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DAW Software

A DAW, which stands for Digital Audio Workstation, is a software tool that enables users to capture, modify, and create audio content. It is utilised in various contexts such as music production, sound design, game audio, film and TV post-production, and podcasting.

Primary uses of a DAW

The primary purposes of contemporary Digital Audio Workstation software comprise: 

Recording: All DAWs enable users to capture audio from different sources like microphones, instruments, and MIDI controllers using an Audio Interface connected to the computer.

Editing:  DAWs enable users to cut, copy, paste, and rearrange sections of audio files. They also provide a range of tools for improving the quality of audio, including noise reduction, EQ, and compression.

Mixing: Digital Audio Workstations enable users to blend various audio tracks, modifying volumes, positioning, and adding effects to produce a unified end result.

Mastering: Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) provide features like loudness normalisation and EQ adjustments to ensure the final audio meets industry standards.

Advantages of utilising a Digital Audio Workstation

Efficiency: DAWs enable users to efficiently record, edit, and produce audio with ease, cutting down on time and effort when compared to traditional analogue techniques.

Flexibility: DAWs offer a wide range of tools and features that allow users to customise their audio production process and achieve the desired results.

Collaboration: Numerous DAWs provide tools that enable users to work together and collaborate on projects from different locations, simplifying the process of collaborating on audio projects such as podcasts and song creation.

Portability: Digital Audio Workstations are compatible with different devices such as desktop computers (Mac/PC) , laptops and tablets, allowing users to work on audio projects conveniently from any location.

There are many popular software DAWs, some of which come built into the Operating System of your favourite computer, such as Apple GarageBand on Macs. Sound On Sound regularly covers all the top brands in its monthly DAW Masterclasses. From Steinberg Cubase and Avid Pro Tools, PreSonus Studio One and Apple Logic Pro, MOTU Digital Performer to Ableton Live, Reason Studios Reason and Cockos Reaper, you'll find how-to techniques and tips for all of these and other DAWs collected under the sections shown above.

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    Apple Logic Pro 7 [Preview]

    MIDI + Audio Sequencer [Mac OS X]

    When Apple bought Emagic two years ago, the question on everyone's lips was 'What will they do with Logic?' Now they have unveiled perhaps the most radical overhaul the sequencer has ever seen, with improvements ranging from new instruments and effects to a networking system that could eliminate CPU restrictions completely. We explain what's changed in this preview (our full in-depth review will follow next month).

    Reviews Nov 2004
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    Reason: Alternatives To 4/4 Time

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    Reason seems firmly fixed in a 4/4 time signature — but clever use of the Redrum and Matrix pattern-based devices allows you to explore more unusual signatures. Here we explain how, as well as bringing you the essential news and tips.

    Techniques Nov 2004
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    Organising Tracks & Plug-ins In Sonar

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    Organise your tracks with Sonar 4's Track Folder feature, nudge them into place with sample accuracy, and reclaim older plug-ins for use in newer versions of Sonar.

    Techniques Nov 2004
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    Cubase SX3 Preview; Range Selection

    Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

    This month we provide an exclusive preview of the new version of Cubase — SX 3 — and offer advice on how to get the most out of Cubase's Range Selection tool.

    Techniques Oct 2004
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    Logic: Dynamics Processing With Reverb/Delay

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    Learn how to combine dynamics processing with delay and reverb to breathe life into your mixes.

    Techniques Oct 2004
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    Q. Why does it take so long to freeze a VST Instrument track?

    I use Cubase SX 2 and find the Freeze function for VST Instrument tracks very useful. I was disappointed to note that it can take six or seven minutes to freeze a VST track. Why is this, when it only takes one to two minutes to export an entire composition as a WAV file?

    Sound Advice Oct 2004
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    MIDI Sequencing In Pro Tools

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    While Pro Tools is widely known for its dominance in the field of computer-based audio recording, little is made of the fact that it also features fully fledged MIDI sequencing facilities.

    Techniques Oct 2004
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    Reason: Using Mackie Tracktion Sequencer As A Rewire Host

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    Mackie's Tracktion sequencer makes an ideal budget Rewire host for adding audio recording and plug-in capabilities to your Reason setup, as we explain...

    Techniques Oct 2004
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    How To Remote Control Sonar Effects

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    We explain how to use the handy Scrub tool, how to customise your track view, and detail the procedure for setting up remote control of Sonar effects parameters.

    Techniques Oct 2004
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    Cubase's MIDI Device Manager

    Cubase Tips & Techniques

    Cubase SX's MIDI Device Manager provides a way of choosing patches and banks on your external MIDI hardware by name rather than by number. We look at how to create your own MIDI Patch Name Scripts to make this possible.

    Techniques Sep 2004
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    Ableton Live 4

    Loop-based Sequencer [Mac/PC]

    As a creative, stable and above all fun way of combining audio loops in real time, Ableton's Live has proved an ideal counterpart to Rewire-compatible applications such as Cubase. With version 4 offering a wealth of new features, including MIDI sequencing, could Live now replace traditional sequencers altogether?

    Reviews Sep 2004
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    Layering Sounds In Logic's Virtual Instruments

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    Layering hardware sound modules to create new sounds is a simple matter, but things are not nearly as easy when you are working with virtual instruments in Logic. Here are a few useful workarounds...

    Techniques Sep 2004
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    Using Samplecell Libraries In Pro Tools

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    Digidesign's Samplecell products once had a huge army of users, many of whom still have well-loved sample libraries stranded in this format. We look at the options available to continue using these sample patches in Pro Tools.

    Techniques Sep 2004
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    Instant Track Creation In Reason

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    We explore an advanced technique for creating 'instant' tracks using Propellerhead's Reason software.

    Techniques Sep 2004
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    Using Storm With Sonar

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    We bring you yet more Sonar stratagems, including further adventures in envelope copying, some handy track tricks, and advice on using Arturia's Storm with Sonar.

    Techniques Sep 2004
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    Cubase: Timewarp

    Cubase Tips & Techniques

    It's just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. With your hands on your hips, you bring your knees in tight. But it's the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane. Let's do the time-warp again?

    Techniques Aug 2004
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    Using Logic's I/O Plug-ins & Compensation Delay

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    Find out how to use the I/O plug-in within an Output Audio object, and also learn how Logic's improved plug-in delay compensation allows some powerful new mixing techniques.

    Techniques Aug 2004
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    Handy Pro Tools Tips

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    We feature a bumper crop of handy tips in this month's guide to all that's good in Pro Tools...

    Techniques Aug 2004
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    More Reason To Be Cheerful

    Reason Tips & Techniques

    A new Refill is reviewed and ways around some common Reason problems are offered.

    Techniques Aug 2004
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    Sonar: Using Pantheon Reverb & Clip Linking

    Sonar Tips & Techniques

    This month, fun things to make and do with Lexicon's Pantheon reverb, plus how linking clips can make your life easier...

    Techniques Aug 2004
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    Cubase's Key Editor

    Cubase Tips & Techniques

    The Key Editor is a seemingly straightforward MIDI editor, yet under its surface lie a number of features that can really speed up your editing tasks. We explain, as well as reporting on the new version 2.2 Cubase update.

    Techniques Jul 2004

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