For exteranal instruments and voices
I started with an old computer and a sound card that you could get for a couple of
£/$, just make sure it has a dedicated line in, i don’t use an interface, if you want to use a mindi keyboard, just get a usb adaptor, to beging I had a free version of n-track years ago. I used to mix the track down by just connecting a mini disc to the headphone socket and playing the track whilst recording onto the mini disc. I then recorded the music back onto a computer on one layer. I then bought N-track.
I would always record a guide track using a drum machine, then add instruments and eventually get round to doing a proper drum section using a drum machine.
Every layer of music was only one channel, so no need for multi- mics that are needed to record drum kits.
To record the drum machine, synths, guiatars etc. I would just run a lead, with a small jack, directly into the soundcards line in(not mic in). Sometimes i would run a line from an amps line out into the line in on the sound card, and putting a jack adaptor into the head phone socket.
You can use a stereo also. My drum machine/synth sequencer, is an electribe, with internal valves. So the sound is rich, and going straight into the computer sounds warm and deep.
To record vocals, i’d simply put my mic, using a little imp tp boost the signal directly into my cheap guitar amp, mue it by jacking up the headphone socket. Tweak the treble, middle and bass, along with the gain settings to find a sweet sound. It’s best to try and find the sound as close to your desired finishing sound, before you record.
Sometimes i use an old effects pedal for effects, i tend to use pre recording effects, rather than plug ins. I also like using exteranl/analogue drum machine/synth machine instruments, as the sound is alot richer and warm. People have asked so many times what programs i use for my drum/synth patterns as they can’t get the sound.
I once took an mp3 of a friends work, and took it off the computer onto an mp3 player, i then put it through my cheap amp, with a bit of gain and it sounded so much warmer. So if you use a program like reason or fl studio, then experiment by taking it off the computer and back in using an amp or even an old stereo with a warm sound