Drake is a multiple award-winning rapper, singer, and songwriter. He released eight studio albums, alongside many EPs and mixtapes.
The formula lies in his work with the accomplished producer Noah “40” Shebib, who produced every single one of Drake’s albums. Shebib is known for having a subdued, lo-fi sound that gives Drake’s work its signature style.
So what DAW does Drake use on his albums? And how does a DAW make a difference in an artist’s sound?
Noah Shebib, better known as 40, is the producer who helped Drake mold his sound and achieve the critical and commercial success he has today.
His production style is considered minimalistic, where he prefers to make the vocals front and center on his tracks.
Drake seems to like this formula, as he stuck with 40 for the entirety of his career. Even when Drake made the shift from rapping to making pop music, the production remained the same.
40 describes his production style as “I have so much around me. So many resources, so many tools, so many sounds, so many options.”
He created a studio environment where he doesn’t lack any equipment or software so he can achieve the sound he needs immediately.
That said, 40 has a preference when it comes to DAWs that he uses to produce Drake’s music, and they are:
- Avid Pro Tools
- Ableton Live
- Steinberg Cubase Pro & Steinberg WaveLab
He also uses a hardware/software integrated system called “Maschine” made by Native Labs. This system combines a piece of physical technology to curate and mix sounds, loops, and plug-ins from pre-existing DAWs.
A DAW is a software that can help an artist or producer record, add effects, mix, and master their tracks. This means the DAW has a role in every step of the music-making process.
While there are free DAW options like Audacity that can do all of these things adequately, a professional program can make the process sound much better.
Apart from having more controls, plug-ins, and effects, professional DAWs are compatible with more hardware pieces.
In Drake’s case, 40 describes his process as emptying the top channels and relegating the music and effects to the background. This makes the vocals sound more raw and honest because they’re at the forefront of the production.
He achieves this by using multiple DAWs, as we stated earlier, alongside a hardware/software console-like Maschine. This isn’t necessary to get good results, but it makes the process easier and more accessible.
Drake is an acclaimed artist, so asking “What DAW does Drake use?” is only logical.
His primary producer, Noah “40” Shebib, uses a mix of different DAWs to achieve his laid-back, lo-fi sound. Pro Tools, Ableton Live, and Cubase form huge parts of his signature sound.
Add to the mix his Maschine, and you got yourself a professional DAW set-up that won Drake four Grammys…and counting!