Hey harmonica fam -
In addition to teaching and playing harmonica, I LOVE producing music. That includes everything from project management to artist development, but specifically in this thread I want to open up discussion of the engineering side: recording, mixing, and mastering music.
For those who don’t know, DAW is an abbreviation for Digital Audio Workstation, i.e., what software one is using to record music digitally.
I personally love Logic Pro by Apple. Of course, you have to own an Apple computer for this to be feasible, but if you own a Mac, Logic is waaaay cheaper than Pro Tools, which is the industry standard in most larger, well-established studios. (Besides Logic and Pro Tools, some of the most popular DAW’s are Ableton, Reason, Cubase, Reaper, Bitwig, Studio One, and FL Studio.)
DAW’s in and of themself don’t affect the quality of the sound that you are capturing in a recording. They are just the mechanism for writing all the 1’s and 0’s that digitally represent the music in various ways that can enhance creativity, workflows, and efficiencies for various price points.
An Interface, is the the the device that goes between the musician and the computer that takes an analog signal and converts it into a digital signal. The quality of this A/D conversion is a huge part I personally use UAD interfaces which have great conversion. Other companies that have superior A/D conversion consist of Burl, Neve, Crane Song, Antelope, Apogee, Grace, and Lavry, just to name a few.
The UAD units that I own also have great preamps. Preamps are what boost the signal from the microphone to the A/D conversion. Preamps and Microphones are probably the 2 most important components after the musician, instrument, and room, that are going to contribute to the quality of the recording.
There are other companies that make interfaces that have preamps and A/D converters besides UAD such as Apogee and Focusrite.
I also own TONS of 3rd party plugins. Plugins are devices that can digitally manipulate audio. Some of these are new innovations, and some of these are digital emulations of long-time beloved analog gear that previously could be owned by only the best-funded studios, and the quality of the emulations has continued to improve over the last 20 years to the point that many prominent mixers now mix entirely “in the box” meaning they are just using DAW’s and plugins to mix and master the music.
I own and regularly use plugins by UAD, Soundtoys, Plugin Alliance, Isotope, FabFilter, Waves, Wavesfactory, Slate, Sound Radix, and Synchro Arts just to name a few.
I have a bachelor’s degree in music production from Berklee College of Music, and I also received a certification from Apple for Logic Pro X. So all that to say: I’m a super-geek about the world of audio engineering and production and happy to talk about any facet of it. If anyone wants to talk shop, leave a comment below!