Recording Studio Software

Music has evolved very much in the last ten years, and with it has come the Digital Audio Workstation or "DAW". This is basically a hard disk program that you buy and download onto your computer. There are many different programs out there that differ in price range, and some are better than others. What's fundamental is that you can have the same Digital Audio Workstation that big time production studios have.

The best programs out there on PC computers would be Pro Tools, Cakewalk Sonar, and Ableton Live to name the most popular. Pro Tools is the most popular program out there, and it can work on Mac or PC.

Pro Tools has three different types of systems; LE, HD, and M-powered. The high end HD version supports bit depths of 16 and 24 bit, and also supports sample rates of up to 192 kHz. The newest version of Pro Tools is called Pro Tools essential, and this program allows you to record up to sixteen tracks, and with the essential plug-in more than sixteen sounds come supplied. Pro Tools used to sell for 6,000 dollars in 1991 but is now sold for about 300 dollars. Many popular artists have made their whole CD off of this program, and you can easily use this program with ease.

Audio Damage Phosphor

audio damage phosphorOver the last few years, Audio Damage have built a reputation as seriously eclectic developers, releasing everything from versatile effects to modeled emulations of vintage gear. For Phosphor, Audio Damage have chosen one of the less obvious early '80s synths to emulate.

With most of the classic synths already recreated in software form, it's becoming increasingly difficult for software developers to find inspiration for retro-inspired products. The Syntari Corporation's alphaSyntauri may not be a household name, but it played a major role in bringing digital synths to the consumer market.
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A Brief History of Pro Tools

Avid's Pro Tools, originally developed by Digidesign, looms over the DAW world like a colossus, widely considered to be the industry standard digital recording solution.
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PreSonus Studio One Pro

presonus studio oneThere is always something interesting about a new arrival in the DAW arena, especially when the manufacturer concerned is better know for hardware than software. This is all the more surprising when the software is targeted specifically to compete with the likes of the 'big boys' such as Steinberg's Cubase and Apple Logic Pro. This brings us to Studio One Pro from PreSonus, the big brother of their new DAW offering.

PreSonus is best know to many as a serious player in the audio interface market, but their roots are in analogue outboard, and they now have a wide range of analogue and digital products aimed at the recording and mixing end of the technology spectrum.
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Acoustica Mixcraft

Acoustica MixcraftWith Mixcraft Virtual Instrument support and unbelievable professional instrument collection, you can turn your computer into an entire music production facility with the addition of a simple, inexpensive USB music keyboard or MIDI keyboard.

Mixcraft is deceptively simple. It will appeal to the novice who requires easy-to-use software and at the same time meets the criteria for the seasoned professional that wants an elegant but powerful interface.

Clear, colorful, and intelligently designed interface to streamline your work, Custom loop library includes hundreds of royalty-free sounds in dozens of musical styles, Works with Acid™ and Apple Garage Band™ loops, Record multiple MIDI and audio tracks simultaneously, Piano roll to view and edit MIDI, Includes a General MIDI library, two sampled grand pianos, Hammond B-3™ emulator, MiniMoog™ emulator and a polyphonic synthesizer, Includes 18 high quality effects, Create mega presets that layer and split multiple virtual synthesizers and effects, Add unlimited VSTi™ instruments, VST™ and DirectX™effects, Mix down to MP3, WAV and other audio file types, Burn CDs of your mix with just one click and more.
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Pro Tools M-Powered

Pro Tools M-PoweredPro Tools is probably the most popular recording studio software. There are actually three flavors of Pro Tools, all of which share the same user interface and file format. The primary distinction is the hardware they complement. Pro Tools|HD runs on elite DSP-powered Pro Tools|HD hardware, Pro Tools LE works with a variety of Digidesign hardware including the Mbox 2 family and Pro Tools M-Powered delivers even more options via compatibility with dozens of M-Audio interfaces (see below).

Pro Tools M-Powered software is an exciting version of the award-winning Pro Tools software designed to work with select M-Audio hardware peripherals. An ideal way to professionally record, edit, and mix music, Pro Tools M-Powered software includes many of the same features that top studios rely on to produce Grammy Award–winning albums and Academy Award–winning film sound.
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Propellerhead Reason

Propellerhead Reason

Making music should be as easy as powering up a computer, loading up a powerful piece of music software, and getting down to business. And it is. Reason is a virtual studio rack with all the tools and instruments you need to turn your ideas into music. And it's more than just a set of excellent synths and effects. It's a complete music system. Step into the age of Reason.

Synthesizers, samplers, drum machine, REX file loop player, professional mastering tools, mixer, vocoder, world class effects, pattern sequencer and more. As many of each as your computer can handle. Reason is an infinitely expandable all-in-one music production environment, complete with its own realtime sequencer.

Although easy to learn and a breeze to use, Reason is an extremely flexible music system - a system that can be just as complex and advanced as you make it. With sophisticated tools such as the MClass mastering suite, the mighty Combinator device, or the all-powerful Thor synth, Reason will not just impress, but inspire you.

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Cakewalk Sonar

Sonar 8 ProducerSONAR 8 gives you what you need for recording, composing, editing, mixing, and mastering. Get innovations that matter, from exclusive features to ignite creativity and perfect your tracks, to groundbreaking technologies that always keep you in control, all backed by the industry’s leading 64-bit audio quality. And SONAR 8 delivers the go to production tools you want with the best collection of virtual instruments, mixing, and mastering effects found in any DAW.

With unlimited tracks, amazing creative tools, incredible virtual instruments, the freedom to work with any audio interface or control surface, and the most complete delivery capability for collaboration with users of other DAWS, award-winning SONAR is your best choice in a digital audio workstation.

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Steinberg Nuendo

steinberg nuendoCubase's big brother promises new heights in DAW workflow, especially for post-production applications.

Nuendo may rarely grace the pages of this magazine, while its DAW stable mate Cubase is a regular, but why? Firstly, it commands the highest license-only price for a DAW, taking it out of the reach of many home studio or even semi-pro budgets. Secondly, it's tailored for audio-to-picture work in TV/film/video game post-production and soundtrack com position, as well as surround sound mixing and sound design. Nuendo has always been uniquely feature rich, presenting a massive audio workstation environment that I for one have found impossible to match. This richness makes it hard to cover all the aspects of Nuendo, so I shall concentrate on the new features of version five.
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Ableton Live

ableton-liveAbleton Live is about making music; for composition, songwriting, recording, production, remixing and live performance. Live's nonlinear, intuitive flow, alongside powerful real-time editing and flexible performance options, make it a unique studio tool and a favorite with live performers. If you'd rather be "making music" than just "using music software," Ableton Live is for you. Live 8, the latest version, includes a wealth of new techniques and improvements with a new groove engine, revamped warping, live looping, new effects, crossfades in the Arrangement View and a reworked MIDI editor.

One of the ways Ableton Live software is an advantage to you, especially in the live setting, is its two main views which allow you to do all your work within a single application. The Session View is essentially a musical scratch pad.
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Band in a Box

Band in a Box 2009 ProBand-in-a-Box is an intelligent computer software (available for Windows and Mac) which can generate a full band arrangement with Bass, Piano, Drums, Guitar, Strings, and more. This means that you can go from nothing to complete song arrangements in as little as a few seconds. Simply enter chords to a song, choose a style of music, and Band-in-a-Box does the rest.

The MIDI and audio tracks that Band-in-a-Box creates are automatically played out through your computer's built-in sound card or synthesizer, and the music notation is displayed in a lead sheet window. You can arrange, listen to, or play along with songs in hundreds of musical styles. The soloist feature is amazing - you can have your own top session players whenever you want.
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