My parameters for evaluating home audio recording software are simple: 1) Can I figure out how to use it without being an audio engineer? 2) Does it have the features I need to get quality results?
These parameters are, of course, totally open to debate by purists, who would say that no, if you don’t understand the finer points of audio mixing / EQ, mastering, etc. then it doesn’t really matter whether the software has them or not, because you’re the problem, not the software.
But I disagree. This blog is all about indie musicians getting stuff done on their own. And so for me, the signs of a quality product are the ease with which I can approach it for the first time and create a quality recording. With
Steinberg Cubase 5 DAW Software Standard, that’s exactly what I’ve done, and I’ve been pleased with my initial experiences.
The Song / Recording Project
Recently tasked with re-recording one of my songs to a video of me playing it, I had to find a new piece of software to use. The song is about my experiences as a helper/translator on a medical mission to the Dominican Republic.
My Initial Impressions
Having spent years using Digital Performer, and then briefly trying a demo version of Cakewalk before it kept crashing my computer, I was a little put off by the Cubase 5 track controls. There are a million different little icons around the recording/editing screens and I usually count on these to be totally intuitive, which in this case they seemed much less so. When trying Cakewalk, it was as easy as 1-2-3 to take a look and figure out how the major functions worked. Also, Cubase 5 didn’t automatically identify my MOTU 828 audio interface and configure itself for it, which I would have liked it to do. Cakewalk did this no problem, and Digital Performer (also made by MOTU) worked with it like a charm. Some of the track editing tools and features were less than intuitive as well, though I was quickly able to find tutorials online to show me the way.