Reaper or Ableton

Hello everybody! My impression when reading posts about Synthesizer V, is that it’s sort of tricky, and nothing is very straightforward when working with direct MIDI keyboard input/playback/mixing in a DAW. - I just now had a chat with a guy who claims that he uses Synth V in Ableton seamlessly, like with any other VSTs. No problems whatsoever, he says. (Latest version) I use Sibelius, and need a DAW for this VST, but perhaps Reaper will handle things just as good as Ableton?

Most of the “tricky” aspects are due to the software needing its own dedicated piano roll, and the fact that the VST standard on its own doesn’t make it very simple to synchronize playback and tempo between two environments in that manner.

This is largely resolved with the latest beta, due to the addition of the ARA extension, which gives the plugin access to much more information about the project and playhead.

The main remaining issue is that not all DAWs support the ARA protocol. Notable examples are FL Studio (though it’s supposed to be introduced in one of the next minor updates), Ableton, and Bitwig.

For this reason, you’ll have a generally easier time setting up tempo changes if you use Reaper, and you won’t need to worry about playback desync.

All that said, I use FL Studio, and while I am looking forward to the slight added convenience of the ARA bridge once it’s available to me, I personally find the basic VSTi implementation to be pretty reliable and I doubt it’ll make a huge difference to my experience as a user.

As for recording, it’s pretty straightforward. If you click record in your DAW, your MIDI inputs will go to the DAW, if you click record in SynthV Studio, you’ll record into the plugin.

The main issue with recording, again, comes down to the playhead synchronization. Without ARA support, SynthV Studio cannot control playback in the DAW, so you used to have to start playback outside the plugin, then click Record in the plugin, then play your notes.

Again, no longer an issue with the latest beta, as long as your DAW supports ARA.

Honestly, most people never really ran into issues with the above topics, because:

  1. Most people don’t change tempo in their songs all that frequently, if at all, so setting the tempo was viewed as a minor inconvenience, or just a natural part of setting up the project
  2. Many users prefer to use the software outside of a DAW and only import the rendered wav files
  3. Many users already have their melody as a MIDI file before they even start working in SynthV Studio, so they don’t need the built-in recording function

The only reason you see a lot of people mention these issues on the forums is because the people who don’t run into problems don’t tend to post on the forums.


Thanks - great reply! Well, I need to do things the way I described, since I aim to integrate Synth V with virtual, yet quite realistic sounding bands. But your reply gave me second thoughts. Anyway; I’ll mention your comments to the Ableton user.
Promis to get back to this later.
BTW; I also intend to write acapella stuff, and a Synth V user said that he used Sibelius with MIDI file export, which worked very well. A
As for myself, I mostly write symphonic, chamber and choral music. But this VST tells me I should once again look into rock, funk and jazzy stuff. Synthesizer V sounds unbelievably good.

Personally, I don’t recommend choosing a DAW based on one feature. It all depends on the genre and the way you create music. From my point of view as an electronic music producer, Reaper has such a terrible workflow that the easier cooperation with synth v cannot balance the comfort of working in my favorite DAW (unfortunately without ARA) which behaves as I expect from music software.

Agreed. Personally I gave the trials of Studio One and Reaper a try in order to test out the current beta features, but while I’m sure they work for some people, the ARA improvements aren’t such a big deal that I’d jump ship from FL Studio.

For some people who sync to live recordings, use nuanced tempo changes, or just want a tightly-integrated setup, ARA is probably a must-have. For the rest of us, it’s more of a nice convenience.

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Thanks for your views on this. I perfectly agree that work-flow is key, and looking around, I see that many people agree with you. However, because of the cons with ARA, I need a DAW who van handle it.

Thanks again, Claire, for your insight into this, and for sharing your knowledge! This is very much to the point, and your comments make it clear to me that I should definitely go for a DAW with ARA.

Reaper will support ARA2 in the upcoming SynthV release 1.11, Ableton doesn’t.

And in my opinion ARA2 is a killer feature for the workflow.

Thankfully I’m a Studio One user, where ARA2 was invented with Melodyne. Can’t wait, 'til 1.11 gets released … don’t want to fiddle around with the Beta.

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I use Cakewalk by Bandlab besides Abelton. Cakewalk is generally a better choice for Synth V and can be had for an email address as currently it is free. Cakewalk displays in score as well as piano roll if you want and you can work interactively with Synth V through the DAW though I haven’t tried putting words in via cakewalk.

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