it. But I think it would be hard to transition to any other DAW, and for me, being familiar with many other DAWs, transitioning to Reaper was a PITA - maybe it's my fault for wanting it to work like all other "industry standard" DAWs as that's what it maybe isn't meant to do at all, but there's a reason industry standards are industry standards...

    4. I was using PT the other week and was reminded after not having used it for a while that you just can't type a value in the Pan and Volume controls in the mixer. WTAF. You have to open a mini-window to do this. Even if I could afford it, that alone would keep me from buying it (there are other reasons though).

    But when I'm "recording" - doing audio work - it's PT all the way.

    5. One of my very astute students who uses all manner of DAWs settled on Studio One but once we used Cubase in class he decided to upgrade. I teach on Cubase, Logic, Garageband, and a little Pro Tools. Of all of those, the ones the students have to call to ask how to do something the least on is Cubase.

    6. I tried Ableton Live but just couldn't figure it out. It's a loop-launcher/live playback tool, and less a "full fledged DAW" IMHO - not geared towards recording your own stuff in the manner of Logic and Cubase, etc. However, again plenty of people find it suits their needs. If you're into loop-based music making it's worth investigating further. But on the whole I'd say it's more for performance and less for composition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  3. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I used to use Cubase in the MIDI only form and liked it. It has serious depth to its MIDI capabilities and a good mixer both of which are or were missing in Garageband.
    Never tried a current version with audio. I'd probably like it.
    GB is great when you are inside its capabilities but if you look for 'real' DAW power your are dead-ended.
    My fave was Digital Performer back in OS9, I could do stuff its way and it could do stuff my way, but various things got me offtrack from upgrading and I moved along to Studio One a few years later after a stint with a free version of PT.
    I have demoed the current DP and it seems that they have crammed just a bit too much into the interface. A contender but expensive.
     
  4. Dasein

    Dasein Member

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    All DAW's have a learning curve that allow you to do down deep into the rabbit hole. It's not about simplicity - it's about where the ceiling is. For the money, and for both immediate use and long-term learning with no ceiling (or a t least a very high one) you should be looking at REAPER period (particularly if you are doing conventional recording and not a bunch of EDM based stuff).
     
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  5. jammybastard

    jammybastard "I'm losing my edge, but I was there..." Silver Supporting Member

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    Wait...let's be honest.
    The OP asked for "easy" for a "beginner"

    If you are on *PC* then REAPER is the "best"
    For the price, but not for ease of use.
    I've used Reaper since it was a BETA. I left ProTools 8.x for Reaper in the '00s.
    My point? I have a lot of experience with it.

    It's not easy and it's not for "beginners" like the OP asked for.

    Garageband is the still the best option for a beginner.
    Especially on the iPad.
    It's ridiculously easy with a touch interface, it's FREE and for a measly $5 you get all the plugins you will ever need while you are a "beginner".
    If you have it on a Mac it's more powerful and has more features, and it's still $5 for everything.

    Reaper is for the pros and hobbyists who don't want to use ProTools and own their own plugins.

    Learn GB and master GB and *then* move up to Logic or Reaper.
     
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  6. jens5

    jens5 Supporting Member

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    2. My preference out of all the DAWs I've used is for Cubase. I just like the workflow better, it's far more logical to me (having used many different DAWs and I still do because of work).

    Sorry to disagree but Cubase for a beginner? I would predict that after a begginer even tried Cubase they'd never attempt to try a DAW again. Far too complex for a beginner imo.
     
  7. Dasein

    Dasein Member

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    I started on Reaper and to start you need to know how to add a track and arm a track and toggle the listen while recording button. You also need to know how to add Fx --- all super easy in Reaper and requiring no foreknowledge. After that it's just learn as you go. That's where you begin with anything. I don't see that aspect of reaper being prohibitive in any way.
     
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  8. cmstrat

    cmstrat Member

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    Let me politely disagree. Reaper and all the daw for windows are really not beginner friendly. I have download almost all the windows daw trial after buying my pc interface and they all seems to be requiring a post graduate degree in computer science. Too far for a wannabe guitarist with even an above avarage IT knowledge
     
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  9. feet

    feet Supporting Member

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    hard to argue with this logic if the op is a mac guy. options are bad things for beginners. arm, record, repeat. that's it. then learn to work the panning and the basic eq, compression provided. build from there. it's there, it's free, and it's training you to step up to something bigger later.

    or, just try things out. you should be able to get free demos or even free basic/limited versions of most daws. watch some videos, see what looks enticing and sample a few. double check ahead of time that they'll run the soft synths you like.
     
  10. 335guy

    335guy Member

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    That might be true for some DAWS, but most all require a familiarity with recording lingo, which has been basically the same for many years. After one gets the DAW installed and their interface set up and working ( which admittedly can be fraught with difficulty ) one basically opens or starts a new project, arms a track/s, hits record, and plays their instrument. Of course, it can be much more complex, but that's the bare bones basics of recording audio in a DAW. But since the OP is using an Apple device, he should just remain with GB or upgrade to Logic.
     
  11. GreatSatan

    GreatSatan Member

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    I use two main ones for different things, cubase for recording and FL studio for midi/vsti.
    I use to use cubase for everything but recently fired FL back up again and found the workflow to be much better for midi-based instruments, whereas with cubase i find their time-stretching audio algorithms to be much better than anything else (this is a direct comparison to studio one and pro tools).
    The other DAW i've used fairly extensively is ableton live, but their lack of vst3 support (& its' widespread industry adoption by 3rd party plugin developers) means that technologically ableton is fast becoming obsolete/getting left behind.
     
  12. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    Bingo, thank you. I've tried several (far from all) and I'm an I.T. guy and I find none of them so far at all intuitive or at all friendly (and this is a major button-pusher as I've worked a lot on user-friendliness in computer apps). Well, Audacity kind of is, but as I mentioned before it's limited and probably not advisable if you're doing much more than really, really basic recording. IMO if someone comes up with a really easy to use DAW which has a relatively full feature set and kept it reasonably priced they would make a mint.
     
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  13. Dasein

    Dasein Member

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    You have to differentiate between the DAW & the recording process itself. A proper DAW without the limitations of something like garageband lets you define how deep you want to go but I really don't see much of a difference in getting started - more a difference in destination. THe more you get into the recor4ding process the more you want top do - the earlier you start bumping up against the limitations of the DAW you are using (if any).
     
  14. Dasein

    Dasein Member

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    But what more than I described above does a beginner need? Insert New Track, Arm, Monitor, Record.... -- Playback.
     
  15. Occam

    Occam Member

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    I was really impressed how easy Logic was to use mainly because there are so many good tutorial videos on youtube. Plenty to get me started and then whenever I have a question there are multiple videos on each topic. I've never been stuck more than a few minutes.
     
  16. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    So..I downloaded Tracktion 6 (free).
    It does not look or lay out like anything else I have used.
    I suspect they are on a different approach and one might get used to it but it sure i snot instantly intuitive from my POV.

    The screenshots of the latest version, however, appear to be in a more familiar style and the pricing is good.

    My suggestion would be to demo T7 if interested, skip 6. YMMV of course.
     
  17. jomama2

    jomama2 Member

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    I looked at 6 and offhand agree.
     
  18. Teal_66

    Teal_66 Member

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    When I started I used Protools. I went to Guitar Center on Saturday mornings as the one near me offered a 1 hour group course in Protools for free. I did that for like 2 months and figured it out. Here's the thing...it is NOT EASY to learn a new DAW when you've been using something else. In my opinion, you should pick the DAW you like (something relevant) - and learn it. DAWs like Garageband are easy to use, but they are not really set up how a pro DAW would work. You can't do any routing or things like that - which are essential to using a DAW.

    I've been wanting to switch to Logic Pro X, but after seeing the tutorials, I don't like it as a main DAW. I wouldn't feel that way if I had started on it.
     
  19. Terry McInturff

    Terry McInturff 40th Anniversary of guitar building! Gold Supporting Member

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    Harrison MixBuss looks dang easy!
     
  20. 335guy

    335guy Member

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