Building your digital audio workstation
In this article we will learn about the importance of a DAW when you want to produce music. To start with you need a computer! And a powerful one at that. Before installing a DAW think about saving up money to buy the most powerful laptop or assembled PC that your budget will allow.
You want to have a ccomputer system with the most powerful processor and the best memory to ensure that speed is maintained. Also for assembled computers ensure that you get a low glare non reflective LED screen. Let us look at the elements that comprise the basic set-up of a DAW:
1. Computer or laptop (Gaming laptops are preferable due to their high specs)
2. Sound Card or Audio Interface
3. External Hard Drive. A drive with atleast 1 TB of storage is essential to save your software files and backups.
4. Good quality headphones for recording as well as monitoring your sound.
5. Monitors / Speakers: The speakers will be connected to the monitor outputs of the sound card.
6. MIDI Keyboard. The MIDI keyboard controls the sounds and other parameters inside the DAW.
7. Control Surfaces. These are again MIDI controllers that contain physical pads and knobs.
8. USB Hub: A multiport USB hub will just make your life easier by creating 4 ports out of one and make it easy for you to connect your External Hard Drives, etc.
These are the basic elements for a home studio or semi-pro music production suite. One more important element is custom made workstation. Most people just ignore this aspect. Try and get a local carpenter to come down to your house and get a basic workstation made with an elevated rack for placing your speakers. Your speakers and ears should be at an equal distance apart from each other. With your seated in the center, the left and right speakers should form a nice equilateral triangle shape.
Always remember that you must turn on your speakers after your computer has fully booted up or your speakers may make a popping noise and it may get damaged. Turn your speakers on after your computer has booted. Again you should turn your speakers off before you shut down your computer because the shutdown process also creates cracking and popping noises that may damage the expensive speakers.
In our next article we will explore the process of installing a VST or Virtual Studio Instrument.