What is it with all these DAWs? They all suck in some way, usually it is some sort of strange limitation or crappy interface and crazy workflow. But mostly all DAWs have a real problem with performance, they all crap out when you really don’t want them to, throwing glitches and weird issues talking to the audio interface at random times and in random ways.
I have just spent weeks learning about Reaper and setting up a Live mixing environment which I really started to enjoy. Then…BANG!! Reaper just completely shit itself and only produces a glitchy, noisey and obviously failed output. A total failure that I can’t pin-point as yet no matter how many times I reboot everything. It simply just failed and I don’t know why.
So, I go back to Ableton 8 and everything is fine. I replicated the Live mixing environment I had created in Reaper and after a few hours it didn’t glitch or fail in any way. Until tomorrow of course, as always, I will fire-up everything and sure as shit it will also fail and I will then try Reaper again and find it will be ok until the next freak out.
In the process of creating my latest set I stumbled across a real breakthrough process in tuning my final sound. I was made aware of the Slate Digital crew (www.slatedigital.com) and their collection of Plugins used for a variety of sound crafting processes. Like most people, I was dubious of the claims being made about how good these plugins are and so I stepped cautiously into an investigation about the Slate Digital products. After trying out the Slate Digital ‘Everything Bundle’ for a week now all I can say is WOW! I am genuinely surprised by just how good these plugins are and how they do exactly as the hype suggests. A very remarkable outcome in this day and age of over-hyped garbage trying to pass itself off as top shelf product.
I have also spent most of my time over the last 2 weeks learning how to setup Reaper DAW so that I can create my own custom Live mixing environment. I am very happy with the results I am getting from Reaper so far and find that it is very stable on my 2013 MacBook Air and doesn’t lean on the CPU as hard as Ableton did. I also like the attitude of the Cuckos crew who are behind Reaper and feel more inclined to support them because of their more efficient and realistic business approach.
When I started adding the Slate Digital plugins to my outboard channels, coming in from a variety of hardware drum machines and samplers, I was surprised by just how efficient everything was running. I cringed overtime I added another plugin to a channel and was then relieved as everything kept running smoothly. I watched as the CPU load rose to about 20-25% after adding all of my plugins to each channel and send FX bus (4 x send effects). I jumped back into my version of Ableton 8 Suite and replicated the same setup that I had in Reaper and watched the CPU load rise to 45-50% and crush my poor old MacBook Air. An exercise further supporting my new direction of working with Reaper and walking away from Ableton.
As for the effect of the Slate Digital plugins themselves, well what a great surprise to hear the difference they make to my sound!! Sure you have to know what you are doing in terms of EQ and Dynamic processing etc but when you do the difference is remarkable. I am very happy to have taken the leap and purchased the Slate ‘Everything Bundle’ and will certainly be sticking to using these plugins as the foundation of my Live sound.
I am hoping to do a video soon to show how I setup Reaper for my Live mixing environment. I will also do an update post on what happened to my iPad pathway and why that didn’t work out as I had hoped.