music software- what to get

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by choirmaster, May 4, 2005.

  1. choirmaster

    choirmaster Member

    I have cakewalk proaudio9 as our sequencing software in school but I'm not that impressed with it. I' m looking to buy something different that you can primarily use without too much manual reading, has a few useful functions, can burn midi straight to cd (does such a thing exist- I haven't got a clue) etc.
    Does anyone have any ideas? can recommend something or tell me what to avoid. I suppose my budget for something like that would be about 3/400 quid.
  2. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Do you want it primarily as MIDI software, or for audio recording as well?

    PC wise, for it's MIDI specification, I'd be looking at Steinberg's Cubase. It's available in three flavours - SE, SL and SX. SE is limited to 48 audio tracks, but if this isn't your bag then that won't be a problem. The main difference between SL and SX (apart from another track count limit) is that SX is capable of working with surround mixes.

    Although you say you don't like Proaudio 9, another Cakewalk product - Sonar - is well worth a look. It's current release version is 4, and for your purposes, then you could 'get away' with the Studio edition (rather than the Producer edition).

    Traktion from Mackie will be worth a look if you want a simple interface, although it's mainly audio based.

    There's actually a lot floating around - but all have quite different feature sets. Incidentally, you within these systems you can convert MIDI to CDs by rendering the MIDI to audio and then burning an exported wav file with something like Nero (not sure if they all have in-built burning capabilities or not). One other thing to bear in mind is the spec of your PC - make sure you check against the specs before you buy.

    Some links for you:

    Prices, for example, from
  3. 5010 Hn

    5010 Hn New Member

    We use a relatively cheap version of cubase (around £40, and doesnt need the cd in the machine to work! ;) ). Fairly basic, 16 midi/sequencing tracks (although can be added to) and 8 audio tracks. So easy that even the kids can produce coursework without relying on us teachers to do it for them! :D
    It has a facility to burn straight onto CD, although not had much success with that, and is useful as it has audio effects, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.
    I normally export the finished piece as a MIDI file into Sibelius 3- and burn straight onto CD using Sibelius 3. This is good, as it has Kontact Silver instrumental samples, which are very good- and sound almost like the real thing! (The examiners will never know!!!)
    I'd recommend buying Kontact Gold too, as there are more samples available.

    So-, buy: Cubase (cheap schools version will do!)
    Sibelius 3
    Kontact Gold

    Isnt it nice when you just get given the departmental budget for the year!? Spend, spend, spend!:clap:
  4. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    I use Cubase and Sibelius at school. You may be able to get some of these free with e learning credits, ask your IT network manager about this.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    I would personally recommend that you take a look at Finale "Print Music 2004".
    Full details as to waht it is capable of can be found on
    I believe it is available for £50 from
    Several tMP members, including Roger Thorne, can vouch for the quality and clarity of the printed music, as they all have music which I publish using this software.


    TIMBONE Active Member

    Sorry, I misread the last bit of the original post! I would still recommend looking at the 'finale' website. The reaon why I use 'print music' is beacuse it was the first music writing software I bought, knowing that I could upgrade to full blown finale eventually. However, because it has done a satisfactory job for me, all I have done is upgrade print music :) Of course, it doesn't do everything, it would be nice to be able to produce better quality audio files for people to hear.
    It is just that I like the familiarity and simplicity, and even with an upgrade, there would be a lot of re-learning to do.
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    We've got to be careful here - the original post was about sequencing software, and not about notation software - they're not the same thing.

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Ah Ok. Although of course, a lot of notation software now includes hyperscribe (not that I use it).

    You reminded me of my first midi experience, with my Atari 1040ST and Steinburg Pro 24 software (on a floppy disc).
  9. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    I've still got a box of disks somewhere from the late 80s with a load of stuff that was done on Pro 24 with an Akai S950 (I think), Roland D10, Yamaha DX100 and and Casio CZ1000....all in the style of children's TV programmes - makes me shudder to remember :)

    TIMBONE Active Member

    :clap: It's the old small world stuff here! I also used Roland, D10 & D20, I also had the Casio CZ1000 (I think, the 5 voice piano module?), plus a Roland MT32, oh, and not forgetting a nice programmable Roland Drum Machine, (can't remember the model). Did you also have a Tascam 4 track cassette? Only the other day, I was reading about Tony Christie, went and found an old backing tape of "Avenues & Alleyways" which I had made (I used the Tascam as a 4 channel mixer when I had moved on to the hi tec Atari/Pro24), and subjected my wife to hearing what I got up to in the 80s :biggrin:
  11. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    The CZ1000 was the full size key version of the CZ101 Phase Distortion synthesiser - their answer to FM synthesis. I also used to use a DR110 (Boss drum machine), a Roland R5 human rhythm machine and I'd forgotten about it until you mentioned it - an MT32!! I actually started with hardware sequencing with a Yamaha QX7.

    I did use a Tascam at one point - I actually owned a Fostex X15, and on occasion used a Yamaha 4 track with DBX, the name of which escapes me.

    All a long way from the studio in a box concept of today (although I'm still a fan of hardware synths - all those knobs and flashing lights :p )

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