Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) – Part 2

In Part 1 of DAW (Digital Audio Workstations) we defined this system and provided its main characteristics. Now it is time to get into further detail.

To begin with, DAW can be divided into two categories: integrated and software. 

Types of DAW


Integrated DAWs involve a mixing console, a control surface, an audio converter, and data storage—all within the same unit. They became fairly popular even before a simple computer could be powerful enough to run a DAW software! Evidently, as computers increased in power and speed, and as their prices dropped, the popularity of these systems crashed. This resulted in how other techniques becoming the standard production equipment within radio and television stations.


A software DAW is a computer-based software that involves four basic elements: a computer, a sound card or sound interface, digital audio editing software, and one or more input devices to add or modify data. It is as simple as a mouse, or as complex as a piano-style MIDI controller keyboard, or an automated fader board for mixing track volumes. The computer is the host for the sound/card interface and the software helps with functionality for audio editing. The sound/card interface transforms analog audio signals to digital audio ones and vice versa. The DAW software controls the hardware and offers assistance on the process of recording, editing, and playback, as well as further processing of the audio.

More on DAW

Computer-based DAWs include the recording, editing, playback, and video-related features. In general, DAWs offer a wide spectrum of effects to improve or change sounds. For example, journalists use a type of DAW known as Mobile Audio Workstation (MAW) for recording and editing in a specific setting right in their smartphones. 

Despite the fact that DAWs tend to have a variety of user interfaces, they are generally based on a multitrack tape recorder metaphor. Because DAWs usually have a standard layout, they are easy to use—even for beginners. They contain transport controls, track controls, a mixer, and a waveform display.

DAWs: Single-track vs Multi-track

There are single-track DAWs and multi-track DAWs. The first ones are only capable of displaying either a mono or a stereo sound at the same time. In contrast, the second ones handle multiple tracks at once. A multi-track DAW can compare itself to a console because the musician can adjust volume, equalization, and stereo balance within the same device. DAW can route in the software or use audio plugins to process the sound on a specific track.