I am by no means an expert at this. A critical and professional ear will no doubt identify all the ragged edges created by many technical and musical problems in my work. Frankly thats all I hear when I listen to my stuff, so I am always a bit bemused when I receive compliments. I am after all a self-taught hobbyist, and on a budget.
On this page I share the approach to home recording that I use right now. This is evolutionary so I will not always do it this way. Nor is this the only way to do it. By tweaking and developing my technique, and upgrading components over time, as I can afford to, my studio and competence will continue to progress.
Recording hardware and software products for the home user have improved, and come down in price. It is quite possible to put together a pretty good home recording studio for under $1,000.00. With a mixture of good advice, a bit of patient trial and error problem solving, and a willingness to learn from your mistakes, I have no doubt a budget home studio’s recording capability can reach the point where it rivals the facility of a big commercial studio.
- For vocals I use a studio condenser microphone. For any studio recording project I recommend this over a stage mic.
- Mics and instruments plug into a 4 channel mixer.
- The mixer lines out to a USB Audio module. For any home studio I recommend some kind of audio module, either USB or firewire. Never line directly into your sound card. An alternative is a mixer with USB / firewire connectivity, which eliminates the module requirement.
- The USB Audio module connects to a computer.
- Installed on the computer is the DAW software (Digital Audio Workstation). The DAW is the heart of my studio, and the component that makes the magic happen. It provides the ability to multi-track, mix, layer, automate levels, insert and automate built-in effects, create MIDI sequences and much more. The DAW also provides the tools for mix-down and mastering of the final product. I currently use PreSonus Studio One Pro as my DAW. Although there are free tools out there, a robust DAW was definitely worth the investment, because it provides software equivalents for a substantial range of equipment.
The following diagram illustrates the connection scheme.