There is a wide range of technical specifications that need to be configured before we start working in digital audio workstation (DAW). These settings can be compiled into a preproduction checklist of things to remember when starting a new project.
For this blog post Studio One free edition is used as an example DAW. The order of configuration and where the settings can be found in DAW user interface may depend on specific hardware and DAW, but the general steps are the same.
Project name and location
Decide where to store project files. It is recommended to keep all project assets in one folder and never overlap with any other projects. It can be good idea to have one folder in your computer where you keep all music projects in separate subfolders.
Good names and folder structure make backups and projects sharing easier.
Remember to name tracks clearly before start recording.
Digital audio preferences
Setup sample rate and a bit depth. Depending on production environment, it can be done on the audio interface driver or/and in DAW.
Sampling rate is the number of samples per second, so it is related to frequency.
48,000 Hz is a suggested sample rate. It is a little bit higher than standard sample rate for CDs.
Bit depth is the number of bits of data in each sample. Longer word length allows to get wider dynamic range and enable recording more loudly and without clipping and distortion. Bit depth corresponds to the resolution of recording.
24 bit recording is a good option for bit depth. Again, it is higher than 16 bit word length in CD standard.
Recording file types
Use lossless audio types like WAV or AIFF. Broadcast WAV format is preferable because it contains more metadata.
Interleaved vs. non-interleaved files
Depending on DAW and your needs you may need to decide whether to use interleaved or non-interleaved files. Interleaved files contain both right and left channels. It’s easier to work with. De-interleaved files save a separate audio file for left and a separate one for right channels.
Make sure that DAW is configured to use audio interface for audio in and out. Setup your external devices and controllers, like MIDI keyboards.
Buffer size is number of samples in the queue for digital-analog conversion. Lower buffer size allows to avoid delays. Higher buffer size allows to have more effects etc., but it increases latency.
In my case buffer size was configured in Asio4All driver settings.
Buffer size when recording
128 samples per buffer is suggested configuration when recording.
Buffer size when editing
Bring buffer size up when editing for better performance. 1024 samples sounds like a good option.