During February last year, just before the 59th Annual Grammy Awards, the US Census Bureau took it upon themselves to compile various statistics revolving around the US music industry. At the time, there were 1.693 music recording studios in the USA with 65,350 individuals being employed in music-related fields across the country. Recorded music sales were up 11.4% in 2016 with the industry contributing $7.65 billion towards the national economy – a clear indication that the US music industry is once again thriving after a slight slump a couple of years ago.
As much as the music industry is evolving at breakneck speed, so too is the way in which music is produced. A lot of artists still think of large recording studios as status symbols but more and more artists are starting to explore the possibility of home recording. With countless gimmicks and gadgets such as headphones and docking stations available to make elevate your home recording sessions to the same level as that of a professional studio, it is no wonder that home studios are popping up everywhere. As long as you are armed with a basic recording know-how and a few essential pieces of equipment you can easily produce your music right in the comfort of your home.
When setting up your home recording studio, your PC will be your biggest expense by far. Your computer will form the brain of your recording operation and this is the one area in which you do not want to settle for an inferior piece of equipment. If you already have a computer chances are you will be able to use it with the help of some peripheral paraphernalia. A top-of-the-range PC or Mac will undoubtedly make for a smoother recording process but are not a necessity if you are only starting out with home recordings. The biggest considerations when buying a new computer is a fast processor, at least than 2 GB of RAM and a large hard drive to store your recordings on (an external hard drive is very convenient as it allows you to move your music around with ease)
A digital audio workstation
The digital audio workstation refers to the basic software you will use to record, edit and mix your music on your computer. The software you end up settling for will be determined by your recording requirements. Pro Tools is just one example of a reliable DWA that has been around for many years. Before spending any money on recording software check whether your audio interface isn’t equipped with any, as many are these days. You don’t want to end up spending unnecessary money on a duplicate purchase.
An audio interface
The primary purpose of the audio interface is to provide you with all the necessary connections needed to send your music into the computer when recording and getting it out during playback. There are countless great-quality audio interfaces available with your choice being dependant on your budget and the type of music you are looking to record. Most modern-day audio interfaces boast a lot of features including mic preamps, digital conversion, DI boxes, monitor management and headphone amps.
Good studio microphone
A microphone is a seemingly obvious piece of recording equipment but does not always get all the attention it deserves. As with most of your equipment, your choice in microphone will be dependent on the type of music you want to record. Most professional recording studios will have a variety of microphones that will enable the recording of different sounds, different instruments and recording in different situations. It is recommended to speak to industry experts or conduct your own research before purchasing a mic as it is very easy to become overwhelmed by all the options available.
Good studio headphones
A set of good studio earphones are an absolute must-have for any home recording setup. With earphones, it is important to only buy ones of a good quality as you need them to render a crystal clear sound for you to work with. Most recording studios will have at least two sets of headphones – closed back for recording tracks and open back for mixing the tracks. As you become more adept at music recording you may consider switching to studio monitors which are a lot more powerful and versatile than standard studio headphones.
The above is merely an indication of the very basic equipment you will need for a home recording studio. There are of course countless more gadgets you can invest in to take your recording to the next level. If you are, however, only looking to delve into basic recordings, the items listed above will serve you well enough.