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Hi colleagues, 

What kind of software do you use in your creative workflow?

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I'm a traditionalist and like to see my music fully scored out., although I also want to know what it sounds like as I write. 

First confession though... I've only just started writing, at last, due to the advances in software. My handwriting is so bad that I was never able to express myself on paper and have it playable at a later time.

I do know a couple of lads who work through Cubase and get some incredible sounds by just layering from a midi keyboard then feeding orchestral sample libraries into the mix. Unfortunately I just can't get to grips with that aspect of tech and couldn't live with the thought of a piece not being accessible to others to play live.

In the vain hope that some of my music gets performed by real people sometime, I now use Finale. It's hooked up to a midi keyboard for helping with input. I recently upgraded my PC (still don't like apple) to an i7 with 32gb ram and a 500gb SSD. The performance, particularly with larger orchestrations, where multiple players are selected to make up sections (i.e. 6 trumpets, 4 horns, etc) has dramatically improved.

For me, Finale25 ticks all the boxes I currently need to write with. It's not perfect and some of the layering quirks annoy me at times, however 80% of the time, it does exactly what I want. Whilst the included Garritan instruments are superb for basic orchestrations, I quickly invested in the GPO5 package which has a great range of sounds. It takes a while to get used to writing for the different orchestra as dynamics and overall playing style varies greatly from the 'built in' sounds. However the final output is more than passable.

One shortfall I can't work round yet is the ability to view more than one area of music alongside another. For instance, where I'm trying to recreate or make a variation on an earlier theme, it would be nice to have a view of it beside the new section.

I also like the simplicity of the Aria player which plays directly from Finale. I don't need to go in and manually set the instrument list, and it's possible to create multiple sessions of the player without it being overloaded. A big orchestra with individually sampled brass, woodwind and percussion lines takes 5 instances of Aria and it doesn't seem to struggle.

I would like a significantly bigger screen to work on, but I can't hide one of these from the wife!

For the money, Finale and Garritan tick the boxes for me.

I use Cakewalk (now Bandlab) Sonar Platinum as my DAW. My music is exclusively VST/DAW based, no live stuff (yet). My primary VST libs these days are by Spitfire Audio, a UK based firm. They are absolutely gorgeous. They take a bit of a learning curve to get the realism and variations out of them but quite inspirational to use. Other than Spitfire, I use a bit of Project Sam, Orchestral Tools, Native Instruments (Absynth), East West's samples (Battery). Imperfect Samples' Fazioli is a good piano (although HZ Piano by Spitfire is my go to these days). I dont use too many effects but for reverb I like TC Electronic's VSS3 plugin and Valhalla Room (quite nice for the price).  I use Sound Forge to tweak some dynamics on my output sometimes, its also great for creating sound effects (which i do as well).

I may have mentioned this in another thread, I dont use templates but like to look for instruments and find ones that work for what I am trying to create. I do use a simple 4 track project for sketching (piano, violin, timpani, analogue synth). 

I a windows laptop, not a fan of Mac. It has a 2 tb ssd for samples and some usb c based external drives for not commonly used libs. HDD space and RAM will be your bottlenecks. i can get 120 to 180 tracks with reverb and a few eq etc. going on my tracks without any glitches. 

Hope this helps!

Vn

https://soundcloud.com/user-253442814

Finale, Cubase, samples, plugins. 

Finale, NotePerformer

I don't really. Pencil and paper with some very basic software instruments.

You've asked a few stimulating questions Ashley, do you have music of your own? What's your path?

Hi Charles, 

I am a very beginner composer. Basically I just started a career in this industry so I am wondering how things work for other fellow composers. 

Charles Holt said:

I don't really. Pencil and paper with some very basic software instruments.

You've asked a few stimulating questions Ashley, do you have music of your own? What's your path?

Quote from my earlier post:

I have been using Presonus' Notion now for about 2 years(now close to three)...and I use it everyday...just like a job.
I do a lot of studying, trying out ideas, etc. as well as actually composing a piece. Notion fits my needs as a composer very well. VERY easy to learn and use and output can be extremely good

I've tried both Sibelius and Cuebase. Too much work. I am able to use three orchestral libraries (Notion's native instruments, VSL SE, and Miroslav). All respond predictably with regard to dynamics and articulations.

Notion is a bargain and you won't spend 40 hr. trying to get a grip on it.

bp

For composition I use Logic. For sound design and post production it's Pro Tools. My orchestral compositions are created using mainly East West PLAY with Platinum Plus Symphonic Orchestra & Storm Drum 1 & 2 libraries.

I see, thx for the answer. Do you prefer Logic over Cubase?

Daniel Krausz said:

For composition I use Logic. For sound design and post production it's Pro Tools. My orchestral compositions are created using mainly East West PLAY with Platinum Plus Symphonic Orchestra & Storm Drum 1 & 2 libraries.

Not the most helpful answer but, I've been using Logic & Pro Tools for so many years now that I honestly can't compare them to any other DAW. They have both served me extremely well for what they empower me to do and fit my needs perfectly.

There was a version of Cubase I used for a couple of years in the late 90's I think. I'm sure it's completely different in almost every way now so again, I can't compare. 


Ashley Berg said:

I see, thx for the answer. Do you prefer Logic over Cubase?

Daniel Krausz said:

For composition I use Logic. For sound design and post production it's Pro Tools. My orchestral compositions are created using mainly East West PLAY with Platinum Plus Symphonic Orchestra & Storm Drum 1 & 2 libraries.

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