A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a necessary part of mixing your own music and there are all kinds of DAWs on the market that will get the job done. How do you choose the right software that is going to work for you? You have to balance cost against the features that you are going to need. Here are some of the things that you need to consider before buying a DAW.
- How much can you afford to spend?
There are some pretty big differences in price tags when it comes to software and on top of that each piece of software has different pricing levels. The more features included in the package the more you are going to pay. Some programs like Garageband aren’t that expensive but ProTools, on the other hand can get very expensive. Find your budget and work within it.
- Mac or PC
What are you currently running a PC or a Mac? Not all tools will work on both, for example Garageband will only work on a Mac computer. Double check first to make sure that it is compatible with the computer you have.
- How do you want to use it?
Every DAW on the market will let you do basic things like record and tinker a bit with the sound but if you want to use it for electronic music production not all software will give you what you want. Some are better with MIDI or loops so check into the software’s strengths before you make the purchase. If you are going to be doing your own composing then again some software is better than others.
- What is the customer support like?
If you are not the most technical person in the world or you are spending a couple of hundred dollars on software you want to make sure that you get adequate support when you need it. Some open source software doesn’t offer anything in the way of support and some of the more expensive software spends a lot of money on their customer service teams. This is where you want to read reviews and check and see what they are offering and what other customers are saying.
- What is your level of experience?
There will be purists out there that will tell you that you need some type of software to be a “pro” that is not the case. ProTools is a pretty advanced piece of software and may not be the greatest tool for the beginner. Garageband may not have all the features that a more advanced user might want. The right software will depend a great deal on your skill.