Which Digital Audio Workstation Is Best for Learning Music Production?

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Music plays a key role in an individual’s emotional and cognitive regulation. 

Nothing beats the feeling of listening to your favorite song. There’s a special rush to singing the lyrics and playing along with an air guitar. But what if you could make your new favorite song? Music production has become an exciting hobby, and even a career, for many people. If this is something that interests you, why waste any more time?

Below are several of the best DAW’s for learning music production, including quick tips on what to look for when selecting a workstation. 

Determine Your Workflow

Before selecting a digital audio workstation (DAW), it’s important to understand your workflow as an artist. Music production tools and platforms come equipped with a variety of features that serve different artists in unique ways. 

Are you not sure where to start when thinking about your workflow and methods? Take a few music lessons or work in a collaborative session with an established producer.  Once you have a better understanding of yourself as a creator, browse your options. 

Questions to ask yourself when thinking of your workflow:

digital audio workstation

Digital Audio Workstation Options to Explore

Now that you’ve done some personal reflection as an artist, it’s time to select a digital audio workstation that works best for you. While there’s no way to include every DAW available, we’ll hit several of the most popular options. 

GarageBand

GarageBand is a popular option for many producers because it comes free and pre-installed on many Apple devices. Because it can be used on iPads, music can be created at home or on the go. 

When first pulled up, the user will notice the application’s easy-to-use default interface. If you’re new to the music production game, use the Quick Help feature for some tutorials. 

Many experienced GarageBand users have expanded to using various supported 3rd party plug-ins and applications to take their recordings to the next level. 

Are you wanting to experiment with pre-recorded samples and loops? GarageBand has plenty to work with. 

Ableton

Ableton is one of the most popular choices within the music production company. And it’s very obvious why this is!

Even if you’re inexperienced, Ableton offers professional features that are friendly even for the amateurs. Don’t sweat if you do become a bit lost while using Ableton because the vendor offers informative tutorials. 

It’s also a great DAW for those with a fast-paced workflow. Users can go from a chord in their head to a full song on the computer in no time. 

A huge benefit of using Ableton is the community that surrounds this DAW. Because so many people use it, there’s always an answer to your problem. Browse online forums if you need troubleshooting help. 

Studio One Artist

When working with a tighter music production budget, you’ll want to check out Studio One Artist. It’s affordable and offers professional features. 

Many users love this DAW’s library of effects plug-ins and pre-recorded loops. Not only that, but this program does well with recording live vocals

The installation and learning curve process with Studio One Artist has been said to be more difficult than other DAW’s, but we’re confident anyone can learn how to use it. 

If you’re wanting to test out the completely free version before moving up to the paid version, give it a try. The free version is useful for beginner producers. 

Before Running a DAW

Before installing and running your digital audio workstation, guarantee your computer is able to smoothly run the program. You also want to make sure you have plenty of available space. (We suggest buying an external hard drive for your work.)

You’ll also want to browse through the vendor’s list of features and capabilities. Check out YouTube and other video tutorials to watch other creators use the program. This will help you decide whether or not you’re interested in a particular DAW.

Clarify which features are available for the vendor’s different plans. It may not seem worth it to spend extra money for a better plan, but that better plan could come with greater access to mixing features, pre-recording audio, and tuning capabilities. 

Lastly, read up on a DAW’s compatible audio plug-ins. Plug-ins are fragments of computer code that can be used along with a DAW to increase its overall capability. 

Many producers use plug-ins for virtual instruments, equalization, and delay. 

Don’t Rush the Process

The most important thing to remember when learning music and selecting a DAW is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You may not have the best software or music just yet, but it’ll all come with time!

Dedicate time each day to experiment with your digital audio workspace, and collaborate with other musicians to expand your skills and taste. A creative breakthrough is just around the corner.

If you do experience a large number of issues with your DAW, contact the vendor to resolve the problem. 

The Process of Learning Music Production: Selecting a DAW

When learning music production, selecting the Digital Audio Workspace that works for you is crucial. This digital workspace will be your canvas so choose your creative hub with intention. 

As you select a DAW, consider your budget and your personal workflow. Explore each option’s features and available library of pre-recorded samples. 

Are you looking for music lessons from experienced and educated professionals? We offer private and group lessons for everything from guitar to piano to video production. Contact Sloan School of Music to further chat about your music education needs. 

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