Cubase has the most common UI out there. Many other DAWs use familiar designs. I put the most work hours in Cubase. A very solid DAW that never disappointed me. While in the newer version are some more bugs that I don’t enjoy, I suppose they’ll fix ’em in the future. Otherwise I will change up to FL Studio, which I will mention in the next section. I wanna stick with this DAW forever if possible. The problem with every kind of software are updates and downgrades. Sometimes an old version of a DAW is better than a new version. You have to change the facts if the upgrade is better or worse. At the moment I am really dissatisfied with Cubase 9.5. Cubase 5 – 9 were highly addictive for me and helped me enormously with my workflow. Let us pray that Cubase 10 works properly again so I don’t have to compare all those DAWs out there.
I got myself Cubase 10 and some more RAM. I am really excited to try out everything new.
My personal second choice. A lot of installments and projects mend and bend together for me in Cubase in FL Studio. Very basic design that you can expand and modify how you like it. Image Line made only positive changes over these years. Keep in mind that you will not find small updates on this DAW and it has a solid fan base. The variety of plugins you get is also quite astonishing. The stuff you get inside from FL Studio is enough to work and experiment around for over 2 years in a row if you keep on doin’ tracks. You’re quickly working step from step and in no time got yourselves a finished song. If you’re an avid music listener as I am, you might even discover one or two samples that are in FL Studio that you can also hear in other professional productions. Now in regards in plug’n play you also got some advantages to some other DAWs since there is a big canvas of samplers and keyboards and mixers and what-not that you just can select in the settings and you don’t need to set it up.
The one I got the least experience with. A solid and fundamental base for live performances. Many artists swear that Ableton is essential for live performances. Only a few tries to avoid and undergo it by buying expensive hardware and software just so that they can perform live without the aid. If you want to go live you definitely have to spent time with this tool. It allows you to play finished sets, improvise on the spot (if you got the skills of course 😉 ). You can DJ with it and produce, mix, compose, write down your score and just toy around with it. I seriously had problems cutting and editing single samples in it. But maybe I just did something wrong at the time. Here’s a fun bit for you if you’re interested: Ableton put out Max. Max is somewhat related to VCV Rack. While Max is very expensive VCV Rack is for free. Maybe there is a reason behind that prize, but I prefer to go with cheaper versions, as I am limited to a budget.
Bitwig Studio, LSDJ, VCV Rack, Nanoloop, others:
Bitwig Studio had some nice options in regard to production. LSDJ is an 8-bit tracker for Game Boy that you could also run with your emulator on a PC, Mac or Android if you want, but you get the real raw sound from an original Game Boy of course. VCV Rack: Modular synthesizer sound that you have to build up from the ground yourselves. Very hardcore stuff. You can learn your whole life about this area and never finish it, it’s a vast universe of soundscape and it’s an advantage if you know how everything is connected and how others synthesizers or drum computers / samplers / effect pedals, etc. are build. This is a big deal when you consider that everything is basically circuitry. So VCV rack should be a basic for you, the stuff that follows afterwards isn’t “that important” afterwards. So focus on getting a lot of input from this program and afterwards you just do what you want. I seriously regret not getting into that stuff earlier. This is music at it’s core. At the cost of 0,00,-€. That should be somewhat in everyone’s budget. Let’s hop on to Nanoloop. Nanoloop is insane. Very minimalist design. You can do twisted stuff like turning up the BPM to 300k. Insane sound collagés and more. Only one reach away from your hands. There is a Game Boy version out there that is logically limited because of its retro and old-schooly-vibed hardware. The version you get from the Google Play store costs you a bit but it’s worth it. On the other hand it costs a lot of power for your smartphone to put out a beat on 300.000 BPM. I think it’s possible to overheat some older smartphones maybe with Nanoloop. Imagine that for a moment. Get yourselves an old smartphone buy the app from the store and run that app till the accumulator of the smartphone is burning through. What a beautiful thought. You got an optical component when the smartphone goes up in flames and an acoustical component when the audio chip is melting.
Conclusions, conclusion, conclusions…
So where are we at at this point? What can you take home or consider for yourselves at this point? I know that I am a voice of many. I know a lot of people write, blog, record themselves about what software they use and what hardware and what not. In the end you need to decide yourselves what you want to do. As a kid that grew up in a digital age it is kinda hard for me to get a grip at hardware. Software is getting cheaper, you can try out programs and you’re always mobile if you wanna. The programs I mention here should basically cover in regards in what you want to do. Who knows. Maybe you find your own DAW that you don’t want to miss or you made the experience that I talked trash and other software is better. I seriously hope I could help you out with this post and you somewhat know now where you are standing. See you soon. =)