A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or application software used for recording, editing and producing audio files. DAWs come in a wide variety of configurations from a single software program on a laptop, to an integrated stand-alone unit, all the way to a highly complex configuration of numerous components controlled by a central computer. Regardless of configuration, modern DAWs have a central interface that allows the user to alter and mix multiple recordings and tracks into a final produced piece.
DAWs are used for producing and recording music, songs, speech, radio, television, soundtracks, podcasts, sound effects and nearly any other situation where complex recorded audio is needed.
In electroacoustic pop, rock, and other kinds of music, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. Short sections of material can be repeated to create ostinato patterns. Longer sections can also be repeated: for example, a player might loop what he plays on an entire verse of a song in order to then play along with it, accompanying himself. Loops can be created using a wide range of music technologies including turntables, digital samplers, looper pedals, synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, tape machines, and delay units, and they can be programmed using computer music software.
Royalty-free loops can be purchased and downloaded for music creation from companies like The Loop Loft, Native Instruments, Splice and Output.
Loops are supplied in either MIDI or Audio file formats such as WAV, REX2, AIFF and MP3. Musicians "play" loops by triggering the start of the musical sequence by utilizing a MIDI controller such as an Ableton Push or a Native Instruments MASCHINE.
Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates software synthesizers and effects units into digital audio workstations. VST and similar technologies use digital signal processing to simulate traditional recording studio hardware in software. Thousands of plugins exist, both commercial and freeware, and many audio applications support VST under license from its creator, Steinberg.