Any recent DAW comparisons?

Support & discussion regarding DAWs and MIDI sequencers.

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tavasti
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Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby tavasti » Tue May 03, 2016 8:26 am

I have been looking for recent comparisons of linux DAWs.

Personally, I'm trying to decide should I spend my minimal time on learning Ardour, Muse, Qtractor, Non-daw or something else?

- Drums will be programmed somehow/recorded from some app
- Synths programmed
- Guitar & bass recorded

So I need little bit of everything. I have used LMMS, and I like it, but it does not have audio recording at all. Sure it is possible to create 'backing track' with LMMS, and play over it, but that does not match to way of my working.

Non-daw in interesting, but somehow I would like more 'integrated' solution, where everything is in one program rather than having instruments there, midi here, recording somewhere.

Edit: and for sure, comments to what I should select are welcome!

Edit2: My findings can be found from http://cargocollective.com/tavasti/Selecting-Linux-DAW (will evolve slowly to contain more info)
Last edited by tavasti on Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby ssj71 » Tue May 03, 2016 4:09 pm

well, I like ardour and it works very well for me because I focus on instrument (both acoustic, electric, and midi) performance based recording (opposed to loop based, sequenced, or something). Ardour can work for many other workflows, but it may not be the best tool for some.

Luckily for you, you can try them all for free! It does cost time. But its probably well worth trying to make a 30 second song or something in each and deciding which lends best for your workflow. If you do so it would be great if you could share your experience. I think part of the reason there aren't many reviews is because most folks are already decided and when you can try them all, hands on experience is much better than some random person's review.

For me Ardour was clearly the one focused the most on my sort of workflow, so I went with it and never went back. I've dabbled with others and never felt like they had anything to offer over Ardour.
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby Luc » Tue May 03, 2016 4:42 pm

My favorite all-around solution is Tracktion, which is not free. I think it's the one with the least number of flaws and highest degree of intuitiveness and flexibility.

Second place would be Ardour, because it doesn't have any kind of step sequencer (it's been promised for 8 years now) and it crashes too often on me. So does Tracktion, but less often.

I admit I don't know Muse and Qtractor. I've tried them, but didn't find them intuitive and didn't accomplish much. I have to get around to reading their manuals... one of these days.

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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby DoosC » Tue May 03, 2016 5:28 pm

Maybe you can find this useful :D
It is open to modification and updates :mrgreen:
Probably this should be copied on the site somewhere :|
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby magicalex » Tue May 03, 2016 6:40 pm

Tracktion or Qtractor would be my choice. Both are capable of doing what you're after. Tracktion is extremely intuitive with some great features, and Qtractor is very easy to use once you've got it set up.
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby tavasti » Tue May 03, 2016 8:21 pm

ssj71 wrote:Luckily for you, you can try them all for free! It does cost time.

Yes, I know, and trying to avoid spending (more) time :-)

ssj71 wrote:But its probably well worth trying to make a 30 second song or something in each and deciding which lends best for your workflow. If you do so it would be great if you could share your experience. I think part of the reason there aren't many reviews is because most folks are already decided and when you can try them all, hands on experience is much better than some random person's review.


I thinks similar way, except that I'm trying to push that work to someone else :-)
Learning proper way to use some tool is not that fast, but on the other hand, if you create video showing you using some tool stupid way, in most cases you get really fast instructions how you should have done it :-)

Ardour seems to be complete, but somehow it's way of working seems too complicated. I've spent maybe 1-2 hours using ardour, and did not get idea how to do things I want to. But it was older version, maybe things have changed.
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby tavasti » Tue May 03, 2016 8:32 pm

DoosC wrote:Maybe you can find this useful :D

For me, not too much help, for my candidates, did not make really difference.

Actually gave me two more candidates, EnergyXT and Libre Octave Studio, but not really. EnergyXT is commercial, LOS is dead?
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby Luc » Tue May 03, 2016 8:52 pm

DoosC wrote:Maybe you can find this useful :D
It is open to modification and updates :mrgreen:
Probably this should be copied on the site somewhere :|


That chart looks very nice, but also looks misleading.

For example, it says "no" to JACK transport and JACK MIDI on Tracktion. But I can use almost everything I want inside the application itself and I can route JACK input/output with Catia quite trivially.

Also MIDI works pretty well.

The chart also doesn't tell anyone that you can use LV2, DSSI and LADSPA plugins in Tracktion via Carla.

I believe that you can have "Notes names on matrix" in Tracktion. I've seen it in some Youtube video.

What about that "Background sequence" feature that is marked as "no" for several DAWs? It's marked "yes" for Seq24. I know how that works in Seq24 and come on, you can just create separate tracks and leave one playing while you record the other in all or almost all of those applications.

Someone might easily look at those "nos" and be led to believe that certain things do not work while they actually do.

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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby ssj71 » Tue May 03, 2016 8:58 pm

tavasti wrote:Ardour seems to be complete, but somehow it's way of working seems too complicated. I've spent maybe 1-2 hours using ardour, and did not get idea how to do things I want to. But it was older version, maybe things have changed.

Its gotten improvements (especially after 3.x) but it is still based around a traditional workflow, much like if you were working with a tape machine, analog mixing desk, hardware compressors, eqs etc. Its a complex task for sure, but its a tradeoff between complexity and flexibility, a simpler program may not be able to do many things that a fully featured DAW can.

To be sure, the first time I opened ardour (back in the 2.x days) I closed it after a few seconds because I had no clue what I was looking at! After reading a couple books about recording (that had nothing to do with ardour) and a little reading of the ardour manual (I never did finish it), now nearly everything in ardour makes complete sense to me. So for me it was simply lack of knowledge about mixing and production that was the barrier and a trip to the local library (and a few weeks of reading) more or less cleared it. I now know the difference between a track and a buss or a send vs an insert. It would have been the same with reaper, traction, pro-tools or most any fully featured DAW, but with those more popular proprietary programs there's more probability someone has taken the time to record tutorials on youtube to help you learn. Personally I much prefer to understand underlying principles than to just follow recipes, but you gotta do what works for you.

There are some tutorials on ardour. Even the old version tuts have a lot of helpful info. I.E. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfIq-X-chQU
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby sysrqer » Tue May 03, 2016 9:34 pm

I doubt it would suit you from what you've mentioned so far but renoise can do all these things as well.

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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby eric71 » Wed May 04, 2016 4:23 am

It seems that Tracktion has already gotten some love in this thread, and I'll second that. Ardour is a great program, but the workflow and ease of setup and use of Tracktion fit my way of working with a far smaller learning curve. Just far less clicks and connections to make to get the same things done. I record mostly audio, with some midi (drums and keyboards) so I haven't needed notation very often. Tracktion 4 is also free, although I have to admit I have next to no experience with it. T6 and T7 have been very solid for me. No native lv2 support, but as previously mentioned, Carla can help get around that. LADSPA and linux vst work natively (although I think I read that LADSPA isn't working in T4). I'd been a REAPER user for years, both on windows and with wineasio on Linux, and in attempting to take my workflow most seamlessly to a native Linux program, Tracktion worked best for me. The native linux REAPER developer version is coming along nicely, but it is still a way off from handling the requirements you have. When it is ready, it will give me some decisions to make and I may go back to it.

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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby tavasti » Wed May 04, 2016 4:48 am

Luc wrote:That chart looks very nice, but also looks misleading.

For example, it says "no" to JACK transport and JACK MIDI on Tracktion. But I can use almost everything I want inside the application itself and I can route JACK input/output with Catia quite trivially.

Also MIDI works pretty well.

The chart also doesn't tell anyone that you can use LV2, DSSI and LADSPA plugins in Tracktion via Carla.

I agree with you (in general, don't know traction), and I suppose that same applies to many DAW's there. For example, NON, it is build on idea 'use external synths'.

And for jack midi, I personally don't think jack midi is so important. Actually manual routing is easier with alsa midi, all devices are shown by name, not like System/midi_playback87
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby gimmeapill » Wed May 04, 2016 10:46 am

Just wanted to check out this new Tracktion thing from work by reading the docs, but it looks like you have to pay even for the manual:
https://leanpub.com/guide_to_tracktion_t7

That doesn't exactly tick a box here...

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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby tavasti » Wed May 04, 2016 11:08 am

gimmeapill wrote:Just wanted to check out this new Tracktion thing ...

Hmm, they have also free version:

https://www.tracktion.com/products/t4-daw
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Re: Any recent DAW comparisons?

Postby eric71 » Wed May 04, 2016 11:57 am

I'd definitely prefer if Tracktion provided a manual free of charge, but they do provide ample popup information on mouse-over of just about everyting in the GUI. It gets you up and running fairly quickly and is easy to shut off when it starts getting annoying. There's some decent videos on youtube showing the main features as well. A proper manual like Ardour or REAPER provides would be very useful though, as so much has been added since T4 for which a manual is available.


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