A digital audio workstation (DAWS) is the foundation to creating your own music at home; it’s a Swiss army knife for creating music digitally, combining recording and editing software in one. Access to this software means anyone can click and create.
The beauty of DAWS is that they do not have to put you out of pocket to achieve a professional sound; Grimes released her debut album Visions in 2012, a 13 track album recorded in a three-week time period in her bedroom, using GarageBand, a free DAWS and my first suggestion to anyone looking to test the waters of home producing and recording.
Garage band is a tool that many people are familiar with, but not many realise its full potential. It has a simple and clear interface which makes getting to grips with software a smooth and easy process; you can just plugin and get creative. Though most of the features on GarageBand are pretty self-explanatory, there are many tutorials available online to help those who wish to go in-depth with the software from the get-go, but my advice is to explore it yourself! It works on a click and drag basis so it makes for a very easy setup, with the option of fine-tuning with the large amounts of mixing and producing tools after recording, and the more you use it, the more you learn about it and how to achieve the sound you require through practice and fine-tuning.
Unfortunately, GarageBand is exclusive to apple and IOS compatible devices, sorry Windows and Android users. The silver lining is that this software is extremely portable, you can access it on an iPhone or an iPad, so if you come up with an idea whilst out and about, you can get it down and recorded as fast as possible to keep your ideas fresh.
Audacity is the go-to free DAWS for those without IOS devices, however, many choose to use this instead of GarageBand on their apple devices as this software is completely cross-platform, meaning you can use it on basically any computer. This software is slightly harder to get to grips with than GarageBand, mainly because it offers a lot more professional features when it comes to editing your work.
If you are looking to get a polished professional sound, this is the DAWS for you, as long as you are willing to put the work in that is; the number of detailed editing tools offered in this software may take a bit of time and practice to get a hang of, but the end product will definitely be worth it. This software is very editing and producing based, and does not support MiDi recording like GarageBand does, however, this arguably makes recording easier because you can just plug it directly into your audio jack and get playing, no extra equipment needed apart from a jack adapter!