There is a wide variety of home recording software on the market, but there is a complex process that takes place between the writing of a quality song, and the point at which your listeners get their first listen at your masterpiece. Perhaps you just wrote your first song. Perhaps you’ve written several, and even recorded a few. Regardless of your situation, being educated on the proper method for recording and getting your music to the masses is essential if you want to share your message with the world. This involves setting up an effective in-home recording station or studio, knowing how to properly use recording software, mixing, mastering, and then finally using technology to effectively promote your music. All of these things take time and practice to master. The good news is, however, that effectively recording original music with a computer is possible, and likely with a little bit of creativity and effort.
The first step to successful at-home recording is setting up your equipment. This not only includes your computer, but of course your instruments! Sound quality will be dependent on signal levels of your equipment. Understanding how the signals interact will help you determine the proper levels and volumes at which your equipment should be operating to achieve quality sound. The basic rundown of this system, however, is plugging a microphone or instrument into a mixer or preamp, running a cable from the mixer or preamp’s line out to the line in of the soundcard, and then running a cable from the sound card’s line out to your monitor amp, powered monitors, or headphones. Every component to this chain affects the quality of the sound, so it is important to choose carefully with everything from preamps, to microphones, or even cables. Keep in mind that your room acoustics will also have an effect on the finished product.
Once you are set up, find recording software that is user friendly, and familiarize yourself well. Do multiple recordings-starting with a dry recording. Most people find it easier to work with a dry recording because you have more control over the finished product. If you use any effects during your recording, you’re stuck with them. Recording dry allows you to add in effects later, or leave them out if that’s what you prefer. After this dry recording, do another. Experimentation is the key to finding what sounds best. Just make sure to be aware of the volume and level at which you are recording-it will effect how you alter it later in the process. Also, be sure to keep everything on time. You don’t want your music to sound sloppy or unprofessional. Utilize a metronome or click track to make sure your track sounds top-notch. Make constant alterations to the way the room is situated, or volumes and levels, and trust your ears. You will hear what sounds best. Use that to guide you through the recording process.
Mixing is a true art, and can be time consuming as well as complicated. But training your ears and experimenting with your software will help you along this process. Try to avoid getting discouraged. With added experience, mixing will become easier. Always keep in mind the big picture of the song, regardless of whether you mix one section at a time, or monitor all the tracks at once in a given song. You need to remain conscious of where the song will be played, what instruments are integral to the sound, and how you want it to sound. This can be a frustrating process, so take notes and don’t stray too far from where you want the song to go. Keep focus, and you will be successful. If you find yourself wearing down, take a break and come back to it later. If you stay motivated, and keep in mind this is your art and it requires patience, your track will sound great.