The Audio Production Suite -

DAW's (Digital Audio Workstation)

Arctic Cooling

DAW, otherwise known as a Digital Audio Workstation, which is basically another name for a Computer System which is used for Audio Editing, Sequencing, Scoring, etc.

Computers have come on alot over the last 10 years or so, from the old 486 processor systems being able to handle a few tracks of MIDI, and maybe 1 or 2 tracks of audio if you were lucky.
To the super powers of today from the likes of AMD, and Intel with Dual core and Quad core processors.

Technology has come on leaps and bounds, no longer are you held back with the limitations of your computer system, or jitters and freezing with a few audio tracks.

Computers have replaced the hardware samplers of yesteryear, no need to listen over and over to get your sample looping seamlesly, you can just record it into your DAW and visually see the waveform of the sound and cut, loop, reverse, pitch-shift, etc., all at a touch of a button or click of the mouse.

Stacks of sound modules, synthesizers, drum machines all rackmounted up are no longer needed, as these are being replaced by Soft-Synths, Virtual Instruments, etc. All controlled from your Sequencer, such as Steinberg's Cubase, or Cakewalk's Sonar, etc.

You can now have a Roland TB-303, TR-909, TR-808, Korg M1 Synths, and more all running from your DAW system, replicating the classic sounds without anyone knowing any difference.

The Technology has come on leaps and bounds, with Quad Core processing allowing the user to run masses of Audio Tracks, Virtual Instruments, and Effects altogether. Masses of memory also helps out, with prices for memory being so low compared to that of 10 years ago.
You will see systems with anything up to and around 8 GB's of Memory, Hard Disk Drive's into Terabytes (TB's), allowing you to store tracks upon tracks of audio, and retakes, etc.

Their is a good assortment of Soundcards to choose from wether you want something for just basic MIDI sequencing and a few tracks of audio, to an all singing and dancing soundcard with its own instruments and effects on board, running 16 tracks of audio, and MIDI.

I think one of the major breakthroughs come with the Creative SoundBlaster Live! soundcard (1998), and its SoundFont technology, it featured the EMU10K1 processor which a 2.44 million transistor audio DSP, rated at 1000 MIPS. The EMU10K1 featured hardware acceleration for DirectSound and EAX 1.0 and 2.0 (environmental audio extensions), a high-quality 64-voice MIDI sample-based synthesizer, and an integrated FX8010 DSP chip for real-time digital audio effects. It was available in a few different models, such as the Live! Value, Live! Platinum, etc. The price was very competitive aswell, I think its still a decent soundcard even with todays standards, especially at the giveaway price you find them at on eBay - £5 or thereabouts.

Of course there is always the posh top end soundcards with the spare me nothing scale such as your Creamware Scope, and Universal Audio UAD, etc., but you wont be finding one changing hands on eBay for a fiver though.

You can get by even with a basic pc system these days, its all about utilizing what you got, there are many tips to speed your computer up for audio processing, etc.
This will be featured in the Tutorial Section.

You can build your own DAW or you can go to a specialist company that will build one specifically for you or usually have a small range of models to select from.
There are quite a few companies out their now which specialise in supplying specialist components, such as Acousti, and Akasa which sell Soundproofing material to stick on the inside of the case to cut the noise down. Fan specialists such as Noctua, Arctic Cooling, with low noise fans. Silent Power Supply Units from Xilence, Zalman, Antec, etc.
Silent cases which are designed with noise absorbtion in mind such as Fractal-Design.

Your one stop shop for all your computer needs to build a quiet DAW is They sell everything from Case's, PSU's, Fans, Sound Proofing, CPU Coolers, Graphic Card Coolers, and More. They also ship worldwide so delivery to the four corners of the world shouldnt be a problem.

It doesnt have to be a PC either there are still many studio's out there which are running old Atari ST, systems to sequence MIDI. Apple Mac's are alot of people's choice aswell, especially for their reliability which they are known for.

There are lots of software to choose from for Sequencing, MIDI, Audio Editing, Virtual Instruments, etc., from FREE to hundreds of pounds.

Here are a few to take a look at if your interested in using your PC to make music, sequence, compose, etc.

Steinberg Cubase -
Cakewalk Sonar -
Ableton Live -
Anvil Studio -
KRISTAL Audio Engine -

Software Synthesizers\Virtual Instruments
Native Instruments Kontakt -
Propellerheads Reason -
Arturia -
Rob Papen -

Audio Editing

Pro Tools -
Sony SoundForge -
Audacity -

VST Instruments and Effects
VST Planet -
Dream Vortex Studio -
VST Instruments and Effects -

Before purchasing any hardware always make sure it is compatible with your system, make sure you have the right slots spare, such as PCI, PCI-E, etc. That you have the right socket type for your processor, the right type of memory, hard disk space, etc.

The same goes for software always make sure that your system meets the minimum specification requirements, etc. As its no good buying a Sequencer that works on Windows XP, and your running Windows 7 and its not supported. Make sure your computers hardware will work with the software, so you have the right amount of CPU processing power, enough memory to run the application, enough free space on your hard disk drive to store the software and run it, etc. Always make sure you cover all base's as with most, if not all software as soon as you break the seal you cannot take it back to where you pucrhcased it from etc., if its not compatible with your PC system, etc.

The following section lists various manufacturers which supply all-in-one systems which you can usually customise to your own personal specifications, such as what CPU, Amount of GB's of DRAM, What Soundcard, etc., To a pre-built system. If you are comfortable though with getting your hands a bit dirty and have the know how you might want to build it yourself from scratch choosing your own case, motherboard, cpu, memory etc. I have also supplied a shortlist of a few companies that specialise in some of these area, etc.

All-in-One System Manufacturers
QuietPC -
Sweetwater -
Carillon, now a defunct company but you can usually find these systems, cases, etc., exchanging hands on eBay, and Sound On Sound for a fraction of what they used to cost.

Case Manufacturers
Acousti -
Arctic Cooling -
Fractal-Design -
Scythe -
Zalman -

Fan Manufacturers
Arctic Cooling -
Fractal-Design -
Noctua -

Power Supply Manufacturers
Arctic Cooling -
Fractal-Design -
Noctua -
Reeven -




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