Dare I really touch on the subject of digital audio workstations (DAWs)? Many people hold strong opinions on which DAWs they use and are willing to defend their choices as if it really says something about who they are on a personal level.

I found the news of SADiE 6 to peak my DAW interest. I’m not personally in the market for a new DAW, but SADiE has been around for years and is only now available as a native application. With the release of SADiE 6, UK-based Prism Media Products has made its software run natively on a Windows 7 computer with any ASIO or WDM-based interface. (Word is it works fine on a Mac in Boot Camp as well.) That single change quickly makes this a contender for home studios and sound designers.

First, a little history: the SADIE DAW has been around for almost 20 years. Previous versions all required rather extensive proprietary hardware components that largely kept them out of the non-studio market. While others became the norm outside the studio, SADiE managed to snag the mastering and broadcast markets, as well as some of the studio market. As computing power increased, more and more of the digital signal processing could be accomplished on the actual computer. With this, SADIE set out to rebuild its system as a native program.

A job well done--SADiE 6 is a full-featured multi-track DAW built around the familiar waveform editor. Like most DAWs, the interface is broken into several windows: transport, mixer, playlist (i.e., edit window), and a file management window. It comes bundled with a selection of plug-ins, some developed by Prism (the company's popular Graphic Equalizer and Master Limiter, for example), and others from companies like iZotope, as well as additional to-be-expected functionality. Any third party VST-based plug-in can be used.

Beyond that, you can pick from the four Suites: Radio Producer, Post, Mastering, or Sound. The Sound Suite is the most complete Apple Quicktime video support.

Overall, the interface is intuitive, and I found myself pretty comfortable doing some basic editing. The icon images aren’t all that clear, but I could say the same about other DAWs. As to be expected, all editing is non-destructive. But SADiE does some amazing things with processing and disk space. First, it pre-allocates hard drive space. What this means is that, if you’re recording, and a failure occurs, and you have to quit without saving, your audio will remain intact and fully accessible upon restarting. Second, it is capable of recording audio in the background--way in the background--allowing you to edit other files or even start editing the file you’re recording while continuous recording happens in the background. So those long recordings of ambience or storms no longer have to consume your entire DAW. You can edit something else while that’s happening--pretty great.

Like other DAWS, once you get the Native program, you can build up by adding hardware. The system becomes scalable, and you can look to add your chosen interface hardware or other high quality SADiE interfaces.

Curious? Visit SADiE’s site and download a free 30-day trial. It’s not every day that a smart, native DAW pops up with a free offer. Go get it.