A digital audio workstation is the core component for any home music studio setup, and it’s a big a decision to make. The DAW you choose is what’s going to allow you to do pretty much everything else related to music and it’s where you’ll run things like Kontakt libraries and VST plugins.
So, how do you even start choosing a DAW? The following are some tips to get you started.
In the past when people were choosing a DAW they had to pay attention to compatibility with their computer platform, but that’s largely gone away. There are a few that are specific to certain computer platforms, but if this is something that concerns you, the majority of available options are dual platform.
You don’t have to put a lot of consideration into compatibility for your computer and your selection of a DAW in most cases, so you can focus elsewhere in narrowing down the options.
As you’ll see from looking at this list of tips, there isn’t a lot of differentiation between DAWs, which for a lot of people can make it tougher to make a decision. In the past, there were some pretty big differences in quality and features, but now with any DAW, you’re going to get a relatively similar level of sound quality and transparency.
What is going to differentiate one from another is how you work within the interface, which is why choosing the right DAW is more about personal preferences and your level of comfort. If you choose an option that you’re not comfortable working with, it’s going to show in the quality of your music, but that’s not necessarily representative of the DAW’s sound quality itself. You may have to do a little experimentation to find what’s going to work best for you.
Should You Just Go With GarageBand?
When you’re deciding on a DAW, there’s the tendency to just go with GarageBand, which is hugely popular. It’s easy to learn, you have a good variety of starter samples and instruments, and it’s just straightforward and basic, which are things a lot of people like.
At the same time, you may want to stray from the GarageBand selection because as simple as it is, it’s functionality and capabilities can be somewhat limited.
If you want simplicity, but you don’t want all the roadblocks of GarageBand, you might instead opt for something like Logic Pro, which has a more high-end feel, yet it maintains a level of simplicity in the design.
Finally, while there are a lot of similarities shared among DAWs, there is one big area of distinction you can focus on.
Some platforms are more suited to a particular style of music over others.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can only make one type of music on a DAW, but it may be more suited to that particular genre. Also, don’t be afraid to try some of the free or limited DAW options that are available, because you might upgrade eventually, but at least you will have given yourself the opportunity to learn what you want.