Recording: The Very Basics

My Experience In Audio:

I have been asked from a few people how they could get started in recording.  After working with these folks and trying to relay over everything I

Nick Tieken in Studio

learned from my schooling at Ball State University, as well as my experience working in the field, I decided I would break down this information over a few posts to try to help those who want to record audio.  Yes, there is tons of information you can find online, but I have noticed that many of these how-to's can be very condescending or talk over someone's head.  Because of this, I am going to break this down and assume you are starting without any knowledge on the recording process.

When I was attending Ball State University, I was learning how the process works on the highest quality, state of art equipment.  After graduation, I went to work at a local TV station to do audio.  To say the least, this environment was still using tape to record.  All the equipment was from the mid 90's and it was 2012.  This is the real world application of audio.  The equipment is expensive, and in their eyes, why fix something that isn't broken?  There is a large range of equipment out there, and whether you are wanting to start a podcast, open a studio of your own, or record your own tracks to layer takes, it can be confusing of where to start.  So let's start by breaking down recording to the very basic of how it works, and in the following weeks, I will dive further into the recording process.

Recording Audio 101:

Before diving into microphones, signal processors/plugins, and techniques, let's discuss the very basic premise of how recording in the digital age works.  We've all seen those giant mixer boards in commercial studios and racks of compressors, but that takes years of investing into different types of equipment.  To be perfectly honest, mixers in recording nowadays are luxury items.  The following diagram is the absolute "bare bones" setup to get you started in recording:

Recording Diagram Basic

Computer

The computer you use for recording should have AT LEAST 8 gigabytes of ram.  You will be processing a lot of data through to your computer and need a computer that can receive this data at the speed it is coming in.  Most computers now have this for a fairly affordable price, and the computer you currently own may already be able to handle it without having to go out and purchase a new one.  You will need recording software on your computer, which I will discuss in the next article about recording.

Audio Interface

An audio interface is essentially a glorified audio card.  It will most likely have a USB port to connect to your computer, and what is called XLR input(s) on it so you can connect a microphone to it.

Microphone

A microphone takes sound waves and sends the information over to the audio interface to transfer the waves to a digital format so you can record the sound.

Stay tuned for more articles to dive further into the recording process.  Next Monday I will break down the different types of recording software so you can find which program is most suitable for your needs.  If you have any questions at all, or need any help with recording, please feel free to contact us through our contact us from here.