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budm
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   Posted 7/30/2016 1:40 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I am a classical symphonic composer – current system below

Will be buying a new computer and considering Windows 10

Would appreciate some advise on which DAW would work best, and
What orchestral sound library would you recommend?

Thank you
BUD

Full symphonic work, Desktop computer Dell Vostro 400, windows XP
Audio type: Realtec ALC888 (7.1 Channel Audio
Finale version 2014.4 5030 with GPO. ( can not upgrade to 2014.5)
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Daz
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   Posted 7/30/2016 2:11 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hi

It depends on your budget and you requirements.

For a DAW, I like Reaper. It is inexpensive and very capable.
If you have a very big budget, then Steinberg Nuendo is the 'Grandaddy' of them all.
Have a look at some articles, such as this one

Sample Libraries are also a big ocean to swim in. Each library has its own strengths and which one you get depends on your budget and your requirements.
I've been using GIfF and GPO and they suit my needs, but then my needs are modest.
There are interesting articles all over the web, such as This Guide which can help you with making a choice.

Cheers...


Daz. :o)

------------------------
Finale 2006-2011 - Win7 64 bit

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Credo
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   Posted 7/30/2016 2:21 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I like Cubase Pro for MIDI and VSTi intensive projects. It has really good MIDI editors (in my opinion the best overall set of MIDI specific features included in any DAW), easy to use logic/script editors, and a good Score/Notation entry mode. It does a decent job of building generic scores or parts and exporting them to XML should one prefer working with notation, and the score editor includes a basic set of 'translation' abilities through custom 'expression maps' (I.E. Tell Cubase how to interpret score markings and play them back over MIDI...similar to human play back entries in Finale). Cubase can also import XML scores.

Optionally....It's good enough at score entry and translation that if playback quality is important, one can just start composing with traditional notation in Cubase right away....and export via XML to Finale or Sibelius later to perfect printed scores. To really tap the potential of score translation in Cubase is a very personal and custom endeavor however. It ships as a 'blank slate', so if you want to use this part of Cubase to potential you'll have to kind of build it yourself as you go along. I.E. If you want accent marks on notes to increase key velocity 20%. you'd need to put that in your expression map. If you want staccato dots to make a note play back 'half length' then you'd have to go in to the expression map and set that up. If you want it to automatically swap sounds/articulations on arco and pizz. text entries, then you'd need to set that process up in the expression map for what ever instrument(s) you're using. Etc... There are some exceptions if you're using Halion Symphonic Orchestra, or some of the patches included in Halion Sonic or Halion 5. Some of the patches are ready for 'VST3 expression', and they'll offer to let you import a default 'expression' map as a starting point, and you can tweak that from there. Some libraries do offer Cubase expression maps that you can import as a starting point as well (Garritan GPO4 comes with a few that should also be compatible with most of GPO5...but it's mainly just the basic key switches for string articulations).

Cubase comes with a really nice set of 'collaboration' tools. With VST Connect you can actually collaborate and even do recording sessions in real time from remote locations. I.E. Set up an online meeting with a client...video chat with them and play back mixes for suggestions, or even send a monitor stream to them while recording something they are performing remotely! It also includes 'VST Cloud' space for storing, sharing, and collaborating on projects.

Cubase Pro has all the tools to sync up to just about anything from any age you desire. One of the reasons I've stuck with Steinberg over the years is because nothing else supports legacy equipment so well. I can still sync up to all my gear from the 80s and 90s, and pull all that in to mix and meld with the most modern of options. SMPTE, MIDI Time code, MMC, wordclock...whatever you need to sync up....Cubase can do it. Case in point...for remote recording sessions I have some more portable digital recorders such as an old BOSS1600 digital work station. I've absolutely no problem syncing that old thing up to Cubase and integrating its tracks when I get it home. I've also still got some hardware synths/samplers/workstations that really need full blown sysex support, and the ability to manage libraries of thousands of workstation profiles and presets. Again, Cubase keeps all those old standards alive, and makes them user accessible. Quite a few of the newer DAWs can't support the legacy equipment, and do not intend to ever 'go back in time' to add such support.

If you want to remote control stuff in a DAW, again Cubase is pretty hard to beat. You, as the user, can map out controllers to do anything you want in Cubase! It's even got the tools to deal with things like motorized faders and lighting schemes on pro level controllers. So if you just purchased a MIDI keyboard controller, MPC Pad, a bank of pots and/or sliders, jogger controls, wind jammers, etc, and it didn't come with a decent map for Cubase...it's no problem...just create your own exactly like YOU want it :) I've tried some other DAWs that make it really difficult, if not almost impossible for the end user to build or tweak remote maps.

It's also a great system for syncing to film and working with surround sound. If you need to hit cue points in video, Cubase has you covered. You can easily time stretch and shrink (tempo auto adjusts) to hit cues right on the money. If you want to do hard core stuff for film and gaming engines it might even be worth it to step up to Nuendo...as it's packed with advanced features for doing entire sound tracks and keeping complex effect groupings and what not organized and accessible in 'tool-box' fashion. Nuendo also includes special hooks and tools for game engine development.

If raw audio and VST performance at a low price is the goal, Reaper is a hard deal to beat right now. It's meant to be a lean DAW devoid of any sense of 'bloat'. Performance and low cost are the top objectives. It's not going to have as many included bells and whistles (Collaboration tools, included VSTi and VST effects, editor options, plus included loops, samples, synth engines and patches, etc.) as something like Cubase Pro, but it is a 'performance' beast for the money.

Sound libraries are a bit more difficult to suggest, as there are so many different Libraries at different price ranges with all sorts of strengths and weaknesses.

Two of the lower cost options are Garritan GPO and Halion Symphonic Orchestra and I have them both (Actually I took advantage of the Garritan Ultimate Collection deal just to have a good pallet of bread and butter acoustical instrument sounds across the board for a low cash layout). Both are quite good for the price, but both have unique sets of strengths and weaknesses leading to a bit of a learning curve in learning how to really make them sing out to potential. For orchestral sounds I've not personally explored higher end libraries.

I also invested in Halion 5. For my needs it has been a great investment; however, if your main thing is orchestral sounds for through composed scores, you might want to take it for a test drive first, as it's more of a general purpose instrument with superb abilities to 'roll your own' sounds and effects (as opposed to buying prepackaged libraries). Halion 5 truly is top quality...it's just a question of if it's the sort of tool box you want and need or not.

Post Edited (Credo) : 7/31/2016 2:17:06 AM (GMT-5)

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MSTSmusic
Helsinki, Finland



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   Posted 7/30/2016 8:42 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
DAW: Reaper. Absolutely and without doubt. Cakewalk Sonar is also great.

Everyone interested should watch all the Reaper online tutorial videos. Takes a bit time, but WELL worth it.


Bought Finale V2.0.1 for PC in March 1992.

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Eisengrim
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   Posted 7/30/2016 9:14 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
For libraries, I recommend spending a while browsing this forum: http://vi-control.net/community/categories/virtual-instruments-sample-libraries.85/ You can learn a great deal (not to mention ask questions).


Finale 2014d
Garritan Ultimate Collection
Xsample Chamber Ensemble
Virharmonic Choral Bundle

Technological ninny (step-by-step answers, please...)

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Jetcopy
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   Posted 7/30/2016 9:31 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Whatever DAW you choose, be prepared to spend some time learning it. It's not something you can pickup in a weekend. But IMO, it's worth the effort.

As far as sample libraries, I second the suggestion that Eisengrim made. That VI forum has a lot of information and opinions. Realize that there is no "best" sample library. Each user has different needs and workflow. What one guy thinks is great, you might hate.

Samples can be expensive. Some come with their own player, similar to Aria. Others can be used with the free Kontakt Player, while other libraries need the full version of Kontakt. (a separate purchase)

Take your time, do your homework, don't make any impulse purchases.

Now that I've told you to not trust anyone's opinion but your own, here's a string library that I'd recommend.
Spitfire Chamber Strings www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/spitfire-chamber-strings/

This is my favorite string lib. But some people hate it, because it's not dry. I like it because I can do small and intimate, or I can layer the sounds and get big and lush and it has tons of articulations.

Have fun.


Retina Macbook Pro OSX 10.9.5, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, El Capitan on separate drive

Post Edited (Jetcopy) : 7/30/2016 9:42:06 PM (GMT-5)

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David Young : chambermusic
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   Posted 7/30/2016 11:27 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
What do people think of FL studio? My 19 year old son wanted it so I bought it for him. He just wants to write background music for games, so I imagine that FL is fine for that.

I use Logic Pro, but in a sense it limits me. I notice that most sample libraries require Kontakt for use.... and for the life of me I cannot get Kontakt to work with Logic Pro.

One thing that one must understand.... the support for these products assumes that you are coming from a different angle in music production than one comes from when using a notation program. The manuals for Logic Pro are immense and there are many. But the index in the back are for concepts very different than what a traditional music composer knows. Try to find "insert measure" in logic and you won't find it. Although Logic pro shows measures on the piano roll (in a sense) the idea of "inserting a measure" is not a logic pro concept. The same goes for a great deal of other things.


David Young


Historicist Composer of classical-romantic style chamber and orchestral music.
Finale 2.4 to Finale 2014.  Logic Pro 8, Digital Performer, Loaded MAC Tower, two screens, a whole bag of sample libraries including Full GPO, some VSL, True Strike 1 and 2, Xsample Chamber Instruments and I have a long ways to go to understand how us all of this.... but quite familiar with Finale!

Join us at www.composeforums.com for
arranging and orchestration!

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Daz
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   Posted 7/31/2016 2:04 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
David Young : chambermusic said...
What do people think of FL studio? My 19 year old son wanted it so I bought it for him. He just wants to write background music for games, so I imagine that FL is fine for that.


I really loved FL Studio.
I have not used the latest versions much, having been stuck to the demos for much of it's existance.
I *really*wish that I had bought it when it was simply Fruity Loops, the "Lifetime upgrades" is the best deal a DAW producer has ever offered.

For sheer ease in bringing a song together, FL stands out. You can pull together elements and have a decent sounding track in not time.
You can use the beat pattern editor to set up a nice drum track, then utilise sample loops or VST instruments to build you tune and backing.
It does support midi input and recording and all of the other fine stuff that a typical DAW does.
The Piano Roll editor is lovely with a great representation of Midi CC/Automation data.
There is a huge user/fan base with plenty of documentation and help/tips/tutorials.
It is also a *lot* of fun to use

However, it is very limited in other ways.
Trying to use it for Classical compositions would, I think, be a major pain.
There is no way (and I must emphisise that this is experience on previous versions) to deal with complex and shifting time signatures.
Trying to get a project that switches time partway through to align nicely is a hassel, if not impossible.
There is no notation support and importing is limited to Wav, Midi or Beat Creator/Beat Slicer patterns.

On the whole though, I love it. I just would not recommend it for (complex) classical work.

Cheers...


Daz. :o)

------------------------
Finale 2006-2011 - Win7 64 bit

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Jetcopy
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   Posted 7/31/2016 10:17 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
David Young : chambermusic said...
What do people think of FL studio? My 19 year old son wanted it so I bought it for him. He just wants to write background music for games, so I imagine that FL is fine for that.

I use Logic Pro, but in a sense it limits me. I notice that most sample libraries require Kontakt for use.... and for the life of me I cannot get Kontakt to work with Logic Pro.

One thing that one must understand.... the support for these products assumes that you are coming from a different angle in music production than one comes from when using a notation program. The manuals for Logic Pro are immense and there are many. But the index in the back are for concepts very different than what a traditional music composer knows. Try to find "insert measure" in logic and you won't find it. Although Logic pro shows measures on the piano roll (in a sense) the idea of "inserting a measure" is not a logic pro concept. The same goes for a great deal of other things.

Hi David,

I completely agree that a DAW doesn't use the same terminology that we're used to. Inserting a measure is a perfect example of this.

I have no trouble using Kontakt with Logic Pro. What part is giving you trouble?

JT


Retina Macbook Pro OSX 10.9.5, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, El Capitan on separate drive

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David Young : chambermusic
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   Posted 7/31/2016 1:37 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Jetcopy said...
David Young : chambermusic said...
What do people think of FL studio? My 19 year old son wanted it so I bought it for him. He just wants to write background music for games, so I imagine that FL is fine for that.

I use Logic Pro, but in a sense it limits me. I notice that most sample libraries require Kontakt for use.... and for the life of me I cannot get Kontakt to work with Logic Pro.

One thing that one must understand.... the support for these products assumes that you are coming from a different angle in music production than one comes from when using a notation program. The manuals for Logic Pro are immense and there are many. But the index in the back are for concepts very different than what a traditional music composer knows. Try to find "insert measure" in logic and you won't find it. Although Logic pro shows measures on the piano roll (in a sense) the idea of "inserting a measure" is not a logic pro concept. The same goes for a great deal of other things.

Hi David,

I completely agree that a DAW doesn't use the same terminology that we're used to. Inserting a measure is a perfect example of this.

I have no trouble using Kontakt with Logic Pro. What part is giving you trouble?

JT


It's a long story. Right now I am using an old mac with an older version of OS10 that prohibits me from upgrading Kontakt. The really criticism that I have is the difficulty in loading samples. It seems that when I load samples, and follow the directions to a "T" the fold architecture of the samples are not right. So, if I open Kontakt the proper sample names do not come up into Kontakt in a proper manner, and therefore, no sound. I really think that there should be a policy that when a software company sells a sample library that the small manual shows a drawing or picture of how the sample library files should look on your hard drive. I had that problem with several highly rated sample libraries and I really don't know what went wrong. (Well, for one, the program would not install the libraries for me... this time because I had the latest OS. I was told to install them manually.... and like I said, I ended up having files in folders that did not make sense to Kontakt).

Look... I can't worry about it now. Some day I will make a new computer purchase, but I will have to purchase help to make sure that it is set up properly.


David Young


Historicist Composer of classical-romantic style chamber and orchestral music.
Finale 2.4 to Finale 2014.  Logic Pro 8, Digital Performer, Loaded MAC Tower, two screens, a whole bag of sample libraries including Full GPO, some VSL, True Strike 1 and 2, Xsample Chamber Instruments and I have a long ways to go to understand how us all of this.... but quite familiar with Finale!

Join us at www.composeforums.com for
arranging and orchestration!

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budm
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   Posted 8/1/2016 9:25 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
THANKS to all above for your comments and look-ups

Abelton and Reaper are now at the top of my search list

Would appreciate if more Clasical Symphonic Composers
would just list the DAW they are using.

THANKS
BUD M
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teacue
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   Posted 8/1/2016 1:53 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Just wondering how Ableton Live can come to your search top list!
Sure, it is a great tool and surely one can one way or another create almost anything with any daw but Live is known for the Session View where you can play with Loops in a very creative and fun way.
This is surely not at all what classical music is about!

I cannot speak about Reaper.
But I work with Cubase since a very long time and I produced a lot of music with this great program.
In the last 25 years I wrote mostly Musicals with various music style going from Classical Symphonic, Jazz, Folk, Chansons, World, Electronic, Techno ...
It has been always great to work with this program and since it became an Audio program (at the beginning Cubase was a Midi Sequencer) it has been even much greater!

Credo already wrote a lot about Cubase and I can only agree with him.
I would like to add and precise several things which have to do with the daily work with Cubase when you enter your music.

In my view to perform/record Classical music with a DAW it is essentially to be able to do two things:
1. Play and record your music
2. Edit and Fine tune your playing

PLAY AND MIDI-RECORD
Even if you are not a gifted keyboard player, it is always much faster to play and record a music part live in a DAW, even at very slow tempo.
Each musician is able to do this and one get much more musically results than typing notes in an editor.
Cubase allows you to live Midi-record in a very efficient and very fast way.
The linear structure of Cubase is also of course great for classical compositions.
I will not go into details but I can assure you that you get things recorded in seconds.
But of course this gives you only the basis of your piece and you have to fine tune until the results.

EDIT AND FINE TUNE
To edit your playing you need control on the following parameters:
. When each note is played (Note On) and when each note stops sounding (Note Off)
. The Velocity of each note
. The Tempo and Tempo changes

Note On - Note Off
The two parameters Note On and Note Off are essentials for agogic and for articulation.
For example it is not enough to write staccato on a note and let the program calculate for you how long the note will sound.
Considering that Midi in Cubase can have a PPQ resolution of 4000 (Pulse Per Quarter note), this gives you 1000 for one sixteenth note you can imagine how fine you can tune a staccato!
Legato is also not legato! You can decide wether two notes overlap or if you let one pulsle between each note or two or three or more ...
Also with this Midi resolution which gives you 2000 values between two eighth notes you can imagine how fine you can decide when a note will be played.
With this kind of resolution you could indeed achieve the agogic of the best classical solist in the world!

Velocity
The velocity is also essential but only for one part of dynamic.
One cannot completely simulate the real dynamic of a classical instrument only with velocity, one has to use the audio volume too.
But this parameter is nevertheless very important and very easy to edit in Cubase.

Tempo
And of course being able to exactly control any tempo change is essential in all kind of music which does not need to be straight from the beginning to the end.
Though it is nice if a program like Finale can calculate for you a rit or an accelerando but at the end you better exactly choose what is going on.

Midi List Editor
In order to have a real fast and detailled control on these parameters you need a real good midi editor where you (and not the program) can decide what value you want for each note.
It means you need a strong Midi Editor and as Credo already mentioned Cubase has probably the best Midi Editor available.
Compared to Cubase Ableton Live is almost a joke on this field.
I do love Ableton Live that I use too but certainly not for such things like precise and extensive Midi Editing!
In the Midi List Editor of Cubase you get a list of all your notes (so not only one note), you can easily scroll through the notes and you can exactly see visually and with numbers the beginning, the length and the end of each midi note and you can edit each parameter also very easily.
The List Editor allows you to edit one note at a time as well as several or all notes together.
There is also a logical editor that let you edit these parameters in a particular way.

Tempo Track
To control the tempo, Cubase has a Tempo track.
This tempo track can be edited in almost the same way as the Midi List Editor.
You can there insert or delete any tempo at any place.
Or you can visually create tempo ramps in order to get the smooth tempo changes.

The most important thing being that all this can be done easily!

The best way is to download a test version of each program and test for yourself.
Good luck ;-)


Finale 2014.5, Windows 8.1 - 64 bit

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Credo
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   Posted 8/1/2016 4:33 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
teacue said...
Just wondering how Ableton Live can come to your search top list!
Sure, it is a great tool and surely one can one way or another create almost anything with any daw but Live is known for the Session View where you can play with Loops in a very creative and fun way.
This is surely not at all what classical music is about!


Agreed...Ableton is a great EDM DAW, for people who want to run a bunch of stuff through it in a 'live performance', or as good personal tracker...but for through composed music and working with detailed MIDI editing?

Reaper is a very good DAW for a great price but it doesn't come with much in the box to get you going. While Reaper has some of the best 'scripting abilities' in the business, along with some top notch 'voodoo' under the hood for efficiency...I think you'll probably want a bit more in the box as a first DAW for composing and rendering classical style mock-ups.

In the least you'll want 'instant rendering' if you're going to be trying to lay out hundreds of tracks on a moderately powered PC with big sample libraries. The reason for this is...if your computer starts choking from too many VSTi instances, you can 'instant render' some of them to pure audio and keep working.

For Classical I'd be looking at DAWs more or less in this order, as the top Five or so should get you quick rendering options, some ability to import and export XML scores, and they'll have an interesting and useful array of graphics based MIDI editors that will be essential to getting realistic dynamics and phrasing out of sample libraries(Get Demos and/or visit a Music Store):

1. Nuendo
2. Cubase Pro
3. Logic Pro (Apple Only)
4. DP9
5. Studio One
6. Sonar
7. MixCraft
8. Reaper
9. Pro Tools
10. FL Studio
11. Ableton Live
12. Reason
13. Bitwig

Post Edited (Credo) : 8/1/2016 5:00:30 PM (GMT-5)

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Bob H
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   Posted 8/1/2016 4:53 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I think there are two DAWs that are missing here. Both Samplitude and Sequoia from Magix are, I think, the best on the market. I personally use Sequoia, but it comes with a really high price tag. Samplitude is more affordable in price and still offers outstanding features. These both enjoy wide acceptance in Europe, but I find no problem using them in the states. If you collaborate you must, of course, factor that into the equation, but even considering that I have had no problems in the US. I was resistant to going to Magix at first because of my US location, but I can't even imaging looking back after using Sequoia. Please don't look at Samplitude as a cut down little brother app to Sequoia. It is, i assure you, a quite functional and feature rich application.

Here are links for each:

Samplitude: http://www.magix-audio.com/us/samplitude/?_ga=1.78238100.1051178106.1470087612

Sequoia:
http://www.magix-audio.com/us/sequoia/?_ga=1.110285061.1051178106.1470087612[url]


Windows 7 64 bit
Finale: 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14
Garritan: JABB 2, 3 GPO 3, 4, 5 Steinway basic,
East West: Symphonic Orch - Gold, Symphonic Choirs, Colossus, RA
Native Instruments: Komplete 7
Project Sam: Orchestral Essentials
AudioBro: LA Scoring Strings: 2, Legato Sordino
Magix: Sequoia 13

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Bob H
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   Posted 8/2/2016 1:44 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Sorry links for Samplitude and Sequoia aren't coded correctly. The only html I have done was to place an article on E-bay, and that was years ago. If you copy the links into your browser, they should work. I no how to write music, but sadly, not code.

Best tp all.

Bob


Windows 7 64 bit
Finale: 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14
Garritan: JABB 2, 3 GPO 3, 4, 5 Steinway basic,
East West: Symphonic Orch - Gold, Symphonic Choirs, Colossus, RA
Native Instruments: Komplete 7
Project Sam: Orchestral Essentials
AudioBro: LA Scoring Strings: 2, Legato Sordino
Magix: Sequoia 13

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Credo
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   Posted 8/2/2016 3:02 AM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Bob H said...
Sorry links for Samplitude and Sequoia aren't coded correctly. The only html I have done was to place an article on E-bay, and that was years ago. If you copy the links into your browser, they should work. I no how to write music, but sadly, not code.

Best tp all.

Bob


Here ya go:

Samplitude: www.magix-audio.com/us/samplitude/?_ga=1.78238100.1051178106.1470087612

Sequoia: www.magix-audio.com/us/sequoia/?_ga=1.110285061.1051178106.1470087612
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Bob H
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   Posted 8/2/2016 5:57 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Thanks!


Windows 7 64 bit
Finale: 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14
Garritan: JABB 2, 3 GPO 3, 4, 5 Steinway basic,
East West: Symphonic Orch - Gold, Symphonic Choirs, Colossus, RA
Native Instruments: Komplete 7
Project Sam: Orchestral Essentials
AudioBro: LA Scoring Strings: 2, Legato Sordino
Magix: Sequoia 13

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budm
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   Posted 8/5/2016 3:16 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Again, thanks to all above,

I have added Cubase to my list: Ableton, Cubase, Reaper

Price of a DAW and special sound library (if needed) is not a major factor.

I would like to hear a DAWs playback before buying,
What WEB search wording do you suggest to actually HEAR
A classical symphonic work (part of) created by a DAW (put in DAW name)
From a score?

+ Concerned I would not have skills in place in a free trial period
+ Words like SAMPLE just bring – for sale sample sounds.

THANKS
BUD
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Daz
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   Posted 8/5/2016 6:14 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Hi Bud

Listening to a demo track produced by a particular DAW is, in my opinion, not worth the download bandwidth..
People can get fantastic sounding tracks out of *any* DAW. It just takes time and expertise (and of course, access to sound libraries)
The makers of a DAW will of course get the best that they can to produce the most fantastic demo tracks.

Rather than focussing on what sort on sound a DAW can produce, concentrate on what your requirements are:
- How well a particular DAW will fit in with your workflow
- Does this particular DAW suit all of your intended projects
- Will purchasing a particular DAW then preclude certain sample libraries, due to budget.

Also, in my opinion, having access to a wider range of sample libraries may in fact be of more benefit than having access to the blingiest DAW.

So I would instead of listening to example tracks output from a DAWs manufacturer, have a look/listen to *user* made demo tracks featuring different sample libraries.

You can get a lot of search results by searching for: " [library name / manufacturer] demo track"
Also go to a sample manufacturer (eg spitfire audio) and look on their website for demos.
(Again note, these guys will get someone *good* to produce the best sounding demo that they can)

budm said...

+ Concerned I would not have skills in place in a free trial period


It takes a *loooong* time to 1)Get the skills in any DAW and 2)Actually produce something nice.
The demo period is just about enought you someone to decide whether or not they like to product. Definately not long enough to get proficient.

People like Ableton and Cubase have a cut down version of their DAW with limited capabilities which can get you started. For example, you can get Ableton Lite by purchasing iKoassilator for the iPhone/iPad. Cubase 8 LE is also packaged with some hardware (a USB Audio interface from memory).
Ableton Lite is restricted in the number of tracks you can have (a maximum of 8)

If you need more time to play and practice before making a real purchase, investigate the cost of buying a product which has the cut/lite version of a DAW

Some manufacturers also offer 'free' version of their DAW (limited in functionality but not time limited) Presonus Studio One is an example.
Again, you get spend more time using the DAW and have access to most, if not all, features.

Cheers...


Daz. :o)

------------------------
Finale 2006-2011 - Win7 64 bit

Post Edited (Daz) : 8/5/2016 6:17:16 PM (GMT-5)

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Jetcopy
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   Posted 8/5/2016 6:44 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
Like Daz said, it's not worth it to hear demos from different DAWs. Any DAW will sound great by an expert user, and DAW can sound bad by an inexperienced user.

I read a quote from Hans Zimmer, someone who uses DAWs extensively. When asked what's the best DAW, he replies, the one you know the best.

DAWs for the most part, do not playback from scores. SOme DAWs have score viewers, where you can see notation. But to get the most out of a DAW you'll be you need to learn how to edit in piano roll. It's a graphical interface which you draw midi data in and edit it.

FWIW, if you're considering Cubase, be aware that Steinberg who makes it, is working on a notation app. which one can assume will interface with Cubase.


Retina Macbook Pro OSX 10.9.5, 2.5GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, El Capitan on separate drive

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Credo
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   Posted 8/5/2016 9:13 PM (GMT -6)    Quote This PostAlert An Admin About This Post.
I agree with posters above about DAW sound quality.

Unless you've got top notch sound cards, ultra sensitive monitors in the right listening room with everything placed exactly where it should be, and ears that can hear two slugs kissing from a mile away, the differences will be so minute that most people can't hear them. They're all going to be capable of driving good sound-cards and sample libraries at really high clock rates with at least 24bit (and most at 32bit, or even 64bit internally) precision on dynamics internally, at frequencies well above and below human hearing ranges without noticeable digital artifacts. You will find articles out there where gurus hook DAWs to oscilloscopes and analyze spectrums of audio that maybe one in 100,000 very well trained individuals can sense at all with their own ears...and that's only if they're playing 'non musical' kinds of test waves and noises through a half a million dollar playback system with the volume cranked up just under the threshold of pain! We're talking about artifacts that very few human ears can detect, and even fewer playback systems can translate.

In fact, if you click a YouTube video or Soundcloud demo...you're getting dithered and lossy compressed stuff optimized for 'streaming to modern day consumer grade speakers and ear buds' anyway...encoded by everything from opensource freebie encoders, to higher end things like Wavelab, Adobe, and on and on. By this point, it's not just the DAW and a good audio card translating anymore. MP3 compression uses codecs that the DAW maker doesn't have control over. Same for OGG, and all the 'streaming' protocols of the day like AAC from iTunes, and whatever stuff Adobe is using for flash and shockwave..........

So, if it's not a really high quality 24bit or higher, at 48khz or higher...wav, aif, or flac (or some other non lossy format)....straight from the DAW...there's no telling what all has been done to the thing, or who's encoder setup did it...

The 'sound-card' and 'speakers/Amp' you are using will have far more influence than the base DAW Engine. Once you go to 'master it' so it sounds good on any ole cheap earbuds or car stereo...it's likely to be dithered down to 16bits with all kinds of dynamic and lossy compression as well...so most if not all the Pro and Mid level DAWs should be OK for most individual composers in this respect.

Out of the DAWs people have been discussing here in this thread...the DAW itself isn't going to change or color the sound in any major way that you can not adjust to suit your needs and tastes. It'll mostly be about the flexibility, number, and quality of effects/plugins that are included in the box, and if you like the workflow, configuration, documentation, and 'human' support that comes along with them. Is it easy on your eyes? Can your computer run it? Does it make sense to you? Is the manual and support good? Is the user base knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful?

The thing with through composed classical projects is that such compositions can be brutally long, and having the tools to do batch edits across an entire movement will pay for themselves really quickly. Symphonic scores can be relatively repetitious in general 'theory and form' in terms of 'notes on the page', but with every repeat of a section or theme, you'll want to get in there and make it 'sing' with 'performance nuances' and 'interpretive changes' that go with a given instrument/section. Pro level DAWs will give you more editing tools to keep recycling such thematic material, yet quickly tweak them out as they move about from voice to voice in the symphony. The better DAWs for through composed music do not stop here...they also give you tools to instantly retrograde, double time, invert, and so much more to your thematic and contrapuntal material. When fiddling with different variations of themes, or experimenting with harmony voicing possibilities, it's nice to be able to automate some of these processes, and quickly flip flop around between track versions all while seeing what's going on in multiple 'visual' formats (including what a performing musician will see in notation). I.E. You can make a macro that would drop 2 voicing in a selected range with just a button press....play a few seconds to see if you like where it's heading, and tap undo if you don't.

Also with a DAW that is heartily crafted for MIDI/VSTi power (With proper features and methods to get total control over what moves and doesn't move on your screen during playback)....you don't have to 'stop' the thing to make changes and hear them. I.E. You could start a passage looping, and make edits while the thing is still playing over and over for you.

Example:
You decide you want to emphasize a given beat in every measure of some Waltz you're doing for a Ballet a bit. With a bare bones DAW, you might have to go in and add to the velocity or raise every CC1 or 11 event for each of these notes individually, and 'by hand'. That could take many hours on a 10 minute long Ballet movement! With a pro level DAW decked with advanced Logical MIDI editors....you can 'automate' the process by giving the DAW a few instructions to manipulate a few events in a given 'beat range' for every selected bar...and knock that chore out in about 15 seconds :)

Example:
You've just poked in melodic phrase using your mouse and score editor. All the attacks and dynamics are uniform, boring, and static. A better DAW for classical will allow you to do something like this: Make a quick Logic Editor that'll go through the entire phrase with a single click and insert a CC1 event that is equal to the MIDI note and calculate some randomized attack velocities within your given range. Presto! You've just made the volume rise slightly as notes get higher, and drop as notes get lower. Run another pass that will randomly vary every CC1 event by a few percentage points, and you've already got something more human and expressive. Run another pass and detune brass by minor increments as they play 'louder/higher'. Run another pass and get some filter/timber variations based on the key velocity...and the list goes on. Get rid of the 'machine gun' effect of that lousy snare part by automating some more proper 'sticking' techniques. Etc....

Example:
Attacks and releases are never perfectly together in a real symphonic performance. The dynamics and acoustical properties of a room, seating arrangements, performer attitude, and so many other things pop into the equation. A DAW like Cubase has abilities right on the track insert to 'randomize' these attacks and releases in real time by degrees of variation that you can tune, without having to physically go in and adjust every little note on/off event...or resorting to statically/frozen humanizing scripts. These little details are a major dividing line between music that is 'super obviously' a computer performance, and something performed by humans in a more honest to life 3d performance. In this case, using a couple of track inspector features...every time you played or rendered the composition it would be a little different...so you could do many takes, overlay them and pick and choose your favorite bits and pieces of them all for the final mix-down.

With the Mid Range and Pro DAWS that were born for MIDI from the get-go, you get Logic Editors and/or scripting tools to make such edits take seconds instead of hours/days. If all a DAW has is a 'Piano Roll Key Editor' and some basic frozen quantize features....you're going to have to doctor every single note by hand...as opposed to quickly roughing in templates via automation and 'fine tuning' them as needed.

Other examples include customizable 'groove' engines, and real time MIDI transformers. Pro level DAWs are going to give you the tools to build any kind of groove you want, store up different variations on those grooves, and hot-swap between them on the fly. They'll also give you fast and easy to access tools to time-shift/humanize attacks and releases, where as a DAW that's mainly targeted at the 'audio spectrum' might require you to do your humanizing manually.

Groove engines that you can go in and tweak are paramount for Symphonic mock-up projects. Conductors like to rush some beats, and drag others. Some have 'trade-mark' methods of 'conducting' that help define the overall character of the performance. Something in the range of Cubase Pro and above grants these sorts of tools....

At first you'll find yourself really leaning on the graphics based editors to get things done, so go for something with heavy weight MIDI/VST capabilities for Classical.......especially if it's your 'first DAW'. Otherwise, you'll probably find it way to time consuming and cumbersome for long compositions featuring large performing group models.

While a score editor might seem a bit redundant for someone who already owns and uses Finale, it's still worth-while to have this ability in the DAW. Those trained in Western Music Theory still want to be able to think and compose in that mindset. Its a heck of a lot easier to analyze what you've written in notation on a score, than it is when scattered across a piano scroll as dots and bars. When it comes to doing classical compositions, it's often about copy and paste of thematic material...far more so than trying to sit there and 'play in' ideas.

Hit a snag on some chord progressions and seeking some inspiration, or maybe just confirmation that what you had in mind is going to work? Well, Cubase has tools for that as well. It can be set to pop up harmonic analysis in real time for a track or an entire project. It's got little engines to plug in and experiment with chord progressions in various sorts of voicings. You've got different sets of harmonic theory/rules to help test your harmonic theories and get fresh ideas flowing...with visual cues and charts like Circle of Fifths, instrument specific flow chart recommendations (what's actually possible to play) and more. Of course much of this stuff ships as a blank slate, with just a few demos to introduce concepts....but it's stuff that 'over time' you'll discover, personalize, and build upon and possibly be rather amazed by. At the end of the day, your work flow and setup might not look anything like a peer who is using the same 'brand' of DAW.

With something like Cubase...You get the tools to meet several challenges in the same app, and will spend much LESS time trying to move ideas back and forth between multiple applications. While DAW Score editors aren't built for top quality engraving....the Pro Level DAWS typically do give you enough tools to go ahead and 'mark up' your ideas for further refinement when you do get to the point where engraving quality is paramount....then you just export the XML to Finale and perfect the 'look' of your scores and parts. Best of all, you can instantly go back and forth in your workflow between thinking like a traditional Western Music Composer, and a virtual symphony 'conductor'.

So....unless you intend to spend more time recording real live performers with mics....and making sure they all get monitor mixes, cues, and those sorts of 'audio recording' oriented things....MIDI and VST features are the things to shop and compare for the symphonic 'composer'.

Audio engineers, and nuts and bolts 'song writers', often find that all the MIDI and VSTi stuff is just 'in their way' and they don't really need or want it. It's 'bloat' to them. They're looking for overall stability, really powerful 'sample' editors, and raw audio performance. They want lots of remote control abilities, and a top notch library of 'track insert' VST audio plugins (Reverbs, Compressors, EQs, Virtual Amplifiers, flexible audio stream routing matrixes, monitor feeds, fold back channels, multiple Mixer desks for running multiple sound-rooms, powerful linking and VCA features centered around 'mixing' and 'mastering' etc....

A 'composer' or 'arranger' is going to spend the majority of his time in the MIDI Editors and VSTi playback synths/samplers, yet when it comes time to put some polish on the presentation, he'll need the Audio mixers, a hand full of 'staple' VST Effect plugins, and Mixer automation abilities as well....once he's got a fairly good roughed in mix...there are always folks out there with better rooms, equipment, ears, knowledge, and experience for the 'mastering' stage.

I keep throwing up Cubase simply because it's the DAW I know the best. Quite a few others on the market are just as capable so do shop around. My point isn't to try to sell you on 'Cubase', as much as it is..........
For long and complicated through composed projects based in traditional Western Music Theory, languages, cultures, and performance models, these are the sorts of features I think are most valuable. This is also why you see a significant price jump between a bare bones entry level product, or a lean-mean engineer's performance DAW VS these all in one 'Commercial Composer' oriented workstations.

Post Edited (Credo) : 8/6/2016 2:24:23 AM (GMT-5)

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