Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beginners Guide To Starting A Home Studio

Have you ever wondered how professional recording studios get such superior quality tracks? Have you ever tried to record your music but never knew why it didn't sound "professional"? Do you want to start recording music but don't know where to start? If you have answered yes to any of these questions then you have come to the right place. This post will give you the basic steps to start your own home recording studio.

What Do You Need To Start?

The computer is the main necessity to your home studio. It will be the thing that holds all of your software, files, and projects. Mac or PC, The computer should be moderately fast and should have the minimum system requirements of the DAW software you choose. A computer with system hardware above the DAW's requirements will make the software more manageable as well as reduce glitches, overruns, lag time, and render time.

Tip: When searching for a computer ignore the soundcard and speaker specs. This is because you will redirect your main soundcard with the one built in to the interface and you will not monitor with the stock speakers.

A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is a software that is used to record, edit, mix and playback an audio project. The DAW you choose will have a significant effect on the quality and sound of your project. DAW's are not limited to outside recordings. Some DAW's allow you to create music in the software using MIDI sequencers and samples.  Here is a list of good DAW's  below.

  • Audacity
  • Cockos Reaper
  • Ardour
  • Cubase
  • Pro-Tools
  • Studio One
  • Reason
  • Fl-Studio
  • Ableton Live
  • Cakewalk
  • Adobe Audition

Audio Interface
Presonus Audiobox
The audio interface will be the thing that connects your recordings to your computer and DAW. An audio interface is a "Professional Soundcard" that is used to receive and process an analog audio signal and convert it to a digital signal in which a computer can accept. Most audio interfaces can accept a signal as well as be used for playback. These interfaces are classified by the number of inputs, outputs, bit rate, and features. Some of the features may include: built in effects, Phantom Power, MIDI inputs, on board display, Etc.

Audio Technica AT4033 
The Microphone is what "captures" the sound. It does this by converting sound to an electrical signal. Some people think that once you have an interface, DAW, and proper computer that the microphone is not very important. This statement is false. The microphone is one of the most important if not the most important aspect of a recording. There are two major types of microphones, dynamic and condenser. The main difference between these microphones is the sensitivity. Dynamic microphones are not very sensitive, they do not require a great amount of power, and pick up mostly polar patterns. This makes them good for live use but not for a studio or recording use. Condenser microphones are very sensitive and pick up a wide range of frequencies. Therefore the condenser microphone will pick up a lot more detail than a dynamic mic. Because condenser microphones are so sensitive, they require more power. Most condensers require 48v Phantom Power as well as a decent preamplifier. Condenser microphones are the way to go for recording. There are also well needed accessories for the microphone these include shock mounts, and pop filters.

KRK Rockit 6
Studio Monitors are very high quality speakers that are used for recording and mixing. The reason studio monitors are used over normal computer speakers is because they have a flat frequency response. This means that they don't have any coloration in the sound. With studio monitors you are able to hear every aspect of your mix. These speakers are also able to pick up sounds that you might not hear in other speakers. You may also use studio monitor headphones to reference from but they should not be used alone because it is not possible for any headphones to get a flat frequency response