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I choose Native Instruments to be my DAW and here is why!

Hello to all of you, dangellodj here again for another article on DJ Music Mag. Today is all about the productions tools and why in my opinion Native Instruments can be a good DAW.

Before going there allow me to bring up my background in the music industry. My history started back in 1985/1986 time when I started to play and Bass Player and Drummer. At that time computer science was very different than today. The music product was done still using tape and some people started to use CUBASE. I was fortunately to be able to use those tools, the CUBASE DAW was very intuitive and was very nice to create music without the need of instruments.

Cubase is one of the longest-standing digital audio workstations (DAWs) in the history of computer music. Developed by the German company Steinberg, it has seen numerous versions and updates since its inception. Here's a brief overview of Cubase's early days:

1. Origins: Cubase was not Steinberg's first foray into music software. The company was founded by Karl Steinberg and Manfred Rürup in 1984, and their first product was a MIDI sequencing software called "Pro-16" for the Commodore 64.

2. Cubase's Debut: In 1986, Steinberg released "Twelve", a follow-up to the Pro-16, for the Atari ST series of computers. The Atari ST was significant because it was one of the first personal computers to include built-in MIDI ports, making it a popular choice for musicians and producers at the time.

3. Early Features: Initially, Cubase was a MIDI sequencer rather than a full DAW. This means it was designed primarily for composing, arranging, and editing MIDI data rather than audio recording and editing. The graphical user interface allowed users to visualize MIDI data as "blocks" on a timeline, which was quite revolutionary at the time.

4. Evolution: While 1986 saw the release of "Twelve", the name "Cubase" itself was introduced a bit later, around 1989, when the software was further developed to include more advanced features. Throughout the late 80s and early 90s, Cubase quickly evolved, incorporating audio recording and editing capabilities, turning it into a comprehensive DAW.

5. Influence: The early versions of Cubase laid the groundwork for many of the features and workflows that have since become standard in DAW software. The combination of MIDI sequencing with audio capabilities was a game-changer in the music production world.

6. Platform Expansion: While Cubase began on the Atari ST, Steinberg soon expanded its offerings to other platforms, including Windows and Macintosh, ensuring the software's longevity and relevance as technology evolved.

In summary, while 1986 was significant in Steinberg's history with the release of software like "Twelve", the name Cubase would not be introduced until a few years later. The legacy of these early versions, however, is evident in modern music production, with Cubase remaining a prominent DAW in the industry today.

Image description: This is a screenshot about the functionality as a Cubase PRO 12 DAW

Native Instruments is very similar to Cubase, here are some details about NATIVE INSTRUMENTS:

Native Instruments (NI) is a leading company in the field of software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJing. Founded in 1996 in Berlin, Germany, the company has made a significant impact on the world of digital music creation and performance. Here are some key points about Native Instruments:

1. Software Products: Native Instruments offers a range of software products for music production, sound design, and DJing. Some of their most popular software includes:

- Kontakt: A sampler that can play back a variety of instrument libraries. It's widely used in music production, film scoring, and more.

- Reaktor: A modular software synthesizer and effects processor.

- Maschine: A software for beat production, which often goes hand-in-hand with their Maschine hardware.

- Traktor: A professional DJ software.

- Komplete: A comprehensive bundle of virtual instruments and effects.

2. Hardware Products: Alongside software, Native Instruments produces a range of hardware, designed to integrate seamlessly with their software products. This includes MIDI controllers, audio interfaces, and DJ equipment, like the Maschine controllers, Traktor controllers, and Komplete Kontrol keyboards.

3. Sound Libraries: In addition to the software itself, NI offers an extensive range of sound libraries for Kontakt and other products, spanning genres and styles from orchestral to electronic.

4. Innovation: Native Instruments is known for pushing the boundaries of digital music creation, introducing new technologies and concepts that have influenced the music production industry.

5. Global Presence: Though based in Berlin, the company has a global presence with offices in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, Paris, and other cities.

As of my last update in September 2021, Native Instruments continues to be a major player in the music technology industry, shaping the tools that producers, composers, sound designers, and DJs use on a daily basis. If you're interested in the latest products or news from the company, I would recommend visiting their official website or checking industry-specific news outlets.

I’m a huge fan on Native Instruments and since the last 10 years I’m been buying and extending my sound library with this tool, this has been a very good choice because this allow me now to have good tools to produce. Before Electronic Music production I was already doing music for advertising and movies.

Image description: This is a screenshot of part of my Native Instruments Machine

Let see the differences between Cubase and Native Instruments, both Cubase and Native Instruments (NI) are well-regarded names in the world of music production, but they focus on different aspects of the production process and offer different primary products. Let's break down the differences:

1. Cubase:

- Primary Function: Cubase, developed by Steinberg, is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Its main purpose is to facilitate the entire music production process, from composition and recording to mixing and mastering.

- Features: Cubase provides MIDI sequencing, audio recording, editing, mixing, mastering, and even score editing. It can handle both MIDI and audio tracks and provides a plethora of instruments, effects, and advanced audio editing tools.

- History: As mentioned earlier, Cubase has a long-standing history, originating in the 1980s as a MIDI sequencer and evolving into a comprehensive DAW over time.

2. Native Instruments:

- Primary Offerings: As of my last update in September 2021, Native Instruments is not primarily known for a DAW. Instead, they're famous for their virtual instruments, effects, and hardware.

- Notable Software: NI's flagship products include Kontakt (a sampler), Reaktor (a modular synthesizer and effects environment), Maschine (beat production software and hardware), and Traktor (DJ software).

- Maschine and DAW-Like Qualities: It's worth noting that NI's Maschine software (when paired with the Maschine hardware) offers some DAW-like capabilities, such as sequencing, sampling, and arranging. However, it's not a full-fledged DAW in the same sense as Cubase. Some producers use Maschine alongside other DAWs, including Cubase, to benefit from both environments.

In essence, Cubase is a comprehensive tool for creating a full music production, from start to finish, while Native Instruments primarily offers instruments, effects, and specialized software/hardware tools that can enhance the music-making process, whether used on their own or integrated into a DAW like Cubase.

I think this last sentence says it all, for musicians like me Native Instruments works better since we like to play live to create our own stuff, it is now like to be in from of the PC/MAC and work with the mouse only, people like me whats to play live, to create the different segments with the hands on the equipment. Of course that today you don’t need to have all the instruments with you since sampling allow you to use a keyboard or a pad to replicate those instruments.

I like to do things this way, for me it is much more easy to create using this flow, I was using Ableton and I found out that me as a musician I was not being creative enough with Ableton.

Image description: This is a screenshot of Native Instruments Machine, when to play live

So what is the difference between Ableton and Native Instruments as a DAW?

Native Instruments (NI) is not primarily known for producing a DAW in the same sense that Ableton or Steinberg (with Cubase) is. However, there might be some confusion because of NI's Maschine software, which offers DAW-like capabilities. Let's clarify the differences:

1. Native Instruments Maschine:

- Primary Function: Maschine started as a groove production studio, which combines hardware and software. The software allows for sampling, sequencing, arranging, and mixing, and it's tightly integrated with the Maschine hardware controllers.

- Workflow: The Maschine environment is centered around a pattern-based workflow, which is excellent for beat production, sampling, and live performances. While it does have arrangement capabilities, it's not as comprehensive as traditional DAWs when it comes to large-scale arrangement, mixing, and mastering.

- Integration: Maschine can be used standalone or as a VST/AU plugin within another DAW, including Ableton Live.

2. Ableton Live:

- Primary Function: Ableton Live is a full-fledged DAW. It covers every aspect of music production, from recording and sequencing to mixing and mastering.

- Unique Features: One of the standout features of Ableton Live is its Session View, a non-linear grid for composing and arranging music intuitively. This view is particularly favored by electronic music producers and live performers. The Arrangement View, on the other hand, offers a more traditional timeline for track arrangement.

- Max for Live: This feature allows users to build their instruments, effects, and tools, offering a level of customization and flexibility.

- Live Performance: As the name suggests, Ableton Live is also optimized for live performances, allowing musicians and DJs to trigger clips, apply effects, and mix in real-time.

In Summary:

- Native Instruments: Primarily known for virtual instruments, effects, and the Maschine environment, which has DAW-like features but is more focused on beat production, sampling, and performance.

- Ableton Live: A comprehensive DAW known for its innovative approach to music production and live performance.

While both Maschine and Ableton Live can overlap in terms of beat making and live performance, Ableton provides a broader set of tools for end-to-end music production. Many producers use them in tandem, leveraging Maschine's beat-making capabilities within the Ableton environment.

I Will leave here some screenshots how I use it. Being all this being said I hope I give you information about Native Instruments and now it is up to you to decide what todo.

Image description: This is a screenshot about the functionality as a DAW

Image description: This is a screenshot about the functionality as a DAW

Fell free to send me a message on Instagram under @dangellodj.

Thank you for your reading and I see you on the next article :)


... by the way I´m not supported by Native Instruments in any means, this is all part of my personal investment in Native Instruments products :)


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