Just to clarify things, putting together a home studio is my first attempt at any musical recording outside of recoding on a hand held tape recorder, I am not a professional. The way I’m approaching it is to look at my influences, see how they recorded, and try to reproduce it in my budget and using the latest technology. This my list and shouldn’t been seen as a guide. I am writing this both to record to myself as well as help others in my position of wanting to record music, but not knowing how to go about doing it. I set up this list of things I must remember when setting up a home studio, acquired from different books and online articles.
- Your recordings are only as good as their weakest link (Basically this means that even if you have a $2,000 guitar, if you plug it into a crappy amp it will sound crappy)
- Buy the best equipment you can (an economy in quality, is always a false economy)
- Always look for affordable alternatives (this may seem the opposite of the above statement, but it isn’t. Sometimes you may not be able to buy the best equipment and some lower priced alternatives may be there if you look)
To start with I needed an audio recording and mixing device. Back in the days it would have been a huge reel-to-reel recorders with huge mixing boards and teams of engineers in lab coats pushing little light up buttons. In the professional world today they use huge digital recorders and mixing decks, behind glass with millions of dollars of equipment. In an amateur home recording studio there are many different approaches from analog tape mixers, digital deck mixers, to computer based recoding. I chose to edit on my old Apple laptop using software which takes up the least space and allows for maximum quality and maximum edit-ability over all the other amateur formats, for this I am using a PowerBook and a copy of GarageBand to record and mix. GarageBand also has virtual amps which utilize DI (Direct Inject) which sound great, cost a fraction of real amps, are post-production friendly (can change amp’s sound later in the mix) and save a huge amount of my limited urban living space.
(Direct Injecting is a recording term used when you don’t mic up a guitar’s amp, but rather plug the guitar directly into the mixing board. It is often seen by professionals as cheating because it does not allow for an artist’s individual amplifier sound to be captured, but then again the same was said about digital photography 5 years ago.)