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DAW in Your Home

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by: MLS_Admin
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Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2010 Time: 12:35 AM

DAW in Your Home

Here's how you can set up your own up your own budget home recording studio. Here you'll find some basic advise about what you'll need with some tips on gear.

Whether your space for a budget recording studio is actually in your home or in your garage or in a small commercial space, this article is primarily for fashioning a music studio that uses a minimum of equipment. The most budget-friendly way to record has become the use of a computer and software programs. I recommend Apple's Logic 9 which comes bundled with a program devoted to the creation of music. (The program only runs on an Apple platform.) Not only can it record live performances but it comes with several software instruments: piano, organ and several great sounding synths. Logic 9 also has two other rather unique items - a do-it-youself sampler that can turn your recordings into playable keyboard instrument. Logic 9 also comes loaded with loops; everything from drum beats in every style imaginable to orchestral fragments to sound fx and much more. These loops will automatically adjust to your chosen tempo as well. In fact you don't require any synthesizers and stomp boxes with a rat's nest of midi wires.

The second thing to consider is the digital to analog converter that transfers the analog sound waves in to a digital format that your computer can understand - and back out of the computer so you can hear what you've recorded. Most computers have a converter but they really are inferior to several "outboard" and affordable converters on the market.The best sounding and easiest to use are manufactured by Apogee. they are also integrated into Logic Studio. If you're planning on doing just overdubs one track at a time then the "Duet" is the best bang for the buck. The next which is also made by Apogee is the "Ensemble" which has 8 channels versus only two on the "Duet". If you're planning on recording a band you would obviously need more than 2 channels for individual micing of instruments.

Of course you will need microphones and stands. The best ones for vocals in the recording studio are the cardioid condenser mics. You can buy fairly good ones for under $200, even though the range goes up to $6000. (For these condenser mics you'll need phantom power which is actually included with most converters with input boxes.) For instrument micing you can also use dynamic mics which are not as sensitive as the condenser mics. The rule for mic placement and as well as all things audio is - experiment until you like the way it sounds.

You will also need studio monitors that hook up to your converters and at least two pairs of headphones for doing any overdubs. I suggest powered monitors as they are quiet and you don't need the hassle of having a separate power amplifier. The Yamaha powered NS10s are good - but let your ears be the judge. Basically you want a flat response to get an “unhyped” picture of the music when mixing and powerful enough to not distort when played back at high volumes.

Lastly it will be necessary in most cases to treat the walls of the recording and mixing space to minimize the “room tone” (i.e., any live echos or reverberation, no matter how short the reverb time seems to be). This important detail will affect the picture of your recording . The surfaces of your walls will probably need something to dampen those artifacts. Foam panels are one solution, covering around 30% of the surfaces. Another very cost effective solution is the use of egg cartons to make the surfaces irregular and also absorbent of the sound waves.

I would like to conclude with a note about computers. The more powerful the processor the better. You will need the most RAM that you can afford. This will insure that you'll have enough power to run the various synthesizers and effects without the computer balking balking. It will also allow more tracks to be recorded simultaneously.

About the Author

Bruce Hathaway has been a professional audio engineer and music producer for 30 years. He also has an online website devoted to microphone sales and accessories. Click to find out how to choose the right microphone for your needs.



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