Mixing sound doesn’t have to happen in a studio anymore. It can happen in your living room, whether you’re a veteran performer or an amateur just getting the hang of things. With production technology that connects to your computer, you can create amazing music and hone your music production to achieve a more professional sound.
A High-Speed Computer
Computers and tablets are becoming more versatile and capable every day. Producing music at home doesn’t require the most high-end computer available. Instead, you need something that has enough processing power not to lag or freeze while you’re running your production software. Mac or PC is up to you, as is desktop or laptop. If you’ll be performing or DJing, go with a laptop since you can carry it around with you. Apple and Lenovo both make popular music production computers.
When producing audio, you don’t want just speakers, you want studio monitors. They’re designed to give you the most accurate representation of the sound so you can hear everything that goes into the music. If you’re new to audio production, studio monitors aren’t going to sound like the speakers you’re used to. Instead, they give a flatter but more precise version of what you’re creating. Studio monitors may carry a hefty price tag, but the best at-home studio monitors may only cost a few hundred dollars.
DAW and Audio Interface
DAW stands for “digital audio workstation,” and is the software you use when recording and producing music. The audio interface is the hardware that connects your instruments to your computer. You don’t have to buy them as a package set, but if you’re a beginner, get the software and the hardware at the same time. It’s easier to set up and easier to learn this way. Apogee offers solid music production software and hardware for both beginners and production veterans.
Not all music producers use studio monitors. If monitors aren’t in your budget or you’re just getting the hang of production, use a stellar set of noise-canceling headphones instead, and still achieve a great result. Noise-canceling headphones play a low-frequency noise to cancel out the ambient noise around you. When you need to hear every detail of the sound you’re creating, this type of headphone is the only way to go. The best noise-canceling headphones from Sony are affordable and will make sure you hear only the music in your home music studio.
You may not be planning to record anyone singing, but a microphone is still a must-have in a home recording studio. Microphones come in handy for getting your sounds down, from an intriguing household noise you must capture to a clever intro to your latest mix. Decide what you’ll be using the microphone for; mics designed only for the studio are sensitive and don’t hold up in live performances. If you think you might need to perform too, get a mic that can handle both, or just get two mics.
Now for the fun part: instruments. Guitarists and bassists with electric instruments, you’re already at an advantage. Look for an audio interface that lets you plug your guitar in, and start experimenting with your sound. If you play acoustic, you’ll need to invest in an electric pickup. These slide into your guitar’s sound hole and capture your sound digitally. They plug into amps as well as audio interfaces, and they’re a game-changer when it comes to performing live.
Piano players, you’ll need an electric keyboard. Trying to mic a grand piano is difficult even in a professional studio or a concert hall. For those looking to maximize synthetic sounds, look for a keyboard workstation. These amazing devices carry huge libraries of sounds and have major composition features. A keyboard workstation is a versatile place to start your instrument collection.
Many musicians use home production tools to record and share music. Use these ideas to customize your home production studio with technology that works best with the kind of music you want to make.