Checklist: A Basic Recording Set Up for a Singer/Songwriter

If you’re wondering what it would take to start recording your songs, you've come to the right place.

First things first, you'll need a computer with a decent soundcard.

Then start saving up now for these!

You will need a DAW – or digital audio workstation - to record your sounds. Garageband, Logic, ProTools, Ableton Live, and Nuendo are the popular ones. You can find free trials to check them out. There are also other free programs online, but these are the most used.

An audio interface is what allows you to get audio signals in and out of your computer. It converts analog audio to digital audio to work with your DAW, and it converts it back to analog so you can hear it. There are many types of Interfaces with different levels of features at a wide range of prices. You’ll have to do some research to choose what is best for your needs.

If you record in mono a large capsule cardioid condenser mic is ideal.
If you are recording 2 things at once or in stereo, youll need two mics. You can use the same time of mic or get another one specifically for the type of instrument you play.
Keep in mind condenser mics needs phantom power. Make sure your settings are changed for phantom power on your interface when using these types of mics. It is a common mistake people make.

You will need XLR and ¼ inch cables at the very least. Mics usually require XLR connections. Check the lengths you need. Shorter cables are always best for less interference and they generally cost less, but check how much you need in your own setting and plan ahead.

Headphones are necessary for recording, and some people mix in them, too. They should be closed back, to prevent bleeding into your mic.

You should have studio monitors. Studio monitors give you a much more accurate sound than regular speakers that are usually tweaked to sound good or have more bass, etc. You’ll need to hear what is really going on in order to make a proper mix.

You will definitely need a stand for recording vocals at least.

It’s important to have one of these to attach to your mic stand. It will reduce plosives in vocals. These shields are inexpensive and with condenser mics they are definitely necessary.

Some DAW’s have built in tuners. You may have to tune several times during recording.

You may need one of these to prop your charts.

Shop around, this doesn't have to cost a fortune. Just about all of this stuff works just fine used, too.

Dorit is a rock singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Middle Eastern Dancer. She has performed internationally on concert stages, TV, film, and theatre, and has inspired many students to find to their own expression through music and dance. Dorit’s current goal is to self produce her album and complete an acoustic guitar she hand built as a teenager at the Bronx High School of Science. Her influences include Led Zeppelin, Middle Eastern music, Latin music and old school hip hop -- anything with great rhythm. Find out more about Dorit here>>

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