Equipment for a Computer-based Recording Studio

Whether you are a garage band member or a wannabe radio station enthusiast, the range of equipment for a computer based recording studio can get into an endless list of desirables.

The range of available options is so luring that one could endlessly fuss about not having proper gear. Do not put your energy too much on the tools. Instead, focus on making good recording content.

Here’s a typical list of things required to set up a computer-based recording studio:

Computer: This is an obvious one, but the issue is choosing the right kind of computer. Audio files typically use high amount of computer resources. As such computers with good storage (preferably dual hard disk) and best available RAM processing capabilities is the first prerequisite.

Input device: Input devices include musical instruments (MIDI or electrical instruments), microphones, sound modules and other devices that can be used to input sound into your PC.

Audio interface: All equipments that make possible interaction between outside sound and digital devices (such as your PC) are called audio interface. Typical audio interfaces include:

1) A sound card: also called a PCI card because it fits in the Peripheral Component Interface (PCI) slot in your computer — allows your computer to read and understand the digital information coming from and going to the converters

2) Preamps: to increase the signal level of microphones

3) AD and DA converters: required for interaction between analog devices such as microphones and instruments and your PC which is essentially a digital device.

4) Direct Induction boxes: device that lets you plug your guitar directly into your PC.

Audio interfaces use any one of the following three medium to connect to your computer through:

a) PCI card connected to your computer’s PCI slot

b) USB port

c) FireWire port

Software: There are wide ranges of software programs that add value to the recording job. Software programs could range from simple effects and loops (software to bring together pieces of pre-recorded sounds) to basic recording programs to more sophisticated software programs that will allow you to mix hundreds of MIDI and audio channels. Software can also take the role of samplers, mixers, compressors, synthesizers, digital signal processors (DSPs) and limitless other plug-ins.

Monitors: Speakers or headphones are essential tools to monitor the quality of recording.

Mastering media: Mastering media is where you will put your completed work in formats like WAV, MP3. MPEG etc. Mastering media could be your hard disk, CD, DVD or other forms of magnetic storage devices.

Your recording skills and gear will evolve as you get to understand your precise requirements. The most vital thing about recording is to get your hands dirty.