What daw to switch for when it comes to midi composing?

Discussion in 'DAW' started by peshti, Sep 30, 2018.

  1. peshti

    peshti Noisemaker

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    Hey guys!

    I'm thinking about swtiching daw but can't really decide which daw to pick. Today I use fl studio but I have a couple of reasons to switch and I know why I want to switch.

    Reasons to switch.

    1. Fl studio looks great but you have to open so many windows do to stuff, especially if you do midi composing with modulation wheel etc.

    2. Since there is so much clicking around I lose intrest and focus after a while. This does not mean that I don't finish my pieces but still.

    3. I feel that I will benefit from a daw where everything is more squeezed together in well one screen.

    4. I think that a daw that has less clicking around will make me finish pieces more often.

    Reasons to don't switch.

    1. Piano roll looks great and is great

    2. I know the daw pretty well.

    3. The daw looks pretty good and at least for me is easy on the eyes.

    So here are the daws that are on my radar.

    Cubase, Studio one maybe reaper, ableton?

    I have not tried cubase and studio one but it feels more complete than reaper because of everything that comes with it. I already use ableton but mainly for sampled beats, I think ableton is great for this and will probably buy it after the trial, I have the feeling that ableton is not that great for midi composing.

    Cubase seems to have a great reputation for midi composing and studio one seems to have a good reputation too.

    So yeah guys give me some insights before I throw some money in the water.

    Thanks

     
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  3. Olaf

    Olaf Kapellmeister

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    Squeezed together? This is Cakewalk (ex Sonar)! The GUI is "dynamic" with the idea to let you see only what you need to at any moment. Sometimes it even works...
    Besides, Cakewalk always had powerful MIDI options. And since it's free now, it might be a good chance to try it and get an idea.
     
  4. DoubleTake

    DoubleTake Producer

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    I was bothered a bit about the controller window with FL Studio.
    In FL you must switch controller views with a dropdown list, and the precision in editing seems to take more zooming in/out and resizing.
    I also could not find an "event" list or editor.
    I came from Sonar (same as "Cakewalk" by BandLab), and was used to seeing more controllers at once (you can see velocities and controllers in separate windows panes at once). It also has an event editor and midi scripts ... just seems more OBVIOUSLY powerful, MIDI-wise.
    That may be because I don't know FL STUDIO well enough...

    I just began to use Studio One and so far like the MiDi-controller windows pretty well, but have barely used it.

    I like FL Studio's layout but i think it could be made better by allowing even more sizing options (to use space as efficiently as possible).
    I also like the different way it handles patterns etc.

    If you switch to something else you may find using FL as a plugin works for you.
    I did that back when I was using Sonar, and may wind up doing it again.
     
  5. eXACT_Beats_

    eXACT_Beats_ Producer

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    I came from FL Studio, having started using it when it was still Fruity Loops, and When I finally got fed up with FL for a number of reasons that had building over the years (don't get me started,) I shopped around and began trying out a bunch of DAWs and gave myself about three months to find one, so I could spend more than two days testing one and actually give them a fair shot.
    So from your list: Ableton isn't a bad DAW, but I am slightly biased because it really doesn't fit my workflow for recording instruments in, sampling, MIDI or basically anything. My brain doesn't flow with it. I know that a lot fo people love it, but it wasn't for me....that doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out, though. There's areason so many people stick with it.
    Cubase, though I'm not a fan of either, is a good DAW, better, in my opinion, than Ableton, and the MIDI is something that I know is a selling point for a lot of people, and I have to agree, it is nice. I recommend trying Cubase.
    Reaper is another than I found to be surprisingly capable once you figure out some of its oddities due to its infrastructure, and I would have to say that that isn't a bad option either, but expect a learning curve that is different than the others.
    One that you didn't mention, but I know some people are hyped on, is Bitwig, and, although I can honestly say I can't stand it, people are seem to like it, and have mentioned the MIDI as one of the reasons. I tried to get it to work for me but I just don't like it.
    That being said, I finally settled on Studio One with the intention of switching to another DAW if I found it lacked in any important areas, hindered my workflow or just pissed me off one too many times with some quirks that all DAWs have, to whatever degree. But, I've been using Studio One now since v3.2 and it's only gotten better, and more importantly, the improvements are ones that *Studio One users have been asking for.* One of the things I loathed about Image-Line is their inability to do what people wanted them to do as far as improving FL. The MIDI roll, which you mentioned was an important aspect of a DAW for you, has finally gotten to the point in v4 where I think it is on par with any major DAW since its full of easy to use/understand tools right there in front of you. As for the clicking around a bunch, I feel ya'. FL tormented me in that regard as well (when I first started using FL it had drop-downs *everywhere, so if you don't like it now, you'd have never touched it back then, :wow:) but Studio Ones ease of getting everything where you want to go has sped up my projects quite a bit. I might add that Studio One may be the best DAW as far as not having a million windows open as well, and, if you have a second screen, or just want to move it (for whatever reason,) you can detach the section with the Channels/MIDI/Audio section--instead of just downsizing it--and move it off screen, which is a pretty nifty feature.
    I personally recommend Studio One (obviously,) as I spent enough time in FL to say that many of the things I disliked about it are no longer and issue for me in Studio One--*but*--I encourage you to try others on your list, as you might find another suits your style of making music better. None of them are an awful choice, remember that; people use them for a reason. Also remember that there will be varying degrees of learning curves with all of them, so give them all a fair share shot.
    Good luck. :yes:

    (Also, PreSonus has Studio One Prime, which is a lite version that's free, that can give you a good feel of how it works, so you don't have to go to the extremes of taking a chance on purchasing it or, the other extreme, pyrating it. :yes:)
     
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  6. metaller

    metaller Platinum Record

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    https://audiosex.pro/threads/best-daw-for-midi-composing.39443/


    Among the Daws I tried: I would say Cubase is better than Studio one, and both better than Reaper, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Sonar, Bitwig, Mixcraft, and Magix.

    * Cubase has the vst expression, logic editor, chord track, note expression, and lots of other editing tools, which make it easy for programming. Studio One has fewer options but good yet.

    * I have not tried Logic Pro, so no idea.

    * Ableton Live, and Fl studio, the workflow was just awful and complicated, and I hated them at first scene. However Ableton Live has very deep options for programming midi and synth, and it has Max Cycling 74 embedded in.

    * Digital performer for windows requires a big screen because of resolution problems.

    * The only five programs that have embedded score are Cubase, Logic Pro, Digital Performer, Reaper, and Mixcraft. It may matter if you are into classical music. Protools and Studio One have separate software which links with daw.

    * Reaper by default lacks lots of options but if you buy this template with lots of scripts, you can strengthen the reaper.
    http://otr.storyteller.im/
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018
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  7. WeRAllFosterChildren

    WeRAllFosterChildren Producer

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    The best MIDI environment I think is Max/MSP. I have tried Cubase, used Logic for years. The problem with most DAWs is that they are cripplingly linear - basically pretending that a computer is a 1980s multitrack tape studio. One clock + one playhead = living in the past. Whereas with Max, you can do anything with MIDI. Any temperament, any number of tracks or clocks. Most people avoid because you need to patch your work together first. But once you do, it's like you've made your own little studio/instrument.

    I like that Cubase, Logic, FL, Studio One, etc keep adding new features - but they never address the fundamentals of how to schedule events in time, the actual core.
     
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  8. Jeffriezal

    Jeffriezal Ultrasonic

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    Studio One definitely ...
    Sonar also a good midi daw, at least I survive with it for more than 10 years haha

    but the studio one more friendly user, the learning curve not very technical..

    I heard a lot about how good Cubase midi is... but I never give it a try, just using Cubase for recording only, I feel Cubase bit not straightforward and friendly, so I don't bother... but that's just me, I know a lot of music arranger doing a great arrangement with it..

    DAW is really a personal thing, down to your own preferences and work flow..U should try them all before u buy.
     
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  9. 23322332

    23322332 Producer

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    You can change Reaper's settings to act like FL or whatever. It's the deepest DAW, but requires tweaking.
    I use FL (because it opens instantly without scanning any shit or any loading time) and Reaper. I have tried all daws except Bitwig and DP.
    Reaper is the king. But is the hardest daw to learn...
     
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  10. fiction

    fiction Platinum Record

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    You know what?
    I'm working a lot in the piano roll and the only software that had really boosted the fun factor was a small selection of iOS apps.
    Genome MIDI and Korg Gadget (even the free LE version) are about the fastest piano roll compositional tools I'm currently using.
    I might add Imaginando LK (a responsive, touchable piano roll for Ableton Live) and Audio Evolution Mobile, in case you want to use sound fonts and record and edit audio too.

    Some also swear by the Xequence MIDI sequencer, but it won't sync to MIDI clock and only makes sense as an isolated composition tool while Genome and Gadget can be run side-by-side with your favourite DAW.

    You don't need the latest iPad for these to run, an older iPad 4 or iPad Air does the job very well.

    For doing automation and controller edits, I actually prefer Genome over Gadget because in Gadget you have to blindly edit controller curves without even a value display.
    Both can export and import MIDI files and both can sync wirelessly using Ableton LINK.
     
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  11. WeRAllFosterChildren

    WeRAllFosterChildren Producer

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    I hear that! I just got my first iOS device, a minty Air Pad 2, last week. So far I am blown away with the innovation and usability of the apps I am trying. Tonight I started Audiokit Synth One completely by accident while trying to do something else, and spent hours playing with it. I might need to set months aside for Reslice.

    Also, the apps are like 1/10 the price compared to what I am used to on Mac. Great for users, but I feel bad for the developers.

    I expect that instead of using a DAW I will do something more modular. Chain a sequencer to synth to effects to recorder.
     
  12. Baxter

    Baxter Audiosexual

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    Cubase ofc. Download the Cubase Elements 9.5 trial and learn the ropes.

    [if we are just posting what we find easy to work with, the answer to the MIDI question is easy for me.]
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  13. Riot7

    Riot7 Producer

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    I started with mod trackers. Learned Pro Tools for traditional recording studio work. Tried a lot of software at home. One of the programs was called "Fruity Loops". A dingy little software that didn't do much, but it had a pattern based workflow that made sense to me and then they added a great piano roll to it.

    There are many things about FL that really piss me off and make me want to make the switch. Automation. The event editor is basically broken. It's a weird hassle to get basic things like aftertouch and pitch bend working. Still doesn't have proper support for time signatures. It's a bit of a resource hog. Delay compensation is very iffy. Audio editing on the timeline is still pretty shitty. Recording kinda sucks. Some of the stock stuff is pretty great, but I don't even remember the last time they released a plugin I actually use. Basically there are a lot of things they should have fixed or completely redone long time ago.

    Maybe it's because I've been using it for almost 20 years, but every time I check out a different DAW and open the piano roll I get like brain spasms and feel physically ill until I return to FL Studio. It boggles my mind that (AFAIK) no-one has copied the look and the feel of FL's piano roll, which are clearly superior to everything else out there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  14. Olymoon

    Olymoon Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. Staff Member

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    I didn't new aout this template, so I went to the site, and it seems that this a donation-ware so you put the price.
     
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  15. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    fl studio cant recognize the controller knobs since to now even official released controllers cant! fake! shit! liars!
    i tried other daw the controller works fine.
    the 'better' toy look of piano roll not the advantage, pro composer use controllers to input the notes
     
  16. m9cao

    m9cao Producer

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    try other daw:
    1 pro tools, must buy high overpriced hardware shit audio card
    2 cubase, another overpriced shit and hard to use, which has and use 90% fund to develop best program lunching graphics in the market
    3 studio one, a minimal pro tools + cubase, do not buy those official shit hardware
    4 reason, for those black guys
    5 reaper, for those 4th world blind dogs who cant recognizing the beautiful colors and love playing with 20th pc's ui design
    6 ableton live, edm stupid shit, which has illogical brain users
    7 bitwig, a loser who want mix live + fl together
    8 dp, a shit daw which use never update outdated mac ui
    9 sonar, im still alive, use this to demonstrate you are legendary user
     
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  17. E.T.F

    E.T.F Kapellmeister

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    o.k, seriously ABLETON
    here's why-
    1 You can rewire FL through it and you are already familiar with ableton a bit, maybe integrate into your setup a bit more than just for samples?
    2 Arrangement mode is simple to use with everything easily available from main screen.
    3 Midi FX -scale, arp, note length etc mean you can generate or play around with midi easily and edit afterwards in piano roll (which also is simple).
    4 Midi clips can be edited in more detail- cc numbers, note length, velocity etc
    5 Easy to route VSTs, automation of knobs of vsts on front screen e.g modulation wheel!
    6 Built in synths, audio fx easy to operate,automate, low cpu and great for quick practical solutions
    7 Mr Bill and Ill Gates have some awesome tutorials, templates, techniques that are far easier to do in ableton and very inspiring, even if it's not your style of music. They both produce huge bodies of very original and complex works and collaborations etc by using ableton for extremely fast workflows.
    8 Easy to integrate hardware, live recordings etc.

    Try the full version before u buy, dont spend ££$$ on something you might hate, whichever DAW u choose, sister site great for this.
    My problem with Cubase and Cakewalk is that they seem really bloated and full of legacy junk. In my opinion they have both been around for a long time and are not really optimized for modern users.
    You want to make music, right?
    "you have to open so many windows do to stuff, especially if you do midi composing with modulation wheel etc."
    "Since there is so much clicking around I lose interest and focus after a while"

    Would be good to know what sort of music u are creating to advise on setup etc PM me if u dont want to post here

    plug my own stuff here (all ableton with VSTs)


    plug this cos mr bill is genius
    Mr. Bill - Ableton Tutorial 20: Create A Melody From One MIDI Note
     
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  18. Talmi

    Talmi Audiosexual

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    All the daws you think about getting are very good with midi, although they shine each on different aspects.

    Cubase 9.5 pro offers some serious advance functions you won't find anywhere else but on Reaper (in a less pretty nicely integrated way). If you do orchestral stuffs probably your best option.
    Studio one and Ableton sure aren't as advance when it comes to functionnalities (next to Cubase and Reaper) but there is every thing you need for most genres (scales and chords/arp tools, nice editors, patterns for S1, sessions for Ableton) and for both the workflow is extremely fun (which you seem to seek), good for creativity and less mouse clicks.
    Reaper is good go between, it has every functions you can dream of the workflow sure isn't there when you pull it out of the "box", but with a few scripts, vsts, playtime and its own tools you can make it a pretty intuitive and fun beast to work with.
     
  19. albert001

    albert001 Noisemaker

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    my new hero is Waveform 9 wen it comes to workflow, its so easy to use i never try´t to open the manual.wen it comes to midi there are always more than 2 ways to do it...they even got more chord and progression tools by now in the newer version.and its fast man its like reaper fast and cpu wise its also like reaper!just look for the videos on their home page they explain the new midi stuff deeply.

    Good luck and have fun man!:wink:
     
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  20. peshti

    peshti Noisemaker

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    Thanks for all the insights! Just to clarify I don't hate FL studio I just don't think it's that great with midi, modulation wheel etc. Too much clicking around really.

    I was thinking about using FL studio only for sampled beats but feel in love with ableton for this.

    So I will probably leave fl studio because of ableton and right now I'm trying to find a daw with great midi control and easy access for midi control.

    The music I create or at least aim for is orchestral cinematic composition.
     
  21. eXACT_Beats_

    eXACT_Beats_ Producer

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    Talmi's assessments are concise, but accurate, @peshti . Other than my post, I vote Talmi.
    That being said, E.T.F makes some good points for Ableton--frankly, I'm shocked more people haven't come to Ableton's defense--and metaller laid it out simply but accurately as well. Honestly, I think that you should just start testing them out. It's not going to hinder you in any way to know how to navigate around five different DAWs. :yes:
     
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