Digital Audio Workstation
What is a Digital Audio Workstation?
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a computer-based system that is used to record, edit and play back digital audio tracks. Many professional recording studios have converted their analog setups to Digital Audio Workstations. There are three components that make up a DAW: the daw computer, the daw software and the audio interface.
What is a DAW Computer?
A DAW computer is a specifically designed for digital audio production. These computers are highly optimized for effects processing in real-time. A good DAW computer is reliable, quiet and very fast. A good DAW computer must also be ready to record out of the box; fully tweaked and stripped of unecessary software or services.
What is DAW Software?
Sometimes reffered to as a DAW host, DAW software communicates with the audio interface and the computer to record one or many audio signals. The DAW software provides the user interface that enables recording, editing and playback of audio projects.
DAW software usually have extensive MIDI recording, editing, and playback capabilities, and some even have video editing features.
Some examples of DAW hosts are Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, Reaper, Ableton Live, Wavelab, StudioLive, etc...
What is an Audio Interface?
An Audio Interface (aka sound card) is the hardware that converts analog audio
signals, such as those from your microphones, or guitars, into digital data (AD Conversion).
This information is recorded via your DAW Software to the hard-drives on your DAW Computer. Some audio intefaces come with microphone preamps, others require an outboard preamp. The audio interface is also what provides the analog audio signal for your studio monitors or headphones (DA Conversion).