Jim Dooley's DAW Recommendations

Welcome to DigitalAudioWorkstations.net. I hope this site is helpful with your decision on what recording software aka DAW to choose to make your music with. Choosing the right software is not just a financial investment. With all of the advanced features available in today’s music creation software and the learning curve involved required to get the most out of you efforts, Your time investment can be just as important as price.

This is not as much of a standard review site as it is just my thoughts and recommendation. Although I haven’t used every DAW out there, I have experimented with more than a few and software is always a topic of discussion when I’m around other musicians and producers. So if I don’t know the details of a particular DAW, I may be able to at least give you a few things to think about when making your decision.

Do you need some drums for your music or want to know more about me?
Check out my drum loops on JimDooley.net.

Reaper

Like Reaper? Let me know.
 

Reaper is by far the best deal on recording software out there. I've used Reaper for a few projects just to see how it works. Ultimately I find it more efficient to work in Sonar because I'm more familiar the interface. That being said, in my limited use of reaper, I did find a couple of features that Sonar did not have. For example. You can edit multitrack videos and group them with audio tracks so your edits stay in the same spot. That's pretty cool, but the video features are very basic. It's pretty much cut and splice, and nothing else. If they improve that they'ed have one the best products for video creators. There's also some slip editing features that are very

Company's Website Reaper

Sonar

Like Sonar? Let me know.
 

Lately Cakewalk’s Sonar Platinum has been my DAW of choice for recording, mixing and editing drum loops. I’ve been a cakewalk user ever since Cakewalk Professional 7 and have been on the upgrade path ever since. At times this has felt a bit like a carrot on a stick. They tend to be a bit vague about new features and I’ve often been disappointed when I finally get up and running. It’s something to consider now that they have moved to a subscription model. You can still pay upfront and be done with it, but they have a “what’s next” section on the cakewalk site. I would be careful making any purchasing decision based on “still to come” features, you may find yourself waiting and paying longer than you anticipated.

Throughout the years, there have been some strange user interface changes and there are some features in some older versions that were very useful that are now gone. One of my pet peeves is that you can no longer customize clip colors on a single track. That being said, the current version of Sonar does sound great and is easy to work with.

Company's Website Sonar

Pro Tools

Like Pro Tools? Let me know.
 

Full Disclaimer: I don't use Pro Tools so my thoughts are based on stuff I've heard from friends and colleagues. And when I've done research because I was considering switching to Pro Tools.

So in a nutshell, here's the only reason I would ever recommend Pro Tools. They have the market cornered with big studios. If you aspire to work with lots of professional recording studios, It may make your life easier in the long run. File and template sharing are very important if you're working with other studio that work in Pro Tools. In fact, I'll bet you'll lose some work because you don't have Pro Tools.

That being said, I don't think they have anything on any other DAW. In fact they may be a bit worse. One mind blowing example of where Pro Tools lagged behind for many years would be offline bounce. Ever since 1999 when I started using Cakewalk Professional 7, when I was done with the mix and it was time to export to wave, all I would need to do is export to wav. This meant that if I had a fast processor, a 10 minute song would only take a few minutes to render. And as processors got faster so did the exporting speed. Well, Pro Pools finally includes this feature, but until Pro Tools 11, you always had to do this in real time. That seems crazy to me given the fact that they are the "Industry standard" and for recording studios time is literally money. This is just one example and even though It's fixed now, this would give me pause before I decided to invest time and money in this very expensive platform.

Company's Website Pro Tools