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#2346121 - 10/06/11 10:24 PM Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn?
mv55555 Offline
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Registered: 10/06/11
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I would like to get started with MIDI sequencing using my PC laptop, creating my own tracks from scratch, using strictly external hardware (synths) as sound sources and no pre-made loops or samples. I want to be able to add a couple of audio tracks as well (voice, guitar). What is the absolute easiest software to learn on? I would prefer something that also has some kind of video tutorial available. I've heard of Sequel, Sony Acid, PowerTracks, but I don't know if there is something better than any of these 3 options. I am strictly a hobbyist and don't need any advanced features other that what I mentioned above. I also don't want to spend more than $200

Thanks!

Marc, Texas

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#2346124 - 10/06/11 11:00 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: mv55555]
timwat Offline
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Marc,

Welcome to the forum. As far as music production goes I'm a Mac guy, so I don't have hands-on experience with any of the packages you're listing.

However, what I can suggest is if you're looking to do MIDI sequencing AND add a couple of audio tracks, it seems to me you'll need an interface to provide MIDI I/O to your hardware synths (unless all your synths provides USB MIDI), and of course recording audio will require an audio interface.

At your stated budget that probably means a USB / MIDI interface with bundled DAW software. Perhaps something like this.
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#2346125 - 10/06/11 11:05 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: timwat]
mv55555 Offline
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Registered: 10/06/11
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I have an Alesis io 2 interface. The $200 budget would be just for the software. I don't mind spending more on other equipment as it becomes necessary. I just want the easiest sequencer to learn on, whether it comes bundled with an interface or not.

Thank you for your reply!

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#2346126 - 10/06/11 11:09 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: mv55555]
mv55555 Offline
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M-Audio Fast Track comes with either Pro-Tools or with Ableton live lite, depending on whether you buy a new one or the old version, from what I was told. I just don't know if these 2 sequencers are that easy to learn for an absolute beginner.

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#2346130 - 10/06/11 11:30 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: mv55555]
timwat Offline
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Didn't know you already had the interface.

Since your question is only an ease-of-use inquiry on PC software, I can't help you...but I'm sure someone else will chime in soon.

FWIW, I've heard that Mackie Tracktion 3 is pretty user-friendly kit, but again, I have not first-hand knowledge to confirm or deny.
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#2346144 - 10/07/11 03:21 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: timwat]
Steve Force Offline
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Acid is a good starter, imo. I have it and it is fun.
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#2346146 - 10/07/11 03:47 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Steve Force]
tucktronix Offline
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You should really look into Tracktion 3...
http://www.mackie.com/products/tracktion3/

I use Tracktion 2, very easy to learn & use.. no crazy menus to dive through. Great DAW for the money thu
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#2346147 - 10/07/11 03:55 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: tucktronix]
johnchop Offline
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Cubase Elements is another possibility. Their sequencing features have always been strong.

There's also Reaper (http://www.reaper.fm/), although I'm less familiar with the MIDI side of their product.

Honestly, you'll want to download demo versions (where possible) and see what you like. Some interfaces/workflow may click with you, some may not.
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#2346152 - 10/07/11 04:19 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: johnchop]
Tobbe Offline
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If you have no plans going Mac in the near future I would suggest one of the cheaper versions of Cakewalk Sonar. That's what I used when starting with MIDI, going from version 6 and later on to the Sonar series. For MIDI recording it's my favorite - there's something 'bout the workflow that to me seems more logical than other competitors. Nowadays though I'm using a MacBook exclusively, and there's still no Mac version of Cakewalk unfortunately. frown

Reaper is a nice program - I use it for audio recording and at work (audiology research). I think it's great for a lot of things, but IMO, the MIDI recording is still not nearly as good and as in Cakewalk/Cubase/Logic etc.
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#2346158 - 10/07/11 04:42 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Tobbe]
therealvicz Offline
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I would take a look at some of the Reaper tutorials on youtube starting with this series http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9i0HfMreF0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJaCdGdpRTo and if you 'get it' then that's the one for you.

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#2346185 - 10/07/11 06:05 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: therealvicz]
learjeff Offline
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For inexpensive, I recommend Reaper or n-Track, both under $100.
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#2346195 - 10/07/11 07:17 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: learjeff]
_Maximus_ Offline
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I second sonar, even the Light versions have a very complete, very easy To use interface, the midi functionality is pretty good

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#2346235 - 10/07/11 09:35 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: _Maximus_]
Sven Golly Offline
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What OS is on your PC laptop? Some of the suggestions might not work if you're running Vista, or Windows 7 64-bit, for example. Also, if it's an old XP system, some of the newer software (i.e. Pro Tools) won't run on it at all.

So... that being said, if it's a recent PC with good specs, I'd suggest Sonar X1 Essential, or Cubase 6 Elements.

Demos of most of the recommended software packages are available from their manufacturers. Good luck!
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#2346240 - 10/07/11 09:52 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Sven Golly]
Bob Graham Offline
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How about FruityLoops? This is a very popular sequencer that is supposed to be easy to use. But I do not know about its MIDI editing capabilities. Yes, I know it uses the concept of a loop. But apparently that is not all it does.

Bob Graham
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#2347847 - 10/13/11 02:20 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Bob Graham]
J_tour Offline
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I've used CuBase SX3 forever -- I wouldn't say it's the easiest, but things make sense to me, and, though there's a bit of a learning curve, everything makes sense to me.

I'd bet you could get a used copy for cheap-ish -- it's not a cheap bit of software, but I use it for all mixing I do for myself, and the occasional "jobs" done for friends in exchange for pizza and beer,

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#2347848 - 10/13/11 02:32 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Bob Graham]
Griffinator Global Moderator Offline
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Originally Posted By: Bob Graham
How about FruityLoops? This is a very popular sequencer that is supposed to be easy to use. But I do not know about its MIDI editing capabilities. Yes, I know it uses the concept of a loop. But apparently that is not all it does.

Bob Graham


The addition of piano roll functionality (FL 3.7, many moons ago) and variable pattern length (FL 7.0, if I'm not mistaken) not to mention the rudimentary record functions (available in the FL Studio package) make FL an exceptional tool for sequencing, though its real power is more as a production platform, rather than as a master unit upon which to slave external MIDI devices.

Chalk me up as recommending Cubase for this job.
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#2347869 - 10/13/11 05:31 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Griffinator]
Bridog6996 Offline
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+1 for FL Studio. For a midi based setup, nothing beats it in my opinion. It got sort of a bad rap early on as a "beginner" daw due to it's relatively shallow learning curve and semi-cheesy name, when it was called Fruity Loops, but it's an incredibly deep program. It's no more "loop based" than any other daw. It's all in how you use it, much like Ableton Live in that respect. The latest version has improved audio recording functionality quite a bit, but it's still not something I would use for pure audio recording. Like I said though, the most in depth midi capabilities around.

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#2347893 - 10/13/11 06:54 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Bridog6996]
Mike Martin Online   content
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PreSonus StudioOne is also great and easy!


Edited by Mike Martin (10/13/11 07:33 PM)
Edit Reason: Yep, I meant StudioOne, not Live
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#2347896 - 10/13/11 07:03 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Bridog6996]
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Originally Posted By: Bridog6996
+1 for FL Studio. For a midi based setup, nothing beats it in my opinion. It got sort of a bad rap early on as a "beginner" daw due to it's relatively shallow learning curve and semi-cheesy name, when it was called Fruity Loops, but it's an incredibly deep program. It's no more "loop based" than any other daw. It's all in how you use it, much like Ableton Live in that respect. The latest version has improved audio recording functionality quite a bit, but it's still not something I would use for pure audio recording. Like I said though, the most in depth midi capabilities around.


I agree with the concept of it being in-depth for purposes of ITB sequencing, but controlling external devices with it has been (in my experience) consistently inconsistent since they first introduced the feature...

Of course, I haven't updated since FL Studio 7, so maybe I missed something...
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Originally Posted By: tonysounds
I would also watch [the Super Bowl halftime show] if applDeApp and Tabu were doused in hot oil, covered in feathers, and then set on fire while will.I.am was trepanned live.... and I would leave the sound on.

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#2347899 - 10/13/11 07:26 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Mike Martin]
steadyb Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mike Martin
PreSonus StudioLive is also great and easy!


PreSonus Studio One. It is very easy to use, sounds great, and is Mac/PC.

I must add that I work for PreSonus now, but after using Logic and Pro Tools for the last 17 years, it took me just a couple weeks of using Studio One to make the switch permanent.

If I stopped working for PreSonus tomorrow, I'd still stick with Studio One. It's really great software that is only getting better.

I've used pretty much everything going back to and including Vision, Performer, Dr.T, Cakewalk, Logic, Cubase, Acid, Garage Band and Pro Tools... I really like this program a lot. A LOT.

But please take my opinion with as many grains of salt as you feel is necessary.

Good luck. grin

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#2347901 - 10/13/11 07:30 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: steadyb]
Jim Alfredson Offline
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Sequel can't do audio recording.

Cubase is nice. There is a learning curve.

I've been wanting to check out Studio One, but I have so much invested in Cubase (including hardware), I don't really see the point in switching now. But it looks great. I loved the Presonus interfaces I had for several years before getting an MR816x and a Yamaha N12.
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#2347907 - 10/13/11 07:58 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Jim Alfredson]
steadyb Offline
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Note to Mark (mv55555)

If your budget is $200 or less, you can get an AudioBox for $149 and it comes with Studio One, so you end up with software and a very decent interface.

That's it. Again, good luck with whatever you get.

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#2348054 - 10/14/11 10:09 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: steadyb]
Bridog6996 Offline
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I've never had any trouble controlling external midi hardware with FL Studio, but I don't do it extensively.

Another huge bonus that I love about it is that you only have to buy it once and you get free updates for life.

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#2348059 - 10/14/11 10:24 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Jim Alfredson]
Mike Martin Online   content
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Originally Posted By: B3-er

I've been wanting to check out Studio One, but I have so much invested in Cubase (including hardware), I don't really see the point in switching now. But it looks great. I loved the Presonus interfaces I had for several years before getting an MR816x and a Yamaha N12.


StudioOne is great. I also have a lot invested in Cubase but unlike anything else I've tried recently StudioOne was effortless. There is no learning curve. Very intuitive. I need to work with it again this weekend.
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#2482765 - 04/03/13 06:28 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Mike Martin]
jazzsongs Offline
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OK, OK, this is all I see with the new DAW environment. One post claimed that PreSonis only took him a couple of weeks to learn as opposed to Logic and ProTools taking much longer. I still use Performer 3.61 on a Mac Classic. It took me an hour to actually start recording and writing a tune many years ago and I still love the interface. That program was all that I needed as a writer/performer. It still has more than enough than I will ever use. This was really a sweet spot in sequencing history. My passion is to write, record, and produce a song as fast as possible in the technical realm and not be challenged by the software at all. TMI is destructive and gets in the way of inspiration. My goal is to recreate the Performer 3.61 Mac Classic 'tape deck' interface onto a Windows 7 or Snow Leopard Mac. I would use a MIDI interface like my old Mac setup to have immediate keyboard controller response as opposed to the absolutely unacceptable USB delay that occurs after playing the keyboard. I believe this is possible and is a gaping hole that needs to be filled for musicians everywhere. In closing, taking a look at the Mac Classic running System 7, nothing has changed or improved too much from that basic OS because it was completely put together in an intuitive way. Performer 3.61 was similar in design. It has a lot to teach us today on how to keep it simple so artists can have fun creating. The right brain is uppermost while creating. Why not in sequencing as well? This is doable. If anyone wants to explore this further to make this a reality, I am open to further comment on how to make this manifest. Itís time to get back to the basics of just having fun creating music without going to school to learn how to lay down a track. If some effortless (intuitive) software already exists I would like to know about it. Again, all setups I've tested with USB connections have a lag/delay when striking the keyboard. I really dread going into GC and testing sequencing software and I don't want to do it again if I can help it.

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#2482864 - 04/04/13 08:19 AM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: tucktronix]
Wastrel Offline
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Originally Posted By: tucktronix
You should really look into Tracktion 3...
http://www.mackie.com/products/tracktion3/

I use Tracktion 2, very easy to learn & use.. no crazy menus to dive through. Great DAW for the money thu

I'll second this. They go out of their way to present a "one screen interface" which once you get the hang of it lets you more or less turn it on and blow. Some of the others (Sonar comes to mind IMHO) require endless fiddling with menus which for me destroys the mood - particularly for getting down a quick track when the inspiration hits.
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#2482932 - 04/04/13 02:32 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Wastrel]
Jazzmammal Offline
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First to a total noob to midi sequencing, none are easy because of the terminology. All of them talk in the language of recording studios, second is you must, repeat must be very good with Windows. You have to understand your PC.

90% of all the problems nooby's have is simply the language and they're not computer nerds. Do you know what a midi input driver is? No? Do you know what an effects plugin is? No? Do know you have to differentiate between a midi and an audio track? No? Then those will stop you regardless of what software you use until somebody explains it to you.

Having said all of that I agree with Studio One since the basic Artist version is very useful and it's included for free with a Presonus interface. If you really want to go cheap and just use your PC's built in audio then Power Tracks from PG Music for $49 is very good and very easy to use and set up. They have an excellent forum with good people willing to help too.

Bob


Edited by Jazzmammal (04/04/13 02:33 PM)

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#2513111 - 07/21/13 06:49 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: Jazzmammal]
socalxr Offline
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For me, it's not the language so much as the unnecessary complexity of everything. As the original poster stated I just want a basic sequencer and recording piece of software that I don't need a degree in engineering to use.

Step sequencer for the drums and arps, midi track set up on top of each other, then basic audio tracks set-up vertically as well. I don't need an infinite amount of ways to modify everything with endless plugins and effect.

Just clean simplicity. But they got rid of that. How can one have a band and try to create anything spontaneously is beyond me.


Edited by socalxr (07/21/13 06:50 PM)

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#2513156 - 07/21/13 09:54 PM Re: Easiest PC MIDI sequencing software to learn? [Re: socalxr]
t9cstudio Offline
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Originally Posted By: socalxr
For me, it's not the language so much as the unnecessary complexity of everything. As the original poster stated I just want a basic sequencer and recording piece of software that I don't need a degree in engineering to use.

Step sequencer for the drums and arps, midi track set up on top of each other, then basic audio tracks set-up vertically as well. I don't need an infinite amount of ways to modify everything with endless plugins and effect.

Just clean simplicity. But they got rid of that. How can one have a band and try to create anything spontaneously is beyond me.


Whoever said midi/audio recording on a computer or even to tape was easy & uncomplicated must have been pulling your leg. In fact, most recording engineers are not degreed at all. They learned the same way the home recordist does by putting forth a tremendous personal effort to learn the craft.
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