Can you tighten a screw with a butter knife? Yes, you can. However, it’s not the most effective or efficient way of going about it. Simply put, using a screwdriver or the right tool for the job would be best. It’s similar when it comes to mixing and mastering music. A Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a fundamental solution to help you mix and master music with more speed and effectiveness.
Mixing music without a DAW is a less efficient process that leaves you with unprofessional-sounding music. And few people know this better than seasoned music producer, writer, producer, and industry veteran Martin Backhausen. Because Backhausen has created music with and without modern DAWs, he explains the importance of choosing the best DAW for mixing and mastering.
Martin Backhausen can read music and play several instruments. In the days of yore, this was all but a requirement to produce a full sound. Today, that’s not the case. Instead, you can use a DAW to unlock the power of a full orchestra at your fingertips. Whether you want the sound of a trumpet or a $15K Grand Piano, the DAW can make it happen. In addition to helping fill out your sound, it can save you several thousands of dollars. Without a DAW, you would have to hire individual musicians to produce the desired sounds.
While virtual instruments are excellent, sometimes you need the power of a live instrument. Martin Backhausen explains, “Using the audio interface with your DAW, you can capture the authenticity of a live instrument or a singer. If you want to record an acoustic guitar, choose a mic that records the guitar. At the same time, most DAWs allow you to plug the guitar right into the software. And if you need to, most DAWs allow your o record two channels simultaneously.”
Undoubtedly, one of the top benefits of using a DAW is the ability to edit your sound. The best DAW makes it easy to cut, reorganize, attach, and crossfade audio. Editing is a vital step to creating quality music, and a solid DAW makes it easier for you to do so.
Whether minor or major, audio effects (FX) can define a sound and elevate your music to the next level. Many DAWs include powerful plug-ins, such as chorus, autotune, reverb, delays, and more. These features can transform your song from sparse to full, amateur to professional, and dry to ambient.
After your song has been recorded, edited, and arranged, it’s time to mix it. Mixing allows you to add FX and polish up the sounds. This step of music production often overlaps with the production stage. Mixing is when you EQ your music and add compression to transform it into a more professional sound. The best DAWs simplify the mixing process. Some DAWs may even combine integrated EQ and compressor plugins.