With the advances in technology, it’s possible to self-publish your own book, create your own film, or record your own album. The gate-keepers have been removed and the creatives can get their work ‘out there’ without needing to wait for approval by publishers, or film or music companies.
The music arena is really exciting, as it’s now possible for people to create recordings in their own bedrooms simply using computers and some other basic equipment.
This article is designed to help musicians know where to begin.
Virtual Instruments and DAW Software
It’s possible to create music using a computer and literally no actual instruments. Sound samples can be used for all things from voice to drums and guitars. When looking at free options, the experts explain that it’s important to not use other peoples’ musical properties. Fortunately, a number of websites such as Looperman offer royalty-free samples.
Music can be created by arranging the sound files within DAW software, such as Cubase or Pro Tools. Music recording requires a powerful computer to process everything as the file sizes can be large.
When recording, 24 BIT is best for the sound as it is more detailed, with a greater dynamic. The better the quality recording, the bigger the file size. This is also true for sound samples. The standard sample rate range goes from 44.1 to 48 kHz.
Real Instruments and Audio Interfaces
If actual drums are going to be used, this can be achieved with the use of microphones. Ideally, each piece of the set should have one, but there are ways to improvise using just 4,2 or even 1 microphone.
Audio interfaces stand between the instruments and the computer, changing the analog sound into digital. They can also help share the load of the computer. Such things as microphones and guitars go through the interface.
The Microphone, Speakers and Recording Space
Different microphones suit different purposes and sounds. Large-diaphragm condenser microphones are particularly good if the band is playing in the same room together. Pop filters stop the distortion caused when people use the letters ‘B’ and ‘P’ while singing. Microphone stands to remove the noise generated through manual handling.
Studio monitors are the best speakers to use. The sound is accurate and flat, which helps with the process of mixing and mastering. Headphones are not as good but they can still be used for these purposes. Studio-grade phones will work well here. Ironically, much music recording can be done in silence using headphones!
The recording space shouldn’t be allowed to echo or absorb sounds. Acoustic treatment should be researched for this purpose. To exclude external sounds, soundproofing is also needed.
Recording and Editing
Musicians start with the rhythm aspects of a new track, such as drums, percussion, and bass. Melodies and harmonies are later added, such as vocals, guitars, and keyboards.
The editing process removes anything unwanted, for instance, if two different instruments are playing the same musical range at the same time. Tracks can be decluttered and space created. If lots of layers have been recorded, it’s easy to remove different bits as you go.
Whole sections of recorded music can be copied and pasted within the software program to extend the track. The new section can be edited differently this time, to create a varied sound.
If any note is sharp or flat, the pitch can be adjusted. A sound can be extended if required. Effects such as delay can also be added to transform the overall effect of a particular instrument.
Mixing and mastering
The mixing stage looks at such things as adding fade at the end. Volumes and EQ are adjusted. Reverb can be added to create an atmosphere for some instruments or vocals. Panning effects can make sounds bounce from one speaker to the other. Automated effects like arpeggio can also be used.
The final stage is the mastering phase. That’s where the final recording all comes together.
It’s amazing what can be created in one’s room at home. The fact that sound samples can be used rather than real instruments is good news for someone who is good with a computer, but not able to play an instrument.
It’s also good if one is unable to afford instruments or find band members. A combination of real and virtual instruments is also possible, for instance with the guitar sounds. The final product can be released to Itunes or Spotify for all to hear.
This is a vast subject as you no doubt appreciate. One needs basic equipment such as the pc and software, instruments or sound samples, microphones, and speakers.
A recording space has to be created, and the process then can begin. As one progresses in music recording, the final result gets better and better.