What is a DAW?
Digital Audio Workstation! Wow. it still doesn’t make much sense. You are going to read tons of material ranging from the historical to technical to scientific and go around the globe still confused. A DAW is like your music studio. Yes, it is that simple. I mean I don’t know if I can embellish this a little more. Sorry to burt your geeky bubble, but that’s all it is.
Well, that and more. Think of your DAW as a virtual studio for music production and mixing. IN this DAW you can – just like in a real music studio – record your music, record any performance (singing, drumming, strumming…) In this DAW studio you can mix your final recording. For example, you may not like the way the piano sounds and decide to lower its volume and add some echo.
Your DAW also has other tools. The system has equalizers, reverve, limiters, compressors, distortion etc… You get the idea. So, yes, it is like a real music studio. In fact, you can see a console that looks like the ones in the professional studios. With all the knobs, faders, and some other things that can add effects to your instruments.
What do most DAWs have?
At a minimum, your DAW will have a multitrack system for capturing your data, your sounds. Your DAW also recognizes any connected midi and can easily be activated to receive your notes and instructions.
Some DAW’s have tons of plugins, like delays, compressors and distortions. Some have this and sound libraries. For example, the FL Studio DAW comes equipped with freebie plugins and sound libraries. I am not endorsing a particular brand. I’ve used this one and it does the job. Another review of how to select a DAW is coming up.
DAWs also have a way to connect to other libraries. Inside you DAW you can open the VSTs, which retrieve the sound libraries.So, yes, DAW is like a studio. You have all the mixers, recording equipment, capturing equipment, effects, tracks for each instrument.
What consider when purchasing a DAW
I would recommend you stick to one DAW because eventually you will have all these files and music. Imagine trying to bring everything to a new system. Think of all the effects and plugins you have embedded in your DAW. I know that some of these DAW are expensive, but think of the path you are following. Think of where you want to be.
If your intent is to have fun, then go with something less expensive. I will have other posts about what brand names are popular.