So you’ve learned an instrument and written a few songs, what next? Maybe you’ve been thinking about recording a few of your songs yourself. While this may seem daunting at first, hopefully by the end of this quick guide you’ll have the know how to get your tunes recorded!
In order to record yourself, you need 7 things.
Most people think you’ve GOT to have a Mac and really pricey software in order to record music, however this is not the case. The likelihood is, you have a laptop or PC already and this will be sufficient for now! Most modern laptops will most likely be able to handle all of your recording needs for the moment, so an upgrade is not necessary yet.
So you have your computer, now you’re gonna need a program to record yourself into. Your recording software or D.A.W (Digital Audio Workstation) is what you will be recording all your sounds into. There are so many to choose from, so I’ll recommend a few of the best free and premium softwares.
Apple Logic Pro X (Mac only) Audacity(PC and Mac)
Avid Pro Tools (PC and Mac) Garage Band (Mac only)
Ableton Live (PC and Mac) MuLab (PC and Mac)
Cubase (PC and Mac)
Don’t be discouraged if you have absolutely no idea what you’re doing in your new DAW. It will take time to learn how to use the specific one you’ve chosen, so look up a few tutorials and you’ll be a pro in no time!
An audio interface is basically a box that you connect your instrument or microphone to, in order to record sound into your D.A.W. There are many, many different models and brands, but they all essentially do the same thing.
Most are easy to set up, and connect to your computer via USB. Once connected, you should go to your DAW’s settings and change the input to your audio interface. If you get stuck, look up a tutorial for your specific DAW.
If you are a singer, chances are you have a dynamic microphone already. If this isn’t the case, get a dynamic microphone that is within your budget, there is no need to splurge at this early stage. However, you should try to upgrade in the future in order to achieve better quality recordings.
Also important is a microphone stand. A good sturdy stand will last you a long time and you will use it very often. It will be used when you record everything so look at some reviews and get yourself a good one.
If you’re not familiar with these cables, here is what they do. An XLR cable is mainly used for microphones and Jack cables are used for instruments such as guitar and bass. To start off with, get two XLR cables and two Jack cables. This will ensure you have backups incase one of them breaks.
You may have seen the black circular screens in front of a microphone and wondered what they are/do. They’re called pop shields and they prevent any popping sounds from fast moving air caused by a singers voice.
Don’t worry if you can’t afford one, you can make a pop shield really easily with a few simple household items, and they work just as good as the bought ones. There are lots of easy tutorials online that will show you how to make one.
This is an area that is often overlooked by rookie producers. It is worth investing in a good pair of headphones because if you take care of them, they will last you a long time. At this stage, there is no need going for the most expensive.
Some good, Midrange examples are:
Audio Technica ATH-M20X