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RD1967

Favorite DAW and Audio interface with the Helix

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I'm just curious what everybody's favorite DAW is and which Audio Interface you're using and the results.  I've never delved into the "recording" arena but I've written several songs I feel are quite good and would like to lay them down.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

-Ron

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I'm keeping it simple with Scarlet 2i2 and Logic Pro X, but sometimes I use Helix as an audio interface (when reamping).

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I use Helix as the audio interface. The only DAW I've really ever used is Reaper, so that would be favorite. Reaper can pretty much do anything you could probably think of wanting to do, relating to functions of a DAW that is.

 

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On a Mac? Logic X. Not? Reaper.

Interace? UA Apollo. Focusrite Scarlett. Apogee Duet.

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FL Studio, with Helix.  The only hiccup really is remembering to Set ASIO drivers to FL ASIO, or ASIO4All. Then immediately switch back to Helix ASIO. It gets rid of all the underuns that happen on a large project recall (on first load up).  That only takes 10 seconds, then I am good to go.  As a DAW it is fantastic, great for those that don't want to be limited to the traditional linear recording environments in most other DAWs, although it can can be used that way for the most part. Especially with the latest FLS 20 release. 

I stick to Windows. 

 

I setup my cousin with Reaper, he does a sports podcast every Saturnday. Works great for him, and he does multi-usb mic recording. (sometimes up to 4) 

If you have the Helix it can be a great interface. If you have Helix, or Helix rack, it even has a Mic input if you want to try vocals. 

 

Truth of the matter isn't so much in what DAW you use, at least not these days. The thing that will make the most difference is which one you get comfortable using, and understand the most.  So many people at this point have recorded/mixed/mastered with great results on every DAW available.  The one you are most versed in is generally going to be the one you get the best results out of. The plugins you use will also matter much more than the DAW.  Coming in new, I can see wanting to weigh the pros/cons.. IF you don't want to go crazy with spending then go for something like Reaper,  FL Studio, etc. (save the money) Unless you already have a MAC setup. (even then FL Studio is available on MAC, but I am not sure about Reaper) If currency isn't a problem,  then go all out with Nuendo/Pro tools. 

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2 hours ago, Lachdanan0121 said:

Truth of the matter isn't so much in what DAW you use, at least not these days. The thing that will make the most difference is which one you get comfortable using, and understand the most.  So many people at this point have recorded/mixed/mastered with great results on every DAW available.  The one you are most versed in is generally going to be the one you get the best results out of. 

 

True. They do differ in workflow and layout, so you need to find one that fits your style of working. Some are better for composition and arranging. Some at MIDI. Some have better bundles of plugins and virtual instruments. Once you commit to one, though, its hard to switch because you get so familiar with how to do all the little stuff you have to do during every session. Choose wisely.

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2 hours ago, soundog said:

 

True. They do differ in workflow and layout, so you need to find one that fits your style of working. Some are better for composition and arranging. Some at MIDI. Some have better bundles of plugins and virtual instruments. Once you commit to one, though, its hard to switch because you get so familiar with how to do all the little stuff you have to do during every session. Choose wisely.

I must also add that these are evolving platforms. Some more evolving than others, but all evolve. 

FL Studio about 6,7 years ago was not a good choice for recording audio, now it can do multi channel without issue. 

Studio One has come a good way since its inception. Reaper just got a nice update in the past several months, or so.

Same could be said even for the more pricier routes.

 

All of these DAWs have come a long long way. Less than a decade ago DAWs were chosen based more on limitations, and standards. DAWs now are more, or less, chosen on preference of style/workflow. (which the "overlap" grows more with every update)

 

Point is if one feature is in one DAW, and not in another, it may not be that way for very long. So upgrade path matters in a wise choice as well. This is one of reasons that fueled my choice. Everyone who buys & registers it with Imageline gets free lifetime updates. At the time when I was seriously choosing a DAW, they were the only option to offer that. 

 

 

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This is all really great input.  I appreciate it.  What are you using for synth or piano stuff?  I don't currently have either and was wondering if the DAW's come with those and you can use your computer keyboard to work them.  Remember, I'm a total nub when it comes to recording and DAW's.  I have downloaded Reaper and ProTools First.  I'm undecided on which one I'll pursue over the other.  Any advise you can offer on this would be helpful to me.  I would most likely have electric guitar, acoustic, bass, piano, keyboards (synth) and drums in just about every song and of course, vocals.

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The grand majority of that can be covered if you go the Native Instruments'  Kontak. Be warned though everyone, and their brother uses it.

 

Personally, the grand majority of synths/generators are from Imageline.

For keys I use EZ Keys from Toontrack. Even though FL Studio now comes with a pretty nice grand piano in its Direct Wave sampler. 

 

Most DAWs should be able to use the typing keyboard to control the piano roll.  There is a button/switch at the main tool bar in FL Studio that turns this option on/off. 

 

For Drums I use EZ Drummer 2 from Toontrack. I plan to upgrade to their bigger brother offering in Superior Drummer 3 at some point. 

 

For Bass/acoustic guitar, I use Ample Sound's offerings. 

 

Electric guitars are all me.

 

My route is more expensive than the Kontak route, but better focused for me. It also is a combo I don't see many using.

 

If you want top quality FX then look at Fabfilter. They make some of the best FX plugins available.

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I own Sonar X3. Things are going a little weird at Cakewalk/Sonar right now. Supposedly their Sonar X3 has been renamed Cakewalk by Bandlab and you can get it for free here.

 

https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

 

Yet they offer something called Sonar which looks exactly like Sonar X3. I haven't tried the Cakewalk by Bandlab so I can't say what, if anything is different. It looks like Cakewalk by Bandlab will never be updated but Sonar will continue to be updated and for 49.99 a month, you get upgrades for the rest of your life. Anyway, I like it. It has a different "flow" than other DAW's and seems to be more user friendly than Reaper. It's definitely worth a look.

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I'm another one who still uses Sonar Platinum.  I'm not sure what's going to happen with it, but as long as it continues to work well for me I'll keep with it.  As far as the audio interface I use  a separate Helix Floor as my interface which also serves as a backup for my Helix Floor I use live.  As far as keyboard I use an actual keyboard, but I have used TruePiano in the past for MIDI based piano rolls.  As far as virtual drums I've used EZDrummer in the past, now I tend to prefer Addictive Drums.

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21 hours ago, DunedinDragon said:

I'm another one who still uses Sonar Platinum.  I'm not sure what's going to happen with it, but as long as it continues to work well for me I'll keep with it.  As far as the audio interface I use  a separate Helix Floor as my interface which also serves as a backup for my Helix Floor I use live.  As far as keyboard I use an actual keyboard, but I have used TruePiano in the past for MIDI based piano rolls.  As far as virtual drums I've used EZDrummer in the past, now I tend to prefer Addictive Drums.

 

I also have EZDrummer and Addictive Drums. I really like Addictive Drums but if you think the Helix has too many parameters, the amount of choices you have just for one drum is insane. Just read this.

 

Use the Transient Shaper to add or subtract snap, then use the Tone Designer for just the right amount of dampening. Use the built-in EQ, delay and reverb to add the final polish to your drum tone.

 

And there's more. I mean I could spend a day just tweaking a simple drum kit's sound if I wanted too, which, I'm pretty sure, the next day I would think it could use some more tweaking. It's insane. On the one hand it is so cool because you can definitely create a more personal sound for your virtual drum kit, but it will take some time and work. Both EZDrummer and Addictive sound good but Addictive gives you a ton more options so you don't sound like everyone else.

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31 minutes ago, brue58ski said:

 

I also have EZDrummer and Addictive Drums.

 

 

Both EZDrummer and Addictive sound good but Addictive gives you a ton more options so you don't sound like everyone else.

Toontrack also offers Superior Drummer 3.0.

It not only sounds fantastic, (probably the best for virtual drum plugins) but it is also extremely deep for editing as well.

 

Though for my first few albums EZ Drummer 2 is great. I know at some point I will want the upgrade of  sound quality/features/parameters. At that point I will go Superior Drummer 3.

 

All that said I have heard a lot of great things about Additive, and Steve Slate.

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Holy smokes!  This is really good information and sounds like it could be a lot of fun, too.  I've always wanted to record and mix my own stuff but have been so intimidated by it that I've never even tried.  All the websites make it sound so easy, though, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Thanks for the input......much appreciated!

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I use Logic Pro X, and find that it has the capabilities and ease of use I was missing from SONAR. 

 

But I think cross platform is important for collaboration. That leads to Reaper or Presonus Studio One. 

 

Note that even though you might be using the same DAW, you might not have the same plugins. Plan on worst case importing raw tracks and creating your own mix. Conversion between DAWs isn’t really viable, and probably never will be. There’s no motivation to do it, and its pretty complicated.

 

Regarding interfaces, any modern interface will do a pretty good job. They all have reasonably good preamps, and relatively low latency. That’s a big change from 5-10 years ago and is a real blessing. So get an interface that has the audio and MIDI inputs you need for tracking and don’t worry too much beyond that. 

 

Helix Native and S-Gear are necessary plugins for guitar. Cerberus bass amp is also wonderful. 

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57 minutes ago, RD1967 said:

Holy smokes!  This is really good information and sounds like it could be a lot of fun, too.  I've always wanted to record and mix my own stuff but have been so intimidated by it that I've never even tried.  All the websites make it sound so easy, though, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Thanks for the input......much appreciated!

Recording your own stuff isn't all that difficult. However, learning to mix/master is a very deep rabbit hole. Takes a lot of time, patience, learning, and frankly trial & error. Learning how to do all that relatively well is not that easy. Be weary of any site that states otherwise.

 

I do not mean to discourage, but you don't also want to learn that the hard way if you thought it all would be relatively easy.

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On 8/24/2018 at 7:12 PM, Lachdanan0121 said:

I do not mean to discourage, but you don't also want to learn that the hard way if you thought it all would be relatively easy.

 

That's not discouraging at all. I'm sure it is difficult to learn how to mix well....I appreciate your honest response.

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Many DAW’s and plugins have presets that are great to start with and get a general good mix or a mastered track. 

I use Presonus StudioOne (which comes with a large set of presets for there plugins) to record and I use a Presonus Studiolive 24 to record my live room with a another free Presonus software Capture(which is a very basic recording software) and a Presonus Firestudio in my studio. I like the integrated hardware/software setup and have been very happy for years with the setup. StudioOne has the cool capability to master/arrange tracks inside the DAW as well. 

I also use helix native for guitars and bass and also blend live recorded gear. For drums I will mic my drum kit or use Ezdrummer 2 and Superior Drummer 3. 

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I’ve used Cubase for many years and through several versions now. The current version (9.5) does everything I want and probably lots more ... I’m still exploring. It includes a virtual synth/keyboard called Halion, which I have yet to look at although it sounds pretty good in the demos I’ve seen. I prefer using a hands-on keyboard and have four in my studio for a wide palette of sounds. For drums I use Superior Drummer 3.0 and I have to agree with the above assesments that it is a really good product and worth the investment (Side note: if you have any EzDrummer add-ons, they will also work with Superior Drummer). My mixer is a Behringer X32 Compact and, like Cubase, I’m still exploring its potential after a year or so of having it ... very pleased so far. 

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I'm a fan of logic pro for its ease of use and I had been using the helix floor as my interface which works extremely well but I have just recently changed over to antelope Zen Tour which so far [it's only been 4 days] is very nice the sound quality is awesome, I have only recorded a test track with a martin d18 through a rodes nt2 and a strat through helix and I must say it's a  beautiful sounding interface I'm looking forward to spending some more time with this new set up and exploring all the possibilities hopefully it gets better and better but I have to say helix is the most amazing bit of kit I've had the pleasure of owning love your work line6

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Hi guys,

 

i bought a Helix a few months ago, and now i'm trying to recording with it as an audio interface usb. I did exactly the same as this video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1or7E9h7mEo&t=66s

 

But impossible to record a sound when i play, i try many studio software like cubase, reaper, pro tools (the free version) but nothing works.. yesterday i tried with cubase, so i choose helix as egine recording, when i play, the sound is well in my headphone and the software receive sound too, but when i click to recording, nothing is written on the pist... and when i go to setting, it said to me that the exit of output usb2 is disconnected...

 

Some of you could help me please ? 

 

Thank you ! 

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I'm curious why people are using a separate audio interface with the Helix instead of using the Helix as the interface.

 

Could someone explain the benefits? I have a Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 collecting dust since I got my Helix a year ago.

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Convenience. Economics. One is a guitar stomp modeler and one is a recording interface. ;-)

 

I (and I imagine many Helix users) already have a separate audio interface connected to their computer/DAW. Those are easier to use for mic/instrument/monitor level setting and patching (except for doing the Helix reamp stuff). Audio quality? That's debatable — I haven't seen any shootouts or done any spec comparisons.

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36 minutes ago, soundog said:

Convenience. Economics. One is a guitar stomp modeler and one is a recording interface. ;-)

 

I (and I imagine many Helix users) already have a separate audio interface connected to their computer/DAW. Those are easier to use for mic/instrument/monitor level setting and patching (except for doing the Helix reamp stuff). Audio quality? That's debatable — I haven't seen any shootouts or done any spec comparisons.

I see. I have the Helix Rack version so it was more convenient for me to just use the Helix as my interface. 

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If its working out for you, by all means go for it! I think the specs look good on paper for using it as a recording interface.

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Hi you are right to be curious because helix is an awesome interface and I can go between both the zen tour and helix its more the fact that I have more mic inputs with the zen with dedicated pre amps so less work for helix and my imac dsp's to deal with so I guess its just a work flow thing .still lovin the helix .

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I’m using Logic Pro X in combination with a Soundcraft Signature 12 MTK. The Soundcraft is a very affordable analog mixer with the ability to do a multitrack recording (and playback) of 12 tracks (6 mono and 3 stereo). It has 2 hi-Z inputs, so it’s possible to record two other guitar/bass players as well using Helix Native. Of course, for the Helix unit you can use the usb interface of the unit itself. Very flexible and capable setup IMHO. 

 

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