Home Recording for Beginners
Producing music from the comfort of your own home is easier now than it has ever been. Not only can you produce record making hits, you can do it on a budget using high quality equipment with nothing more than these few simple pieces of kit.
Your laptop or desktop computer will be the most important component of your setup. It should have as much processing power and RAM as you can afford, as well as a fast graphics card. This will all work towards allowing your computer to handle multiple channels of audio, multiple effects and run smoothly whilst the programme uses automated animation. If your computer isn't powerful enough it's likely that audio will become out of sync and it will crash frequently.
Recording Software and Mic
Many laptops come with free recording software, however if you want to get your own package and programme then try to get one with an external sound card/input box. This will replace your computer's own soundcard with something more powerful, and will allow you to input microphones using XLR plugs. Good quality USB mics aren't usually very professional and are designed for podcasts as opposed to musical recording. The software itself doesn't have to be overly complicated, just chose something that has some basic effects such as reverb and overdrive, and can handle multiple channels of audio. The programme is essential because it is where you'll record and save your work before bouncing it down, which is the process of converting it into playable files for CD players and hi-fi rigs.
Clearly you're going to need a good quality pair of headphones or monitors to listen to your mixes as well. Headphones and speakers are produced on a commercial basis and tend to boost certain lower and upper frequencies to make music more pleasing to the ear. These are great for checking your mix to ensure it sounds good on your chosen output, however for mixing you want something that will give you a true representation of your recordings. Monitors and monitor headphones are perfect as they have a flat frequency response, and so you can produce a mix and manipulate the channels with EQ frequency boosts/cuts without the fear of having huge bass boosts when you play it in a CD player.
Lastly a MIDI keyboard controller is a nice to have piece of kit. It looks like a keyboard but is used to control effects and programmes within your software, such as digital pianos.