These tips are not specific to any particular DAW. The methods and processes will vary from DAW to DAW but the concepts are universal.
Writing, recording, and mixing music can be very time consuming. Moving around your DAW more efficiently can make the whole process easier. For example, use the keyboard shortcut to jump from bar to bar or marker to marker. Using basic shortcuts to keep your workflow moving seamlessly is a major step towards working your DAW like a professional.
The selector tool allows you to select part of a region and do lots of things - loop it, delete it, increase the volume and so on. It's a huge time saver when you're writing songs or mixing your music.
Sometimes it's helpful to see the whole picture, but other times you want to see the details. You can get the information you need, when you need it, by quickly zooming in and out of your session. By learning the keyboard shortcuts, it helps to keep your workflow consistent.
Automation is actually a simple process that means having your DAW perform tasks automatically over time, particularly moving knobs, faders and switches for you.
The most popular use of automation in mixing is to adjust the volume of a track at certain points during the mix. By using automation, you'll avoid a lot of problems as you work to make your sounds fit together in the mix.
Latency is the annoying delay between audio or MIDI going into your computer and the sound coming out of your speakers. It's a side-effect of the technical processes of converting, recording and playing back audio files from a computer hard disk. Low Latency monitoring allows you to record any instrument with minimal latency making recording real and MIDI instruments significantly easier.
Capture Recording is often a creative lifesaver. For example, imagine playing a MIDI piano along with your song and creating something you love, but because you weren't recording, the idea disappears and is lost forever. By using the Capture Recording feature, your DAW instantly saves all of the MIDI notes since you last pressed play.
"Bussing tracks" sends or routes the output of several tracks to a single auxiliary track. You can then put plugins on that aux track and apply them to all of the recordings you send to it! In addition to saving time and CPU, it helps to organize your session and glue your tracks together. This tip can can be hard for beginners, but can give your results a significant boost.
"Sends" are copies of a recording which are sent to an auxiliary track. When you process a send, it is NOT added to the original track but can be mixed in to create a more natural sound. This tip works very well for reverbs, delays, effects and even compression.
Sometimes you may play a part almost perfectly but there's one small flaw. When this happens, you can use your DAW's rhythm editing system to move notes in time to put them closer to the grid, similar to quantizing for recordings.
Most DAWs have a section where you can make notes about your tracks. This can help you remember important details about your recordings which may be needed at a later time.
If you need to delete parts of an audio file, you'll need to split the file into two separate regions. This is a vital skill to get the best results from your DAW.
Duplicating a track creates an exact copy with the same plugins and settings as the original. If you want to record different versions of the same part, the process will be quicker and easier if you know how to do this effectively.
When you're writing a song, it can be helpful to listen to the same section repeatedly. If you know how to loop several bars in your DAW, you won't have any problems starting and stopping the song every time you finish playing a section.
While you're working on your music, you'll probably use a large number of the tools available in your DAW. If you know how to switch between tools with just a few keystrokes, you'll avoid breaking your creative flow. Anything that helps you save time and effort will result in a better mix!
When you have a specific idea for a sound that suits your track, it can be very frustrating if you can't work out how to produce it. If you know the full range of software instruments available in your DAW, you'll bring your ideas to life more quickly.
"Quantizing" is a simple process that puts all of the MIDI notes from your performance onto your DAW's grid. It's a great way to tighten your performance. The more advanced "quantize strength" feature allows you to move MIDI notes closer to the grid without putting them on it directly, resulting in a performance that sounds both tight and natural.
Tracks produced in a computer or imported from an external source will often have strange computer-generated names. It helps make your sessions easier to manage if you rename your tracks with descriptive, easy to recognize names.
Color-coding your tracks is another great way to make your sessions easier to manage. If you give each instrument its own unique color, it's much easier to find things quickly, and looks much better.
It can help you manage your songs if you create headers for each song section . For example, create a header at the beginning of each new song section and give it a descriptive name such as "Verse 1" or "Chorus 2".
The "buffer size" helps set the efficiency of your computer's CPU for each session. If you use a smaller buffer size, you'll have less latency in your recordings. The downside is that this can cause your session to crash if you add more and more plugins and run more processes. A good rule of thumb is to use the smallest possible buffer size when recording but the largest buffer size when mixing.
Most DAWs allow you to create custom plugin folders to hold the specific plugins you choose. It's a good time saving tip to create folders of your most-used plugins so they're readily available when you're mixing.
If you've tweaked the settings of a plugin while working on one track, it's often a good idea to save the result to apply to other tracks. The process is usually very simple on most DAWs and can help you save time and increase your creativity.
You can also save the settings for a complete track. By doing this, you can save all of the plugins, volume and pan location of the track, allowing you to create a preferred mix for a particular instrument and use it again and again.