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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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    DP4 & MachFive

    MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques

    We take a closer look at Digital Performer for OS X (which shall henceforth be known as DP4), and MachFive, plus the latest MAS plug-in releases.

    Techniques May 2003
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    Automation Facilities In Pro Tools

    Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    We begin a two-part tutorial explaining Pro Tools' powerful facilities for automating your mix.

    Techniques May 2003
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    Digidesign Pro Tools 6

    Audio + MIDI Recording Software

    The major audio and MIDI recording applications are slowly migrating to Mac OS X, and the latest to arrive is Digidesign's Pro Tools. The upgrade also introduces powerful new project management features, Groove Template functionality and a more powerful LE version.

    Reviews May 2003
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    Sonar: ASIO Support & Dithering Advice

    Cakewalk Sonar Tips & Techniques

    We explore Sonar's new ASIO support, explain the advantages of recording dry while monitoring with effects, and shed some light on the knotty topic of dithering.

    Techniques May 2003
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    Mastering Tracks In Logic

    Logic Tips & Techniques

    This month's workshop shows you how to go about mastering your tracks in Logic, and there are also some useful tricks for faster audio and MIDI editing.

    Techniques Apr 2003
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    Serato Scratch SE

    Turntable Controller For Pro Tools TDM, HD & LE

    We are used to the idea of using fader boxes and other MIDI controllers to manipulate our music software, but now Serato want to get us using our turntables to scratch digital audio. Can it possibly work?

    Reviews Mar 2003
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    Steinberg & Pinnacle: The Buyout

    What It Means For You

    The shape of the music-technology market changed dramatically in 2002, with the two largest German music software companies gaining new ownership from American corporations. Have Steinberg reached the summit with Pinnacle?

    Music Business Mar 2003
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    The Key Commands window showing a user assignment of the 'Add Track' Audio Command.

    Cubase: Keyboard Shortcuts & Key Commands

    Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

    While using keyboard shortcuts in a sequencer is nothing new, this month we explain how Cubase SX/SL takes the idea further, and look at Hans Zimmer's unique solution for accessing Key Commands in Cubase.

    Techniques Jan 2003
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    Ernst Nathorst-Böös

    Propellerhead Software

    Propellerhead, makers of the unique Reason software studio, have come from nowhere to award-winning developer status in just eight years. We catch up with one of the key men behind this small but influential Swedish company.

    People Jan 2003
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    Using Reason: Part 2

    Making The Most Of Reason

    In the second half of this two-part series, we pass on tips that make sequencer use easier, explain device layering, and add some hints for the new devices added to Reason in the v2 update.

    Techniques Dec 2002
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    Using Reason: Part 1

    Making The Most Of Reason

    Propellerhead Software's flexible studio package can take you in all kinds of new creative directions if you know how to get the best out of it. Let us be your guide...

    Techniques Nov 2002
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    A metronome.

    Using Tempo Changes

    Sequencing Tips

    All modern sequencers make it easy to enhance your arrangements with subtle tempo variations, but these facilities are often ignored.

    Techniques Nov 2002
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    Apple's Emagic Takeover

    The Inside Story Of The Deal That Changed The Music World

    The music technology world changed overnight on June 30th, as Apple announced their acquisition of German sequencer heavyweight Emagic, becoming the first computer manufacturer to own a music software company. Our team brings you the latest news on how and why the deal went through, and what the changes may mean for Emagic and their PC and Mac users.

    Music Business Sep 2002
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    Main screen.

    Making Waves v3

    Loop Sequencing Software [PC]

    The straightforward but effective Windows-based sequencing package Making Waves has been upgraded to include multi-channel recording, DirectX and MIDI support.

    Reviews Aug 2002
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    Cool Edit Pro's multitrack editing window, with its virtual mixer open in front.

    Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro v2

    Audio Editing Software For PC

    From its beginnings as shareware, Syntrillium's cool Edit Pro has acquired an impressive professional user base. The new version offers more features, more power, and an updated user interface.

    Reviews Jul 2002
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    Emagic Logic v5 & Logic Control

    MIDI+Audio Sequencer & Hardware Control Surface

    Users of Emagic's Logic sequencer have been itching to get their hands on the latest version 5 and Logic Control, the company's dedicated moving-fader control system. Has it been worth the wait?

    Reviews Apr 2002
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    Magic Logic.

    Surround Sound Explained: Part 9

    Surround In Your DAW

    In this final part of our series, we look at how the major project studio-oriented MIDI + Audio sequencers (DAWs) currently handle surround.

    Techniques Apr 2002
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    Ableton Live v1.03 main screen.

    Ableton Live

    Performance Loop Sequencing Software [Mac / PC]

    Ableton's Live allows the user to create and record musical performances by combining sampled loops in real time, with high‑quality pitch‑shifting, time‑stretching and audio effects.

    Reviews Feb 2002
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    Configuring Pro Tools For Traditional Band Recording

    Digidesign (Avid) Pro Tools Tips & Techniques

    How would you configure your PT system to cope with the practicalities of traditional band recording?

    Techniques Dec 2001
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    Eliminating Phase Problems

    Steinberg Cubase Tips & Techniques

    This month, we explain how to eliminate phase problems in Cubase's Audio Editor, and round up some interesting new plug-ins.

    Techniques Dec 2001
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    MIDI Automation Features

    Performer Notes turns its attention to DP3's MIDI automation features. Plus all the latest MOTU-related news and tips.

    Techniques Dec 2001


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