The answer is a simple “No”. You don’t need Professional Equipment to start recording music. What you need is only some of the basic equipment which is going to be essential in your music-making or mixing process.
Do You need to be a Professional to start mixing music and use the equipment?
Absolutely not, You don’t need to be a professional in this field. Just take one step at a time, try to learn as you go. Most people try to take a lot of information in one go, and they end up with nothing.
Trust me I have been there and “information overload” is what I would like to call it.
Don’t get caught up with all this information that you gain from different sources cause most of the time, you will spend your time researching and not doing anything at all. Execution is the key to learning – take action!
Let’s say you don’t have any cash to start out or buy anything. You just like to start doing some recordings and just get started.
Don’t worry !! You can use what you have right now. That is – your Smartphone.
You can pretty much do anything with your Smartphone nowadays. There are a lot of recording apps out there which you can use to record your vocals or music.
Search for a recording app from the App Store that has some advance options where you can change the quality, bit rate, gain, etc. – more the better it is.
You can use Paid Recording Apps too. Obviously, they will have more options that you can apply to your recordings.
Having an Android or iPhone won’t be a problem here. An iPhone user might use a different app from that of an Android user.
But the outcome won’t be that different. You just have to know the right app and the right settings that can produce the best output
Get in a quiet environment and do your thing.
And YES!! You can produce decent quality music if you know what you are doing using your Smartphone.
Even if you want to record over a background track or music, you can do it easily. Decent karaoke apps are readily available in the App Store.
Have a look here at how to record properly on a Smartphone
If you have a laptop or PC then, you can install a program on it and start recording right away.
One thing you are going to need is a USB microphone which you can just plug-in and start recording on the program.
There are many free or paid software for recording, but you can use something like Audacity (free). It is easy to use and has a lot of options too.
You can edit, cut, add effects, mix stereo tracks, and many more. It also has in-depth tutorials on how to use it. They are improving the software on every update and so you don’t need to worry about the quality.
You won’t be able to use all of the options when you are starting out. You can upgrade it to a better one when you outgrow it.
For this method, you need to spend some bucks on the microphone and that’s it.
In this method, you will be using some decent gears which are used in a recording studio. The quality of music or recording will be better than the previous two.
What you need – one or two decent XLR Microphones, an Audio Interface, a DAW, a pair of headphones, and a laptop, or pc.
This is more of a professional method but nothing complex here. You could say that it’s the first step to building a home recording studio.
And you can upgrade the gears easily as go grow and have more experience.
Now, let’s have some explanation of the mentioned gears so that you can understand more clearly.
1.DAW ( which stands for Digital Audio Workstation )
Digital Audio Workstation (can be a computer-based or not, but we will stick with the computer-based one – easy to use) is a software for your computer used to record and edit music on your computer. This type of software can combine multiple tracks of audio into the same piece of music.
You can also add Special effects to your recordings and do all kinds of stuff with the help of this software.
There are different types of software from different companies , you can choose any one of them and start working with it. Every software has its own merits and demerits, just choose one and use it .. don’t think too much about it.
Soon you will know the ins and outs of the software, you may change it or not to your liking. They usually come with an Audio Interface.
2. Audio Interface
Audio Interface is a hardware used to connect with the rest of the gear in which you will be recording music and other stuffs.
You may or may not need this because if you are recording music or sounds from an external world you do need this but if you have music already on your computer or something like instrumental where you can produce music within your computer using different software.
You can get a high-quality Audio Interface with not that much money. With something between $100-$200, you can get a decent one which can do pretty much most essential things.
Yes, It won’t be as good as a high-end one but you can still manage with it when you are just starting out.
Check out how the Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 compares with Komplete Audio 6 MK2 here!
For just starting out you will need 1 or 2 Condenser microphones, I would highly recommend buying a decent one for this. If you are not investing in a decent one, you might end up with very bad sound quality.
And after a while, you may need several different microphones for other purposes. A professional studio has a dozen microphones for their specific purposes. But for us, let’s stick with Simple and Basic.
If you want to learn more about the different microphone types, read our ultimate guide here.
Read our top tips for getting a good quality recording here.
It is a must for a beginner, this will dramatically help you in your music mixing or making process. It is a must for me too :), I have a brother and a sister (little ones) and you know what I am coming from if you have younger siblings.
They keep making these weird noises just to annoy me and disturb me, so I need to have a pair of headphones on the go when they are at home.
There are Open back Headphones and Closed back Headphones :
Open-back Headphones – Think of this type of headphones as a shell covering your ear but have some openings. It allows air to pass to the speaker element through the ear cups allowing pressure not to build up. This can affect sound quality. Open-back headphones tend to be better for listening to high-quality audio files.
Closed-back Headphones- Think of this type of headphones as a shell covering your ear which doesn’t have any openings. This allows more blockage from outside noise interference. Closed-back headphones tend to be better for recording or mixing audio. You may find more difficulty with venting heat around your ears during long listening durations.
If you are wondering why you might need both monitors and headphones, find out more in this article that I wrote.
Now you have all the basics to start recording without any professional and expensive equipment. Last but not least – KEEP IT SIMPLE AND BASIC as you are starting out don’t complicate things :). Hope I have some usefulness from this article.
If you are looking to make your home studio look professional without costing a fortune, find out more here!