Audio Recording: Basic Steps

music-recording-basics-audioSetting up the home studio can be exhausting. Payoff: the next steps are pretty straight foreward. Let’s try a few basic steps with your DAW of choice; recording some audio.

At first, recorrding audio is to familiarize yourself with your DAW, its basic functions and the interface itself. There are a lot of DAWs in the market that you can choose from the simplest to the most complex possible. Since you are still a beginner (no offense meant, but hey… you are reading this post).

Even though DAWs are very different from each other, there still common aspects between them.

  1. Main project window – This is the window where you will do most of the work. This is where most of the instruments, options, sounds and effects are found depending on the type of Daw you have. But mostly, this window is your canvas where you can interact and manipulate the available features that your DAW has.
  2. Transporter – This serves the purpose that its name tells: it transports you from any aspect of your music production activity to another. Recording, stopping, playing are its main function but you can also make use of its other features such as setting time signatures, acquiring project information, project looping and toggling of the menotrome.
  3. Mixers – A DAW may contain one or more mixers depending on the expertise that the software bears. Visually, these DAWs managed to have their virtual mixers look like the hardware one which gives you the feel of still using the physical mixer. You can find the settings of individual tracks, monitoring of the principal output and accessing channel modifications in mixers.

These are the three principal elements that make up your DAW. But, the lesson doesn’t just end by teaching you how to record.
The next steps will help you set up your first project and guide you throughout this process.

Your Very First Project and How to Set it Up

Recording audio is just a push of a button away and is not really that hard, even for beginners with zero experience. Let us get down to the real business here. The next lesson will be about how to set up projects.

  1. Look for the file menu and select New project in order to begin. The project type should be empty so that it will come out as a blank canvas ready to be painted in. The software will ask where the file’s destination will be after saving so designate a folder you want your project to be saved into.
  2. Find your interface and make sure that you are connected. Search for the device menu and select VST connections.
  3. Choose the Inputs Tab and tune the first mono input as your first microphone. Any additional inputs may come after this by just repeating the process.
  4. Look for the Outputs Tab. There should be a pair of stereo outputs pictured. Choose the first one as your left speaker and the second as the one on the right.
  5. Close the VST connections tab since your outputs and inputs are now appropriately channelled. Next, select the project menu. Add Track and choose Audio.
  6. A new track window will appear before you after this step. Create a track with a mono configuration since we are just going to record from one microphone (not stereo piano or similar). Even with two microphones, a stereo track is not needed. Recording from two microphones will not actually require selecting stereo since the separation of channels will only make things complicated. Not selecting a stereo track will enable you to have greater control over their places when the recording takes place. Add track when you are done with this step.
  7. You should find the recording switch lit up with a red color. You will usually find this just below the name of your chosen track. If it doesn’t show, click it to allow recoding on this track.
  8. The track should be set on your first microphone. This is usually a default setting on most of the DAWs in the market.. If you cannot see this n your DAW, try to look for it on the left side of your main project window. You will the output and input modification tools there. The output should be set to Stereo(which is mostly the default name for stereos) while the input should be set to the name of the first microphone you chose. Sometimes, No Bus appears. This means that there is nothing connected to the audio track. Inspect if your wires are properly attached and click on the No Bus so that you can set it to the name of your first microphone.
  9. The horizontal window strip with a wide variety of tools and options is the transporter. Use it to press the record button. the recording will start and the system will show you visuals that signal the execution of this process. Try to make any sound into the microphone and you will see a waveform of the sound you made instantaneously.
  10. After the record testing, press the stop button on the transporter.

It’s done! You have now finished recording and this is your first ever audio recording project. It may not sound cool and good at all but it’s just a test anyway. At least, you now have tested your hardware and software altogether and its working.