Digital Audio Workstation

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is often a type of software that is designed to produce, create, mix, and master music.

A Few things to Remember when Setting Up your DAW

  • Set Bit Depth to 24-bit, so dynamic range (in dB) is greater. This allows gain stages to be set more lackadaisically.
  • The Sampling Rate is set to 48,000 Hz so that the entirety of the spectrum of human hearing 20-20,000 Hz (roughly) can be represented, and the variety of collaborations (with video producers too) is maximized.
  • Set the sample buffer size low (around 128) when recording/tracking, and higher (around 1024) during post production to allow the use of VSTs. Recording MIDI tracks to audio, or Freezing them, will reduce the CPU load and allow a lower buffer size again, if more recording is needed.
  • Be sure to use .WAV or .AIFF uncompressed filetypes, and choose an "interleaved" file setting, so that stereo is ready to go. For example "Broadcast WAVE" is ready to go.

Project Checklist

  • Name your file well, have a folder on your computer where you store all your projects and they're easy to backup.
  • Set your sample depth to 24-bit, and your sampling rate to 48,000 Hz.
  • Configure your hardware audio interface with your DAW.
  • Set your sample buffer to 128 samples and then increase it later when necessary.

Recording Checklist

  • Check your settings
  • Create a track (mono for single source inputs or stereo)
  • Name the track
  • Lower studio levels
  • Record enable the track
  • Set levels using the preamp
  • Enable the click and countoff
  • Record



Delay effects

  • Chorus: often used to widen (in the stereo field), a sound that competes with another sound, thus letting the other through
  • Flanger & Phaser: sometimes used as guitar/keyboard effects
  • Delay:often used to enhance the width of a stereo mix (see w:Haas_effect)
  1. Slap-Back mid-range delays: used to mimic walls instead of reverb for space
  2. Long delay: used to thicken and support music

Various filters


Highlight what each instrument is good at and lower what it is not good at. Similarly, often one instrument will need to be cut to allow another to come through.

  • High Pass Filters: occasionally used to reduce "rumble"
  • Shelving Filters: often used to boost...
  1. Highs (brightness, guides listener to important thing in the mix) or
  2. Lows (bass boom, emphasis or warmth at 100 Hz for exp.).
  • Bell, Notch or Parametric Filters (or EQ): Removes unwanted resonances (like percussion tones)

The Stereo Width of a mix

  • The focal central column
  1. Hi-Hat
  2. Vocals (this is where keyboards & guitars also occur - see w:Auditory_masking)
  3. Snare drum
  4. Bass
  5. Kick drum

Balance elements by pushing conflicting elements off to one side of the central column, but be sure to balance (e.g. keyboards to the left and guitar to the right). Alternately, use a chorus or some other width tool on a single instrument. Lots of mixes are an inverted pyramid with a wide range high and a central low end.

The Space of a mix


The thing that's farther away will be:

  1. Quieter
  2. Wetter (reverb)
  3. Duller in highs
  4. Wide and clear in Stereo Width (for stereo instruments)

Additional resources