What Does DAW Mean in Music?

If you’re just starting out in the music production industry, you’re going to hear a lot of terms that the average person isn’t going to know, such as DAW.

So, what does DAW mean in music?

What is a DAW?

DAW is an acronym in the music industry that stands for digital audio workstation. It’s a computer software mainly used to create music.

Recording audio, then editing, mixing, splicing, and manipulating it are all main features of any industry-standard digital audio workstation.

In the early days of computing, if you wanted to edit and mix your audio digitally, you had to use multiple different programs. Fortunately for us, though, DAWs combine all the features you’re going to need into a convenient and intuitive software package.

How is a DAW Used Professionally?

In this section, we’ll go over the functions and features of DAWs in greater detail.


DAWs have audio sequencers, which are sometimes called timelines. After recording the audio you want, you can start editing the track by cutting, splicing, adding, or subtracting parts of the audio.

It’s not like you’re limited to editing only one track either. You can add as many tracks as you want to the timeline and edit all of them together.

Virtual Instruments

You can replicate traditional instruments like the piano, guitar, or violin inside DAWs by using MIDI commands. For example, if you want to record and use a piano but you don’t own one, you can easily download a virtual piano to use in your DAW alongside a MIDI keyboard.

midi keyboard

MIDI keyboards are often used alongside DAWs to control and manipulate virtual instruments.

Audio Looping

Audio looping is when you take an instrumental passage like a phrase or a note and repeat it continuously throughout the track.

Commonly used loops include drums, horns, strings, etc. Since these loops are almost always in the form of MIDI files, you can easily edit them into your track.

You can either download a set of loops from your DAW or make your own audio to loop. Any chord progression you produce on a guitar, for instance, can be selected and copied into your track.


If you’re planning on digitally mastering your music, you’re going to need a DAW.

Mastering is the last step in music production. It’s basically fine-tuning the music, making sure it’s ready for the various formats it’s going to be on and that there aren’t any loud clicks.

What DAW Should You Use?

You can use whichever DAW you like. Don’t listen to anyone who keeps comparing the different DAWs and lists all the pros and cons. It doesn’t matter which DAW you work with because the artist makes the music great, not the software.

headphones in a studio

Still, we figured we should show you a couple of DAWs that are universally respected in the industry.

Wrap Up

We know from experience that choosing your first DAW is a hard and important decision to make. We hope we’ve been able to shed some light on what DAWs are and what they can do.

Remember, don’t get fixated on which software to use. Just focus on your music journey and improving yourself.

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