Hope you have been practicing singing in the past week and your vocal chords are now prepared to take on the nuances of getting on with the real thing- the actual recording.
Moving on from where we left off the last time around – here are the rest of the gadgets you will need to set up your personal recording studio.
Gadget 2 – Your Microphone:
Be aware that your standard windows microphone is not adequate for top quality music recording. You'll need one that will record your music perfectly. Microphones are the most important feature in recording your music because their quality varies broadly and they are what you hear. The most famous and best budget microphone ever is the Shure SM58 Microphone. For its cost it sure beats many of the several times more expensive ones, like the thousand dollar Neumann, hollow.
There is a wide range of microphones available such as condensers, dynamics, tubes and many more. It has been observed that live mics are not always great for the studio. Typically, wide diagram condensers are what you want for vocals. Remember that if you are going to record in groups, or different types of instruments, you'll require more than one microphone.
Here again, there is a negative for using computer microphones. The connectivity is likely to be a problem here, as many microphones have a balanced output cable. You are likely to be on the right lines if your sound card or audio interface has the corresponding input slot. If not, you will have to go in for an alternative like running it through a mixer or a pre-amp. Another possibility is to acquire a pair of good dynamic microphones that use an unbalanced jack which you can insert to get the desired output. You could also get an adapter for your sound card. As far as recording into digital multitracks is concerned, it should not be a problem as they are usually made for all microphones.
Gadget 3 – Audio Interface Recording Sound Card:
Much as we have apparently maligned the computer, it is still required even if you'll be recording externally as you'll still need to get the sound into the computer for audio mastering, burning, MP3 upload or whatever else. If you want to get it in a high quality, some of the factors to look for are types of input, quality and connectivity.
Let me tell you what the difference between digital and analog is. Analog is the actual sound transmitted in wave form, while digital translates the sounds into a code for transmission that is then re-converted to analog at the listener's end. What ever you sing, the analog signal of your actual sound has translated into the digital format so the computer can record it. The sound card does that translation.
Your digital multitrack can send its music out digitally, so it is better to have a sound card that can accept digital data as well. The standard formats are called "spdif", and come in two categories, requiring two different types of cables: optical (spdif / o) and electronic (spdif / e).
Gadget 4 – Studio Headphones, Playback Gear:
As you will be playing the new vocals with the backing tracks you have to make sure your backing tracks are synchronized to the device you will be recording your vocals to.
A computer program generally does this automatically. If, however, you are using a multitrack with a computer, your synchronization may need to be tweaked a wee little bit. While doing your home recording, all you will be required to do is connect the computer and multitrack via a MIDI cable and then specifying on each (the program and the multitrack) which sync signal (MMC, MTC, SMPTE) is sent / received. Beside, you also need to check the frame rate, which device is the master (the one that when you press play on it, the other plays as well), and whether pressing 'Play' on the master starts playback at the beginning or at the song position of the master (depending on what you want).
Happy singing and happy recording! Hope to see your name soon among the list of successful singers of this world.