It takes a lot of time and effort to the high-quality processing of any music track, so the sound director is assisted by an arsenal of instruments combined in a digital audio workstation (DAW for short). Today we will try to figure out the choice of DAW for successful online music mixing and mastering at home so that the final result is no worse than that of a real pro!
What DAW should I choose for my home studio?
First of all, let’s clarify the concepts. The digital audio workstation itself is special software that is indispensable when creating music and is necessary for the track`s recording, editing, mixingб mastering. When trying to set up a home recording studio, keep in mind that there are three main components that make up the best DAW:
- a computer (great if your best windows mail server is optimized for real-time effects processing, fast and reliable);
- a software (it interacts with an audio interface and a computer to record one or more audio signals);
- an audio interface (converts analog audio signals, such as a microphone or guitar, into digital data).
Unfortunately, the choice is complicated by the variety of DAWs — beginner musicians often don`t understand which program to choose. First of all, musicians can focus on their laptop or PC software (because it`s unlikely that they will buy a separate device for processing music):
|MAGIX Samplitude Music Studio||+||+||—|
|Apple Logic Pro||—||+||—|
Your Music Production GoalWhen choosing DAW software, remember that the choice will also depend on your production goal:
- If you are a beginner musician or just want to learn how to process sound for yourself, then you can start with affordable, simple, and convenient DAWs. For example, BandLab’s Cakewalk (can be found for free) or Reaper (about $60), Ableton Live 11 (about $99), PreSonus Studio One 5 (free version).
- If you already have experience in the field of music processing and you plan to do business on this, then you may have to invest in the purchase of a professional DAW. For instance, Logic Pro X (about $199), FL Studio 20 ($200-$500), PreSonus Studio One 5 ($399).
The main thing to remember is that any DAW is a software package consisting of the main application and a set of components: plug-ins, virtual instruments, loops, samples, and other audio content, which can later be downloaded additionally.
Which DAW is Right for You?
As we already said, the choice of an audio station directly depends on your goal. If you don`t want to invest in purchasing software, which you aren`t sure about or don`t know whether you will be using it in the future, the best choice would be to download a free program. We present the top best free DAWs, which have a simple interface and excellent functionality:
- Audacity — it was developed by volunteers and now is offering under a free license. The users have a huge range of functions: convert, cut, copy, cross, and even create their own plugins for later use.
- T5 Tracktion — the program is ideal for devices on any software (Windows, Mac, Linux), and also contains an equalizer, limiter, some additional plug-ins, as well as standard mixing knobs.
- Linux MultiMedia Studio — initially, this DAW was only suitable for Linux PCs, but now the developers have optimized the program for all other devices. The user has synthesizers, a variety of sound effects, and third-party plug-ins can be added to the functionality. There are also great built-in VST instruments.
- Rosegarden — it`s one of the market leaders thanks to an early release (1993). However, this didn`t prevent the developers from timely improving DAW and supplementing it with relevant functions. The software is multilingual and available for use immediately after download and installation.
- PreSonus Studio One 3 “Prime” — a free version of the original PreSonus program, which retains the basic functions and is the perfect software for a beginner. Users can enjoy samples, effects, and plugins, but if the built-in content is not satisfactory — it doesn’t matter, you can download additional elements.
And if you need more serious equipment with extensive storage, editing, and playback capabilities, you will have to spend money on other DAWs like Bitwig Studio, MAGIX Samplitude, MixcraftPro, Renoise, MuTools MuLab.
Choose a DAW that matches your level of expertiseHowever, even if you are aiming seriously, but don`t have impressive experience or skills in processing music, there is no point in buying expensive equipment. Before making the final choice, read user reviews about the programs you like and go to the developer site. Almost every DAW has a fully functional demo version that can be used without any restrictions from 1 week to a month. Try the program yourself, study its features, understand how it works, and check the compatibility of the software with your hardware.
As you understand, DAW is an indispensable tool in processing music content, and its choice isn`t an easy task — the right option depends on the user’s experience, goals, and budget. Also, remember that convenience and basic functionality are important first, and all add-ons and plugins can be easily downloaded later!