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DAW vs DAWLESS... Do I understand the philosophy of it?

edited April 27 in Off-topic

So, as far as I can tell, the term and philosophy behind the term, DAWLESS is the use of hardware synths/noisemakers in a live 'jamming' capacity, recording onto tape, or some other non-editable medium. This is as opposed to recording audio or midi to tracks inside a program like Ableton which can later be edited/looped/ automated etc.

Now if I were to do the same inside my ipad or windows tablet, running instances of apps in Aum (on ipad) or vplayer (on windows), and recording to a single stereo track, is that also dawless?

The method and results are very similar, an improvised (or at least played live) piece of music, recorded as is and 'finished' as soon as the stop button is pushed on the recorder.

But what if I use Koala sampler? Does that become a DAW? If so, what if I use an SP404 in a hardware set up, and which has the same functionality and is digital, is that a DAW?

Is doing everything 'in the box', but not using a 'traditional' DAW a simulacra, then? Just a representation of a traditional hardware set up, is it missing the nuance of 'Reality'? (Without trying to get too much into hyperreality which I don't fully understand).

I suppose it doesn't really make any difference but it's quite interesting... especially as software has become for the most part, indistinguishable from its hardware counterparts for those who are not actually playing the instruments. The majority of arguments for hardware/dawless are no longer about sound quality, but more about tactility in the production stage.

DAW? DAWLESS?
  1. DAW? DAWLESS?9 votes
    1. Shut up Daniel.
      22.22%
    2. Haven't you got anything better to do?
      77.78%
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Comments

  • I believe the term 'DAWless' has become a trendy catchphrase, like 'Going Green' for Eco-friendly, or 'Cloud' for online storage.

    Social media 'influencers' are like news broadcasters - they may not know what they're talking about but sound like they do to someone who doesn't follow the latest trends or catchphrases.

    I call my laptop which is loaded with audio-editing tools a 'DAW'. It's a workstation for digital audio, right?

    My iPad is my 'portable DAW'.

  • @StudioES said:
    I believe the term 'DAWless' has become a trendy catchphrase, like 'Going Green' for Eco-friendly, or 'Cloud' for online storage.

    Haha yeah, it definitely seems so. But why, I wonder?

    Social media 'influencers' are like news broadcasters - they may not know what they're talking about but sound like they do to someone who doesn't follow the latest trends or catchphrases.

    Yeah that's true, I see a lot of Dawless set ups on youtube. I'm guessing they know more than me , though.

    I call my laptop which is loaded with audio-editing tools a 'DAW'. It's a workstation for digital audio, right?

    My iPad is my 'portable DAW'.

    This is a sensible and logical way of looking at it I think, unless you look at it more like an instrument? ;)

  • “Dawless” usually refers to cutting the personal computer out of the equation and relying solely on specialized hardware. Most of the influencer types you see talking about going dawless are using an mpc or similar daw in a box, though, so go figure….

  • john woo films became much worse after he’d gone doveless

  • @legsmechanical said:
    “Dawless” usually refers to cutting the personal computer out of the equation and relying solely on specialized hardware.

    Right, but what if I use digital versions of that hardware? I guess that then it's definitely not dawless.

    Most of the influencer types you see talking about going dawless are using an mpc or similar daw in a box, though, so go figure….

    YES! That's the weird thing!

  • @vasilymilovidov said:
    john woo films became much worse after he’d gone doveless

    This is the truth. <3

  • Yeah a groovebox into a Zoom Handy recorder is considered 'DAWless'. I don't get it either.

  • It's more the type "look man, I don't use a computer to make music. I can do it on my own". There's cliques all around that concept and I think it's all pretty much rubbish.

  • DAWless is a stupid concept. Most of the time it involves a computer in disguise anyway.

    I often record straight to tape, using drambo to sequence my hardware. I do not consider that DAWless.

  • @paradiddle said:
    It's more the type "look man, I don't use a computer to make music. I can do it on my own". There's cliques all around that concept and I think it's all pretty much rubbish.

    I think I agree with you. Especially when using digital hardware. If you get all "look mum no computer" then maybe I can understand it...

  • edited April 27

    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

  • @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    This is interesting, so I'm getting it confused, doesn't surprise me.

    I guess that hardware fetishism looks better on social media!

  • @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    I'm not sure I get the 'musically restrictive and commercialised' part. Isn't the hardware these guys prefer instead of daws just as commercialised, and probably much more musically restrictive?

  • @ervin said:

    @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    I'm not sure I get the 'musically restrictive and commercialised' part. Isn't the hardware these guys prefer instead of daws just as commercialised, and probably much more musically restrictive?

    No no no, that's good restrictions! Not bad restrictions!

  • @ervin said:

    @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    I'm not sure I get the 'musically restrictive and commercialised' part. Isn't the hardware these guys prefer instead of daws just as commercialised, and probably much more musically restrictive?

    nono, i'm talking about another group of people. who use computers for music making, but don't use daws

  • @vasilymilovidov said:

    @ervin said:

    @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    I'm not sure I get the 'musically restrictive and commercialised' part. Isn't the hardware these guys prefer instead of daws just as commercialised, and probably much more musically restrictive?

    nono, i'm talking about another group of people. who use computers for music making, but don't use daws

    I'm guessing this is where I fall, perhaps

  • edited April 27

    I used to make loads of music before DAWs were a thing (for those of us who didn’t have a Fairlight!).

    I still used a Mac running Logic synced to an 8 track reel to reel so I still had the arrangement window. Although literally DAWless as Logic was MIDI only back then, I don’t think that gets close to what the youngsters and hipsters think of as DAWless today. The way it appears to me, it's more about the sequencer than anything else. If you use a computer sequencer then you're not DAWless. Even if you are :]

    If I was to, say, write a song on my Novation Circuit, add a Monostation and a Pro-1 and a Drumbrute impact, all sequencing themselves (and/or each other) then I'm DAWless. Even if I record it all into a DAW for mixing.

    If I use the same instruments but sequence them from Logic and record to a Zoom, it's probably not going to be considered DAWless by those that think of themselves as DAWless experts. Even though it's technically more DAWless than the other approach.

    One of the great things about language is the way it evolves. If you allow me to generalise for the sake of a stretched metaphor, the Americans think that the cow-type things that used to roam the plains were Buffalo. They're not they're Bisons. But it doesn't matter anymore and Buffalo they now are. Or they would be if there were any left!

    A DAW used to be defined very differently to the way it is today and probably will be tomorrow. And is defined differently by different people. I am very accepting of the way language evolves even though I simultaneously reserve the right for it to completely piss me off. Like when Americans say 'Pissed' when they mean 'Pissed off" ('Pissed' means drunk not angry!). The way the terms 'DAW' is used is usually 'wrong' to those of us that remember recording music before Studio Vision was released. But it's been wrong for so long by so many that it's now a Buffalo.

    Language must be allowed to evolve. Even when it's bloody annoying and completely wrong and ends up just confusing everybody. But that's kind of the point. Language is cool. It used to be brill and skill but time has forgotten many sick words.

  • “If it doesn’t have audio tracks then it isn’t a DAW” - To paraphrase the Nanostudio 2 threads

  • @FordTimeLord said:
    “If it doesn’t have audio tracks then it isn’t a DAW” - To paraphrase the Nanostudio 2 threads

    😂 the plot thickens….

  • For me personally, I have an issue with linear DAWs (I'm not getting into when is a DAW not a DAW* questions!) which is why I'm a lot happier in AUM. I use and love Ableton, but I tend to either keep it in Session mode where I build blocks that I then dub out using the Push, or I use it as a stem processing device (importing stuff from AUM and applying a bunch of processing VSTs that I paid entirely way too much for not to use in some capacity).

    I think early experiences with Cubase gave me a complex about the linear aspect. I can't handle seeing a session where the start is on the left and the end is on the right and in between is all that ever was, is or could possibly be. I makes me feel trapped, like the whole thing is on rails. In AUM my typical workflow is to make blocks using a sequencer like Polybeat which has elements of probability etc built in, then as well as the effects that are baked in (the drum bus with a little Altispace, FAC Transient, Bitjuggler and Chow Tape Model, for example) and others that are assigned to a Loopy Pro controller where I have macros (widgets) that control functions (for example a filter sweep in Koala FX) which I use alongside tools to mute things and create dropouts etc. (Danny's Mozaic script is amazing for that)

    Is it DAW-less? Definitely not in my opinion, but it is refreshingly non-linear and that's all I'm bothered about

    (*when it's a Jar Jar Binks, obviously)

  • @vasilymilovidov said:

    @ervin said:

    @vasilymilovidov said:
    there are two types of dawlesness btw. you're talking about hardware fetishism and the whole 'computer is not an instrument' argument. there're also people who just don't want to use musically restrictive and commercialized software.

    I'm not sure I get the 'musically restrictive and commercialised' part. Isn't the hardware these guys prefer instead of daws just as commercialised, and probably much more musically restrictive?

    nono, i'm talking about another group of people. who use computers for music making, but don't use daws

    👍

  • If you wanna get weird, the fantoms and chronos's of their day were called workstations, they utilized audio, and they certainly weren't analog...

    So really it's just hardware fetishism. But real talk how sexy is hardware? You can kiss it, you can rub it, nibble on its knobs. I can't do that with drambo, cause there's a screen in the way. Even an Amiga with a tracker on it is a daw, but it's got novelty and will probably garner much more interest in an online forum than an Ableton jam.

    Kinda reminds me of dark souls. You haven't beaten ornstein and smough unless you did it at level 1, naked, and streamed with dubstep in the background 😉

  • Since DAW literally means Digital Audio Workstation then logic dictates that DAWless would imply a lack of digital audio processing, an entirely analog workflow, but that’s definitely not how the term is applied currently. As it pertains to hardware, the term Workstation has historically been applied to gear that facilitates complete song creation and finalization, regardless of the ability to record external audio layers.

    That being said, I’m not aware of anyone using the term DAWless correctly in the very literal sense as there is no prominent representation of a fully analog audio workstation in action. It’s really more of a buzzword for marketing than a literal definition.

    Regarding the Nanostudio 2 gatekeeper crowd, it seems a bit silly to say it isn’t a DAW in software form since it is functionally a digital audio workstation which facilitates complete song creation and finalization.

    Broadly speaking, I consider the iPad as my primary DAW without distinguishing the apps separately, since the hardware facilitates the software and various workflows. When other hardware is added to the setup I consider the supplemental gear as either interfaces, instruments, or effectors. That’s just my take on all of this linguistic interpretation.

  • I think mostly it’s just hair splitting semantics. The heart of the matter is using a device or software that can do virtually everything vs. using something with built in limitations... ya know limitations breed creativity blah blah blah. So when people brag about going dawless I think what they’re trying to say is “I got a lot out of a little”. But at the end of the day who cares

  • Shut up Daniel seems accurate.

  • @db909 said:
    I think mostly it’s just hair splitting semantics. The heart of the matter is using a device or software that can do virtually everything vs. using something with built in limitations... ya know limitations breed creativity blah blah blah. So when people brag about going dawless I think what they’re trying to say is “I got a lot out of a little”. But at the end of the day who cares

    dollars breed creativity. because don't you dare not make some quality music after spending 2-4k+ on your hardware setup.

  • Would someone rocking a gameboy with LSDJ be going dawless? or someone live coding into SonicPI, SonicCollider or Pure Data? I have nothing to add :lol: Just wanted to drop random thoughts

    I don't care about these labels. as long as it works for you and you're expressing yourself, everything's fine.

    eg.: Today i'm using my ipad as instrument, besides an MC-101, QY-70 and a Kaossilator, sending audio to the sp-404sx for multitracking. That would be my DAW, I guess :wink:

    @vasilymilovidov said:
    john woo films became much worse after he’d gone doveless

    :lol: I woke up today just to read this. The truth hurts :tongue:

  • MPC live, Maschine or Deluge are DAWs with specialized hardware.
    Digital Audio Workstation fits 98% of what people are using in their “dawless” setup.
    I’m a “mouseless” advocate, thus the iPad.

  • @PeteSasqwax said:
    *when it's a Jar Jar Binks, obviously

    HA!

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