At the April 2007 Songcraft Songwriting Circle meetup, Betty shared that she wrote a song for a friend as a farewell gift, which was recorded with help from a friend (who had professional recording equipment). That led me to described how I recorded and edited my music. Some of the participants seemed to want to know more — about the equipment used etc. I had a feeling they were thinking “It couldn’t be that simple”. But it is! 🙂
Basically, you need this sort of setup:
- (A) Computer & software (i.e. your “recording device” and sound engineering studio)
- (B) Input device (could be the instrument itself, like the electric guitar. Or a microphone, in the case of vocals or instruments without built-in pickups)
- (C) Instrument (guitars, piano, your voice etc.)
(A) Computer & Software
The computer is the heart of my “recording studio”. But it’s nothing without the software. The Mac comes bundled with GarageBand. You can use a free one like Audacity for Windows and Mac (though it’s way less sophisticated as compared to GarageBand).
You may or may not need a peripheral device like a Griffen iMic (a USB audio interface/ adaptor). It’s useful if you want to record more than one input device at the same time (e.g. vocals and guitar) and your computer only has one input mic jack.
(B) Input device (for vocals)
I’ve got nothing fancy. Just a standard microphone that came as part of a headphone set. The recording quality is quite acceptable. You can always enhance it with the software. Examples: “Lady of Shalott” and “Take Me Away“.
I tend to feature more guitars in my works. I’m a Joe Satriani wannabe, heh.
The one on the left is a Yamaha “Vester” with a Floyd-Rose floating bridge. Bought it around 1990. Some years later, I replaced the original pickups with EMG active pickups.
The one on the right is straight-from-factory Epiphone Les Paul Standard, bought last year in 2006. I’ve always wanted to own a Les Paul but I still find Gibsons beyond my price range. An Epiphone is more than good enough. Chapter 7 of this book says the same thing — that between a Gibson and Epiphone, the difference is quite subtle. Besides, I feel it’s the sound engineering aspect (which depends on the computer & software) that makes the real difference to the sound.
Another example of a home studio setup (from an earlier post)
[Click on image to see notes]
BTW, if you’re keen to find audio file hosting/ podcast services, check out Dave’s Imaginary Sound Space. It’s pretty comprehensive.
And if you have pics of how your home studio looks like, feel free to leave a link.