I make music. I use almost exclusively electronic instruments. I'm on OS X. I need to graduate from Garageband, but to what?
I've gotten pretty far with good old Garageband, and I have a lot of affection for the software. However, there are things I want to do that I can't do with it. Here are some of them:
- Software MIDI sequencer playback of external devices. Software synths are great, but I'm pretty married to some of the sounds I get out of my Roland. I'm a shitty instrumentalist, so I have to sequence all of my melodies or they sound terrible. So what I want to be able to do is record MIDI notes, adjust the timing in the software, then play back the properly quantized melody while simultaneously recording the resulting audio back onto my computer. This loop constitutes the bulk of my music workflow, so the easier it is, the better.
- A lot of sequencers seem to assume that you want to be in 4/4 all the time, subdividing everything into units of 4. In my case, this assumption is incorrect. I love triplets and shuffle time and odd time signatures, and would really like a sequencer that makes dealing with them easy, or at least not actively difficult.
- I don't use samples or loops very much at all.
I played around with Logic Pro a couple of years ago, and found it just completely opaque. However, there's been at least one new version since then, so maybe it's gotten better. And it's only like $199 now, which seems like a pretty okay deal. It's the obvious upgrade path from Garageband.
Ableton Live seems to be ubiquitous. Perhaps for good reasons?
A friend of mine swears by the Maschine with its control surface, but I'm reluctant to have to find a place for yet another music gizmo. But if it's really that awesome...
While the term "composer" seems totally ridiculous and grandiose for the noodling around that I do, it is nonetheless more apt than any other term I can think of. DJ tools are wasted on me. What I need is something that helps me 1) put notes together the way I want them, 2) plays back those notes on whatever MIDI instrument I tell it to, and 3) records the resulting audio.
So what's my best bet?