Recording music

Set-up

Nile Rodgers, Producer
Nile Rodgers, Producer

Most musicians make recordings of the music they create and play. In the past, this was a complex and often expensive process. Today, multiple studios exist which use modern technology to produce quality results. Here are some tips for ‘building’ your own studio:

  • At the heart of a system will be a computer running a software Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) or linked to a sound desk.
  • A multimedia soundcard is essential for providing a high quality sound with a good range of inputs/outputs and monitoring facilities.
  • Electric instruments can be plugged directly into the desk or sound card, but a microphone is required for recording acoustic instruments and voices.
  • A condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern is a good versatile choice for working with most acoustic sound sources. A dynamic microphone works well for drums and guitar amps. A large diaphragm dynamic microphone is suitable for bass guitar and kick drum. A small diaphragm condenser microphone is a good choice for acoustic instruments. A large diaphragm condenser microphone is the usual choice for vocals.
  • Although a good quality microphone is important, so is the choice of recording space. In a studio a quiet, echo free and soundproofed room is essential.
  • An external midi controller is essential for more sophisticated control of the devices in the DAW. These can be part of a USB keyboard controller or a device with a range of rotary controls, switches and faders.
  • Monitoring can be done through headphones, but high quality monitor speakers are needed if more than one person needs to hear the sound. Working exclusively with headphones can be tiring.

In this clip, Dev meets electro and dance music producer Kito. She explains how to turn your bedroom into your own digital audio workstation (DAW).

Setting up a home studio

Music technology can change sound through techniques such as compression, equalisation and panning