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Seriously, Don't We Need a Better Acronym than "DAW"?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post

    We need a new name, but does it have to produce an acronym? Most of the good short acronyms have more than one meaning anyway.
    One of the new Rules of Life is that if it's a few words, someone will make an acronym out of it, and will try to pronounce it. I never say "DAW" (there's audio in that link), I always say "Dee - A - Doubleyou" to make the point that I don't like to call it a DAW.

    Did we have an acronym for a Wire Recorder? Tape Recorder? Tape Deck? Mixer? Electric Guitar?
    I've seen people write "EG" (and it's partner "AG") when talking about guitar tracks, but not specifically the instruments themselves. It's interesting, though, how many newscasters, when playing an audio clip, say "play some tape." I hear this a lot on National Public Radio (NPR), which, incidentally, brings around the memory of the RCA Victor "His master's voice" dog, Nipper. "Mixer" is short for "Audio mixing console," and so is "Console."

    Do we need to add the word Digital? Everyone knows anything on computer is Digital by now.
    But not all audio workstations are on computers, at least what the proverbial "everyone" recognizes as a computer. I'd be happy calling it a Computer Audio Workstation when talking about all the pieces together, when one is a computer that wasn't specifically designed for audio. Does CAW sound any better than DAW?

    Except for the fact that you can't do much in the way of editing on them, the cassette-based TASCAM Portastudios could qualify as workstations because they include all the basic components to go from microphone to ready-to-release recording (admittedly, you need something external to store that on). Akai made a couple of digital audio workstations that included a CD-R drive so you could produce a finished CD. Their guts were all digital, but who cares?

    In the style of Wire Recorder and Tape Recorder how about Bit Recorder? Then since it's an App, how about a Bit Recorder App?
    To that, I say "BRAPP!" (an unpleasant sound)

    Like the QWERTY keyboard and the non-transposing piano keyboard, I think we are stuck with DAW because it has become part of the lexicon.
    I'm afraid you're right about that. Still, I have a hard time making myself say "Quirt-tee" so I just say computer keyboard when there might be a chance to confuse it with a musical instrument keyboard, as there might be when discussing what's in the studio.

    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then


    • Notes_Norton
      Notes_Norton commented
      Editing a comment
      I too spell out most the acronyms. With few exceptions like MIDI. But it's a D-A-W, M-R-E, G-M-O, G-P-S, L-A-N, and so on.

      And yes, people "Tape:" things on tape-less recorders, "Dial" phones that have no dials, the phone still "rings" even though it has no bell, phone jacks and plugs for guitars haven't been used for telephones for almost a century, and so on.

      For some things we don't like changing. Names are one of them.

      The early Microsoft Windows OS's had a "switch" in the preferences to turn the QWERTY keyboard into the much more efficient and quicker "Dvorak". But people already knew how to use the QWERTY so there was no incentive to go back to square one.

      And yes, we are probably stuck with Dee-Ay-Double-you.

      But I still think Binary Recording App (BRA) would be a good one because both the piece of clothing and recording consoles have knobs. Take no offense ladies, it's more pun than sexist and I like puns.


  • #32
    Originally posted by KB Gunn View Post

    I find it interesting that TASCAM has a 24 track self contained recording system for a few hundred dollars and QSC Touchmix 30 has the ability to record multitrack sessions direct to an external disk drive. Both are able to bypass a computer completely for multitracking sessions.
    The latest TASCAM 24-track digital recorder/mixer has limited editing capability and I think lists at a $grand, but it pretty well qualifies as an audio workstation until you have to get a final product out the door. You can record multiple tracks internally, play them back and mix them, and record the mix. I suppose you could copy that to a USB thumb drive, then fire up the computer to go the last mile - burn a CD, or upload a file to the Cloud.

    There are several mixers now that are capable of functioning as multi-channel (as many as the mixer part has channels, at least) computer audio interface. Couple it with a computer and software, and you have a workstation. It's the old "last mile" conundrum.

    I think that the industry is realizing that not everyone works with music that's pasted together (for which files and a mouse work just fine), and want to be more hands-on to feel connected to the music. I'm like that. When I'm mixing, I'm always moving faders. I don't stop the computer and draw a volume curve on a track when something gets too loud or too quiet. That takes too much time and an uncomfortable (for me) type of concentration. I lose track of the fact that it's music.

    So we're seeing more mixers that integrate closely with computers to make a decent workstation. Mackie's HDR24/96 recorder and d8b console, both digital computers at heard, made a great workstation. And PreSonus came out with the Studio One line of DAW software to make a sensible workstation out of a StudioLive console and a computer running StudioOne. Although Allen & Heath didn't make software, their ZED-R16 and GSM-R24 analog consoles could interface with a computer so the computer could do the recording and editing, and you could have hands-on mixing, either analog or digital if you wanted (the faders could be put into MIDI mode to control track volume in the DAW program), and they had "transport" controls and track arming buttons right there on the console so you didn't have to move from the console when tracking. But not enough people wanted to spend that much money on a piece of hardware that took up a lot of desk space that they didn't have (either money or space).

    What I like about building a DAW out of pieces is that it's flexible - I can re-configure the input interface with better mic preamps or better A/D converters and use it with the same computer and software that I've been using. Or I can swap the Windows computer for a Mac in order to run software that's not available for Windows. And I can get different software or updated versions of the software that I'm using. But herein lies the rub - when there's a computer involved, you lose a certain amount of control as to what and how far you can upgrade. You find a new interface that's everything you want when looking to improve the gozinta side of your workstation, but it has a Thunderbolt interface and your computer doesn't have one. So you decide that maybe it's time to update the computer, too, and then you have to spend a week getting your software to run on it, or maybe learning a new program because you got a Mac for the Thunderbolt port (it's pretty rare on Windows computes, still).

    What I like about a tape deck and an analog console is that I can fix things when they break. True, I can't use inexpensive plug-ins to do the job of real hardware, and I can't do minute edits.

    And what I like about a fully integrated system is that it will work like it always did until something fails, because after a few months to a year, there aren't any fix-it updates. And when a component fails, you usually can't fix it.

    Workstations probably don't please anybody entirely, but they do allow people to produce music who would never have otherwise done so.

    "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
    Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then