DAW Dilemma

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Nicki, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    I'm in a bit of a dilemma right now in terms of my DAW.

    I've been a Cubase user for years now, but I've been running Artist 7. I've been looking at upgrading to Artist 10 or Pro 10 but something struck me as odd on the Steinberg site. The price for the upgrade from Artist 7 to Artist 10 is $270CAD, but if you use current exchange rates, it should be closer to $240CAD. Steinberg and the third party that runs their online shop are bouncing me back and forth about the price gouge so I'm a little sour. The reason I would go to Pro 10 instead is for the chord assistant. It's a really appealing feature to me, but that's almost a $500CAD upgrade. Could I afford it? Sure, but when I look at the fact that I can get a fully featured version of Reaper for $80CAD, $500 seems wasteful, especially since I also want to upgrade my studio monitors.

    So my dilemma is either paying to stick with Cubase, or switching to Reaper. I'm really flip flopping back and forth. The MIDI programming is hailed in Cubase and it is easy. I've seen videos of MIDI programming in Reaper... It doesn't look intuitive at all. I do a lot of MIDI programming, so it's important for my usage... But still... $80...

    Thoughts? Anyone using or have used both?
     
  2. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    I cannot comment on Cubase...I have never used it, but I have been using Reaper for close to 10 years now and love it. It should be able to cover most/if not all your needs. As far as programming MIDI. It's doable in Reaper, but I don't really have anything to compare it to.

    It really comes down to personal preference (anything is easy to use after you use it for a while).

    If you need monitors as well, REAPER all the way.
     
  3. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    This part would really be the sticking point for me, I think. I really like Reaper, but it's because of familiarity with it. I'll almost always say just go with what works for you, what you're familiar with, what does what you need it to do, etc. but the cost difference is huge.

    In your scenario I'd vote Reaper on the basis of it being perfectly capable for a lot less money. Better yet -> Use the trial. That's what it's for. If you like it, make the real switch.
     
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  4. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    Reaper's free to try, so I'd at least download it and give it 30 days, and see what you think. If you hate it, then you can make a much more informed decision.

    I'm in a position where I could afford to use damned near any DAW I wanted, and I still use Reaper. It's that good - very active software support, extremely active and helpful user community, very flexible routing, and fairly resource light. The stock plugins aren't overly exciting but are very transparent - ReaEQ and ReaComp wouldn't be my first choice for "color" plugins, but I still use them a ton in mixes when I want transparent EQ or dynamic control, and you can probably use all your Cubase plugins in Reaper anyway.
     
  5. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    What about upgrade support for Reaper? How many versions forward do you get to update to before you have to pay for a new license? Or is that even a thing with Reaper?
     
  6. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    It is a thing, but I've never run up against that limit. And I'd be willing to pay again once I hit that limit (which I think might be soon). I think it counts for two major revisions, so if you buy at 5.xx, you get all of 5.xx and 6.xx before you would need a new license. I bought mine in 2014, which was version 4 at the time. Current is 5.984, so I'm still good until it rolls over to 6.
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Also... would you say you have a... DAWlemma?
     
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  8. Winspear

    Winspear Tom Winspear

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    Out of curiosity - what kind of things about the MIDI programming aren't as good? I often hear this complaint. I moved to Reaper after using many DAWs due to it being the most technically powerful and compatible with a few extra unusual things I do. I have experience in many DAWs programming MIDI but I guess I must not have taken advantage of other DAWs usability features (because to me a piano roll is a piano roll).
     
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  9. trem licking

    trem licking SS.org Regular

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    try out cakewalk by bandlab too. It's legit free and fully featured DAW. also has a very helpful forum and is always being updated with features and bug fixes. I started using it from cubase 5... i love cubase but cakewalk is just as good for me after getting used to it. can't hurt to try it out
     
  10. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    If you're looking at things to try, also try Studio One, there's a demo of the full version and a free version.

    But honestly, the biggest difference between Reaper and most other paid DAWs, is that Reaper comes with no inbuilt instruments or visually pretty effects. It's fully featured but bare bones. You're paying for user friendliness among other things.

    If you really want to not pay the extra dollars, try buying it via a VPN.
     
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  11. DudeManBrother

    DudeManBrother Hey...how did everybody get in my room?

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    Reaper is awesome. I have been using Logic for the midi interface and virtual instruments; but I bounce those AIF files back to Reaper for mixing. The stock plugins are useful, if you don’t have a good 3rd party collection, and it’s very CPU friendly. It’s free for 60+ days, so just download it and see how you like it.
     
  12. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    I installed Reaper last night. I liked that I could move the transport from where it was to the top of the main window. I played around with some MIDI settings and liked how easy it was to assign a fader on my MIDI keyboard to the VST EQ band. When I went into the piano roll to program more MIDI nonesense, I noticed the big difference between Cubase and Reaper there. In Cubase, I can draw a MIDI note with one click on the grid. In Reaper, I had to double click. It was a little annoying but not a deal breaker. I'm sure that there's some scripting I could do to remedy it but I'll have to ask around on the Reaper forums. I'll also be looking at changing some of the keyboard shortcuts to behave more like Cubase just because that's what I'm used to.

    @KingAenarion The lack of visually pretty things don't bother me much. I have a bunch of plugins that I use anyway with their own visual effects. The only thing I really used that was baked in to Cubase was the channel EQ. Reaper's lack of built in channel strip effects bugs me only slightly, but that's easily fixed with a plug in. Since I only ever used the built in EQ, I grabbed TenQ and used that in Reaper. As for the price thing, I'm pretty positive that no matter what, I'm going to get charged in my local currency because my CC is in Canadian currency, not USD. Still, $80 is much easier to shell out than the $500 that Cubase Pro 10 would cost me.

    Overall, I think I could handle switching away from Cubase to Reaper. Even though I was only able to play around in it for an hour last night, and most of that hour was spent configuring it, I'm liking what I see so far. I'm going to do a short composition tonight and do the mix and see how it goes.
     
  13. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    Alright, so I've been playing with Reaper tonight for close to 4 hours now. Here are some things that annoyed me right of the bat, and what I did to fix them:

    1. Clicking anywhere would move the playback/edit cursor to wherever was clicked. This was the most annoying thing. There was a mouse modifier in the preferences that when you clicked on an item, the item would be selected and the cursor would also move to the clicked position. I changed it to only select the item.

    2. Extending a MIDI item would loop it when I only wanted to extend the piano roll. This was fixed by turning off looping in the preferences.

    3. Hitting space to stop playback would return the cursor to wherever playback started from. This was fixed by adding a custom action to move cursor to current position and stop playback

    4. Ugly grey colours on all tracks. This was fixed by adding the SWS extension and setting any track to be added in a random colour.

    5. Couldn't hear the metronome while playing guitar. Fixed this by setting the primary beat frequency to 3600Hz and secondary beat frequency to 2800Hz, then turning up the primary beat volume and secondary beat gain to unity volumes.

    6. No shortcut to go back to the very beginning of the audio tracks. Fixed by setting the action with keyboard shortcut on Num 0.

    7. No shortcut to go back to playback/record start, delete current recording and try again. Again, custom action with a keyboard shortcut of Num 1.

    8. No shortcut to stop recording/playback and delete recorded performance. Once again, keyboard shortcut assigned to Num Del

    What kills me is that all of these things come set out of the box with Cubase and it all just makes sense. With Reaper, some of these default setting choices are just idiotic. But I now have Reaper is a state that is usable for me and works with how I like to work in a DAW.
     
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  14. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    They're just minor workflow differences. Those settings make sense to you because it's what you're used to, but I'm the other way around in that I'm used to the behaviour of Reaper, and find them "intuitive" now that I've been in that environment for a while. I get lost in Cubase pretty quickly.
     
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  15. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    I mean, most of that stuff actually works for how I use it. If I was going from Reaper to another DAW I'd be annoyed by their "idiotic" defaults, too.
     
  16. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    There's a lot of other things that are bothering me about Reaper. Like, why do I need to double click to add a midi note, or even drag and draw? Why can't I just click once? Why do I have to turn monitoring on AND arm the track to be able to hear MIDI played on my MIDI keyboard instead of just selecting the track and playing? Why, when I drag the playback cursor at the top of the tracks does it take so long for the cursor to reach where I put my mouse? Why, after setting my metronome did Reaper not save that setting automatically and I had to save the project preferences to preserve the metronome settings from session to session?

    The problem last night is that the whole customization process with Reaper just took so long that it impeded my ability to record music. Essentially, the software got in my way and so did the amount of customization to the point of frustration. Normally, when I walk away at the end of a recording session, I feel creatively fulfilled and content. Last night I walked away angry and disappointed.

    I definitely don't think I'll stick with Reaper.

    One positive note about it though, it's impressively fast to start up.
     
  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    It sounds like you just want Reaper to be Cubase, or whatever else you're used to. As well as it sounds like you don't have the patience to learn a new workflow, which I think is unfortunate given how good Reaper can be as a tool. It's not realistic to expect everything to be perfect for you right out of the box, no matter which program you switch to.
     
  18. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    What I want is to be comfortable in an environment that doesn't impede my ability to create. I could absolutely get used to a new workflow, if I found that workflow intuitive enough out of the box. My whole point is that I should not have to sit for hours on end to customize a piece of software to work for me or the way I want to work. It's just frustrating. Complete customization may be an appealing thing for some people, hence why they choose Reaper, but for me, it more important that the environment is comfortable and intuitive. During my entire time in Reaper last night, I was trying to figure out how to do things, and when I finally did it was not a "Oh, that makes sense" moment(s). It was "WHY!?" or "Ugh, now I have to do a custom action."

    I'm actually going to give PreSonus Studio One a shot as well this weekend. Other ones I'm probably going to look at are Cakewalk and maybe Mixbus.
     
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  19. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I mean, if you found it intuitive out of the box, then you wouldn't need to "get used to it", right? Maybe it's just not the tool for you, and that's fine, but I would still recommend against giving up on it so quickly, on the basis of it not functioning identically to Cubase.
     
  20. Nicki

    Nicki Twit

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    I wouldn't expect it to be functionally identical, otherwise it may as well be Cubase. I just didn't like having to fiddle with a million different settings to get it work the way that I would like or in a way I could get used to. I can get used to minor differences, but to me the differences presented too great a gap in what I'm used to or what I could get used to. Given what I experienced last night, I would expect that I've only scratched the surface of those differences and I don't like the idea of having to continually run into those differences and make further customizations to get it to make sense to me, taking more time away from recording to hunt down and futz with settings. I just think that Reapers customizability is its greatest asset to some and biggest downfall to others. I'm in the latter camp.
     

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