DAW software for beginners: User Guide for Beginners

DAW stands for Digital Audio Workstation. The concept of DAW originated way back in the 1990’s along with the evolution of home recording. There has been a lot of controversy and discussions regarding which one should an individual opt for. This argument still rages on with an increased amplitude. Thanks to the wide range of available options. This wide range of availability also offers DAW software for beginners. They are an alternative to the age old practice of recording with tapes. These are basically based on computers. It can be thought of as a virtual studio that resides inside of an individual’s computer.

When it comes to beginners, it’s indeed a tough choice to make. Taking all this into account, I have come up with the perfect guide for DAW software for beginners.

How do you purchase and install a DAW?

This entire propaganda can turn out to be quite challenging. Before purchasing, you must have a brief idea regarding the options available. You basically have 3 options that you can opt for. Namely:

  • A Digital Version:

This is perhaps the best option for beginners as you can download the software from the company’s website itself and get going right away.

  • The Included Version:

This actually comes in free of cost along with certain gadgets or interfaces. If you are looking to save, then this option definitely ought to draw your attention as you get an interface as well as the virtual workstation at the cost of one.

  • The Boxed Version:

This option actually sends the DAW software for beginners to your door step. This is usually preferred by individuals who prefer keeping a physical copy of the software with themselves.

If you thought purchasing was tough then you ought to have mistaken. The most difficult portion of this entire scenario is the installation. Unlocking the software is quite a bit of hustle. You must download your license and store it in a USB dongle. This dongle must be plugged in whenever you need to record. Most beginners usually take a lot of time figuring out this step. Well, it took me about 3 days. Unless one goes through the instructions carefully and follows all the steps from top to bottom, he or she will have to hustle a bit.

Free DAW’s vs Licensed DAW’s – (Limited and Full Versions)

Free DAW’s do exist and they do work but their functionalities are cut short as compared to the licensed versions. They are basically a waste of time. Yah at the end of the day you do earn something but the time wasted as compared to what you gain is not always worth it.

Buying the limited version of some premium DAW software for beginners is a better option as compared to wasting time with the free editions. These limited version exist so that small home studios can have the luxury of a DAW as well. The expenses go down drastically as compared to the full versions but at the same time the features offered by these limited editions are somewhat close to the licensed editions. And more over, these restricted features are generally used only by advanced sound engineers. This is the reason why you don’t even need them.

Purchasing a limited version doesn’t mark a dead end. Later on, if you need the features that are restricted in the limited editions, you can very well upgrade your DAW. Since by that time you are already a customer for quite a while, you might as well get a discount. This is perhaps the best possible means of getting a fully licensed version.

Top DAW’s of 2014

Listed below are the best DAW’s of 2014. Each of these have been used on various hit recordings.

  • Presonus Studio One:

It is ranked one on various websites and I can’t really find a reason as to why it shouldn’t be. It is a quality DAW software for beginners as well as for experts that ought to fit your budget it you are aiming big. It’s very first version was released in 2009. Since then it has only got better. The Presonus Studio One is available in 3 editions, The Artist Edition, The Producer Edition and the Professional Edition.

  • Cakewalk Sonar:

Though the users I have spoken to didn’t seem to be pleased with this DAW but none the less, the fact that it is one of the top ranked DAW around can’t be ignored. It actually has a bit of compatibility issues when it comes to MAC, Linux, etc. Though most DAW’s nowadays are cross compatible, Cakewalk is only compatible with windows. This is why it’s marked as dropped by various individuals. It is available in the X3 Edition, the Studio Edition and the Producer Edition.

  • FL Studio:

Initially it was known as Fruity Loops. Its name was recently changed to FL Studio. It is preferred by Dj’s and musicians all-round the globe. The best part about this DAW is its one time investment policy. You have absolutely zero expense after you purchase this setup. It’s perhaps the only DAW that features in the top 10 list and offers free updates for lifetime. It is available in a Fruity Edition as well which represents its legacy. It is one of the few DAW’s to offer a mobile version, FL Studio Mobile. Though its mobile version is free in most regions, it serves various minor purposes.

  • Propeller head Reason:

There is much more to this setup than one can see. It is perhaps the only DAW to offer a suite of virtual instruments. These virtual instruments can be combined with other DAW’s as well. It offers a real analog gear. The appearance of its visual interface is quite astounding.

  • Ableton Live:

This was initially designed as an instrument to be used for live performances only. Over the years, it has evolved into a complete recording package. However, one of its primary targets is still live performances. Its entire visual interface fits in a single 16 – 18 inch screen. This is perhaps one of the most if not the most user friendly DAW software for beginners.

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