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A Complete Guide To Setting Up A Recording Studio - Part 2

So on to part 2 we go... We were looking at the equipment you will need for your studio, next step; recording... Oh and if you want a recap, here's part 1 again.

Digital recorder

Digital recorders come in various shapes and sizes, but don't feel that you must buy the most expensive one with the most tracks on it in order to be able to create a great recording. Remember, in years gone by great musicians used to record on four track recorders, and they created incredible music. The most important thing is the quality of the musicians, not the recorder.

Image credit: Sony PCM 3348HR

That said, a 16 track recorder will allow for ease of editing, as you are able to adjust the levels, create loops and generally do whatever you want with any part of your recording – vocals, drums, guitar – quickly and easily, due to the fact that each part is isolated. See our range of portable digital recorders.

Disc replicators vs disc duplicators

It's probable that you're going to want to create CDs of your recordings at some point; whether it's your first EP or a bunch of demos that you want to send off to Messrs Big. There are two ways that you can create lots of copies of your recording – either by replicating it, or by duplicating it.

Image credit: CD replication

The difference is quality, and cost. Replicating CDs requires the machine to make a master CD out of glass, which all of the other CDs are replicated from. Duplicating CDs involves burning the information onto a blank disc, without the use of a glass master disc necessary.

Unless you are planning on creating an awful lot of CDs – and we're talking into the thousands here – it's probably worth sticking to duplication for now, or even distributing your work via the internet. Besides, we're sure Messrs Big will have a CD replicator that you can use. Prices start at around £200 for duplicators, but if you're hiring your studio out a more sophisticated model may well pay for itself very quickly. Click here to see some options.


A decent pair of headphones, or monitoring speakers, will be your new best friend while recording, as you'll be able to monitor the quality much better. You'll be amazed at the detail that you pick up when listening to your recording through a decent pair of headphones.

Image credit: headphones

Being able to pick up on small details and adjust accordingly will make your recording stand out as professional – leave mistakes in, and you'll appear amateur. A decent pair of Audio Technica headphones can cost between £30  and £100+, see the range here!

External hard drive

Most of the recordings that you save will be important to you, whether for sentimental or financial reasons. Because of this, it's vital that you save them properly. External hard drives are now much cheaper than they used to be, not to mention smaller and lighter, making them easy to transport. Make backing up your files part of your recording routine.

Pop filter

Know what plosive and sibilance are? If you do, you'll know that they're a nightmare for any recording artist. A plosive is the 'pop' that happens on words beginning with P, and sibilance is the high pitched hissing sound with the letter S.

Image credit: 
pop filter

To see if your system has this problem, do the 'popcorn seashell' test. Record yourself saying those words, then listen back to see if you can hear popping and hissing. If you can hear it, invest in a pop filter, which you have probably seen in music videos. It is a shield that sits between the microphone and the vocalist, and it solves the problem. Pop filters usually cost between £10 and £15.

Finally: What About Software?

So, you've got all of the hardware that you need – now it's time to decide on which software package, or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), is best for you. There are lots of packages available, so it's a great idea to download demos of a few and have a play around to decide which one you like best.

Audacity is free, and great for beginners who want to practise basic editing. However, it doesn't offer live music recording. GarageBand often comes free with Mac computers and has been used by successful artists such as Marina and the Diamonds. ProTools is probably the most popular of the DAWs, but others such as Reaper, Ableton, Cubase and Sonar are also available.

The most important thing is to familiarise yourself completely with whichever DAW you choose, so that you can use it efficiently and effectively if you need to get a CD out fast.

Posted at 13:34

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