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Ableton Live vs Reaper

chysn

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Ableton Live vs Reaper
« on: July 23, 2017, 06:46:53 AM »
Way back about a zillion years ago, circa 2006, I got an Ableton Live Lite 4 license for free with some M-Audio product. As the years have gone on, Ableton has kept upgrading this license, for some reason. This morning, I noticed that I have a license for Live Lite 8, so I downloaded it to give Live another chance.

I did not like Live 4. Maybe I wasn't familiar enough with DAW recording, or something. But I love Live 8. My point of comparison is Reaper. I've been using Reaper for a couple years. I get by with Reaper okay, but I'm in sort of a constant cycle of re-learning how to do things. Bottom line is, Reaper got the job done, but wasn't enjoyable to use.

Ableton has been sort of an epiphany. Everything is easy to do. Virtual instruments can just be dropped onto a track. The settings are right there on the same screen. The view can be switched from horizontal to vertical with a nice set of buttons. Everything (like, everything) has a help blurb as you scroll over it.

To be perfectly clear, I don't think that Live is a better product than Reaper is. Reaper seems like a more complete and flexible recording system. But as a composition tool, I really like Live's workflow. I might update to Live 9 Intro (I think my ten-year-old M-Audio free ride is over) for more tracks, but first I'm going to do a few projects with what I have.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2017, 05:50:06 AM »
I can't speak of Reaper, but what I really like about Ableton Live is how the whole concept of the studio being an instrument was realized, particularly since the announcement of Push and Push 2.
Ableton Live 9 Suite & Push 2 (macOS) | Arturia BeatStep Pro | DSI Pro 2 | KMI QuNexus | Korg Volca Beats | Moog MF-104M Analog Delay | Moog Minitaur | Moog Model 15 App | Moog Sub 37 Tribute Edition | Sequential Prophet-6

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2017, 11:07:28 AM »
I love Ableton live, it's pretty hopeless as a traditional DAW but as a creative tool it is very hard to beat.

I have been hoping that Bitwig would take this concept a bit further, and in some ways it has but in other ways it is not fit for purpose. Midi seems to confuse it quite a bit; maybe midi is for old fogeys or something, who knows what the developers think!

I'm really hoping that version 10 of live will take things a bit further in the session view to give it a bit more of a traditional DAWs functionality. They have been working on it a while so I'm guessing it is going to be good.

chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2017, 10:08:02 AM »
I purchased Live Intro last night, the $100 version. If I ever outgrow it, I can always upgrade; but based on my history with Reaper, the Intro limitations aren't going to pose much of a problem. I also ordered a Korg NanoKONTROL2 control surface to make automation easier.

For anyone who gets Live, I highly recommend Ableton's tutorial videos. They're short and clear, and give a good idea of Live's whole music creation philosophy.

Live is going to be great for what I want to do, because I'm always recording these little modular clips. I can't save patches, so I record some of everything with my Tascam. Now I can use these things as ingredients.

For a couple years now, I've tolerated Reaper because it does its job in a competent and workmanlike fashion. With Live, I've found a DAW that I'm actually pretty excited about using.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2017, 04:17:00 AM »
Ableton Live was my first DAW. Being dedicated to hardware, moving to a DAW was daunting, to say the least. I've looked at other DAWs, but not familiar with Reaper. The main thing I value with Live is the amount of support there is out there for the product. Every problem or question that I've ever had was quickly answered by other users online. If I needed to know how to do something, a quick Google search usually provided the answer.

Best,
Brian

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2017, 04:42:19 AM »
Another great resource for Ableton users is the Sonic Bloom site: http://sonicbloom.net/en/
Ableton Live 9 Suite & Push 2 (macOS) | Arturia BeatStep Pro | DSI Pro 2 | KMI QuNexus | Korg Volca Beats | Moog MF-104M Analog Delay | Moog Minitaur | Moog Model 15 App | Moog Sub 37 Tribute Edition | Sequential Prophet-6

chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 08:36:18 AM »
Thanks for the info! I'll check it out.

The Reaper community is also very active and helpful. The problem was that--once I found a solution--I couldn't remember it next time it came up. Live's interface just works way better for me. It's also possible that I'm too dumb for Reaper, so I can't really cast any aspersions on that excellent product.

Yesterday, while playing around with the Korg Legacy Wavestation, I realized that I love Live because it's very MMT-8-like, or at least, it can be: bits of stuff that you can create, and then build something bigger with those bits. It's the erstwhile Lego maniac in me.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2017, 01:27:52 AM »
Every time I start Reaper I have forgotten nearly everything about it, there is something about the way it works that just doesn't stick in my mind.

Every other Daw (and I have to use most of them) I have no memory problems.

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 10:22:31 PM »
I love Ableton live, it's pretty hopeless as a traditional DAW but as a creative tool it is very hard to beat.

I'm sort of curious what limitations you feel Live's got in terms of its suitability as a traditional DAW. I've been quite happy mixing large projects in Live and have recorded some smaller projects with it as well. Since I don't have a ton of experience with other DAWs (except a little bit of Logic X) I'd be interested to get some other perspectives there.

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2017, 09:44:50 AM »
Thank goodness I came across this thread. Right now I'm currently recording to a dedicated recorder (Roland VS 2480) and I while I like it, realistically I want to get into recording into DAWs. I love the look of Ableton and it seems very straightforward but mostly how I am going to be recording is an external sequencer or in real time into my Soundcraft (Where I'll be doing my eq/mixing and effects) and into a DAW.

I tried out MOTU's Digital Performer 9 and while I read that it was powerful, soon as I opened it up it took me like ten minutes to figure out how to add a new track. Maybe I'm just clueless but I am just finding the right DAW very daunting. I just want to be able to hit record or add a new track and have it happen as opposed to loads of menus. Like as if I'm recording to a reel to reel recorder or something just BAM, done.

chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2017, 04:14:02 PM »
Maybe I'm just clueless but I am just finding the right DAW very daunting.

Most DAWs, including Ableton, have a trial version so you can find just the right thing. Reaper's trial version is unlimited; if you don't want to pay, you just need to dismiss a reminder screen occasionally.

I'm using the "Intro" version of Ableton. It's limited to 16 tracks, 2 send and return tracks, and 4 audio ins and outs. None of these are really limitations for my purposes, so well worth it. Also, Korg's NanoKontrol 2 comes with a $50 coupon, which basically makes the NanoKontrol free with the purchase of Live Intro. Bottom line is, it doesn't need to be costly.

Quote
I just want to be able to hit record or add a new track and have it happen as opposed to loads of menus. Like as if I'm recording to a reel to reel recorder or something just BAM, done.

There's probably something like this, but Ableton isn't really it. The idea of a DAW is to take advantage of the capabilities of a computer. Ableton's interface is designed very well, and it doesn't get in your way. Integration of control surfaces is easy, too, to make it a more "hands-on" experience. But it's not necessarily a start-to-finish recording process (although it can be).

If you want a digital reel-to-reel experience, look at the Tascam DR-05. I record a lot with this thing and it's crystal-clear and drop-dead-simple for start-to-finish performances.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2017, 08:22:05 PM »
If you want a digital reel-to-reel experience, look at the Tascam DR-05. I record a lot with this thing and it's crystal-clear and drop-dead-simple for start-to-finish performances.

Interesting.  What's your opinion of the audio quality of the finished product?

chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2017, 09:05:59 PM »
If you want a digital reel-to-reel experience, look at the Tascam DR-05. I record a lot with this thing and it's crystal-clear and drop-dead-simple for start-to-finish performances.

Interesting.  What's your opinion of the audio quality of the finished product?

Favorable. Its noise floor is well under that of the instruments that I have, and I don't hear a difference in quality between recording with the DR-05 and recording with my Presonus audio interface. So if I want to record something in one take, it's nice and easy. It also does overdubbing, but I've never used that feature in real life.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2017, 09:15:51 PM »
I've been intending to get the Tascam one of these days for field recording - mostly outdoor sounds.  I haven't come across anyone who has used it for recording synthesizers, though, but mostly acoustic guitars and voice.  I presume you've been using the line in.  Have you used the built-in microphones?  I'm wondering if they're noisy, or the recorder itself?     

chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2017, 04:08:39 AM »
I've been intending to get the Tascam one of these days for field recording - mostly outdoor sounds.  I haven't come across anyone who has used it for recording synthesizers, though, but mostly acoustic guitars and voice.  I presume you've been using the line in.  Have you used the built-in microphones?  I'm wondering if they're noisy, or the recorder itself?   

I use the line in for recording real-time modular compositions. I use the built-in microphone for field recording of Phonogene (musique concrŤte) material. It's crystal clear, not noisy at all. At less than $100, it's an excellent value and there's no reason not to have one.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2017, 06:02:34 AM »
That's encouraging news.  I had considered getting instead the DR-40 for some extra features, although my main concern is audio quality.  But since they both offer 96kHz/24-bit quality, the DR-40 really wouldn't be worth the extra expense.

Thanks, Chysn.

« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 07:11:35 AM by Sacred Synthesis »

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2017, 10:09:47 AM »
Maybe I'm just clueless but I am just finding the right DAW very daunting.

Most DAWs, including Ableton, have a trial version so you can find just the right thing. Reaper's trial version is unlimited; if you don't want to pay, you just need to dismiss a reminder screen occasionally.

I'm using the "Intro" version of Ableton. It's limited to 16 tracks, 2 send and return tracks, and 4 audio ins and outs. None of these are really limitations for my purposes, so well worth it. Also, Korg's NanoKontrol 2 comes with a $50 coupon, which basically makes the NanoKontrol free with the purchase of Live Intro. Bottom line is, it doesn't need to be costly.

Quote
I just want to be able to hit record or add a new track and have it happen as opposed to loads of menus. Like as if I'm recording to a reel to reel recorder or something just BAM, done.

There's probably something like this, but Ableton isn't really it. The idea of a DAW is to take advantage of the capabilities of a computer. Ableton's interface is designed very well, and it doesn't get in your way. Integration of control surfaces is easy, too, to make it a more "hands-on" experience. But it's not necessarily a start-to-finish recording process (although it can be).

If you want a digital reel-to-reel experience, look at the Tascam DR-05. I record a lot with this thing and it's crystal-clear and drop-dead-simple for start-to-finish performances.

I was at Moog Audio yesterday and was speaking to the sales rep there about DAWs he said that he uses Pro Tools but now that itís a paid subscription platform he wouldnít recommend it. He said Ableton is good because itís simple and if all you want to do is do stuff off the floor or with little overdubs it may be a good option. Although the store doesnít deal with DP he said itís a very powerful option as well but it does have a big learning curve and I would have to watch hour long tutorial videos in depth before I got a handle on it.


chysn

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Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2017, 02:29:06 PM »
I was at Moog Audio yesterday and was speaking to the sales rep there about DAWs he said that he uses Pro Tools but now that itís a paid subscription platform he wouldnít recommend it.

I wish more high-end software offered a subscription model. Adobe PhotoShop and Lightroom together used to be like $750. Now I pay ten bucks a month for both. It's awesome if they price the subscription well.

Quote
He said Ableton is good because itís simple and if all you want to do is do stuff off the floor or with little overdubs it may be a good option. Although the store doesnít deal with DP he said itís a very powerful option as well but it does have a big learning curve and I would have to watch hour long tutorial videos in depth before I got a handle on it.

The bottom line here is, try them out. No matter what you get, you need to sort of buy into a philosophy. This is especially true with Ableton, which (as Paul Dither said above) is really designed to be a musical instrument. And then, when you've made a decision, review your decision periodically without passion. I tried Ableton every few years since version 4, and this is the year where I went "I get this now! I want to work this way!"
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

chysn

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  • 854
Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2017, 03:40:11 PM »
That's encouraging news.  I had considered getting instead the DR-40 for some extra features, although my main concern is audio quality.  But since they both offer 96kHz/24-bit quality, the DR-40 really wouldn't be worth the extra expense.

Thanks, Chysn.

You bet.

A DR-40 case can be made. The price difference between the DR-40 and DR-05 isn't ridiculous, and you might prefer the DR-40 for its pair of stereo XLR and 1/4" inputs. The DR-05 just has a single 1/8" stereo input, which is fine for eurorack. The DR-40's mic pattern is also adjustable, which you might welcome for stereo field recording.
DSI: DSM03; previously: Mopho Keyboard, Desktop Mopho, Evolver, DSM01
Hardware: Eurorack, Moog Little Phatty w/ CV Outs, Arturia MicroBrute, KMI QuNexus
Software: macOS, Ableton, MuseScore
Modular Grid: https://www.modulargrid.net/e/racks/view/354385
GitHub: https://github.com/chysn

Re: Ableton Live vs Reaper
« Reply #19 on: October 24, 2017, 04:58:52 PM »
I was at Moog Audio yesterday and was speaking to the sales rep there about DAWs he said that he uses Pro Tools but now that itís a paid subscription platform he wouldnít recommend it.

I wish more high-end software offered a subscription model. Adobe PhotoShop and Lightroom together used to be like $750. Now I pay ten bucks a month for both. It's awesome if they price the subscription well.

Quote
He said Ableton is good because itís simple and if all you want to do is do stuff off the floor or with little overdubs it may be a good option. Although the store doesnít deal with DP he said itís a very powerful option as well but it does have a big learning curve and I would have to watch hour long tutorial videos in depth before I got a handle on it.

The bottom line here is, try them out. No matter what you get, you need to sort of buy into a philosophy. This is especially true with Ableton, which (as Paul Dither said above) is really designed to be a musical instrument. And then, when you've made a decision, review your decision periodically without passion. I tried Ableton every few years since version 4, and this is the year where I went "I get this now! I want to work this way!"


Personally Iíd rather pay a flat fee as opposed to a monthly subscription.

I am still looking into Digital Performer but it seems really convoluted