#1
In the next year or so I would like to get a nice desktop computer and start composing music. Thinking of getting a Mac since that's what I know how to use but what else is out there? Also, what is the best software for recording and composing music? I'm very new to this so if you need me to clarify on something I can try
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#2
Most interfaces will come bundled with software. It may not be the 'premium' version of said software, but if you're just starting out, you'll still suffocate in all the features for a bit. For example, I have a Steinberg UR242, with came bundled with Cubase LE AI Elements 8. They offer a $50 upgrade to the 'premium' version, but I have yet to have a need for it. I also use Reaper, which is a little more straight forward than Cubase, but must be purchased separately; it is not bundled with any interfaces that I am aware of (someone correct me if I'm wrong on that). If you're going to record guitar by way of a direct connection, make sure and get something with a Hi-Z input and pad function. The Hi-Z input is necessary due to the very high impedance of guitar pickups. The pad function cuts the input signal down (usually 10dB) to reduce/eliminate clipping, but typically just setting the gain correctly will forego the need for it. A Mac will come with Garage Band, which will work with most interfaces, and has loads of plugins; not that there is any lack of plugins for any other DAW. I have Bias and Bias FX (plugins for Cubase/Reaper), which are a lot of fun and add a lot of functionality.
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#3
Reaper is an excellent DAW especially considering the price and the trial period is infinite, so you may hold off on purchasing it until you begin to make money from your music if you wish. It's also quite user-friendly and is regularly updated. The stock plugins are very clean and somewhat transparent. Reaper doesn't come which much in the way of VSTi instruments though, with only a basic synth and an even more basic synth drums VSTi's. However, Reaper does have quite strong MIDI capabilities and there are plenty of free synths and other virtual instruments out there on the internet.
On the hardware side I would recommend staying away from the Peavey Xport as even though it is advertised as a guitar input it clips like crazy. I personally use a Presonus Audiobox iOne which doesn't clip my signal, has a low latency and high quality clean input. It also includes an XLR input that can supply 48v phantom power if you need it. I can't say how well it would work on a Mac as I use PC but I see no reason why it wouldn't. It's on the relatively low end price-wise, but it performs well enough for a bedroom musician, in my opinion at least. It also comes with a copy of Studio One Artist, though I can't say much about it other than that the amp simulators are less than impressive.
#4
Quote by PiercedBand
In the next year or so I would like to get a nice desktop computer and start composing music. Thinking of getting a Mac since that's what I know how to use but what else is out there? Also, what is the best software for recording and composing music? I'm very new to this so if you need me to clarify on something I can try


Your new Mac will come with Garageband installed and as a newbie I encourage you to check it out. It may be the most intuitive DAW software available which is a good place to learn the ropes. Here is a taste:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT-rLy0CWc4
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#5
This one is a little more complex using 100% virtual instruments for a fast, easy composing tool.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yygS1jN550E
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#6
i really like Reaper. i really don't like apple though (haha).

reaper is like $60, it updates seemingly monthly, is user friendly, and its pretty damn powerful.

i will move to avid some day, but ONLY because there is a certificate program at a local college that is cheap and i like obtaining certifications (i have a AA, BA,MBA, and ASE)... haha. its 12 credit hours (one semester). honestly though, i don't feel the need to move onto it for it to do anything more that i can't do now.

you can try it free for 60 or 90 days (i don't remember which), i would do that before you pay for it or spend the big bucks on avid or something.

there are a bunch of videos on youtube about it. i didn't watch any, but this one appears to be decently rated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdO2YvzKLm0
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#7
I use audacity. If you know how to use it effectively, then it can be just as good as some of those 1500 dollar softwares out there.
#8
If you're going with Apple there are some great Mac only apps, like Logix and Digital Performer.
Personally I love Digital Performer and would probably work on that if I had a Mac.

Since you're starting out, you could possibly just get on the ground floor and use something simple like Garageband. You can move up to Logix as they have preferential upgrade prices for GB users, or move up to Digital Performer.

Depending on your interface, you might get a LE version of an app that'll work on Mac. As far as I know Studio One (PreSonus), Cubase works with Mac.
#9
You get more computing power for your money with a PC. Reaper is easily the best DAW for an entry level DAW, and it is highly customizable and good enough for real professional work.

Anyone using audacity should take a look at reaper. It's in a whole other league.

If you get a mac, you will pay more, but you can use logic, which is very good value for money. More expensive than reaper, but you do get more for your money, so, imo it is comparable value. Except you have to spend an extra grand for the computer, which leaves you less cash for mics, and an interface, and controller, and plugins etcetera.

That's why I went with a PC.
#10
The truth is that with a PC system there are a lot more points of failure, so it is not as clear cut as you make it out to be.
For example a friend is bringing a Mac tomorrow that locked up on his last project and he can't get to his files or power on the PC. I am guessing that I'll probably have to disassemble the whole PC which is built in such a bad fashion that you have to take the whole thing apart to get to the hard drive.
With a dedicated recorder you don't have a lot of the issues of a PC, no latency and a much more streamlined recording process. Editing could be more cumbersome, on some of these, but overall getting started on a dedicated multitrack recorder can lend you much better results than the hassle of connecting everything to a computer.
Computer gives you much more options, of course. You can do much more precise editing, vocal pitch correction, collaboration, etc.
Each system has its strong point. If you are not sure which one you'd like, you can also get something like the Zoom R16 or R24 - they are standalone multitrackers that can also become an audio interface and DAW controller. I find these great as you can track wherever you want and then you can do edits and overdubs using your PC system.