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6 May 2020

Increase DAW workflow and speed with three simple tricks

producer Increase DAW workflow and speed with three simple tricks


Ever had a really tight deadline but you’ve been beaten by the clock? Workflow and speed within your DAW are becoming increasingly important in today’s modern world of remote music production. Often people want things yesterday, meaning you’ve got to know your chops when it comes to delivering top tier material and on time. We’ve got three simple ways you can increase your workflow and speed for many sessions to come.

DAW Templates

If I’m completely honest, this is something I put off for far too long. Until only recently I created my first set of DAW templates, and all I can say is – there is no going back! These are perfect if you’re creating an album of tracks in a certain style, or if you want to have a session ready to go without having to load any instruments or plugins to get the creativity flowing. Below are just some of the possibilities when it comes to creating your own DAW template.

  • Midi and Audio Tracks (your favorite VST’s, libraries and soft synths)
  • Master channel (Include: Spectrum analyzer, limiter, A/B referencing plugin and room correction here)
  • Setup routing chains (groups, busses, and AUX sends)
  • Add your favorite go-to plugins (EQ, compressors, saturation & FX)
  • Disable all the channels before saving (This way you’ll have all instruments and processors ready to enable but without the long load time)

Store FX chains

I’m not entirely sure if other DAW’s offer this but Studio One has a neat feature called FX chains. Essentially it means you can store your effects chain for specific instruments. I have one I load up with a click of a button called ‘Vocal FX Chain’. It contains – Auto-Tune > Subtractive EQ > Fet Style compression > Opto levelling compressor > Additive EQ > OEK Sound Soothe to tame harsh resonances > De-esser

It’s a god send and can make a session run so much smoother. If your vocalist likes what they hear, it’ll make the recording process a lot less draining, and you’ll definitely end up with a better performance. My next step is to set up a guitar, keys, drums, and bass bus as I often use the same FX chains day in day out.

Shortcuts & Favourite icons

Last on the list is short cuts and favorite icons. In almost every DAW you can create your own custom shortcuts. I have the standard presets such as cut, duplicate, arm to record, etc. but I’ve also created some of my own. Melodyne, VocAlign, and Z-Plane time stretching are ARA based technologies I use to help tighten up vocals. I have these set up so I can quickly tighten the tuning, alignment, and length of any vocal track just by simply hitting my hotkey shortcuts.

Favorite icons are indispensable. I have an Instruments favorites folder and a plugins favorites folder, both contain a selection of my go-to toys. In instruments, I cover the spectrum from XLN Audio Addictive Drums, XO, IK Multimedia MODO Bass, Omnisphere and Keyscape, Kontakt, Serum, Arturia Pigments and a few others. I’ll not go in-depth on the plugins as we could make this a very long list. But briefly, it contains my favorite EQ’s (Fab Filter, Neve, API, SSL & Maag) Compressors (FET, Optical & Vari-MU) Saturation Plugins (Devil Loc, Decapitator, Fab Filter Saturn), FX processors (reverbs, delays, modulation) and surgical tools.

As you can see, there’s quite a lot going on in your average session. Having all of this pre-loaded into a template will probably knock a good few hours off your start and end times. Meaning you have more energy to focus on making creative decisions and the things that really matter.

DAW Shortcuts mousepads

Also, we at Inside Audio created shortcut mousepads for Ableton, Logic Pro X, and FL Studio.

Check them here: shop.insideaudio.net.


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