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Dawless recording-Pocket Studio

If you're searching for a more tactile, hands-on approach to your music production, a DAWless recording workflow could be exactly what you need. Rather than focusing on a computer screen and mousing through menus to shape your productions, DAWless recording aims to bring you the old-school studio experience with dedicated buttons, knobs, and faders to bring your recordings to life. And thanks to digital innovations over the last few decades, you have more options than ever for DAWless recording, mixing, and mastering.


Table of Contents:
What is DAWless recording?
Why choose DAWless recording?
Can You Make Pro-quality Productions with DAWless Recording?
Some examples of DAWless recording workflows
DAWless recording for singer/songwriters
DAWless recording for your band
Basing a studio around DAWless recording
DAWless recording — you don't have to compromise


What is DAWless Recording?
Technically, a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) is any type of system (workstation) that allows you to work with digital audio. When we talk about DAWless recording, we're talking about getting away from the feeling of sitting at a computer running DAW software, mousing through menus and controls, and replacing that experience with dedicated recording hardware that doesn't require a computer to operate.

Instead of using your mouse or keyboard to control playback, you have dedicated transport control buttons. Instead of tweaking pan knobs and faders with your mouse, you have real physical controls under your fingers. And you won't need to spend hours in the glow of a computer monitor. If all that sounds like a better way to make music than sitting at a computer with DAW software, DAWless recording could be what you're looking for.


Why Choose DAWless Recording?
Many producers that choose DAWless recording feel that it allows them to better connect with the music. You may not realize how much visual distraction your computer screen is causing until you remove it from the equation — when you are creating volume automation by moving faders by hand instead of drawing on a screen, you're focusing more attention on what you're hearing than on what you're seeing. Recording with dedicated hardware, as opposed to a computer running software, gives you the physical connection and enhanced sonic focus that computer-based DAWs often lack.

Some DAWless recording proponents are also interested in reducing the chances of repetitive strain injuries which are common among long-term keyboard and mouse users, as well as the eye fatigue from sitting in front of a monitor. Recording and mixing on dedicated recording hardware frees you from repetitive mouse movements and finger-stretching key commands, and doesn't demand the visual attention that a computer-based DAW will.

One more important reason many musicians and producers prefer DAWless recording is that you can often start recording more quickly than with a computer-based DAW, helping you catch inspired moments while they're fresh. With dedicated recording hardware, it generally takes a minute or (much) less to power up and begin recording tracks. With a computer-based DAW, if you don't already have your DAW software open and a session set up, you face more obstacles that could potentially quell the creative vibe you have going.


Can You Make Pro-quality Productions with DAWless Recording?
Modern DAW software offers you a ton of creative options, many of which you'll never or only rarely use. Consider that all of the recordings from the golden age of recorded music were produced without DAW software, plug-in processors, and complex automation. And most veteran recording engineers will agree that if the music is good, and recorded well, it's relatively easy to get a good mix going without adding dozens of plug-ins. There's no reason you can't achieve professional-sounding results through DAWless recording.

If working on a computer-based DAW takes you out of your creative zone, you're going to hear it in your music. A DAWless recording rig can help you stay focused on creating great music and not on navigating the session, routing channels, and ignoring email notifications. In other words, DAWless recording helps you stay in your creative zone while you're capturing inspiration, and also helps keep you focused on the music when you hit the mixing stage.


Dawless recording-Model 16

Some examples of DAWless recording workflows

DAWless recording for singer/songwriters
If you sing, play guitar or keyboard, and generally only need to record one or two inputs at a time, a compact and portable Pocketstudio like the TASCAM DP-008EX or DP-006 could be your ideal DAWless recording solution. Pocketstudio recorders offer inputs for microphones and instruments, onboard editing and mixing, and basic processing like EQ, compression, and reverb. And because they can be powered by batteries, Pocketstudios are perfect for impromptu recording sessions wherever and whenever.

Recording with a Pocketstudio is similar to using an old-school multitrack tape recorder, but with the practically unlimited storage capacity that SD card storage provides. You can begin recording in less than a minute, you'll be able to use dedicated controls to navigate your recordings, and you'll be able to shape your mix with knobs while you listen, instead of mousing around while you stare at a computer screen.


DAWless recording for your band
Whether you're aiming to produce a full album with your band, or are looking for a better way to record band rehearsals and songwriting sessions, you can enjoy DAWless recording with an all-in-one production mixer like the TASCAM Model 12, Model 16, or Model 24. These hybrid mixers combine the functionality of a dedicated multitrack recorder with the connectivity and hands-on control a live mixing board, giving you the experience of working with an old-school recording console while enjoying a modern sonic experience.

With production mixers like the Model series, you have enough inputs to mic up an entire band and record for hours. High-quality faders and knobs give you immediate control over shaping your mix, and the display screen gives you plenty of visual feedback about what you're doing without constantly demanding your attention. And with comprehensive mixing, routing, and effects processing capabilities, these production mixers can easily shape your recordings with pro-sounding polish.

TASCAM's Model Series production mixers are also the perfect way to mix and record a live performance at the same time. With all your basic live mixing needs onboard, you could use your Model Series mixer to perform live and capture a multitrack recording simultaneously. It's also worth noting that Model Series mixers can also operate as audio interfaces and DAW control surfaces, allowing you to create a hybrid workflow that combines DAWless recording with software-based mixing or mastering.

Basing a project studio around DAWless recording
Project studios need to be ready for a wider variety of recording scenarios than solo musicians and bands do. And while many project studio producers enjoy having the endless processing options and endless customization that DAW software offers, just as many producers and musicians actually want to avoid that option overload in favor of a more focused recording experience — a DAWless recording experience.

TASCAM's DP-32SD and DP-24SD allow you to record up to 32 (or 24) tracks, complete your mix, and master your productions, all without ever turning on a computer. The recording and mixing process is visually communicated through illuminated buttons and a full-color LCD screen, and every sonic adjustment you make happens with delightfully tactile knobs, buttons, and sliders.

Operating a project studio isn't about offering endless options to recording clients, it's about having the tools you need to make quality productions as efficiently as possible. Digital Portastudios offer a powerful combination of multitrack recording, comprehensive mixing, and final mastering capabilities, making them well-suited for DAWless recording in a project studio environment.


Find your creativity in DAWless recording
Whether you're just starting to pursue your recording goals, or have years of experience working with DAW software, there has never been a better time to build a DAWless recording workflow. From portable recorders for singer/songwriters to full-fledged production consoles for multitrack production. there's a DAWless recording solution out there that could offer a big boost to your creative output. If sitting in front of your computer drains your inspiration for making music, then a DAWless recording system could be just what you need.