Excited about starting your very own music career? Can’t wait to record that rockin’ new guitar riff that have always been playing on replay in your head? Well then, maybe you should start looking at some home music recording equipment.
If you are unfamiliar to the world of recording music, your head must be filled with some questions:
- What is home recording?
- What do I need to get started?
- What other factors do I need to consider?
For a start, home recording basically means, well you’ve guessed it; recording sound at the comfort of your own home! You might hear people using terms like “project studio” or “home studio” and they both actually mean the same thing. Those are terms used to indicate that someone has audio recording tools and equipment at home in order to make it function like a studio. Although this usually means that their “studio” is often a downsized version of an actual professional recording studio.
The kinds of people who practice home recording ranges from indie bands and singer-songwriters, to podcasters and documentarians, all the way to even top-name acts. The popularity of home recording is ever increasing, and this is largely due to the steady drop in cost for professional audio equipment in the past decade or so. Independent artists or budding musicians also have more access to professional recording techniques nowadays, thanks to the internet!
Home Music Recording Equipment
Great! You already know what home recording is all about, and are ready to start your musical career! But before you start coming out with a budget for your dream home studio, it’s best to find out what do you actually need.
Now, if you are reading this article, I’ll just go ahead and assume that you are a newbie. If not, then bugger off! (Just kidding) I’ll keep this section fairly simple and not go into too much technical detail. So here’s what you’ll need:
- Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
- Monitoring Equipment (Speakers and/or Headphones)
- Input Devices (e.g Microphones)
- Instruments (Duh!)
Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
Back in the 70s, there are no other way to record music other than on low-quality tape recorders or on large and expensive “reel to reel” tape machines. Then in 1979, the first small, four-track tape recorder was invented and quickly gained popularity through out the 80s. Soon after, these handy analog recorders became outdated and replaced by digital recorders and computer-based digital audio workstations (DAWs).
A (DAW) consists of:
- Personal Computer (almost everyone has it nowadays!)
- Hardware Audio Interface (for Analog to Digital conversion)
- Digital-editing software
The audio interface is needed for routing of audio signals into the computer and also for play back through studio monitors (external speakers/headphones). Some good examples of audio interfaces that you might want to check out are “Presonus AudioBox”, “Avid Mbox” and “M-Audio Fastrack Pro”. These devices come with microphone pre-amps (with microphone inputs) for recording with microphones.
Furthermore, they can be connected to your computer via USB or Firewire and allow you to record multiple audio tracks (depending on the product) simultaneously. So if you want to record yourself singing and playing guitar (which uses two separate microphone signals), you can now do that!
Digital-editing software is now widely available at different prices, and sometimes they may come bundled together with an audio interface for free. You are going to need this software in order to edit the audio tracks with various tools (called plugins) and to export your masterpiece into a digital audio format, so you can then show off to your friends! Examples of these software include “Ardour”, “Pro Tools”, “Reaper”, “Ableton Live”, “Cubase”, “Sonar” and “Reason”.
These are simply your regular speakers and headphones. However, the more experienced you get in recording and mixing, you might find that your parent’s age old speakers they use for karaoke, would not be suitable any more (not for an aspiring grammy award winning producer at least). Hence, if you have the budget, look into studio monitor companies such as “Yamaha”, “Genelec”, “Tannoy” and Focal.
What I am talking about here are generally microphones. The three main types of microphones you will mainly see are “Condenser”, “Dynamic” and “Ribbon”. Dynamic microphones are normally used to record distorted electric guitar sounds, snare drums and other loud instruments. As for condenser microphones, they are suitable for softer instruments like acoustic guitar and also for vocals.
Depending on your instrument, you might require a variety of cables with different connectors to use for recording such as, “XLR”, “TRS phone”, “RCA” and some keyboards and synthesizers even allow for “USB” or “MIDI” connections.
So yeah, that’s about all you need to start your own little home recording studio! There are other equipment used by more experienced or professional producers and sound engineers out there. Other aspects of home recording are also not covered here. However, in this article I would only like to highlight the fundamental things that you need to get your own music production started!
Have a great day and don’t forget to leave comments or questions!