What do I need to get started with home recording?
If you would like to start recording your own music and ideas, the main thing you're going to need is an audio interface. An audio interface basically acts as a soundcard, a device that lets you connect your instruments to the computer.
The audio interface connects to your computer via USB and will usually have a minimum of two inputs on the front panel, allowing you to plug instruments or microphones directly in. So, if you want to record vocals or an instrument, that's probably the easiest way to go. The audio interface can be used with any standard microphone. Most interfaces will also be compatible with condenser microphones and supply 48 Volt phantom power for this type of mic.
One of the misconceptions people have when first getting started is thinking they can use the speakers on their laptop to hear what they are recording in real time. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case and you will need to use headphones or studio monitors while recording. After you have your ideas down you can then bounce it to an audio file such as Wav or mp3 to listen afterwards.
For home recording you'll need a fairly decent spec computer, something with generally a minimum 4GB of RAM and a decent processor. Setting it up is fairly straightforward. The Interface is connected to a USB port on your computer. It is important that you make sure the latest drivers are downloaded and installed from the manufacturer. The next step is to select the driver in the audio preferences of your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software.
Audio interfaces will generally come bundled with some software. This is your (DAW), it’s basically a multi-track recording studio complete with mixing desk and effects. However, you are not tied down to the software that comes with your interface and can use any of the countless (DAW’s) out there from Garageband, Ableton, Cubase, Studio One or any of the countless others on the market.
By Richard Atkinson