What Do You Need To Get Started In Recording?

The innovations that have been brought about since the advent of digital music recording have changed much in the recording industry. One of these big changes is that it is easier than ever for musicians to record themselves rather than go into a studio. If you are looking to record on your own, you can set up a home studio and start working towards putting together a CD. What follows is some of the “must have” equipment to get started with a home studio.

A computer and software – There’s a lot of different software out there for the purposes of recording. Regardless of which software package you pick to use in your home studio, you will need something. You’ll find that this will become the center of your home studio. You’ll need a relatively powerful computer with a lot of RAM and a large hard drive so that you can easily store and work with your recordings.

Foam – Soundproofing is important. The echo which can occur in some rooms can ruin your recordings. Using soundproofing foam will deaden the sound in this room, which depending on size and shape may only need to be partially soundproofed to provide you with the echo dampening you need for your home studio.

A mixer – You’ll need this to get the sound from the instruments and voices to your computer. You’ll need a mixer with enough channels to handle everything you want to record all at once (it is a good idea to get a mixer with a few more channels than you think you will need).

Pre-amps – These will give your instruments much better sound than can be achieved by running them directly into the mixing board. You can set the sounds of instruments individually using pre-amps, offering you much more control over your recording.

Monitors – While some prefer headphones for this purpose, you may want to consider some high quality full range monitors; these will let you hear the full dynamic range of your recording during the mixing phase, if you do opt for headphones instead of monitors, be sure to use headphones specifically designed for the purpose.

Microphones – You’ll want high end microphones for recording which will capture the full range of voice and other sounds recorded in the room. For voice recording you’ll want a pop filter – this prevents hard consonants from overloading your recording.

Compression – This can be done either by a separate compression unit or after recording, but shouldn’t be neglected. Compression allows you to limit the peaks and valleys of sounds and match these peaks between different tracks.

Using this basic setup will allow you to create good sounding recordings from the get go. You can add in other equipment as you go on, or take out equipment you find yourself not using, but the equipment listed above will get you off to a good start with your home studio.

Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.

Low-Tech Suzuki Melodion – Ottawa 01 08
digital music recording
Image by Mikey G Ottawa
Nowadays, with modern technology, You could record (‘sample’) any instrument (like say, a trumpet) or Any Sound Imaginable, even! Next minute, you’re playing that sound, automatically transposed across the 96, touch-sensitive keys while also simultaneously recording your performance as MIDI performance data in a computer-controlled sequence of performance instructions at 496 kHz, in stereo . . . .
or you could play The Melodica.
It’s cheap and easy.

See Mikey G Ottawa’s Flickr Photo Set of my visit to Spaceman Music in Centretown Ottawa on Gladstone Avenue at Bank Street. www.flickr.com/photos/mikeygottawa/sets/72157603698127445…
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