In order to create music one requires talent, skill, the correct combination of software and hardware and sometimes even an adequate education. A good ear is also a necessity but takes time to develop. Though, setting up a quality recording studio itself takes up far less time than developing the earlier mentioned skills. Make informed decisions while selecting your equipment and software and you might very well be able to compose quality arrangements without years of training or education.
Everything in the home recording studio revolves around an up-to-date computer and a high-end digital audio workstation. Your computer should have at least 2GB of RAM and 2GHz processor speed in order to process audio in a smooth way. Processing audio takes a lot of resources so computers with higher specs are preferred. In addition, you will always want an up-to-date operating system to be sure your hardware and software is supported.
The digital audio workstation is software to record, mix, edit and master your audio files and should have multiple key features enabled which to look for while considering your purchase. These features include the compatibility of virtual instruments (VST’s), maximum number of available tracks, mastering tools and compatibility with your audio hardware and computer. Expect to use a lot of tracks for a single piece of music since you also need to reserve some dedicated tracks for effects besides the tracks for the audio itself.
Recently there has been an uprising of workstations aimed specifically at making beats. Basically these should have the same key features of a full-fledged digital workstation but since they are developed to only make beats and work with sound samples, they are a lot more light weight. This kind of beat maker is generally an inexpensive tool and there is even such a thing as a free beat maker. If you are not planning to record any instruments, then this might be the tool to go with.
To be able to record any instruments, you will also need a suitable sound card, or audio interface. This piece of hardware is necessary to convert the instruments’ audio signals in to digital signals that your computer is able to work with. Sadly enough, most on-board or readily installed sound cards are not up to the job so you’ll need to buy one specifically designed for audio production.
Determine if you are going to record a band or will be working solo, recording each instrument one at a time by yourself. In order to make solo recordings, an audio interface with two inputs should be enough but I’ve found having eight inputs available to be less of a hassle. In this case you can leave your separate instruments plugged in at all times and not waste time switching plugs or instruments. The audio interfaces with more inputs are generally also more expensive. If you are on a tight budget, you can always install a mixing panel within the setup.
If you plan on recording vocals or acoustic instruments, you’ll need a quality microphone. Basically all studio microphones produced for this task are condenser microphones and these can be quite expensive. However, these days you can find adequate condenser microphones for studio use for as little as $100.
To monitor your recordings, you can use studio monitors or studio headphones. You should always use monitor equipment made specifically for this job to get the best results. You’ll discover that this equipment can be quite costly as well but creating a well balanced mix with the use of budget-priced equipment is very well possible.
Having quality equipment will leave you with a more user-friendly experience and ultimately high quality music. You shouldn’t waste time tweaking and messing with inadequate hardware and software since recording, editing and mastering processes already takes a lot of time themselves.