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DAWs

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.

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    Apple Logic Pro 9

    Music Production Software [Mac OS]

    Apple have made over 200 improvements to their flagship music production bundle. Can they win over new friends while keeping Logics core user base happy?

    Reviews Oct 2009
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    Propellerhead Record

    Music Production Software [Mac/PC]

    Its been a long time coming, but Propellerhead have finally unveiled their take on computer-based audio recording and mixing.

    Reviews Oct 2009
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    XT Software EnergyXT 2.5 Plus

    Portable DAW Software [Mac OS/Windows/ Linux]

    The idea of a truly portable DAW application has obvious appeal, especially when that application costs as little as EnergyXT. But can you really carry everything you need to make music on a USB Flash drive?

    Reviews Aug 2009
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    Cockos Reaper 3

    Digital Audio Workstation Software [Mac/PC]

    The latest major update to Reaper brings with it a complete overhaul of MIDI functionality, improved automation, and much, much more.

    Reviews Aug 2009
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    MOTU BPM

    Virtual Groovebox [Mac/PC]

    MOTUs BPM takes some obvious cues from Akais MPC range — but can a groovebox work in software?

    Reviews Jul 2009
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    Ableton Live Suite 8

    Digital Audio Workstation [Mac/PC]

    The challenge was to add yet more features to Live without compromising its legendary ease of use. Have Ableton succeeded?

    Reviews Jun 2009
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    Sony Acid Pro 7

    DAW Software For Windows

    Acid Pro has always offered a fabulous environment for loop-based music creation, but version 7 sees it making a bid for fully fledged DAW status.

    Reviews Apr 2009
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    Steinberg Cubase 5

    MIDI Audio Sequencer [Windows/Mac OS]

    The first paid-for update to Cubase for two years introduces some major innovations for sequencing and composition, including integrated Melodyne-style pitch correction and editing.

    Reviews Mar 2009
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    Digidesign Pro Tools 8: Part 2

    Digital Audio Workstation Software [Mac/PC]

    As well as the new user interface, MIDI and score editors described in Part 1 of our review, Pro Tools 8 offers an impressive collection of instruments and plug-ins, new ways of working with Playlists, and even the option of surround mixing in LE.

    Reviews Feb 2009
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    Cakewalk Sonar 8

    MIDI Audio Sequencer For Windows

    As well as creating some excellent new plug-ins and making operational improvements, Cakewalk have been working hard to make Sonar 8 the most CPU-efficient version yet.

    Reviews Feb 2009
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    Digidesign Pro Tools 8

    Digital Audio Workstation Software For Mac & PC: Part 1

    Eight is considered a lucky number in Chinese culture. Will this eighth version of Pro Tools bring prosperity to Digidesign, as they try to establish their world-leading recording and mixing application as a serious contender in the music-creation market?

    Reviews Jan 2009
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    Cockos Reaper 2.4

    MIDI Audio Sequencer For Windows

    Since we first reviewed Cockos' shareware Reaper multitrack recording package, it has undergone hundreds of improvements — but the bargain asking price has barely changed.

    Reviews Jan 2009
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    Magix Samplitude Pro 10

    DAW Software [Windows]

    What do you add to the DAW that has everything? In the case of Samplitude 10, a complex new mastering compressor and some excellent automation features are among the highlights.

    Reviews Apr 2008
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    Digidesign Pro Tools 7.4

    Digital Audio Workstation Software [Mac/PC]

    Nowadays, we expect software to be able to change the tempo of recorded audio, but the latest version of Pro Tools integrates this functionality in a new and impressive fashion.

    Reviews Jan 2008
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    Steinberg Nuendo 4

    Digital Audio Workstation Software [Mac/PC]

    With impressive new automation features and free mixer routing, have Steinberg taken their flagship audio application to the top of the class?

    Reviews Dec 2007
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    Redmatica Keymap

    Sample & Instrument Editor For EXS24

    The latest utility from Redmatica is targeted at Logic users wanting to get the most from the programs built-in soft sampler.

    Reviews Aug 2007
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    Surround Sound From Stereo

    Upmixing Plug-ins For Pro Tools

    More and more material needs to be delivered in surround formats, but what if you dont have the time or the budget for a 5.1 remix? We test the current crop of unwrap plug-ins that can create a surround master from a stereo mix.

    Reviews Aug 2007
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    Pro Tools: Surround Sound Encoding Plug-ins

    Which Software To Use?

    If you want other people to hear your surround mixes, you'll need to encode them into a consumer format. Pro Tools users have a choice of software for this purpose. Which should you choose?

    Reviews Jun 2007
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    Cockos Reaper DAW

    Multitrack Audio Recording & Editing Software For PC

    Can a $40 dollar shareware application take on the giants of the music software world and win? With its remarkable flexibility, advanced feature set and responsive development team, Cockos's Reaper has the potential to do just that. Check it out...

    Reviews Jun 2007
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    Sony Vegas 7

    Multitrack Audio & Video Editor [Windows]

    If your needs tend more towards looping and video editing than MIDI, Sony's distinctive multitrack recording package could be just what you're looking for.

    Reviews Feb 2007
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    Magix Samplitude 9

    DAW Software [Windows]

    Over the last few years, Magix's Sequoia and Samplitude have quietly been establishing a name for themselves in the mastering and recording communities, and the new version 9 of Samplitude looks set to win plenty more friends.

    Reviews Jan 2007

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