Recording Multitrack Audio for Professional Sound at Home

simple home recording studioby Owen Critchley
Warner/LoudThud recording artist
Author of Easy Home Recording Blueprint


Recording Multitrack Audio – Part 1

(For part 2,  go to Home Recording Tips)

3 goals you should be setting before you record

  1. Professional quality sound
  2. Simple to use recording tools and software
  3. Affordability

Although, everyone successfully guesses the first of the goals listed above, they often are misguided as they attempt to define the next two goals of an aspiring recording artist: simplicity and affordability.

This is because musicians start with the assumption that recording high quality sound requires complex and expensive studio equipment. In other words, they invest money first instead of investing in gaining an understanding what sound actually needs to be recorded well.

If we realized that sound actually has very simple needs to be recorded effectively, the number one goal of professional quality home recording suddenly becomes very achievable.

Recording Multitrack at Home – How to be big, bold and in control

Multitrack audio recording is of course, the process of separating the elements of our music so we may individually manipulate each part’s sound, volume and placement in a finished mix. What used to be achieved with two inch tape divided into 16 or 24 “tracks” is now achieved in the digital environment of recording software.

So, we use multitrack recording to give us increased control of our music. However,¬† the irony is that we are actually less in control if we use recording equipment we don’t know how to use.

The solution for taking control of the recording process and making sure it serves our needs as music creators, is obvious, but mostly overlooked. The answer is, we must find an effective way of using very little and very simple to use multitrack digital recording equipment if we have any hope of consistently producing competitive recordings. Otherwise, the aspiring recording artist will financially cripple himself or herself, and ultimately fail in the first goal of the home recording artist. i.e. achieving high quality recordings.

Recording Multitrack Sound at Home Professionally, Simply and Cheaply

It sounds like the quest for the Holy Grail, but recording professional quality records at home is not only possible, it should be expected. The truth is, absolutely any multitrack recording software that is available can more than adequately handle the task of release-quality recording.

All we have to do is give the multitrack software what it most needs:

  • High quality sound
  • High quality “capture”
  • High quality input
  • High quality output

The items above are the 4 pillars of a great multitrack recording. The good news, each item is achievable with minimal financial outlay and minimal technical knowledge.

Let’s look at each item and define how we will achieve it.

High quality sound:

High quality sound broadly refers to supplying either a good performance, on a good quality acoustic or electric instrument, or good quality electronic instrument and/or device, or some combination of the above. In other words, well played with no buzzing and hissing.

Achievable affordably and simply? Yes.

High quality capture

High quality “capture” refers to using a good quality microphone for voice and acoustic instruments and good quality cables for connecting electric and electronic instruments and devices. In other words, avoiding immediate loss of quality and injury to the original sound due to poor quality mics and insecure cables.

Achievable affordably and simply? Yes.

High quality input

High quality input when multitrack digital recording, refers to using a high quality in/out device, also known as a digital audio interface. The first step to having high quality input is to avoid using your computer’s built in sound card for recording purposes.

Simple pro quality external audio devices are available whose sole purpose is to funnel your sounds from the outside of your computer to the inside of your computer without degrading the sound’s quality.

Achievable affordably and simply? Yes.

High quality output

Although our in/out device is also supplying the output signal, our ability to complete a professional sounding mix is dependent the final stage of output which is our speakers (monitors.) There are excellent and reasonably priced home recording studio monitors available, but this is one area where we will have to make a moderate investment to achieve professional recordings at home.

Powered studio monitors (with built in power amps) are a good choice and save the expense of separate power amps and also make good use of limited space in most home studios.

Conclusion of part one

Easy Home Recording Blueprint is the bestselling step by step guide to producing pro-quality recordings at home using free recording software and very little equipment.

If copying the exact method I use to record music for movies, tv, cd release and licensing, sounds like a great way to kick start your music career, you will love the Easy Home Recording Blueprint.
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