A vital consideration when looking to set up a ‘home recording studio’ is how you will use it. You will need to work out how many things you need to record or plug in at any one time or you might turn out with unnecessary gear-or not enough!
Let’s look at a typical example of ‘Vinnie’ the guitarist who has a desire to show his ‘band’ how the songs should be played.
No matter how many times she has tried to explain, they never quite get it right, to ensure the only way he can see to achieve this is to record everthing ‘properly’ himself.
What does Vinnie need?
He needs to guide them with a basic drum pattern – nothing fancy – he wants to record two electric guitars, an acoustic guitar, this individual wants to record a bass guitar and record a main singing and two backing harmonies.
Vinnie of course will not complete all this at once, so even though he needs to record in search of things does he need 9 channels?
All of he really ‘needs’ is a maximum of 4 inputs- two with pre-amps. He will also need a microphone to sing in and to record his acoustic guitar, we will assume he has a new guitar amp simulator to record the electric various instruments and bass and that he has a physical drum machine as well as one inside his computer or stand alone hard disc recorders.
Vinnie could easily walk down to his music retailer or get online and find what he needs to perform the job. He could look at a computer recording package with appropriate program and specialised sound card for audio recording. Some corporations provide these all in one packages Lexicon, M-Audio, Pro-Tools in addition to Presonus are good brand names to look at as a starting point, but don’t forget this recording onto a computer can be a frustrating experience if you’re definitely not computer savy.
Vinnie’s other alternative is the stand alone tricky disc recorder with a built in mixer section. Any of the attractions from Fostex, Yamaha or Boss/Roland would take care of their needs, at this point Vinnie just wants to get his thoughts onto the physical plain as quickly as possible so others can certainly hear them- so he’ll probably need a CD burners thrown in to the equation unless his machine can web page link up to a computer-as a number of them now can do.
Now let’s have a look at another example of Barabra who plays in a four product folk/rock group. They want to record a couple of songs for CONCEPT ALBUM release. All the instruments her band uses are supersonic; Double Bass, Violin, Guitar and Banjo.
Three with the group also sing. Now Barabara is lucky enough to enjoy a large secluded garage rehearsal rooms toronto available for her group to help rehearse in and given they don’t annoy the nearby neighbors by making too much noise she wishes to record often the band as a ‘whole’ for the best vibe-what will she have to have?
4 X Instrument Microphones or D. I. [direct injection] boxes
3 X Vocal microphones
8 inputs with Microphone Preamps
Capacity to record with 8 channels at once.
There are some limitations with stand alone recorders, some of them will only let you record on 2 channels immediately, another thing to be aware of is the ‘quality’ of the recordings.
Some a long time ago during the ‘compression algorythm’ wars, clever boffins discovered that our ears can ‘fill in’ missing information, in the same way that one could look at the scrambled letters of a word but are still competent to decipher what it is. The boffins kept removing components of what our ear was hearing until they came across a formula [algorythm] that fooled our own ears most of the time. These are known as ‘compressed’ formats as they ‘squish’ the sound in such a clever way that we don’t notice.
Most commercial and home recording computer software will record ‘linear'[non-compressed] files to your computer hard disc. Pro-tools, Logic Audio, Cubase, Sonar all do this. Later on after you ‘mix-down’ your songs you can turn them into songs files for podcast or to load to your portable digital camera music player. Adobe Audition and Steinberg’s Wavelab are 2 programs I can think of that record direct mp3 files- but they are not ‘full function’ multitrack programs.