This is a small guide to set up a home recording studio, to record your own demos and samples.
I'll try to focus on the cheapest gear and software required in order to achieve good results, to suggest the most effective techniques and to point out and solve the most common mistakes that can be committed.
This article has to be intended as a TREE article from which start, and then you can go reading the single dedicated articles of the things you need to learn more.
The most important thing: once learned these few first rules, it will all be a matter of experience, so if the first tries doesn't satisfy you, just write down what to adjust, and fix the problems on the next recording!
Here's what you need to start a small home recording studio:
1) A PC, or a MAC. Just keep in mind that the Cpu and the Ram are equally important, but while the Cpu takes care especially of the real time Processing on tracks, the Ram is crucial when using virtual instruments (like drum samplers), so think about what you need, when it comes to choose the right hardware configuration.
2) Software: in order to do multitrack recording and mixing, you're gonna need a DAW (digital audio workstation). There are many out there, some free (like AUDACITY, PRESONUS STUDIO ONE FREE and KRISTAL AUDIO ENGINE), some cheap but very effective ones (like REAPER, MAGIX or CAKEWALK), and some more expensive, but very stable, compatible and reliable ones (like CUBASE and PRO TOOLS). The most important thing when choosing a DAW is to make sure that it supports VST plugins.
3) Instruments: guitar/bass/keyboard/microphone... everything you want to record.
4) An Audio Interface (Click Here to check out an in-depth article on which audio interface to choose), to connect the computer with the instrument, or with the microphone. There's a plenty of audio interfaces, usb, firewire and thunderbolt, in a wide price range, and they're very important for two reasons: to reduce the latency to the minimum (latency is the delay between the input and the output signals), and to provide a decent preamplification to the signal (no, the integrated headphones preamp is not decent).
5) Headphones or reference monitors (Click here for a dedicated article!): you will need a decent quality output device too, like headphones (look at the frequency range, the wider, the better), or reference monitors (active speakers made to work in the studio): there are many producers, from the cheapest (BEHRINGER, very unsuggested), to a mid-price standard (M-AUDIO, for example, but there are many more), to the pro choices, which are obviously more expensive (AKG, YAMAHA among the others).
The idea is to have a device that gives us a realistic representation of what we're working on: what we need is a pair of monitors good enough that if we mix a song with them and the song sounds good, the same good balance translates for example on a portable mp3 player or on a car audio system, and unfortunately this realism is achievable only with higher end devices, so our suggestion is to look for the reviews online and check out the best realism-to-price ratio available.
6) At least one good Microphone: we will need a microphone to record Vocals or other acoustic instruments. In the early blues and jazz records a single microphone, carefully placed and treated, was enough to record a whole band; today we obviously prefer to mic every single instrument in order to have more flexibility when mixing.
7) Virtual Instruments: since not everyone has access to a recording room where to track drums or other acoustic instruments, we will need some virtual (or even hardware if we prefer the old school approach) sampler to create the midi tracks with the instruments we cannot play (or record), for instance drums and synths, like orchestrations. A very good drum sampler, with freeware license is MyDrumset, TchackEdrum, Mdrummer Small, DRUMCORE FREE, or GTG Drum Sampler.
CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 2/3 OF THIS TUTORIAL
CLICK HERE FOR THE PART 3/3 OF THIS TUTORIAL
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