I jumped on a Mixcraft 8 Black Friday deal 2 years ago. While I think it’s a great DAW, I haven’t used it a lot simply because I use Reaper most of the time. One strength it has, which Reaper doesn’t, is integrated Virtual Instruments. Also, they seemed to be pretty pioneering with ARA support for Melodyne. Sadly I haven’t used these great features much, but I just got an email notification of a Black Friday deal on Mixcraft 9. The upgrade, since I already have MC8, is really reasonable, and the new features look really nice. Anybody considering getting it for the first time may find a deal too.
My question for anyone who has looked, especially dedicated users such as @AJ113 and @Chordwainer, is what do you think of the new features and any other thoughts about Mixcraft? I want to use it more, even if I export tracks to Reaper for mixing.
I was just coming here to post a link to a piece about its release, which I just learned about moments ago:
I will almost certainly upgrade. I love the software and feel very much at home in it (but of course like most of us have not done an exhaustive comparison, being very comfortable with it). What I’ve read so far looks great, especially the ability to undock almost everything and move things around the desktop.
That was part of what held me back, as it was learning a new workflow basically. Maybe it’s just me, but I tried learning Reaper while I was still using Pro Tools and the “2 DAW” thing is challenging IMO. Mixcraft did appeal to me, and I had meant to use it more, especially for at least recording song ideas … which it may be more suited to than Reaper. I like it’s stock plugins and virtual instruments, it seems like a complete system without needing a lot of 3rd party stuff like Reaper pretty much needed. So I got it initially due to being impressed with the features (including ARA) and the glowing reviews on here about it.
It does look like a significant upgrade, but I’m sure you can see and appreciate it a lot more than me since you’re so familiar with it. I like the GUI of the Toneboosters stuff they added, and the vocoder stuff sounds interesting. It says they added advanced automation features which should be cool, and something I had thought it might handle better than Reaper is MIDI (at least the GUI), but I didn’t ever get very deep into it.
Yeah, the ARA thing really appealed to me since the Melodyne workflow felt very clunky for years before that. Reaper finally got there I think, but Mixcraft seemed like a very early adopter. I think the DAW makes sense to me, it’s just spending the time to get used to it.
With Reaper I tried other themes but didn’t really care for any of them that much, so I stuck with the drab stock theme. It’s kind of like looking at a rainy day. But the Mixcraft GUI seems very nice to me. I think that’s part of the appeal. Workflow and keyboard shortcuts can be learned, so I think it’s just the aspect of ‘change’ that makes anything like this difficult.
Oh, I forgot to mention that I did do the upgrade from 8 Pro Studio to 9 Pro Studio for $29. I bought 8 Pro Studio 2 years ago during Black Friday back then. It seemed like a deal I couldn’t pass up, but it’s only helpful if I actually use the software a fair amount.
I’m probably going to email their support to ask some questions about the upgrade before I run the install. It’s cool that it comes with Voltage Modular Ignite too, but I already have that, and it cost me $29 on a sale awhile back so in a sense the Mixcraft upgrade is easily justifiable just for the VMI package alone (assuming you think you would use it ). I was getting into synths more, and I wanted to learn about the modular synth world. That’s a whole learning curve too, though I do think it’s educational about how synths work. Anyway, I don’t think I need to install that as it looks the same as what I have.
My other questions were about over-writing the old sample/loop library, and the plugin architecture. The library thing is probably a simple overwrite with any additions, but since it’s a large database I like to check these things first. The plugin architecture was a bit confusing to me in MC8. It looked like they were using mostly 32-bit plugins with a 64-bit bridge, and I believe AJ had said as much, and that the 64-bit bridge was a little bit heavier on the CPU, but not a deal-breaker. It would be nice if the new version was dedicated to 64-bit plugin architecture IMO. Part of my awareness of that was the ability to use my plugin sets between Mixcraft and Reaper, and that’s why it’s something I pay attention to.
A couple of years ago I downloaded REAPER because I was checking out the Orb Composer plugin, and I didn’t understand exactly how to route within Mixcraft in setting it up. The Orb site had a step by step for REAPER, so I used that tutorial to understand what I was doing, and could then figure out how to make Mixcraft do the same thing.
So I used it for only a few days. But I found its interface way less intuitive and it seemed to take more work to do what I thought of as simple tasks (because they take only a click or two in MC). I can’t recall exactly what those were, but I came away feeling confirmed that MC was better for me. Just a single data point, of course.
Reaper took a bit of getting used to for me too. I liked Pro Tools, but made a conscious decision to get away from Avid’s business model, and Reaper was so highly recommended by RR and IRD members that it seemed the way to go at the time. I’m going to rededicate myself to getting through the learning curve with Mixcraft and give it more of a go this time. I’ll still use Reaper, but a new GUI and workflow may inspire me at this point, and I do really like what Mixcraft has to offer.
@Stan_Halen - I know you’re not looking for a NEW DAW, but have you checked out CakeWalk by Bandlab before? Cakewalk , Reaper, and Studio One were my top three back when I was looking. I think it may have a lot of the features too, and the price is right.
Yes, I have it installed. I don’t use it much, as the cursor won’t move in Play mode with an ASIO device, but it works fine with my computer sound card. I posted about that bug here when someone announced the free Cakewalk/BandLab thing. I think I also emailed BandLab about it. I don’t think anyone else had that problem, so it’s kind of weird, but I tried lots of things and couldn’t get it to work with an ASIO device. The song will play, so the sound is okay, but it’s weird not being able to see the cursor move, and it may have affected mouse selection too. It will move for a few seconds at the beginning of the song and just stop, even though the sound keeps playing. Really weird. I did an update when one was available and that still didn’t fix it.
That’s too bad. When you were talking about “workflow’” it made me think of my prior post, because that’s why I ultimately bit the bullet and went with Studio One. I just liked the workflow.
I also tried out Mixcraft at the time, but it just kind of felt “cheap” to me somehow…
Regardless, for $29 you can’t go wrong! Especially if you already lie the DAW. For the record, it looks perfectly decent too!
It doesn’t seem to be all that well known, and I’m not sure why. I guess I didn’t give it a second look until a few people here highly recommended it. I found the Preferences, at least the Audio Devices panel, to be a little awkward … but I got used to it. I think it’s a good value for what you can do with it. And there are things about the GUI that I do like about it, better than Reaper I have to say. But then again I hadn’t used it that much so far. This new version looks slicker and prettier too, and new stuff to explore, so it’s a good time to give it a second chance.
I’ve got MC9. I haven’t used it enough to comment except that the one thing I wanted, the one thing I have been begging them for over the past five years - automatic micro fades on clips - doesn’t work. Hopefully they will fix it.
Interesting. That seems like a pretty basic feature? Reaper has done that flawlessly for a long time I think (though I believe it’s an option in Preferences). I would guess Acoustica will have an update to v9 after user feedback, hopefully.
How did your install go, overwriting your older version? I’m looking at a few things before I run the install:
Downloading and overwriting the sample/loop library. Are there many changes to that, and can you choose the download destination? Or does the installer recognize the location automatically? I put mine in a custom location.
Have they changed the plugin architecture to primarily 64-bit? I think you had said that in v8 the 64-bit plugins are handled by a bridge?
The existing install directory (on Windows) is C:\Program Files\Acoustica Mixcraft 8. Does it uninstall the old version and create a new directory with the appropriate name(i.e. Mixcraft 9)?
That’s how they’ve always done it, each new version installs stand-alone. I suspect the reasoning is that they know folks will be in the middle of projects and preserving the previous version guarantees nothing can go wrong with those. I still have both 7 and 8 on my music rig, although I have not fired up 7 in at least two years, so it’s probably safe to ditch it.