The music industry is full of words & terms that might seem frightening to a beginner. One abbreviation that is constantly being thrown around is DAW. What is a DAW? DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation & is a piece of software that an artist can use to make their music. It can be used for composing, recording & mixing, producing & overall editing audio. There are a TON of DAWs out there & at the end of the day, it’s up to your discretion to figure out which DAW is right for you.

What DAWs are out there for a new music producer?

As I said, there are A LOT. Some of the more common DAWs include:

There are many more to choose from but these are great options for anyone just getting into the field. It can be hard to discern which DAW is right for you but there are a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your investment. One option is to try them out! Some DAWs offer a free trial for their software. You can download it and play around with the workflow to see if it fits your needs. If you’re completely new to working within a DAW, it’s highly recommended to start with free software to get your feet wet. This will allow you to get a feel for how these software options work and what to expect when you’re ready to enter the big leagues. So what’s free to use?

Workstation #1: Garageband

If you have an Apple computer, you are probably well-aware of GarageBand. It’s a very simple workflow made for people who may not necessarily be into professional sound. But despite it being free to use on any Mac, it is effective and can help you to better understand the simple workflows of a DAW.

Workstation #2: Audacity

Audacity is a step above GarageBand and it’s completely free to use! It is an open-source DAW that can be used on any operating system. So, if you don’t have a Mac you can easily get started with a program like Audacity. It does come with drawbacks, of course. For example, it cannot record MIDI. But if you’re only looking to get a start on learning the digital workspace for a DAW, this might be the way to go!

Workstation #3: Logic Pro

From here, I’ll be discussing some of the paid options for DAW software. Let’s assume you’ve done your training in some free software and ready to jump into the professional level offerings. The place that we’re going to start is right here with Logic Pro.

Going back to Apple, Logic Pro X is the premiere DAW for Mac products. If you started with GarageBand and loved the workflow, you’ll probably love Logic just as much. The two are very similar in their design and workflows. You get all of the benefits of GarageBand and then some with all of the Logic Pro features. 

Workstation #4: Pro Tools

If you want to work in the industry, Pro Tools is the way to go. It is considered the “industry standard DAW” and can be found almost anywhere music is being made! It has a very steep learning curve but it’s worth it if music production is where you see yourself. 

Workstation #5: Ableton

This is one of the most popular DAWs for electronic producers. But it can be used outside of the EDM space! It has a session view as well as built-in sampling & synthesis plugins. Ableton also is always adding new sample packs to their library that you can use. It’s incredible software for anyone who takes their music seriously.

Workstation #6: FL Studio

If you’ve ever heard of Fruity Loops then you’ve heard of FL Studio. The DAW itself has been part of the industry for a while now and it has some amazing features that keep bringing users back to it. For one, once you purchase the software you get lifetime updates FREE of charge. They also offer a library of free-to-use samples, loops, and presets for you to use! It’s one of the more popular DAWs out there and for good reason!

So, what is a DAW?

A DAW is another tool on your musical belt to get your music made! These Digital Audio Workstations are built for artists and their producers to make the most of their unique sound. Check a few of them out and figure out which DAW is best for you. You’ll be thankful for the knowledge that it brings to use one of these pieces of software.

If you had a blast reading this article, consider sharing it with your friends across all of your social media platforms. This article originally appeared on Artist Republik’s blog and was republished on Eleven Music Career Center’s blog with permission.

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