What’s a DAW?

With an influx of people interested in game audio it can come as no surprise that those without technical training may not understand some of the lingo and acronyms that are used in the audio profession.  This is the point of this blog post today is to go over some of the basic that someone may encounter when talking to a profession.


DAW is short for Digital Audio Workstation. There are many DAWs out there and everyone has a preference. From using the industry standard Pro Tools to the free but very functional Audacity everyone has an opinion and each one has its own keyboard shortcuts and nomenclature.  My advice is to try out a few since many offer a 30day trial and find out which GUI and workflow work for you.  

Composing inside the box-

This is a term that is used to describe a piece of music that was written and performed digitally thru a computer and a DAW. The composer would need input the notes, generally in MIDI, and then using an instrument library they then assign the MIDI track to the appropriate instrument. Quick note: Many people get confused and think that MIDI contains audio/sound. It does not! MIDI is a code of instructions that tell the instrument how loud, long, what note and so on to play. If you ever seen people who make Christmas lights blink to music they are using MIDI. I also think people use MIDI to control fireworks shows.


The best definition of what a Plug-in is was told to me a long time ago and I can’t remember who said it. This is for the audio world mainly since I know there are other types of plug in for visual and code. “A plug in is a digital version of a real world piece of hardware.” In many cases it is referring to reverbs, compressors, equalization and others that are based in music production.