Digital Audio & Computers

Duration: 26 minutes

Featuring: Alan Parsons, with John Shanks, and Michael McDonald.

Unless you are a die-hard, analog purist, or have some phobia against computers, recording is now very much a computer-based activity. Even dedicated hardware recorders largely take on the functionality and features of a DAW, making them harder and harder to justify or see any advantage in.

But DAWs–especially for a generation born before, say, the Game Boy–do require time and know-how. A lot of components fit together and need to work together in the way that you want and are expecting. Sometimes the full implications of a choice of an individual component may not be revealed until way down the recording chain when you’re wondering why you can only bring up a stereo pair of channels on a mixer, or when you’re struggling with latency, or when you wish you could hear your full basket of effects when you’re tracking.

In Digital Audio & Computers Alan takes us on an extensive (and often virtual) tour of the various different parts that go to make a DAW–hardware, interfaces, applications, plug-ins and disc drives–and pieces it all together like a jigsaw.

Technical terms and seemingly endless acronyms for digital communication formats are carefully explained and Alan carefully explains both the pleasures and pitfalls of computer-based recording with fellow artists, engineers, and producers.

This section is not intended as a guide to using ProTools or Ableton Live, but is simply a balanced presentation of the world of DAW recording.

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