What Is Essential To A Good In-Home Recording?

Jon Ostrow on Mar 21, 2012

 


With budgets shrinking and recording equipment becoming more and more affordable, in-home recording has become a very viable solution for many musicians to make high-quality recordings. However, there are so many different ways to rig together an in-home recording studio, that many musicians may find themselves lost in the mix (no pun intended).

So, this week's Open Mic discussion is focused on which components of an in-home recording set up are crucial for any musician.

We want to hear from you about what equipment you use, where you record, and any techniques you use to record that you feel are essential to the overall success of the recording project. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Room acoustics

The size of a room, the emptiness (or fullness) of a room, the height, width, material (carpet, hardwood, etc.) can all have an effect on the overall acoustics, and thus the overall sound quality of your recording. This is completely based on personal preference, so play around with tweaking the set up of your room, or even which room you set up in to determine which acoustics you prefer best.

2. Proper recording mics and pop filters

The correct recording microphones depends completely on the type of recording you are going to be doing. If you are recording vocals, you'll want to invest in a large-diaphragm condenser mic, meanwhile if you are recording guitar, you'll want to try a small-diaphragm condenser mic. And then of course there are dynamic mics which are typically used in live performances, but are often used in combination with condenser mics in order to properly record all aspects of a drum kit.

In addition to ensuring that you have proper recording mics, you also need to make sure you've got a pop filter placed in front of your mic used to record vocals. This is key to effectively recording vocals, as it will shield your recording from any spikes or 'pops' in the volume due to air directly hitting the mic when singing the letter 'p'.

3. Mic placement

Proper microphone placement is easily one of the most critical components to any recording. Proper placement of a microphone will result in a crisp, clean and warm recording.

4. Studio monitors

Unfortunately, all speakers are build differently and each can sound different from one another, so getting set up with proper studio monitor speakers is truly the only way to ensure that your recording and mix is accurate. Of course, you'll want to make sure you're set up with two monitor speakers (for a stereo mix) and a subwoofer (for proper low end).

5. Fresh strings

Of course, this only applies when recording a string instrument such as a guitar, bass or violin, but it is incredibly important to make sure that you have a fresh set of strings on your instrument (and properly tuned!) before you begin recording, as strings that are even a week old can sound dull, giving you a lifeless recording instead of the vibrant and warm recording you were shooting for.

6. Record loud

When recording from home, a natural instinct that often interferes with the recording process is to record quietly as to not disrupt your neighbors or anyone that you are living with. However, a quiet recording will result in a poor quality recording, as it is far less likely that you will hit the right notes, let alone hitting them with the same warmth and character. The hesitation in your voice or guitar playing when recording quietly will come right through in the recording.

7. Go easy on the reverb

We can't stress this one enough; this is one of the biggest and most common mistakes that musicians make when recording from home. Many musicians attempt to use reverb as a way to make the recording sound more full or less flat, and end up way over doing it, which will absolutely destroy the quality of the music. As a rule of thumb when experimenting with in-home recording, less reverb is more.


What makes the biggest difference for in-home recording studio?


The above are all incredibly important components of setting up an effective in home recording studio, but now we want to hear from you about what you have found to make all of the difference in your own studio.

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