Do You Think Your Daw Of Choice.....

…is in some ways determined by your approach to song writing?

For example, I think someone who is an improviser may prefer something like Ableton Live where they can work on idea’s in more real time, where as a more traditional DAW like Reaper or Pro-Tools seems to assume the work is already finished. Or rather, it works better when that’s the case.

I mean after all, we determine the DAW were going to use based on whether or not it suits are workflow, and isn’t that in some ways related to the way we write music?

Just curious what ya’ll think.


Dunno, I’ve been using renoise for almost 2 years now. Freestyling in it is still, well, slow. Not fast to adapt. If I wake up and really want to jam I fire up Reason demo :D but I’m at a point I can almost say that Renoise jamming is about as fast with setting up envelopes etc (LFO=>Custom=>One Shot, Vel. Tracker=>0=>LFO=>Reset, draw)

definitely think so. for example, I feel that Renoise inspires me more to think outside the box regarding arrangement, song structure and variation. Before I knew trackers, I used Cakewalk a lot, and the stuff I made there turned out waaay more traditional and boring, both in arrangement and sound. probably because it was a pain in the ass to work on a detailed level. viva la trackers!

What about GridPie? You might want to route tracks via jack to ardour…


I not sure on the, “improviser,” but I definitely feel like Ableton appeals to guys who are into loops. Much like FL Studio, but Ableton has more recording and audio ability** So I hear… I don’t know for sure, I’ve never used FL.

Pro Tools is in big trouble. Its very expensive. Its no longer unique. People do not need hd systems, we are on the cusp of $500 32 core desktops… another few years.

Reaper, I’ve got it, its got a most difficult workflow, it was very inexpensive, at the time I bought it, I really needed it for audio recording, I was doing some stuff with a jazz band. Its got great plugins, but sometimes I hear strange audio artifacts in its sound engine. ( By the way, I also hear that in Abe Live - Things in Abe’s sound muddy, almost, “grey,” to me. I can’t explain it. )

One of the things I will say about Pro-Tools, Cubuendo, Sonar, and Logic… Certain people are using these things because they have too. There is a lot of audio editing stuff, and, “dolby,” style surround sound mixing, recording and routing, that certain producers need to accomplish certain tasks.

Han’s Zimmer, when he is doing stuff for movies, really needs to load the film into Nuendo, do the surround mix, compose like that, have a very extensive system, make audio edits and crossfades, and all sorts of stuff. Major record producers, working with bands, recording symphonies, creating the next pop hit… There is a lot of stuff to do, and Cubase, PT, Logic, Sonar… Certainly do it.

Music in general is a life long adventure and a learning experience. Music production is so extensive, that every day we can awaken to new ideas, and new ways of working, and our creative flow moves and edges in all sorts of directions.

One thing is pretty certain though… Music in and of itself is, “notes organized in time.” Renoise Patterns and Arrangements flow into one another very smoothly; that seems to be the tracker way. That is incredibly different from most of the DAWs. There is a certain continuity in Renoise that you also find when, and if, you play a traditional instrument. When you play on guitar, piano, drums; there is an endless, smooth, and continuous flow. When you play in Renoise, there is an endless smooth and continuous flow.

This is directly related to music. The way music is notes organized in time. Its a major point. It is what makes a tracker, and specifically Renoise very musical.

I agree with everything above. Before trackers, I used piano roll style sequencers to send midi to fm synths and a drum box. Trackers have an easier to read way to control notes more precisely and shrank the size of the setup significantly.

For me, Renoise is just an evolution of this, simplifying the setup so I need less and less stuff to get the result I want.

I’ve been considering stopping all the other trackers I used as part of this simplification, but it is handy to use a different program or instrument when I get in a composing rut, so we’ll see.

When I said improviser I should have been more clear. What I meant was people who have an improvisation song writing style, not necassarily a jazz musician. Like people who tend to flow things out. Ableton works really well for this kind of song writing style I think. Like you can jam out a chord progression and use the clip window to capture and immediately begin to work around it. This is a really fast way to write I think.

I kind of see tools like Logic and Pro-Tools as more of an Engineers tool, where as Ableton, FL, Renoise really cater more to the song writer. They help aid you in your song creations. At least that’s been my experience, if that makes any sense.


My first software purchase was Texture 2.5, written by Utopia’s Roger Powell which I read about in Keyboard magazine and ran on an old IBM clone. I had a Juno 60, a Jupiter 6 (couldn’t afford the 8) and a TR-707. Moved to Cubase on an Atari 1040sti. But, by the time I sat down in front of a full-blown Pro Tools rig (at the time, a $75,000 investment at the radio station I worked at - and it crashed every 20 minutes, faithfully) I realized the possibilities. Both sides of my brain lit up.

Today I use Renoise for anything electronic, Reason for songwriting and sketching, Ableton for looping, remixing, recombining and DJ’ing, Cubase for mastering. I also use Twisted Wave for editing individual audio files. I write differently depending on whether I’m playing piano or guitar. Same with the software. My brain loves it.

Good question.

I get my song ideas by jamming with my guitar and compose melodies by singing or humming. When I record that stuff, I want to start playing with synths, bass lines and drums. I might play some of them with my synth, but I pretty much try different sounds, chords and beats by tweaking manually in Renoise. During the process, I often want to change the riffs, melodies and put everything together in a slightly different way (compared to my original idea).

Yes, I can not do this as easily with other DAWs. My songs would be different. Sometimes I curse Renoise because it supports me to try everything and my songs are not getting done that fast. But I really don’t want to do it any other way.

Yeah, it’s so easy to make song ideas down in Renoise, to just make the first pattern/loop - but then comes the harder part - making the musical ideas into a song. That’s the hardest part for me.

Anyway, I noticed I create different melodies on piano and on Renoise. I also have these two in different rooms so it may count as well. On the piano I usually make dreamy/beautiful melodies on the piano and in Renoise the melodies are more agressive and darker (sometimes even “psychedelic” I guess).
As for other DAWs, since the pianoroll is pain in ass for me, it’s not so easy to be purely musical in jamming but it’s a lot easier if you want to add some groovy rhythms or some uneven transitions… but I never make so good melodies (and the beatstructures with them) on pianoroll as in Renoise.

BTW, I think Renoise needs some more “light” color themes. It’s still too dark and sometimes I want the stuff to really shine… if you understand me… just some “mood” preset for the program layout - like “dark”, “melancholic”, “happy”, “nervous”, “calm” etc.

This is pretty much how I feel.

Renoise has ben an interesting experience for me. Before I became a bass player, I really just wanted to be a keyboardest in an industrial band. I just wanted to make interesting sounds and work with them. But then I got into bass and stopped listening to electronic music for a long time. However, despite that I continued to work with electronics, albeit as a hobby. I had a drum machine, some kind of boss, I can’t remember what it was called. I had fruity loops, and eventually I got into Reason. I never once considered any of this as working with electronic music. I learned a lot about synths Reason, and I just saw it as something for fun. Meanwhile I’m playing the bass and cello, playing in bands learning jazz and what not. One day it occurs to me, I’m an electronic musician, and I always have been. Maybe not a good one, but I still am one nonetheless. It was sort of a revelation if you can believe that. But I’m also a bass player. It was then that I realized that I wanted to pursue both and synthesize (no pun intended) the two skills. This is what led me to Renoise. Renoise feels very organic to me. It feels like an instrument. Because of all the awesome Tools developed by the community, like Duplex and Cells, it had all the necassary things I need to use it live. As of now I haven’t written anything that I’m completely happy with. But I’ve been working and I’m getting things done. I might only make a minute long song a day, or maybe even just a loop, but I’m always working. Traditional DAWs just never worked that way for me. I’d always spend like an hour just setting up the tracks. By the time I’ve gotten everything ready to start working I’ve already lost inspiration.

Good question there, and many possible answers…

My take on it is, that I think that the “tracker paradigm” is uniquely suited to this fast and detailed type of workflow, where you are really bangin’ notes into the spreadsheet and not being too distracted by visual elements, or “where to locate things” - for example, having your entire song represented on a timeline is kind of a inspiration killer for me - “ah, look, there’s this nice vocal track starting in 30 seconds…” and then you sort of forget the moment.
So, you could easily argue that Renoise is good for composition and “offline” usage, but I’m actually a lot more interested in it’s immediate ability to transform all the little details in realtime, and generally more use it as an sequencer-slash-instrument than a traditional DAW (hence the Duplex project et al.)

Also, Renoise really keeps things organized in a very compact GUI, something we can only strive to improve even more :slight_smile:

For a modern sense ‘producer’ type, obviously, yes. A DAW is an instrument for them and if they don’t like playing it it is worthless no matter how great it is supposed to sound.