How to record at home is a question which has been asked quite frequently from almost all of the up and coming rappers I’ve ever known. Since recording in a studio is pretty expensive, recording at home is the cheapest alternative for the person on a budget. This article is for this person. It will show you the 6 things you need, if you want to record music at home.
An Overview of Recording Music at Home
Now usually the recording workplace consists of a recording lab and a booth. The recording lab is where the computer, the mixers and any other additional hardware is present. Simply said, it’s the place where the engineer stays. The recording booth is the place, where you record your vocals.
The way to do this at home is pretty straight forward really. The recording booth can be made out of a closet or any small room you have. Don’t try it in the bathroom, because the tiles create echo and it damages the recording. If you can’t use the small room for any reason, you can do it in a normal room too.
This is trickier though, because you have to place the microphone in a way, which limits it to only capturing your voice. The best place to place your microphone is between two isolated walls. This way, the voice becomes less spacious and it’s quality comes close to that of a studio recording booth.
The philosophy behind insulating your walls is that the insolation absorbs the sound from your voice, rather than reflecting it back to the microphone. That way, the voice sounds much clearer. So, what you need for insulation?
You need a surface, which is uneven and has air in it. Wool, egg carton, that bubble paper that you love popping-all works.
You need a surface, which is uneven and soft. The philosophy behind that is the following. Sound waves come from your mouth, through the microphone, hit the wall behind the microphone, go through the back of the microphone again, then hit you, some hit the wall behind you and so on. With each time the wave hits something, some of it disperses and all of that fiasco finishes when the sound wave becomes too small and weak.
Your job when recording is to absorb as much of that sound as possible through the first reflection. It’s kind of like “catching it”. That’s why a great booth eats sound waves, you clap and the sound just goes from the source, right to nothing.
Making the walls uneven, means that there are more angles that the sound wave would hit at once and it would scatter in different directions. Think about it, in terms of cutting the sound wave in 100 different ways, so from one big wave, you create many small ones that can get absorbed and “lost quicker”.
Notice the surface in the booth of any recording studio. It’s soft and uneven. So, if you want to insulate, make your walls uneven.
Just go ahead and Google search “reflection filters” for the best solution-simple, cheap and effective.
There are two types of microphones-dynamic and condenser. Dynamic microphones are the ones, used for live performances due to their durability. Condenser microphones are the ones you need.
They are made for studio recordings, because of their wide frequency response, meaning that they capture the full spectrum of your voice. You have to look around and purchase one on your own.
I would recommend that you trust the well established brands . They have a reputation for good quality and that’s what you need. I’m currently using a Samson for my home recordings. Buying one will cost you around $60 to $200.
4. Microphone Stand
This is the thing, which actually holds your microphone together. The microphone has to be on the level of your mouth, so you need that. Don’t think that you can hold it and rap on it like you’re in Britain Got Talent.
The microphone has to be stationary. A cheap alternative for a mic stand is placing your microphone on a shelf or something on your mouth level. The first time I bought a mic, I put it in a shoe, put the shoe on my desk and started spitting. Buying a mic stand will cost you around $20.
5. Pop Filter
This is the thing which you need for disabling your microphone to capture the high frequencies of the “s” sounds and the hard “p” sounds. You can just put a sock on your microphone. It works. You can tilt the microphone backwards. It works again.
Or, you can make a pop filter from your girlfriend’s pantyhose. Type in, how to make a pop filter in youtube and you will find many videos explaining that. Make sure you ask first though.
I made the mistake of just taking them and then I had to spend money for a restaurant and a movie as a form of apology.. Or, you can just buy one. That will cost you something around $25.
Now the last thing you’d need is a computer with an audio editing software installed on it. I have discussed the topic in the first book, so there is no need for me to go over it again. Just remember that you need to know how to put equalization, compression and reverb on your vocals. Adding those effects will make your vocals sound more professional.
Those were the 6 things you need for recording at home. I hope I answered your questions.