Digital audio workstation OR DAW is a term used to identify
the software that are capable to record,
edit, create and manage
Basic Componants of a DAW
The most basic and essential componants of a DAW are :
- A playlist (also known as sequencer/
sound list / song editor/ or arrangement window)
Is a place which lists all the track/
sounds/instruments of the song.
You can create different number of tracks and place sounds
on the tracks. It is also called a timeline as you can preview
1 < this is the transport
bar - it is used to play all the tracks in the playlist
2 < Is the list of instruments. You can set recording
parameters (in some daws) mute the track or solo listen
3 These are the waveforms
of the audio track.
4 time line > shows
the time in minutes and seconds
5 is a midi
track - a midi track contains note data of the vsti
P laylist of > LMMS < a midi
On the top it has play, stop
On the bottom you can see the tracks with volume
and pan controls.
- Pattern sequencer (Beat baseline editor)
This is small brother of playlist. It is a tool using which
we can create small loops and patterns. These patterns are
then put on the main playlist where we want them in the
helps us in managing sound effects on the song as well as
individual sounds that weare using in the playlist.
- MIDI Piano roll editor
The DAW that support midi function can help us in editing
the musical notes to play the synthesizer
or the virtual instrument.
Adding new features in your DAW:
There are many types of DAW available in the market.
There are some DAW on the linux platform
that are even available for free, some of
these software also work under windows.
When it comes to choosing a platform and
DAW for music production is one of the most confusing
and intimidating task for new recording engineers.
There are comparisons all over the internet
on which DAW is better than the other. There are always people
supporting one DAW and there is a word fight going on in the
forum on which DAW is better.
The best way to choose a DAW is try it first. It will be
a time consuming process but it is the best way if you have
limited budget and want the best out of your efforts.
A brief history on how the DAW's evolved in the market
In older days, DAWs were use to be small
programs focusing on one aspect of music
production. For example, FL studio when just
started out focused to be a MIDI drum
machine. Cool edit pro (now Adobe audition)
could only edit audio in earlier days.
But every year new versions of these software came out with
new features and DAWs which only have MIDI capability started
offering audio editing features and vice versa.
Today, most DAWs are capable of doing most of the stuff right
from recording to working with Virtual instruments and MIDI.
But still, they do best what they originally started out as.
Even today, people use Pro tools for audio editing and Fruity
Loops to create drum beats and bass lines and cubase to mix
the final song.
MIDI centric DAWs
These DAWs are
Audio Centric DAWs
DAWs that can do both audio and midi well
DAWs - Unique propositions of each DAW
Positioning is the marketing term which describes how a DAW
marketed and what's its unique proposition over others.
- Reason - if you don't have lot
of musical instruments and you only want to make music from
virtual instruments. Has good collection of samples and
sounds with it.
- Fl studio - started out as
a simple drum machine and evolved into a complete monstrous
for music production. Can do everything right from MIDI
to Audio. But it is mainly geared towards MIDI so if you
do a lot of audio recording then look elsewhere.
- Logic pro - one stop solution,
very expensive does everything related to music production
under the sun.
- Adobe audition - one of
the lesser used DAWs out there, MIDI support is minimal.
Good for creating loops and podcasting type of stuff. Not
so great for other things.
- Reaper a small and robust DAW
that can do everything but does not comes with lots of samples
or presets. Is comparatively cheaper and bang for the buck.
- Ardour is developed by School
of Audio Engineering as an open source DAW to rival pro-tools.
It is still in developmental stages and has to go a long
- Energy XT - is one of the best
cheap MIDI capable DAW.
The VSTi technology - plug ins
Plug-in technology like VSTi etc help to add bells and whistles
in your DAW.
You can add lot of instruments and sounds using sample, soundfonts.
This topic will be covered in detailed in LMMS
Patches and Banks
- Patches and banks are preset files that can be saved in
a virtual instrument. Most of these come with VSTi
and other music programs. These help in saving your time for
Best DAWs to start your learning with...
- Wavepad for simple linear audio
editing and recording.
- Audacity for multi track audio
recording and editing.
- LMMS FREE to understand workflow
of MIDI centric DAWs (Highly recommended for learners)
- FL studio a good example of
a DAW that can do both MIDI and Audio
- Reaper (a good all round software
that beats the giants)
- Reason (another good DAW, but
not capable of doing audio. Good for every MIDI