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Tuesday, 31 August 2021 12:09

Choosing The Right DAW For Your Music Projects

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By now I'm sure you've heard all the fuss about creating music projects on a computer.

Well, today creating digital audio projects on your handheld device or computer has become affordable and easy to do!

If you're going to take this seriously, I highly recommend investing in some proper gear first.  I'll write a separate article on some good recommendations for this, but for now, let's start with a few programs you can use right away without breaking the bank!

A DAW or Digital Audio Workstation is an application that acts as a multitrack recording device.  This is the equivalent of having a band, orchestra, and recording studio all in one box.

 

GarageBand for Mac

I'll start with the goodies for Mac users like myself.  The main reason why I prefer the Mac system over Windows/PC is due to the media tools that come standard with Mac, and its framework which is built on UNIX. This offers far superior abilities than the default Windows counterpart.

GarageBand is the default DAW for Mac and it has many instruments and sound effects that can be used right out of the box.  You also have the option to download extra sounds clips and instruments to enhance your workstation.

GarageBand DAW 

The screenshot you see here is a simple GarageBand project with 5 tracks.  The tracks can contain MIDI data (in green) or sampled sounds (in blue). There are plenty of different styles of music, special effects, and instruments you can choose from.  It's a simple as dragging and dropping items into place and with a bit of practice, you'll have a decent sounding tune in no time!

 

Logic Pro for Mac

Did you know you can get a 90-day free trial of Logic Pro for your Mac? Simply go to the Logic Pro 90-day Trial page on Apple's website and download the link on the page, install and you're good to go!

Logic Pro 5th Concerto

As you can see, the interface is similar to that of GarageBand, but that's about where the similarities end.  Logic Pro has a much-improved soundbank library and comes with many utilities that can be used for professional audio production. 

I must say that I was quite impressed with the difference in the quality of the orchestral sounds with Logic Pro vs. GarageBand. The above image shows a screen capture of the notation format available, which shows all the sheet music for the instruments being played.  In this case, it's a MIDI file of Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto (in Eb).  This in itself deserves a separate blog, but for now, you can rest assured that if you want to expand your piano playing experience with a full orchestra, this is certainly a very affordable and feasible way to do it!

 

FL Studio for Mac/PC

Finally, the last DAW I will showcase today is FL Studio (formerly Fruity Loops).  If you like hip-hop and mixing beats, this is THE DAW for you!

FL Studio Basic Interface 

There are literally thousands of virtual instruments sound samples that can be used with it.  The interface is easy to navigate once you spend a few minutes with it.  The default instrument set and plugins will keep you busy and creative for sure. There's also a version you can use on your mobile device, FL Studio Moblie.  Try it out!

FL Studio Mobile

FL Studio Mobile Playlist

There are also some great YouTube channels that have FL Studio experts providing helpful composition and audio mastering advice.  One person I recommend is In The Mix with Michael Wynne on YouTube.


Now of course there are many other DAWs to choose from.  You can do some digging on your own and come up with names like Cubase and Abelton Live, but since I have not used either and they're kind of pricey, I'll just stick to what I know and trust!

In the coming days, I will share with you some practical examples of using a DAW as a band practice buddy.  Who knows,  just in case there's another lockdown it will be reassuring to know I'll have something to keep me entertained and sane with... lol.

 

References:

  1.  https://www.apple.com/ca/logic-pro/trial/
  2. https://www.image-line.com/fl-studio-download/
  3. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIcCXe3iWo6lq-iWKV40Oug
  4. https://www.ableton.com/en/trial/
  5. https://www.steinberg.net/cubase/trial/
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