Necessities for a Simple and Budget Home Recording Studio
To record your own music at home and begin making a studio you need some standard parts to get going. They are:
1. An instrument and/or microphone
2. Something to record into like a basic mixing board
3. An interface from your mixing board into your computer
4. A computer with decent speakers and/or headphones.
5. Some software to record and manipulate your work.
These days you can purchase a combined solution for items 2 and 3 in the form of a computer audio recording interface. This is a device that you can plug an instrument or mic into and the other end is attached to your computer, either as a soundcard or via a USB lead. This will act as an audio input and the mixing board part is all dealt with in the software package. Depending on your demands this might be the way to go or it may not. If you intend on just laying down one audio track at a time then a computer audio interface makes sense. If you need to record a whole band with several parts at once then you’ll need a mixing desk with sufficient channels to manage this.
One thing you will have to consider when attaching your interface and putting down your instruments and voice is latency. This is the delay between the sound you make and it being played back to you by the computer. Latency can altogether throw off your timing if you don’t minimize it. A way to achieve this is to use ASIO drivers for your computer interface. You can download free universal ASIO drivers. Also be sure that your interface includes a preamp. When you have your audio interface set up and can record and monitor your work without latency you’re virtually good to go.
All you want now is some decent software to function as a mixing desk, sequencer and sampler. Just about every good computer interface will come packaged with some recording software, usually a cut down version of a full product but adequate to get you started. Otherwise there are numerous low cost and even free programs you can download. There are also many communities on the net where you can share your ideas, get help and support and pick up royalty free samples to apply in your music.
Those really are the bare essentials for a home recording studio setup assuming you want to record your own music (as opposed to just play with loops) and that you already have an instrument and/or microphone with the appropriate leads. Aside from these it’s also necessary to have some high quality speakers and earphones. These days things like effects and processors can all be found in computer software, although as you advance you may want to get some hardware versions of these down the line. You’ll also have to make sure that the acoustics in your recording environment are optimal. Don’t forget soundproofing as well.
There is a lot to learn and do to get a good home recording studio setup but in the beginning you can simply concentrate on the essentials. A sufficient computer, an audio interface and some computer software can start you out very nicely. For more information there are some great free guides you can download off the internet to get you started.
Contributed by Peter Webber