Creating music and beats is an incredibly popular pastime for Australians and singers all over the world, whether you're into singing, playing instruments, or just enjoy listening to music there's something out there for everyone.
In this article we'll go over what you need to know to get started creating, making, recording and mixing your own song or track. We'll also cover what equipment you'll need to make a start on creating your own music with instruments or on a computer.
Singing is a particularly popular way to get started with music and develop your voice as an instrument. You may already be a singer, and want to learn more about how you can record your own voice at home using the right equipment to make your production recordings sound as professional as they can.
You could also be looking for the perfect singing teacher who can help you develop your creative side and become the best singer you can be. Whether you're practising your singing with a singing tutor, or using vocal exercises by yourself to develop your voice you might still find yourself needing to record your own voice.
Keep reading this article to find out how you can create your own home recording studio, so you can record from the comfort of your bedroom, living room or any cosy corner of the house.
The Best Singing Microphones
Many singers will let you know, a decent microphone is key when it comes to recording your voice. The microphone will be responsible for the majority of what you will get from your recordings and how it will sound.
Like most kinds of audio production equipment, there is a range of categories and different price ranges which is great if you're on a budget. Below is a list of some of the best microphones that will help make your music, singing and production the best it can be.
- Shure SM58 - $165-199: an ergonomic microphone that won't break the bank too much and a favourite of Bjork and U2.
- Rode NT1A - $299: higher up in the price range this versatile microphone is favoured for acoustic and vocal sets its perfect for beginners.
- MXL 770 - $299: a similar price range to the Rode NT1A, this microphone is well known for its quality sound
- Sennheiser MD421 $699: this microphone is well known for its resistance to the Larsen effect, and is a highly regarded mic worldwide
- Shure SM7B $744-799: definitely towards the higher end of the price range, this microphone is known to give vocalists a natural sound.
Finding the right microphone for you that's within your price range will help capture your voice, and get the most out of your recording. However, a microphone can't do all the work for you.
Regular practice, vocal exercises and singing lessons will help you sound better and improve your overall sound.
Find out more about singing lessons with us here at Superprof at the end of this article.
Recording Vocals and Sound Cards
When browsing for the right production recording equipment for you, you will also have to consider which sound card works best for you and your computer, as this is an important step that will help improve the sound of the finished production.
Sound cards convert analogue sounds, from a microphone, and convert them into a digital audio file which allows you to start mixing and refine your recordings on your computer.
There are external sound cards, which allow you to treat the audio at input or output. The sound card converts your analogue signal to a digital signal, which in this case is your voice, which is what you'll need to record your voice at home.
Lots of singers opt for external sound cards when recording, there are two main types of connections to choose from:
- USB or USB 3.0 for both Mac and PC.
- FireWire, fast connection however less common on computers.
If you want to record your voice at home, your computer or sound card will need to have the right ports. This means you'll need either one or several XLR ports.
Usually, just one port will suffice if you are recording just your vocals, however if you're also recording instruments for your song you'll need a few more. No need to worry, as most sound cards have more than one port.
Another essential component of recording your voice at home is converters. Analog to digital and digital to analogue, AD/DA, which is the main part of the sound card and what allows you to convert the analogue signal (vocals) into a digital signal.
An audio interface and some recording production software, otherwise known as a digital audio workstation (DAW) is something else you'll need to create a digital recording of your songs.
In order to hear both the worst and best parts of your singing, you'll need good audio quality when practising. Here's a shortlist of some of the better known sound cards you can buy:
- Behringer UMC22 U-Phoria - $75-129
- PreSonus Audio iTwo - $299
- Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 - $329
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Generation) - $360
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD - $650
Now let's explore some of the best headphones for signing.
Which Headphones are the Best for Singing?
When you go to record music, it's important that you can hear your voice in real time. This is where headsets or headphones come in handy, especially when you're recording at home and don't have a professional level production studio.
When you're choosing a headset, it's important to have good sound quality. You could be wearing your headphones for a few hours at a time for work, so it's also important to find a practical and ergonomic set.
Let's see what some of the best headphones are out there:
- Denon AH-GC30 - $260: known for good noise reduction these headphones are a good value-for-money, also with great noise reduction.
- Beats Solo3 - $299: these headphones can optimise acoustics, added bonus of padded cushions!
- JBL Everest 710 - $299: comfortable headphones which fold, how convenient for storage!
- Sennheiser Momentum - $599: if you love wireless headphones then these could suit you, comfortable design and sound
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II and QuietComfort 35 - $250-500: well-rounded headphones the second model also has the added feature of a built-in vocal assistant.
- Marshall Mid A.N.C - $250-420: with excellent noise reduction these headphones are great for sound clarity, balance and control.
Now that we've gone over some of the essential equipment you'll need to record music, keep in mind what your budget is and see which pieces of equipment are within your budget.
Let's find out how much all of this can cost you.
Recording Costs and What to Expect
If you plan on doing your own production recording, there are some aspects that will cost you a decent amount of money.
Let's see what you can expect to pay for when beginning to record your own vocals.
First things first, you will need to buy, or borrow a microphone.
Given that we've gone over a few of the best microphones out there, you're now aware that a quality mic can cost around $160 to upwards of $799. When you're first starting out, think about how much you want to and can spend versus how much you'll get out of it.
Some of the recording programs aren't cheap, but there are programs like Audacity or Garageband which are good production apps that are totally free. For some people's home studios, a video platform like Zoom is also quite popular.
If you're looking for some recording computer software that will give your music and vocals an extra edge then you can pay anywhere from $100 up to $600 for recording software. The more audio outputs, the higher the cost.
There is a large price range for sound cards meaning you can spend $75-700 depending on your budget and needs. Remember that you can always start off with equipment from the lower price range as a beginner and while you start your learning process.
Additional accessories can also add to the cost of home production studio equipment, don't forget that you will also need a microphone stand, pop filter and headphones. We mentioned before in this article the costs of headphones you can expect to see, pop filters will cost you approximately $20-50 and mic stands will cost about $50-120.
It could be helpful to keep a running total of all the pieces of equipment you'll need for your home studio and choose items that are within your budget and can work for you.
Not essential for all, but if you are a beginner at singing, recording and mixing songs at home then working with a singing tutor could be a great way to learn.
You may consider getting in touch with some of our experienced and talented tutors here at Superprof.
We also have three singing tuition options, each with its own benefits. You can choose from either:
Private tuition is both cost-efficient a great way to get personalised singing or production lessons suited specifically to your needs, goals and learning style. These however can often be the most costly type of tuition, so make sure to check if this is in your budget.
Similar to face-to-face tutorials, you'll have a tutor all to yourself. Thanks to the wonder of today's technology, you can learn via video conferencing software on your computer. Given that your tutor won't have to commute to lessons you could schedule a few lessons each week, keep in mind rates can be competitive.
These singing lessons can be the cheapest per hour as you're sharing the tutor's time and cost with everyone in the class. Your tutor may have less time to be with you one on one, but singing in a group can be a fun way to make friends and share the cost.
Making connections with other singers and musicians is a great way to build a professional network, giving you access to all the music-making and song mixing secrets.
Creating music with friends and band members is one of the best ways to make a song track come alive.
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