The Ultimate Guide to Home Recording
The Home Recording Studio
No working musician is unaware of the astounding innovations that have taken place in home recording technology. Changes have been rapid and disruptive, showing no signs of slowing down.
Recording studios are as incredible as they are unrealistic for most musicians. With many industry professionals trading in their war chest of outboard analog gear to work entirely “in the box” from their home studios, it is clear that the barriers to entry are being blown wide open.
This democratization of music production creates a ripe landscape not only for the home studio musician but for a diverse breed of audio professionals.
There’s a very high chance that a hearty portion of some of your favourite albums were in some way, shape, or form, produced in a home studio.
Apart from a fantastic song and performance, what’s key in a good production is a solid understanding of the fundamentals of audio and acoustics. Learn the fundamentals and you have before you a direct path to great results.
The focus of this guide is to educate you on the essential tools needed to get a home recording studio off the ground. For each tool we provide a buyers guide that will help you determine which of the models presented best meets the demands of your studio.
Whether you’re a budget solo artist with limited knowledge on the basics of recording, or a successful project studio owner looking to diversify your toolbox, there is plenty of knowledge about the most essential tools in the game from well-established, sought-after brands in recording technology.
Consumer speakers usually sound fantastic, don’t they? That’s exactly why they are a poor choice for recording and producing music. We don’t want something that sounds good. We want something that sounds honest and non-biased from which we produce something that will sound good anywhere. Thats the point of studio monitors. In this chapter we explore different types of monitors, their features, characteristics, and help you determine what you’ll need to get the results you’re after.
Headphones are essential in the recording process and you’re likely going to need a few pairs to get the job done. What you need to have a clear understanding of is the job at hand. From there you can decide which type of headphones are best fit for the job and how many you are going to need. Are you recording drums? Several musicians at the same time in the same room? Are you using them for mixing? These are questions you’ll need to answer that will determine the best headphones for your home recording set up.
This is where things really come together. Literally. Your audio interface connects all your studio tools to your computer and communicates their functions with your DAW. These units have become wildly versatile over the years and offer portability and diverse connectivity, being the actual hub of your entire toolkit. Whether you’re recording a solo artist or a live band, we have included 8 models in our buying guide that service the home recording studio perfectly.
MIDI Keyboard Controllers
If you’re recording from home, chances are you don’t have the space or budget for all the instruments you would like to work with. Nowadays, virtual instruments are so advanced as to oftentimes be indistinguishable from the real thing. Whether you want the sound of a grand piano, classic synthesizer, string ensemble or a world class drum recording, a MIDI keyboard controller is your interface to a new world of sounds at your fingertips. The distance you can go with the features of todays MIDI keyboard controllers is astonishing. You’ll surprise yourself with with what you can come up with, making for a truly rewarding creative experience.
Complimentary to a great performance is a microphone that can serve it justice. Though the success of a recording will rely more heavily on the quality of a performance, a poor recording will only do a huge disservice and leave the recording sounding lifeless. Luckily, there are fantastic budget microphones on the market, and several within our guide that are industry standard microphones priced for a musicians at any budget.
In professional recording studios, the circuitry of their console of choice will have a big impact on the character of the recording. Highly praised are the consoles preamps which contain fantastic circuitry that give the console its distinct tone and personality. Audio interfaces almost always include their own preamps but often lack the vibe to make them truly distinguishable to other models. A preamp is used to increase the signal of the input either transparently or as to lay a noticeable fingerprint on the signal that inspires common adjectives like “warm, vibey, vintage, etc”