Recording Software Recommendation

Discussion in 'Studio & Stage' started by hhuffman, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. hhuffman

    hhuffman New Member

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    I've been down so many rabbit holes researching software I am hoping you guys/girls can help me focus.

    I am a total amateur, will never record a studio album, nor want to become an engineer, so I don't need anything crazy. I just want to do full four piece type recordings with vocals, bass, drums (via EZDrummer) and guitar.

    I have a fully capable dedicated laptop to load software onto.

    I have a free copy of Pro Tools First via my Focus Rite Scarlett.

    I haven't bought EXDrummer 2 yet, so I'm not totally committed to it, but it seems to be the way to go for adding drums to original music.

    Thoughts?

    Thank you,
    Heath
     
  2. alantig

    alantig Sassyless pants

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    EZ Drummer is a fabulous tool (and 2 is worth the upgrade). It'll let you do just about anything you want - tons of grooves available, and you can edit them to personalize them. If you want expansion packs, your best friend is patience - they go on sale 3-4 times a year (they're on sale now) and you can get them for like 40% off.

    As for recording software, Pro Tools is nice, but they've gone to pretty much a subscription model. You don't say if you have a Mac or Windows PC. I'm on Mac, so I use PT and Logic. PT was my first, but I've been working on learning Logic and I'm getting better. It's a hell of a deal for $200. I don't know enough about the DAWs on the Windows side to comment about them.

    If you want to explore free options, Reaper and Audacity get good reviews. Both will do multi tracking. Not sure how they handle plugins.
     
  3. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    Hi Heath.

    Have you tried your Pro Tools yet? I would start there, if you haven't yet. Pro Tools is a pretty widely used program, so you should be able to find plenty of support online via tutorials, forums, etc. And I would reckon any program like EXDrummer would be compatible, with Pro Tools being an industry standard. Of course, you might want to double check on that.

    I've heard very good things about the most recent version of Superior Drummer, which is full of great drum samples. Don't know how that compares to EXDrummer, especially if the latter actually helps you to build the beat more easily, but maybe check it out.

    Most DAW software that I've seen and used are relatively similar - they all have their peculiarities, but the concept is the same. So starting with the free Pro Tools you have should cover your needs, initially at least. I've found that the further I dig in to home recording, the more functionality I want, which is where an upgraded DAW software will come in.
     
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  4. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    If you're on a mac I'd recommend Logic. It has a built-in drummer feature which is awesome (check out how it works on the internet - basically it builds its own drum parts based on what you tell it to do).
    Logic is nice because it can be "dumbed down" (which I believe is actually the default setting) - so it should be easy to get going.
    Though if you're on a mac, you can go even simpler and just use Garage Band. If and when you upgrade to Logic, the transition will be easy.

    Reaper handles plugins just fine, but includes no virtual instruments in itself. It will load ezdrummer 2 without a problem.
    Reaper isn't free, but it's only like 60 dollars IIRC.
    However, it isn't the most intuitive DAW, especially for the casual user.

    For PC, I think I'd look into either Studio One 3, or Reaper (caveat above notwithstanding). But there are other alternatives.

    I don't think pro tools first will fit your needs, judging by a quick glance.
    Usually the free/cheapest versions of commercial software doesn't support third party plugins like EZDrummer (note that reaper is cheap, but un-crippled - there's only the full version)
     
  5. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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  6. hhuffman

    hhuffman New Member

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    First, thank you all for the thoughtful responses.

    My laptop is Windows 10, so no Garage Band or Logic.

    Prosonus is offering Black Friday deals of half off, $49 for mid-tier and $199 for Professional. Aside from Reaper that seems to be the least expensive option for highly complete recording solutions, right?

    EZDrummer is essentially $179 for the basic program with 2 EZX midi bumdle downloads. If I found a smoking deal on Superior Drummer I'd pull the trigger on that, but it's way more than I think that I need.
     
  7. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    If it were me, I'd go for the Studio One 3 (as I know that a little bit and think it is nice) - BUT the artist version doesn't support third-party plugins (like ezdrummer) unless you buy an add-on for it: https://shop.presonus.com/products/...dio-one-add-ons/VST-and-AU-and-Rewire-Support.

    At that point, i think you may as well buy the Professional version.

    Note that if you sign up at Audiodeluxe.com, you'll get further black friday discounts. It seems like you can get the Professional version for $168 total when you have registered and are logged in to your account. There's also a discount on just the Artist version - but I'd not recommend that.

    In the end, any DAW has a learning curve, and you will get there if you stick with it. Some are more accessible than others, but it sounds like you are only going to use the basic functions anyway, so it shouldn't be too much of an issue.

    If you need an accessible visual interface and don't mind paying for it I'd say go Studio one. Otherwise, get Reaper. Your Mileage May Vary. My recommendation is based on my own experience and PREFERENCES :)
     
  8. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc The pullout king.

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    With all those add-ons costing more money... Honestly I'd look for a used Mac Mini off eBay and get Logic. $400-500 and you've got a killer professional DAW with zero extra stuff you'd need to buy (like EZ drummer etc.) and a computer you can safely surf porn sites on.
     
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  9. dmatthews

    dmatthews Dave's not here...

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    Gotta love those bonus extras!
     
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  10. hhuffman

    hhuffman New Member

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    This is a response to both Michael and Sergio.

    Sergio, I have access to a MacBook, but I've stayed away from Logic since it seems expensive and way more than I will need/ be able to use. However, I didn't realize that it had the VST functionality of EZDrummer, potentially saving me some money there. Is it true that it has the functionality of EZDrummer built in?

    Michael, thank you for the response, and the link to Audiodeluxe. If Sergio doesn't convince me in the direction of Logic I'll likely do exactly what you suggest.
     
  11. Michael_DK

    Michael_DK New Member

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    I just want to point out that the drummer in logic isn't the same as ezdrummer. It's not a scaled down version of ezdrummer or anything, it's its own thing. Look at a couple of youtube clips to see how they differ.

    I'm sure many people will prefer ezdrummer for its sounds. I think the sounds in logic's drummer are fine, but people have differing tastes :)

    Lastly, Logic can't load VSTs. VST is a specific plugin format, and Logic only loads another format (AU). Most plugins, however (and ezdrummer as well) come in both formats out of the box.

    OK, final word: I think garageband also has a scaled-down version of the drummer feature. If your macbook is relatively new, I think garageband is downloadable for free too. If so you could play around with it and see if it does what you want.
     
  12. Tosca

    Tosca Death by a million mini-toggles...

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    I couldn’t agree with this more. Switching to a Mac and Logic was the single best decision I ever made to increase my enjoyment and productivity in recording. If you can swing EZ drummer 2 (or better yet SuperiorDrummer 3) you wouldn’t regret that either.
     
  13. Tucson Thump

    Tucson Thump New Member

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    So is that what you mean when you yell "Surf's Up"?
     
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  14. Dusty Chalk

    Dusty Chalk alberngruppenführer

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    Steinberg UR12 comes with Cubase AI.

    I'd recommend Audacity as its free, but it won't play with EZDrummer.
     
    #14 Dusty Chalk, Nov 23, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2017
  15. alantig

    alantig Sassyless pants

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    Yep - I forgot about Reaper actually costing money. My bad.
     
  16. markd21

    markd21 New Member

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    I have been using ProTools since the early 2000's. I had an HD system, but just "upgraded" to PT12. It's very intuitive, works well on Windows - as long as you optimize (which is no big deal, especially if your computer will be dedicated to audio). I have Reaper on a mobile rig/laptop - it gets the job done for tracking, but I ALWAYS take the .wav files and import them to PT for mixing/editing.

    I am using Win 10 of a custom spec'd Dell Workstation (i7, 64GB RAM, 2xSSD) with an RME 9652 and Focusrite preamps. If I was in your boat, I'd work with PT First and see if you can used to the workflow. IF you need "more" then think about upgrading to something else.

    While I often track "band" material with our real drummer, most of my other work is done via EZDrummer. In my opinion, you can't go wrong. From reading your original post, it seems like you have what you need to get started. Dive in and have fun!!!
     
  17. Deli6505

    Deli6505 Rockin' the D!

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    All of these posts are very well written so all I can say is Logic Pro X if you're a Mac user (like me).
     
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  18. GuitarDrummer

    GuitarDrummer New Member

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    I'm currently using REAPER at home. It works on Mac and Windows [I'm on Win10]. They sell this DAW based on the honor system. If you make your living with music and earn more than $10k per year, they ask that you buy it for $300. But if it's for home use, then they ask $60. This was last time I looked, so not sure how current theses prices are.

    The plug-ins that I'm using are Addictive Drums and Addictive Keys.

    REAPER has some good effects plug-ins as well, for EQ, compression, and many others.
     
  19. dcm_guitar

    dcm_guitar New Member

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    You're getting a lot of great responses. I'll throw my two cents in......

    Most all of the DAWs these days are really good. Whatever you choose you'll probably stick with for a while because there is a learning curve to the program and you get used to the workflow. I would definitely recommend a DAW that supports multiple plugin types.

    I'm not going to get into the Mac/Windows debate. I record on a Mac because when I started (6.3 million years ago), the Mac platform was a LOT better for music production. These days, that's definitely not true.

    I've used several DAWs in the past. Currently, I'm settled on Ableton Live. Ableton is big in the EDM community, but I don't use it that way at all. I record everything myself and don't use samples. Ableton provides a really interesting workflow that provides some amazing functionality for song writing and arranging. I can play with ideas in Ableton in an easy and intuitive way that just are not possible in any other DAW (except for Bitwig). Ableton can also act like a linear DAW just like the other options so it has two distinct flavors that really act as different inspirations for creating new material. Everything is not perfect. Mixing in Ableton is a bit of a chore. I've gotten pretty good at it, but the mixing environment in Logic is far superior.

    I'm a HUGE fan of EZ Drummer and highly recommend getting it. It's super intuitive and easy to use. It has some pretty fantastic mixing functionality. I keep saying I should "upgrade" to Superior Drummer, but EZ Drummer is so damn good and so damn easy that it's hard to justify a change.

    If I were doing this from the beginning I'd probably go with Studio One from Presonus. Why? Well, it has all the basic functionality of any good DAW. However, Presonus is doing an interesting thing where they integrate a lot of their hardware deeply with their software. Once you start recording, you find that getting away from the mouse and using a tactile surface for tracking and mixing is helpful. However, finding a good tactile surface that really integrates with your DAW is a chore. EVERYTHING in this area is a big compromise unless you go insanely high-end with Pro Tools. However, Presonus is providing some really cool tactile surfaces that integrate amazingly well with their Studio One software. I'd really take a look at this.

    Recording can be an easy and relatively inexpensive hobby, or it can be a rabbit hole that takes you down a path of gear acquisition. You're always looking for that next big thing that's going to improve your sound. It's a lot of fun!! It starts with the DAW, then the audio interface, then mics, then preamps, then ..... Heck, just building a decent mic locker can put you in the poor house. Then there are preamps. Ooof......
     
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  20. Wakester

    Wakester Class Clown

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    I've been using Cubase LE for Church productions, and at home for personal use. My copy came free with my digitech RP and BP pedals. software is decent and works on windows 10. They have other versions available, but it does come at a cost of course.
     

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