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#1105763 - 02/18/12 03:03 PM Which Software to use with VS880EX
Moonbather Offline
Space Cadet


Registered: 02/18/12
Posts: 5
Hey
Great site!
I have never used any software with my 880EX and was wondering which is the best to sync it with - should I go with pro tools/vs pro/logic etc? which gives me greatest editing powers?
Thanks!!
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#1106242 - 02/21/12 04:21 AM Re: Which Software to use with VS880EX [Re: Moonbather]
headwerkn2 Offline
Planeteer


Registered: 01/10/08
Posts: 638
Loc: The Countryside, Tasmania
All current versions of the popular DAW packages - ProTools, Logic, Sonar, Cubase, Reaper, GarageBand, etc. have editing power infinitely greater than your VS880EX. The questions would be:

1) What kind of music or production style are you wanting to do? Electronic via sequencing and soft synths, or recording acoustic instruments? Recording one signal at a time or a whole band?

2) How are you hoping to utilise the 880EX with the new software? Use the software DAW alongside the VS for extra tracks and MIDI/Virtual Instrument sequencing? Or do you want to simply record down your basic tracks on the VS then transfer the lot onto a DAW for editing and mixing?

I don't own a VS8x0 series recorder, but from the specs I can only figure that their use as a "front end" to a DAW is fairly limited. They don't have RBUS or much in the way of digital outputs, nor is the interfaces much use as a control surface, in the way that say a VS2480 can be used as a 16 in, 16 out audio interface (with either a Presonus Vfire or pair of RPC-1 cards) plus motorised control surface.

One use for a VS8x0 I've considered myself is using it as a compact and portable demoing recorder for laying down ideas and basic starting tracks. You could then transfer those tracks onto your DAW for further tracking, editing and mixing.

Asking what DAW is best is a bit like asking what religion is best! You'll get many answers and - invariably - a big fight. I use...

Digidesign... sorry, Avid Protools... I have four different versions running on various computers... 5.2.3, 6.4, 7.3 and 8.0.

Pro Tools is the industry standard for audio production and in my opinion it has the nicest and easiest interface for chopping up and editing audio. It's main disadvantages were that it required a Digidesign or M-audio interface to work and the LE version was a bit behind the curve compared to other packages, however PT10 has got rid of the interface restriction.

Apple Logic... I use version 8 but have recently upgraded a system to v9. Not a great difference between the two.

Logic's main advantage is how complete it is as a digital production studio, particularly on the virtual instrument side of things. It comes with literally dozens of very good quality plugins... everything you need to produce a full commercial-quality production. It also comes with several standalone applications (MainStage, etc.), a ton of samples, loops, reverb impulses and other media. A full install of Logic 8 over 9 or so DVDs will take nearly 50Gb of HD space. The price is also extremely competitive... my employer paid over AU$1700 so I could have Logic Pro 7 back in 2005 or 2006, whenever it was. That was considered decent value back then because it included a whole raft of software synths that previously cost several hundred extra on their own. According to the App Store, Logic Pro 9 now costs AU$209.99 and includes even more stuff.

Logic's considered (or at least was considered, once upon a time) the most powerful and sophisticated of the MIDI sequencers. Logic's Environment, though downplayed these days because it can confuse the hell out of newcomers, is immensely flexible and gives practically limitless options for serious MIDI and sequencing work.

The I also think the automation system works really logically (pun intended) and the interface is arguably the cleanest and - generally speaking - the easiest to figure out of the major DAWs (though some of the UIs for the virtual instruments are pretty crazy). That said it is still a deep, deep program and despite being owned by Apple for nearly 10 years now, can still do some people's heads in. Audio editing I find just not quite as sweet as ProTools, though its "Quick Swipe" comping tool seriously rocks. There are also some questions over stability and Apple's general level of commitment to Logic, although to be fair Apple is fly paper to criticism over pretty anything these days, and ProTools cops just as much flak.

Logic is also Mac-only these days, so it is all moot if you're a Windows guy. There was a special version of Logic called Logic VS that supposedly allowed fully automated mixing and waveform editing on the VS8x0 itself from within Logic. I think we're talking v4 or v5, so very old these days, but it does sound like it extends the utility of the old VS units somewhat.

REAPER.... I've only just started using REAPER, and I'm currently taking my time remixing a tune originally produced on my VS2400 about 4 years ago to test it out. There's been a lot of noise about REAPER, especially in regards to its low, low price (about US$60 I believe) as well its immense flexibility when it comes to routing. I also like how you can apply effects treatments to just a section of audio - great for spot effects and saves frigging around with automation. I'll do a more thorough analysis of sorts when I complete the mix but I guess what REAPER lacks over the other two I've mentioned is maturity and polish... and in the case of Logic, a turnkey production setup. REAPER actually does come with a lot of plugins, but they're not of the same usability as Logic's in my opinion. Having said that, REAPER is being developed and improved at a rate that puts the big companies to shame... give it another year or two and it will be a genuine drop-in replacement for Logic or ProTools, at least for home users on a budget.

REAPER's is however quite relevant to Roland VS users as there is supposedly a .DLL that allows direct playback of VS format sessions. Being a .DLL I can only assume it is only for the PC version. I extracted my VS session using the VS to WAVE extractor into separate tracks then imported straight into REAPER - locked in perfectly.

Anyhoo, draw your own conclusions from that. REAPER is free to evaluate, see how you go with it before spending cash.

Cheers, Ben.
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Back to analog, gentlemen... Tascam 688, Teac A3440S, Teac 2A, Teac MB20, Akai X-160D, Teac A-350
Currently seeking - Teac 5A and 5EX mixer, Revox C270/C278 or Otari 5050-2 and 5050-8 track RTR decks - Please PM!
Digital stuff... Digi001, Mbox 2 Mini, Protools, Logic, iPad 3.

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