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If you consider yourself "old" and you use a DAW,
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Author If you consider yourself "old" and you use a DAW,
sutekina bipu-on
Hey everyone,

Let me get to the point: I'm on the younger side of people on this site, being still under 30, and my gf's dad has been doing music since the 60s so he is to this day a lot more comfortable with all analog than anything digital. Basically he can only use Digital Performer 9.0 and nothing else and never really got the hang of Digital Performer regardless. He can lay down some tracks and do some minor edits and drop some VST's in but that's really where the line is drawn.

I'm gonna teach him how to do everything he wants to do in a better DAW environment. My preferred DAW is REAPER, but I come from a computer engineering background so I'm aware REAPER is a little more techy-oriented than most other DAWs. I thought I should avoid teaching him REAPER for that reason.

What DAWs do you old heads who used to splice tape like most, what was the least effort DAW for you to get into, and would you completely forego a computer- based setup for something like an iPad based setup (he's expressed interest in learning to use an interface like the Midas or RME which can be fully controlled via a tablet as well).

Any suggestions I am all ears for. Thanks in advance thumbs up
Be Sandy?
Is he happy with DP9? If yes, then why change?

I've never got the impression that Reaper is any more techy than any other DAW. It seems pretty straightforward and standard in layout and use the couple of times I've tried it. It's also cheap and very well done so would make a good choice to try out with minimal financial investment should he decide it's not for him.

Plus, if it's what you are familiar with then you'll have a much easier time demonstrating it and he's more likely to learn what he needs to know.
Dilibob
A lot of us ancients use protools.
Synthbuilder
I tried Reaper. I didn't like it because it was too 'computery' - I'm fine with computers just don't want to use one for my music. I've used Live since Live 4. It's user interface is simple, bold and easy to use and see with crappy eyesight. Just don't use the session view for what it was used for - expand the mixer tray to be as big as possible. Add six return channels, and the session view will look like an analogue desk.

Prior to using Live I used the midi only Cubase on an Atari with an analogue desk and mastered onto cassette. Before that, a four track, and before that two tape decks using sound on sound for overdubs.

It may be worth looking into Reason too. R11 hits the deck this month. However, when it went from two 'screens' to three 'screens' at R6 I stopped using it.
Kent
If he is capable of smoothly getting tracks done with DP, I don’t understand driving for a change there. If, however, he does wish to change, it gets no more simple and useful than Tracktion. It is extremely easy to use and has one of the most logical and clutter-free UIs around.
chaocrator
at the moment, i am on OTB side until my stuff is recorded, and then i import it to Harrison Mixbus for mixing & mastering.

Mixbus is just superb for this kind of jobs.

it is not that cool for beatmaking kind of jobs, but even in my software-only days i preferred to use different software for this, because it's different kind of workflow. of course, Bitwig is the best among DAWs of this king, but not affordable for me.

so, the bottom line is: two DAWs for different kind of jobs may be better than all-in-one solution that does everything, but with trade-offs.
sutekina bipu-on
Hey, I really appreciate all the replies so far.


I should have mentioned that he hates DP9 thus me offering to help him figure out a new DAW (that might have been useful for me to mention....) I think it came with some MOTU hardware he bought years ago and just installed it off the CD and never got along with it.

REAPER is a DAW I love with all my heart but I worried it'd be too overwhelming. I don't know Cubase as well as REAPER but I do know it enough to teach it to someone.

Super cool suggestion about Live, Synthbuilder, I appreciate that. I will try it out on my own pc and see how it goes. smile

The Tracktion DAW looks great, Kent. I never tried this one but I will give it a shot and see how it goes. If it can integrate with his mixing board it could be a winner. (I don't know the model sadly)

I was also thinking about the OTB recording ITB mixing scenario, since he's expressed interest specifically in Mixtender after one of the bars he plays at got that set up. RME TotalMix seems nicer to me though, so i might try to see if that's the way he wants to go with it. I'll definitely have to look into Mixbus more, but at first glance it seems similar in approach to Mixtender/Totalmix. I used to love E-MU Patchmix smile

I'll give all the suggestions thus far a shot, any other ideas feel free to keep em coming.
Umcorps
I'm Logic4life so have no motivation to learn a new DAW but last time I checked it out, PreSonus Studio 1 looked pretty handy to me. The base version is free to try (though I notice that only the "Pro" version is 64 bit which might be an issue down the line)

Personally I wouldn't touch Cubase with a bargepole but YMMV
sutekina bipu-on
Umcorps wrote:
I'm Logic4life so have no motivation to learn a new DAW but last time I checked it out, PreSonus Studio 1 looked pretty handy to me. The base version is free to try (though I notice that only the "Pro" version is 64 bit which might be an issue down the line)

Personally I wouldn't touch Cubase with a bargepole but YMMV


Does Logic have a steep learning curve? I don't have a Mac, but he does. It looks like how I remember Garageband being, but a lot more funcitonal (it was great for me when i was getting started...)

It looks like it might be fairly easy to get the hang of.
Umcorps
The learning curve for (Emagic) Logic used to have the rep of being near vertical. After the Apple buyout, its become a lot more accessible and that seems to improve with each version. The current versions looks fairly straightforward to me but then I'm familiar with what I'm looking at. I don't know what it would look like with a clean pair of eyes.

I mean, its still ridiculously deep but much of that is hidden away. It's there if you need it but doesn't distract if you don't.

Example. One of the things that is kind of hidden away now but that might be important to your gf's dad is the "Environment". This is in effect a virtualisation of the midi setup of your studio and the data flow in and out of the DAW. Fully customisable and able to perform all kinds of processing and transformations. Hugely powerful and a massive selling point back in the day because you could manage all your outboard gear directly from the DAW. Not so important now maybe, so to get that view on things you have to enable it in Preferences first.

The problem with Logic is that it can do so much. I think they've done a decent job of layering it so that the things most people want to do for most of the time are there in front of you. But the other stuff is not too far away. Which might be a good thing or might be a huge, confusing distraction.

GarageBand might actually be a good place to start as its free and its really just the meat of the Logic engine wearing a different skin. I can't stand it myself but that's because when I look at it I can't unsee Logic, so I just get frustrated with the interface. Probably looks very different coming to it with no preconceptions.
kinkujin
Well, I’m in between you and your gf’s Dad age-wise but, I find it difficult to change my groove in software. I started on Cakewalk from their beginning and stuck with them until they bit the dust. I tried many many softwares and nothing really worked for me until Reason. I love it! Spent a weekend getting acclimated and was making good progress. Still learning of course, but not much keeping me from moving ahead.

Good luck you and him!
zeit
I used Ableton Live for a couple of years but I wouldn't recommend him that unless he's going to use the Session View. I wouldn't recommend Bitwig either. Otherwise, I'd have him demo Presonus Studio One. I recently wipe out my Window OS and installed a Linux OS (for other purposes than music making) and I miss Studio One *a lot*. I'd recommend Studio One for it's simplicity. It's also fairly light on the resources. It was also very stable (on Windows 10). I hardly had to read the manual and was up and recording stuff. I also like the step recorder on the MIDI editor...very nice.

IMO, Reaper is for a certain type of technical folk, it was frustrating for this old brain. lol ...so I'm not sure I'd recommend that unless he's that type.

I haven't tried Cubase but I want to...it seems similar to Studio One...but again, I haven't been able to test it out yet so not 100% on that.
chaocrator
zeit wrote:
I recently wipe out my Window OS and installed a Linux OS (for other purposes than music making) and I miss Studio One *a lot*.


you should install both side by side in dual boot manner wink
Soy Sos
I'm 54 and started on tape, moved to a hybrid tape/sync/computer situation with Performer in the late 80's and switched to DP as soon as it became more stable.
I switched to Live about 8 years ago and am now a full fledged Ableton freak.
I think with older recordists who are coming from a hardware background and never fully got the hang of a software solution that fits it's a question of finding a workflow that jives with them. I've never used Reaper, but I understand that it's VERY configurable. I'd suggest finding out what he really likes, dislikes and needs and seeing if there's a custom layout that would suit him and could be used as a starting point for every project. Then tweek that set up as he progresses. I worked for years advising a guy in his 70's on his needlessly overly complex DP setup that a friend (who passed away) had devised for him. He was very stubborn about change and I was always trying to get him to simplify.
TheRosskonian
How does he learn and what does each DAW offer that really appeals to him? That's likely going to be the determining factor with what sticks.

Between the very excellent video tutorials by Kenny that are now free directly on the site and having you on hand for guidance, wouldn't Reaper be the best choice?

I am a Reaper user myself, I like that you can basically setup the whole interface in whatever way you like. If he/you don't mind that initial work of learning how to do this, you can basically set it up to fit whatever workflow is needed. But, I am no expect in any other DAW, I assume most, if not all, offer this flexibility these days.
calaveras
I use Logic Pro X like a tape machine. I even throw a UAD tape plugin on the tracks!
I usually ignore the tempo, key and time division settings. Just arm tracks and blaze. Then go back and edit things to my liking. Muting, cutting and pasting. Or using automation to control amplitude and pan.

I actually preferred a few other DAWs like pre-Roland Cakewalk Sonar for the editing and features. But Logic Pro is very stable and well supported by hardware vendors.

If GF's dad has a Mac he can check out Garageband for free, which is essentially baby Logic.
Muzone
Reaper's generous licensing policy means it's a zero cost risk to try, If you're a Reaper user then just make him a nice simple template or two and go from there.
I'm far from computer savvy but find Reaper no problem to use, both for MIDI and audio - the Reaper video tutorials were pretty much my only learning tool, I never even d/l the manual!
Funky40
to check out ableton live, there are many small hardware gadgets like midi controllers, even small ones, which come with a Live lite version for free.
8 tracks only. enough to check and start.

check for example the novation launch control or some small akais etc. etc. .........in case
LNerell
I also recommend starting with Garageband and if he likes it then he can move up to Logic.
lisa
I tried several DAWs before I clicked with one of them (Ableton Live). Before that it was Cubase, Reaper and Tracktion and they all almost killed me by boredom. So, I guess my top tip is for your father to try them one by one until he finds himself getting along with one of them. smile
noeticsound
I’m mid-40s now but have been using software for music since my early 20s and pretty much abandoned the analog workflow immediately.

I used to be partial to DP myself, but a friend recommended Live for tackling a challenge I had, and—once Live got its MIDI editing up to speed—I migrated from DP for good.

Live is great and quite elegant once you get your head around it, but it’s not intuitive for the less technerdy musician, which describes many of my music chums and generational cohort.

For these folks, I recommend Reason, which some criticize for its cartoonish mimicry of a hardware studio; fair enough, but it’s easier for hardware peeps to grasp, plus its powerful enough to reward deep exploration...and it’s fun.
pianoscope
unless he's asking, leave him alone..
sutekina bipu-on
pianoscope wrote:
unless he's asking, leave him alone..


He had his daughter ask me if I'd be willing to help, so don't worry. Believe me, I have NO interest in teaching ANYONE any DAW, but I definitely owe it to the guy for helping me and my girl with our new place so much. So I am gonna teach him and do a good job of it.

I made a mistake in my original post
: He's stuck on Digital Performer 7 and can't upgrade because he is still using a Power Mac G5 - aka he's locked to a 14 year old version of Mac OS X.

He bought a new Mac Pro last year, tried DP9 and he absolutely hated it and asked for help going in a new direction. Ever since, the Mac Pro has been sitting in a corner while he keeps using the G5.
sutekina bipu-on
Just want to thank everyone who posted here with helpful suggestions - it means a lot to me. I want this teaching session to go smoothly and all your suggestions have given some great insight on how i should go about this.

I'm thinking of definitely having a few installers for different DAWs ready to go on a flash drive. Thinking first I'll have him try Garageband to see is he likes the layout. If not, I'll show him Live, a personally customized REAPER chez sutekina bipu-on, and keep going down the list of none of those are any good (he HAS mentioned how cool he thinks UAD is to me, so that's a +1 for calaveras suggestion of Logic in my book).

Now I gotta go find some youtubes of DP7 so I can make a REAPER layout just in case....
Soy Sos
1 more thing, I wouldn't recommend getting into the UAD thing except for certain conditions. Best not to depend on hardware to support your plugins these days unless it's for live input processing. There are other ways to get those tones under mixing conditions that are fully native.
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