Introduction to a Home Studio
Considering A Software Based Home Recording Studio Setup
So you want to take your music production to the next level?
I’m going to assume that much since you’re here. You’ve probably played around with different equipment through the years or just recently became interested, but you’re finally ready to invest some real time and unfortunately some real money. You want your own “lab”. I’ve been in the same situation and hopefully can save you some of that time and money with the guides on this site, starting with this one.
The main things covered in this home studio guide:
- Software being just as adequate as most hardware with modern technology.
- The core parts of a DAW setup.
- Comparing different Digital Audio Workstation software.
Sifting Through the Music Production Information on the Web
There’s thousands of ways to find information on the internet about any topic. Music production is no different. The one thing you’ll come to learn if you don’t know already is that online forums are your friend. The amount of information available to you on forums is invaluable. Any question you have right now about your home studio equipment has probably already been answered on a forum. Click the following link to read more about music production forums.
Starting Up A Software Based Home Studio
Now that we’ve gotten the forums out of the way let’s get into the real deal. There are countless different types of setups you can use for a home or project studio, but the one that’s becoming more and more common is the DAW or Digital Audio Workstation.
The days of hardware only setups are long gone with the advancement of computers and software that can emulate or even surpass hardware equipment. After all, hardware is just a different form of a “computer” to an extent, with some type of software controlling it. Hardware enthusiasts will argue with you till their last breath that software can’t do what their gear can do, but they’re just bitter that they spent two grand on a mixer that came free with your sequencing program (which also came with effects that you dont have to buy). What i’m trying to get to is this : The most cost effective way for an average person to have a “home studio” is to use software to start off and incorporate hardware as you can afford it. Don’t buy a $500 audio interface before you even know what Line and Mic level means. You might not need half the I/O you that comes with it, and could probably save a couple hundred dollars simply by buying the next step down, which was more than enough to do whatever it was you were trying to do. Learn the ropes, then invest the money to get the setup that will complement your workflow.
So I’ve steared you away from the hardware vs. software argument, (If you rule a Computer out as hardware, which is kind of a stretch). Now let’s clear up a few more myths. You don’t have to be a multi million dollar record company to get quality recordings and you do NOT need a Mac computer to make music (You can build a better PC for half the money you’d spend on a Mac. Sorry Steve Jobs, but Bill is still that guy). What you do need is a lot of time, research, and the right gear. Whether you’re clicking out beats with your mouse in FL Studio or you’re a singer, guitarist, or aspiring music producer, or are interested in any other of the numerous fields involved in manipulating sound, one of the main things to consider incorporating into your setup is an Audio Interface. Even more so than the audio interface, you’re going to want a decent computer. Your default sound card and grandmas “i have windows 98″ computer aren’t going to be able to handle recording tracks and running 50 vst plugins at once.
I’m not going to give you exact “specs” for what type of computer to use, because computers are evolving and changing constantly. A year from now any specs I gave you would be inadequate. What I will say is this : If you plan to build a DAW, your computer is the core of that setup. Skimping on the computer will hold you back in all other stages, so before everything else, the PC (or Mac if you’re one of those people) is where you want to invest funds. The next step is essential as well. You need to figure out what program provides you with the most effective workflow.
Music Editing Software:
Everyone has their favorite DAW program, whether in a home recording studio or a professional studio, Pro Tools is being one of the most popular currently. The important thing to understand about all of the programs (Fl Studio, Ableton, Pro Tools, Studio One, etc) is that they all do the same thing. They look different, some argue they sound different (another myth), and have different ways of handling audio, but they’re all essentially a means to an end. The only important factor in which program you use is how well you work with the program. Most of the popular music editing software have demo versions available for free on their respected websites and I highly suggest trying out all of them before deciding which one to actually purchase.
If you have a good computer, an audio interface and a program to arrange and edit sound, you’re well on your way to making music and starting a home recording studio. Obviously there’s more to the picture, but with these alone you’ll be well enough equipped to get started. As a project studio owner you’re going to be playing many roles. In a professional studio there’s multiple people doing the different jobs required, but in your home studio you’re expected to do it all. You’re going to want to get comfortable recording common instruments and vocals, and possibly dip into a little mixing and mastering. Take it a couple steps at a time and before you know it you’ll be making smash hits (glass half full?). The last thing I want to cover before ending the guide is the importance of understanding how to use your gear. Knowing how to operate your software or hardware is more important than what gear or software it is. Spend as much time as you can practicing with your setup and make note of what type of equipment you feel would contribute the most to the efficiency of your workflow in Your studio.