The Absolute Basics: Equipment Shopping
We’ve gone over what DAW is right for you, as well as what our dream recording guitars are, but you might still be wondering what equipment you’ll need to get your very first recordings made.
Well, just like our recommendations before, the kind of equipment you need is super dependent on the kind of music that you’re planning on making. For example, if you’re a singer-songwriter who’s looking to lay down some demos then you’ll want to make a quality vocal microphone a priority, but if you’re an electronic producer who isn’t too fussed with live instrumentation then you could consider passing on the microphone in favour of a quality USB controller that offers you room to tweak and explore.
These are what we consider the absolute basics that you’ll need to get recording. Whilst many of these items can be bought on the cheap, bear in mind that every compromise that you make at the start of your music journey will only result in compromised recordings…
A capable computer
Whether laptop or desktop, you’ll need a solid computer to run most DAWs and an excellent machine in order to produce professional-grade tracks. If you’re lucky you might be able to run your desired DAW from the computer that you already heavy, but it’s worth downloading a few trials to understand how your computer handles their needs before marking a purchase. Should you need to purchase a new computer then it’s wise to prioritise RAM and processing power over everything else. These two stats tell you all you need to know about computers, the more of each of them you have, the better your computer will be able to handle the software.
Microphone and stand
As we’ve already mentioned, if you’re absolutely certain that vocals aren’t going to be a part of your set up then by all means skip through, but it’s always good to have the option to lay down some vocals, even if they’re just a place-marker for a later recording. Whilst every microphone comes complete with its own unique flavour and sound, sometimes we’re not able to buy the equipment that we most desire. Thankfully there are a range of budget microphones that produce a great sound and won’t cost you a future at the same tie. Shure’s SM58 is one of the top recommended vocal microphones for beginners that performs as well in small studio setups as it does in live settings.
A good-sized screen
Whilst the idea of producing a series of straight-up bangers on your tiny laptop screen might be initially appealing, don’t expect it to be an easy task! Most DAWs are designed to be used with big screens at high resolution, so that as much information can be presented to the user at one time. If you’ve only got a tiny 15-inch screen to work at you won’t be able to get the big picture of your music projects which could lead to some oversights in the long term. Our recommendation is that, whatever computer you end up working with make sure that you have a good sized screen (32 inches is a good minimum) to work with.