If you are just starting out and trying to find out the best home recording programs and setups you may be thrown off by some of the lingo. A DAW is short for Digital Audio Workstation this is the program that runs your hardware and processes the sound inputted into your computer. Some examples of these may be ProTools, Cubase, Logic, Ableton Live and many others. If you type into google what is the best DAW you could read for days and still be left without a suitable answer. That is because there is no concrete answer to this question. It is all subjective to the user. It is like asking which is better GM or Ford, you will find many opinions but no answers. Each DAW also offers many different unique options that may be invaluable to one use and useless to another. There are great selling points to all of the workstations mentioned and all of them have their pros and cons. Many home recording experts may try multiple applications before finally settling on one.
Criteria for picking your workstation include:
Compatibility: This is an important factor when deciding on your DAW. If you are someone who collaborates with other musicians this may be a critical component in your productivity. It can give you endless headaches trying to sync with a user of a different DAW. If you foresee collaborating with a professional studio in your near future an application like ProTools is an industry standard and may prove to be invaluable tool in collaboration.
Hardware: Hardware refers to the physical source of input that you will plug your instruments and microphones into. Although ProTools is the industry standard it is incompatible with any other Hardware other than that manufactured by Digidesign. Some other DAW's allow hardware setups of your choice in which you can use a myriad of different hardware options and enjoy compatibility with users of different interfaces. Not all hardware is created equal, the kind of hardware compatible with your DAW may be a big factor in choosing your digital audio workstation.
Midi: Depending on the type of music and your approach to recording how your DAW handles Midi may be an important factor. If you are using a midi music creation tool like Reason you may want to be sure that your DAW supports ReWire, which is a tool that plugs reason into your DAW.
Ease of use: This may or may not be an issue for you. If you
are the kind of person that is impatient and doesn't like reading manuals, ease
of use may be of great importance to you.