Music studio equipment can get really high priced really fast. I’m differentiating here between just any home recording studio, and one that specifically is established for recording and producing music. If you are a voice over actor or podcaster exclusively, you will get by with considerably less in the form of studio gear. Musicians will almost definitely be needing, and therefore, paying, more.
But that doesn’t mean you must go broke. Remember my goal on paper these articles has been to help you create the best quality audio for the lowest sum of money, and that is certainly still true for the folks recording music in their home studio.
In order to make this post optimally applicable to the most folks, my example will be one or two people creating music on a computer using multitrack recording and audio editing tools. Things get pretty variable and various when you start referring to full bands or orchestras. I’m also likely to assume for this particular example the musicians already hold the musical instruments that might be on the recordings. Oh, and i assume anyone recording features a computer…virtually any computer made during the last 10 years can do.
Okay, therefore the basics are these: you take part in the music, which experiences a microphone then in to a computer, which converts the sound into computer files that can be heard and manipulated from your audio software. See?! How hard is the fact that? Alright, yes. It may be helpful to possess a little more information.
Let’s begin with the initial part of music studio equipment you might not have, the Microphone Stand. Let’s also say you are a guitarist and singer. Ultimately I might recommend two different kinds of microphones here, one for the guitar (acoustic for your example) then one for the voice. But let’s talk minimums here. We’ll opt for one microphone, a big diaphragm condenser (side-address) from the USB ilk. At this fabulous point in time probably the most bang-for-the-buck you can get in audio recording is actually a USB microphone. They cost significantly less than their traditional cousins, and they also don’t demand a special computer interface or microphone preamplifier. Just plug it in your computer and go. You may use the same mic for your guitar in terms of your voice, as we will be recording one part at the same time. Guitar first, then singing, etc. You only need one mic for that.
Just what exactly other hardware do you need? Uh, well let’s see. Something to secure your mic as you play guitar is about the only real other thing you’ll need. Should your USB mic didn’t already have one, you are able to a mic stand from the local music store for cheap. Heck, if you need to you could duct-tape your mic to your desk or just set one on the pillow over a chair or anything.
So if we’re completed with hardware, what next? Yup, software. You’ll need software that can record multiple tracks and mix them together, which we’ll call tracking and mixing. You’ll also need audio editing capability. Luckily there are recording software packages out there which do both functions, the cheapest expense of that is free. “Audacity” is actually a program spmfgs is open-source freeware that may record, mix multiple tracks together AND edit audio. In fact Audacity is regarded as the incredible value on the face from the planet. But as it is free, you can find limitations, especially where musicians are concerned, including in MIDI functionality. So you may want something with a little bit more capability. There are so many choices out there for a range of prices, that it could create your head spin. Personally I prefer a treatment program called Reaper, by Cockos for tracking and mixing, and Adobe Audition for editing (no affiliations), though in fact, Audition is one of those programs that can do it all. I simply prefer the ease and work flow in Reaper.
And that’s it! Yup, a pc, a USB mic and a few software you may get you started with a really small budget (starting at about $25 for that USB mic). You’ll want a couple of headphones too, though you could get by using a regular old set of ear-buds if you have to. Then all that you should do is record that guitar part, hit “save”, add another track near the guitar track, record your voice on that 2nd track while you pay attention to the very first track on the headphones. Boom. You’ll want to incorporate another guitar or any other voice or two for harmonies, etc. No problem; just rinse and repeat, adding tracks as you go. If you have everything recorded, use your mixing software to pan the instruments and voices left, right, and/or in the center like a group would be on stage. This also produces a nice stereo sound. And then make sure nobody is too loud or soft in the blend, hit “Save” again, and you’ve got a song. Now just open the song in your editing program, snip off any extra sound right from the start (a count-in or even a cough, etc.) from the recording. Fade the final out, ensure that the whole thing is loud enough, save it, and you’ve got yourself a song that you simply recorded by yourself home music studio.