Thanks to the technological advancements in the past two decades, all the fancy recording gear found in the big and expensive recording studios have now found the way into our everyday lives. We have had the opportunity to buy and run these Digital Audio Workstations (DAW’s) outside the studio and into our personal devices, making these software tools one of the essential music tools everywhere we go. But even though we can buy a powerful DAW, we cannot improvise our ability to operate it.
For most musicians and videographers, working with a Digital Audio Workstation is the daily routine. Every idea, every recording, every sample runs into, and through, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Maschine, Reason, and many more. Very much like mixing and front of house engineers carefully get to know their consoles and mixers on a daily basis (which there are plenty to choose from of course), every DAW has its own set of pros and cons.
Since most of these creative projects are now relying on the power of digital tools, there exists a real necessity to be able to operate the software organically and as smooth as possible. The toughest part is not allowing the learning curve and new technology negatively interfere with the creative process: because getting stuck trying to figure out a command, a function, or plug-in can determine a whole recording/production session.
Most of us can indeed deal with the basic tools and functions of a DAW such as the friendly Garageband. But even though all DAW have the same practical purpose, they are each aimed to focus on a specific part of the audio production process.
So, which DAW fits YOU?
Presenting the “industry standard” Digital Audio Workstation.
Pro Tools became the go-to DAW for almost every recording studio in the world because of its power for audio recording in a professional studio setting. This famous DAW is preferred by mixing and mastering engineers. It might not be as intuitive as others, but almost every creative project will go through Avid’s Pro Tools software at some point in the production process.
If this is not your preferred DAW, we suggest taking the time to learn the basics, as you will likely encounter it in the future.
It can easily be the best DAW for beginner creatives.
Garageband comes preinstalled in all Mac products and can be downloaded to the iPad and iPhone as well. If you are starting and have not had any contact with a Digital Audio Workstation in the past, Garageband will make sure to make you feel at home and confident. Thanks to its user-friendly interface and “simple” feel, this software is ready to record your live instruments, vocals, MIDI, and edit all kinds of audio.
For videographers looking for more control over audio clips outside the classic video production tools, Garageband is the best go-to DAW to edit and bounce audio clips quickly.
Logic Pro X
This is Garageband on steroids!
Apple’s own DAW comes available only for… Mac’s. Logic Pro X software features an intuitive and easy interface. Like said before, if you have had the opportunity to work with Garageband, Logic Pro X will feel really familiar and comfortable to produce and record MIDI, Audio, and Samples. Logic is ready to open-and-go for music production.
Also, Apple made sure to include a long list of plug-ins, samples, and functionalities, which is always appreciated.
From “Fruity Loops” to FL.
FL Studio rose to the spotlight thanks to Hip-Hop and Electronic Music producers looking to create beats and loops. This DAW is full of functionalities, and most of the time, it is under-used by most producers. Reggaeton and Latin Urban producers have been using FL Studio for the past decade to create the biggest Pop hits of the moment. If you like to make beats, this might be an excellent place for you. Once you buy it, you have free updates for life, making it is also a worthy investment.
The free DAW that gets the job done.
If you are looking to record any audio, Audacity is there for you at any time. No matter the computer operating system, Audacity is a free DAW downloadable from every web browser. However, you have to know that only audio can be recorded and edited in this DAW, no MIDI options.
This can be the songwriters’ “best friend.”
Studio One 4.5 features a simple interface with the right controls, parameters, and options for the smooth flow of creativity. Some producers argue that it has the potential to take over a big part of the production landscape in the years to come. However, Studio One is still considered an entry-mid level DAW for creatives that want to be able to record ideas smoothly. But don’t be fooled, it has a lot of power and functionalities under the hood!
Are you composing new songs? Studio One might be the one DAW for you.
Ableton Live 10
Ableton Live 10 is one of the favorites for producers in all the electronic music scenes out there. One of the most respected DAW’s, Live’s plug-ins, sounds, workflow, interface, is top-quality. If you are looking for versatility, incredibly smooth workflow, compatibility with external gear, plug-ins, and a wide range of physical controllers to record, produce, and even perform live, Ableton’s Live 10 is the one for you.
Even though the interface is smooth to follow, we suggest you study commands, shortcuts, and functionalities to extract the best of this DAW.
If you want to have a first encounter which these different DAW’s to have a better feel and understanding, remember that some of these counts with free-downloadable demos!
Learn what professional creatives are using for their projects!