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Recording Equipment for Songwriters
Recording Equipment is used to record music or songs in the home or a recording studio. Nowadays, a recording studio can range from a transformed garage or basement to a multimillion dollar facility with state-of-the-art equipment. The typical professional recording studio is divided into two rooms: the performance space, where the sound for the recording is created, and the control room, where the sound from the studio is recorded and manipulated. The equipment found in a recording studio normally includes the following: a mixing console, multitrack recorder, microphones, and reference monitors which are basically loudspeakers. A more advanced studio might also include: a digital audio workstation, a music workstation, and outboard effects such as compressors, reverbs, or equalizers.
Here are some suggestions on locations where you can pick up some nicely priced and quality equipment. Many of the places I'll mention here will have free shipping deals and discounts. Your best bet is to have a look through each one, compare prices and offers, and see which supplier offers the best deal.
GearTree.com offers a full line of Microphones - one of the first things you'll need if you're interested in putting together any kind of studio. They also offer Free Shipping on orders over $99 along with a full line of recording equipment (and musical instruments too!) and even a Clearance Dept. where you'll find some great deals.
Musician's Friend offers a great many different types of recording gear and deals on that equipment. You can Shop by Brand, visit their Clearance Center, and they also have Free Shipping on Most Orders Over $99. Alternatively, you could visit their recording equipment specific section to see what they have. They carry just about every known brand around - and some you may never have heard of:
Or your could find whatever you happen to be looking for through this handy search function:
These locations will also allow you to take courses in sound recording (many of them online without needing to be in a classroom!):
Find Schools Online - Music Degrees | Berkleemusic.com | SongU.com
Below is more information about recording that you may not have known - just for interest's sake. It's quite a history!
History of Recording
The modern recording studio owes a great deal, of course, to the very first sound recording by a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. Early recording studios often lacked isolation booths, baffles, and sometimes even speakers. Designed for live recording of an entire band or performance, they attempted to record a group of musicians and singers, rather than to record them separately. With the introduction of multi-track recording, it became possible to record instruments and singers separately and at different times on different tracks on tape. From then on, the recording process shifted to isolation and sound-proofing. In the 1960s, recordings were analog recordings made using ¼-inch or ½-inch eight-track magnetic tape. By the early 1970s, recordings progressed to using 1-inch or 2-inch 16- or 32-track equipment. Most contemporary recording studios now use digital recording equipment and the number of tracks is limited only by the capacity of the mixing console or computer.
The computer has become the centerpiece of the recording process, making it possible to replace the mixing consoles, recorders, synthesizers, samplers and sound effects devices with a single device. Known as a Digital Audio Workstation. This type of computer uses popular software packages for recording studios including Digidesign Pro Tools, Cubase and Nuendo by Steinberg, Motu Digital Performer, Ableton Live (although this is geared more towards performance) and Apple Logic Pro. Apple Macintosh hardware tends to be favored in the recording industry, though much of the software is also available for Microsoft Windows and Linux. There are also dedicated computers which integrate a recorder, preamps, effects, and a mixing console; these devices are called DAWs.
A small, personal recording studio is sometimes called a project studio. Such studios often cater to the specific needs of an individual artist, or are used as a non-commercial hobby. The first modern project studios came into being during the late 1980s with the advent of affordable multitrack recorders, synthesizers and microphones. The phenomenon has flourished with falling prices, MIDI equipment, and inexpensive digital hard-disk recording solutions.
How a Recording Works
A recording begins with the sound source, which can be anything from a person singing, playing an instrument to natural noises such as a car starting or a person walking. These sounds are captured by carefully placed microphones and fed into a mixing console. Electronically produced sounds, such as those from electric guitars or synthesizers, are fed directly into the mixing console. The mixing console serves as the central element of the recording studio. The console routes signals from one location to another, allows people to control the balance and sound qualities of signals, and allows people to monitor the signals in many ways. Once a sound reaches the mixing console, it is transferred to a multitrack tape recorder. There, the sound from each voice or instrument is placed on its own track, where each individual sound can be accessed again later. Once all of the performances have been assembled on the tracks of the recorder, a mixing engineer takes over.
When the sounds have been transferred to the multitrack tape recorder, the mixing engineer works with the producer to select the materials that will appear in the final version of the recording. The engineer shapes the final sound qualities of the instruments and voices by signal processing and establishes the loudness levels of the instruments in relationship to one another. When this process is completed, the recording exists in its final form.
Kinds of Recording Equipment
The most popular recording studios can be professional or based in the home. a mixing console, multitrack recorder, microphones, reference monitors which are basically loudspeakers with a flat frequency response. A more advanced studio might also include: a digital audio workstation, a music workstation, outboard effects, such as compressors, reverbs, or equalizers.
1. Mixing Console
As the centerpiece of the recording studio, the mixing console, also called a sound board or soundboard, is an electronic device for combining or mixing, routing, and changing the level, tone, and/or dynamics of audio signals. A mixer can mix analog or digital signals, depending on the type of mixer.
2. Multitrack Recorders
A method of sound recording that allows for the separate recording of multiple sound sources to create a cohesive whole, multitracking is the most common method of recording songs. Multitrack recording devices are available with varying capacities, such as the number of simultaneous tracks available for recording. The first musician to use multitracking was guitarist Les Paul in 1947, when he recorded eight different parts on electric guitar.
A microphone is a transducer that converts sound into an electrical signal.
4. Digital Audio Stations
A digital audio station (DAW) is a system designed to record, edit, and play back digital audio. A key feature of DAWs is the ability to freely manipulate recorded sounds, much like a word processor manipulates typed words.
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