Recording a reasonable quality CD of songs can be done from the comfort of your home. It is worth considering whether you intend the recording to be used for personal or commercial use. If you are going to be selling the CD or presenting it as a demo to a music company, it is often worth researching professional recording studios as you will not achieve the same quality at home as you will from a reputable studio. However, if you plan to keep the CD as a keepsake or want to gift it to friends or family, you can achieve a decent CD using a laptop computer.
Purchase a microphone that can be plugged into your computer, if your laptop does not already have one. Once installed, the microphone will allow you to record sound directly to your laptop. Record a few "dummy" versions of you singing with the microphone at different angles and distances from your face or, if you are using an inbuilt microphone, record yourself at different distances from the computer. Label each recording with details of the distance and angle the microphone was at for recording (i.e. "At chin level, to left of mouth").
Listen back to the recorded practice songs. This will help you to gauge where you should angle the microphone or how far you need to be from the laptop's inbuilt mic to sound your best. Listen for any "popping," or exceptional loudness when singing certain letters, usually when using the letter "p." If popping occurs, you may need to sing to the left of the microphone or keep your mouth at a greater distance from the microphone.
Choose an appropriate room when you feel ready to record your songs for the CD. Aim for a carpeted room with low ceilings as this will help to absorb background noise and will prevent an echo being heard in the recording. Record the room in silence for a few moments to be sure that noise from things like air-conditioning or fridges cannot be heard on playback.
Record yourself singing your songs. Record several versions of each so you can choose the best ones. Save these to their own folder in the Music section of your computer files. Save these as WAV files if space allows you to, as WAV is higher quality than MP3.
Purchase or download a sound-editing package (such as Adobe Audition, Sony Sound Forge or Audacity) if you wish to get the best quality sound possible. Such software will allow to cut out errors in each song, such as heavy breathing, long pauses or stumbling over words. You may also even take the best of all the recorded versions of a song and copy and paste the best ones together. However, do not attempt this if you do not have a strong ear for music as different versions may have slightly differing pitches that will sound obvious when put together.
Insert a rewritable CD (labelled as "CD-RW" on packaging) into the CD drive of your laptop. An empty file box will open on your screen once the laptop recognises the CD. If you wish, you can purchase or download CD-burning software. This is not absolutely necessary for making your own CD as your songs are original recordings.
Open your saved files of songs from their folder. Drag and drop each file into the box that has opened for the CD. After a few minutes, the CD drive will pop open. Close the drive again and listen to the entire CD. If you are unhappy with any of the files, you may reopen the CD's file and alter them.
Things you need
- Carpeted room with low ceiling
- Rewritable CDs
- Sound-editing software (optional)
- CD-burning software (optional)