The schematic of home recording

Actually, home recording means that you record your songs which consist of different instruments step after step. E.g. you have a metronome track and record yourself laying the guitar while listening to the metronome track. Afterwards you listen to the mix of the metronome and the guitar track and record the bass guitar, then the drums, a solo guitar, vocals, background vocals, whatever you like and need. Based on this description, the schematic of home recording is quite easy. Let's have a look at it.

Schematic of home recording

The musician

The musician is an important part of the home studio. Without the musician there is no music. Got it? Great!

The main difference between a musician in a band and a musician in a home studio is that you have more than one job to do at the latter. In the case of Morbid Approach I compose drums patterns with a drum computer, play the rhythm and the lead guitar and give the song a deep tone carpet by also playing the bass guitar. Furthermore, I sing the lyrics of the song as much as the background vocals.

Being the musician in your own home studio not only means that you have to be capable of playing all the instruments needed for your song. It also means that you have to own those instruments - with some exceptions.

For me it works by having "only" my guitar, an amplifier, some effect pedals and a microphone. I simulate the bass guitar by playing a regular guitar with a drop pedal (which drops all tones of the guitar for one complete octave). The drums are a challenge, because I cannot play drums at all. So I use a drum software on my computer to simulate them.

It might sound self-evident, but before you start building up your home studio you should check if you're really able to play a song all by yourself. The home studio will only help you recording a song - not playing it.

The audio interface

The audio interface is, simply spoken, an advanced sound card for your computer. It has at least one input channel where you can plug in a microphone or an instrument in order to record it with your computer. Furthermore, it has at least one stereo output channel which is used for playback audio from your computer.

The difference between an audio interface and an ordinary sound card is the latency. This is the amount of time shifting that occurs when you play a note and the note is actually available as a digital signal in your computer. It is possible to do recording with an ordinary sound card, but especially when recording multiple tracks in serial, it is really a pain in the ass with results below average.

Read more about the Audio Interface

The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)

The DAW is the core of your home studio. It's a piece of software running on your computer which allows to record sounds coming from the audio interface and simultaneously play back other tracks that you already have recorded.

There is a wide range of DAWs available on the market. The prices fluctuate between free (open source) and some thousand Dollars. In general, the expensive DAWs have more possibilities and some are more reliable than cheap DAWs. Conversely, that does not mean that you cannot create good results with an open source DAW. It really depends on your requirements. E.g. you would not need to have a DAW with great effect plugins if you already have effects on your guitar amp.