What is a DAW?
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a piece of software for recording sound, sequencing hardware and software instruments, composing, editing and mixing your music. If you imagine a real-life recording studio it would have tape recorders, mixing desks, synths, pianos and microphones. A DAW is a virtual version of all that hardware running on your computer.
The one thing you’ll need to fuse the real world to the virtual studio is some way of physically plugging in microphones, guitars and speakers. Your computer may have basic connections for this but you are better off getting an Audio Interface that will give you proper sockets for your audio gear. Check out our article on the Best Audio Interfaces.
How do I choose the right DAW?
The great news is that you can’t go far wrong. All the DAWs in this list will let you record yourself through a microphone, come with virtual instruments like synths and pianos, and let you edit, arrange and mix it all with effects plugins.
They will all do this but they also have different styles and approaches that may suit your music or way of working better than another. Our guidance will hopefully give you an idea about what they can do and then go and watch some videos on each one that impresses you.
What's the easiest DAW to learn?
These are the DAWs that we think give new users the easiest time with clear interfaces, good tutorials and an easy-to-follow workflow that will get you recording in no time.