Recording demos of material can be an important step in the process of recording an album, but it can often cost too much money to simply go into the studio to record some ideas for songs that you may have. By setting up a simple home studio, you can spend money up front, but save some in the long run. Whether you are using a computer or a portable recorder, the basic home studio principles are the same and with very little equipment to start, you can be on your way to making high-quality recordings from your home.
Install the audio software you will use for your home studio, including the plug-ins you have to add effects to individual tracks and stereo mixes. Use this computer solely for recording and not Internet surfing, as viruses can corrupt audio files and slow down processing power needed for audio tracks and real-time effects.
Install the audio card you will use to input the sounds of the instruments and microphones while recording. USB and FireWire sound cards are great for use with laptops, but can also be used on desktops. Some sound cards come bundled with the audio software you will need to use with their particular sound card. Cards range in amount of inputs and outputs from two of each all the way up to 16 of each.
Set up monitors to hear the sounds that you are recording. Although headphones will be good for mixing, it is essential that you hear what you are recording through speakers as well. There are active and passive monitors available for the home studio that are cost-effective and high quality.
Set up the hardware for recording if you are not using a computer for recording. Manufacturers such as Sony and Tascam make stand-alone recorders that are also portable. These recording devices can record multiple instruments at once and often have built-in effects that can be used on multiple channels. Burn CDs of finished tracks with built-in CD-R drives found on higher-end models.
Set up an area or room for recording and feed the wires to that area, making sure to cover them or secure them so that no one trips. Home studios often lack space, but using an attached bathroom is great way to have access to an isolation booth.
Set up a headphone mixer for musicians to use while they record. Many home studios utilise direct recording, so invest in a good guitar simulator program and use headphones to monitor the sound so as not to disturb family members or neighbours if you live in a multi-family building.
Things you need
- Audio software
- Recording device
- Sound card