What’s the Best Audio Software for Your Project?

In Creative Experience, we offer a variety of software that can be used to record, edit, mix, and master audio. These are called digital audio workstations, or DAWs. Here are some of the DAWs we offer in Creative Experience and a guide to choosing the right one for your project.

Audacity

  • What is it? Audacity is a free audio editing and recording software.
  • Uses? Recording audio, basic post-production editing such as trimming or adding fades, and multitrack mixing.
  • Limitations? Audacity does not support virtual instruments. It cannot process real time effects while recording. 
  • Recommended projects? Podcasting, spoken word, audiobooks, or beginner level music production.
  • Skill level: Beginner to Advanced. Audacity is extremely user friendly.
  • Suggested Lynda.com video: Learning Audacity with Garrick Chow

Adobe Audition

  • What is it? Adobe Audition is digital audio workstation that is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.
  • Uses? Recording audio, post-production editing, and multitrack mixing. It can be used with Adobe Premiere to edit the audio from videos. 
  • Limitations? Like Audacity, Audition does not support virtual instruments.
  • Recommended projects? Audio post-production and podcasting. Ideal for integration with other Adobe-based projects, such as those in Premiere and After Effects.
  • Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced. Audition can be intimidating to use if you have never used a DAW before, but it is not an overly complicated software.
  • Suggested Lynda.com videos: Audition CC 2018 Essential Training and Audition: Mixing a Short Film

Ableton Live

  • What is it? Ableton is a music sequencer and DAW that is geared towards live performances, commonly used by DJs.
  • Uses? It can be used as an instrument in live performances in conjunction with Ableton Push hardware, but it also can be used for recording, mixing, and mastering. 
  • Limitations? Ableton’s strengths really show when used with the Push, which the Library currently does not offer. (Though customers are welcome to bring their own Push!) 
  • Recommended projects? Creating projects for live musical performances, such as DJing, and creating electronic music.
  • Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced. If you are familiar with other DAWs but have never used Ableton, there are Lynda.com videos to get you started. 
  • Suggested Lynda.com video: Ableton Live 10 Essential Training, Creating with Ableton Live Plugins and Instruments

FL Studio

  • What is it? FL Studio, previously called FruityLoops, is a DAW built around a pattern-based sequencer. 
  • Uses? FL offers a wide variety of virtual instruments which you can use to create an entirely MIDI-based beat or song. You can also record audio, mix, master, and add effects.
  • Limitations? While FL is able to process audio recordings, it will not give you as many options as you will get in other programs. 
  • Recommended projects? Full MIDI instrumental beats, and creating your own samples.
  • Skill level: Beginner to Advanced. FL can be used for basic instrumental and recording needs, but can also be used for more in-depth musical projects.
  • Suggested Lynda.com video: Learning FL Studio 12

Pro Tools

  • What is it? Pro Tools is a DAW that is considered a music industry-level standard.
  • Uses? Non-destructive recording, editing, mixing, mastering, elastic audio, and MIDI capabilities.  Pro Tools also has the ability to process audio embedded within video projects (but be warned, you cannot actually edit video). 
  • Limitations? The Library currently only offers native Pro Tools plugins, so some users may be familiar with plugins not included.
  • Recommended projects? Post-production for large multitrack projects, editing music videos, podcasts, and recording acoustic instruments.
  • Skill level: Intermediate to Advanced. Pro Tools is not overly complicated, but it can be hard to utilize the full capabilities of the software if you have never used a DAW before.
  • Suggested Lynda.com video: Pro Tools 2019 Essential Training--Basics, Pro Tools 2019 Essential Training-- Advanced Techniques, Pro Tools: Mixing and Mastering, Pro Tools: Virtual Instruments

Studio One

  • What is it? Studio One is a relatively new DAW made by PreSonus.
  • Uses? Non-destructive recording, mixing, editing, and MIDI capabilities. It also has the ability to master entire albums and individual songs.
  • Limitations? CEXP’s version of Studio One does not include video processing or editing.
  • Recommended projects? Mixing and mastering an entire album or EP, beginner level loop-based music, and publishing music straight to SoundCloud.
  • Skill level: Beginner to Advanced. 
  • Suggested Lynda.com video: Learning Studio One 3, Vocal Production Techniques: Editing and Mixing in Studio One
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