Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is a software that helps you manipulate audio from multiple sources, record podcasts or do advanced sound production tasks. You must know that one software is not better than others for all genres of users. With various audio recording software tools ranging from lightweight applications with just essential functions to professional grade audio production suites, it is difficult to choose the software that suites your the best.
To blow off the confusion, we have compiled the best tools that will help you record audio and create professional music by editing them as per your needs.
Audacity is a free and open source tool which records audio from anything that is played on your PC. There is only one editor which does both, wave as well as multitrack editing. There is only one editor which does both, wave as well as multi track editing. You don’t need to switch back and forth from one editor to another depending on the type of edit you need to make. Its Truncate Silence feature finds and shortens pieces of audio quieter than a set level.
Audacity is a free and open source with different versions for major operating systems like Windows, Mac and Linux. With its plug-in support including LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit, Audacity offers a number of effects like Auto duck, Bass boost, pitch and tempo changes, normalize, echo, room reverb, and tremolo.
At a glance
Major formats supported: WAV, AIFF, MP3, MP2, OGG, FLAC
Mixcraft, developed by the Acoustica team is powered by a lightning fast sound engine and is a complete audio production suite. Mixcraft can record from a variety of sources ranging from built-in microphones to external devices like MIDI keyboards. It can even record simultaneously from multiple devices. It is stuffed with digital simulations of various instruments.
With Mixcraft, you can sync the tempo of the current track to that of pre-recorded audio file. It supports all audio formats for both input and output. It comes with an extensive collection of royalty free sound effects which can be used to create your own music. Mixcraft is perfect for people looking for a featured pack audio recording software. However, Mixcraft is only available for Windows.
At a glance
Pricing: Mixcraft’s paid versions start from $89.
Major formats supported: WAV, AIF, MP3, OGG, WMA
The latest version of this DAW came up with some very interesting updates. The new Arranger features with drag and drop interface allow you to quickly and easily rearrange tracks in the preferred order. The Scratch Pad lets you experiment with different arrangements without messing up with your existing work. The new Multi Instrument feature is very helpful for those who love to create new sound layers from single instrument track.
Studio One comes with four different versions. The Studio One Prime version is available for free but it is limited in its capabilities and features. Rather than a free plan, it is more like a demo version of their high-end Digital Audio Workstation. Studio One 3 Professional, the most feature-packed version is priced at $400. Recently, a new subtractive waveform synthesizer called Mai Tai was added which gives you more flexibility for creating your own sounds.
At a glance
Pricing: Studio One Prime is available for Free. Paid versions start from $100
Major formats supported: AIFF, CAF, SD2, RAW
The recently introduced version 8 of Virtual DJ brought a lot of changes. The Sandbox concept lets you formulate your next song while your audience is still enjoying your current song. It allows you to move to the end of the current track and mix in the next track. The changes are only picked up by the earphones and once you find the perfect transition points, you can disengage the sandbox. The new sampler in version 8 allows you to play unlimited samples including audio, tracks, videos and still images.
Equalizer, filter, limiter, pitch-stretcher and various other audio components have been re-designed to deliver you a crystal clear sound. The internal sound engine processes everything in 32-bit audio. However, if you want to change the internal sample rate, the settings are available in the options. The browser now comes with three zones namely folders, file view and side view. Side view is very helpful for switching between various folders and lists. Virtual DJ supports a lot of built-in editors. The AutoMix editor lets you pre-edit your automix sequence so that you can fine tune the mix-in and mix-out points and the type of transition. Track cleaner allows you to easily remove inappropriate lyrics or unwanted intros from your track. The video editor can be used to add text effects to an existing video or to add a completely new video track to an existing audio track using the parts of a video from other video files.
At a glance
Pricing: For, home users not using Virtual DJ professionally, it is available for free.
Major Formats supported: MP3, WMA, OGG, ACC, CDA, WAV, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, WMV
Along with some usual formats, Reaper supports FLAC, MOV, W64, AIFF for input as well as output. Reaper provides an API that can be called from a compiled C/C++ dynamic library loaded by Reaper or by user created Reascripts that can be written using Reaper’s own editor. Reascripts can also be written in Lua, Python or EEL. There is only one version of Reaper. However, based on the way you use it, there are 2 pricing schemes. You get the discounted license at $60 and commercial license at $225. You need to purchase the $225 license if you are using Reaper commercially and your yearly gross revenue is more than $20,000.
At a glance
Pricing: Starts at $60
Major formats supported: FLAC, MOV, W64, AIFF