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Freeware DAW recommendation for old MacBook Pro

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Hello. I am possibly interested, finally, in mucking about in Garageband, now that I can sort of play the piano a bit. 

However my 2011 MacBook Pro does not have Garageband installed and I can't install it as it now insists on an OSX later than 10.11 which I believe I can't install (I am running Sierra, 10.12.6, and a quick Google suggest that that is my limit otherwise a bunch of other apps won't work). Any other recommendations? I am totally new to playing around with such things.

At a pinch, a Windows version could be used but I'd be abusing my work laptop! 

 Hardonicus 13 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Reaper innit?

 Mike-W-99 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

If your technically minded you may be able to run a newer version of OS X. My 2012 MacBook Pro is running Big Sur even though it officially doesn’t support it.

In reply to Hardonicus:

> Reaper innit?

This ^^^

In reply to Mike-W-99:

I am not very computer-tech minded, and mildly paranoid! 

In reply to Hardonicus:

Thanks, I will look into this

 Hardonicus 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

I've been playing around with it over the last 12 months after an initial foray into the free version of Protools (which had all sorts of issues with an ASIO driver). It has everything I like about software - lightweight, configurable and there is tons of support through Youtube for all aspects of it use (both from the creator and community).

I am less qualified to comment on its absolute capabilities vs other DAW software as my use has been very much using VST plugins to optimise audio for lecture recording and some simple multi track recording.

Post edited at 09:23
In reply to Hardonicus:

Thanks, I don't need much, just some basic tinkering at most.

 Iamgregp 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Like how basic?  If we just talking you recording yourself, making some basic edits and effect changes then Audacity is fine.

If you envisage getting a bit more into this in future get the free version of one of the big boys like Pro Tools or Cubase then you can learn the basics then upgrade to the full version later on.

In reply to Iamgregp:

Thanks. I don't know how basic I want. I am a bit like someone who's never used a digital camera, wanting to get into photography from scratch. 

I am vaguely picturing plugging in a cheap digital piano to use as a keyboard controller, and the software providing extra "voices", and mucking about putting in some simple melodies that I can maybe loop and layer and put a rhythm track on. A bit like Cubase basics(*) I guess. 

* I last saw Cubase running on an Atari ST or Amiga in 1995, my flatmates were into it

 Iamgregp 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Ah you probably want a big boy then - maybe download the free trial of Logic and have a play on that?

Having said that, I always liked the virtual rack of Reason, but I paired that with the sequencing in Cubase... Lots of fun to be had! 

Never managed to get my head around the sequencer in Reason, but you don't need to have Cubase with it...

Post edited at 11:20
 Bob Kemp 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Maybe I’ve missed something but as 10.12.6 is later than 10.11 why should there be a problem? Apple weirdness I guess…
If you ever had an older version of GarageBand installed on your MacBook you should in theory be able to re-download it via your App Store purchase history. 

In reply to Bob Kemp:

Oops most probably a typo on my part. 
It seems this Mac which I bought second hand, had never had Garageband installed so it doesn’t show in the App Store history. Thanks 

In reply to Bob Kemp:

> Maybe I’ve missed something but as 10.12.6 is later than 10.11

Correction to OP. Garageband now insists on OS later than 11.xx
Typo/absent-mindedness on my part.  

 Jack 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

> I am vaguely picturing plugging in a cheap digital piano to use as a keyboard controller, and the software providing extra "voices", and mucking about putting in some simple melodies that I can maybe loop and layer and put a rhythm track on. A bit like Cubase basics(*) I guess. 

> * I last saw Cubase running on an Atari ST or Amiga in 1995, my flatmates were into it

Reaper is great, but may not be your best bet. It doesn't come with any built in instrument sounds. You can download plenty of free ones, but a bit of faff is then required setting them up (getting them in the right directory & then getting reaper to look for them). 

It's excellent for recording and editing audio, its essentially free (unlimited trial version / period) but  the £50 ish licence is well worth it for the upgrades. It will do everything you want if you don't mind a bit of tinkering, but it's not a plug & play daw.

edited to add: Have a look at some online daw's like bandlab.com that may do what you want - lots of sounds & loops to choose from. 

Post edited at 18:18
In reply to Jack:

Thanks. 

"freeware" I guess is not a must, £50ish is fair, I am just being war of throwing money at something that might not end up getting used much. But of course trial versions of things are a good way forward!

 Bob Kemp 14 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

One possibility that occurs to me might be to find an iLife disc which would have GarageBand on, and guaranteed no nasty passengers. I don’t know about cost and availability at the moment though. 

 Bob Kemp 14 Jul 2021

A further thought: your purchase history is not attached to your machines but to your Apple ID. If you’ve ever had GarageBand on an older machine and deleted it you might find it in your purchase history. 

In reply to Blue Straggler:

Dare I say it, Blue, but 10 years is a very long time to have a computer (I change mine about every 7 years)?  Mac went through quite a bad patch, but the latest Big Sur is very good. My latest laptop (a 2020 Macbook Pro) is the most stable I've ever had. Like, 99% +. And very fast. The other thing I've noticed about it is that it runs very cool. It's just about stone cold at the moment and I have about 60 different windows open on 13 different applications.

Screenshot of how my 'desktop' looks at the moment when I look at it in that lovely Mac mode when you can see every file you have open:

https://www.gordonstainforthbelper.co.uk/images/Screenshot%202021-07-14%20at%2020.43.47.png

Post edited at 20:48
In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

I have not had this for 10 years, I got it second hand in 2017. To be honest it is not used for much (I thought I was going to use it plenty, but it's not seeing much real use, just an expensive way to "rip" music CDs mostly!)

In that context, it's working very well (I use Audacity for digitising analogue music very occasionally, and I do my increasingly rare photo editing on it)

In reply to Bob Kemp:

It may have been on my first iMac G4 in 2002 but it would have been bundled with the hardware. I didn't have an Apple ID then. I will check my purchase history but I "know"(*) I've never "purchased" Garageband actively through the App Store...


* = I am 99% sure

In reply to Blue Straggler:

>

> * = I am 99% sure

Just checked. I am now 100% sure. 

I'll investigate the suggestions offered so kindly by others upthread. 

In reply to Gordon Stainforth:

>Screenshot of how my 'desktop' looks at the moment when I look at it in that lovely Mac mode when you can see every file you have open:

My 2015 MacBook Pro desktop usually looks something like that! 

 Sanjay1980 17 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Just torrent Logic Pro. It's not like Ableton Live where it automatically updates and you get locked out of the software. Logic Pro never auto-updates, and it appears that Apple don't really care if you've got a legal version or not as long as you're using their hardware.

It's not on the same level as Ableton Live and the interface for the effects/amps is a bit cheesy, but it's a really solid DAW. And unlike Reaper, you've got a bunch of plugins and stuff there already.

 thommi 18 Jul 2021
In reply to Blue Straggler:

Sack off iOS, install Ubuntu, run Ardour... 👍😊

In reply to Blue Straggler:

This thread will probably get archived before I have a chance to explore the several suggestions (I seem to have become mysteriously busy lately) but I've taken note, and would like to thank everyone for suggestions. Just posting because I didn't want this to be one of those threads where someone asks for advice/suggestions and then gives no feedback about what they tried!


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