DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the affordability of equipment, there’s never been a better time to create your own home studio, without having to worry about bankrupting yourself buying huge mixing desks or having to build an extension to house it.

You can get recording quickly and easily with minimal investment, and start making impressive mixes by learning how to get the most out of your gear by practising in your own time, without the pressures of expensive studio resources.

Whether you’re looking to create music from samples and loops, by using MIDI or from recording real instruments, you’ll need to start somewhere. So here’s the first of our rundown of DIY production tips for home recording, starting with a shopping list of all the kit you’ll need.

First of all… invest in the right kit

Whilst picking the right gear is essential to getting started, you don’t want to blow through your savings by getting hold of equipment which is outside of your budget and your skill set.

So let’s start with some of the basics...

1. Pick the right computer

DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

Chances are you’ll have a laptop or a PC that’s already capable of doing a half decent job at running a DAW and whilst most studios opt for Mac, you’ll get just as good results from using a PC.

Rather than spending thousands on a new machine, stick with what you know and make sure that you have enough RAM to cope with the processing power to keep up with you as you start adding plugins and new instrument lines.

2. Choose a DAW and stick to it

DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

Pretty much any of the DAW (digital audio workstation) technology available on the market will be good enough to get you making music. All have similar functionality but will behave slightly differently and excel in other areas than others.

Whether you opt for Ableton Live, Pro Tools, Reason or any other DAW, pick the software that works best with your computer and meets your budget and learn it inside out. Importing music samples and learning how to edit and mix with these can help you get a quick feel for your DAW’s functionality.

3. Get a decent audio Interface

DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

Your audio interface, will turn analogue signals from your vocal recordings or guitars into digital signals to allow you to edit within your software.

Whilst most interfaces work across almost any software, some will be bundled with a DAW, like the Focusrite Scarlett range which comes with Pro Tools.

An audio interface with two-channel inputs will be plenty for you to get started with and gives you the ability to record multiple instruments, such as a guitar and vocals, at the same time.

4. Invest in studio headphones or monitors

DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

There’s little point in recording music if you can’t hear it back. Whilst a lot of experts will get caught up on whether you should or shouldn’t be mixing on headphones over monitors, the best place to start is with a decent pair of studio cans.

Listen to other tracks as a reference point and learn how the bass responds, how the dynamic range shifts between sections or if any lines get lost in the mix when listening through your headphones and work this into your own projects.

You can always use other speakers to test out your mixes on too and if you do decide to splash out on a pair of monitors, pick a decent affordable pair that won’t break the bank.

5. Buy yourself a good microphone

DIY Production Tips For Home Recording - Part 1

Microphone technology has advanced so much over the years that it’s hard to find a bad one on the market. That being said, you want a mic that will work best for you.

A Rode NT1A mic is great for vocals, whilst an AKG C1000 or Shure SM58 are great all-rounders for a relatively inexpensive outlay.

Summary

The best practice you can do when you’re starting to make music is just to start making music.

Sometimes having the best gear at your fingertips makes it far too easy and you can become complacent, so start off small and limit yourself to see how you can use your creativity to overcome obstacles or challenges you might face.

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