Recording at home: How to get started in 4 steps

2-minute read. Are you looking for ways to record your own music at home? Which equipment do you need? Where to learn about recording? Which creative techniques to use for a great sound? Here you’ll find an overview on important pages and steps about recording at home. 

1. Which things do you need for recording at home?

Before you can start, you have to make sure you have the most crucial technology for recording. These are the most basic items.

A computer

You don’t need to have the fastest computer but it shouldn’t crash when you have more than one program working. Use what you have for the start to save money.

An audio interface

The interface is the hardware you need to connect your instruments and microphones to the computer. There is all kind of price categories and types of interfaces on the market. Consider which instrument you’ll need to connect. Most interfaces work for microphones and instrument cables. If you are on low budget and just record acoustic instruments, use the built-in microphone

Recording at home with audio interface
Recording at home with an audio interface

DAW

A DAW (digital audio workstation) is a software for recording, editing, and mixing music. There are some free solutions out on the market like Audacity, Garage Band. And also some free online music tools you can use for recording – like sofasession. Some paid solutions like Cubase, Logic or Ableton. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what you use in the beginning quality-wise. You should feel comfortable with the interface and consider your budget. Like: Do you really need to invest thousands just to “try it out”?

Here are best recording options for 2016. Create a profile here to record on sofasession for free.

Record music in your browser
Create a free profile here & record your first song ideas.

A microphone

This one is essential as you’ll be recording sound. To start with pick a cardioid pickup pattern mic. There are microphones for all kinds of purposes out there. Read more here to dig into the topic. Consider getting yourself a mic stand, if you haven’t got one yet. And a pop filter (cheap!) for better vocal recording.

Recording at home with Microphone & DAW (1)
Example microphone with a pop filter

Cables

  • Microphone cables (XLR) in case your mic doesn’t have a USB cable.
  • Instrument cables for studio monitors, guitars & the rest of your equipment.

Headphones

To record on a professional level you’ll need several types of headphones:

  • Closed-back headphones with a great isolation for recording.
  • Open back headphones for mixing (even though some experts suggest mixing with monitors is better) or checking the mix.
Recording at home with microphone
XLR Cables

Studio monitors

These professional speakers are better than normal ones for mixing your song. They are giving you a clear picture of the sound, a more neutral one. Many people recommend these speakers here. If your budget is low and you just want to try out, use some headphones for mixing instead.

A digital keyboard

You’ll need a keyboard if you want to add some software sounds to your live instruments. For these purposes, even a 32 key version is enough. You can find very cheap new keyboards, which you best buy new. Or you look for something pricey but used.

Recording at home – get started

2. How to set up the room when recording at home? 

  • Make sure you are not disturbing any neighbors or family members.
  • Have enough space for all your gear.
  • Choose the quietest room as you’ll hear all side sounds in the recording otherwise.
  • Hard floors and high ceilings are best for acoustics.

3. How to learn more about recording at home?

There is a lot out there on the net about the topic. Find here some great video courses you can check out to learn more on the topic:

Music Studio for Recording at home

4. 8 creative ideas to improve recording at home:

  • Be able to play your song well. Just because you can record 1000 takes, you don’t want to do it.
  • Break the rules on purpose and try something completely odd.
  • Ask musician friends to borrow equipment you don’t have yet.
  • Use some unusual instruments and items. It will make your song stand out.
  • Record with some distance from the mic as a sound effect.
  • Try different sound pedals. Have you heard of Jack Conte, the guy who became famous with his video songs? He’ll always remain a master of using sound effect pedals in a great way.
  • Liste to your mix with different boxes and headphones. Listen in different environments and different volume levels.
  • Go to a professional to mix the song, if you can’t afford the whole professional recording but need an amazing result.

So, these are the most basic first steps you need to get started. Of course, I could write whole books about each of these sections. The goal was to make you curious and help you to get started. Because to record a song idea, your first EP or some backing tracks you don’t have to be a genius and technology geek. Happy to hear what you think and if you miss something specific.

Recording at home – online and for free
Create a free profile here & record your first song ideas.

Do you want to improve your music skills? Learn how to improve your voice, how to train your ear, how to jam, how to improvise betterhow to write a song on the guitar or how to write a song if you’re a beginner.

Improve your skills by playing to these Beatles backing tracks or blues tracks.

How to grow your audience? Check these music career tips, music marketing tips and social media tips to learn from stars.

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