Let me start off by saying that I am not the definitive word on today's modern
home studio. I know what I use and I know it works well so I'm going to give
you my opinion. Would you expect anything less?
So, if you're reading
this, it's a fair bet that you have a computer. It's also a fair bet that it's not
fast enough, big enough, and is so crammed with un-mentionables that well,
we better not mentionable them.
Step one, turn off your computer,
gently unplug it from the wall, unplug the monitor from the CPU, carefully
wrap up all the components, give it a kiss, put it in a box, and bury it in the
Next, go to your nearest Macintosh dealer and buy yourself a
new computer, you're gonna need it. Any Mac system available today and
built after about last week will work great. Now, before I get all that nasty
email about being a Mac guy consider this. Mac's are just plain ol' better at
the music thing and even better at running a thing called Pro Tools.
you guessed right, you're diving into the world of Pro Tools, kids - the
world's most-used, straight-ahead, rock-solid, computer-based recording
program. Yes, there's Logic. Yes, there's Digital Performer and a host of
others. Trust me, I used Digital Performer for over 15 years, and it doesn't
compare to the simplicity and ease of Pro Tools. And get this, if your band
doesn't make a million dollars selling that hit you just wrote, you can get a
job working for one of the gazillion studios and film editing companies that
use Pro Tools on a daily basis as a bonafied expert!
So, next question -
ask yourself how many inputs you need. By this I mean, you have your band,
and you want to record it, so how many instruments are you going to want to
plug in? 8 drum mics? A bass and guitar? Do you have a singer? Count them
all up, this will tell you what audio device you're going to need to help get the
music into your new shiny computer. I, myself, am a professional bass player
and a lot of people send me their tracks to have me put bass on them from
the comfort of my own home, so I don't need a lot of inputs. In fact, I just
have two - I use the M-Audio Firewire
. It sits on my desk, has all the inputs in the front, is amazingly easy
to use, and powers itself off the firewire cable connected to the computer.
Perfect! And if you need a few more inputs, try the M-Audio FireWire 410 Mobile Recording
Here's the deal with Pro Tools. It comes in three versions:
two identical "Lite" versions called "Pro Tools LE" and "Pro Tools M-Powered",
and a pro version (Pro Tools HD) too expensive for all of us. The company
that makes Pro Tools, Digidesign, recently purchased M-Audio
, one of the world leaders in affordable audio
equipment so, you guessed it, Pro Tools M-Powered
works with M-Audio interfaces
Tools light works with Digidesign's own interface, the M-Box. The lite
versions and the pro version of Pro Tools are virtually identical. The real price
difference is in the way each system handles audio. A Pro Tools HD system
handles all the heavy processing inside large separate hardware interfaces
that take the pressure off the computer thereby eliminating latency. Our
inexpensive setups don't do that, so latency (the ability of the computer t
record and spit the sound back out through its processors) can be a factor.
Again, armed with your shiny new computer, it shouldn't be a problem.
think any of the M-
coupled with the M-Powered Pro Tools
is the most cost-
effective and inexpensive way to get up and running fast.
Oh yeah, in all
my excitement over Pro Tools, I forgot to mention that you'll need some mics
if you're going to some live recording. Like most musicians on the planet, I've
been a Shure fan for a long time, so I suggest the Shure SM57
for instruments and the the Shure SM58
for vocals. You'll also need a good
pair of headphones, and you certainly can't go wrong with a pair of AKG K240 Studio Headphones
my system through ActiveMusician, and I have to say it totally rocks! The first
time I booted up Pro Tools M-Powered, it just opened my session with nary a
question of where things were supposed to be. In 15 years of using Digital
Performer, I rarely had it open up without the software saying "What the &*#!
Is this you're trying to do? How dare you ask me to perform such a task! I will
crash now unless you download my new drivers within the next 5 seconds.
Ready go, 5, 4, 3 ..."
All the Pro Tools versions are now Intel-Mac
friendly (and Windows-compatible if you that's your thing) and are solid as a
rock! If you're looking for an inexpensive way to get into the most popular
digital recording format in the world head on over to ActiveMusician and pick
up your system now! Tell em' I sent ya.