Home recording has never been more accessible than it is today. As the quality of home recording equipment continues to rise, and the cost continues to decline, the opportunity to produce studio quality audio recordings in your own home has never been better. Everyone from professional sound engineers to beginners can find the equipment they need to make fantastic recordings; utilizing everything from incredibly powerful digital audio workstations to handheld portable digital recorders.
With all these options available though, it can be difficult to determine exactly what home recording equipment is best suited for your needs. Fortunately, this Home Recording Buyers Guide is designed to help you get the equipment and information you need to get your home recording projects going in no time.
The Three Kinds of Home Recording
Multi-track Recorders (Hardware): Multi-track recorders provide an all in one platform perfect for home recording studios. Depending up the model of the multi-track recorder, you'll be able to record anywhere from 2 to 24 tracks simultaneously. Additionally, multi-track recorders feature onboard mixing, mastering, playback, overdubbing and recording capabilities. Essentially, hardware based multi-track recorders provide all the hardware in one package, all you need are the studio microphones and cables to get going.
Digital Audio Workstations (Software): A computer based digital audio workstation (or DAW) consists of three separate components; a computer, an audio converter and software. Unlike hardware based units, DAWs typically don't have a physical mixing board (although they can) and instead use computer software to provide a digital replacement. Digital audio workstations are considered by some to be the most powerful home recording units available, offering everything from unlimited variations on virtual instruments to high quality graphical interfaces.
Portable Digital Recorders: Portable digital recorders are not exactly a home recording studio, but they are a great alternative for those looking to be able to make recordings wherever they go. With built in microphones capable of recording in stereo, portable digital recorders pack an amazing punch in a small, light-weight unit. Although you won't need any additional equipment, some portable digital recorders allow you to connect microphones and record multiple tracks at a time, giving you even more options wherever you go.
Finding the Home Recording Equipment That's Right for You
Choosing the home recording equipment that's best for you will ultimately depend upon what and how you plan on recording. For example, if you primarily want to record yourself practicing at home, but would like the ability to record new songs you are working on, then a portable digital recorder will probably be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you're already experienced with home recording and producing quality audio recordings is paramount, you will probably want to consider a recording unit with more versatility and breadth, such as a Digital Audio Workstation, or a digital multi-track recorder.
Once you have a general idea of what kind of capabilities you want for your home recording projects, it will be much easier to find the home recording equipment that's perfect for you.