RECORD­ING STU­DIO

Turn your PC into a dig­i­tal al au­dio work­sta­tion

Maximum PC - - FRONT PAGE -

WE HAVE ALAN TUR­ING to thank for mu­sic’s long and fruit­ful re­la­tion­ship with com­put­ers. In 1951, he built a de­vice that oc­cu­pied an en­tire room at the Com­put­ing Ma­chine Lab­o­ra­tory in Manch­ester, UK, and was ca­pa­ble of play­ing con­tem­po­rary fa­vorites “God Save The King,” “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep,” and “In The Mood.” The ac­etate disc record­ing was re­cently re­stored, and the gig­gles of the cel­e­brated sci­en­tist’s col­leagues can be heard be­tween the vi­o­lin-like notes of his de­vice.

Sixty-seven years later, the tech­nol­ogy re­quired to write, record, pro­duce, and mas­ter an in­dus­try-stan­dard banger fits within a PC case. Record­ing soft­ware and hard­ware has never been cheaper or more ac­ces­si­ble, and the In­ter­net has birthed an in­ex­haustible in­for­ma­tion re­source for bud­ding mu­si­cians and pro­duc­ers. In other words, you have lit­tle ex­cuse for not try­ing mu­sic pro­duc­tion. Mr. Tur­ing’s watch­ing, and he doesn’t take “Just an­other round of Fort­nite” for an an­swer.

For some, it’s a hobby. For others, it’s a full-time job. That means the price and qual­ity of equip­ment and soft­ware scales al­most in­fin­itely. But the vast ma­jor­ity of us don’t need that $10,000 rack com­pres­sor, or a vin­tage Ger­man mi­cro­phone of the same de­sign that was used on a Beach Boys record. All we need is an au­dio in­ter­face to plug mics and in­stru­ments into, a dig­i­tal au­dio work­sta­tion (DAW) to ar­range the record­ings within, a good pair of stu­dio mon­i­tors, and some soft­ware for mix­ing and mas­ter­ing. That doesn’t have to rep­re­sent a huge out­lay, nor does it have to en­tail a huge amount of study to get things work­ing.

There is com­plex­ity in mu­sic pro­duc­tion for those who want it, but it’s best to lay a solid foun­da­tion around the ba­sics, which you can build upon. We’ll cover record­ing tech­niques, MIDI pro­gram­ing, soft­ware choices, and hard­ware re­quire­ments, with­out the empty jar­gon or “Peter Gabriel once told me…” anec­dotes. This is mu­sic pro­duc­tion for PC en­thu­si­asts, not for­mer Nick­le­back road­ies.

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