You are here


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 TV post-production, and podcasting.

Main Functions of a DAW

The main functions of modern-day Digital Audio Workstation 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.

Main Benefits of using a DAW

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 together and work on projects remotely, making it easier to work with others on audio projects like podcasts and song ideation.
  • 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, 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.

  • link

    PC Solutions For MIDI Musicians

    Tips & Tricks

    Martin Walker looks at hardware and software solutions available for those who just want to use their PC for MIDI sequencing.

    Sound Advice May 2000
  • link

    Minimising MIDI & Audio Timing Problems In Computer Sequencers

    Tips & Tricks

    Although MIDI + Audio sequencing packages on both Mac and PC are becoming ever more powerful, 'the timing was tighter on my Atari' is still a common complaint. Paul White looks at ways of tightening it up, with additional PC information by Martin Walker.

    Techniques Mar 2000
  • link

    Using Mixermaps In Steinberg's Cubase Sequencer

    Tips & Tricks

    The facility to construct sophiticated arrangements of virtual faders, knobs and buttons, and use them to control studio equipment via MIDI, is one of Cubase's most powerful features — but also one of its most under-used. Paul Sellars explains how to make Mixermaps work for you.

    Techniques Dec 1999
  • link

    Sonic Foundry Vegas Pro

    Multitrack PC Editing System

    Sonic Foundry have a reputation for innovative PC audio software, but their range has not included a true multitrack recording package — until now.

    Reviews Nov 1999
  • link

    Peavey/Cakewalk StudioMix

    Digital Recording Station

    Offering an integrated MIDI + Audio sequencer and hardware controller with motorised faders, StudioMix mimics some of the features of high-end digital audio workstations — but at under £800, how good can it be?

    Reviews May 1999
  • link

    Using Sample Loops With Logic Audio

    Tips & Techniques

    Paul White and Paul Joyner explain how to import samples directly to your Mac from an audio CD with Logic Audio — a technique which can be adapted for use with most popular MIDI + Audio sequencers.

    Techniques Feb 1999
  • link

    Digidesign Pro Tools 3.4

    DAW Software

    If the best things in life are free, then perhaps Pro Tools 3.4 is one of them — Digidesign are now giving away this version of their Mac audio recording and editing software. Mike Collins looks a gift horse in the mouth.

    Reviews Sep 1998
  • link

    SADiE 3


    Any Digital Audio Workstation that was first introduced in 1992, and which is still not only going strong today, but benefiting from major software updates, must be doing something right. Martin Walker takes a long hard look at SADiE.

    Reviews Apr 1998
  • link

    MOTU Digital Performer v2.11


    Nearly two years after everybody else jumped on the Power Mac bandwagon, Mark Of The Unicorn have finally come on board with their flagship sequencer, which will now record and play back audio without the need for external hardware. Has it been worth the wait? Derek Johnson finds out.

    Reviews Mar 1998
  • link

    Introduction To Cubase: Part 1

    Structure Of Cubase & The 'Arrange' Window

    Simon Millward kicks off a new series designed to give beginners a solid grounding in the use of Steinberg's flagship software package.

    Techniques Sep 1995


Subscribe to RSS - DAWs