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Which Microphones Are The Best Choice For Your Home Studio Needs?

February 12, 2018 - By 

If you are recording music outside of a professional studio, you’ll need microphones for the sounds of your live instruments: such as vocals, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, drums, and bass. Any mic can record sound, but the recommended mics below are the most ideal for anyone on a low budget.

VOCALS

The Shure SM58 mic is “the most popular vocal mic in the world.” When you see singers onstage, nine times out of 10 they’re holding an SM58. What makes this particular mic nearly perfect for live performances and studio use are three things: its “ergonomic capsule,” rugged casing, and resistance to feedback. It’s not a requirement to use, but it’s a good choice for any studio.

(It’s under $3,000 but still pricey.)

ACOUSTIC GUITARS

The acoustic guitar is a hard instrument to record. Capturing its sound in full detail requires stereo recording. You’ll need a rare studio gem for this one.

The Shure SM-81 has been the industry standard for a long time. It’s been used on hit albums for acoustic guitars, hi-hats, and other instruments. Although this mic has a cardioid pattern, it shows a uniform frequency response from its sides. When used on acoustic guitars, this mic’s three-position bass roll-off offers a “simple way to compensate for the proximity effect for close miking.”2 For stereo recording, the SM81 works as 1) a pair of x/y recording, 2) a pair of ORTF recording, and 3) the “mid” for Mid/Side recording.

ELECTRIC GUITARS

If you want good sound for an electric guitar recording, the mic most recommended is Shure SM57. Engineers and newbies both prefer dynamic mics, and this legendary SM57 works for both engineers and newbies as the “electric guitar standard,” “newbie standard,” and the “industry standard.” What makes this mic ideal for electric guitars is its low-end rolloff at 200Hz. It compensates for the proximity effect of close-miking a guitar cabinet.

DRUMS

In today’s world, pre-recorded drum sounds are the norm. You’ll rarely find somebody recording authentic acoustic drums. If you have enough space and gear in your home, you can capture the sound of an actual drum set. What you’ll need is the correct selection of microphones.

Engineers like to use as many mics as possible, depending on how many he or she will need for capturing a desired sound.

However, if you only have two channels to record an entire drum kit, the two mics you’ll most likely use are a pair of overhead/room mics. Their purpose is to provide a stereo sound for one whole drum kit. For these overhead room mics, three popular pairs are the Neumann KM184 pair, the AKG C414 pair, and the Neumann U87 pair.4 They are highly expensive, often too pricey for a home studio. A cheaper condenser mic should do the trick of capturing this type of sound.

CONDENSER MIC

The Audio Technica AT2035 is widely regarded as the ideal mic for anyone starting a home studio on a tight budget. It’s equipped with a cardioid pattern, a high pass filter, and a -10dB pad. It also comes with the following accessories, a custom shockmount, and a cool-looking bag.

KICK DRUMS / BASS

If you are about to record a kick drum or any such low frequency instrument, such as a bass, you’ll need a mic designed for capturing low end sound.

The AKG D112 has all the standard feature you’d expect from any bass mic. It contains a large diaphragm dynamic, a cardioid polar pattern, and a frequency response tailored to the sounds of drums, bass cabs, and other bass-y instruments.

The most unique feature in this AKG mic is its built-in windscreen. It protects against popping.

CONCLUSION

These are just the cheapest and ideal mics for anyone starting a home studio. They are not required.

Want to know more about microphones, pricing, and a wider range of selections, click the link here to learn more.  For great prices on the best rock beats online give License Lounge’s online category of beats a try!


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Setting up a Home Recording Studio – Software Explained

August 23, 2017 - By 

In terms of being sophisticated and state of the art, the sky’s the limit when it comes to setting up your home recording studio.  Of course the essentials such as a computer, monitors, microphones, and headphones are necessary, but there is so much out there that it can easily become overwhelming.  

It’s important to realize that efficiency in the studio is critical and also a necessity for those who want to take advantage of constantly pouring out musical ideas.  To be efficient in the studio you must not only need to know your way around all of your hardware but you must also need to know how to fully utilize your recording software.  For this reason, it is imperative that you choose the correct digital audio recording software that fits both your needs and your level of recording skillset.  

Choosing The Right Software For Your Home Studio

When it comes to recording software (aside from free software such as Audacity), you probably already know that it can either be purchased by itself or else come bundled in a digital audio workstation (DAW) package along with an audio interface.  The audio interface is of course responsible for converting the incoming analog audio signals from vocals and/or guitar for instance into sampled, digital representations which can then be edited and mixed within the accompanying software.

For those of you who are new to recording, I highly recommend going with bundled software since many tools available to you in pricey standalone software packages will take some time to work up to in order to take full advantage of.  Having an audio interface/bundled software combo package also ensures instant compatibility in terms of installing and setting up the software.  There is also fantastic software out there that comes free when you buy a digital audio interface.  Companies like Avid for instance offer the newest version of Pro Tools when you buy their interface.  

Pro Tools: The Industry Standard

You may have heard Pro Tools referred to as ‘the industry standard’.  I personally feel the most comfortable using Pro Tools to record and mix.  It’s clean, intuitive, and doesn’t pose a huge learning curve for those individuals who are just getting into recording.  Though Avid products are a little pricier than most, I think in this case, you get what you pay for.  Presonus also offers a great line of interfaces that comes paired with their Studio One ARTIST DAW software upon purchase.

Obviously choosing the correct DAW software can greatly impact the creative essence of what comes out of your studio so it’s important to choose the one that is right for you.  So who ranks among the top DAWs according to today’s professional engineers?  This obviously depends on the type of music being produced, but if we’re strictly speaking Hip Hop, you can bet the following make the cut.

  1. FL Studio (former Fruity Loops)
  2. Avid Pro Tools
  3. Apple Logic Pro X
  4. Propellerhead Reason
  5. Ableton Live     

Another thing to take into consideration when choosing the appropriate DAW software is what lies for your home studio down the road.  If your plan is to procure a lot of actual instruments and mic most of your tracks, Pro Tools may be the way to go.  If you prefer working with more virtual instruments, Logic or Reason may be your DAW of choice.  Whatever you choice, whether it’s a standalone or bundled software package, there are a few things that you must know and/or take into consideration when setting up your DAW recording software.  

Following software installation, which can sometimes prove to be quite cumbersome (especially for standalone DAWs), you’ll want to make sure that your audio interface/analog to digital converter is talking directly to the software.  This is usually accomplished by setting your software’s Audio Input & Output preferences to coincide with your interface.  The other thing you will want to do is minimize any latency effects that may be present.  

This is also done within your DAW software’s audio preferences but you may need to read deeper as latency can very across the board depending on the software.   


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