Welcome to Day 1 of 31 Days to Better Recordings!! Over the next 31 days, I hope to share with you lots of useful advice to help make your recordings better. Don’t forget to leave your comments!
So you want better recordings, right? Or perhaps you’re just getting started and you just want to be able to record.
First things first, you need to take a few minutes to evaluate your current recording setup. Before we can talk about mic techniques, signal flow, EQ, or compression, we need to make sure that you have a setup that is capable of producing great-sounding recordings.
The Good News
There has never been a better time to record music, especially for us home studio folks. Technology keeps advancing in leaps and bounds, which leads to quality equipment at affordable prices.
Years ago, you simply couldn’t build a multi-track recording studio for less than several thousands of dollars. Those days are gone. Today, you can have a quality recording rig for a couple hundred dollars.
The Bad News
With the onset of affordable recording technology comes the endless array of choices. There’s not a single best way to build a studio. Every category – computer, audio interface, microphone, preamp, etc. – has dozens, maybe hundreds, of choices.
With all these choices comes a lot of confusion. Hopefully I can help ease that a bit. Whatever you do, don’t freeze. Even though there are a bajillion options out there, nearly all of them are capable of giving you great results. Decide on a few and get busy.
Here are a few steps to help you.
1. 12 Home Studio Necessities
I wrote a series of articles when I first launched Home Studio Corner called “12 Home Studio Necessities,” where I outline the basic components of a home studio. (You can read the articles by clicking on that link, or you can read the eBook version by signing up to my newsletter.)
If you’re just starting out, and you don’t even know where to begin, this is a must-read. Even if you’ve been recording for a while, I’d recommend that you read it, too. It’ll help you evaluate your rig, and might help determine any missing pieces.
2. Identify Wants vs. Needs
Almost everything I list in 12 Home Studio Necessities is something you need to make good recordings. But there are plenty of things you may want to add to your studio.
There’s nothing wrong with that. But, you should probably make a list of things you want vs. things you need.
If you’re really itching to buy a new plug-in bundle when you’re still recording everything through the 1/8″ mic input on the back of your computer…you should probably reconsider. The plug-in bundle would be a want, whereas an audio interface would be a need.
3. Create a Game-Plan/Budget
Once you’ve identified the things you need, make it a priority. Devise a plan for exactly how you’re going to get them, how much they’re going to cost, and how long it’s going to take.
In the meantime, don’t put off recording. Make the most of what you have, no matter how minimal, and practice. If you’ve only got a cheap $20 microphone, while you’re saving up for a new one, record as much as you can with the mic you have. Learn to make it sound as good as possible.
Better gear won’t always guarantee better recordings. You have to know how to use it. (More on that another day.)
Day 1 Challenge
In the comments section below, inventory your setup (what you have), identify wants and needs, and tell us briefly what you’re game plan is. Welcome to 31DBR!