DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) – An Explanation for Songwriters
For songwriters or musicians who are just getting started, a DAW might seem intimidating. You’ll hear a lot of conflicting information about them and won’t know if you even need one or how to use it. I’ll give you a quick overview here!
What is a DAW?
DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. These are computer programs that help you build a song. There are many options to choose from, including ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Studio One, Garage Band and many more. Some are free, some are very expensive,
I included this term in my book because it’s very common amongst musicians. However, sometimes clients look at me like “huh?” when I mention it. I also included it because some (many) musicians are loyal to their DAW of choice and love to talk about it. So if you plan on getting into music in any type of production sense, it’s likely you’ll come across this term and maybe choose a DAW of your own.
Where do I get a DAW?
If you have a Mac, I highly recommend checking out Garage Band, simply because it’s free and already on your computer. There are free versions of DAWs for PCs as well.
You don’t need to worry about finding “the perfect DAW” because, a). it doesn’t exist and b). it’s more about what you know than what you use. Many people look down on Garage Band because it’s not “pro” software, but whatever, you’re just getting started so who cares? Play around with it, see how you like it, and go from there. If you decide you want a bigger/better one, you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for and can make a more informed decision. I used Garage Band for many years and upgraded to Logic when I went full time with my business. Having the background in Garage Band made using Logic much easier!
Every DAW is slightly different with a different layout and controls. Because of this, once people decide on a DAW they tend to stick with it. I use Logic primarily but I can also use Cubase, ProTools and Garage Band. I do this because I work with so many different people who use different DAWs. When transferring files I like to make sure we have similar settings to make things easier.
If you want to know more about DAWs, here is a good site to check out.
If you want to see more glossary terms or learn more about common musician lingo, check out my book here!