In this modern day musicians can literally do everything to control their own creativity. Home recording equipment has come a long way. However there is one thing that you have to be on top of – compatibility. IT companies want you to buy all their stuff so they make it difficult to buy a range of things from different companies and put them together. They also don’t sell one piece of equipment that does everything. So the parts that you will need are:-
Computer – The newer the better and also with as much ram as is possible to run the various programmes.
Music Software – I use pro tools simply because I am used to it and as a musician I want to spend the minimum amount of time learning about software and the maximum amount of time creating. All the software out there has its positives and its negatives so you have to work out what you want to do with the software and try and buy the best software to do that. One of the positives about pro tools is that a lot of studios use it so you can do most of your composing at home and then go to a studio, with your files, just to polish it and give it that professional sound.
Hardware – You need a piece of hardware to plug you instruments into that will convert the sound to digital information that the computer can read. Once the music is recorded it will also convert it back to sound so that you can hear the recording.
One of the mistakes that people make is that they spend a lot of money on the computer and software and then get a cheap piece of hardware. The reality is that if you are recording poor quality sound it doesn’t matter what you have in your software it will always sound like a poor recording. The other side is if you can get a good, clear recording you don’t have to do much with it for it to sound professional.
Other stuff – Once you have all these things start investing in good microphones, leads and instruments. These all contribute to whether you get a good recording or not. If you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on recording equipment and then spend twenty dollars on a microphone you will be disappointed in the recording quality.
In an ideal world you would get the best of everything that you need but many of us don’t live in the ideal world. So aim for the recording equipment that you want and buy the best you can with your present budget. As you get spare money upgrade the equipment that needs it until you get what you want.
Be realistic. Buying equipment can be a bottomless pit if you let it. Know what you want and work towards it. Do not be distracted by all the bells and whistles of the endless stream of new, improved, updated, must-have advertising enticing your dollars.
My first system was state of the art when I bought it and it has served me for 15 years. It was only in the last 6 months that I decided to get a new system. It is still not exactly what I want but it is very close and I know that I will soon have a system that will probably last me another 15 years.
Now all I have to do is be creative with what I have and be a musician again. Enjoy.