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Guy Sternberg has been running a professional recording studio in Berlin for over 15 years and has recorded many artists right up to the big orchestra. With Sound Spy, he gives tips for better shots - even for small budgets.


If you want to produce music yourself, you have to think about the equipment of your studio. Even if today, thanks to modern technology, it is easy to record directly in the rehearsal room or bedroom, there is a lot to consider when choosing the means.

1st Monitor

One thing that is often overlooked when recording is monitoring. You can not make sensible decisions if you do not hear the result of a recording properly. You need a monitor that you trust. Hi-fi speakers can sound great, but a good studio monitor will give you an unadorned sound and must, therefore, sound different and as neutral as possible. Ordinary studio monitors are already available for a few hundred euros.


Guy Sternberg at The LowSwing Studio in Berlin

Some home producers rely on their headphones, but they are totally inappropriate for mixing. And what is also overlooked is the sound of a room. If a room does not sound neutral, then the recording sounds distorted. Improving room acoustics is often seen as a wasteful investment, but is immensely important. There are many expensive products on the market, but those who are a bit concerned with the subject, can also much cheaper tinkering themselves to make a room sound neutral.

2. Microphones

Unless you are purely electronic music, you need at least a good microphone. Unfortunately, there is not one mic that meets all requirements, a professional studio usually has a whole cabinet full of microphones for all sorts of purposes. But for home recording, just a few microphones are enough, depending on what you do.



Microphones are a complicated precision tool and therefore good microphones are also very expensive. Think carefully about what you need to save at this point would not be a good idea. If necessary, you take out a loan, this investment is definitely worth it in the long run.

3. Calculator

Whereas in the past, large, very expensive tape recorders were used, commercially available computers are more than enough for home recording. One should pay attention to the following things when choosing the recording computer:

CPU: 

Computer performance is very important, so you should afford the fastest processor on the market. This ensures that you have a long-term enjoyment of recording.

Memory:

Recording programs are very RAM-hungry and if you use virtual samplers and instruments, you should already have 8GB of RAM or more.



Hard drive: Even with the hard drive you should not save, otherwise you get to the limits quickly. The hard drive must be fast (about 7200rpm it should already be). The operating system should at best run on a different hard disk than the recording data to ensure smooth operation.



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4. Software

There are endless possibilities here, but to get support and updates for a long time, I would trust the big providers. A program like Steinberg's Cubase is an established standard, providing not only the highest quality recording platform but also many studio effects and instruments and tools to achieve perfect studio-quality results.



Whatever program you use, learn the program so well that you can use it without losing yourself in the infinite options you usually do not need. The recording quality should always be at 24bit and at least 44.1kHz.

5. Audio Interface

Although every computer today comes with a built-in sound card, these are not sufficient for recording on the computer. Therefore, you should not save on this important point in any case. There are also many cheap audio interfaces today, just make sure they support drivers like ASIO and professional studio software.



The amount of required In and Out connections depends on what you want to record exactly. If you want to record a drum kit live, you need at least 8 inputs, if you do everything in the calculator and mix it, then less is enough. Make sure the audio interface of your choice has Midi In / Out and Microphone / DI input.

6. Plugins and Virtual Instruments

In the past you needed huge racks with effects units, today you can do almost everything comparatively cheap with software and imitate even sinfully expensive instruments digitally.

7. All The Rest

Now you have the essential equipment together to record at the studio level. But anyway, you should also think of little things like good cables, stands, etc., which are also important to be able to take good pictures. A well-equipped home recording studio costs money first, you have to be aware of that.



But it is an investment that you can not avoid if you want to make music at a professional level. If you do not want to take part in yourself, you can rent one day in a studio, which costs much more and requires very good preparation. Of course, you can also mix your recordings in the studio later or produce parts of his recordings.

Some Helpful Practical Tips For Better Shots:

Always trust your ears. It's quite normal to look for tips and inspiration in online forums, but in the end, every recording means that only good sounds are good. Each shot is unique and not comparable to another.



When working with microphones, experiment with positioning, try things out, and remember what you liked. The best position is not always the obvious one. Iggy Pop has largely sung his legendary solo records via a guitar amp. Why not just experiment to create your own sound?



Always try to get your sound directly from the source. Keep in mind that there are things that you can not fix much when mixing, so record a good performance, and later take care of the effects, EQ, and other things that make your recording sound even better.


When mixing:

virtual audio processors provide infinite possibilities to change the sound. Unfortunately, it is often a bad idea to want to use all at once. Try to limit yourself to what is absolutely necessary for your recording and do not lose yourself in too many details.

Patchbay: 

if you have a lot of devices with inputs and outputs, remember to buy a patch bay to save you a constant rewiring. This also protects your devices and cables and saves a lot of time.



Know the limits of your setup. If your studio or rehearsal room is not enough for a reasonable drum or string recording, you can do it in a professional studio.



Work with people! In a world full of home studios, it is important not to forget that music is always communication too. Do not do it all on your own, but join together with others and work things out in a team. Often you learn a lot faster from each other than when you want to do everything alone.
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