The Development Of Digital Audio Workstations

1730 words - 7 pages

When it comes to recording in a modern day environment DAW’s (digital audio workstation) are an essential piece of equipment if professional standard results are desired. Although DAW’s are considered a modern technological advancement the first attempt at a DAW was in 1977 and it came from Dr. Tom Stockham’s Soundstream (See references for full description) digital system. It had very powerful editing capabilities and for its time a very advanced crossfader but was still primitive compared to today’s standard. At this moment there are 100’s of DAW’s on the market but arguably there some obvious leaders. Avid’s Pro Tools has been the go to DAW for any professional studio for the past 20 years and although there have been rumors of Avid going out of business and the features in Pro Tools becoming dated, Pro Tools is still a viable option for studios worldwide. Logic Pro has risen to the fore-front of the industry in recent years due to its easy to use interface that is possible of producing professional results. Ableton Live strays away from a hardware instrument music environment to cater for electronic music users. Audio to MIDI is a main focus along with the critically acclaimed Max for Live used for live performances by many current EDM artists. Each individual DAW has its own pros and cons and comparing these can highlight which DAW is the best for what task.

One of the most important things a DAW has to offer to be considered an industry standard is a accessible interface. Opening a DAW for the first time can be very daunting if the interface is not user friendly. This can be measured by counting how many clicks are needed to reach a certain feature of said DAW. Logic Pro is renowned for its conventional easy to learn, hard to master interface whereas Ableton Live is known for it difficult to grasp arrangement view that once learnt can be very efficient to use. Ableton also has a timeline view similar to Logics default view, although it should be noted that this is not Abletons default view and requires one click to change. This table highlights how many clicks of the mouse it takes in both Ableton Live and Logic Pro to reach essential features needed to create professional quality recordings. See Graph 1
The results show that Ableton has a slightly more complicated user experience if clicks are to be accounted for. Time stretching can be a very useful and versatile tool in a DAW and Logic’s FlexTime proves this. It is very user friendly and easy to use. Extensive stretching can lead to a slight quality lose but overall no lose in quality is noticeable to the common ear. Logic offers 6 different modes of FlexTime that alter the manipulation. These are slicing, rhythmic, monophonic, polyphonic, tempophone and speed.
Although Logic’s layout is simple each mode of time stretching is quiet powerful and can be utilized creatively each in their own right. Abelton has a similar mode called Warp. There are fewer modes, which limit the amount of...

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