Help with DAW for beginners

Uzeurillus1on82

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
179
I've never in my 25 years of playing guitar ever really tried to record anything shy of a video here and there on my iphone. I recently got a fractal fm3 and ran it into my iphone and into garage band and I was blown away at how easy it was to put down a simple drum track and then record a rhythm and lead and now I really want to get into a little more. I don't have a mac so I downloaded cakewalk and I gotta say I am having a really hard time with it. So much that I was looking at old used mac books because I want to just stick with garage band because it was so easy. Is there any PC based software that's as idiot proof as garageband or should I just grab and old mac book? I know some of you reading this will be thinking I should just learn pro tools or whatever - I'll be the first to admit that I'm the furthest from a "pro" player and this is all just for fun for me so if there really isn't anything as simple as garage band to jam to and record with then I have no problem accepting that and sucking it up and buying a mac.
 

Mark White

Member
Messages
1,096
Not like GarageBand as such, but two free-to-try DAWs for PC include Reaper (that gets a lot of good recommendations here) and Ardour. These might be worth looking at if you want a cheap solution.
 

ryentzer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
173
It's not as easy to get into as GarageBand but you may want to try Studio One? I have both. I prefer GB but S1 isn't too hard to get started with and they have a lot of training videos available that are pretty good. I still haven't found an easy drummer looper like GB has though. That thing is cool!

Also, if you don't have an interface (I don't know how Fractal works), a lot of interfaces include a DAW.
 

Lef T

Member
Messages
5,914
I like Garageband.
It's very user friendly and has great drums,etc.
I'm fairly new to computer recording but Garage band made it quite easy to get up and running.
I've got a 2017 Imac and it works great.
My vote would be to get a used Imac.
Down the road you can upgrade to Apple Logic Pro X if you find you want more out of your Daw.
 
Last edited:

sleep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,006
I've never in my 25 years of playing guitar ever really tried to record anything shy of a video here and there on my iphone. I recently got a fractal fm3 and ran it into my iphone and into garage band and I was blown away at how easy it was to put down a simple drum track and then record a rhythm and lead and now I really want to get into a little more. I don't have a mac so I downloaded cakewalk and I gotta say I am having a really hard time with it. So much that I was looking at old used mac books because I want to just stick with garage band because it was so easy. Is there any PC based software that's as idiot proof as garageband or should I just grab and old mac book? I know some of you reading this will be thinking I should just learn pro tools or whatever - I'll be the first to admit that I'm the furthest from a "pro" player and this is all just for fun for me so if there really isn't anything as simple as garage band to jam to and record with then I have no problem accepting that and sucking it up and buying a mac.
Ableton Live is very easy to learn and is cross-platform. I find it the most intuitive of the DAWs I've used, but I've only used a couple others (Logic, Garageband, Cakewalk a loooong time ago).
 

Billinder33

Member
Messages
1,783
Any PC/Mac based pro DAW is going to take some learnin' work.

Reaper is not the easiest, but it's probably got the best user base support. In a recent poll here, Reaper and Logic were the most popular DAWs used by members of this forum... third place wasn't even close. Never had a question that I couldn't find with a proper Google search.

So if you go with Reaper and can't find an answer by Googling, someone here can probably help. And you can't beat the price... free to try forever, $60 to buy.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
Messages
6,013
buy a refurbished Mac directly from Apple.
great price, as new condition, with full warranty.

 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,005
Most DAWs have free versions and/or demos. Try a few out before committing to one - you'll find that some will be more intuitive to you than others. For example, I found StudioOne pretty easy to use, but could not get my head around Ableton Live for tracking (I found the arrangement stuff easy, but tracking baffled me).

If you want to do anything sophisticated in any DAW, you will need to spend some time learning it - I think that's just the reality of DAWs. They are complex tools and it takes some effort to learn a complex tool. There are tons of tutroials (free and pay) on line for most DAWs, so you don't need to figure it out on your own.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,718
Studio One offers a free, but quite useful, version.
Going to a full version on any of them, and then recognizing what you need and how to get there is a career in itself, if you want full competency.
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
32,718
I'd give tracktion a shot too. I used older versions many years ago, and it was straightforward in a similar way to garageband.
I tried an earlier version and it may have worked but it was downright primitive re its GUI.
 

kiki_90291

Member
Messages
4,005
I used Waveform (fka Tracktion) for a while before StudioOne. I found it very intuitive and easy to use - the have a free version now that's worth checking out. I understand it's pretty full featured. Waveform 10 is pretty good - I just ran into some issues with it that got in the way of my work flow (mostly around MIDI programming) and could not get a solution from their support, so I switched.

Beyond that, I felt Waveform had two limitations that slowed me down - very thin presets/content for their native plugins, so I had to get that content elsewhere (so more expense) and no notation function.

With Waveform, I used Musecore, a free notation program that works quite well, but StudioOne connects directly to Notion (and with version 5, they added a bunch of notation capability native). Depending on your needs, these could be issues or irrelevant. I will say that Notion has some issues that can make certain pieces harder to notate, so I still use Musescore for some projects - it's a bit of a crapshoot, although the new native notation parts of StudioOne have reduced those issues somewhat.

If all you are doing is tracking and using plugins for processing, Waveform is pretty decent. I haven't tried the free version, but it's free and worth a go.
 

Captngeetch

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
916
Im also gonna say Waveform. Number one it is a full featured free DAW. The only real difference from the next level up paid version is some plugins and software instruments and bonus software included. Zero track limit, full midi editor, track freezing, comping etc.It’s a single screen interface and the workflow is excellent. It is super easy to get recording quick. I use Pro Tools most of the time, but still keep my version of Waveform up to date. I have since T5 and I use it for small track count projects and quick ideas because I can be recording in under a minute. It’s free, give it a shot.
 

jogogonne

Member
Messages
627
I would go with Reaper.

Garageband may be easier to plug and play, but I wouldn't go as far as to buy a separate computer for that.

You'll eventually learn how to set up the Fractal into Reaper, set up a track and record.

The rest, in terms of producing a good recording is going to be a big learning curve with Garageband too.
 

Uzeurillus1on82

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
179
Thanks guys I’ll give reaper a shot. I’m sure this is the manual but can I run both fm3 edit and a daw at the same time?
 

Uzeurillus1on82

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
179
I was just fiddling with garage band on my phone and as always after i lay down about three tracks it starts freezing. I'm really bummed I'm not serious enough to buy a new mac just for this and I get frustrated with these confusing programs and give up! I've got about two too many amps right now (fm3, mark v, roadster, helios) so I'm just gonna sell one of the amps and suck it up and buy a mac
 

Canard

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
193
Reaper is terrific. You'll also need an interface if you don't have one.
 




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