Requirements for a Basic and Budget Home Recording Studio Setup
To get started with your home recording studio you don't need to spend a lot right away. You can get the core components then gradually build out from there. So what are the essential core components?
1. An instrument and/or microphone
2. Something to record into like a basic mixing board
3. An interface from your mixing desk into your computer
4. A computer with adequate speakers and/or headphones.
5. Some software to record and manipulate your work.
These days you can purchase a combined solution for items 2 and 3 in the form of a computer audio interface. This is a device that you can plug an musical instrument or mic into and the other end is connected to your computer either as a soundcard or via a USB cable. This will act as an audio input and the mixing desk part is all covered in the software system.
Depending on your demands this might be the way to go or it might not. If you plan on only recording one audio part at a time then a computer audio interface makes sense. If you require to record a whole band with many parts at once then you'll need a mixing board with sufficient channels to manage this.
One thing you will have to deal with when attaching your interface and laying down your instruments and voice is latency. This is the delay between the sound you produce and it being played back to you by the computer. Latency can totally throw off your timing if you don't minimize it. A means to achieve this is to use ASIO device drivers for your computer interface. You can download free universal ASIO drivers at asio4all.com. Also be sure that your interface includes a preamp.
When you have your audio interface set up and can record and monitor your work without latency you're nearly good to go. All you need now is some proper software to function as a mixing desk, sequencer and sampler. Just about every good computer interface will come packaged with some recording software, usually a cut down version of a full product but adequate to get you started.
Otherwise there are several low cost and even free programs you can download. There are also many communities on the internet where you can share your ideas, get assistance and support and pick up royalty free samples to apply in your music.
Those really are the bare requirements for a home recording studio setup assuming you want to record your own material (as opposed to just play with loops) and that you already own an instrument and/or mic with the appropriate leads. Apart from these it's also necessary to have some good speakers and earphones. These days things like effects and processors can all be found in software, although as you develop you may want to get some hardware versions of these down the line.
You'll also want to make sure that the acoustics in your recording environment are optimal. Don't forget soundproofing as well. There is a huge amount to learn and do to get a good home recording studio setup but in the beginning you can just focus on the essentials. A decent computer, an audio interface and some software can start you out very nicely. For more information there are some good free guides you can download off the web to get you going.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peter Webber is the owner of dot-funk.com which has a free ebook download Home Recording 101 which will get you started on your home recording studio setup