Right now performing LIVE is impossible. Musicians are at the brink of desparation. What does the future look like? So right now is the time to find new ways, new possibilities to share our music. Right now, as the digital world is more and more introduced in every day life, home recording might be an answer we are all looking for. We can record our music and share it on different social media platforms. I know, it is not the same as playing in front of a live audience, but it really is a possibility to reach your fans. But if you want to produce some good quality music to share with your audience, what would you need to be able to do so? Here I share my experiences:
You will need a good microphone. Preferably a large diaphragm mike. At the very beginning I have been using a simple dynamic microphone (Shure SM58), the very same you would use on stage. But the large diaphragm microphone has a way better recording quality than the simple SM58. These typical recording microphones have a large price range varying from €50 to €2000. You should really think about the preferred recording quality: A Brauner Phantom Classic is a great mike, but when the rest of the gear is not of the same quality level (and often similar price level!) it is a shame to spend all that money on just one microphone when the rest can’t handle that quality.
An audio interface. The interface transforms the signal from the microphone to the digital info your computer can understand and record. Secondly these interfaces are often small pre-amplifiers. The weak signal of the very sensible microphone will be boosted to a stronger level for recording. Also be sure to think ahead about the amount of tracks you want to be able to record simultaniously. Will you be recording one track at a time? Than an interface with only one input channel will suffice. But wuld you like to record a grand piano in stereo, you would need two tracks and therefore an interface with 2 input channels to record those two tracks simultaniously. Do you want to record a large ensemble, and use one microphone per voice or instrument, be sure to take an interface that can handle multiple tracks. In my situation the two channel interface works for me.
A fairly modern, pretty fast computer or laptop to record your music.
DAW software (Digital Audio Workstation) to be able to record, edit, mix, master and finally play your music. There is a wide variety of software packages. I use Cubase for recording. This is professional software like Pro Tools or Logic that are also often used in the professional music business. This software is not for free, but there is some freeware software to be found on the internet (Audacity). Because the professional software gives you all the essentials for editing your music, it may seem somewhat confusing and overwhelming in the beginning. Just get started and learn by trial and error!
An external hard drive. Recording music produces a lot of data. So saving your recording on an external hard drive keeps your computer or laptop from filling itself up very quickly.
Social media. To present your music to the world you definitely need access to social media. A Youtube or Soundcloud-account is essential. But LinkedIn, Facebook- or Instagram-accounts are also very helpful to share your music and get in touch with your audience.
But the most improtant thing: Use your sense of good taste, great musical ideas and your critical ears. Your good taste and ideas will distinguish your music from thousands of other songs, that appear on the internet on a daily basis. In the end, only your ears can decide if the quality of your product is good enough to send into the world.
Everyone who is engaged in the cultural and performance business is longing for the chance to perform live again. Sadly enough it doesn’t look like this will happen over night. But in spite of all setbacks we should keep focussing on the good things, All the innovative steps we have been taking in the last twelve months picture a hopeful future. Curious about live performances in Covid times? You can find more here.
Have fun recording!