Recording music is something that so many people enjoy doing. So should you go and start recording at home, or start booking some studio time? Ultimately it depends on these three things; what you want to get out of it, your existing set of skills and your budget.
What do you want to get out of it?
- a successful, highly polished and professional masterpiece
It’s tricky to do this in your bedroom to a high enough standard, you do need to have the all the necessary recording equipment and experience to pull it all together. It has been done before though, for example David Gray’s album White Ladder.
- a less serious, more fun and longer-term project with a couple of mates
Absolutely. This is one of the main reasons that musicians ever record anything at all, for fun! So many artists start out recording at home, and then as you do it more you gain experience of how recording works, and what sounds good etc. and eventually, you may well become a more serious band ready to move onto something more professional.
- somewhere in the middle; a good sounding album, maybe to promote and sell yourself at gigs, or to use as a demo etc.
It will require a bit more understanding of how to put together a recording, but you really can do this at home. You will probably need some investment in some equipment that will be up to standard, but probably still not as expensive as studio hire. Of course, you will also need plenty of time and patience. If you’ve already had a go at recording, and have some decent musicians to call on, then this is where you should be aiming!
What is your existing skillset?
- a musician new to recording, or an aspiring engineer or producer
Get stuck in to recording with your mates, it will be great fun and will give you some really solid experience as you go along.
- you have already done some recording, and already have recording software and perhaps a few pieces of hardware too
Working in studios may actually be really beneficial at this stage for you, working alongside people who really know their stuff can teach you loads, very quickly. However don’t be put off recording at home, if you’re after a challenge or a more professional sounding recording then start using some different recording locations and learn about how they work to your advantage.
- you’re a pro and you know what you’re doing
By now, you probably know best when a band’s going to work best in a studio or from the comfort of their own home.
What is your budget?
Have a look through this page which gives a run through a complete budget for recording at home, and even if your budget won’t stretch to the multitrack skeleton rig then it can still be cut right down to accommodate. I refer you once again to David Gray’s album White Ladder, recorded with a two channel interface and just two mics in his apartment. You will almost certainly need a much bigger budget if you are looking to hire an established recording studio, with an experienced engineer and producer. That’s probably the way to go for a really highly polished finished, but it’s gonna cost you!
[image via Felipe Neves]