This week we featured the debut single from singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Mario Ceara on the show. The single, “I Believe” was produced and recorded in his home studio using consumer equipment and software. The result is a professionally recorded track that cost next to nothing to make.
Thank God I got into the glamorous and lucrative world of podcasting. If I’d stayed in the music business I might have starved to death…
There are a myriad of hardware options, plugins, gadgets and doodads for home-recording enthusiasts but my focus here and on the show is on the digital audio workstation software—or DAW for short.
The DAW software serves as the mixing board, effects rack, and multi-track recorder and is by far the most important purchase when putting together a project studio. It is the “nerve center” of the whole setup so care should be taken in its selection.
Here are a few examples that are “Kaiser Approved”.
The industry standard is Avid’s Pro Tools. It is ubiquitous and is available in various flavors from 2 track versions for beginners just getting into audio production to the HD bundle with its proprietary hardware interface.
Ableton Live is a popular alternative to Pro Tools and is available in 3 versions: Intro, Standard and Suite. The software package is especially suited for live performance.
Apple Logic Pro is a popular choice of professional musicians, is well designed, and relatively simple to use.
Steinberg Cubase has been around for decades and I used an early version of the software on my first computer, the Atari ST. Steinberg actually invented the VST synths and effects standard and most other major DAW developments.
Cakewalk has also been in the DAW software business for decades and their Sonar software is rumored to be the most popular PC-only DAW in the world.
Sony’s ACID has been around since 1998 but is still a player in the DAW game. Looping and automatic timestretching are two of its killer features.
If your budget is tight, some low cost alternatives include Apple GarageBand which is free for Mac and iOS. The open source and multi-platform Audacity is also free. Traktion will set you back $60, and Cockos Reaper offers a discounted license for personal use.
While none of these options will guarantee you a spot at the top of iTunes download chart, they will allow you to record some great sounding music.