How can I find the audio recording gear that is best for my home studio?

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Answered by: Pete, An Expert in the PC Audio Category
Every musician finds a need to record what they are playing. Whether such recording is used to evaluate performance on their given instrument or as a way to quickly save new original musical ideas, the recording has become an indispensable tool for modern musicians of every genre. When faced with the need to record, musicians are presented with a wide array of audio recording gear. Equipment is available that is suitable for anyone from recording newbie to Grammy winning superstar. Let’s find out what gear is best for you.

At the simplest level, a recording can be made from a hand held device such as the Tascam DR-05 Compact Portable Digital Recorder. This recorder is small and light and records wav files up to 24 bit. The tracks are saved to a microSD card allowing easy transfer to your computer. It costs less than $100.00 making it quite affordable. It is great for quick recording in a variety of locations, but you may find that you need more.

The next step up is a portable multi-track recording device which will allow you to record several musicians on separate tracks. More importantly, you can record you own instrument or voice in several tracks giving you the capability of creating counterpoint or lush harmonies. Tascam’s Digital Portastudio is made for this job and is available in entry level four track versions and larger eight track versions. Other manufacturers such as Zoom and Fostex have great alternatives, but the moment will come when even this is too limiting.

The most flexible alternative is the specialized computer known as the Digital Audio Workstation or DAW. These are available in laptop computer configurations but the most flexible is the desktop workstation. It is easy to get your feet wet if you already own a capable computer. With the addition of an audio interface and free recording software such as Audacity you can be recording in minutes. You will find, however, that you are limited in the number of tracks you can record. In addition, a home workstation is configured to do many things in the background such as virus scanning. These functions can disrupt recording.

A good home solution is a purpose built DAW such as the QuietDAW line marketed by Allegro Technology. ( Such a machine is built from select matched components and designed to utilize available audio recording gear in an efficient manner. It utilizes the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system that had been specially tweaked for optimal audio recording. It can be loaded with many different DAW software packages such as Cakewalk SONAR X1 Producer or Avid ProTools 10. Equipped in this fashion you can move into the realm of professional recording from your own home.

Only you know what level is best for you. Allow a reputable company help you decide on the audio recording gear that’s right for you. Once you have it in place, your job is to make the music that you know and love.

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