Move to Tracktion's Waveform
For quite some time I've been trying to find the right DAW for Whole-Play, and keep on running against one limitation or another. I've tried quite a few: Logic, Cubase, Reaper, Ableton Live... and I think finally I have my solution: Tracktion's Waveform. I am in no way linked to Tracktion, but my experience so far is so good that I want to give them a good review here. :)
My problems before were related to a) recording from multiple MIDI ports simultaneously, and b) MIDI automation. The automation in particular is a bit tricky in my project: I want to use MIDI automation to control track parameters (vol, pan), plugin parameters, and ideally also transport (record, stop, etc.).
I had everything almost sorted with Cubase, which I even bought thinking it was certainly going to cover all my needs. But I ended up running into a problem (bug?) where I couldn't record midi coming from IAC ports. Very frustrating, and their customer support was less than ideal. After a lot of nagging, I ended up getting some response from a guy who seemed to at least understand the problem, but the answers were very erratic, and after a frustrating while of trying to cooperate with them I got too frustrated and gave up. Back to research, back to hours of fiddling with configuration, automation... and then I found Waveform (formerly Tracktion).
Now, I'm not saying this is better software, but in my case it solved all the issues, with some perks. Specifically:
- I can record multiple MIDI tracks coming from different IAC ports without problems.
- I can automate track parameters (volume, pan), VSTi parameters (i.e. the gain knob on a software instrument), and plugin parameters (i.e. any parameter in an inserted Guitar Rig), all with MIDI CC messages.
- Bonus: I can even automate rewinding, arming and recording, very cool! This might also be possible with other DAWs, but I never got to try it since it wasn't critical for me.
- Bonus: at a fraction of the price of other DAWs! At the moment of writing, the basic (complete) version goes for just $99. I was lucky to buy it on special for just over 50. Anybody wants to buy my Cubase Artist license, btw?
- Bonus: no need for a USB security stick. More important than one might think when, like me, you're often moving up and down with your laptop.
- Bonus: really funky UI, and exciting modular concept, of which I've only scratched the surface.
- Bonus: fabulous customer support response. I had a short email exchange with a very knowledgeable guy (not 10 different people, thanks!), who was very helpful, quick and friendly.
Before getting Cubase I had done a lot of research and testing, so here's my lesson: not enough! I should have tried recording the multiple IAC ports and I would have found out about the bug, but since playback was fine... so yeah, not enough. :) A bit more patience and thorough testing would have saved me money, and more importantly, a fair bit of time.