The Basics

On this page, we outline the main areas you’ll need to think about if you’re looking to equip a home studio. As the site continues to grow, we’ll expand on each of the categories we’ve covered in this section:

1. The Recorder

This is probably the most significant item. Whatever it is you’re looking to work on in a home studio, you’ll need to record your audio. There are a number of options for recording audio at home:

  • The Computer: Probably the most common piece of recording equipment these days. A basic home desktop or laptop computer makes an ideal audio recorder and editor, and there’s free software available to allow you to edit and package your audio
  • Portable recorder: If you’re looking to be able to make recordings on the move, then you may want to consider a portable solid-state recorder. These record onto flash memory (as opposed to tape), and record in high quality. As well as being useful for recording ‘in the field’, many people use these as their main home recorder. They have the advantage of not crashing or ‘glitching’ like a PC, but the disadvantage, is you can’t edit on them, meaning you’ll need to copy the audio to a computer after recording. See our review of the Olympus Linear Recorders.
  • Hardware recorder: Here, we’re talking about a DVD recorder, Minidisc recorder, multitrack tape recorder, or some other fixed recording system. These days, tape is a thing of the past, and most recording and editing is done on some kind of computer-based system. Other formats are still perfectly usable, of course, and it’s down to personal preference and budget

2. The Microphone

Choosing the correct microphone for your studio requires careful thought, and we have a section that explains the different microphone types. In summary, here are the basics:

  • Microphone types: There are two main types that you will come across – A Dynamic mic, and a Condenser mic. The key difference being that the Condenser mic is powered (often with a 1.5V battery). Both types have their uses, which we explain in our microphone guide
  • Connecting the microphone: If you’re using a computer for recording, you’ll rarely want to connect the mic directly to the computer using the computer soundcard. This is for quality reasons. You’ll either want to use a mic pre-amp, a small mixing desk, or more commonly, a mic that you can connect to the computer via the computer’s USB socket. Again, this subject is covered in our microphone guide

3. Editing and Mixing

Let’s assume you’re looking to record your voice and add some music. Before computers appeared in recording studios, the process of mixing voice and music together was done usingĀ  a mixing desk and a multi-track tape recorder. You would record the music onto Track 1 and Track 2 (for stereo), then your mono voice on Track 3. You would them mix down the audio, using the mixing desk to get the volume of the music against your voice correct.

 

Mixing Desk

Small studio with mixing desk and digital multitrack recorder

 

Nowadays, it’s done on computer, and in most basic home studio setups, you don’t need a mixing desk, as it can all be done on the computer screen.

Pictured below is an example of a multi-track session, with music on Tracks 1 and 3, with the voice on the middle track, Track 2:

Multitrack session on Adobe Audition

A Multitrack session being mixed using Adobe Audition on a PC

Audio Editing and Mixing Software: We recommend Adobe Audition, or the free alternative, Audacity

 

That’s the basics. Please explore our site for more detail on these topics, and if you have a question, please get in touch.

One Response to The Basics

  1. Dumezweni Joe Mkobo says:

    I want to put my voice in the instrument,I have an usb mic

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