Hardware fun vs. DAW productivity


Using a DAW like Ableton Live hasn’t to be the kind of Excel-like experience (mouse + keyboard + grid) from the get go. With just a little preparation (maybe some looper tracks with instruments you like) you can set the computer aside and go into full jam mode.

Using a controller like the Push2 or Komplete Kontrol where you can dial up presets fast and which makes navigating between the tracks more comfortable, adds to that “jam feeling”. You’ll never have to stop the sequencer, just add, modify, overdub … whatever in a single long go.

IMHO it’s all about workflow and “some” discipline. I’ll get the best results when I separate composing, arranging, mixing and mastering completely. Tinkering with (small) details already in the beginning (the “jamming” phase) is a fun&creativity-killer. So I don’t do it, but postpone it for later.

Starting out with some drone or beat, add bass, add lead … whatever feels right in the moment.

Of course I definitely need some hardware controls. But if it is just a controller connected to a computer or if it has a computer built-in which make sounds and where I’ll have to stare at a small screen to make some changes doesn’t make much of a difference.

But when I’ll need to get into sound engineering mode everything is already there in the DAW. No additional efforts required.

… just my 2 its-not-black-white-cents …


Here’s another attempt at having fun and productive while staying focused on a specific genre, all at the same time - curious. Lots of Analog Rytm, and other stuff


I’m very happy with my current setup of Elektron hardware machines and I am now only using Live for recording and post production/mastering. I’ve been using Ableton Live with software plugins for about 9 years and there was always something missing - sound wise (and in retrospect - performance wise too).

I then got an Analog Rytm and right away I found that it added a new dimension to my tracks because of its raw and warm sound and probably because of recording an external element too.

Then I got the Digitone and found it to be a sound designers dream - again, mainly because of it’s sound. I still thought I’d be using Ableton to record these machines until I found out what the Octatrack does. I really just had to get it since the things it could do sounded so great and I then found that I could go fully hardware with it. Even slicing a sample loop sounds quite different and more interesting (IMHO) than doing the same in Ableton Simpler.

Ok, so I think it is easier to complete things in a DAW since everything can be well arranged and saved all the time and automation is doing all your performance for you. Also it is easy to make everything sound smooth since you can add EQ and compression etc. to each track.
I have probably completed less tracks since I went hardware but I have made so many fine patterns with my Elektron machines that I could do two different live concerts (working on my own stuff and a project with a friend) and then after our concert soon I think it will be easier to start recording and finishing those tracks since the main work has been done. This way of doing things naturally makes the mixing process more challenging since I’ll be recording the main out of the OT so all elements have to be right and the only correction I can do will be on the entire file. You can use CUE out too but my audio interface only has one stereo in.

I know you use OT and DN too Unifono but I just wanted to mention my experiences with these.

This video by Knobs is one of the videos that really sold me on the OT but that is more related to sound and performance :star_struck::


I think that Knobs video was my tipping point as well. Great overview on some of the things the OT is capable of


so, after 3 months of being DAWless, i can say where the software you call DAW rocks.
writing & editing patterns.
i use software MIDI sequencer for that, because it’s really convenient.
but then i load them to my hardware, and don’t touch software until i need to import recorded tracks to a DAW.
that’s my workflow at the moment.


One of the caveats of being against any process or concept so passionately, is it makes you eat crow when you may need to utilize that process later on, and then you wonder why you spent all that energy in the first place?

I remember Stewart Walker wearing shirts while playing live with big “NO LAPTOP” imagery on them, only to find him using a laptop on stage a couple years later.


I fought tooth and nail against using a DAW/computer. This lasted for years. When I finally bit the bullet, I found it was great! It improved my workflow, and I love to mix and master on a DAW. I use reaper. Like many if not most people here, I’ve found a hybrid setup is truly the best of both worlds.


I’ve always been very wary of concepts like ‘workflow’ and ‘setups’ when making music. It just seems so restrictive to me… when you’re doing things the same way, every time, I think the music itself will be funnelled a certain way. Isn’t changing processes, changing how you’re creating the music, changing what instruments you use (including software etc), vital to keeping things fresh, having new roads to explore etc? At least, that’s how it is to me anyway!


unfortunately, it isn’t.
the only known way to make progress in reasonable amounts of time is doing things in some uniform and repetitive way. (humans usually call it «practice»).


How many albums have you released?


The listener has no freakin clue how you made the music. All they know is…

…”i like it”, “i dont like it”.

(Myself…i actually prefer not knowing. When i see vids or read descrips of how people made a tune im diggin…sometimes, it kills the magic)


About a year ago (roughly the same time I got my Digitakt) I decided that, in order to improve my performance skills, I would arrange everything using the Digitakt and perform everything live into Ableton, which went ok when I found the time.
I got a Tascam DR40 from Santa and I’m now just recording straight into that in various places around the house, it’s just so much easier to plug into than a laptop. Both enjoyment and productivity have gone through the roof. I can’t speak for the quality of the music I’m creating, but I’m suddenly creating a lot more of it.
I guess I don’t really need a DAW at the minute as I’m making music “live” and not tracking and arranging. I don’t think I’ll ever live without a laptop with Ableton on it, but I don’t need it for what I’m doing right now, either in terms of enjoymemt or productivity.
If I was in any way doing this for a living though, a DAW would be essential.


Hardware fun is fun, committing that fun to a finished track whether hardware or software=SATISFACTION. The process to reach that state, takes self-belief, pain and hardwork. (not available on black Friday sales)


Your post made me think a bit. Daws can do everything all under one roof and its not focussed enough for me. If there was some sort of platform that was just a bunch of modules that you could link together and it hosted VSTs too I think that would be great. Not like Reason… with no arrangement view whatsoever like hardware


So… VCV rack basically ? :rofl:


:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

erm maybe yeah I dunno




Check out Plogue Bidule


wow, that is my feeling put into words.



I got a decent deal on Mk. I OT in the middle of last year because I was enjoying my DT so much (indeed that’ll be the brain for if ever get a live setup sorted) but not really had time to use it much yet. But I’ll be starting on a new album soon and want to make the OT the central part for all my sequencing along with the MDUW. So, I think you and @Soarer have persuaded me I need to get the kettle on then check this video out. Cheers!!!