Home Recording: Preparation

Recording at home

These days, its become unbelievably easy to do in your own home what used to cost thousands of dollars in a professional studio. With technology constantly advancing and more practical solutions being presented into the market everyday there was never a better time to look into at your own personal set up.

You’ve been playing your instrument for some time now, and you’ve decided it’s time to explore the possibilities of at home recording! Congratulations on your decision! Let’s get started with some vital information!

Getting started

First, depending on what instrument you play and/or want to record you may need specific equipment. A very general set up that covers guitar, bass, and vocals is something like a simple USB interface, which allows you to plug in your one instrument, bass, guitar, mic, etc. into the input and open a DAW of your choice to start recording. For those who don’t know, DAW stands for “Digital Audio Workstation” and this is the key component to at home recording if you’re not using hardware like a mixer you can export your mix through, but most people are thinking of a computer based set up with the basic components, computer, instrument, interface, and software. In this article we’re going to cover that particular set up.

Using your current computer, we’re going to look at compatible software and hardware units, with you having already made the choice of what instrument you’re using. Please note now that if you’re trying to record acoustic drums this article is not going to provide a lot of information there as most basic interfaces don’t have enough inputs for all the microphones you would typically use, but keep reading as we will discuss Virtual Drum Software, which is a very important tool for any musician, especially drummers so that you can write and collaborate with others without being by your actual kit, as well as add a very useful skill to your resume.

Starting off it’s important you do your own diligence here and understand what OS(Operating System) you’re using on your computer and what software you can use, newer software doesn’t typically work with older Operating Systems and also, older software that’s been out for a while still may not be compatible with newer software(Operating Systems), so it’s up to you to take note of what system(Mac or PC) and OS you’re using, and check all the equipment and software for compatibility as we discuss because there’s no possible way for me to know the exact specs of everyone reading this article.

The tools you’ll need

Assuming you know the details about your computer, we’re going to begin with a “bare minimum budget” set up, our objective is to get you recording for under 300 dollars(USD) and then explore the options that cost more further in.

First you’ll need a reliable USB interface, which is essentially an external piece of hardware that acts as a second sound card for your computer, but this card has all the features you need to record beyond the basic built in microphone capabilities of most computers. With the most basic interfaces only having one input, while you may not be able to record multiple instruments at once, you’re still able to separately go and use individual instruments one by one in separate takes allowing you to track almost an entire band with one USB interface. If you’re a vocalist, look for an interface that has 48 volt Phantom Power capabilities built in so when you use a microphone that needs to be powered you’re already covered. For all the reasons listed above, I recommend one of the most basic, tried and true interfaces making it’s way around home studios everywhere, the Scarlett 2i2 interface, which through this link at Zzounds you’ll be able to get an awesome recording bundle! http://www.zzounds.com/a–3858995/item–FOCSCARSOLOSTUV2

Now that we’ve found a solid interface that’s affordable let’s discuss the “Digital Audio Workstation“, or DAW, we’ll be using in Part 2.

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