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Home Studio Music Recording Part 1-1 - The Hardware

Where all my recordings happen.
Part 1-1 - The Hardware
Part 1-2 - The Hardware Continued
Part 2 - The Software
Part 3 - How I Use the Hardware and Software Together

Update: 5-31-2015. I'm going to turn part 1 into 2 parts. I've upgraded and added equipment and want to give an update on my setup.

The is going to be a mini series on the software, hardware, and maybe some demos I use for recording my own music at home. Last summer I decided to buy a laptop and a USB input device so I could record my music and have it a little more professional sounding.

Things You'll Need
-USB Input for Instruments
-Monitor Speakers


The first thing you'll need is a decent PC/laptop to record your music to. I recommend purchasing the best laptop you can afford. I went with an Asus laptop that has a 4th gen i5 processor and 6 gigs of ram. You can see my review of my laptop top here. The only thing left that I really purchase for my laptop is an external monitor.  It would make navigating the software much easier. I just have a cheap wireless mouse that I use, I highly recommended getting one because it's faster than using the laptop touchpad.

My Laptop Specs
-CPU: Intel 4th Generation Core i5 - 1.6GHz (with Turbo Boost up to 2.6GHz)
-Display: 13.3" HD LED touchscreen display with 1366 x 768 resolution
-Memory: 6GB DDR3, 500GB Hard Drive
-Windows 8.1 (I'm running Windows 10 beta), WLAN 802.11, Webcam with Microphone, HDMI

Device to Plugin Instruments to go to USB

Without something to record your music to your computer with you'll be stuck with just using a computer microphone.  Computer microphones are about the worst thing you can use and your music won't sound very professional. They are nothing like using an instrument microphone or interface. I chose the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 for my recording. It connects via USB and has 2 inputs. The inputs allow for the connection of instrument audio cables and XLR cables for microphones and other instruments. The 2i2 can also supply phantom voltage (48 volts) for certain microphones. One of the best features of this device is the ability to hear your instrument being recorded live via a switch on the front of it. Many times when you're using software there is some sort of lag when recording and this alleviates that problem.

Monitor Speakers

I would say the most important piece of hardware you can have are your monitor speakers or headphones. When you record and listen to your recordings you'll want monitor speakers/headphones to help with the mix. It gives you the best reproduction possible of your music. It'll be easier to tell if you have too much or too little bass, guitar, drums....etc. All normal speakers have different sounds, some have more bass and some have more treble. When you mix through normal speakers it'll sound really good for those specific speakers. When you mix through monitor speakers it'll sound good through all speakers. I chose the M-Audio AV40 monitor speakers, there are many good brands out there.  You can go with monitor speakers or headphones, depending on your preference.

My favorite guitar, the AXL Badwater 1216.

If you're looking into a home studio you probably already have instruments to use.  I play guitar and have several different guitars including acoustics and electrics. I have a bass as well, even though it's a pretty cheap one (First Act).  You don't have to have a drum set or be a drummer to get some pretty decent drums in your tracks. I use a piece of Software call EZ Drummer 2. It comes with some drums and there are additional drums you can purchase. I'm still looking at purchasing a microphone to record my acoustic guitar. For the amp I use a Blackstar HT20 tube studio amp that has an output that I can plug directly into the Scarlette 2i2. I have various pedals including chorus, delay,distortion, and others I use. You can use VST plugins to add effects to your sounds as well.

All the songs below were recorded by me with my instruments. If you'd like to follow new music as I release them you can sign up for a Soundcloud account, download the app, and follow me. Enjoy! Part 2 will be software.

This post first appeared on Home Tech Dad, please read the originial post: here

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Home Studio Music Recording Part 1-1 - The Hardware


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