The phrase “You don’t need expensive gear to make good music” is a sentiment that I believe in. That said, it can still be confusing how to make good tracks.
Here are some tips you can implement in your tracks.
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Start with what you have
It can be alluring to look for the most expensive and pristine plugins and Digital Audio Software (DAWs). But if you are starting out, you don’t need to spend exuberant amounts of money for the most raved-about plugin.
You can still get the best out of the stock plugins and equipment at your disposal.
In the case of DAWs, admittedly some free versions can be very limiting.
So you can spend on the cheapest versions as that will give you a head start with what to do. Although if there are free options that can compete with the premium versions, then go with that. The feel of a DAW varies from person to person, so you can compare and contrast the free and cheap options.
For plugins, there are many third-party plugins that sell for free. But don’t let that fool you as they are some of the best plugins you will ever use.
Affordable But Powerful
With the rise of home studios, audio equipment has gotten more accessible and more affordable.
While there are many expensive and high-end versions of audio equipment, there is also a plethora of quality gear that can fit your budget.
This is especially true for those who are starting out. You may not be at the level of creating complex tracks yet, so it’s probably best to start out with the basic models and equipment.
Trust me, these can still take your tracks to the next level.
Recording Quality Vocal Tracks
Record in a Quiet Place
The secret to a good audio recording is the recording itself. Even with gear upgrades, what matters the most is how clear the audio comes out of the track.
Recording clear audio can be tricky for many home producers. Not everyone has a soundproof room and room treatment can take years to fully develop.
The best way to record vocals on a budget is to record in a quiet area. Close the doors, and windows, and turn off the fans and air conditioner.
You can also record from a dynamic microphone as they are not as sensitive as a condenser. They also sell for less so you can find a good quality dynamic mic that fits your budget.
Another key factor with audio recordings is the microphone’s placement.
Too close and you’ll get some clipping issues. Too far and you’ll hardly be able to hear the voice.
Use a Pop Filter
The other thing you will need to avoid when recording vocals are plosives. Plosives are the sounds you make when you say the letters b and p.
Now unless your song doesn’t have those letters, you will need to filter those sounds.
Luckily that’s where a pop filter comes in. You place it between you and the microphones and it filters out anything that might not be needed from your vocal take.
You don’t need to splurge to get a good pop filter. They typically go for cheap but they will still filter those plosives with ease.
Once you got your best vocal takes laid out, now comes in the vocal editing phase.
This is when you make your tracks sound great and sit well in the mix. There are many facets to editing such as compressions, eq adjustments, and adding other effects like reverb and delay.
And no, you don’t need the most high-end plugins to achieve this. Just having the necessary knowledge and skills is essential to getting the right adjustments.
The essential techniques include knowing which frequencies to boost or but, knowing how much reverb and delay to put, and setting the right compression parameters.
This is something you can achieve through practice and with many stock plugins or free third-party ones.
Recording Guitar and Bass
Record Directly in Your Computer
The other great thing about an audio interface is that you can plug in your guitar or bass directly into it, which connects it to your computer.
You might only have practice amps and find that they don’t really bring out quality in your recordings. The great thing about plugging directly into your computer is that you can use digital plugins.
There are amp simulators that sound great without the hefty price tag of one. Some even go for free.
Micing Up Your Guitar Amp
If you are someone who wants to use their amp for sound, all you need is to work on the right placement.
The best kind of microphone to use for recording amps is a dynamic microphone. Since they are less sensitive, they can handle the loudness of a guitar or bass amp without clipping.
Luckily these microphones are cheaper than condenser microphones so it should be able to fit a shoestring budget. Don’t forget to set the right levels for recording.
This sounds like a given but it’s something we can easily take for granted.
Shiny new gear won’t matter if the skills and techniques aren’t polished. You can make the cheapest gear sound phenomenal if you have skill.
Just keep working with what you have, and keep the core fundamentals of recording and mixing in mind and you will be making great quality tracks.
You can definitely start upgrading once you feel you can expand your parameters with certain plugins. But don’t feel that it’s a major requirement.
Ignite Your Recordings: Unleashing Your True Potential
Break free from the notion that high-class gear and plugins are necessary for exceptional recordings. By implementing these tips and tricks in your recording sessions, you’ll realize that great results can be achieved without breaking the bank.
It’s all about understanding the important considerations and mastering essential techniques. With this knowledge, you have the ability to bring out the best in your tracks and create studio-quality recordings that will leave a lasting impression. So, embrace your creativity, explore new horizons, and let your passion for music shine through each and every recording. The possibilities are boundless, regardless of your budget.