Online DAWs: A First Look At Soundation, Just Updated With A New Visual Identity

In April 2018, the online DAW Soundation announced its rebirth. During 2018 the average time spent by users in the studio has doubled and the number of unique monthly users increased from 60,000 to 110,000. Now, the company is taking the next big step forward with a new studio and brand identity.

“After a thorough user analysis, we’ve worked closely with Kurppa Hosk to create an identity that really motivates our young and creative users to follow through with their passion of producing music. In combination with the terrific support from Google on the studio engine, we’re very excited to set this live for our users, place ourselves at the forefront of music production services online and expand further”, says Adam Hasslert, CEO of Soundation.

New Technology = Massive Improvements

The new visual language served as a framework for a total redesign of the studio. The strict geometry and typography became a perfect fit for an app that demands precision and clarity.

With profound input from users, the design went through a large amount of iterations in terms of color scheme and iconography in order to reach a UI suitable for all user segments.

Check out the case video from Google Chrome Dev Summit here

The new studio engine is built in collaboration with Google on WebAssembly Threads, which improves the studio’s web performance with +300%. Soundation is one of the world’s first adopters of this new web technology.

Our Hands-On Experience

I’ve spent some time with the new Soundation. The design is certainly more refined than the previous version. Gray is still the king here, but that’s hardly surprising given the current trends in the industry.

If you are familiar with the workflow of traditional DAWs such as Logic, Cubase, etc., you’ll find Soundation very intuitive. Basically, everything is where you expect it to be.

Soundsation offers a great selection of built-in instruments and effects (including some interesting synths, such as the lo-fi sounding Wub Machine, a good sounding Virtual Analog and an FM one). You’ll also find hundreds of free loops to add to your audio tracks (and Soundation can timestretch them to match your song tempo). If the need arises, you can buy more loops, MIDI packs and sound packs from the web shop.

The font and the interface of some of the built-in instruments (i.e. the drum machine) are probably a bit too tiny for aging eyes like mine. I hope we’ll see a fully scalable GUI in one of the next updates. Also, as you might expect, it looks like you’ll need a modern computer to be able to to make the most of some of the features (I tried to use my Keystep connected via powered hub to my old Mac Mini, but the latency was too high). This is a web DAW after all, so I’m not surprised.

The free version is ideal to get to know Soundation and, if you only need virtual instrument tracks, it’s an excellent sketch pad (not to mention, an awesome tool for educational projects!). If you plan to record live audio (or import audio tracks), you’ll need to upgrade (at very reasonable rates). Here below you can see the different plans:

I’ll definitely keep an eye on Soundation and I think you should too. I wish something like this existed back in the days when I bought my first (very expensive) DAW!

Visit Soundation to view the new studio and visual identity.

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