The Top 10 Things You Need to Record A Song at Home
As technology develops and becomes more accessible to all people, producing music at home has never been easier. Unlike the earlier days in the music industry, when independent artists had to spend their own money book recording sessions at fully equipped music studios to produce their songs, it is now possible to grow your own makeshift recording studio at home! If you’re looking to let your musical creativity flow, but don’t want to have to book some time at a local studio, we’re here to show you the top 10 essentials you need to produce your hit track!
1. A High Quality Microphone
To produce high quality music, you are definitely going to need a good microphone to record vocals and any live instruments you wish to include in your production. Microphones come in many different shapes and sizes, each catering to different purposes. While the best recording mics can be a bit of an investment, cheaper options such as the Rode NT1A and the Rode NTK prove to be great options for recording vocals as it produces a clear and crisp sound to make any vocal recording stand out in the mix. As the main input source for any live recording tracks, a high quality microphone is definitely an important part of any recording setup. On the higher quality side, dynamic microphones like the Shure SM7B is a great medium for quality and price.
Looking for a USB microphone? See “Audio Interface”.
2. Sturdy Studio Headphones
Headphones are essential to any studio setup as it provides an output for music while recording and mixing. It is very important that when purchasing a pair of headphones for music production, you invest in a sturdy pair that gives you crisp and clear sound quality whenever you play music. Another important feature to consider in studio headphones is how they affect the sound that is coming out of it. Some headphone brands such as Beats by Dre and Bose advertise bass-enhancing headphones. While this is a great feature when listening to music for personal enjoyment, it is not practical when producing tracks of your own as it changes the overall sound of the mix by making the bass seem clearer. Headphones such as the Shure SRH1840 and the Sony MDR 7520 are great pairs for your setup due to their clear and well balanced sound.
3. DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
A DAW (digital audio workstation) is the actual platform in which music producers make their tracks and is highly essential for any studio setup. Every DAW has a display that shows all of the different elements included in the production, including MIDI tracks and live recordings. These softwares also provide a library of MIDI instruments and special effects to make unique sounds that fit well into the mix. There are a variety of great DAW’s to fit into anyone’s price range. More affordable DAW’s such as GarageBand are great for beginners who are still learning the ropes of music production. However, paid programs such as Ableton, FL Studio and Logic Pro X provide a larger variety of effects and instruments to make more complex tracks. Each DAW caters to different types of producers, it is just a matter of finding which one best fits your needs!
4. Desktop Computer or Laptop
In order to be able to produce music, a high quality computer or laptop is essential to be able to utilize a DAW. Certain programs such as GarageBand and Logic Pro X are only available for macOS users, however most can be downloaded on any type of computer. It is also essential to have a computer with a large amount of RAM and high processing power, especially for projects that have a large amount of components. RAM (random access memory) is what your computer saves in the moment. This is helpful for music producers because as work is being done, the computer is saving information automatically, therefore it is easier to access the data later. Processing power is also important as it required for the mix to be played back to the listener. As the song plays through the headphones, the computer is reading the data that is contained in the song so it is able to play all components of the song as it comes up in the project. Without a high processing power, the computer could overwork itself and the software could crash. When looking at different computers for music production, it is important to keep these features in mind and ask for recommendations!
5. Audio Interface
An external audio interface is important to add into any recording setup because it adds more inputs and outputs for external mics, instruments and other kinds of signals, as well as improves the sound quality coming from your computer. There are a variety of great options available for audio interfaces, however the PreSonus Studio 24c and the Native Instruments Komplete Audio 1 or 2, are some high quality options that are affordable as well.
If you’re on a budget, you can always skip getting an audio interface. Instead of getting a pro-mic with an XLR output, you can choose to go with a USB microphone. Even though we may not recommend this (due to electronic buzz and DC whine) this is a cost effective way (and portable solution) to get demos recorded. One mic in particular that is versatile for recording vocals, instruments, or voiceover for podcasts is the Blue Yeti, or the Blue Yeti Pro (which has both XLR and USB).
6. Studio Monitors
Studio monitors are essential to any recording setup because they are the best output to hear how your project sounds as you work. It is recommended to use a variety of monitor sizes as different speakers emphasize different parts of the mix. Larger speakers usually emphasize the bass and lower sounds within the mix while medium and smaller sized monitors give presence to the mid and high range. Monitors such as the JBL LSR305 or the Yamaha HS8 are some great options for the best quality sound.
While cables may not be as exciting as a new microphone or desktop computer, they are needed all around the studio as they connect each piece of hardware to each other and make a path for the signal to flow. Depending on the equipment you have, you will need a variety of cables such as HDMI, XLR, TRS or TS cables.
8. Pop Filter
It is also recommended to purchase a pop filter to attach in front of the microphone. This serves as a noise protection filter to prevent the presence of any popping noises on the recording, which is normally caused by fast-moving air going towards the microphone. Overall, this will improve the quality of the recording and eliminate any potentially unwanted noise.
9. Mic Stand
A sturdy mic stand is important for recording, as many singers and instrumentalists like to stand up when playing to produce a clearer, fuller sound. Mic stands keep the mic supported to the needed height level for recording. It is important to find a sturdy mic stand that can be used many times over a long period of time, and can be adjusted as needed.
10. Your Own Passion and Creativity
While you may have invested your money to create the best home recording studio possible, the equipment will not matter without your own personal passion for music production, and your creative drive to work on original content. Music is a great outlet for people to express themselves and get a message across. With some passion and creativity, and with the help of the music production equipment listed above, anyone can share their message through music from the comfort of their own home!