How to Record a Song on Your Computer
This is a video post where I begin to form a list of things needed to learn how to record a song on your computer. I've included a summery transcript of the video as well. Please add your questions and comments to the section below.
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Dave Maxey here with homemusicstudio1.com. Thanks for joining me and watching this video today. I want to talk to you about how to record a song on your computer. Just to point out the obvious, we've covered a lot of information thus far on the blog. All of it is dealing predominately with recording, not to an external interface but how to record a song to your computer.
One the things that keeps coming up, more recently, are questions about the basics. "Dave, can you simplify the beginning to the end process of recording a song?"
I think the easiest way for me to do that is to simply record a song onto my computer and show you the process I follow. To give you little bits and pieces of what I believe to be most import aspects to focus on. I'll document this along the way. Then I'll begin to share that with you via the Podcast, blog posts, and more videos like this one.
Along the way please throw at me all the questions you may have. Feel free to comment on the blog with your questions and I'll address them as we are moving along.
I am going to give you 5 simple things to begin addressing how to record a song on your computer. These items are the start of an entry level list and we will cover more in later posts. The first of which is.
A Space to Record In
This may seem like a very obvious thing to you but the reason I address this is because a lot of times there is much concern here. Is my space big enough? What do I need in my recording space? Do I really have the right setup in order to record?
Maybe right now like me, you don't have a lot of options when in comes to space? Understand that you do not need a gigantic space with lots of isolation booths. You just need some space to begin to work with. Every space will have it's own issues that need addressed. Just don't limit what you have by thinking it's too small to do anything with.
I think you will be very surprised at the quality of audio you can get in almost any space by addressing a few simple things. Don't short sell what you have because it's not "something else". Simply start with what you have and where your at.
Next you need something to record
I know this may seem elementary but let me explain. You need to understand very specifically exactly what it is you intent to record. The reason I say this is because we are talking about recording a song. Instead of simply having your song in your head it's very important to document exactly what your song looks like on paper.
One of the very first things I do before recording is I make a road map of the song flow, on paper. It's extremely helpful to create a chart mapping out the order of your song. What starts first? Where does the first chorus come in? What about the bridge? How fast is the song going to be tempo wise? What key will the song be recorded in? This can be as simple as a lyrics with chords written above them using abbreviation to note the order of the song.
You need some way to capture the audio you have created. The most common way to do this is buy using a microphone (as apposed to recording the direct output of your instruments). One very common misunderstanding in home recording is that you many microphones to record a song on your computer. Or even that you need a very expensive microphone. This is simply not true.
Learning how to record a song to your computer has never been more affordable. Now days you can buy a great recording mic for under $100. I do almost all of my recording with 3 microphones. An SM137, a SM58, and an MXL 990s. For more suggestions about which mic to choose checkout the toolbox page here.
An audio interface
An audio interface allows you to connect your microphone to your computer. There are many great options in this area today. I am presently using a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. You can check out the toolbox page for more information on this audio interface.
An audio interface is one of the most important elements of learning how to record a song on your computer. It converts the signal captured by your mic, into a digital signal. This can then be remixed and processed with recording software, which we will talk about next.
In the recording world we refer to the software we record with as a digital audio work station, or DAW for short. Today there are many great recording software options. I talk about this very subject in a previous post. You can check that out here.
The bottom line in selecting software to recording with comes down to 3 things in my opinion. Does it do what you need it to do? Can you afford it? Do you know how or are you willing to learn how to use it?
I'm am going to finalize are list and begin to show you how to put it all together in coming posts and podcast. Don't forget to add your questions and comments below.