Why I (try to) Use Multiple DAWs (poorly)

Why I (try to) Use Multiple DAWs (poorly)

I don’t really know what I am doing.

I played music in bands and orchestras back in the late 1960s. I got paid to do it. It was going to be my career. I went to recording studios. Sat in on some really nice sessions. Couldn’t stay where I lived, moved away, work as a musician dried up.

One thing that I learned is that I could always learn a new trick or technique. A lesson with a master was always welcome.

I wound up working with computers and software (yes, in the 1970s, before you were born). I could always learn a new trick or technique. Wrote software, tried software, helped make software work.

I learned that there were always multiple tools that could get the job done. Some were easier than others, depending on the task, but there were always choices.

When it was time to learn a new tool I always tried to find a new project or task and use that as the benchmark for learning a new tool. Maybe it would be harder, maybe it would be easier. Never knew until I tried.

I have been learning to use new tools for more than 45 years. It’s still fun. I still learn.

DAWs and the “Path to Glory”

ProTools is the DAW you must use if you are a professional! Logic Pro is the DAW you must use if you are a composer. Fruity Loops is used by “people who fiddle PCs”. Ableton Live? A lot like Opcode Vision from the late 1980s in lots of ways. Think sequencers. There’s this DAW called Studio One that gets praise from people who do lots of music. Reaper is the true path.

It’s all just tools. The same tools for the most part. The interface changes. The tasks generally do not.

I tried ProTools (version 8LE – oops). Not happening. Finally switched out and realised that GarageBand fit my needs better. Really, I wanted to play the instruments. Mainstage with all of the sounds and tools was what I wanted to use. That was where my 20+ year old understanding of computers and music was. PC + Sounds + programs = music in some ways.

Live Sound Is Where I Grew Up

Play Music. Record It. Listen To What You Did. Make It Better Next Time. That’s it. Simple.

Live Sound

If I was able to stay exclusively in the thrall of one band I might get by with learning “one thing”. Nope. The cover band that does bluegrass, country swing, and a little jazz uses a Mackie board. The “Pulk Fonk” (think punk folk) band uses a Line6 weird thing. The bar where the band is playing has an old PA system that you need to use. It’s all the same, basically, but it really is different. If I want to “play” I have to adapt to all of the things that are the same, but not. A lot like how I spent my career in software.

Learning How to Do it

Joe Gilder shows us how to do things in Studio One. Graham Cochrane shows us how to do things in ProTools (some variant). Graham English tells me how to do things in Logic. We get to see things done with Reaper, ProTools, Logic, Studio One, etc., etc., and so forth (that’s a reference).

I want to do these things. They tell me I can do it in my DAW. But how? They don’t tell me that. I have to go find a translation of what they have said and convert it to my DAW. Fortunately it’s fairly simple to translate, and all things come to those who wait.

Here’s the Neat Thing

All the tricks and techniques are really helpful. If I learn to do them (in any tool) I will get a better result. I can translate between the DAWs! There is enough common ground that I can learn how to do things in the best tool for the task. MIDI thingies in Logic, comps in ProTools, mixing in Reaper, master in WaveLab. Doesn’t matter which I use. They all get the job done. In many cases they get the job done a whole lot faster with one tool chosen over another.

Getting Back to Simple

Me? Harrison MixBus is my challenge. I listen better when I use MixBus. It’s harder for me to set up, but I get to use my faders and pans to balance things once I get it all put into play. If I do it in Logic I get tempted to try X, Y, or Z. If I try to work in Studio One I get “side-chained” by all of the things that work so well in that DAW.

Is using multiple DAWs simple? Maybe.

If I record in Auria on an iPad, rough mix in Logic Pro, final mix in MixBus, and “master” in Studio One (or T-Racks) is that a bad thing? I don’t think so.

Yes, I might spend more time getting it done, but it gets done. I learn a bit on all the fronts. Next time it gets done faster.

This Week’s Challenge

This week I get to work on 15+ tunes recorded live on a Midas M32 board. Two-track recording plus multi-track for 11 instruments and vocals. Saw a Midas M32 for the first time 48 hours before the gig. I was stressed. I applied my knowledge of things “mixer”, read some manuals, and went forth. I am used to doing this kind of stuff with a Mackie board, but enough “spills” over to let me go forward and “Just Do It”.

Let me think about this for a while. Maybe send it out for a mix critique or some mastering…

written to “Miles Davis — Tutu” – hell of a kick drum for 30 years ago…

Dead Links

Unfortunately links on the web go dark|silent|missing – effectively dead.

I found 4 posts here with deadlinks. Added a new tag “deadlink”. Trying to locate things as I find them useful.

14 years ago the thought didn’t occur to me. Today it does. I will be saving things to PDF formats at the minimum.

Le sigh.

Principles of Adult Behavior – John Perry Barlow

 

1. Be patient. No matter what.
2. Don’t badmouth: Assign responsibility, not blame. Say nothing of another you wouldn’t say to him.
3. Never assume the motives of others are, to them, less noble than yours are to you.
4. Expand your sense of the possible.
5. Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.
6. Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
7. Tolerate ambiguity.
8. Laugh at yourself frequently.
9. Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
10. Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
11. Give up blood sports.
12. Remember that your life belongs to others as well. Don’t risk it frivolously.
13. Never lie to anyone for any reason. (Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.)
14. Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
15. Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
16. Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.
17. Praise at least as often as you disparage.
18. Admit your errors freely and soon.
19. Become less suspicious of joy.
20. Understand humility.
21. Remember that love forgives everything.
22. Foster dignity.
23. Live memorably.
24. Love yourself.
25. Endure.

 

R.I.P.

Marilyn says “It’s about time”

I’m always amused when someone in a film or TV program says something like, “We’re going to blow up in thirty seconds”, then the characters proceed to talk, argue, vow undying love, or whatever for a full minute before the bomb is defused in the last seconds. I’m waiting for someone to put a stop watch on one of these encounters and blow them up in the predicted thirty seconds while they are in mid sentence. I always feel a little cheated that their thirty seconds are longer than mine.

via About Time – Marilyn J Evans’ Blog

Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson

Amazon’s New Customer – Stratechery by Ben Thompson: “I was reminded of this quote after Amazon announced an agreement to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion; after all, it was only two years ago that Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey predicted that groceries would be Amazon’s Waterloo. And while Colligan’s prediction was far worse — Apple simply left Palm in the dust, unable to compete — it is Mackey who has to call Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, the Napoleon of this little morality play, boss.”

This is an insightful view of the Whole Foods purchase. Want to shop with me online?

The Update Saga

Follows the story I told my studio friends. They are somewhat Mac savvy, and have been in the IT industry for a long time. I don’t have to explain a lot of the things that may not parse well…here it is

I updated the mac mini from 10.11 to 10.12 not too long ago – version 10.12.3. Did my typical clone of the system disk each night as a backup. One day Carbon Copy Cloner told me that it had problems reading the system disk. That’s when I went on the path of fixing the mini.

Local dealer SImutek gave me the wrong answers when it came to replacing the drive, adding drives, whatever. No firm quote, no firm estimate without actually having the machine. I’m down a server no matter what I do. They had a used (2014) mini 4GB/500GB HDD for $350 so I bought that to get service back to the house. Slow? wow…macOS is a huge dog on HDD these days. Once apps get up it runs fine. A simple reboot back to running server can take 9 minutes.

The “new” mini was cloned from a CCC backup (10.12.3) of the old one. All is well but slow. Now I can deal with the old Mac mini. OWC offers a turnkey update service. $79 which includes shipping both ways and installation of hardware. I like that price for service. I ordered a 480 GB SSD and a 2TB spinning drive to be placed in the mini. They did the task well, timely enough, and even replaced the OWC memory that was in it. Apparently it failed testing so they did the lifetime warranty replacement while it was there.

I am bold. I decide to make the mini a Fusion drive. That works fine. I restore from same clone as the new mini is running and proceed to make a new studio mac.

10.12.4 comes out. OK. Update my MacBook Pro, check. Update MacBook, check. Let’s update the new mini. Update runs, mini reboots, mini stops coming up at about 75% on the progress indicator. Done. Never completes. No amount of waiting works. Try all the standard things, no. Put new version on from Recovery partition (gets it from Apple). No.

Somewhere during all this the Fusion drive configuration is hosed. I re-partition things, re-install the CCC clone, try everything once again. No. Will not boot. Call OWC. They say they can’t help me. I need to call Apple. Apple will say no, there are no Apple disks in the machine. They can’t help. It is now 3 days of this.

I give up. I erase the drive. I install 10.12.4 from latest downloaded installer. It boots.

Oops – the erase and give up is too early in the story. That comes later…

I decide I will try updating the new mac mini with all Apple gear inside. Guess what? It won’t boot. I try all of the things that I did before, nothing works. I call Apple. They ask me for serial number (AppleCare) so they can determine if they should talk to me. I don’t have it written down. The machine won’t boot so I can’t look there. They talk me through all of the things I have already done (I’m not doing them again) and they get to the point that I should restore from a working backup (10.12.3) and let them check things with their tools. I say OK, I will call back after I get things done which could be 2 days.

I give up. I erase the drive. I install 10.12.4 from latest downloaded installer. It boots. I build my system to a basic level, get it all working. Something odd about the behavior. I clone this disk. I now have a working server for the house. Time to go back to the studio and try that mini. I do the erase and install. Works. Clone from disk from new mini. Works. After 1 week of crapping around everything seems just fine and working well.

My conclusion is that something got lost in the transition from 10.11.6 to 10.12.3 that using the combo updater for 10.12.4 (I tried) didn’t solve. There were some crusty old things on that system dating back to 2012. It got built from a 17″ iMac dating back to 2008, so we can imagine the dreadful evil hiding in the nooks and crannys.

I’m kind of tired of all the system management stuff 😉 during all of this we gave Chris’s mom Geri a MacBook Air (2010) to use as a writing tool. Geri is a 30 year PC user who likes to move things around 😉 so we had some transition issues. Marilyn, Chris’s best friend was here. She got her retirement present, a MacBook (2016) to use as a writing tool. See the common thread. Marilyn is a PC user from long ago (work), but adapted reasonably well to the new environment.

We shall not speak of mail providers who insist that outbound mail from machines should be sent out port 143 (IMAP) instead of SMTP like the creators intended.