Fruity Loops, Ableton, Logic… you may have heard of these before floating around the music world but what are they even? To music producers, it’s a matter of which of these software are the best for them but to someone who is just entering the music scene, it’s very daunting (I know it was for me…). This is the world of Digital Audio Workstations, or just DAWs. They may seem very complex but understanding what they’re for and how to use them are key for the aspiring music producer.
First things first, what are DAWs? Long story short, these are the programs used by the people that make your favorite songs. It’s what makes music, well, music. Producers record, edit, master, and create the final product that you hear out of your phones. With different software, you can do slightly different things. Some of the big names like Apple’s Logic Pro X or FL Studio have layouts that allow them to take advantage of included instrumental loops. Take Ableton Live – it makes using certain hardware for live performance a breeze (so aspiring DJ’s, listen up). On top of just recording and putting the music in the program, all of them make use of EQ functions, which brings out certain sounds more than others. You’ll end up with the cleanest final product.
<<Learn More: EQ Mode: What it is and why your speaker needs it>>
Most importantly, all DAWs need some way to create a finished product. Each piece of software has different modes of production that allow producers to take their creation and preview how it can be used in different settings. Consider what you will use your music for. Background music? You can figure out different echos change the feel of the scene you’re producing. Making some stems to mix around for a DJ set? Consider the different synthetic sounds you can layer on top. Just making the hottest new track for your friends? Consider your speakers limitations or strengths and cater to its features.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll see some of these products and immediately think “I can’t afford this…” And sadly enough, licenses to these products can go for $700 or more! For someone who’s just learning music production or wants more options for audio editing than their phone’s voice memo app, these prices are a bit much. For the producers, you have the starter versions of FL Studio ($90 for the basic edition) and Garage Band ($15 on the app store). These are just like their advanced versions, made simple for the beginning music producer (given some limitations in power). However, if your alley is more along the lines of simple podcasts or making covers, Audacity is one the best. Not only can you do all of your recording and music making with some small editing, it’s FREE!
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