Virtual Collaboration • Audio Mixing & Mastering • Voiceover

Which DAW is right for you?

From Logic to Pro Tools, Cubase to Digital Performer, Sonar, Cakewalk, FL Studio, or Garageband? How about Reaper? Or Live? Let's not forget Reason or Record. Or Sony Vegas? What about Nuendo, Audition, or Studio One? 

I'm sure I've forgotten one or two, but that list of Digital Audio Workstations name just a few of the most popular ones on the market. The ones named above represent 16 programs for Macs and PCs that do essentially the same darn thing. 

So, how to pick one? The answer is simple, and it can be applied to most elements of technology today:   Ergonomics

Ergonomics, or as I like to call it, "How well you and it work together."  

As an aside, I love photography and enjoy taking pictures in my spare time. When I was going to choose a camera, there were many good brands to choose from: Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony, Pentax, Fuji, etc. Specs were almost indistinguishable from each one, and fanboys of each brand would tout their own reasons why their brand was better in the long run, but at the end of the day, a camera is a camera.   The only thing different about those cameras were the folks behind them. The photographer makes the photograph, not the camera. I have some phenomenal shots that I've taken with my iPhone mixed in my portfolio with some shot with my Canon SLR. The point is, it's not about what you use. It's about what you do with it,  or more specifically, how comfortable you are with it.  When I was camera shopping, I had the sales rep at my favorite camera shop set out similarly-priced cameras from the top manufacturers, and I chose the Canon based on how well it felt in my hands and how quickly I was able to get to using it. 

Anyways, back to audio...  

It's easy to open up any of the programs I'd mentioned above and be instantly overwhelmed at the myriad of buttons and menus that smack you in the face right off the bat. Whether or not something will make sense to you or be "ergonomically friendly" to you is not a quick thing to determine, since we're dealing with a piece of software as opposed to something you can hold in your hand.

Video tutorials are a great way to get a feel for a program without owning it yet.  

Sites like lynda.com or macprovideo,com are subscription-based sites that offer video tutorials on just about anything out there. There's also a lot of good content on YouTube for free. Give yourself an hour or so, see if you like how a particular program looks and feels, and go from there. Some programs have trial versions you can download and play with before spending any money. 

So, my point is, don't feel you have to use one program. Try multiple ones until you find one that melds with how you like to work. Find one that will be "ergonomically friendly" for you and fit in with your thought process.  Then, the software will become less of a hurdle and become a true tool you can use to accomplish your ultimate goal, which is music.