A good friend of mine, after listening to my latest Journey CD (cheap, shameless plug alert), asked me:
You have an Apple, right?
You’re not using “Logic Pro X” (for your music production)?
Me: Why would I want to do that…?
With that in mind, below is my DAW profile…
Cakewalk (or SONAR, or Cakewalk by Bandlab)
I’ve used Cakewalk since “Cakewalk by Twelve Tone System” ran on MS-DOS back in the early ’90s. Yeah, I’m one of those folks.
I probably have over 200 Cakewalk session tracks, 80% of which I’ve not opened in years.
Until Gibson ceased active development of Cakewalk, it was my primary DAW, used to produce most of “The Maestro Project”, “Journey” and four earlier unpublished CDs back in the 2000’s.
Reason (by Propellerhead, now Reason Studios)
I was introduced to Reason, by a buddy of mine, shortly after learning of Gibson’s selloff of Cakewalk.
I was immediately attracted to its simpler workflow (compared to Cakewalk), and was so enamored that I swapped out DAWs just before I completed “The Maestro Project” in 2018.
Reason was the DAW of choice for recording most of the tracks, when I started working on “Journey”.
Then Propellerhead changed its name to Reason Studios, announced an upgrade to Reason 11, and I wondered, at the time, if it made since to shell out $$$ for a new version that didn’t really improve on its DAW experience.
Yeah, you’re right — I’m pretty damn fickle and borderline ADHD when it comes to recording software. So..?
Presonus Studio One
I’ve been using Presonus audio gear for over 10 years, so I always had that complimentary copy of Studio One Artist.
During the time I was pondering the meaning of life (or pondering the meaning of upgrading to Reason 11), I decided to evaluate Studio One Professional.
After a month, I felt it was a good enough replacement for Cakewalk (UI-wise) and Reason (mixer/production-wise). The integration with the hardware made sense, and FX were good enough.
As I approached the end of producing the Journey project, I ended up exporting the Reason-based tracks and “re”-mixing them in S1–with a focus on console emulation.
|Song Title||Tracking DAW||Mixing DAW|
|See It In Your Eyes||Reason||Studio One|
|Road Trip||Reason||Studio One|
|Blacktop Heaven||Reason||Studio One|
|Good Woman||Reason||Studio One|
Towards the end of the table, you’ll notice that I ended up returning to Cakewalk.
I like Cakewalk, primarily for its mixing console and the ability to switch between SSL, Neve or API console emulation.
I like Reason as my primary playground – it’s really easy to fire up Reason, drag an instrument into the sequence view and start brainstorming. Of the three, it has the best set of instruments (Europa! baby).
I like Studio One because of the all-around approach to music production. The ability to group tracks, pack folders, create VCA buses, and use console emulation is great.
I use Studio One for mastering, regardless of what DAW I used to track and mix a song.