DAW is stand for Digital Audio Workstation and also we can say” Music Production Software” in a simplest language. it facilitated us to Record, Edit and create audio information as per the user requirement.
There are four basic components in a computerbased DAW required and those are:
- A computer,
- Sound card (also known as Audio interface),
- Studio Monitor (Speakers)
- Any one input device to change musical notes e.g. – a Keyboard or Midi controller
You could use either a mouse, or an automated External Mixer for mixing track volumes or even with a MIDI controller keyboard.
How it functions –
The computer basically acts as a host machine for:-
- The audio interface (sound card)
- Related software/s and also
- Functions as a processing power for any audio editing.
What is a sound card? (internal or external audio interface) typically does is that it converts all analog audio signals into digital signals, and for any recording playback, converting the digital signal to the analog audio; it usually assists in further processing the audio as well.
All the hardware components are controlled by the software controls and it also provides a user interface to allow any recordings, editing and playback and few have video-related features too.
In single-track DAWs, only one (mono or stereo form) sound is displayed at a time while in a Multitrack DAWs and only multitrack DAWs capable for music production and music programming, sound is displayed on multiple tracks simultaneously while on a mixing console, each track typically has controls that allow the user to alter & manage the overall volume and panning (stereo balance) of the sound on each track. You would observe that in a typical recording studio one physically plugs into the audio signal path for any additional processing which is not the case with the DAW as it routes in software or uses something called as VSTs (software plugins) to process the sound on any given track.
DAWs are highly efficient in comparison to any traditional tape-based studio setup, and the last few years have seen a significant change of its replacement. So off late all contemporary advanced recording studios generally have various types of DAWs in their premises. Please don’t be surprised to see any musician or any sound engineer who travels with a portable laptop-based DAW.
There are some forms of automation that a DAW generally features, often performed through “envelopes”. Envelopes are typically procedural line segment-based or curve-based interactive graphs. These lines and curves of the automation graph can be joined adjusted as per own preferred settings points. Any person can specify & set desired parameters of the output over volume or pan. It is also not uncommon to witness MIDI as a common data protocol used for transferring gestures which may also be derived from human gestures recorded by a control surface or controller to the DAW.
Contemporary & futuristic DAWs have already incorporated the basic functional MIDI recording, editing and playback in synchronization with other audio – video tools.
Logic Pro X, Cubase, Ableton Live, FL Studio and Bitwig Studio are a list of few DAW’s that are available in the market for production and music arrangement. All work similarly at a functional level but a few features here & there may just make each one stand in tough competition with each other. Choosing a DAW completely remains a matter of personal choice.