As you may already know, all Artiphon instruments can be used as MIDI controllers to control any DAW of your choice. If you're brain automatically shuts down at the mention of 'Artiphon instruments as MIDI controllers,' I encourage you to read this short blog post — I assure you, it's far less complex than the sophisticated acronym might suggest.
So what exactly is a DAW?
A DAW, which stands for Digital Audio Workstation, is essentially a software application that runs on your computer, phone, or tablet, offering you the ability to edit, record, and produce music. By connecting your instrument with a DAW, you can explore new sounds and effects, and even mix a fully produced track. If you've ever seen a documentary and caught your favorite musician in the recording studio moving around those vibrant, colorful bars of music, that's a DAW!
So how does a DAW work with my Artiphon instruments?
Each of Artiphon's instruments – Chorda, Orba, and INSTRUMENT 1 – can be used as a MIDI controller. This means they can send MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) data to your DAW, establishing a musical language between your instrument and computer, with the played notes then translated into beautiful sounds. For example, depending on the pad you play, different MIDI messages are communicated and the DAW plays the assigned sound.
The sky is the limit and DAWs are meant for users of all skill levels. For example, you can use your DAW to explore new sounds. Alternatively, if you wish to delve into more MIDI experimentation because all Artiphon instruments are MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) compatible, you can map your gestures to different effect parameters of your choice. Our MIDI implementation chart will be provided at the end of the blog for reference. All you have to do is connect your instrument to your device via Bluetooth or with the included USB.
If you've been considering getting into the world of DAWs but aren't sure if it's right for you, we're here to offer some of our favorite free DAW options to help you kickstart your journey without breaking the bank.
So here are three awesome completely free DAWs to use with your Artiphon instrument, but as always, we love MIDI talk (and music talk general), so if you have any questions don’t be afraid to reach out to our customer support team. Who knows… Maya might make a tutorial deep-dive.
Waveform by Tracktion is a fully functional downloadable DAW with an absolutely gorgeous interface. Beyond its visual appeal, it offers some really unique sounds, which are all MPE compatible, so you can tap into the complete gesture-filled potential of your instruments!
Another strong contender, BandLab, is a completely free and fully functional DAW that operates right in your browser, designed specifically for collaboration and sharing. Essentially integrating a social media platform into their DAW, BandLab provides a unique space for artists and creatives to connect and share their creations.
Bonus points because BandLab has a fabulous iOS app, which ties in perfectly with Artiphon’s portable instruments. Further enhancing the capability to create on the go whenever inspiration strikes—something we wholeheartedly embrace here at Artiphon!
If you are a Mac user, you may already be familiar with GarageBand as this is the most popular DAW for Mac users and its basic functions come pre-installed on your MacOS device.
What you might not be aware of, is that nearly all GarageBand software instruments have mod wheel and brightness modulation mappings. This means that Artiphon gestures like Tilt and Radiate will automatically work as soon as you connect to most GarageBand instruments.