Skip to content

Basics – Mixing and DAWs

For more complex recordings of acoustic and electronic music and audio drama, it’s necessary to use more than two tracks.   Mixing refers to the combining and balancing of many tracks, with the ability to process each track with a  huge range of effects.   Software which allows for multitrack recording and mixing, along with the equipment to run it,  is referred to as a ‘Digital Audio Workstation’ or DAW.  There is a wide range of DAW’s for sighted users to choose from, but only a few are partly accessible with screen-readers.

REAPER

By far the most popular among blind users is Reaper, which works on both PC and Mac.   Thanks to work by a dedicated community of developers and trainers, the OSARA add-on has made it remarkably accessible, and you can find resources, training materials, and details of the Email and WhatsApp groups here:

https://www.reaperaccessibility.com/

Pro Tools

Another popular and accessible DAW is Pro Tools for Mac, which is widely used in mainstream music studios.  Again thanks to dedicated campaigning and development by the community, there is an accessibility add-on called FloTools here: https://ptaccess.github.io/

There is also an excellent set of tutorials here: https://flotools.org/

Logic Pro

Logic Pro, from Apple, and only for Mac,  is best known for its music creation abilities, with a wide range of built-in software instruments.   It is generally agreed to be pretty accessible, and you can find resources here:

https://logic.band/

GarageBand

GarageBand is Logic’s baby brother and can be a good starting point for experimenting with music creation.  It can be used with VoiceOver, the Apple screenreader, on both Mac and iPhone/iPad.

Samplitude

One other Windows DAW which is used by blind people is Samplitude.  More here:

http://samplitudeaccess.org.uk/

Plugins for DAWs

Whichever DAW you use, you will come across plug-ins.  A plug-in is a secondary piece of software that runs inside your DAW.  It could be an effect or a software instrument from a different company.   Some plug-ins are accessible, and others not.  Guidance on which plug-ins are most accessible, and approaches for accessing others, are issues which we will include, again as the community grows.

Leave a comment

Peter Bosher

Peter Bosher

Sound engineer, musician and trainer in accessible music technology. I hope to contribute to SWS by sharing experience of access to equipment and software, including ProTools from Avid. I also hope to learn from others through networking and information sharing.