If you’re trying to get your home recording studio off of the ground, you’ll find that you have an important choice to make: what should you record onto?
Many home studios set up home recording stations on their PCs and Macs, and this is absolutely fine–hey, I’m typing this article on a fully outfitted PC recording studio. However, digital audio workstations or DAWs have received a lot of fanfare from music publications, and many home recording enthusiasts prefer them.
So, should you use a DAW or your home computer for audio recording? Here are a few facts to help you figure it out.
DAWs are designed for recording. A digital audio workstation is designed specifically for the purpose of audio recording and nothing else, so it’s got a few advantages; you only need the DAW and some mics to get up and running, while with the computer, you’d need to build a fast machine capable of handling loads of audio processing and then select some type of audio interface for it.
Experience computer users won’t find this to be too difficult, but a DAW is best for people who prefer one tool per task.
PCs have other uses. On the other hand, if you’re getting into home recording as a hobby, a PC may be a better choice. You can use a recording PC for anything else that computers do, and that may make it easier to shell out the $1,000 or so that you’ll need for a decent PC home recording rig.
PCs are more flexible. Many users are more comfortable with the user interface of a PC, and they like the idea that if an audio input stops working or if new software is released with loads of extra features, they can easily perform system upgrades. Obviously, you can’t do this with a digital audio workstation.
DAWs can be difficult to control. The user interface of a digital audio workstation can be complex, and you’ll have to carefully read the manual to learn how to control it. Depending on the amount of time that you were thinking of investing into your home studio, it may not be worth it.
DAWs can be faster and more portable. A digital audio workstation is great for live recording, because it’s portable and usually only requires one power cord. Digital audio workstations are often faster than PCs for audio processing tasks.
Ultimately, you should try out a few digital audio workstations to see if you enjoy them. I personally believe in the power of a good home recording computer, but if you’re getting great sound, there’s no right answer–use what you’re comfortable with.
Do you prefer a digital audio workstation or a PC for home audio recording? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.