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Subject:Software selection!
Posted by: John McCully
Date:7/9/2011 12:05:42 AM

I am in the process of setting up a home recording studio for one of my grandsons. He sings and plays keyboard. Age 11. He has a modern PC laptop I5 processor.

I have a shopping list as follows; a Rode NT2a mic, a sturdy stand, a Focusrite Saffire 6 USB interface, headphones yet to be determined but possibly Sony MDR 7506 and I will give him my Axiom Pro 61 keyboard in due course. The first thing is to get him set up to record himself singing while listening using headphones of a backing track which will be used in the final edit.

I presume he needs a DAW. I have Acid Pro 7 (which hardly gets a mention on the internet compared with other DAWs and I have to wonder why that is). I’m a long time Vegas Pro user so somewhat predisposed to Sony products but purchasing Vegas Pro and/or Acid Pro seems like it might be overkill (not to mention expensive) at this point.

I should add that down the road he will want to edit and publish video, in fact his recorded voice will probably be supported by video which initially I will shoot and edit for him but he wants to do that himself sooner rather than later.

Therefore given that scenario what would you recommend software wise?

Feel free to comment on the shopping list above also.

Many thanks


Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: Chienworks
Date:7/10/2011 6:00:49 AM

There is a Studio version of ACID available for a fraction of the price of the full version. It does probably over 95% of the tasks, and most likely everything your grandson would want to do.

There's also a Studio version of Vegas available. Both together would still be about 1/4 to 1/3 the price of either Vegas Pro or ACID individually. That would give him all the music composition abilities of ACID with the audio/video capabilities of Vegas and then he can play to his heart's content.

The Studio versions are the same software as the full versions, just with a few advanced features missing. This means that if at some point he wants to move on into the full versions then he already knows how to use them, and all his old projects will open and work in the full versions.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: drbam
Date:7/10/2011 7:37:57 AM

I think an important consideration with choice of DAW is the learning curve involved. Since you already are familiar with Vegas & Acid, you are in a position to tutor your grandson and get him up and running very quickly so they could be the best initial choice for him. That said, as evidenced by your question about Acid's lack of visibility on the internet combined with the incredibly slow development of Acid Pro brings in to question its future and as an audio only user, I for one have moved on to Reaper which does 99% of what I used Acid and Vegas for and much more. Most importantly though it is jaw-droppingly more stable than Sony's apps have been for me. I still use Acid to carve out some original loops and occasionally beat-map an existing file but that's all I do with it at this point. I still continue using Sound Forge and CDA although CDA is by far the abandoned step-child of Sony's offerings.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: Chienworks
Date:7/10/2011 10:04:29 AM

Siren is far more abandoned than CD Architect, and i used Siren waaaaaaaay more than CDA.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: John McCully
Date:7/10/2011 3:42:45 PM

Thanks, people, for the input; most helpful. I certainly agree that it will make my life easier to stay with Sony products and while I have no doubt that Reaper is also a good product, especially fashionable with the younger crowd, I see no compelling reason to go that route right now. Stability has not been an issue for me with either Vegas or Acid but then my projects tend to be simple.

I’m thinking of going with the Imagination Studio 3, $175.00. That’s a great deal I reckon. Serious overkill; way more than the kid will use for quite a while, like using Microsoft Word 10 to make a shopping list, but that package will give him basic capability to record himself singing, video and audio, and publish on Youtube and/or burn a DVD. I know I could save $100.00 or more by going with a bare bones product but with that set-up he can grow as he desires.

Again, many thanks for the input.


Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: drbam
Date:7/10/2011 9:07:35 PM

Thanks! I don't mind at all being associated with "the younger crowed" given that this is my 5th decade as a professional musician. At any rate, I hope you have a wonderful time assisting your grandson . . . sounds like it will be enjoyable.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: John McCully
Date:7/11/2011 2:41:41 AM

Goodness gracious drbam, you must be almost as old as me ha ha. You know, I spent half an hour on the internet cruising around numerous music creation forums where the language is at the level of text messaging and fashion seems as important as substance. In one forum where folks were debating Acid versus whatever one smart Alex said ‘well me, I prefer bacon over ham’. I did get the impression, and that was all it was; an impression, that Reaper is the new darling of the younger set with tighter budgets. Likewise I got the impression that any self-respecting professional would be using Pro Tools, no ifs or buts about it!

My thing these days is video productions somewhat on the artsy end of things, not for profit, and just for fun I got myself a keyboard, a bunch of soft synths and Acid Pro with a view to knocking out some movie music rather than use material downloaded from Youtube which while convenient is hardly that satisfying.

Well, progress is slow to say the least but I’m having fun. I really need time with a proficient Acid user but they are few and far between in my neck of the woods. The Sony training DVD set is somewhat helpful but not that great and the tutorials on Youtube are mostly guys bragging about what they have done rather than teaching how to do things in a step-by-step logical manner.

And now I’m sidetracked setting up my youngest grandson as you know. That is becoming a very nice project indeed. Thanks again for your thoughts.


Message last edited on7/11/2011 3:19:55 AM byJohn McCully.
Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:7/11/2011 11:05:44 AM

From the sounds of it, I wouldn't underestimate your grandson too much. Kids love to tinker and once they find out what various elements can do, it might just inspire them. Imagination Studio 3 would be ideal in this case. It's not excessively powerful but not too simple either.


Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: sodbuster-ca
Date:7/11/2011 3:05:05 PM

@John McCully: Imagination Studio 3 is an excellent package for you grand son.

By the way, it is on sale at for $138.99.

"...Likewise I got the impression that any self-respecting professional would be using Pro Tools, no ifs or buts about it!..."

Yeah, that's largely because its easier to get paying customers if you advertise the fact that your facility uses Pro Tools. Most non-technical Artists/Groups/Acts are not aware that Pro Tools is no better than any other full-featured DAW. Since it's used in practically all of the "Big Name" studios, people operate under the false impression that if the studio records them using Pro Tools, that somehow, they're going to sound better. Its just a myth. A myth with very long legs...I might add.

There is one advantage to having Pro Tools: Your projects are easily transportable to many other studios for additional work & mixing.

(P.S. I own PT LE v8, ACID Pro 7 (not installed) & some other DAWs and sequencers)

Message last edited on7/11/2011 3:10:10 PM bysodbuster-ca.
Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: Chienworks
Date:7/11/2011 5:02:43 PM

" ,,, and fashion seems as important as substance."

That one gave me pause for a bit.

In the artistic media production world, isn't fashion part of the substance? After all, if your music isn't interesting and attractive, what's the point?

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: John McCully
Date:7/11/2011 5:40:23 PM

Indeed Chienworks, having worked in the fashion world creating promo material both stills and video for a large fashion boutique in Mexico I can hardly argue that point but speaking more in the literary world the word fashion means a lot of different things to all kinds of people.

I suspect you are pulling my leg somewhat but I’ll go along with that and point out what I meant about fashion and the context in which I used the word.

Conversation; father and son:

‘Dad. I want an ipod’.

‘I’m not buying you an ipod; I can’t stand Steve Jobs, and besides that generic I bought for you does exactly the same thing for half the price’.

‘But Dad, all the kids have ipods; it’s the *fashion*. Please! And anyway, you’ve got a BMW’

‘OK, OK, (god I hate that Steve Jobs)’

Message last edited on7/11/2011 5:41:06 PM byJohn McCully.
Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: raskiefilm
Date:7/12/2011 9:26:35 AM

Well said, JM. I bought my daughters generic models in place of the over-priced iPods. Secretly, their mom got them iPods to blend in with the kids at school. Reminds of that Rush song - Subdivision:

In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out

My youngest is doing the acting/journalism thing in high school so I'm putting a rig together for her that will have the Acid and Vegas studio versions on it. That way I'll be able to get her up to speed without having to learn with her another software application.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: Iacobus
Date:7/12/2011 10:04:40 AM

I loveses the Rush. :D

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: The Farm-Assist
Date:7/12/2011 6:57:04 PM

It's not really that Reaper is popular with the "younger" crowd... Reaper is just simply a newer product, especially compared to the likes of Cubase and even Acid. The reason Reaper is gaining so much recognition, in fact, is a testament of the software itself AND a testament to the other reasons:

1) It's incredibly inexpensive (inexpensive being a word used in place of cheap, which is a word used to describe a product that is inexpensive due to functionality)

2) It's incredible functionality.

These two work hand in hand with each other. For what it does, you'd expect Reaper to cost at least as much as Acid. But it in fact is a fraction of the price, which also helps it to appeal to a larger market. But Reaper's biggest strength, in my personal opinion, is how in touch Cockos is with it's users. They don't wait 4 months to deliver a bug-fix update that fixes multiple bugs. When a user reports a bug, they fix it, and release the update after one fix. And the user's constant feedback leads to a rock-solid, inexpensive product.

You may be getting a lot with the Imagination Studio, but if the child in question begins to tap into his/her creativity and begins to push Acid, it will crash. It crashed 10-15 times DAILY on my P4 system. Then even more when I moved over to my i5, until I got fed up and switched to Live, which hasn't crashed once in the three months I've been using it.

Personally, I think it's easier to learn to use a more complex software, such as the ones you read about on the internet, than to learn a much simpler one like acid and then have them stop producing new version of it and have to learn a new system and break old habits...

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: John McCully
Date:7/12/2011 8:58:48 PM

Thank you The Farm Assist, all good points indeed. Young crowd and newer products do seem to go hand in hand as often as not. But to keep things in perspective the kid is 11 years old and likes to sing, and play keyboard a little. He is light years away from pushing Acid, and crashing! Singing is his thing right now and that’s what I want to enable. I’m building him a home recording studio so he can record himself singing and explore that side of himself. He may head off, in due course, into the land of loop music creation that Acid (and no doubt Reaper) does well or he may not. I suspect he may not, in fact the more I think about where he’s at, for the moment, the more I think Vegas Platinum 11 will suffice. Vegas Platinum 11 will enable him to record and do minimal yet adequate audio editing while also enabling video ingestion and simple editing and that will get him off to an appropriate start, I’m now thinking.

I gave a nephew a start in the general NLE area and before I could say Jack Robinson he had downloaded just about every NLE demo and played around. Again, he was very young and computer literate. The only habit I concern myself with regarding my grandson is the habit of inertia. Breaking old habits is a problem mostly for the old, like me, ha ha. Once I get my grandson going I believe he will, like his cousin, check out most everything that’s out there, including Reason if that’s where he wants to go.

We need to keep this in perspective though as he’s barely post-Lego. And you know I very much doubt that Placido Domingo, whom my grandson is destined to emulate and replace, bothered to tinker with either Acid or Reason ha ha, but you never know!

Thanks again for your thoughts, which helped me think things through.

Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: sodbuster-ca
Date:7/13/2011 5:29:48 PM

"...for the moment, the more I think Vegas Platinum 11 will suffice. Vegas Platinum 11 will enable him to record and do minimal yet adequate audio editing while also enabling video ingestion and simple editing and that will get him off to an appropriate start, I’m now thinking..."

Well, before you finalize your decision, consider the following:

1) VMS Plat 11 is a very good video NLE and a basic audio recorder but it does not support MIDI, VSTi's, DXi's or any other type of soft-synth/samplers.

2) The Axiom Pro 61 is a MIDI controller only; it does not generate sounds.

So, without some type of DAW or MIDI sequencer AND some type of musical sound generating device/instrument(s) (synth, guitar, bass, drums piano, horns, strings, etc.). he'll have voice recording only.

If you don't want to deal with a DAW for your computer, you might consider getting a keyboard workstation that has a built-in synth/sampler and a sequencer.

Message last edited on7/13/2011 9:39:40 PM bysodbuster-ca.
Subject:RE: Software selection!
Reply by: John McCully
Date:7/13/2011 11:20:58 PM

Thanks sodbuster-ca for that; yes, I do realize that. But for now we shall not set him up with the keyboard. And in fact I won’t buy any software right away but install the video demo software and see how he goes. That gives us time to test the waters and see how he proceeds, or not.

Voice recording and video ingestion is plenty to begin with his mother points out, sensible woman that she is.

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