Sunday, January 6, 2008

Connections: How to Create a Simple Home Studio

I was talking to my next door neighbor yesterday about how he's doing on his guitar playing and he outlined how he used his Apple Laptop and Garageband to create rhythm backing tracks that he uses to practice improvisation. Bravo, I said! I have several posts on how valuable this can be for your progress on the guitar. What occurred to me though and what I have not really emphasized in previous related posts is how simple and inexpensive creating your own home studio really is.

At its most basic you need a computer, recording software, audio interface (hardware/software combination that you plug your guitar into), and of course your guitar. I have included a simple layout of what I currently use (post recovery from a recent hardware failure of my previous PC) for each of these components to record my guitar playing.

· Computer - HP Laptop; Pavilion dv6000.
· Recording Software - Ableton Live Version 6.
· Audio Interface - PODxt from Line6. The drivers that come with the unit enable you to connect it to your computer through USB, which gives you a high quality audio connection.
· I use a pair of Toneport headphones from Bose to monitor the audio. This way you can hear your own playing as well as any tracks you might be playing back from your recording software (or simply a metronome if your software supports that feature) at the same time.

More than likely, you already have everything except for the audio interface and possibly the recording software unless you use a Mac, which comes with GarageBand already loaded. For the audio interface just do an Internet search on "audio interface USB" and you will see a vast array of options starting around $30. As for recording software, I would highly recommend Ableton Live given my experience with it to date if you do not have GarageBand on the Mac. Or, if you want to further minimize cost, you could download Audacity, which is open source software.

That is pretty much it other than rocking out and recording it for prosperity!