It’s easier than ever for musicians to share their music with the world today. The digital revolution has meant that musicians now face fewer gatekeepers into the music industry. Unfortunately, the recording industry has seen a steady decline since the maverick days of illegal MP3 downloads upset the applecart. But while this has caused large record companies to play it safer than ever, independent artists are now free to connect directly with their fans.
Downloads and social networking
Digital recording and distribution meant that musicians could record at home and share their recordings with the world through the internet. Just in the last two decades we have seen Napster’s illegal MP3 downloads give way to Apple’s digital music dominance with iTunes. We have also seen social networking sites becoming the de facto marketing platforms. It took off initially with Myspace, but Facebook’s meteoric rise has all but eclipsed it. YouTube has also taken off as a haven for musicians and content creators.
Recording at home
Of course, no distribution and sharing platform would matter one bit if there wasn’t something to share. That’s where home recording comes in. The bedroom recording studio has been the starting point for the careers of many musicians. The quality of the equipment has gotten much better over the years, and it’s possible to record music that’s good enough for commercial release. Still, it takes skill, experience, and good ears to get the best out of your home recordings. Basic home studios also still cost a fair bit to assemble. However, it is possible to make better recordings on the cheap with these three tips.
Get a large-diaphragm USB condenser microphone:
You’re probably in love with everything your iPhone can do. Apple’s finest does indeed have very good video and audio quality for a phone. But for real professional sound, you need a large-diaphragm condenser microphone. If you’re only going to record vocals and acoustic instruments, the lowest-cost option is to get a USB mic that plugs straight into your computer. That way you don’t have to buy a separate audio interface. You lose a bit in flexibility, but you save some money.
Get the right headphones:
It’s essential to get the right headphones if you want to make good recordings. You need a high-quality pair that’s made for tracking audio. The best is to use a pair of closed-back headphones that fit tightly over the ears. This will ensure that no sound from the headphones gets picked up by the microphone. They should also have a sonic range of at least 20hz to 20kHz, and a flat frequency response. If it boosts the bass, for instance, you are likely to overcompensate with equalization later.
Get the right software:
You can turn your computer into a multi-track recording powerhouse with digital audio workstation (DAW) software. Unfortunately, the software that comes bundled with some equipment is often rather limited, and professional software is very expensive. But you can get Reaper for a mere $60. It offers an unexpiring free trial if you want to try it out first. For its price, it offers unlimited tracks, and other features that are usually only found in much more expensive software.