I'm not really sure how old I was when I got the gift for Christmas, but I remember thinking it was a pretty impressive piece of electronic hardware. It was really cool looking (technologically speaking), and I was awfully proud to own it. It certainly made for lots of fun times.
What was this high-tech gift, you ask? Why, it was a tape recorder! It was a monographic, reel to reel tape deck that came with it’s own plug-in microphone. I could hold that mic up to my transistor radio’s speaker and record songs onto tape. I could also play the guitar and sing and record every second of it. I could even hide and record conversations from unsuspecting family members. I was in recording heaven!
Years later I owned an 8 track stereo recording deck (ok, that was a mistake). At another point in time I had a stereo cassette recording deck that would physically flip the tape over when one side was finished recording or playing. Now I own a more conventional stereo dual cassette deck, but I no longer use it for recording or much of anything else for that matter.
All my recording is now done on my computer. The audio and midi software available today for computer recording is quite amazing. You can record multiple tracks, edit the recordings and add special effects as desired. Many of the audio recording programs come with their own native special effects such as reverb, compression, flanger, and chorus, to name a few. Some of the recording software can also accept third party effects such as vocal removers, tube amp effects and many more.
Multitrack recording software allows for recording various live instruments, vocals, etc, onto individual tracks. After recording one track, you can play it back while recording another. Once finished, you can mix all the individual tracks down into one stereo track. Some recording software will import and record both audio and MIDI, some audio only. If you have a MIDI keyboard or other MIDI instrument, be sure to pick software that handles both formats.
Creating a simple home audio recording studio is easy. In addition to software, an audio and/or midi interface will allow you to plug all kinds of audio components, microphones and instruments into your computer for live recording, recording from tape or even from your old vinyl lp’s. You can also use a home stereo system as an interface for audio components by running cables to it from your computer’s sound card. A laptop with recording software and a USB interface can serve as a totally portable recording studio. And again, if you have MIDI instruments, be sure to get an interface that will allow connecting them in additon to audio components and instruments.
The digital revolution has made music recording easily available to anyone with a computer. If you enjoy music and want to do more than just download mp3’s from the Internet, get some multitrack recording software and start your own home sound studio.