In days gone by, recording music required a lot of specialized equipment or — if you were very lucky or very talented — a record label and a recording studio. Today, with advancing technology and the internet at our fingertips, you can record studio-quality songs at home with just a few items. What sort of equipment do you need to record a song at home?
1. A Computer or Laptop
You don’t need a massive recording studio anymore. In fact, many of the things that you can do in these studios now come in the form of software on a desktop computer or laptop. Chances are pretty good you already have a computer or laptop at home, but if you don’t, make sure you opt for one with decent processing power. It doesn’t have to be a top-of-the-line gaming rig — it just needs to be able to handle the paces you’ll put it through.
2. An Audio Interface Device
This is what will connect the rest of your recording equipment to your computer so you can record your harmonies, melodies and sick beats. Look for a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) and audio interface combo so you’ve got some tools to alter and manipulate your channels on hand as the audio moves from your mic or instrument into the computer.
3. Microphones and Mic Stand
Whether you’re playing guitar, rocking the drums or singing your heart out, you need a microphone to capture all of those notes. While you can find USB microphones that capture decent audio, your best bet is going to be a standard mic that you plug into your audio interface. Read the reviews to help you find the perfect mic for your type of performance, and don’t forget a mic stand to hold it.
A good set of headphones can be an absolute blessing for everything from monitoring to editing your projects. Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. You may also want to pick up a headphone extension cable, because the cables on the device themselves are almost always too short. Stick with wired headphones for this. Bluetooth might be more convenient, but they suffer from signal lag, so you may find yourself a few beats behind.
5. Studio Monitors
Headphones are fantastic, but to get the best idea of what’s going on with your song, you’ll want to hear it on a set of studio monitor speakers. They don’t have to be the most expensive speakers on the market, but it’s worth investing in something that generates good-quality sound so you’re not spending all your time trying to fix problems that aren’t actually there.
There is nothing worse than rocking out on the drums in a room with no audio suppression. You hit the cymbals and you might as well be hitting yourself in the eardrum — especially if there’s tile on the floors! Invest in some soundproofing and experiment with the best placement to make the most out of your home studio space.
7. Pop Filter
Say the word “pop.” Do you feel that puff of air that comes out when you form the P sound? Your microphone will catch that and it will sound awful. Now, you can write all your songs without using any P or B words, or you can invest in a pop filter to catch that puff before it hits the mic. They’re not expensive and you can totally get by without one, but it’s absolutely worth it to pick one up for your home studio.
Rock (And Record) On
There are a lot of other items that you can purchase to give you an edge in the home recording game, but they’re not strictly necessary when you’re just starting out. You can also record musical ideas on your phone if you need to, but the best way to get your songs out into the world is to invest in a basic recording setup.