Your DAW Sucks

Platforms in music & tech have long seen a diverse range of opinions. Mac vs PC, Cubase vs Logic v Pro Tools, etc. It's fair to want the best, but Matthew Loel T Hepworth notices a new "Sucks" trend.  

If you're like me, you use a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) program to record your music. And like me, you occasionally visit various forums and blogs to aid with troubleshooting or operational support of your DAW. And if you do, I'm sure you've come across the oft-posted thread wherein someone opines that the DAW program you're using 'sucks!'

Matthew Loel T. Hepworth

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MATTHEW LOEL T. HEPWORTH has been teaching music technology since 1984. The son of educators, he has the ability to thoughtfully instruct people to get the most from complicated music products and software. He authors the Cubase and WaveLab tutorials for and authored several books including WaveLab 7 Power!, The Power i... Read More


Exactly. There's also nothing wrong with using multiple DAWs if you're so inclined.

Unfortunately I've been put off so much by this type of behavior that I've started to post far less at certain forums or avoid others completely, even though I've never had anyone say anything about my DAW of choice directly. The pretension just saps the fun out of forums for me and after having to prod through fights about DAWs or operating systems, I just end up doing something else more constructive. It's obnoxious and shows a lack of experience in my opinion, especially when most people, let alone most of the naysayers, likely don't even exhaust all of the capabilities of current DAWs anyway.

I think it's only the uninspired who would condemn a tool or embrace one as their boldest artistic statement, solely to conform to an technical group or brand. I mean, they are but tools and though the stability and workflow of your tools does impact you, it is by far the most subjective and utilitarian factor when you're being creative.
@B.J.: I wholeheartedly agree. It IS draining to get caught up in threads that equate to food-fights, the partaking in of which does diminish both the involvement and the enjoyment that forums can provide in abundance.

@Scott S.: Yes, you're right. Back when I was selling recording gear, I would regularly encounter the guy who bought item after item until he had a fully-stocked studio...and that look of terror in his eyes when he realized, "Crap, now I have everything, so I'm out of excuses for why I'm not recording." It's that kind of guy who is generally more boisterous about what gear sucks and doesn't suck.
Scott S.
Thank you Matthew for cutting through the noise. :) Ultimately, I have only one goal in mind when I make music--to make music that someone (anyone) will want to listen to. I use every tool in my arsenal to realize that goal because in the end, the (average) listener won't care how I did it. All they'll care about is whether they like it or not.

I'm a Cubase user as well (not a lover or a hater... just a user :). I admit I get curious about the workflow of other DAWs, but I'd ultimately rather take the time to learn what I have and make music, rather than pine for what I don't have and never get anything done.

Thanks for your great tutorials--as YOU are the one who taught me the basics of Cubase.
Touche'. I use Cubase and Logic and find them equally pleasing and easy to use. I wish more self-proclaimed 'recording artists' in this digital world would realize that 'poor tone in' results in 'poor tone out'. And, that a horrible song recorded on the most expensive, highest quality gear just results in a high fidelity version of the same crappy, horrible song.
Gary Hiebner
Excellent article Matt, couldn't agree more.

Different DAWs do give way for different workflow methods.

But one isn't a better 'songwriter' than the other.

In the end it does come down to the song.

G.F. Big

As far as I'm concerned, the quality of the song is not relevant regarding what I think of a particular company's program. For example, I started off with Cubasis on a Mac, and it was very buggy, wouldn't do some very basic things it was supposed to do. I later tried a later version on the Mac, and it, too, was very buggy. These experiences were so inspiration-killing, that I've never bothered with the follow-ups from Steinberg. The most important thing for me is whether the program works as advertised, and, if it doesn't, the company rectifies the situation. Now, all programs (so I've read), have their quirks and ideosyncracies, but if a program just won't work, even though the hardware and OS are correctly configured, then it, as the saying goes, 'sucks.'

YMMV :-)

Nice to see some love for Cubase on the Mac. People are amazed to learn that there's a Mac version... not sure why!
Peter Schwartz
At first I used to think that at the root of this kind of "____ sucks" chatter was naivete, and nothing more; people regurgitating marketing slogans like "industry standard" when it comes to PT, others getting defensive about Apple in threads where discussions about demonstrable bugs in Logic were characterized as "Apple bashing". But then again, I've also seen hardcore professionals defend the merits of their DAW of choice in unrelenting, black and white terms which smack more of fanaticism than reason (no pun intended). Ultimately, who cares which DAW you use, or which one I use? Sure, it's a darn good question to ask when getting into a collaborative situation, but to question the merits of other people's choices online smells suspiciously of an excuse to have an argument more than anything else. Ultimately, when it comes to DAWs, there is no inherent good and bad. And certainly there is no inherent "best or worst" other than whichever one (if not several) are suitable towards one's creative needs. That makes them all "different", and different doesn't equal "sucks".
Great one Matt! I love the comment about the guy who has finally assembled the 'perfect studio' and then sheepishly realizes that he's got no more excuses...

I have used Cubase on Macs happily since Cubase 5 and before that on Windows with 4. I suppose that once invested in a workflow and legacy issues (plugs etc), it makes little sense for many to change what they're comfortable with. Switching campaigns are probably ineffective for this reason.
For me, I also feel that in almost every area of comparison with other DAWs, I'm lucky enough to have made the best possible all-round choice ;-)

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