Are you an artist or songwriter, and you're thinking about recording your own vocals and/or instruments? Whether it's just for a demo to get the idea across or if it's the first step towards a production career, the beginning is pretty daunting at first.
Let me help you find the right tools to get started!!
1.Pick Your Interface
Your interface is the device you use to plug your microphone and speakers into.
Don't overthink this one, you probably won't start recording 8 tracks all at once if you just get started, so lets look at 3 simple, high quality interfaces with a good pricetag!!
Mackie Audio Interface. 2 inputs, one for a mic and one for a guitar. Both are located on the front, including a headphone output so it makes it super easy to use.
Focusrite Scarlet Solo. It comes with Pro Tools and Ableton Lite, and it has 2 inputs. Also, it's $90,- so you win on all sides!
USB Mic. If you don't want to spend the money but you do want to record, get a USB mic. Plugs straight into your computer and work with all the DAW. If you take this one you just need to hook up your speakers to your mini-jack out.
2. Pick you DAW
Your Digital Audio Workstation is where all the magic starts. This is where you record, edit, play your synth, add reverb etc. Most of these work Mac and PC, but sadly Garageband and Logic Pro X only work for Mac. *sorry PC people*
There are tons of options, but just to narrow down I picked what is most east to use to get started with.
Garageband: Are you mainly focussed on recording and playing? Like I said, only for Mac users, but in my opinion it's the best software to start with. There are a ton of great presets, for mixing, sounds, mastering etc. and it's very easy to navigate. Once you feel you have mastered it, you can upgrade to Logic Pro X to expand on your knowledge.
Ableton Live Lite: Are you mainy focussed on arranging?It comes with a lot of Interfaces. It's easy, fast, and it work with a unique layout where you can think like a DJ instead of an arranger. You can make parts of 2 or 4 bars and build layers out of them. Through shortcuts you can trigger those layers and they will be recorded in the Arrangement window. It's a fun and easy way to play and arrange at the same time.
FL Studio Are you mainly focussed on beats? Pick this one, it's the easiest and fastest way to make hard hitting beats. It has easy drop and drag features and great quantizing feels.
3. Pick your samples
Find the drumsounds you love, start collecting a database of samples you love! Of course it's great if you can make your own samples but here are some website that you can use to scroll through the right sounds.
splice.com. Splice is not just a website for samples, it's a great educational tool and you can subscribe to some amazing plugins with a simple monthly payment.
noiiz.com. Be a part of this amazing community, where you can use other people's collection of sounds and you can share yours! A great place to start and connect with fellow creators!
Freesound.org Ooooh yeah, looking for a recording of someone eating chips or closing a door? This website will be your best friend to finding something unique!!
4. Pick you midi-keyboard
Are you looking for weighted keys or regular synth keys? Tons of options, but these are my faves!
Akai Mini MKII. This baby has all the features and it fits in your bag pack!! And...it has a fun little pitch-bend mod wheel function that can make the most boring preset sound a awesome.
Alesis V25. It has 25 solid piano keys, but also a nice collection of drum pads with great sensitivity. If you don't need to travel, pick this one!
IK IRIG. Want something that can plug into your iPhone or iPad? And is small? This is your girl, she rocks and I take her everywhere.
5. Pick your tutorials
Ok, so you have all the pieces, now what?
There are a ton of great info website and videos out there, but we love these because they start simple!!
Lynda.com From mic placements to Pro-Tools or Ableton for dummies, you start from the top and it goes to any level. easy videos and a limitless resource!
Collective Intelligence. This Youtube channel is more towards electronic music production, and they have a vast database of tips and tricks, from synthsounds to making beats.
Andrew Huang. Not a beginner youtube, but it's amazing to see how he does it and what he does. He will for sure inspire you to do better and more interesting things. And he has some great tips on gear and plugins!