how well do you know your daw

I’m going to start off our course with a super important topic.

It’s about knowing your DAW.

Everyone always wants the expensive plugins they see in tutorials such as WAVES, FabFilter, and other high-end brands.

But the trick:

It’s all about knowing the basics.

If you know your way around your DAW, this is what opens big doors for big creativity.

Yes, I admit, better plugins usually make workflow easier with their features…

But advance to them when you’re ready!

Never forget this:

This music industry is a business.  This means everywhere you turn, everyone is trying to sell something.

It will never stop.

Be sure of what you want, and that it will benefit you.  Don’t buy something just cause it looks cool, or seems powerful.

Buy because you know you it will help you, and you know you’ll use it for the long-term.

What You Will Learn

  • What Actually is a DAW?
  • Stick to One DAW, and One DAW Only!
  • Knowing your Way Around your DAW
  • Learn Shortcuts for Workflow Sake
  • A Basic Overview of Sounds Needed to Produce

What Actually is a DAW?

what actually is a daw

A DAW is just your music program.  It stands for Digital Audio Workstation.

Some examples are FL Studio, Cubase, Reason, Pro Tools, etc.

A DAW provides us various tools to create and manipulate our sounds to achieve our finished song!

Tools such as EQ, compressors, synthesizers, and many times stock drum sounds are usually included to create your beats!

It doesn’t matter how good your sounds are, or the effects you use because:

Your DAW is your most powerful tool in this production game.

Plain and simple, it doesn’t go further than that.

As you start out, you’ll research which DAW is better. Some claim certain DAWs sound better than others.

I haven’t tested this, but from my readings, it is not true.  A beat will sound good if you’ve produced it properly.

It’s just another audio myth to hang you up while trying to learn music production!

Most DAWs these days are very close in results and features.

There’s obviously differences between them, because that’s what business is, right?

(They try to stand out with better features; that’s competition!)

Stick to One DAW, and One DAW Only!

pick one daw and stick to it

Then there’s the people who:

  • Use one DAW to create the beat
  • Use one DAW to mix the beat
  • And use a different DAW to master the beat

To me..

This seems like more work, more money spent, and more space on your hard drive!

You realize, it takes time to learn these programs, right?!

A good DAW will be able to do all of these for you. 

(Mastering is on a different level, but most DAWs still compete with commercial releases, including FL Studio.)

In your beginnings, you’ll probably try other DAWs to see what you like best.

That’s good!

But you can only do this for so long as it eats away your valuable time!

Eventually you’ll have to choose a DAW and commit.

From there on out, it’s all about learning your program.

You will only become faster, and slowly see the results you want, trust me!

Knowing your Way Around your DAW

knowing your way around your daw

Not knowing your way around your DAW is your biggest restriction.

You have all these ideas in your head, but you have no idea where to click!

Again:

Producers think if they have the best sounds or best VSTs available, and while these definitely help us, they only build off of your foundation..

Which is how well you know your DAW!

Sorry to say, but the only way to learn a DAW is with time, consistency, and persistence!

Make it a priority to learn your DAW!

I never read the full FL Studio manual until about 6 years into producing.

I’m happy about that, because I had a solid understanding of how everything worked in the program.

When reading, it only solidified and gave me extra tips to improve my workflow!

Don’t get all caught up in the hype of what DAW is best, whether that be Logic, Pro Tools, or FL Studio.

I’ve personally used FL Studio consistently since 2008, and it only continues to improve with their FL Studio lifetime free updates.

Learn Shortcuts for Workflow Sake

shortcuts and hotkeys improve workflow

Making beats is all about speed and workflow.

In music creation:

Time is the difference between getting that idea out or losing it!

Every program provides shortcuts!

Just remember as you learn your DAW to pick up some favorite shortcuts to use!

This will allow you to get ideas out fast, and save you time!

Some of my personal favorite shortcuts are the F1-F12 buttons to open windows, and the number pad to switch between patterns!

I also use your basic copy, paste, and cut a lot too. (CTRL + X/C/V).

A Basic Overview of Sounds Needed to Produce

Learning how your DAW works is one thing, but learning the types of sounds available is another.

When I started up, I purchased sounds from multiple companies.

Some were poor, but some sounds were amazing which I still use today!

And when starting up, this is what you need to do. You need to build your collection of sounds.

But there comes a point where you have enough sounds, and buying more sounds can be an excuse for your weak beats!

As long as you’re sounds allow you to create multiple genres, and contain a variety of types, this is all you need.

You can always tweak these sounds later with effects to manipulate them differently!

Conclusion

What I’m trying to tell you, as if I could go back and tell myself, is this:

Learn your music program.

It is your most powerful tool, and without knowing your way around your DAW, you’ll never see the results you want.

So it’s your turn!

Where are you at in your production stage?

Tell me in the comments below, and I’ll be quick to get back to you!