Music Recording Help

Ok…so here’s the deal. I am a musician: singer, play piano, write music. I want to start recording my own stuff. I once recorded one of my songs with this guy who had a whole little recording studio and that is what I am after…but I don’t even know where to begin!

What software should I use? I am not very computer savvy…I need something that will allow me to convert what I play on piano to sound as if it were other instruments. What mics are best? What keyboard should I purchase? Please help if you can with suggestions.

Thank you so much! :)

I’d suggest you do some research. If you’re at all computer comfortable, that’s the way to go. As a start check out:

Hom recording. com



All of us here are obviously using n-track and like it. Sounds like you want to also do MIDI.

Before you go dumping a lot of hard-earned cash, get a beginners book.

Here’s a good one:

Home Recording


What software should I use? I am not very computer savvy…I need something that will allow me to convert what I play on piano to sound as if it were other instruments.

Well, n-track is a good start. :)

As for a keyboard, you need something that has a Midi output. That way instead of the audio being recorded, what you actually record is the “score”, (in a manner of speaking).

Then that “score” can be played by any “instrument”.

As for mics, if you get a dozen responses, you’ll get two dozen different answers. :D

But depends what you want to record. Dynamics are reliable, robust and idiot proof, and the Shure SM57/58 are ubiquitous.

Condensers tend to be less robust, but are more open and airy, and are favoured for many instruments and voices.

Ribbons have a beautiful sound, and are hellish expensive, and if you look at them the wrong way, they explode! :D

But as I said, it all depends.

So as Val and Tim say, get yourself a good beginners book, or get info off the Internet, then come back here for specific answers, opinions, and urban myths. :D

You can get a nice MIDI keyboard for under 200 smack a roos, N-track is a great inexpensive recording software.

You dont have to be very literate on computers. You will have to get into the inner workings of any software to get to the point of making a decent demo quality recording. Once you get to that stage, you can if willing, progress to making pro quality output.

You need to come up with a budget. Good mics start at around 100 dollars, MIDI keyboards ( to do what you stated) start around that amount also. You can get some fairly low end equip and make fine recordings.

Regarding microphones, this is one of the few products where you can still get some great deals on ebay. The thing is, you will need to spend some time and do some research to buy intelligently. Microphones make a big difference and if you can put together a modest collection of different mics it will really help your recording. Here’s a few tips:

For dynamic mics stick with the major brands. I’ve been particularly happy with Audio-Technica but anything by Shure, Sennheiser, and Audix will be good quality. If you’re buying on ebay the Shure mics will go for the highest prices so are generally not the best value.

For large and small diaphram condenser mics you can get started pretty cheap with something from MXL or Studio Projects. These are Chinese mics that sound amazing for the money. You can find some incredible deals on ebay.

A few of my favorite low cost mics are the AT MB2000 (now the MB2K), MB4000 (now the MB4K), MXL 2001, MXL 603S, Oktava 319, and the good 'ole Shure SM 57.