Here’s the definitive reason why you should work with more than one DAW
Your DAW is your faithful companion throughout your everyday audio adventures.
Many engineers will elect one piece of software and use it for all production tasks they need to perform. Using only one DAW has one big advantage – you will get blazing fast if you’re always operating the same piece of software.
In this post, I want to show you a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t limit yourself to working with only one DAW.
A bit of back story
When I started audio engineering, I was into recording bands. The school I studied at used Pro Tools as studio software. It was a perfect match for recording, pulling drums in time (I still love the Beat Detective), mixing, and mastering.
After some time, I started to accept post-production work. At that time, Avid was focusing heavily on bringing more and more post features into Pro Tools. Naturally, I continued to use it!
Things changed when I moved into composing.
As soon as I started to work with a lot of virtual instruments and MIDI, Pro Tools suddenly felt a bit sluggish. I remembered friends of mine producing electronic music with Cubase and decided to try it. I was surprised by the amount of composing and MIDI features suddenly at my disposal!
Fast forward again a couple of years, I ventured into sound design for games.
A friend of mine who already worked on a couple of titles recommended I use Reaper. Yet again, the new DAW surprised me with features that were perfect for game development and that I didn’t encounter in Pro Tools or Cubase!
Learning DAWs is a bit like learning languages
Learning a new language feels very uncomfortable in the beginning. You need to learn new patterns and break old ones. When you have the choice of using your native tongue or a second language, you will always be tempted to go for the easy option.
The same is true for DAWs. Once you have developed a certain level of proficiency in one of them, it will feel awkward starting from scratch in a new one.
But just like with languages, once you advance a bit with your studies, you start seeing patterns. You realize the two DAWs you are now using have more in common than you thought. The terminology might be different. Learning new shortcuts might be annoying. But in the end, they will have similar core functions that you can rely on. The more you use them side by side, the easier switching between them becomes.
After getting myself up to speed with Pro Tools, Cubase and Reaper, I feel I can open any DAW and get by comfortably.
Every DAW has specific features that you won’t encounter in others.
Cubase has fantastic composition and MIDI workflows. Reaper is super flexible and great for sound design. Pro Tools has excellent post-production workflows.
If you are willing to invest a bit of time to learn a second (or a third) DAW, you will suddenly be able to draw from a much larger pool of functionalities than before – knowledge is power!
And with modern computers, moving sessions between DAWs is not much of a problem anymore! Why not start a song composing in Cubase and finish it off mixing in Pro Tools? How about using Cubase’s synthesizers to create some sound effects and do the editing and batch exporting in Reaper?
There’s even a software called AATranslator which can convert a session file from one DAW to another!
Most importantly, you’ll be able to adapt yourself to your client’s preferences.
Suppose someone calls you up and asks, ‘What DAW are you mixing in?’.
Isn’t countering that question with ‘What DAW were you recording with? Reaper? Ok, let’s continue mixing in Reaper then!’ so much better than just simply saying ‘Pro Tools’ or ‘Cubase’?