DAW Informational Guide: Choosing A DAW

A DAW, or a Digital Audio Workstation is an application and/or and electronic device used to record, produce, mix, and alter songs, sounds, or recordings. Regardless of its configuration, a DAW will allow a user to alter their sound by adding effects to a recording or live streaming performance.  
 

Application of a DAW during a stream

You can use a DAW to add a variety of audio effects to your live stream. For example, a DAW can be used to set up a ‘Click Track’ to ensure you are playing in time with a backing track. Using a DAW allows you to exercise a greater breadth of audio features, including autotune, delay, reverb, drums, synths, layered vocals, harmonies, and more.
 

What you need

  1. Audio Interface (As well as drivers/control software)
  2. DAW
  3. Headphones / Monitors

Choosing your DAW

There are many DAW's to choose from, as you can see from the list below. Please keep in mind, this doesn't include all DAW's available- only the ones we strongly recommend. If you're new to DAWs, please refer to the 'Free' section listed above, this will help introduce you to digital audio workstations. Please ensure the DAW you've selected functions properly with your operating system.

 

Free:
Garageband (Mac Only)
Reaper
Pro Tools First
Audacity (Win only)
 
Paid/Advanced:
Logic Pro X (Mac Only)
FL Studio
Ableton
Pro Tools
Studio One
 
 
 

Recommendations and Insights


Sample Rate

Sample Rate is the number of samples per second that is captured when converting an analog signal to digital. Two common sample rates are 44,100 samples per second (often referred to as 44.1kHz) and 48000 samples per second (48kHz).

What is most important here is that your DAW, audio interface, and any sound forwarding software are all synced at the same sample rate. For example, if your audio interface is set for 48kHz, your DAW and sound forwarding software should also be set to 48kHz.

If one of these instances is set to a different sample rate, say, 44.1kHz, this will cause a clocking issue and will generate a series of pops and clicks within the audio signal.

Generally, the sample rate can be adjusted within the settings of any audio program. Note: Some audio interfaces have a physical button or knob on the physical unit to adjust the sample rate instead. It is very important to make sure your sample rates are set up and synced from the start to avoid any further issues down the line.

 

I/O

Setting up your I/O is mapping your interface into your desired DAW. Connecting your interface to your computer will normally set up your basic I/O configuration in relation to your interface, but if you are experiencing any issues we have included some DAW-specific instructions for how to adjust your settings below:

Ableton Live: Open Ableton Live > Route I/O through the desired tracks

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Pro Tools: Click Setup > Click I/O > If necessary, change Input and Output settings

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Logic Pro: Click Logic Pro > Hover Preferences > Click Audio > Click "Devices" and also "I/O Assignments"

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Buffer Size

In your DAW’s audio settings, you have the ability to change your buffer size. Buffer size is the amount of time it takes for your computer to process any incoming audio. 

Low Buffer

  • For tracking, you want to set your DAW to a lower buffer size. Lower buffer size will reduce the amount of latency for more accurate monitoring. Lowering your buffer size will utilize more processing power on your computer.
  • When your buffer size is lower, reduce the amount of processor-intensive plug-ins to prevent computer processor strain. Processor strain may create clicks and pops while tracking. 256 samples is a great starting point when setting your buffer size. If you run into system issues such as processor strain, raising your sample rate to 512 samples may help to mitigate.

High Buffer

  • While mixing, it's safe to raise your buffer size as you will only be monitoring playback. A buffer size equal or greater to 512 mbs should be sufficient depending on your overall computer specifications. At this stage, you may utilize more plug-ins without encountering computer processor issues.


Changing Buffer Size

Garageband: No option to change buffer size in Garageband.

FL Studio: Click Options > Audio Settings > Choose buffer size from slider/dropdown

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Ableton Live: Click Live > Preferences > Audio tab > Under latency, Choose buffer size

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Pro Tools: Click Setup > Playback Engine > Choose buffer size from drop-down

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Logic Pro: Click Logic Pro X > Preferences > Audio tab > Devices > Under I/O buffer size, Choose buffer size.

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