Digital Audio Workstation (DAW): Foundation for a Home Recording Studio - Page 4
Audacity tops the list of free audio recording/editing software programs, and it too is increasingly becoming quite powerful. However, Audacity is not considered a program used in professionally produced audio for commercial release. It's quite possible there are exceptions to prove the rule. Creative musicians are able to do amazing things with limited equipment, but the free programs pale by comparison to Pro Tools, etc.
Pro Tools is considered the "industry standard," a label that does not necessarily mean the best or better, where preference is often the deciding factor. Comparing these programs is like the classic comparison of PC vs. Mac. Again, it's a matter of preference, but there are reasons why Pro Tools is, in fact, the standard (Coming is a separate article focusing on the features of Pro Tools).
It is critical to consider that in the purchase of a DAW other variables are equally as important as the program itself, obviously starting with the computer. In spite of the minimum requirements listed by manufacturers, having a sufficiently powerful computer will make all the difference in the world in terms of performance and technical issues. Audio (and video) requires a significant amount of processing power, especially when composing music for video. The top programs offer more than one view, such as track view vs. edit view, and many musicians are now opting for more than one monitor for multiple views at the same time. Along with speed, anyone who has ever tried to send an mp3 audio file using email or stores mp3s on an mp3 playback device can appreciate how much storage is needed when it comes to 100s and 1000s of audio files. In recording, audio is captured in the form of .wav files and the .wav format has enormous storage requirements, far more so than it's compressed mp3 version.
Admittedly the lines between amateur and professional are becoming somewhat blurred in the age of smartphone apps and stories of hit songs created just using two thumbs. In other words, smart phones are becoming quite powerful indeed. And the future of computing holds tremendous promise, from virtual reality to molecular-based computing (nanotechnology). For now, we'll focus on the kind of computer needed to handle a Pro Tools HDX system and similar. Also, expense is not a criteria for this introduction on computers used in recording but will definitely be considered in future articles and blog posts.Continued on the next page