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Thread: Easiest to learn DAW

  1. #1
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    Default Easiest to learn DAW

    I have played around with Audacity and Studio One a bit but the learning curve is overwhelming. Is there one DAW that is easier to learn?

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    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    Short answer is no, even if you want to do the most basic things like trimming heads and tails (beginning and end of recordings), adjust EQ, and set final levels for whatever purpose you have.

    See, it's like a word processor. They used to be simple, but launching any word processor these days will throw up an array of menu choices and options in the user interface. You probably don't need 90% of that stuff to write a letter or format a report, but you have to learn what you do need.

    DAWs are like that. You have to work with them, join a user group if you're having trouble and need help, watch some YouTube videos aimed at beginners for the software you're using.

    For what it's worth, I've been recording at home for a long time, primarily other musicians. The two DAWs I use are Audacity for the most basic stuff, and Reaper for anything where I'm dealing with multiple tracks, or want to use a collection of plugins I've amassed over the years (Audacity now supports that too).

    Reaper isn't very expensive and has a good support community. There are others out there. ProTools is good if you need to move project files back and forth with other musicians but the pro version is pricey.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    I don't recommend Audacity as a DAW anymore, though I first recorded with it. It's great for quick editing and such, though.

    As @foldedpath says, you have to spend some time, regardless of which you choose. And, they all do the same thing, basically. I'm not a Reaper user, but it's probably got the largest user community outside of something like ProTools, but that DAWs users tend to not be beginners. It would probably be my first choice if I was starting on a Windows platform. (I started with GarageBand when I switched to a Mac, probably 10 or more years ago. It is simple, but you need a Mac. There is a version for iPhone and iPad, but I have only used it to poke around a little. I'm really a Logic user for some years now.)

    Start simple. Record one track and learn how to do that well. Don't worry about FX until you can get the interface/preamp Gain right for your source and mic type so you have the right kind of level for your track. Work on mic placement for best sound of your source and space/room. Just use one mic. Learn about dB, and appropriate levels for recording, and then for your output, and then final levels, including peaks, "loudness" (LUFS), and find out how to massage your basic track. Add a track and start mixing. Learn about EQ. Practicing mixing with just EQ. Watch videos, etc. "Keep swingin' the hammer," as a guy on another form used to say.
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    Registered User Pete Martin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    My personal fav is Reaper. ALL DAWs have a learning curve. Reaper has a great forum (unlike some other DAWs) and lots of help videos.

    https://www.reaper.fm/
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    Registered User Steve Lavelle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    +1 for Reaper for multi track recordings and easily shared projects. Whenever I get stumped there is invariably a video that adresses the problem on Youtube. I use Sound forge for mastering and tweaking the tracks I recorded on Reaper.
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    Registered User Bren's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    Short answer is no, even if you want to do the most basic things like trimming heads and tails (beginning and end of recordings), adjust EQ, and set final levels for whatever purpose you have.

    See, it's like a word processor. They used to be simple, but launching any word processor these days will throw up an array of menu choices and options in the user interface. You probably don't need 90% of that stuff to write a letter or format a report, but you have to learn what you do need.
    .
    That's kinda depressing, and puts me off, since I don't know how much spare time I'm going to have available to play with these things
    Video editors are about the same..

    Every query for one of the simple things you mentioned (trimming heads and tails , adjust EQ, etc) throws up a bewildering array of options, 99% of which are for things you don't want to do.

    Ten or twelve years ago i got reasonably competent at Windows Movie Maker but it seems to have disappeared.
    Bren

  8. #7

    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    Quote Originally Posted by Bren View Post
    That's kinda depressing, and puts me off, since I don't know how much spare time I'm going to have available to play with these things
    Video editors are about the same..

    Every query for one of the simple things you mentioned (trimming heads and tails , adjust EQ, etc) throws up a bewildering array of options, 99% of which are for things you don't want to do.

    Ten or twelve years ago i got reasonably competent at Windows Movie Maker but it seems to have disappeared.
    Kind of repeating myself, you have to start with the basics, and then actually *do* it to develop some competency, and the "reward" is not as tangible (or subjective!) as playing.

    If you begin with just recording one instrument and place the mic/recording-device optimally in a good sounding room (both of which will be determined by how the *recording* sounds, not how you think it sounds with your ears, until they get "trained"), then you probably don't need EQ, which is used for correction when doing a solo instrument recording.

    If you have multiple instruments, then EQ might used to help keep the instruments more defined in the mix, but may not even be necessary there, depending on the types of instruments and musical arrangement! You should be competent at recording a single instrument before tackling multiple ones (IMHO).

    And, just because there is more than one way to do something doesn't mean you have to know all of those ways - just identify the technique that is easiest to accomplish what you want to do, and do it repeatedly. That's how we (adults, or even older ones ) learn best.
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    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    I too am a confirmed REAPER user, and in fact the version I have is now quite old and I run it on a laptop which still uses Windows XP! It does everything I want (and loads more besides if I wanted this) and over the years I have been using it I have become very comfortable with its interface. I have stuck with the version I use and Windows XP as I found XP to be a very stable and reliable version of Windows. For security my laptop is no longer connected to the internet as XP has not been supported for a long number of years.

    All the DAWS have a learning curve and the secret is to get used to one choice and use it as much as you can so that you develop ways of working which become almost automatic. As the others have said, There is a huge amount of help out there for REAPER.
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    Registered User Mandolin Deep Cuts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    I would NOT recommend FL Studio for mandolin use cases. I use it because my ex-bandmate makes electronic music, and we swap project files every once in a while. He could also help me learn the DAW and answer questions. But the sequencer and “pattern” concepts are so ingrained into the DAW that you actually have to muck around with some EDM concepts to make the DAW work for you, even for simple recordings. With that said, tons of tutorials on the internet say that FL Studio can’t be used for recording acoustic music / grandpa’s guitars. That’s crazy talk. I get fantastic results, and with a few plugins for EQ and reverb, I am just so happy with FL Studio. Also, the tutorials for FL Studio on YouTube really impressed me. Great content and very comprehensive.
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    Registered User bbcee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Easiest to learn DAW

    Hey DaveG, if you had any experience with recording or live sound consoles, give Harrison Mixbus a try. It's a very intuitive interface for old "tapeheads" like me, the instructional videos are very good, and there's and active community. There's a free edition to try out.

    I use AVLinux, a dedicated Linux distro that has Mixbus preinstalled. I run it on an old laptop with 16G RAM and space to hold lots of media, and performance is excellent.

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