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Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
#3062019 09/11/20 01:17 AM
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Caught a post over on the Cakewalk forums where someone posted that he'd "screwed around" with it for four hours, says he hates it, the user interface is incomprehensive, and thought it was worth creating a post about how he hated how un-user-friendly it is. Mind you, this is free software...

So this got me thinking about two things.

If someone bought a guitar and screwed around with it for four hours, would they have the expectation of being a good guitarist?

Would it in fact be possible to create a DAW where you could be recording music in a satisfying way by screwing around with it for four hours?

I don't think either one is possible, but that's just my opinion.

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Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062043 09/11/20 05:35 AM
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Of course....neither is remotely possible. As for Pro Tools.......I have had it since waaaaaaaaay back on a DIGI 001 and I'm still learning new stuff. Not that I'm a power user by any stretch....but still. But the knowledge I do have...is why I'm so afraid/reluctant/gunshy etc to even try a new DAW.

I got Luna free with my Universal Audio Apollo 8P and just cannot wrap my head around trying to even start learning the program. Some folks like it...same with Reaper.....but I'll stick with 'Tools until something happens that I have no option but to change.

Maybe some folks just expect a lot or feel like it should work quicker/easier/faster etc and because they have chosen that particular 'thing' over other options out there..... that manufacturer owes it to them to make it all that.

Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062044 09/11/20 06:32 AM
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I've tried an ancient free version of Pro Tools. I should have just used it, pretty easy to get something going. A friend had Digital Performer and recommended it. I suffered for having paid for for that one. After 2 upgrades
I barely used it. Seemed cluttered with palettes and poorly designed for the purpose to me. and just quit using it because I did not find it intuitive or fun the play with. Frustrating is a good word.

Then I got Tracktion with a Mackie interface, version 3 I think. I poked around with it one evening and the next day I recorded a 12 track demo and had it mostly mixed without much of a learning curve.
There are no end to things that can be learned and done. I've certainly gone down some rabbit holes. Builds character.

I still use it, version 11 now and called Waveform. I still really like it, visually it makes sense to me. I like the bottom center panel becoming the menu palette for anything you click on, it keeps the clutter down and you always know right where to look for what you need.

I don't feel like getting the basics of recording tracks and mixing them should take much time to learn. You can make progress and add tricks as you go. I've submitted almost 20 mixes on Metapop and got to scratch a lot of surfaces. It was a great learning experience and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about their DAW.

And I know others have tried Tracktion/Waveform and not liked it. In the end, you could do a great job with just about any DAW out there now.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062063 09/11/20 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Caught a post over on the Cakewalk forums where someone posted that he'd "screwed around" with it for four hours, says he hates it, the user interface is incomprehensive

If someone bought a guitar and screwed around with it for four hours, would they have the expectation of being a good guitarist?

Would it in fact be possible to create a DAW where you could be recording music in a satisfying way by screwing around with it for four hours?

Playing guitar and recording with a DAW require different kind of skills, mental, and physical capability, so I don't think this is a very good comparison, but I have heard stories of people picking up a guitar and are playing something passably in a couple of hours. It depends on what you want to play. You can't master either in four hours, or even four decades.

My first DAW was a copy of Sound Forge that came along with a copy of a canned music program - WAV files of phrases that you could tie together to create a song. I was using it in minutes because I already knew how to edit tape. This is a user interface sort of thing. Once I knew where Sound Forge's razor blade and splicing tape were located, I was editing.

But modern DAWs do so much more than my first Sound Forge (as does the current version of Sound Forge) and it's difficult to start out with simple things - both in terms of understanding and patience, or impatience. And there are so many choices, not all of which are documented in ways that are easy to find. And they're hardware-dependent. You work differently on a multitrack project depending on how many inputs and outputs your computer interface has, how many players are playing simultaneously, how many mics you own . . and so on.

If you already know one DAW pretty well and want to try another one, some things will be familiar, others will be unfamiliar - often only due to the vocabulary that the developer chose to use - and, what's my big puzzle is the "I know you can do this, but where's the button or menu or setting menu?" The nice thing about hardware is that the button doesn't move.

Honestly, I don't think that someone who had no clue as to what the recording and mixing process involved could pick up a modern DAW program and start producing in a few hours. But there might be some transferable skills from another program, like perhaps a photo editor, that would help the user catch on.

Audio journalist John Watkinson once wrote in one of his columns: "Today's production equipment is IT based and cannot be operated without passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio."

Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062382 09/13/20 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
If someone bought a guitar and screwed around with it for four hours, would they have the expectation of being a good guitarist?

Today - yes. And I'm not joking.

I've been teaching guitar for over 30 years now. Year by year expectation of what can be achieved has been inflated while the time and effort to do it has been reduced.

The "average beginner" now expects to be able to "play guitar" in a couple of weeks. Literally. Meanwhile what I used to get accomplished in the first 2 weeks now takes months, because people feel they don't need to actually touch the guitar at all to "learn how to play guitar". Perception of playing an instrument, production of music, and most importantly the idea of TALENT is so incredibly distorted these days it's super depressing. Throw in the Magic of YouTube and it's really become torture.

I get a lot of people that say things like "I want to take a few lessons so I can play Such-and-Such song at my wedding", "I practiced for 30 minutes wednesday!", "I watched a video on this, but I still can't do it", on and on. The root of all of this is a distorted perception of what it takes to be an ACTUAL MUSICIAN. In the year 2020 I'm here to tell you "people equate playing an instrument to learning how to change the oil in their car". It's a *task* that YouTube can "teach" them to do in a few weeks, with no effort.


35 Years Ago, STUDENT: "You must have been playing since you were 6, 10 years or more!!!" (I was 16, I'd been playing for a year).
25 Years Ago, STUDENT: "You must have been playing for decades!!!" (a single decade at that point...)
15 Years Ago, STUDENT: "You must have been playing for decades!!!" (..uhg, well... yeah..)
5 Years Ago, STUDENT: "Maybe I'll be as good as you when I've been playing for 10 years!!!" (well... uhm...)
1 Year Ago, STUDENT: "Wow, you must have been doing this for years!!!" (..... well, it has been many... years)

This year, STUDENTS: "Why can you play this but I can't? I've tried to do this at least 3 times already!!!" (.......... "that's why I'm the GUITAR TEACHER...???")


I've literally heard that statement, and similar ones. They "tried" a few times and couldn't do it, so something is wrong. "This is too hard, this can't be right". "I practiced for nearly half an hour
the other night, but still couldn't get it".


I saw this coming long ago. We now live in a society where talent is a concept that doesn't exist, and "training" can substitute for anything in just a few weeks. Music has been devalued monetarily, and literally.


Guitar Lessons in Augusta Georgia: www.chipmcdonald.com
Eccentric blog: https://chipmcdonaldblog.blogspot.com/

/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien
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Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062385 09/13/20 10:18 PM
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quote=Anderton]
Would it in fact be possible to create a DAW where you could be recording music in a satisfying way by screwing around with it for four hours?

I don't think either one is possible, but that's just my opinion.[/quote]

Depends.

1)

I know a person who is not a musician, has never played an instrument, can't play an instrument, BUT....

On Facebook he describes himself as a "musician" along with his day job. How can that be?

He downloads apps on his phone where he presses a button to play a loop he chooses (from a list), and selects a drumbeat, imports it into Garage Band and "masters" it. He's "making music", so he's a "musician". The people who know him also think of him as a "musician", he "makes music", and - today you're not allowed to question that. He's a Musician.

In the year 2020.

2)

Within 5 years there will be apps, and plugins, that will use a.i. techniques that will convert any input into an output that matches anything else.

You will have a guitar plugin that doesn't just auto-tune bad bending, but adds vibrato in the style of Hendrix, SRV, Gilmour, amp sound that perfectly mimics any recording, fixes harmony, timing. Same for bass. Vocal plugin that yields any vocalist's style, vibrator, timbre, phrasing.

And what I'm waiting for, a drum plugin that yields a perfect performance from beat boxing anything into it in the style of Bonham, Copeland, Peart or whoever. All with perfect studio quality of your choice. A mastering plugin that will fix any bad production and make it sound like whatever production you choose to train it on. I claim all of the above could be made RIGHT NOW if certain people at certain colleges on the planet wanted to bother doing it.

I also claim most reading this literally do not fathom that I am writing literally. People have no idea just how far advanced a.i. is right now, and how it's going to drastically change everything.

There will initially be "bands" based on concoctions of presets of the basic plugins, but then later as Line6, Roland, or whoever implements it in an amp, you will have "bands" of Guitar Hero people banging away on instruments, but with a recognizable output:

They will be "making music" and call themselves "musicians". People will regard them as "musicians".

What happens to we the Actual Real Musicians at that point is the question. Because just as right now I'm telling people "the general populace" DOES NOT comprehend talent at all", when this era hits it will completely erase the value of being a real musician. My only hope is that the novelty of a "retro", analog musician will be quaint enough to have worth, or that being able to imbue some human quality will still be possible. When everyone can make something that "sounds like the Beatles", true creativity becomes hyper-marginalized.

Plugin manufacturers will be wiped out, real audio engineers will be marginalized further, as the Median I.Q. Drone "makes music" that sounds like things once requiring TALENTED humans to make. 5 years, 6 -7 tops.


/ I keep trying to talk companies into making a midi drum editor that uses a GAN to humanize midi drum tracks.... eventually that will happen.


Guitar Lessons in Augusta Georgia: www.chipmcdonald.com
Eccentric blog: https://chipmcdonaldblog.blogspot.com/

/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien
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Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Chip McDonald #3062397 09/13/20 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chip McDonald
(All sorts of interesting stuffs)

I will counter that by pointing out that there is another thread on Craig's forum regarding the notable increase in sales of guitars during this pandemic. As with everything, some will be serious and become excellent and others will want their Mommies to magically make them gooder.

There are people as you describe them, "loop tweakers." I spent some time on Metapop.com remixing all sorts of mundane and dreary dreck to learn more about my DAW. I got what i wanted, knowledge.

Nvidia has test robots in their R&D that use a form of AI, they can watch you do something and learn how to do it without any code being written.
Not sure how much it will affect the creative arts but it won't be long before a huge number of jobs worldwide are done by robots operating 3d printers.
I won't say much more since it quickly gets political.

I'm kinda glad I am older. I'd be worried about my future if I was young.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062406 09/14/20 12:15 AM
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Define "learn." I'm with Chip. It took me three gens of Logic for using it to become reflexive and its still got more working address lines than I do. One big drawback of "America" is the delusion that most things can or SHOULD come quickly. You don't get the Good Stuff without some sweat equity and allowing time for the dough to fully rise. Getting some basic, danceable Ableton loopage going early in is a near-given; that's one of its main thrusts. Performing, recording and mixing down a final, balanced composition with any meat to it in four hours? Unlikely, to my way of thinking, but I'm also not a tweener who skips to the next track if I'm not dancing within 10 seconds. Sparks created a fine old spiritual called "Beat the Clock:" "No time for relationship, skip the foreplay, let 'er rip, you gotta beat the clock!" Oh no, you don't. smirk


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Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
KuruPrionz #3062492 09/14/20 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
[quote=Chip McDonald]Nvidia has test robots in their R&D that use a form of AI, they can watch you do something and learn how to do it without any code being written.
Not sure how much it will affect the creative arts but it won't be long before a huge number of jobs worldwide are done by robots operating 3d printers..

There are some AI applications that would be really helpful to me. For example, there's an audio editing routine that can create words by searching speech and assembling the right sound to create a word. So for example, if I was doing narration for a product called "Kuru's Cat Bites" and then you decide to change the name to "Kuru's Kitty Bites," the program will look for the phonemes necessary to create the word "Kitty" so you can replace "Cat."

It's definitely Brave New World time. There's an incredible documentary on Netflix called "The Social Dilemma" which I urge everyone to see, it explains a lot about what's going on with using algorithms to shape human behavior. Once the machines become smarter than us - which may have already happened - the results will be unpredictable, to say the least.

Re: Learn a DAW in Four Hours!
Anderton #3062495 09/14/20 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
[quote=Chip McDonald]Nvidia has test robots in their R&D that use a form of AI, they can watch you do something and learn how to do it without any code being written.
Not sure how much it will affect the creative arts but it won't be long before a huge number of jobs worldwide are done by robots operating 3d printers..

There are some AI applications that would be really helpful to me. For example, there's an audio editing routine that can create words by searching speech and assembling the right sound to create a word. So for example, if I was doing narration for a product called "Kuru's Cat Bites" and then you decide to change the name to "Kuru's Kitty Bites," the program will look for the phonemes necessary to create the word "Kitty" so you can replace "Cat."

It's definitely Brave New World time. There's an incredible documentary on Netflix called "The Social Dilemma" which I urge everyone to see, it explains a lot about what's going on with using algorithms to shape human behavior. Once the machines become smarter than us - which may have already happened - the results will be unpredictable, to say the least.


Yes, "progress" has snowballed. Finding uses for the technology is still within the human realm but for how long? Your example was probably thought of by a human who then pursued making AI useful for that purpose.
When AI gets to the point that it can make it's own "decisions" things could get "interesting."

If I were young, I would be learning plumbing or elevator repair, something it will be difficult to get robots to deal with. That's where the jobs will be. The interesting part is, where will the money come to pay for such things?
A new financial paradigm is going to be needed as the reality of our "trickle up" economy rears it's ugly head. If nobody has money to purchase things it doesn't matter how much production capacity you have.


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