Assuming you’ve got a decent computer, you’re going to need some software to record your music, add effects and mix things together. This software is called your Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW. Here again, you can spend a lot of money or you can spend very little. Actually, you can get a basic, fairly decent DAW for nothing. Audacity is a free, open-source, DAW that’s pretty cool, especially for the price.
Apple’s Garage Band is another free option for Mac users.
After you get into this for awhile though, you may find that you want to upgrade to one of the paid DAW platforms. For this, you’ll need to spend a few bucks but, in the long run, you’ll be happier with one of the paid applications. Pro Tools is the software of choice for many people and it’s an awesome piece of software. But there are others that I like too. The main ones worth considering are Cubase, Digital Performer, Sonar, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, and maybe a couple others.
Most of those links are to the manufacturer’s pages and I’m not affiliated with any of them. For more unbiased info, just do a quick Google search on any of them, add the word “forum” and you’ll find out more than you ever wanted to know from tons of folks who’ve actually used their stuff and will tell you exactly what’s what. Price points range from free (Audacity, Garage Band) upwards to more than a grand, just for the software.
But here’s the deal: In the beginning, and for awhile after that, it almost doesn’t matter which DAW you use, IF you take your time and really learn how to use it. Even though each DAW is a little different, the basic concepts we’ll be covering apply no matter what software you’re using. Sound is sound and tools are just tools.
It’s not the gear, it’s the ear.
Tomorrow, in Tip #4, we’ll be talking about some other pieces of gear you’ll need to get going. Then we’ll dive in, and start using it all to create some awesome home studio recordings. Catch ya tomorrow.
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