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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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    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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    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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    Steinberg Nuendo v1.5.2

    Multitrack Recording Software [Mac]

    Can Steinberg's professional recording package make an impact in the Pro Tools-dominated Macintosh market? Sam Inglis finds out.

    Reviews Oct 2001
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    SADiE 3

    DAW

    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
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    MOTU Digital Performer v2.11

    DAW

    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

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