Stable but inexpensive DAWs

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
Threpus
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Dec 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

I am assuming that most of the people on this forum are Reason users, but that many of you use another DAW. The recent announcement of 11 has me thinking that I might “have my cake and eat it too” by going with a different DAW for increased functionality/improved workflow and using Reason as a plug. Combined with my large collection of Kontakt instruments and effects from Waves, Izotope and Fabfilter, I’ve got all the bases covered (that I care about, anyway) and I don’t care about any included instruments or effects- I just want something with good editing features, lots of stability and a good price. Anybody else thinking along these lines? Anybody have some advice? Thanks to everyone in advance.

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antic604
Posts: 2265
Joined: 23 Oct 2017
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post 01 Sep 2019

Cakewalk is free and apparently great: https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk
Reaper obviously is very powerful an cheap: https://www.reaper.fm/
Tracktion's Waveform 10 is supposedly good and is cheap: https://www.tracktion.com/products/waveform
Mixcraft Pro Studio 8 (on sale at the moment): https://www.jrrshop.com/acoustica-mixcraft-pro-studio
Last edited by antic604 on 01 Sep 2019, edited 1 time in total.
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Studio One 4 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

CrunkNationEnt
Posts: 118
Joined: 28 Apr 2015

Post 01 Sep 2019

Mixcraft 8 Pro Studio
https://www.acoustica.com/mixcraft/buy- ... studio.php

The reason I use:
- Great sound engine
- Great MIDI editing
- Great Audio editing
- VST3 plug-ins and MP4 video
- clip launching
- Mackie Control-compatible
* 32 bit plugin (HG Fortune, UGO, HG Sounds, etc plugins)

Solid offering at a great price :cool:

VIVIsect
Posts: 26
Joined: 28 May 2017

Post 01 Sep 2019

Depends on your definition of inexpensive, but you can regularly find good deals on Ableton Live. For example, right now Best Service is offering an upgrade from Live Lite (which is included free with many products) to the standard version for $232.26. I've seen it dip below $200 in the past.

Threpus
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Dec 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

VIVIsect wrote:
01 Sep 2019
Depends on your definition of inexpensive, but you can regularly find good deals on Ableton Live. For example, right now Best Service is offering an upgrade from Live Lite (which is included free with many products) to the standard version for $232.26. I've seen it dip below $200 in the past.
Very true- everyone has a different definition or standard of “cheap”. I really want something <$200 or so. My hope is that something really lightweight, easy on CPU and stable might be out there. Since I don’t need instruments or effects, I thought there might be something obscure- some hidden gem- I had overlooked.

I’m reluctant to go with freeware (like Cakewalk, despite its pedigree) b/c I find it difficult to believe that anything free will be regularly maintained or updated, and I figure that it will inevitably become unstable. Reaper is equal parts intriguing and daunting- it seems very comprehensive but in my brief experience with it seemed very unintuitive. Waveform 10 is described by many folks as unstable. Mixcraft has a free trial that I’ll download later today. I’ve played around a bit with Ableton in the past, and I might have prematurely dismissed it as a specialist of sorts- suitable for live performance and loop-based pattern oriented music, which is not what I do. I’ll look again.

On the other end of things, it would really chap my ass to spend hundreds more on a second DAW- paying for instruments and effects I don’t even want- just because “Reason Studios” is unwilling to include standard features like VST3, 4K support, track freezing, video support, various export options, etc...

Reason Studios seems content to let the their DAW lag years behind, and they have all but admitted (implicitly, but also resoundingly) that they will never catch up by making the primary new feature of their DAW that you don’t have to use it as a DAW. I think they have some nice sounds and effects, and Reason is a very fun environment to create music in, but it frustrates me to no end that they have met the demands of paying customers with a shoulder shrug.

So... I really just want to use my Kontakt libraries and other effects (and yes, Reason) in an efficient, stable DAW that can provide me with some additional functionality. I appreciate the suggestions so far, and look forward to any others.

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antic604
Posts: 2265
Joined: 23 Oct 2017
Location: Warsaw, Poland

Post 01 Sep 2019

Threpus wrote:
01 Sep 2019
Very true- everyone has a different definition or standard of “cheap”.
Many DAWs (Studio One, Cubase, probably others too) offer a cross-grade option, i.e. you need to prove you own other DAW and they'll offer you a discount on purchase of their program.

Also, for example Studio One Pro can be easilly found at $200 or less 2nd hand.
Bitwig 3 // Reason 10 // Studio One 4 Pro @ Lenovo Y730 15'' i7-8750h
my music - https://soundcloud.com/antic604
other stuff - "Psytrance in Bitwig Studio" tutorial

Threpus
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Dec 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

Cross-grade is a GREAT suggestion. I didn’t realize that was a common practice. I’ll definitely look into that. Thanks, antic604!

Ermitage
Posts: 48
Joined: 21 Apr 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

FL Studio. Not necessarily the cheapest one-time purchase (200 for producer version), however all future updates are free.

The stability will depend on your system, but generally speaking the newer versions are solid. The workflow can be a bit idiosyncratic at times, but it has a ton of features.

Threpus
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Dec 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

By free updates, do you mean for all time? If so, that demands a close look.

Ermitage
Posts: 48
Joined: 21 Apr 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

Threpus wrote:
01 Sep 2019
By free updates, do you mean for all time? If so, that demands a close look.
Life-time free updates, yes. The only caveat is that some of their new synths/effects are sold seperately, but then again some aren't (Flex, for instance).

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stratatonic
Posts: 1028
Joined: 15 Jan 2015
Location: CANADA

Post 01 Sep 2019

Threpus wrote:
01 Sep 2019
Combined with my large collection of Kontakt instruments and effects from Waves, Izotope and Fabfilter, I’ve got all the bases covered (that I care about, anyway) and I don’t care about any included instruments or effects
If you have everything you need already, then use Reaper. Though I think it is in alpha right now for version 6, so you might want to wait to buy until that drops.
Last edited by stratatonic on 03 Sep 2019, edited 1 time in total.

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Jackjackdaw
Posts: 186
Joined: 12 Jan 2019

Post 01 Sep 2019

I think the Reaper license covers a bunch of updates. I bought mine years and years ago and I am still valid for the latest version. Worth reading the t&c.s

Threpus
Posts: 12
Joined: 24 Dec 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

I checked Reaper out a few days ago because it seems like tremendous bang for the buck- but while it was loaded with features, it looked (at a glance) to be cobbled together- not surprising, given its origins. The lack of design emphasis, both in terms of aesthetics and purpose, resulted in a kind of uninspiring vague flatness, and an unintuitive process overall. Admittedly, I haven’t spent much time with it, and I’m not the most technically savvy guy around, but that is how it struck me. I know it is highly customizable, which theoretically allows the user to in effect choose the emphasis himself; I also know that it is renowned for stability and low CPU load- I just happen to be the kind of dummy for whom ease of use matters...

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boingy
Posts: 708
Joined: 01 Feb 2019

Post 01 Sep 2019

Threpus wrote:
01 Sep 2019
I just want something with good editing features, lots of stability and a good price.
Based on that spec, and assuming you mean for Windows, then Cakewalk is the only game in town. It's not trendy but it is stable and free and continues to be updated every couple of months. The included instruments are just OK but it has loads of editing options and a macro language if that's your bag. Unlike most free DAWs this is the full monty rather than a track-limited cut down thing.

Just don't expect it to impress your mates!

sdst
Posts: 660
Joined: 14 Jun 2015

Post 01 Sep 2019

Cockos Reaper is the best DAWs, why i say that? because in Reaper you can literally create the DAW you want
is ultra customizable ( you can change everything)
the only downside is need a lot of time to learn it.

Reason and Reaper it's all i need

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aeox
Posts: 2206
Joined: 23 Feb 2017

Post 01 Sep 2019

CrunkNationEnt wrote:
01 Sep 2019
The reason I use:
- Great sound engine
What is a sound engine, exactly?
Random songs/ideas go here:

Danilo Villanova
Posts: 4
Joined: 07 Apr 2019

Post 01 Sep 2019

Cakewalk is great and constantly updated. Reaper is VERY hard to tame but once you do it's the best DAW by far.

Kenny Gioia's tutorials are indispensable to learn Reaper.

Ermitage
Posts: 48
Joined: 21 Apr 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

aeox wrote:
01 Sep 2019
CrunkNationEnt wrote:
01 Sep 2019
The reason I use:
- Great sound engine
What is a sound engine, exactly?
It has become a sort of catch-all for time stretch algos, pan laws, built-in effects etc.

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Boombastix
Posts: 775
Joined: 18 May 2018
Location: Bay Area, CA

Post 01 Sep 2019

You should probably prioritize the FUNCTION of another DAW over price, then see if that DAW can be had by crossgrade or a lower cost entry version that fits your budget. Black Friday is getting closer and many offers are at 50% off.

Tracktion users complain over crashes, but you can get T7 for free, so easy to try if you like it. Since I have T8 I get upgrade offers to T10 for $37, that would also give me Melodyne Essentials, Antares Autotune, (plugins) and its built in Zplane time stretch (Same algo as Cubase etc.). If you need compatibility with other users try Ableton, maybe buy a gadget that Lite included, same cost and you get something extra.
10% off at Waves with link: https://www.waves.com/r/6gh2b0
Disclaimer - I get 10% as well.

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KarmaFunkarma
Posts: 22
Joined: 20 Jul 2018

Post 01 Sep 2019

Reaper... Cheap, fast and solid as a rock. Find a skin that you like (there are tons of them including some good Logic and PT layouts). Super efficient and stable. Customizable in a ton of ways.

CrunkNationEnt
Posts: 118
Joined: 28 Apr 2015

Post 01 Sep 2019

aeox wrote:
01 Sep 2019
CrunkNationEnt wrote:
01 Sep 2019
The reason I use:
- Great sound engine
What is a sound engine, exactly?
Hello Aeox

I cannot determine if you are asking a sincere question or trying quiz me.
I see plenty of provocative posts on this forum so pardon my apprehension ...
I will kindly answer your question in the way the website explains it and the way that I subjectively understand it :)

From the Mixcraft website it explains:

New Sound Engine
Mixcraft’s next-generation sound engine offers increased flexibility for insert effects and send tracks, as well as extensive delay compensation for sample-accurate timing of internal audio paths.

The way that I understand it is:
The methods, processes, and tools that each individual DAW has available for its user to create, mix, and master their music.

That is my current understanding of "Sound Engine" ... I am open to corrections and better understanding of this concept "Sound Engine" if others are willing to weigh in, Thanks! :thumbs_up:

TAZ

CrunkNationEnt
Posts: 118
Joined: 28 Apr 2015

Post 01 Sep 2019

Ermitage wrote:
01 Sep 2019
aeox wrote:
01 Sep 2019


What is a sound engine, exactly?
It has become a sort of catch-all for time stretch algos, pan laws, built-in effects etc.
This is the way I understand it as well, thanks for your explanation :thumbs_up:

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aeox
Posts: 2206
Joined: 23 Feb 2017

Post 01 Sep 2019

CrunkNationEnt wrote:
01 Sep 2019
aeox wrote:
01 Sep 2019


What is a sound engine, exactly?
Hello Aeox

I cannot determine if you are asking a sincere question or trying quiz me.
I see plenty of provocative posts on this forum so pardon my apprehension ...
I will kindly answer your question in the way the website explains it and the way that I subjectively understand it :)

From the Mixcraft website it explains:

New Sound Engine
Mixcraft’s next-generation sound engine offers increased flexibility for insert effects and send tracks, as well as extensive delay compensation for sample-accurate timing of internal audio paths.

The way that I understand it is:
The methods, processes, and tools that each individual DAW has available for its user to create, mix, and master their music.

That is my current understanding of "Sound Engine" ... I am open to corrections and better understanding of this concept "Sound Engine" if others are willing to weigh in, Thanks! :thumbs_up:

TAZ
Sincere question.

Thanks.
Random songs/ideas go here:

CrunkNationEnt
Posts: 118
Joined: 28 Apr 2015

Post 01 Sep 2019

aeox wrote:
01 Sep 2019
CrunkNationEnt wrote:
01 Sep 2019


Hello Aeox

I cannot determine if you are asking a sincere question or trying quiz me.
I see plenty of provocative posts on this forum so pardon my apprehension ...
I will kindly answer your question in the way the website explains it and the way that I subjectively understand it :)

From the Mixcraft website it explains:

New Sound Engine
Mixcraft’s next-generation sound engine offers increased flexibility for insert effects and send tracks, as well as extensive delay compensation for sample-accurate timing of internal audio paths.

The way that I understand it is:
The methods, processes, and tools that each individual DAW has available for its user to create, mix, and master their music.

That is my current understanding of "Sound Engine" ... I am open to corrections and better understanding of this concept "Sound Engine" if others are willing to weigh in, Thanks! :thumbs_up:

TAZ
Sincere question.

Thanks.
Great! I hoped my explanation helped then...
it helped me to describe what I know of it. :thumbs_up:

2chris
Posts: 19
Joined: 15 Mar 2019

Post 01 Sep 2019

I always suggest trying Live standard if you have some VST instruments. Suite is amazing, and imo worth it, but expensive and doesn’t fit what you’re asking.

If you want truly inexpensive, I have to suggest Logic as the top choice, and FL Studio as second. Both continue to get updates without cost, have large user bases, and are feature rich.

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