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Must have software in addition to Axe Fx and DAW.

Fabio KTG

Fractal Fanatic
Please feel free to move this thread if it's in the wrong place.

There's a lot of newcomers to the home recording phenomenon, myself to a certain extent included. I would like to form a must have list of software/ plugins for the discerning enthusiast with the intention of avoiding purchase mistakes and/or attaining software that they don't need or isn't suitable for their musical endeavours.

2 lists, one for Windows, the other for Mac. As a Mac user myself, I've tried and tested plenty of software and hardware, most of which was never used and a complete waste of money.

I've had the Akai MPC 5000, the Arturia Spark, various MIDI keyboards, countless DAW's and they've all ended on the scrap heap.

I appreciate that someone using the Axe Fx might not necessarily be utilising it for rock and metal, but lets assume that they are.

DAW's: I favour Logic for features and Ableton Live Suite 8 for ease of use and the ability to get a beat flowing quickly. Cubase 6 I'm yet to get my head around, but apparently it's one of the best. I've just bought Reaper yesterday as its stripped down

Drums: Toontrack's Superior Drummer 2.1 with The Metal Foundry extension. Beat Station was a waste of money for my needs. N.I's Battery is my next purchase for the glitch effects with is favoured in a lot of tech/djent recordings.

Keyboard/Pianos: I'm using N.I's Massive and FM, sometimes Logic's built in instruments. I've heard wonderful things about Omnisphere.

Bass: A real bass or perhaps Trillian

Guitar: Well in addition to the obvious there's Line 6 POD Farm, N.I's Guitar Rig and a few free virtual amps.


EQ and Compression:

Other Effects/Tools:

Mixing/Mastering suites and tools:

Monitors: I use KRK VXT 6's. A little bass heavy, but still good monitors overall

USB/FIREWIRE Interface's: Used M-Audio's Fast Track Pro, now using a Firewire 1814

Can we make a go-to list for us newbies?

I just find buying and trying software to be such a mind field. Everyone wants to sell you the latest product whether you need it or not.

Any thoughts?
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Fractal Fanatic
Bass: get a real Bass. seriously. best investment a home-recording guitarist can make.

I'd invest in better monitors and acoustic treatment of your room first. Everything else is just GAS and dancing around the issue.

I just finished a big mix project (110 mins of contect with lots of music, often layered with dialogue) and I used the Slatedigital VCC channel inserts on EVERY channel and the Mixbuss as first plugin in the Master.
They're subtle, but simply magic.

Mastering: my advice, don't do it unless you know exactly what you're doing. the world doesn't need another Waves Ultramaximizer block-music track. again, Slatedigital Mastering Suite, wow.
For instrument specific plugins, the Waves CLA, Kramer and Maserati etc. offerings are really nice, especiall since they can be easily mapped to an inexpensive Novation Nocturn controller.
I like CLA on Bass and Kramer for Drums and guitars.
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I am in winXP with Cubase SX 3. Probably stay with that until it quits running since it does everything I need.

I used a mexican p bass for awhile but it was just too hard to get around on for me. Bought a Fender Mustang which has simplified things quite a bit.

I would vote best A/D converter you can afford, monitors and a bass. The software seems to be more of a whatever your used to kind of thing. Drums, guess I would pick either Battery 3 or BFD.

I have a cheap keyboard and the NI suite/quantum strings. If you have the time they can sound good...but with the AxeFX sounding as good as it does I havent fooled around with those in awhile :)


Among much more that gets little use, my go-to kit:
DAW (XP) - Cakewalk Sonar X1 PE, Propellerhead Reason 6, Celemony Melodyne, Izotope Ozone
Drums- Toontrack Superior Drums
Synth - Cakewalk Z3TA+2, FXpansion DCAM SynthSquad
Bass- Orangetree Samples Pear and Cherry, Propellerhead Reason Electric Bass
Pianos- Modart Pianoteq, AAS Lounge Lizard
Monitors - Adam A7
Interface - M-Audio Omni IO (delta 66) now, NI Komplete Audio 6 soon
Control Surface - Mackie MCU


If you're on a budget but want good bang (and I mean really good bang) for your buck... Propellerhead's new Reason 6 does the trick. The Reason Drums 2.0 refill and the Bass refill aren't bad. Here's something I made with Reason/Record (before they merged the two systems). And a cover of White Wedding... All guitars are mic'd Egnater M4 however... (I'm on the AXE wait list)... I need to re-upload my re-mix versions... they aren't as bassy.... I'm still learning how to get a decent mix


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