by Jessica Brandon & Jake Weston
Are you a musician looking to record at home on a budget? You will need recording equipment. What type of music gear you will need to get started will vary based on the type of recording you plan to do from home. For example, if you only plan to record demos and rough tracks, you will need less equipment than if you were trying to record radio ready tracks. Another thought is how much you plan to record at one time, one or two tracks and adding vocals in layers requires less equipment than if you plan to do more than two tracks or recording a full band.
The computer is the biggest expenditure by far and most important thing you will need. If you are a Mac user, and you are on a budget, go with a Mac Mini or Macbook Pro. If you are a PC user and you are on a budget, go with an HP computer.
2. DAW/Audio Interface Combination
The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is the software used to record, edit, and mix music on your computer. The Audio Interface is the hardware used to connect your computer with the rest of your music gear. Presonus Studio One is a entry-level budget recommended gear. Other budget conscious interface include: Avid Fast Track or Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (around $200).
Most computers nowadays come with some basic form of recording software, but that isn’t going to be quite enough for those wishing to make some money from recording. Rather than spending money on professional recording software many professionals use Audacity, which is available to download for free. Audacity has an amazing array of features and capabilities for the price, which, as I mentioned in case you missed it, is FREE. I would also suggest adding a program called Reaper for $60 (unless and until you start making 10-20 thousand clams a year using it. Then you are asked to spring for the commercial license for $220).
3. Microphone (or microphones)
To start out – especially if you have a very small budget – I recommend the Shure SM57, which you may buy for just $99.00. I would recommend the Lewitt USB microphone if you have a higher budget. Again, if you’re planning to record a band, you’ll need more mics and a larger interface capable of recording several sources at once.
In the very beginning, all you really need is one. For beginners on a tight budget, there’s no safer bet than the AKG K240.
5. Studio Monitors
For beginners on a tight budget, there’s no safer bet than the KRK Rokit 5 G3
If your mixing room is a bedroom, as it is for most home recordists, just know that what you hear is already mangled in several ways. You can improve that situation, if you have really good speakers, but it isn’t easy.
6. XLR Cables
This is another thing you need for recording studio accessories – XLR Cable
One day, your studio will have a TONS of different cables…
But for now, you only need 3:
~1 long XLR cable for your mic, and…
~2 short ones for your monitors
7. A Mic Stand
While many beginners assume that all mic stands are the same. The truth is that a solid mic stand is one of the most worthwhile investments a new home studio can make.
So, in order to outfit yourself with the basic home recording studio equipment, you’ll need the following:
~Digital Work Station (DAW) Software/Audio Interface Combo
~One Set of Headphones
~A Few Cables
~One Mic Stand
No matter what equipment you purchase the most important thing to remember is that knowledge of the key audio fundamentals is far more useful than expensive equipment. If you lack basic knowledge you will always end up with poor sounding audio, no matter how expensive the equipment is. Remember this mantra: knowledge trumps gear. There are many people making crappy recordings every day with really expensive gear. But if you have some basic knowledge, you can make great recordings with very modest equipment. Therefore, never let an employee talk you into the most expensive equipment in the store, in most cases the $50 USB microphone will provide you with the professional sounding results.
For more information on the 12th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards), go to: http://www.inacoustic.com