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  #1  
Old 01-03-2013, 04:03 AM
Akuma Akuma is offline
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Default Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

I have a Roland TD4 drumkit.

I am trying to figure out how to record it to the PC, I am using a MIDI-to-USB cable to connect it to the PC.

The programs I've used for a long time to record music at home is Audacity and Adobe Audition, unfortunately they do not support MIDI in any way shape or form.

The problem is that allt he other DAWs I've used are insanely difficult, impossible to understand and with a bazillion buttons and menus that make little to no sense.

Making the program understand that I want to do something as trivial as recording a MIDI-device with the TD4s own samples is as easy as understanding higher level quantum mechanics - and for someone like me who isn't a professional studio engineer all these DAWs I've used are entirely hopeless and impossible.

The ones I've tried installing the MIDI with are CuBase and Sonar, and neither of them I have been able to make find the correct setting so that the MIDI interface works.
I have spent hours looking at tutorials but none of them explain in any way shape or form in such a way that it is specific enough for my case. There is not a single step-by-step tutorial on the internet how to connect a Roland V-Drums to a PC and how to make the MIDI work with the DAW.

I am currently looking for a DAW that doesn't require a higher degree in sound engineering to use, one that doesn't have a bazillion buttons, one that is easy to learn, understand and use and mostly - one where finding such trivial options as setting up MIDI devices isn't impossible.

I've been using PCs for nearly 30 years - I am not computer illiterate but the way DAWs work - at least the 2 I've tried are impossible to understand and use.

Any suggestions to competent DAWs that make sense are appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2013, 04:52 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Right.

I've been trying to answer your questions on another thread but I think there are some crossed wires here.

You're not going to find any DAW easier than another. They're all slightly different but all roughly the same in terms of what is required to use them in terms of skill. Choose one and stick to it - it doesn't actually massively matter which, they all do the same things. You learn by doing. Try to do something, read the manual. I suggest starting at 'recording a single audio track/channel' from start to finish.

As for the MIDI question. You're confusing MIDI and audio.

MIDI is simply data. Numbers sent down the cables to the computer. Audio is actual sound in the form of analogue electronic current.

Your drum kit's module can produce either MIDI or Audio (or both, at the same time) as output. They are different things. MIDI is not sound. MIDI needs to be translated by software (or hardware) into sounds using the data as a basis.

If you are trying to simply record the sounds that your kit produces when you listen to it using headphones then you can actually completely ignore MIDI. You don't need to think about it, just know that your module is doing that part automatically. All you need to do is plug a pair of stereo cables into the left and right outputs of your module, then plug the other end of the cable into your computer's stereo input. You might need a converter cable to do this - two mono 1/4 jacks into a single 3.5 mm jack. If you don't know what these are, then you need to do some more reading.

At that point, create two mono tracks in your DAW, assign the channels to the stereo input and it's just a case of hitting 'record'. If you don't know how to do this, get your hands busy with the software and learn. I can't teach you how to use a DAW step-by-step here and I've been using DAW software since I was a teenager (over ten years).

Now. Here's why you don't have to worry about MIDI if you are recording this way.

Your drum module is doing all the complicated audio conversion for you. It just has a limited number of sounds.

Electric drum kits work like this:

Piezo (on the drum or cymbal) --> Electrical current --> Drum module --> MIDI --> Conversion into audio --> Audio --> Output

I've highlighted conversion because this is where your confusion is. Conversion can take place internally in the drum module (which is why you can just plug headphones in, hear something and play with the sounds) or you can take the MIDI data out before it's been converted and send it to a computer to do the conversion and the audio.

I hope this helps.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:06 AM
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Mikecore Mikecore is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Unfortunately, a capable DAW comes with a learning curve. I was using Cubase LE5 for a year or two before I got around to understanding the MIDI functions, and even then, I had to phone a friend to get the synths to take a signal from the MIDI interface. The only other DAWs I have experience with are Audacity and Ardour (which I'm just getting into, so I can't really say whether it's any good yet).

That said, I use the hell out of the Cubase MIDI functions now, and It's actually quite easy. I program my MIDI key editor to "play" my keyboard parts for me, and the synth's audio outs are pumped back into an audio track in Cubase for writing and recording. Real drumset parts are added last as the rest of the instrument parts are perfectly synced and quantized.

Here's what my signal path looks like:
DAW MIDI track(computer)------usb cable----->Tascam US-1641-----MIDI cable------>Synth-----1/4" audio cable---->US-1641----usb----->DAW audio track.

So far the only solution I know of is patience and perseverance with a DAW you already have some knowledge of.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:07 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Running a Debian distribution, Mikecore?
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2013, 05:24 AM
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Mikecore Mikecore is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

My 2-track/mastering computer is running Arch Linux with Audacity as the main recording tool. I put Ardour on there so I could familiarize myself with it and see what the freeware world has to offer versus Cubase or Pro Tools, etc...

The 16-track computer runs Windows 7 with the Cubase system that came with my Tascam. Thinking about moving up to Cubase 7 at some point, so at least one box will have to run Windows in some form.

The computer I'm typing on right now is a Windows XP box that I use mainly for internet stuff, and when XP finally crashes or catches a badass virus, I'll throw Arch on that one as well. With Openbox as a GUI it's a pretty good replacement for broken windows.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:29 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

I just remembered using Ardour back in 2006 when I ran Ubuntu for a while as my main system. It was quite useful then but it wasn't anywhere near as feature-complete as the Logic system I had a few months later on my first Mac. I run Macs exclusively now but dabble with Windows 7.

Every few months, I get bored and throw a box together out of old parts I have and try out all the latest Linux distributions. I've never tried Arch but I've tried a good number, next time I think I'll be fiddling with Gentoo if I ever get up to my old tricks.

I just saw you post 'Ardour' and it flashed a switch in my mind about a very fond period when I first used Ubuntu on an old MESH 1.48GHz machine that I had passed down. Very good times.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:19 AM
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NerfLad NerfLad is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

http://reaper.fm

^nuff said
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  #8  
Old 01-03-2013, 06:25 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Quote:
Originally Posted by NerfLad View Post
http://reaper.fm

^nuff said
I've been using it for a while and it's no more or less complex than other DAW software packages. They all have a learning curve. I'm most at home with Logic Pro, which is a lot like Cubase (or at least, used to be). Really, it's just a case of sitting down and doing it. There are no shortcuts.

I will say though that the Reaper Wiki is very useful.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:47 AM
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NerfLad NerfLad is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

I hate Logic's interface, haha. Reaper has the least amount of the following: price, compatibility headaches, load time, DRM and bullshit. Sign me up! I tracked my whole band at once on 12 channels at 96/24 by just hitting record. It might have a learning curve, but it's never crashed on me and everything is just right where you need it, and if it isn't you can theme it out however you want. I have no idea why Logic is more popular.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:57 AM
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BacteriumFendYoke BacteriumFendYoke is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

I've had the opposite experience of Logic. It has always 'just worked' for me and I bought it with a student discount, so it only cost me 120. This was four years ago when Reaper was relatively new and I had been using Logic for several years (in fact, I'm versed in Logic 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 - version 5 being made in 2002 by eMagic before Apple bought the rights) so it was familiar. I meet people all the time that swear by Pro Tools and I've had a lot of experience there, too - I've just never really found it coherent with my workflow.

Logic is more popular because it's been around a lot longer and has the backing of Apple. Logic has been around in one form or another since the early 90s. In fact, its roots go back to before I was born in the Atari ST days. It now has seamless integration with Apple computers since the takeover in 2002. Honestly? Logic is a great platform. I still have a version on my 32-bit machine.

In terms of load time, Reaper is good. The lack of bundled LAME encoder is a little irritating (especially seeing as there's a bug on one of my systems) but it certainly was very well priced. It works with my hardware (which is a little esoteric) so I certainly have no complaints. It's just different. Reaper is a great DAW that I need to spend more time with to be efficient. I really like what the company are doing and recommend it if somebody doesn't have a DAW but the original poster already has a DAW and introducing new software (which is no easier to use - just different) is only going to be incredibly confusing.

The best course of action is to go and buy 'Modern Recording Techniques' (Huber & Runstein, Focal Press) and learn the principles. Once you're equipped with the basic principles of digital audio, everything makes sense. It's the reason I can look at a horrible Behringer digital desk with no discernible user interface and still work it well.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:27 PM
Akuma Akuma is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Here is the problem.

All of the DAWs you have listed are very expensive - and there is no guarantee that they will work with the V-Drums.
I have as of now tried 3 different DAW and they outright refuse to work with the V-Drumkit.

Spending up to half a grand on a DAW when there is absolutely no guarantee that it will work with the drumkit sounds very stupid to me. Not to mention the commitment of astronomical size that follows when it comes to learning and understanding it.
I need a DAW that can either have a free demo version that I can try and see if it works or not with the unit I am using.
I have as of now tried 2 different version of CuBase (SX3 and v5) and that didn't work I think. I was able to get the program to register the hits but there was no sound coming out and even the VST I tried using where a complex mess to use - no online tutorials exist for mapping a V-Drum to a VST on the entire Internet.

I tried Sonar - I was unable to find the controls for assigning the drumkit to a MIDI track. Sonars GUI is an incomprehensible mess and I cannot be bothered with a DAW that literally requires a degree in musical engineering to grasp.

Next I tried Fruit Loops Studio 9. I have been unable to make the program connect with the drumkit. I can create MIDI tracks and assignt VSTs to said MIDI-tracks but it seems to be absolutely impossible to assign the V-Drums to a MIDI-track. It just will not happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BacteriumFendYoke View Post
Right.

If you are trying to simply record the sounds that your kit produces when you listen to it using headphones then you can actually completely ignore MIDI. You don't need to think about it, just know that your module is doing that part automatically. All you need to do is plug a pair of stereo cables into the left and right outputs of your module, then plug the other end of the cable into your computer's stereo input. You might need a converter cable to do this - two mono 1/4 jacks into a single 3.5 mm jack. If you don't know what these are, then you need to do some more reading..
I *WISH* it was that easy!

I've done this on 3 different computers and the sound the drum makes when recording is absolutely terrible. The sound sounds extremely muffled and weird - it's as if I was running the entire drumkit through a wah-wah pedal. I also get weird Audio Feedback. I tried using both my stationary computers mic entrance as well as 2 laptops and the result is always the same - strange muffled next-to garbled distortion of the sound.

It's unexplainable. When I connect my headphones directly to the drumkit - it sounds perfect - if I connect that port to a computer microphone - it sounds like utter useless garbage.

Not to mention the massive latency issues I face with when connecting it to the microphone jack. I get immense lagspikes - even when using the desktop computer I have which is a very powerful PC.

The only way I have managed to record the drums to the PC is using a Guitar Effect pedal (A Zoom G2.1u)I have that has a USB interface. Problem is that there is no way to turn off the effects of the effect pedal so the drum sound comes out all messed up because of the guitar effect - it is just simply not designed to be used with anything else than a guitar.

If I knew that it would be this impossible to record the drumkit of a PC - I wouldn't have bothered buying a Roland V-Drumkit in the first place. I am starting to think that the out-ports on the V-Drumkit is utter useless garbage

Last edited by Akuma; 01-03-2013 at 01:44 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-03-2013, 01:39 PM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akuma View Post

....It's unexplainable. When I connect my headphones directly to the drumkit - it sounds perfect - if I connect that port to a computer microphone - it sounds like utter useless garbage.

You're running your headphone out to a usb or built-in microphone? Are you setting the input level in your recording program?
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:51 PM
rtliquid rtliquid is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

My approach would be the TD-4's audio out directly into your computer's audio in. It sounds to me like the input sensitivity needs to be adjusted, if your computer allows you to do it. Barring that, I would get an intermediate audio interface, like an M-Audio Fast Track USB. Tons of versatility. Audacity is a great program for what you want to do and you're already familiar with it. This setup should do the trick for you.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:03 PM
Akuma Akuma is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildbill View Post
You're running your headphone out to a usb or built-in microphone? Are you setting the input level in your recording program?
I am running a wire between the TD4 sound module and the microphone-in 3.5 mm plug.
What does "input level" mean?
If you mean that I've been trying to lower the volume - then yes, I have done that and it solves nothing. The problem isn't related to volume - the problem is related to the fact that the drums sound very odd as if it ran through a wah-wah effect pedal. It sounds as if there is no bass, only very high frequencies and there's this weird reverb to it as well.

I thought it had to do with the ambience setting in the TD4 sound module which I turned off but I still encounter the same problem.
Like I said - I tried 3 different computers with 3 different configurations and the sound quality is just crap.

On the stationary PC I record with Adobe Audition, with the 2 laptops I tried with Audacity.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:31 PM
wildbill wildbill is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Quote:
Originally Posted by Akuma View Post

....What does "input level" mean?....

....On the stationary PC I record with Adobe Audition, with the 2 laptops I tried with Audacity.

On the upper right corner of Audacity, you'll see icons of a speaker and microphone, both with sliders.

When you play your drums, watch the level meters in the upper center of the screen, and adjust the input slider near the right side microphone icon. If set too low, you won't hear it, and if set too high, it'll distort.

About DAW's. I use mainly Cubase and like it. But all DAW's take a while to learn. I think it's worth the effort though,
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:37 PM
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Nickropolis Nickropolis is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

In my extremely limited experience, Logic has been a fair bit more intuitive than Pro Tools.
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:40 PM
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Florian Florian is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Reaper = 60 bux.


F
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Old 01-03-2013, 03:44 PM
Akuma Akuma is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

Like I said earlier - the problem with the sound coming out of the drum kit isn't related to the volume levels.
I am not experiencing any sound distortion due to volume peaks. What I am hearing is as if the sound of the drumkit was coming from inside a metal can. The bass-drum can barely be heard and everything sounds; with lack of better words; puny and weak.

It sounds as if I was playing the drum kit out of a cheap radio from the 60's. All the bass levels have been severely muffled and all the high-frequency notes such as snare and cymbals sounds "screechy".

I have already CuBase installed and it's an enormous mess understanding what it is and what it does - even though I have 2 versions of it! I was given CuBase SX3 when I bought a studio card years ago, it came bundled with the package. CuBase 5 was something that came with a guitar effect pedal I bought long time ago. Both of them are immensely difficult to understand. Doing something as trivial as creating a new MIDI track and assigning it to the drum kit was something that took me hours to figure out and even then I am unable to record the track, make it respond to the V-Drum or assign VSTs or drummap the thing.

CuBase in unfortunately counter-intuitive in its design which is by far its biggest flaw. They are no easy ways of doing anything in it. I am currently looking into another DAW that was recommended to me. The fact that one has to install 5 different DAWs to make this thing work is absolutely ridiculous.


-----

What REALLY boggles my mind is the fact that they are no tutorials what so ever; or even remotely related to HOW to connect a V-Drum (or any electronic drum kit) to the computer. If you google for V-Drum to PC you will even find my thread I started yesterday about the issue! It's absolutely absurd that with all the vast knowledge of Internet, known for it's endless depths of knowledge and stupidity there is not a single guide what explains HOW to connect the V-Drum to the computer.

Sure, they are guides that explain the larger concepts, what MIDI is and so on but there is not a single step-by-step guide that tells you exactly what to do in order to make it work. There is not a single guide that explain how VSTs are installed mapped and used for an external drumkit, not a single guide that explains step-by-step how to configure MIDI tracks to a V-Drum.
And yes - I have tried the manuals and they tell absolutely jack squat. Even the manual for the VSTs are entirely useless sinc ethey tell absolutely nothing how to use the VST or map it to an instrument. It's absurd.

If I ever (big if) manage to somehow under miraculous circumstances figure out how to do this I will make a tutorial myself since there is not a single one in existance.

Last edited by Akuma; 01-03-2013 at 03:55 PM.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2013, 05:23 PM
New Tricks New Tricks is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

If you have a Mac, Garage Band = free

I think it's a simplified version of Logic. It's the only thing I have been able to figure out.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:06 PM
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KnuckleBuster KnuckleBuster is offline
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Default Re: Looking for a DAW that isn't impossible to use

This thread from Vdrums.com might help you.


http://vdrums.com/forum/showthread.p...o-my-PC/page2&
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