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DAW's Vs. Discrete Recording
Old 22nd January 2013
  #1
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DAW's Vs. Discrete Recording

I am one of those odd ducks. I am a keyboardist/composer/producer with a complete home studio. Complete in the sense that I have all the playing/recording/mixing hardware EXCEPT for the use of a DAW. I do have Cubase 7, but do not use it. My main keyboard is a Yamaha Motif XS7. Have numerous outboard synths/effects/tube Mic pre, 2 consoles - one used as a submixer/effects manager, the other is a 2488 neo 24 track digital mixer/recorder. I sequence using the Motif in 16 tracks, do all my editing of those 16 tracks on the Motif. Dump the whole mix into a stereo digital pair on the 24 track neo. Add tracks (vocals, etc) on the 22 tracks left on the 2488. Monitor on a pair of HS80M's.
I have had good results with this setup, as I am mainly a composer, and a keyboardist of many years. I do best recording quickly - when the mood is right on the Motif, then add other tracks to complete, and do my final mixes on the 2488. Note that I can bounce tracks on the 2488 without adding noise floor, and gain a lot more tracks, but I rarely need to.
I know there are lots of features on Cubase and other good DAW's, that I could probably use to my benefit. But with all these tracks, and good editing capabilities, my question is am I really missing out not using a DAW? I would have to add a channel input card to my computer to multi-track audio and not just midi. From my view, the channel cards are all very limited - have to unplug discretes and re-plug when changing synths, etc. Any feedback to my direction and results would be appreciated. Thanks - Production.
Old 22nd January 2013
  #2
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Production ➑️
I sequence using the Motif in 16 tracks, do all my editing of those 16 tracks on the Motif. Dump the whole mix into a stereo digital pair on the 24 track neo.
if you have something that works for you, it works for you
maybe you don't want to mess with something that involves your composing and writing

nevertheless I would take exception to your metaphor to point out the the DAW is actually the "discrete" way of doing things - because you could keep your 16 keyboard tracks separate right up to the final mix.

Then you would have more control over them individually when you went to mix everything together. The way you are doing it now, you must commit to a mix of the 16 keyboard tracks as a single element while "guessing" at what balances you are going to need after the vocals that you haven't done yet are put on.

So that IMO would be one advantage of a DAW - the expanded control at mixdown. You would have to weigh this against the possible disruption of your writing/composing routine.

other possible advantages:
when I got my first DAW the first thing that impressed me was how much easier it was to edit things with a full sized screen and a mouse instead of the little tiny window, cursor buttons and multiple pages of a keyboard or drum machine display

others here may point out the wealth of cool virtual instruments that would extend far beyond what you have in your Motif, not to say you couldn't continue to print any sounds you like from the Yamaha

good or bad, improvement or not, expect a learning curve. Don't make the change right before a big deadline.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #3
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DAW vs Discrete

Thanks. Yes, I do have to commit to the 16 track mix off the Motif. That is an issue. If I have everything MIDI-synced to the 24 track, I can go back and reload the mix off the Motif and keep it in sync with the other 22 tracks (vocals, guitars, etc). Acknowledged that the DAW would definitely make this simpler and more comprehensive, as well as bringing more features to the table. The new DAW's are quite powerful. Have been studying up on Cubase, and realize the advantages over my 'discrete' recording techniques. I see I can add the mlan board to the Motif, which carries all the audio as well as MIDI to the DAW. Also I will need the firewire USB interface on my computer (have a Vostro, so that should give me enough memory). Is there anything else you would recommend hardware-wise that I should consider? I really want to add the Slate drum software, I don't think I can use this without a DAW, right? (if I could drive it directly from the MOTIF on MIDI, this would be great. But looks like I am destined to go with the DAW. Also, I would like to be able to send my mixes to studios in LA that have live rooms for adding real drummers, etc. How do you do that?
Your feedback is much appreciated. Production.
Old 23rd January 2013 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Production ➑️
I really want to add the Slate drum software, I don't think I can use this without a DAW, right?
yes, it is a plug-in and needs a DAW host


Quote:
I would like to be able to send my mixes to studios in LA that have live rooms for adding real drummers, etc. How do you do that?
you would usually consolidate your tracks as wav files that all start on bar 1, beat 1. Then whatever they (the studio with the drummer) would do would start at the same time.

the studio probably would not require everything broken out just to do the drums and ship them back to you. The bare minimum, I would think, would be a slaved bounce of the song and a click track. As a drummer, I wouldn't mind having a few more items as separate stems: bass, rhythm piano or guitar parts, for example. Melodic leads and vocals separate would be nice, just to be able to turn them down relative to the groove instruments. You are essentially sending them what they Need to construct a cue mix for the drummer. If they are not mixing the song, they would not need every single track separate. You could probably make a good guess at a drummer's cue mix or they would probably be happy to just tell you what they wanted.

they would send back .wav files starting at the same place - 1|1|000 - and it would line right up in your song when you imported them back into the DAW
Old 23rd January 2013
  #5
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DAW vs Discreet

That all makes perfect sense. I wanted to add the Motif XS mlan16e2 card to the synth, which would give me a firewire interface of multiple in's/out's to the computer. Unfortunately, this is no longer available. So when I go DAW I will need one of the interfaces with multiple input channels and use the stereo out of the Motif as two of the inputs into the interface, right? (Like the focusrite which is reasonably priced). I guess I would plug in my other outboards synths the same way. Also, at that time, my outboard 24 track mixer/recorder would then become obsolete? Production
Old 23rd January 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 
valis's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
You won't need the 2488neo for digital mixing, since it offers nothing (except maybe pre's) that you wont' have otherwise. It can also possibly act as a control surface, but it's larger and pricier than other automation surfaces and will just complexify what you have to learn, not simplify it. Ie, you'll either need to rely on a template someone else created OR go through the process of adapting your current workflow to new software you don't know well, which is usually not ideal until you've had some time to refine things AND understand them.
Old 23rd January 2013
  #7
XI-MACHINES
 
DAW PLUS's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Being a composer, you should go for the workflow which allows you to have room for laying down your ideas without technical limitations.
Your current setup is limiting, but a DAW might get into the way if you don't stick to what you need, due to its trillion functions.

Get an interface which allows you to record 8 tracks at the same time, record MIDI tracks which allow you to edit your recording if needed in an easy way.
When done, or used up all parts of the synth, record the individual synth tracks and start laying down vocals and other instruments.
Just use Cubase as a MIDI & audio recorder and as a Slate host.
When done recording, you can edit/rearrange if needed, mix everything in the box, output a stereo master.

It is very tempting to figure out all the tricks and functionality of a DAW, but it is best to keep that limited to off-time hours to experiment.

This way, you should have optimized your workflow with few limitations without technical depth getting in the way.
Old 25th January 2013
  #8
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DAW's vs Discret

Thanks, Live for DAW's. Good input, and I am now looking for a deal on an interface. Cubase tutorial is good. Also looking at my Vostro to make sure it will support all the memory needs of big audio files. What computer do you use, and how much memory would a typical multi-track (say 24 tracks) recording eat up on your hard drive? Production
Old 25th January 2013
  #9
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
DAW vs Discrete

Guys, consider this: With the Motif, I can go USB into the computer to Cubase. This would give me DAW control over 16 channels of midi, also to my outboards. Still use the neo for recording/mixing tracks. Could I then load plug-in's (like Slate Drums), drive it MIDI from the Motif, and output stereo audio (which I have now) from the computer to the neo as another stereo track pair? Thanks again for everybody's help. Production.
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