This may be obvious to 98% of the readers of this forum, but I discovered for myself a really great feature of using DAWs to get the right mix.
A number of mixing books suggesting making multiple mixes of a single session, vox up, vox down, guitars up, guitars down, etc. For the first time in over a year of owning a Mac-based MOTU DP3 system, it dawned on me that I could do this from a template instead of manually. Let me explain.
Historically, I had troubles finding the right mix balance in my home studio, so I'd make a number of mixes and then test them out in various listening environments (my car, the living room, headphones on my ipod, etc). Only after listening in a number of different environments could I discern what was really the "right" mix. Each mix of a 3 minute song took me 3 minutes to record, and several more minutes to export, burn, transfer to ipod, etc. Creating the tests for many different mixes was becoming quite time-consuming!
Now I do something really cool: using 30 buses in DP3 (!), I've got:
This gives me 6 mixes at once (each with full efx such as UAD-1):
So I can handle two completely different audio takes (or the same audio take with radically different EQ) and produce 3 mixes of each for evaluation, all in about the time it takes me to do two the old way. Very nice!
When I figured this out, I thought it was obvious, but I couldn't find any postings related to this subject when I searched. I hope this was helpful!