You don’t need much to record in your room.
The most crucial part is a computer and an audio interface.
You can use pretty much any laptop/desktop as long as the CPU has decent enough power (at least 4-core intel i5 2.4 GHz).
If you’re buying a new computer, I suggest getting something like this: Intel Core i7-4790 Processor (8M Cache, up to 4.40 GHz).
Another major consideration for buying a new PC is RAM; at the minimum 16 GB should be fine but 32 GB would be ideal if you plan on recording multiple inputs at once.
I also suggest having both USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports since those are the fastest available right now for external devices.
What equipment do I need to record music in your room?
How do I record sound in my bedroom?
As far as your PC goes, just about any laptop or desktop with a decent CPU will do.
Minimum requirements for recording in my room: Intel Core i5 4-core 2.4 GHz and 16 GB of RAM.
About the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), we recommend using Reaper If you want to use another DAW such as Logic Pro X or Fruity Loops, that’s possible but it’ll make things more complicated since I’ll only be teaching how to get the most out of Reaper for this course.
If you don’t have an audio interface yet, I suggest getting one ASAP since they are crucial accessories for home recording.
I recommend the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or any of its variants.
The cool thing about it is that you can get that, a pair of studio monitors, and some decent mics for under $300 (~$200 for the interface if you get it used & ~$125/pair for the speakers).
If you’re on a super tight budget but don’t mind sacrificing sound quality, I’d suggest this: Behringer Xenyx Q802USB (cheapest option at around $30).
You can also use your computer’s integrated audio output since most computers have pretty decent built-in sound cards these days.
Just make sure there’s no latency and make sure everything sounds okay in mono before continuing.
If you already have an audio interface, I’d suggest sticking with it unless you find something built for home recording at a really good price (under $70).
Just make sure the interface has 2-inputs and 2-outputs or more since that’s all you need to record in my room.
The microphones I recommend are the MXL 770/780 since they’re about $75 each and sound surprisingly decent.
They aren’t super versatile but if you just want one mic for vocals or guitar, these work pretty well (Pro Tip: sing right into the grill not the middle of the mic)
Where can I record in my bedroom?
You can record almost anywhere as long as there isn’t a lot of noise and the room doesn’t shake too much (like if someone slams a door).
Ideally, you’ll want to stay in your room for isolation reasons but if the sound bleed is too bad (ie: loud neighbors below you), try putting up some blankets or mattresses on the walls, floor, and ceiling. Then set up your studio in that corner and pray nobody disturbs you! 🙂
How do I improve my recording?
The first step is knowing what NOT to do: NEVER use an instrument’s built-in mic.
They’re usually terrible and will make everything sound super flat with no bass whatsoever. Use an audio interface or XLR mic instead.
Avoid using earbuds since they usually sound really bad and don’t have enough power to accurately represent your mix so use something like the Audio Technica ATH-M50x which you can find for around $100.
Listen to a lot of well-mixed songs and try to emulate that sound as much as possible: EQ, panning, reverb, gain structure, etc.
Trial and error is your best friend in this case! 🙂
If everything sounds terrible even after trying multiple times, consider investing or saving up more money on decent studio monitors or headphones before moving on with the course.
Monitor speakers are just about the only thing that will give you an accurate representation of what’s going on in your mix and how it’ll sound to other people.
How do I turn my room into a music studio?
This is by far the most important part of the course. If you don’t know how to properly record in your room, none of this will matter.
The first thing I’ll say is to avoid making ANY permanent changes in your home since it’s really hard (and expensive) to re-do everything when you want to move out or sell your house after 7 years.
Doing things like wallpapering or painting might seem like a good idea but try not to do any irreversible damage once you start recording!
The basics are: make sure there aren’t any weird echoes and that the sound doesn’t bounce back into the microphone too much (if at all).
You can either put some blankets or mattresses on the walls, floor, and ceiling to absorb the sound or make sure they’re bare (warning: if you put your bed against a wall, it might rattle when bass hits).
I recommend doing some proper research on how to record in an untreated room since this will require more work but sounds better overall.
How can I record music at home?
To properly record music at home, you’ll need to use an audio interface with 2-inputs and 2-outputs.
Then plug your microphone into the interface and then run a long XLR cable from that into your room (or wherever you want to record).
Make sure that the microphone is plugged in and turn on phantom power (if necessary) since most microphones need 48V of power to sound good even if they’re battery-powered like the MXL 770/780.
Finally, make sure nothing is making any noise while recording such as heaters or fans and try not to talk over the person recording since it’ll sound like white noise.
If you want to record more than one person at a time, consider buying an audio interface with multiple inputs/outputs or just buy another microphone! 🙂
What apps are good for recording music?
The first apps I’d recommend checking out Garageband for iOS and Reaper for macOS. These two apps will let you record unlimited tracks of audio/midi with no restrictions or limitations!
The downside is that they both lack an easy way to mix everything together (they’re more suited towards multi-track recording) but there are some rules you can follow to make your project sound better overall:
EQ/filter tracks that aren’t supposed to be loud like vocals or bass then compress them since that’s what the mastering engineer would do.
Unfortunately, these effects cost extra money on all platforms except Garageband which comes with free effects! 🙂
Pan every track hard left & right on the mixer (except maybe kick+snare which should be dead center). This will give you a wider stereo field which sounds better on headphones or speakers.
Export your project as an uncompressed .wav file so the mastering engineer doesn’t have to work with compressed audio.
Recording music at home can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Follow these steps and you’ll get the results you want in no time.
The first thing is to make sure your room sounds good without any weird echoes or reflections bouncing back into the microphone.
You should either put up sound-absorbing materials on the walls, floor, ceiling, or leave them bare if not using your bed against one of those surfaces.
Then plug in an audio interface with two inputs/outputs (into which you will then plug your microphone) that has phantom power enabled for microphones that require 48V of power even though they are battery-powered like the MXL 770/780.
Lastly, export uncompressed .wav files to give mastering engineers more control over your project’s sound without having to deal with compressed audio.
Once you have followed those steps, you should be able to record music at home and release professional-sounding projects on whatever platform of your choice!