So you've read the first article and you now know the basic components that make up a home recording studio.
You've got the money saved up, cash is in hand, and you are ready to make the plunge.
Here are my personal recommendations for a hassle free setup without spending too much.
- Microphone(s) - If you plan on recording only vocals to put over premade tracks, then you only need one microphone. If you want to record amplifiers of any sort, you will need at least two. To get a great variety of microphones, I recommend picking up an Audix i5, and 2 Shure SM57s. If you don't mind having used equipment, with a little searching you can easily find these microphones at half the price.
- Recording Interface - It can be tricky to find the right hardware for your recording interface, but there are a few fail safe options! If you want great tone, very little lag between what you play and what you hear, I highly recommend investing in the Line 6 Toneport UX2, which gives you plenty of inputs, outputs, and zero audio lag if you do a direct connection to the computer and headphones. If you want to spend a little more, the MBox Mini is a wonderful little interface because it allows you access to Pro Tools, one of the best and easiest recording programs available.
- Headphones - Like I mentioned before, the headphones must be high end for you to be an effective audio engineer. My personal favorite headphones are the Shure SRH840 and Audio Technica ATH-M50.
- Speakers - Rather than buying regular computer speakers with a sweet subwoofer, we want to get studio monitors. When you listen to any music through these, you will notice that it sounds flat and there will be little bass. This is because it is meant to accurately reproduce the sound coming out of the computer without adding any bias to the low or high end, as subs or tweeters would do. This will let you have a very clear picture of how you are doing on your track mixes. My favorite budget monitors are the KRK Rockit G2s, hands down. These 5 inch little guys pack a punch, and get as loud as you would need.
After you have all of the equipment, set it up according to the instructions provided with each piece of gear. If anything is USB powered, make sure you install the CD drivers before you plug in the device, unless otherwise noted. This is how your connection flow should be once you are all set up and ready to go.
To Record Guitar
Guitar -> Amplifier -> Microphones -> Audio Interface -> Computer -> Headphones and/or Monitors
To Record Vocals
Microphone -> Audio Interface -> Computer -> Headphones and/or Monitors
Basically, the input starts where the instrument is, and the output will be the end result, which gets channeled to the headphones and monitors. The order of how you record each track is equally important, by the way. If you are a vocalist who is just looking to lay down some tracks over prerecorded instrumentals, just record your tracks and lay them over the prerecorded ones.
If you are starting from scratch, however, you always want to begin with the rhythm section first. Set the metronome up and record the drums, either through virtual drums or real recordings that we will cover in a later article. After the drums, the next step must be bass because it lays the groundwork for the guitars to follow. The bass must be on time with the drums to provide a strong rhythm section, and if the guitars are not on time, you will be able to easily tell.
Next, you want to record the guitars, and at the very end come the vocals and keyboards, as well as other sound effects you may want to add. From here the next step is some trial and error as you play with your new equipment on your own.
In a future article we will cover how to record drums, as well as guitars, and audio mixing!