DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the best place to begin when it comes to crafting music, audio-casual content, podcast, and more. This of course is for that individual who is highly interested in music or audio production and has no idea how to start.
DAW is a piece of software that is installed on your laptop or computer. Its work is to assist you to capture and manipulate audio in several unrelated ways. They are usually used alongside an audio interface, mixing desk, or other bits of external gear. There are a few that are available on certain operating systems, whether it is Mac or Windows.
They are known to have originated back in the late 70s or early 80s. As we know nowadays, the sound stream is credited with kick-starting the way the DAW function today. In 1977, they introduced their first digital recorder which combined a video display, disk drive, and a minicomputer. This was supported with simple software.
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Following tech innovation and the boom of the personal computer market in the late ‘80s, faster disk and processing speeds made the DAW even more practicable. To be able to edit audio samples, Digidesign and Macromedia designed and built-up software from the ground up, while 4-track editors become more common from the early 90s onwards.
Pro Tools, Cubase, and other acknowledged brands introduced their first versions around the same time. In 1996, 32-track DAWs were now more available than ever. They’ve gone from strength to strength since then. This has now become the industry standard way of recording and altering audio – used by engineers in beat makers, sound designers, professional studios, bedroom producers, composers, and more.
What a DAW can do?
Within a DAW, you can record, master, edit, compose, loop, mix, and process digital audio. This can be done across many tracks – be it 32, 64, or even hundreds – resulting in a single and ultimate product. It could be a song, podcast, or piece of audiovisual content.
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You’ll also be able to employ MIDI too. This function lets you play or program notes straight into your DAW through a MIDI controller in the form of virtual instruments. Plugins round out the basic feature set, guaranteeing you can apply the likes of EQ, compression, and many more to every part of your production. Every DAW will offer its separate visual design, layout, and other unique tools. However, all the characteristics mentioned above are present in the majority.
How to know the best DAW?
What are you looking to use the DAW for? This is a question you have to ask yourself. You should also consider your budget and how you would like it to work. You need to know that all of them come with their own set of positives and negatives. Some are preferred in particular sectors within the industry, while others are preferred more and are geared towards live performance.
3 most popular DAWs have been highlighted below and have been outlined, stating the strengths and weaknesses of each.
Avid Pro Tools
This is best for recording live bands, tracking, and audio post-production- Pro Tools was one of the very first DAWs ever made and has gone on to become one of the most broadly adopted bits of audio software. It has been acknowledged as the industry standard for professional music production and audio post-production (in film/TV) – offering high-grade recording, editing composition, and mixing functionality. You can use it on both PC and Mac. It is a well-known secret that it has been used since it was introduced in the 90s, and this fact tells everything.
Its rather streamlined interface makes it the go-to for tracking and then capturing a bunch of tracks concurrently. If you’re thinking of working with a lot of tracks, with a level of complexity in your mix to match, then this is the DAW you should go for. The likes of Rick Rubin and other remarkable producers all count Pro Tools as an essential part of their arsenals.
Otherwise, if you’re considering a craft layered sound design for video, then this is the preferred software you’re going to want to use. There’s a reason why it’s the DAW of choice for many audio experts working on the leading Hollywood blockbusters, Netflix shows, and video games. There is an option of integrating a video engine to simply synchronize up your effects to match the action happening on screen.
Best for live performance, creating electronic music, production, beat making, integrating MIDI controllers & keyboards. The best DAW around if you want to make electronic music and incorporate a DAW into live performances is Ableton. You can use it on both PC and Mac as it offers intuitive sound and music creation tools. It is known to Harness a wide range of instruments, tones, and effects for varied sonic experimentation. If you need to create new music entirely within a DAW itself, then it is the best option around.
You can pool and manipulate effects and instruments to create sounds and textures that are completely personal – or tweak settings in real-time via the set of 8 macro knobs.
There’s even a committed ‘session view’ for live shows. This lets you alter tracks and then by yourself you sample them in real-time. Live composition, DJing, backing track looping, and more are made both cool and exciting.
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This all makes Ableton perfect for building patterns, beats, loops, and complete tracks – especially within the trap, house, dubstep, and other electronic genres. The likes of Deadmau5 and Skrillex have a reason why they choose it as their no 1 preferred choice anyway.
It is well known for its all-around production, integrating MIDI keyboards, tracking, composition & controllers. Logic Pro is only accessible on Mac. It comprises all the audio effects, software instruments, and recording functions needed to construct entire songs and sounds from point zero.
Producers particularly love to use it, partly due to the broad library of Apple Loops that come with the software. It is also a lot easier to take advantage of MIDI – particularly when compared to something like Pro Tools. Hook up a controller or keyboard and get innovative with the deep selection of assimilated virtual instruments. The Structure for audiovisual purposes is a breeze too. You can import a video into the software itself. There’s even a music notation section that will boost the organization of your soundtracks.
And Other Great DAW’s
Steinberg Cubase – it is known for good composition.
Steinberg Nuendo – it is good for audio post-production.
Reason 11 – experiment with high-quality sampled instruments, synthesizers, drum machines, and more. Use standalone or within another DAW.
Bitwig Studio – a good alternative for live performance, sound design, and general recording.
The easiest way to use DAW
This will also be dependent on your current experience level, preferred workflow, and preparedness to learn. The best alternative to find out which DAW will be easiest for you to use is to download the free version of each major brands’ software first. These free versions don’t contain every single option and feature available in the complete programs, but do provide a good entry-point to each piece of software. Once you have found your preference, you can then pay to upgrade to the full version with the complete set of features.
Which DAW is the best?
It is quite an individual matter. For many, the TOP 1 of the DAW’s is Ableton Live, which is widely known and used software. The rising star of the DAW is definitely Bitwig Studio.
How could I get Ableton Live discount?
If you are a student or teacher you can purchase EDU versions of this software which will save you a lot of money. If you plan to buy Ableton Live at the end of the year, check the calendar to see if Black Friday is near – then you will surely get a great deal on the official Ableton website.