DAW (Digital Audio workstation)

I remember many years ago when I first started working with Digital Audio Workstations and the resources were scarce. Yes, we had internet at its beginning form, there weren’t any mobile devices and we only had a dial-up modem to go online, the download speed was so slow I doubt they even cared to measure its speed, and the struggle was real. 

As I’m sitting here in my car waiting for my dogs to come out of the groomer, writing this blog on an iPad connected to a hotspot, I couldn’t help feeling amazed at how far we have become. 

So back to the subject of using the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), I was so fascinated by all the software and hardware available to us back then, it was a challenge. Our computers weren’t as good as they are today, the first Mac I used was Power Macintosh 9600 I purchased for about $6k in 1997, it was considered the best Mac for music recording and editing back then. It had no video card, and came with 6 PCI slots?? (Used for inserting hardware in it such as a video card or a sound card), had dual 200MHZ processors and I don’t even remember how much RAM it had. Oh, and we also did MIDI. Yep!

close up of sound waves on a computer screen

I remIt was a challenge back then trying to figure out software and hardware compatibility, and how to avoid latency was a major issue regarding monitoring the recordings, it was a very challenging process for sure and we got through it. I used to stay up all night in the home-built studio trying to figure out the exhausting process of downloading drivers to allow components to talk to each other, figuring out why the signal isn’t passing from a compressor to the sound card on the Mac, troubleshooting MIDI channels, oh man what a mess but very thankful for yahoo groups. Back then we relied heavily on online support groups, posting your technical questions and waiting for an answer, it did help I have to say, there were some amazing technical fanatics out there willing and jumping to the first opportunity to help, and they posted from all over the world. Come to think about it, I wouldn’t have done it without them. Thank you.


I have done Audio Post Production for multiple independent movies on that Mac. The challenge was deciding which DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) to use. Our options back them included MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn), the Massachusetts company that gave us DP (Digital Performer), Steinberg the German company that gave us Cubase, and Avid, the American company that gave us Protools with many other programs that never really had any impact on the industry. I actually settled on DP,  started with DP3 back in the day, 20 some years later and they’re up to DP 11, and still a DP fan.


The point I’m trying to make is that gear didn’t matter, we were determined to write music, record music, use MIDI, and mix sound for movies regardless of the equipment limitations we had to deal with. As a former college course director teaching Live Sound Reinforcement and recording for almost 20 years I have always believed that skill overrides gear. What would you do with the best gear on the planet if you don’t know how to use it? Learn to create with what you have. Life is GOOOOOOD!

Smile, write a song, sing, and stay happy. 

Leave a Reply