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-   -   What DAW for Mac and Why? (https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=636048)

Koda 01-04-2022 11:49 AM

What DAW for Mac and Why?
 
I'm recording fingerstyle guitar and I'm wondering what DAW others are using and why they chose it.

It looks like the two logical or best choices for MAC are Reaper or Logic Pro.
Reaper looks pretty good for less $ but Logic Pro seems like the logical progression from GB since it's so similar. (no pun intended)

Current set-up is -
- (2) AKG 451B mics
- Apogee Duet 2
- MacBook Pro
- GB

Thanks! Looking forward to your thoughts.

keith.rogers 01-04-2022 12:13 PM

I think it's probably a toss up, and you might have a larger support community with Reaper, but if you've done a lot with GarageBand, and ever want to import those mixes, Logic Pro is probably the only DAW that can do that.

I think Logic Pro is a great, still only $200, though up front more than Reaper, I've been using it since 2013, which is like $25/yr, so a pretty good deal.

Whichever DAW you get, at least of those two, the cost will probably look pretty small if you start buying higher end plug-ins.

jim1960 01-04-2022 12:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koda (Post 6897134)
I'm recording fingerstyle guitar and I'm wondering what DAW others are using and why they chose it.

It looks like the two logical or best choices for MAC are Reaper or Logic Pro.
Reaper looks pretty good for less $ but Logic Pro seems like the logical progression from GB since it's so similar. (no pun intended)

Current set-up is -
- (2) AKG 451B mics
- Apogee Duet 2
- MacBook Pro
- GB

Thanks! Looking forward to your thoughts.

if you look at the AGF Members Gear Masterlist and Recommended Tutorial Videos thread sticked at the top of this subforum, there is a list of DAWs used by members here in the order of their popularity.

Koda 01-04-2022 12:26 PM

Thanks for the reply Keith. When you mention the plug-ins, that raises another Q.
What plug-ins that aren't included with Logic would one consider essential for recording and mixing acoustic guitar?

Thanks for the "heads-up" Jim. I didn't see that but will be sure to take a look.

Koda 01-04-2022 12:31 PM

I just took a look at the "Master-List" and associated threads and posts. That's an amazing resource.

Everything from gear to room treatment tutorials.

Thanks!

keith.rogers 01-04-2022 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koda (Post 6897168)
Thanks for the reply Keith. When you mention the plug-ins, that raises another Q.
What plug-ins that aren't included with Logic would one consider essential for recording and mixing acoustic guitar?
...

I don't know that there's any that are *essential* - I tend to not use any on the acoustic instruments that are not part of Logic. But, I use iZotope Ozone for my "pseudo-mastering" phase. And, because I bought a "suite" a few years back, it included Neutron, which I use on larger mixes for EQ because the Tonal Balance plugin (part of that suite) lets me scan across all the iZotope EQ settings, so I can tweak tracks or the full mix (within Tonal Balance) while watching its impact on the overall "balance" - I do like that feature. But, like I said, on single or double acoustic stuff, I get by with Logic's included EQ, compressor and "Space Designer" (IR-based reverb). I'm more of a "back porch" sound quality kind of guy, though, while most [here] are not!

iZotope's RX can be essential in some cases, and has many uses, at least in my imperfect world :)

jklotz 01-04-2022 01:20 PM

Logic Pro user here. I don't know anything about Reaper.

As for plugins, there have been a few threads here recently. Do a search for "favorite plugins". I like the UA plugins, but that requires UA hardware. Other plugins I use a lot for acoustic guitar are the Waves CLA-2A compressor and the Fabfilter EQ. The Waves is a no brainer for $29. Fabfilter is more money, but worth it IMHO.

FrankHudson 01-04-2022 01:40 PM

There's a lot to admire in the way Reaper keeps costs low for folks with lower budgets, and the enthusiastic users sing its praises. I've only looked at it briefly, so I can't speak to its specifics.

I think Logic Pro is a marvelous bargain. I purchased Logic Pro X in 2013, so as someone else points out the cost per year alone is worth praising. Let's see $200 divided by ... like $24 a year and holding.

Nothing comes with anything like the number of quality plugs ins that Logic Pro has (although the current version of GarageBand might come close). I have favorites that I use sometimes instead of the built-in ones in Logic, but if I was forced to go "Desert Island" with just Logic's own plug ins and Virtual Instruments I could do almost everything I do almost as well, and I use several of the Logic-included ones over some of the competitors I own and paid extra money for at times.

The compressors and reverbs and noise gates and de-essers and EQs are pretty good. The time-based/modulation effects can work in some things quite well. Not every acoustic recordist or player will use all/many of them, but they're there in case you do. If you ever want to record electric, the amp models and "stomp box" virtual pedal board is workable. It may just be me, but I haven't found anything that consistently gets me bass guitar DI recordings that I prefer to the built-in stuff in Logic. Frankly, if in some alternate universe where they offered their bass DI and amp stuff as stand-alone plug in suite for the entire cost of Logic Pro, I'd buy it.

Another thing that I appreciate about Logic is the easy to use track "comp" features. If you ever record that great track with one or two little oops moments that can be welcome. I think every DAW has comp track features, but Logic's are well implemented.

That's probably too much detail, put particularly if you've already used recent versions of Garagaband with some sucess, Logic Pro is the "logical" upgrade.

Now, what's bad? You have to keep up with MacOS versions to use the latest versions. My studio space Mac dedicated to recording is old and can't run anything like the latest MacOS and therefore the latest version of Logic Pro. It happily runs an older versions of Logic Pro X though. The other side of that coin is that Logic is almost always ready to work with any brand spanking new MacOS when it's released.

If you load every loop library and virtual instrument it will take a lot of disk space, but you can pick and choose which you want/need, and Logic Pro installs with a fairly minimal set on first install.

If I was starting out on a Windows machine today. I might pick Reaper, -- but you apparently are not.

Chipotle 01-04-2022 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrankHudson (Post 6897260)
There's a lot to admire in the way Reaper keeps costs low for folks with lower budgets, and the enthusiastic users sing its praises. I've only looked at it briefly, so I can't speak to its specifics.
...
Nothing comes with anything like the number of quality plugs ins that Logic Pro has.

I'm the opposite, as a Reaper/PC user who can't speak much to Logic, but a couple advantages of Reaper are its low resource usage and a very good set of built-in plugins. It has very clean and (IMO) easy-to-use if not fancy looking compressors, both general and multiband, delay, a pretty nice EQ, gate, an IR processor that can be used for noise reduction, an IR-based reverb if you have impulse files, pitch correction and much more.

I don't know what Logic provides but Reaper definitely has a very good default plugin suite.

In the end it comes down to preference and workflow. You won't make a wrong choice with either.

dnf777 01-04-2022 04:22 PM

Jim,
I love reading the masterlist resource, but I have to ask-
Do you think there is a responder-bias in the DAW users? The folks who responded are maybe the more serious crowd, and probably NOT using the freebie or crippled versions of DAWS. I didnt see Presonus S1 Artist (their $99 DAW) just their $400 full version. I also suspect if the truth were known, many of us with macs use the free Garageband, even if we dont fess up! And honestly, for the needs of many home amateurs, GB probably meets and exceeds our needs. (I admit, after giving Studio One and ProTools a try, I reverted back to GB)

Doug Young 01-04-2022 04:30 PM

Check the gearlist thread for sure.

But if I was starting out, and owned a Mac, I'd just start with GarageBand. You're not doing anything very complicated, and GarageBand is fully functional. As far as I know, it's Logic under the hood, just with a "simpler" interface - it even looks a lot like Logic. It's free, and you have it now on your computer. It comes with enough plugins to do what you want, and you can use third party plugins as well. Someday, if you want some of the more advanced features of Logic, you can buy it and open your GarageBand projects right in Logic.

Sonically, there will be no difference between any of the choices. It's all about workflow and what you find easiest, which is mostly a matter of just learning how to use it - the one that's easiest and makes the most sense will be the one you took the time to learn. Any option can get the job done for something basic like recording solo guitar.

The only other thing I'd think about is "portability" of your knowledge. Like if you think someday you might move to Windows, then maybe Reaper or ProTools would be a better choice, just so you don't have to relearn when you move to a platform that doesn't have GarageBand or Logic. Or if you plan to be the engineer at multiple places, whether that's non-Mac friends' houses or recording studios. Then maybe a Mac-only solution isn't optimal. However, most DAWs aren't all that different. You learn a few different terms, find the buttons you need in a different part of the screen, and you're off and running.

FrankHudson 01-04-2022 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chipotle (Post 6897293)
I'm the opposite, as a Reaper/PC user who can't speak much to Logic, but a couple advantages of Reaper are its low resource usage and a very good set of built-in plugins. It has very clean and (IMO) easy-to-use if not fancy looking compressors, both general and multiband, delay, a pretty nice EQ, gate, an IR processor that can be used for noise reduction, an IR-based reverb if you have impulse files, pitch correction and much more.

I don't know what Logic provides but Reaper definitely has a very good default plugin suite.

In the end it comes down to preference and workflow. You won't make a wrong choice with either.

A lot of DAWs (from your report, that includes Reaper) have most any plug in that a purely acoustic recordist might need/look for. Where Logic is rich is in areas beyond that. I already mentioned the DI bass recording stuff, which initially sold me on Logic. There are a number of useful presets for that instrument that I like to mix with acoustic guitar, all tweakble to taste. Or the Virtual Instrument stuff (not everyone's need or want). I have a bunch of 3rd party VIs, and some of them offer things I like, but I'll still use Logic instruments. For example, I just got done translating a bit of Arthur Rimbaud for a New Year's piece, and I decided I wanted an unusual timbre for the opening motif and settled on Logic's own Chinese guzheng.* And all the percussion sounds are from Logic's included Drummer. The electric bass track has a lot treatment on this one, again using only Logic's effects (Logic has pre-set for simple, clean DI that I use often, works nice with my uke bass)

The Orphans' New Years' Gifts Part I, imaginatively translated from Rimbaud's French


*I might have used acoustic guitar to play that motif, but the house had people here who would objected to the sound leaking out of my little home office "Studio B." The VI did a nice job of sounding like an acoustic guzheng, including tracking that characteristic vibrato) all while being completely silent. Again, not every recordist has wants/desires here. But most DAWs don't come with a guzheng or pipa patch for example.

Again, though I have only played with Reaper a little, I respect what it's doing--and as I said, I could easily imagine going with it I was new and starting from scratch again.

alohachris 01-04-2022 05:43 PM

For Mac? No Brainer - Logic Pro!
 
Aloha Koda,

Looking at the nice quality, budding Mac-based recording chain you're putting together I feel there is only one DAW choice that would be best - Apple's Logic Pro. For these reasons:

- Logic Pro is an Apple DAW product. Which means 'highest quality' & a brand that will be around a long time. That also means that Apple will continue to develop Logic consistently into the future, unlike many DAW developers whose R&D is up & down, spotty or missing.

- Logic Pro DAW is fully integrated into the software & hardware of Apple computers & Apogee interfaces. That means it provides the most stable connection, reliability & freedom from crashes. I never crashed once!

- Most player/recordists stay with the DAW they learn on. Rarely do they change. If you start out on the free Garageband (or Cheap Reaper), I feel that it will NOT be a natural step-up when you go with Logic Pro. IMO, GB is clunky & limited. It won't even allow you save your settings as a template & has limited onboard plug-ins. Why start out on inferior & then have to change your workflow again & learn a more complex DAW? Go with Logic Pro first, pay the time dues learning its basics, & avoid the loss of time learning another DAW all over again. Start out learning on the best - Logic Pro. I mean Koda, your Mac signal chain (is that the M1 chipset Macbook Pro?) so far shows that's where you're headed, right? Don't wait!

- Logic Pro & Pro Tools (getting very expensive again now Avid!) are the ONLY two fully professional DAW's found in every pro studio. The others are all 'minor league' by comparison.

- That means you can take home recorded Logic Tracks to a Mastering Engineer to edit or put in the final magic & transfer them seamlessly to a pro studio's format. Can't do that with Reaper.

- Logic Pro offers a quality & breadth of tools, plug-in's, samples, fairly logical workflow at a very reasonable price ($199). And it is just so much fun to play around with. Its percussion samples are a gas!. I also like its Mastering workflow. Final Cut Pro X can help if you're adding video in Logic Pro.

- Logic is also the most compatible DAW when it comes to accepting most external plug-in's.

- Everyone this year seems to be in 'Plug-in Madness.' With Logic, you don't really need many external plug-ins. That saves you money, Koda. Most plug-in's are not worth the money, IMO.

- RE: Plug-in's, You asked so here are a few I would suggest (check the above resources for a huge list of Plug-in choices): Izotope Ozone (editing/mastering tool), Fabfilter Pro EQ, Waves Reverb Bundles, Altiverb 7 convolution reverb, miscellaneous meters for checking levels. I often used those & the onboard Space Designer tools for my simple acoustic & vocal recordings, often fingerstyle solo pieces.

- Again Logic Pro's onboard plug-in's will give any guitarist/recordist the tools they need to make professional level recordings. The DAW learning curve is up to you to maximze them.

- However, There are So Many Resources Available Now to help you learn the basic workflows in Logic Pro. Apple also provides training if you ask, not that expensive, great for 'tune ups.'

But besides the gear & learning the DAW, you really need to Treat Your Space First. It makes the biggest difference, Koda, TRULY, It is the only way to achieve consistent & open sounding recordings & to maximize all of your gear. It is Essential!. Check out the list of video's above for how to make portable, affordable DIY OC 703 room treatment. Or PM me.

Suggestion: You should invest in a couple 1T external hard-drives to store your projects & keep them off your computer's HD. Glyph's are the best HD's & worth the money for many reasons, including great guarantee's. Better safe than sorry, right?

Good Luck Koda in your home recording pursuits! Logic Pro will provide you with a fantastic control center DAW for your Mac-based recording chain. All the best to you! Go Logic Pro!

BTW, this excellent Doug Young 'Basic Recording' video provides a lot of useful information RE: acoustic fingerstyle recording/editing/mastering/sharing on basic gear. His DAW? Logic Pro, of course.

https://acousticguitar.com/home-reco...oustic-guitar/

alohachris

PS: If you have the time & patience, you could download online DAW samples (like I did - 15 DAW's) to compare workflows. Many DAW's work the same, but their workflows are extremely varied. Logic Pro was the one for me. Give it a shot! It's Mac Heaven, Koda -alohachris-

Mreilly 01-04-2022 06:45 PM

I am a logic user here (occasionally I use pro-tools), I will say logic has a lot to offer from plugins, drum kits etc. Pretty easy to transition form Garage band. For me its worth it and I like the user interface for creating. Can't comment on reaper but $200 for software is pretty cheap for what you get. I also own a handful of plugins and subscribe to the Slate Digital All Access Pass which covers nearly everything I would need.

I would think the top two Pro DAW's would be Pro Tools and Logic, nearly everyone I have dealt with uses one of those two. For $60 I would bet reaper is a good bargain and every individual will have different needs and budget.

Koda 01-04-2022 07:14 PM

Lots of really good insight from everyone - thanks!

It does sound like Logic Pro is the big brother to GarageBand and would be the likely next step without feeling like I'm starting over.

I recently checked out some of the tutorials on Groove3. For a very reasonable price, you can purchase what appears to be some in-depth information.
Anyone here have experience with them?

The comment from AlohaChris about room treatment hit a nerve. One of the reasons I started thinking about my recording set-up was because I'm hearing too much "noise" on my recordings. I realize that this is another whole topic but something I am planning to seriously pursue.

Thanks for all of input!


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