Digital audio recording is no longer reserved strictly for the major recording studio. If you have a band or if you just want to record your own demo tape, you can do so from the privacy and comfort of your own home. This can save you a ton of money and enable you to record, mix and master your musical project at your own convenience and at your own pace. But choosing the right program can be tricky, and largely boils down to your own individual needs. Here are some suggestions:
Pro Tools has become an industry standard for home (and studio) audio recording. With its versatile array of features, Pro Tools allows for even the most precise fine tuning, which makes the program ideal for serious musicians and budding producers. Be warned, though. Pro Tools is a highly complex piece of software, which beginners may find highly intimidating or even impossible to navigate.
Logic Pro is a popular rival to Pro Tools, produced by Apple and available only for Mac OS X. Logic offers a similar interface to Pro Tools, along with many of the same fine tuning capabilities, and also provides users with some powerful software synthesizers like the ES1, ES2 and EFM1 (perfect for electronic musicians).
Steinberg Cubase has been around for a LONG time (since 1989, to be precise). In fact, it is one of the earliest home digital audio workstations still in production. As a result, the Steinberg company has had many, many years to get the software just right. Cubase allows you to easily integrate audio editing plug-ins called VSTs in addition to providing many of the same recording and multi-tracking features as Logic and Pro Tools.
Adobe Audition is one of the newer players in the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) game, but it nevertheless offers a very impressive layout and all the features that a professional musician or producer would desire.
Cakewalk was developed by Roland, a company renowned for its keyboard synthesizers and other digital music equipment. If you use Roland equipment at home, you can integrate them smoothly and easily with the Cakewalk (or Sonar) software.
GarageBand gets an honorable mention simply for its ease of use. While not as versatile or powerful as the aforementioned program, it is the ultimate DAW for beginners, hobbyists and people just looking to get their feet wet in the world of digital audio recording. You do not need any formal knowledge of recording to start using GarageBand.