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Ultimate Guide to Choosing & Setting Up a DAW
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This guide provides comprehensive impartial advice to anyone considering music or audio production on a digital audio workstation (DAW). If you are a newcomer to DAWs you will find essential information and advice to help you make the right purchase decisions and setup you system effectively. Even experienced users will learn something useful, and those who already know it all .. well, you can just feel thoroughly pleased with yourselves!

 

You will find every important subject and technology discussed, and by the time you’ve finished reading you will be equipped to make the best decisions for your needs.

 

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Contents

01 What exactly is a DAW?

03 DAW applications
03 Avid ProTools
04 Ableton Live
04 Garageband
04 Propellerhead’s Reason

05 Logic Pro
05 MOTU Digital Performer

05 PreSonus Studio One

06 SaDiE
06 Steinberg Cubase
07 Steinberg Nuendo

07 Cakewalk Sonar
07 Extensibility
08 Should I be using a DAW?

11 Choosing a Platform
11 Windows PC

11 Windows Mac
12 OSX Mac
13 Android
13 Apple iOS
14 Choosing a DAW application
14 Minimum system requirements

15 Installing OS and DAW updates

15 64-bit mode
17 Plug-ins

17 Native
18 DSP plug-ins
18 CV / gate systems
19 Installing a DAW and plug-ins

19 Optimising an operating system
21 License organisation & dongles

22 Screen monitors
23 i/o hardware
23 1. Motherboard built-in
23 2. PCIe cards
23 3. Interface / bus connected stand alone hardware
24 Aggregate devices

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Digital interconnection
25 Hardware / software hybrid devices

27 Understanding latency
29 Loudspeaker monitors & monitor controllers
30 Using headphones
31 Input controllers

31 USB & MIDI connection

31 Controller keyboards

32 Tablet controller apps

32 Other controllers

33 Setting DAW defaults

33 Sample rate
33 Word-length/Bit-depth
33 Digital sync and Word clock
33 Audio file formats
34 i/o buffer settings
34 Record levels
34 i/o routing
34 Pinging external hardware

35 Latency compensation
35 Software monitoring

35 Setting up controllers

36 Keyboard shortcuts
36 Screen-sets
37 Furniture & ergonomics

37 1. Workstation orientation
37 2. Loudspeaker monitor position

37 3. Screen positioning
38 4. Posture
38 5. Mixing controllers

38 6. Monitor control

38 7. Outboard
39 Backing up
39 Backing up projects
39 Backing up a system
39 Backing up sample and sound patch libraries
40 Using your DAW for other activities
41 Suggested starter system

42 Final thoughts

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