Recording music within the comforts of your own home is something that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. However, with the advancement in computer technology and quality budget recording equipment, it's possible to produce studio quality albums for a fraction of the price. Here are some essential pieces of equipment that you should use to ensure you have the creative freedom you need to make the number one spot on the music charts.
A laptop or desktop computer is the first thing you need. The amount of processing power you have will dictate how many tracks you will be able to layer up and listen to at the same time. Adding effects and extra instrumentation all requires processing power, and so the faster the computer, the more creative freedom you'll have when you record and mix your tracks.
There are many different companies that produce recording software for both home and professional studios; Garage band, Pro Tools, Cubase and Logic are some of the more common packages, but there are certainly others. Recording software is required for recording onto your computer and provides a visual aid so that you can monitor your input levels (so that your recordings don't distort) and add effects. Various companies offer both professional and lite editions of their software to accommodate all budget levels, and there are plenty of books and tutorials online to help you navigate through the various menus and options. Just be sure to check the company's website to ensure their software will work on your computer.
Audio Input and Microphone
If you want to improve the quality of your recordings, then a using a microphone is a good place to start. Whilst you can get some microphones that plug into your computer via USB, these tend to be aimed at podcasters and are generally designed to pick up low level vocals and may distort when used with instruments with a greater frequency range. Instead, try using an audio input, basically an external sound card that will allow you to plug in your mic and connect it to your software. There are many budget versions of famous dynamic microphones that are hardwearing and provide clear recordings. Choosing a dynamic mic with a cardioid pickup pattern would work well as it tends to record whatever it is pointing at while minimising background noise. This makes it perfect for live recordings too.
Headphones and Monitors
Studio monitors (speakers) are designed to give you a flat frequency response. This means they don't boost any frequencies, so that you can accurately mix your work and aren't met with any unwanted surprises, such as a huge bass boost when playing your stereo system. Having a good quality pair of headphones will also help you to hear what your tracks sound like on a commercial system. Headphones generally accentuate the upper and lower frequencies to create a warmer more pleasing sound so try using both of them until you are happy with your sound.