Modern home recording offers musicians of all walks of life seemingly endless opportunities. It’s totally possible to create studio-quality tracks without breaking the bank or leaving the comfort of home; however, doing so requires great attention to detail in terms of your gear.
This rings true whether we’re talking about hardware or software, by the way. When it comes to home recording, it often feels like we’re missing something in terms of our sound or gear. That said, what if you could step up your recordings without blowing out your budget or spending a ton of cash?
Consider the following four software and hardware investments that are essential to high-quality home studio tracks. Depending on your needs and budget, any combination of these tips is fair game for musicians hunting for better recordings.
Invest in Some New Sounds
Sometimes all you need to take your tracks to the next level are some digital effects. The modern web is a treasure trove of resources for musicians and composers looking to add new tones and effects to their recordings. From free downloadable vocal sample packs to digital drums and effects pedal emulators, you can actually transform your latest tracks without spending a dime.
Rethink Your DAW
Your digital audio workstation (DAW) plays a significant role in regard to how quick and easy it is to lay down and edit tracks. If you’re dealing with a complicated interface with more bells and whistles than you need, you might find yourself overwhelmed. On the flip side, if you’re working with a barebones DAW that doesn’t meet the needs of your genre, the quality of your recordings is going to suffer.
As such, you should consider experimenting with trials of the variety of recording workstations to see what fits with your style and needs. Ableton, FL Studio and Reaper are all powerful home DAWs with free trials (the last of which has a “forever free” trial that doesn’t expire). You may be surprised at how a different DAW suits your recording and editing style.
Put Money into Your Mics
For those recording vocals or instruments live, you can’t afford to skimp on your microphone. While you may be able to get away with lower-cost USB mics for recording voice-overs, consider a higher-quality dynamic mic such as the Shure SM57 which is regarded as a staple of modern recording.
Although spending more than $100 on a dynamic or condenser microphone may seem like a large investment today, it’s worthwhile in the long-run as they essentially last forever if you take care of them.
Upgrade Your Odds and Ends
From cords and cables to noise-canceling headphones, it’s crucial that your seemingly “random” recording accessories are also up to snuff. Low-quality cables could result in hissing or needless distortion on tracks; meanwhile, cheap headphones make it impossible to effectively monitor your tracks in real-time. You can actually save a pretty penny on such odds and ends via Amazon rather than go to a big box music store where you’ll likely pay a premium.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to splash an insane amount of cash to improve the quality of your recordings and your studio at large. By sticking to these upgrades, you can discover new sounds without blowing out your budget.