What’s the first digital audio workstation you remember working with? For me, it was the Turtle Beach system, a DAW most of you will have never heard of. It was just a touch beyond what we’d consider a modestly capable consumer system today, but my then boss, mastering engineer Glenn Meadows, managed to squeeze some professional work out of it before he moved on to become SADiE’s biggest fan. Early products from Digidesign (pre-Pro Tools), Digital Audio Labs; programs like SAW and later Cool Edit — these led the way for today’s DAWs.
Of course, computers have come a long way as well. The CPU resources of the computers that were the contemporaries of these early DAW systems were extremely limited by today’s standards. Native processing is finally living up to the needs of sophisticated production. Indeed, some manufacturers have found native processing superior for their needs, for their coding efficiencies and flexibility, to the point where they’ve moved away from using card-based or external DSP processing. Others have long been in the native camp, but are now liberated from limitations imposed by that choice of paradigm.
You’ll find many systems represented in this issue that exploit native computing power like never before, and the software costs can be stupendously affordable. There’s a DAW ideal for your operating style; hopefully, our ongoing coverage will help you narrow your choices or even discover that gem that feels like it was written just for you.
A bit of business — Strother Bullins has a new title as of this issue: editor. Strother has truly been doing the job for some time now — wrangling our contributors, managing the flow of review gear between manufacturer and reviewer, editing content and producing the weekly PAR Reviewsletter. The title is an acknowledgement of a job well done. As if all that were not a full-time job already, Strother will be taking the PAR e-newsletter daily by the time you read this note (if you aren’t already getting the PAR Reviewsletter, or the Pro Sound News Daily e-News, you can subscribe for free to these and other NewBay Media newsletters). In what free time is left after his family and PAR, Strother is also a gigging drummer and a personal studio owner.
Strother and I share a bit of history, both of us having worked for Nashville’s Masterfonics Studios, and Strother was the second editorial hire at Audio Media USA. We went separate ways for a while in our trade journalism pursuits, but it’s been my pleasure to work with him again on Pro Audio Review. This magazine has benefited greatly from his commitment to serving you, the reader. You may see my face and words up front here each month, but the credit for making Pro Audio Review what it is today belongs to Strother.