This is a guest post by Todd Cardon – Read the guest post guidelines if you wish to contribute.
So you are passionate about audio recording. You are an excellent guitarist, singer/songwriter or composer. You have minimal spare income to spend to get your recording gear up and running.
If this applies to you, let me show you the 5 best types of quality recording equipment you need for the most bang for your buck.
1. The Right Computer That Best Fits Your Needs
There was a time where computer recording was not the primary source to record your music.
My uncle, Sam Cardon, who composes music for various types of movies, video games and documentaries, didn’t have the luxury to record everything onto his computer. He had to spend thousands of dollars on samplers, effects and mixers and every auxiliary cable that was needed. Now he can perform the same recording functions on a laptop in the mountains if he wishes.
Hardware these days are ahead of the demand of what software needs to run smoothly. That means you don’t need to buy the fastest and shiniest out there. For the cheapest and best quality, get a MacBook Pro around the $1000 range and upgrade your RAM to 8 gigs instead of 4.
Depending on the type of recording you are planning on, 16 gigs would be wise for those planning on using a lot of digital samples and digital instruments. From experience, audio tracks require less processing power and RAM.
2. Recording Software That Tailors Towards Your Genre
There are a few options that you can take with recording software. The ones I would recommend are Pro Tools, Logic Pro, and Propellerhead Reason.
I would recommend using Propellerhead Reason, especially if you are dealing mostly with virtual synths and not audio. It is literally, a studio in a box. It comes with every single piece of digital gear that you would need. It comes with synthesizers, samplers, loops, effects and a professional digital mixing board. The routing capabilities appear as if you are plugging actual pieces of gear. If you need to record audio, Record from Propellerheads does that for you as well.
Any of these recording software are great for any type of music artist, songwriter or composer, a great start at an affordable rate.
3. Audio Interface To Connect Your Instruments, Microphones and Midi Devices
This is where your personal recording preferences come into play. The best quality for the price, I would advise purchasing the PreSonus FireStudio Mobile. This is in the $250 range and has Firewire connection.
Depending on the computer, you may need a Thunderbolt to FireWire adapter in order to connect the audio interface properly.
[Björgvin’s note: For further ideas, check out the Essential Audio Interfaces under $1,0000]
4. Condenser Microphones, Recording Monitors and Headphones
Recording any type of vocal with a condenser microphone requires phantom power, which should be provided by your audio interface.
When the opportunity permits you, consider the Schoeps CMC64 Set. I was involved in a university’s music department and we used these to record choirs, pianos, guitars, you name it. We also used a few pair of Earthworks TC30 Matched Pair to record orchestras and choirs.
To find your preferred musical taste, visit music stores, universities or find audio engineers that have a variety of microphones for you to listen to and see what sound you prefer.
Some microphones sound warmer than others. Enya’s producer used all kinds of microphones in her recordings to allow diversity with the same voice being recorded. Experiment and have fun with it!
Recording Studio Monitors and Headphones
You really need a good pair of studio monitors. There is a good reason you need a good pair of studio monitors. They play audio at a depth where you are able to hear every frequency accurately. Recording monitors when used properly help your tracks sounds good in your car, your friend’s stereo or anywhere else. The mix is universal.
Try the M-Audio BX5 D2, which is $300.
Go to a music store that carry studio monitors and listen to each of the different brands. Also, pick up a pair of Sennheiser HD 280 PRO for $99.
5. Software Instruments For Your Compositions
Typically, composers are the ones who use software instruments the most.
Audio engineers who are mastering an album or a track may go the extra mile and use additional audio plugins. With Propellerhead Reason you can’t install software instruments or plugins outside of their brand. But there are plenty of refills that you can download for free or purchase affordably.
I use Spectrasonics Omnisphere. It is amazing, especially if you compose music. This software instrument has a huge library. Sound engineers spent 5 years developing sounds that are now included in the 60 gig library that comes with it. Be ready to fork out $500 for this bad boy.
I would also visit sounds online, which comes with all kinds of sounds.
Image by: leo.prie.to