The Digital Age

Digital audio recording has become a way of life in today’s fast paced world. While many may argue that digital audio is killing the sound of modern music, it is hard to disagree that computers coupled with digital audio have brought home recording into a new age. This new age allows the enthusiast to produce in his living room what it used to take a professional studio to accomplish. Instead of saving a thousand dollars to spend on a local studio to record a few songs, you can spend that same thousand dollars on some decent equipment and teach yourself a trade that will allow you to record as many songs as your muse brings you. The adage goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a meal. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” Computers and digital audio recording give every musician the opportunity to “learn to fish” and feed their creativity for a lifetime.

DAW: The Digital Audio Workstation

A DAW can be many things: a standalone digital hard disk or digital tape recorder, a keyboard with recording features, a computer running dedicated hardware and software, or a home computer running recording software along side your productivity suite and entertainment software. For the home recording enthusiast there is no reason to view any of these as different at their core. Fundamentally, digital audio is as digital audio does. All digital audio is represented by a binary stream of ones and zeros. Boiled down to bare essentials, there is nothing different about what a $50,000 Pro Tools rig does and what your $300 home computer can do. The difference is more about your ears and your skills. There is no reason why you can not accomplish great results with your home computer. Some of my music for sale on Ben R Vesco was recorded on a Pentium 100 in Windows 3.1 (yes, it is true). All of those songs were recorded in either a garage or a bedroom. If I can use that kind of archaic hardware, software, and location to help me realize my dream of selling my music, then there is no reason you can’t tap the power of your home computer to help you realize yours. Stop listening to the naysayers who are trying to hold you back. This site is here to help you get through some of the learning process much easier.

Conclusion

The digital age section of the site is home base for articles specifically about things we encounter in the world of the DAW. While many articles I have here contain knowledge that works in any medium, these articles are specifically about the deep technical details of software and hardware. Use the sidebar to find the articles you are looking for.

Here is a list of some DAW software that I find to be of very high quality. Every one of these boxes packs enough features to make pro recordings. Don’t be fooled by the price tags. More expensive does not mean better in the digital age.

Basic Features

Steinberg Cubase SE
Based on the renowned Cubase SX, Steinberg Cubase SE is ideal for anyone who keeps a sharp eye on their finances but doesn’t want to do without professional technologies in their home recording, project, or pre-production studio.

Intermediate Features

Cakewalk SONAR Home Studio 6 XL Recording Software
Turn your PC into a complete music production studio. Record instruments and vocals and mix them with studio-quality audio effects. Edit audio, MIDI, and music notation. Build backing tracks or entire songs with hundreds of included instrument sounds and tempo-syncing loops.
Line 6 GuitarPort RiffTracker
The Line 6 GuitarPort RiffTracker makes it easy to record your killer riffs before they’re gone forever. Combining award-winning GuitarPort hardware/software, RiffWorks recording software, the unique InstantDrummer, and super-simple automatic setup, it’s the easiest guitar recording rig ever.
Mackie Tracktion 3 Ultimate Bundle
Based on a simple, single-screen interface, Tracktion is the fast, powerful, complete solution for turning your ideas into finished songs. And unlike the competition, Tracktion 3 comes with all the power and plug-ins you’ll ever need.

Enough Features to Blow Your Mind

Digidesign Pro Tools M-Powered 7.3 Recording Software
Pro Tools M-Powered 7.3 is an upgrade to your M-Audio-based Pro Tools system with exciting new music creation tools; more editing, mixing, and automation features; powerful customization and grouping options; and improved video functionality and post production workflows.
Cakewalk SONAR 7 Studio Edition
SONAR 7 from Cakewalk comes with a massive, dynamic assortment of audio effects, virtual instruments, and ingenious technologies. Use SONAR 7 Studio Edition to record, edit, and mix unlimited tracks of audio and MIDI. Now you can enhance and tidy up your raw creative ideas into the kind of polished finished product you’ll be proud to share.
Steinberg Cubase 4 Studio
This streamlined Cubase 4 Studio package has 46 plug-ins to give you the power to create, record, and mix.
Cakewalk SONAR 7 Producer Edition
SONAR 7 Producer Edition brings you freedom in music recording like never before. Gone are the limits on track count, bus routing, and effect or instrument inserts. Add to that a gigantic selection of audio effects, virtual instruments, and improved technologies to pump up your production, and we’re talking about an enormous creative canvas.
Steinberg Cubase 4
Cubase 4 sets a powerful standard for integrated music production by combining powerful audio and MIDI recording, synthesis, editing, mixing and effects. 52 VST plug-ins (including 34 new VST3 FXs )and four integrated software synths give you the power to create, record, and mix. The Control Room eliminates the need for an external mixer and gives you virtual control room functionality.

Prepare to dig in and have the journey of your life!

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