What is a DAW?
DAW stands for digital audio workstation.  It is an all in one complete digital recording and playback system that can record and play both audio and midi created sounds at the same time.  Midi sequencers without the capability of recording audio tracks are not DAW'S.  Audio recording programs without the ability of handling midi tracks do not qualify as a DAW. 

Modern daws should be able to handle audio recording, midi recording, and external input as well as internal inputs via dxi or VST

What is a Free DAW?
Free is free.  It means that you don't have to pay money to register it or to add additional features.  Old versions of newer more powerful pieces of software that are released by software companies qualify but I haven't been able to find any to this point.  Software that can be used without paying for the registration but retain nag screens and constant reminders of the need to pay for the program do not qualify as free.  They're shareware and you use them without paying for them on your own.  One very well developed DAW that uses this method of distribution is Reaper. Reaper is a great program and is no doubt worth the $60.00 requested for registration but if you use it without registering you're cheating

What is a cheap DAW?
Cheap is inexpensive.  Their are several examples of these and they will be covered here in some detail.  Examples are programs that are included free on Magazine disks like Computer Music's XT Software, and Podium 2 CM.  Other examples are beginner suites or light suites by major companies like Cakewalk.  One of my favorite DAWS,  PowerTracks Pro sells for $49 and is one of PGMusics offerings along with Band-in-a-Box.


Links to DAW Sites

LMMS A Open Source FREE
DAW for Windows and Linux

Power Tracks Pro 2010


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