YOUR FIRST HOME STUDIO – A Beginners Guide To Recording At Home (2020)
It can be a bit daunting when looking for ways to record your music from home and setting up a home studio; there’s tonnes of options and can be confusing what you actually need. We at Breve Music have set up this guide to help you make some decisions on what gear you will need to get yourself setup at home to start making the recordings as easy as possible.
What you will need
We’ve found that there are 4 main things you need to consider when starting up:
- What you are recording
- The interface to plug everything into
- A computer
- And a way of listening back to the recording
Of course you may already have some of these items but hopefully this guide will give you an insight on what you need to get top quality results every time.
What you are recording?
Many people have different requirements for what they are recording in their home studio. Some people simply have 1 synthesiser that they are recording and others may need to record an entire 10-piece band simultaneously.
However, a lot of people reading this will be interested in recording instruments that are not digital; such as vocals, acoustic guitar, drums, ukulele, violin etc. For these instruments, you will need a microphone. Microphones come in all different shapes and sizes and can be confusing what some of the terminology means. There are three different microphone types that you need to be aware of when making a decision on which one to buy: Condenser, Dynamic and Ribbon.
A condenser microphone is the studio standard and comes equipped with a highly sensitive receiver. This makes is perfect for vocals, acoustic guitar and many other instruments. A dynamic microphone is usually a lot more rugged and can withstand high volumes a lot better. This makes is great for drums, electric guitar cabs and live music use. A ribbon microphone is the most uncommon and usually the most expensive. They are extremely fragile but have a warm and textured sound that brings out every nuance in your sound. All three microphones types serve a different purpose in a studio and a live environment.
What microphone do we recommend?
Budget Microphone : AKG P120
Midrange Microphone : AKG C214
Top End Microphone : AKG C414XLS
If you’d like to know more about microphones, contact us via our website and we’d be happy to answer any questions.
The Audio Interface
An audio interface (or sometimes referred to as a sound card) is an extremely important part of making great recordings at home.
Simply put, the audio interface is the box in between your microphone and your computer. It turns all that lovely sound you’ve captured in your microphone into something your computer can read.
It’s important to know what you’re recording in your home studio as you will need an interface that’s capable of catering your needs. Often the biggest decision to make is how many channels you will need to record at a time and different audio interfaces offer different channel sizes. The most common is a 2 channel interface. This means you will be able to simultaneously record 2 channels at once eg. A vocal track and an acoustic guitar track. You will then be able to mix those two tracks individually in your computer. If you are recording a full band, or perhaps a drum kit, you may need more channels and it’s important that you get the product that is going to satisfy the needs of what you are recording.
What interface do we recommend?
Budget Interface : Yamaha AG06
Midrange Interface : Apogee Duet
Top End Interface : Yamaha TF1
Most of us have some kind of computer nowadays, whether its a Mac, a PC, or an iPad. And usually these will do the trick well enough to get your started in your home studio.
In order for you to use your audio interface, you will need some software to record into. Lucky for you, most interfaces come with a free version of some software. This software is often referred to as a Digital Audio Workstation or DAW for short. There are plenty of options but we recommend Logic Pro (Mac only), Cubase, Ableton or Reaper. These are all good options and once you start learning the ins and outs of DAWs, you will soon be making some fantastic recordings.
Monitors and Headphones
Theres nothing more frustrating than making a quality recording that you are proud of and sounds fantastic; only to take it to your car stereo or your home HiFi system and it sounds completely different. This is a common problem and a mistake that a few people make when listening back to their music.
The reason this happens is that usually you are not listening to your music through the correct type of headphones or speakers. Studio monitors and studio headphones are different to your ordinary headphones as they provide what is known as a flat response. This means, that what you are listening to is exactly what you have recorded and mixed. Your average consumer headphones can sometimes add more low response to make it feel like there is more bass is your track, only to find out on another set of headphones, there is hardly any bass there at all.
Lucky for you, it doesn’t have to be an expensive payout to get a flat response and a good studio quality sound. Speakers are always recommended as they provide a more accurate sound, however you will still need a pair of headphones for when you are using a microphone.
Budget Headphones : AKG K92
Midrange Headphones : Yamaha HPH-MT5
Top End Headphones : AKG K702
The industry standard for studio speakers is Yamaha which is why at every price point , we recommend the Yamaha HS Speakers. They come in three different sizes and we recommend going for the HS7’s. They are the perfect for the price and the sound.