When it comes to home recording, the heading ‘Software’ covers a myriad of products.  Here are just some examples you’re likely to come across:

I have knowledge of a relatively small number of products based on those I have tried, and on the next couple of pages I’ll describe some I recommend and/or you might find useful.  If you want to know more of what’s out there I recommend the numerous specialist recording magazines that publish reviews and ‘how to’ guides for recording software.  You can also find out a lot from downloading suppliers’ demos and visiting suppliers’ and general forums.  I’ve put some useful inks to magazines, forums and web sites on the Links page.

Some words of wisdom:

DAW or Sequencer Package:  I use Cakewalk’s Sonar Platinum.  Click here to visit the product's home page.  It began as a DOS program in 1987, became Cakewalk Pro-Audio and then Sonar.  Choice of sequencer is a lot to do with personal preferences, but I like Sonar because it looks more 'Window-y' than the others and I find it easier to move around in. At the end of 2010 it was given a radical overhaul and the current version is Sonar Platinum.


There are many other pro sequencer programs out there, for example: Cubase (Mac and PC), Logic Pro (Mac), Digital Performer (Mac), and Pro Tools (Mac and PC).  If you’re on a budget then the best one to go for is Reaper (Mac and PC), or Audacity (Mac and PC) if you want a free one.  Go here for a DAW comparison table.

You may have seen Pro Tools mentioned in the music recording press and sometimes in the credits in music CD booklets.  This is a top-end program that goes with dedicated hardware so involves a lot of investment, although a 'lite' software version is also available.  It has gained a lot of acceptance in professional studios and has become the generic name in those circles for a computer-based audio and MIDI sequencer.  In my view it has in the past lagged behind other DAWs in terms of some features and didn’t deserve to gain such rapid pre-eminence.  In fact studios that the un-initiated believe to be ‘Pro Tools equipped’ often have one of the other leading DAW packages.

Most of the above sequencer packages provide a try-before-you-buy demo version and the Sonar one can be downloaded here.

Cakewalk's Sonar Producer DAW software Don't get Gear Acquisition Syndrome! Cubase is widely used and been around 25 years