DAWs are made for general recording. However, I feel that some of them are better suited for the songwriter who wants to record his/her own demos.
Since songwriting could take a long time to pay out (if ever…), I think it’s sensible to not go grazy on the home studio expense. Personally, I’m a ProTools fan boy. You can get an MBox under 300$. It’s the same software as the pros and it’s very easy to learn. Hitting EBay for some used ProTools gear is even cheaper…
However, after purchasing a new iMac a few months back, I got to try Apple’s GarageBand, which comes bundled with every Mac. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to operate compared to Logic, Apple’s high-end DAW program. The only major limitation that I could see was the fact that you could not do very detailed MIDI editing (not a problem for songwriters who only want to record their guitars).
I’d rather write songs than have to go through another manual. However, after using ProTools for a while, I just bit the bullet and spent some quality time with the manual. I think it’s worth it. However, as I said earlier, Logic was just too complex for me.
What about you? What’s your favorite DAW for songwriting and why?