Audio studio

Record, edit, and sequence digital audio with this free virtual studio.

Even inexperienced users can produce amazing tracks right on their desktop, thanks to software like ExperimentalScene's DarkWave Studio. It's a free "Digital Audio Workstation" that incorporates a diverse range of useful audio recording and production tools in one modular virtual studio environment. It includes a Pattern Editor with draggable notes, a Sequence Editor for arranging and mixing patterns, and a Multitrack Hard Disk Recorder that records PCM digital audio in WAV files for full-quality postproduction editing.

DarkWave's sparse, dark-toned interface is not unlike many digital audio programs, with white lettering on a black background, basic File and Help menus, control icons, and tabs accessing the aforementioned functions. We created a new Project in the Studio tab, using the Line In to record a snippet of analog audio, which was indistinguishable from the original when played back over modest loudspeakers. Editing and sequencing the recording in the Pattern and Sequence Editor tabs proved equally easy. There's also a handy BPM (beats per minute) slider with a spectral display right there on the toolbar, a neat touch that we enjoyed playing with. The HD Recorder vastly improves on Windows' native tool, too.

DarkWave Studio is freeware that works in Vista and Windows 7. The installation wizard lets you choose either or both of its 32-bit and 64-bit versions; we tried both in different installations, each of which worked fine. While we only created a simple and decidedly repetitious audio masterpiece, it convinced us of this tool's potential, and we recommend it to tomorrow's studio stars today.

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