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A DAW (digital audio workstation) is a software program that allows users to record, edit, and produce audio files. It is used in many different settings, including music production, sound design, game audio, film and television post-production, and podcasting.

The main functions of modern-day DAW software include:

Recording: DAWs allow users to record audio from a variety of sources, such as microphones, instruments, and MIDI controllers.

Editing: DAWs allow users to edit audio files by cutting, copying, pasting, and rearranging sections of audio. They also offer a variety of tools for cleaning up and enhancing audio, such as noise reduction, EQ, and compression.

Mixing: DAWs allow users to mix multiple audio tracks together, adjusting levels, panning, and applying effects to create a cohesive final product.

Mastering: DAWs offer tools and features for mastering audio, such as loudness normalization and EQ adjustments to ensure that the final audio product meets industry standards.

Some of the main benefits of using a DAW include:

  • Efficiency: DAWs allow users to quickly and easily record, edit, and produce audio, saving time and effort compared to traditional analog methods.
  • Flexibility: DAWs offer a wide range of tools and features that allow users to customize their audio production process and achieve the desired results.
  • Collaboration: Many DAWs offer features that allow users to collaborate and work on projects remotely, making it easier to work with others on audio projects.
  • Portability: DAWs can be used on a variety of devices, including computers, laptops, and tablets, making it easier to work on audio projects from anywhere.

There are many popular software DAWs and 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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    Multitrack DAWs For iPad


    Thinking of turning your iPad into a mobile recording studio? Check out our round-up of multitrack recording apps first!

    Reviews Jan 2014
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    Apple Logic Pro X

    Music Production Software For Mac OS

    Apple have made Logic easier to use. But have they compromised the powerful features that professional users depend on?

    Reviews Sep 2013
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    Avid Pro Tools 11.

    Avid Pro Tools 11

    Digital Audio Workstation Software [Mac OS/Windows]

    If Pro Tools 10 was a watershed release in the product's history, Pro Tools 11 marks the beginning of a new era for Avid's audio production platform.

    Reviews Sep 2013
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    Steinberg Nuendo v6.

    Steinberg Nuendo 6

    DAW Software For Mac OS & Windows

    In the latest version of their flagship post-production software, Steinberg have applied some clever lateral thinking to loudness metering and ADR recording.

    Reviews Jun 2013
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    Propellerhead Reason 7

    Music Production Software For Mac OS & Windows

    Reason has evolved in splendid isolation from other production tools, but version 7 sees Propellerhead build bridges to the outside world.

    Reviews Jun 2013
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    Steinberg Cubasis

    DAW App For iPad

    In the dim and distant past, Cubasis used to be one of the names Steinberg reserved for junior versions of Cubase...

    Reviews Mar 2013
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    Ableton Live 9 & Push Controller.

    Ableton Live 9 & Push

    DAW Software & Hardware Controller

    Live 9 has been a long time coming, but, along with Ableton’s new Push controller, has the potential to revolutionise music-making.

    Reviews Mar 2013
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    Steinberg Cubase 7.

    Steinberg Cubase 7

    Music Production Software [Mac OS/Windows]

    Steinberg's DAW software has received perhaps its biggest shake-up to date, with a redesigned mixer and some clever chord functions.

    Reviews Feb 2013
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    Cakewalk Sonar X2.

    Cakewalk Sonar X2

    Digital Audio Workstation Software For Windows

    Cakewalk’s programmers seem to be constantly pedalling the upgrade cycle! We find out what’s new and exciting in the latest Sonar X2...

    Reviews Jan 2013
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    Acoustica Mixcraft 6

    Recording & Mixing Software For Windows

    The key features of Acoustica’s Mixcraft have always been affordability and ease of use. Version 6 builds on these strengths but also adds a new Pro Studio edition.

    Reviews Nov 2012
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    WaveMachine Labs Auria

    DAW For iPad

    Auria is the first truly professional multitrack recording app to hit the App Store.

    Reviews Oct 2012
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    Steinberg Cubase 6.5

    Digital Audio Workstation

    It may be ‘only a point five’ update, but there’s plenty on offer in the latest version of Cubase.

    Reviews Jun 2012
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    Magix Samplitude Pro X

    Digital Audio Workstation Software

    Can its new look and feel, 64-bit code base and killer feature-set help Magix's heavyweight DAW muscle its way to a bigger market share?

    Reviews Apr 2012
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    Spotlight: DAWs

    Digital Audio Workstations

    At the heart of most modern studios is a computer running a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW. The choice of DAWs available has increased significantly over the last few years...

    Reviews Apr 2012
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    Avid Pro Tools 10

    Digital Audio Workstation Software

    With Pro Tools now catering for such a wide range of users, can the latest version provide both value and satisfaction for everyone?

    Reviews Mar 2012
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    Presonus Studio One 2.0

    Recording, Mixing & Mastering Software [Mac/PC]

    Version 2 of Studio One offers unprecedented levels of integration with third-party software — or, in other words, built-in Melodyne!

    Reviews Dec 2011
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    Propellerhead Reason 6

    Music Creation Software

    By merging their flagship application with its sibling, Record, Propellerhead have created something users have demanded for years: Reason with built-in audio recording.

    Reviews Nov 2011
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    Cockos Reaper 4

    Digital Audio Workstation Software

    Cockos’ affordable DAW is now more customisable than ever, and there are valuable new features for media management, MIDI editing and surround mixing too.

    Reviews Oct 2011
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    Adobe Audition CS5.5

    Post-production DAW & Wave Editor

    Adobe’s audio editing package has been fully rewritten, ported to Mac OS and integrated into their Creative Suite. Does it have everything you need for audio post‑production?

    Reviews Aug 2011
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    Steinberg Cubase 6

    Digital Audio Workstation

    Cubase 6 pushes the boundaries of expressive sequencing, while adding polish and new editing functionality to keep existing users happy. Is it all too good to be true?

    Reviews Apr 2011
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    Cakewalk Sonar X1

    Digital Audio Workstation Software

    Can Cakewalk's radical rethink of the DAW user interface tempt users of competing products into the Sonar fold — without alienating existing fans?

    Reviews Apr 2011


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