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I'm about to make an investment in some software for PC (don't get on me about MAC is better in this thread please) and am looking for some recommendations.

I am pretty new to the music software thing, but pretty good at computers...at least I make money doing PC work.

I want the ability to not just MIDI in tracks, but also write and play them back (like an orchestral score) as well as record live. I cant play everything I want on the keyboard in real-time so the ability to enter notes and play it back is important to me.

What are some good music programs that can do what I am looking for...and still get a good professional sounding mix once I become somewhat proficient?
 

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If you got a Mac you'd get Garageband which is an excellent starter Midi/DAW program. And it's free. And comes with excellent sounds. Then there is Logic.....

Just about any DAW will do what you want. Reaper would probably work, but i don't think it comes with a good sound library.

http://www.reaper.fm/
 

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If you got a Mac you'd get Garageband which is an excellent starter Midi/DAW program. And it's free. And comes with excellent sounds. Then there is Logic.....

Just about any DAW will do what you want. Reaper would probably work, but i don't think it comes with a good sound library.

http://www.reaper.fm/
But he does not have a Mac.

In any case, Reaper is nice once you understand it, and should work well for your needs. I'm not sure if it has notation capabilities though.

Here's list with PC hosts and sequencers to get you started.
 

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In any case, Reaper is nice once you understand it, and should work well for your needs.
Highly recommended, its a very good piece of kit.. though no notation I'm afraid.....
 

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I have been looking around for the same reasons lately. If you are good with computers and also have no reservations regarding linux, then you might have a look at, lets say http://ubuntustudio.org/ or http://www.linuxmusicians.com/.

I have tried some of the windows based stuff (Pro Tools, Cubase, and some other Roland stuff that came with my UA25-ex converter). I am (like you) computer professional, but I haven't managed to get the most of the windows software working together to my suits. Pro Tools is a state of the art software, but will work only with the A/D/Midi converters of the 'Multisound' brand. The various Roland software that came with my converter wouldn't even connect between each other. Logic Pro might be an interesting try (just because everyone is using it :).

My experience is, that all the windows software is constantly complaining about 'wrong' Harddisks, insufficient recources and even require multiple re-boots per hour. There are only few programs that work really satisfying (besides LINUX/MAC software, may be Band in a Box, transcribe, and some others I forgot). Regarding music, I am competely on linux now (I wasn't into linux before), and it's a relief.....

Thomas
 

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Take a look at the Sony software products.

Also the latest version of ProTools no longer requires dedicated hardware.
 

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Hi,

You mentioned software but which hardware do you have or do you intend to buy? There is often some software coming with midi/audio hardware, sometime it is proprietary sometime a light edition of a popular DAW.

Having good dedicated audio hardware is critical in order to have both a low latency AND reliability.

For notation you might want to give a look at MuseScore it is free if I recall and work well to enter notes by name. That's the one I tend to use despite the fact I have Logic Studio...

Happy shopping :p
 

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I'm a Sonar Bigot. Mainly because my first sound card(M-Audio) came with a version of Cakewalk. Because I registered it, I've been offered the cheap upgrades whenever a new version came out. I was having driver issues (M-audio, Win764), but Sonar X1 seems to have fixed it.

I too, have a day job doing PC work. And I have lousy keyboard chops. But Sonar lets me bang out what I need. If you're going to strictly be doing input via a score, then Sonar isn't for you.
 

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I'm a Sonar Bigot. Mainly because my first sound card(M-Audio) came with a version of Cakewalk. Because I registered it, I've been offered the cheap upgrades whenever a new version came out.
There it is. It seems what ever DAW you learn on, you will most likely stick with for life. I have noticed that with friends and myself. I learned on MOTU Performer more then 20 years ago. Before it was even Digital Performer. Even though I have Logic and ProTools, DP is still my go to DAW. They all do pretty much the same thing, with just nuance differences (ok, deeper then that, but you get the point). That said, I would recommend ProTools 9 (yes, I did get the PC part), if only for the reason that it's universal. PT is everywhere and is a universal standard in every pro studio on the planet I'd guess.
 

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Protools and Logic are great. However, at 40 bucks, reaper is the most cost effective. Audacity is free, but I've never liked the interface.

Woody, I started out on MOTU performer when Mark still worked from his 'garage'. I started with 1.0.:), but 1.2 ROCKED with System 4. heehee. I also used Professional Composer (one of the first notation applications) a bit.

Protools was then called Sound Designer, and I edited lots of 8 bit samples for a Prophet 2000 sampler.

These guys have been players from the beginning.
 

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There's no MIDI playback or recording in Audacity. You might look into Anvil Studio. It does MIDI with live recording, single note entry, score notation, and it also allows you to mix audio tracks with MIDI tracks. The base progam is free. They sell lots of add-ons for it:

http://www.anvilstudio.com/
 

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I've been using both Sibelius music software to enter and play back written music and pro tools to record. As they are no both owned by avid they seem to work very well together. The only drawback is the price. That said if its a longer term project it should even out over time.
 

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It really doesn't matter which music software you use, as long as you use one of the top ones - Sonar, Cubase, Reaper, Pro Tools (more choices on Mac). What DOES matter is you get a good quality outboard audio interface and a decent mic. A Shure SM 57 and a nice PreSonus or M-Audio USB interface won't set you back too much.

With regard to notation, I am a good sight reader, I actually programmed a notation program for a few years (I worked on Encore from Passport Designs), and I currently use Cubase because it's included notation is pretty good, but I find that the piano roll interface is easier to use if you are inputting parts with a mouse or in step sequence with a keyboard.

So I would choose the interface and mic from above, and either buy Cubase (around $500) or Reaper and a good quality sampler program like Kontakt ($40 plus about $400 for Kontakt).

Either way, you have a steep learning curve ahead. Be prepared to spend some time before you get comfortable.
 

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Either way, you have a steep learning curve ahead. Be prepared to spend some time before you get comfortable.
Which is why I suggested Pro Tools 9. I'm in no way putting down any other DAW. I heard incredible things from many different programs. It's just that PT is the indisputable universal standard. Since they are all really deep programs and require a lot of time to learn, not to mention just a natural ability to wrap your head around a lot of the concepts, you might as well start on the standard. If you master any DAW, it's really difficult to learn another. almost like starting over in some cases. Just my 2 cents of course. DP7 is my main DAW even though I have Logic and PT9. Life would be easier if my main DAW was PT just for playing well with others. Always in the end, you need to be the ace of your own base.
 

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+1 for ProTools. I also use Protools when I make hip hop beats. Really easy interface and very navigable, although I only have the PT 7 version, I imagine 9 has a lot more features. I also use frooty loops for drum beats when I don't have a live drummer. Really simple program and you can customize the velocity of each hit to make the drums sound almost real. I use these two programs together. I import the drum beats from FL straight into PT, and record everything else live.

I've tried ableton, but for some reason, the program and I dont agree with eachother sometimes. GarageBand is also really fun. :)
 

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Pro tools is the US standard. I moved from tape and HD to PT for just that reason. I think Logic seems to rule overseas. Maybe Pete or someone from "over there" can tell us...
 

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Pro tools is the US standard. I moved from tape and HD to PT for just that reason. I think Logic seems to rule overseas. Maybe Pete or someone from "over there" can tell us...
I know a lot of writers that like Logic here and elsewhere. I like it too. But PT is still the standard by far when studios or engineers for hire are concerned. They may have/know other DAWs like Logic or DP, etc, but I've never heard them say they don't have/know PT. A good example of why this would be handy is this. Say you have a song you want "Super Amazing Drumking" on. Just send the PT session and your there. Or someone wants a sax solo from "Squeaky Reed", they can just send the PT session to Squeaky. No converting required. You have your project ready to mix, you can hire virtually anyone these days and a PT session is what they will ask for. It's been my experience for a while now. I'm just saying that if your starting with no DAW experience, you might as well learn the standard. Also, as your collecting plug-ins, which can be crazy expensive, better not to ever have to change formats (AU, RTAS, VST, TDM, whatever)
 

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PT is the standard here too. Many musicians use Logic, but most if not all the studios have PT. I use DP and PT, but I don't know anyone else here that uses DP. MOTU software is largely unknown here for some reason, but many use the hardware. (I use a Traveler)
 
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