Basic Recording Setup


APRIL, 2016


One of the difficult decisions when venturing into song writing and recording involves choosing equipment. There are many options from computer-based interfaces to stand-alone devices.

I’ve worked with various setups over the years, and what I’ve found is “simpler is better.” I say this because many people get caught up with features and technology when beginning down the road of recording and end up spending a large portion of their time fiddling with equipment rather than perfecting their music.

When you walk into a recording studio it can be quite intimidating. There are so many pieces of equipment with tons of knobs, switches, and sliders. It can be an exhausting experience trying to understand these complex systems and can create confusion for the novice that is trying to determine their needs for a startup recording setup. I will try to cover the few pieces of equipment that are needed to get a robust toolkit without spending a fortune. These items are equipment choices that I have made personally and ones that have proven to be solid performers.

“A feature isn’t a feature if it doesn’t work. Sometimes simpler is better.”

The following are the technologies that I believe give the most power for a starter setup while also keeping that simplicity that I mentioned. The first item and the backbone of one’s setup is the multi-track recorder. Standalone all-in-one recorders offer great power while avoiding the technical problems of computer interfaces and the need for a more powerful PC. A great choice for newbies is the Tascam DP-03. It has a ton of utility packed into a small form factor.

PreSonus Eris E8

8-inch, 2-way, High-Definition Active Studio Monitors

You’ll also notice in the pictures above some of the other items that I incorporate into my setup. In addition to the Tascam mutli-track recorder, I have chosen three microphones that are great choices when getting started. These three microphones are the Shure SM58, Shure Beta 58A, and the Shure SM57.

The final piece to your recording setup involves choosing monitors. Studio headphones provide an easy solution at a reasonable cost. There is no need to spend a small fortune on headphones that claim to have a huge array of features. A solid pair of headphones can be acquired for under $100. Brands such as Audio-Technica and Sennheiser provide lower-cost options in addition to their other high-end products. One caution, be sure to read the reviews of these products as the lower-end options can vary in quality and performance from year to year. Additionally, I would recommend spending at least $50. Products that run less than this tend to suffer from the typical issues of mass-produced cheap goods.

Studio monitors offer another option for those that don’t want to be restricted by headphones. Active studio monitors have gotten much cheaper in recent years and provide a nice option for those willing to spend a little more. Some brands such as PreSonus and KRK are great choices for those wanting high-quality active monitors, but don’t want to pay a fortune. Lastly, remember to buy good cables.

Below is a video that covers Tascam’s offerings for multi-track recorders and gives you an idea of their features.

Did you enjoy this article or find it helpful?
Leave a comment below to let me know.


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