What is a DAW used for?

Digital Audio Workstation

A question we often get asked is Do I need a DAW to record music?  First, let’s explain what DAW stands for.  A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation or Digital-Audio Workstation which is a computer-based system for recording and editing audio.   Often the term DAW can refer to software, hardware, or a mix of both.

DAWs got their beginnings as far back as the 1970s and have evolved over the year.  The earlier DAWs often included mixing consoles, analog to digital converters, and onboard storage for data.  Many of these devices were capable of recording, playback, and editing and were referred to as Integrated DAWs.   These Integrated DAW systems are still used today, but in recent years they are being increasingly replaced by computer laptops or desktop PCs.

DAW Software

Computers today are the center of a modern studio running a variety of DAW software.  The computers could be portable like a laptop or fixed in a location such as a desktop or rack-mounted computer. The computers use “audio interfaces” or external sound cards. To connect musical instruments and recording gear to computer-controlled DAW hardware and software.  Since computers have replaced integrated hardware DAWs, most audio editing and post-production is performed with software.  Such as Avid Pro Tools, Steinberg Cubase, and Abelton Live or Cakewalk SONAR.

Musician Computers

It’s worthy to note since the DAW software is doing editing and post-production. The computer the DAW is running on should be configured and designed with the user’s musical needs in mind.  The best way to describe that would be a Musicians Computer or Musicians Laptop.

A computer where each of the components that have been tested.  And the computer is designed to ensure the audio engineer, musician a smooth creative experience.  Custom computer manufactures like Slick Audio which designs and builds computers.  Which are designed to meet the needs of anyone looking to record audio, do music production, editing, and audio engineering?

Since there is a variety of DAWs from multiple makers and the technology is evolving at increasing speed. It’s helpful when putting together your studio that you discuss your plans and needs.  Be sure and utilize the skills and expertise of the custom computer manufacture to build a PC or laptop for your needs will reduce time, increase turnaround of projects, and increase profitability.

So what’s the best DAW you use?

Well, that is a good question.  DAW’s vary like the different styles of music you as a musician learn to play.  Generally speaking, they can record audio for you to apply mixing techniques and styles to get a finished song.  But the capabilities and limitations each of the DAW’s available can vary widely, not to mention their cost.  We provide some thoughts about several of these DAW software in our post, what daw should I use.

 

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