We are at a point in time where irrespective of whether you’re a sound engineer, a producer or even a musician, it has become almost crucial to know your way around digital audio workstations. Today, DAWs come with various differences in terms of workflow, capabilities and functionality. So, choosing the right DAW based on your specific requirements is an important factor in deciding how efficient you might be with the software.
Let’s have a quick look at a few DAWs and see what they have to offer.
Let’s us begin with what is considered to be the industry standard when it comes to DAWs. Pro-Tools is the preferred platform in most commercial recording studios, having been around for around 27 years, it has consolidated its position in the market. As far as audio recording, editing and complex routing capabilities go, Pro-Tools is a force to be reckoned with. Avid has also worked towards creating a wide range of hardware including interfaces and mixing desks that are integrated with the software. If you’re looking to be a commercial studio engineer, audio editor or mastering engineer then Pro-Tools is for you.
This extremely user-friendly DAW rose to fame because of its simple interface and the ease with which users could pick it up to get some great results. GarageBand comes free with Macintosh computers which makes it extremely accessible. It has plenty to offer in terms of samples, software instruments and effect plugins. Even though its simplicity results in a few limitations when it comes to routing and complex programming, its simplicity and the quickness with which you can achieve results, makes it an ideal DAW for beginners who are looking to grasp the concept of recording and production.
With a UI similar to that of GarageBand, Apple’s flagship DAW, Logic Pro is considered to be one of the top tier choices when it comes to professional audio production tools. Retaining the simple and clean aesthetic, Logic Pro combines it with extensive MIDI editing capabilities, high quality software instruments, synthesizers and effects. A marriage of detailed MIDI capabilities and professional recording and editing options, Logic Pro is a no-brainer for intermediate and expert level audio engineers and producers, especially if they’re accustomed to working on Macs.
If you are a musician that intends to perform a live electronic set or perform with instruments and manipulate loops, look no further. Ableton’s unique Session view allows you to launch clips, loops and scenes, enabling the DAW to act as an instrument itself. You can also flip over to the linear Arrangement view to track live or MIDI instruments. Live has a wide variety of MIDI controllers and hardware that are seamlessly integrated to it, such as the grid-based Ableton Push. Enhancements such as Link allow you to sync two different devices, in order to be control the DAW from either device in real time. MaxforLive is a platform that provides a wide plethora of new and re-worked plugins in open source fashion. Even though it functions as a mixing/editing tool, it doesn’t not compare to DAWs such as Pro-Tools in that aspect. Ableton Live is perfect for DJs, electronic musicians or artists that are oriented towards loop based performances.