Steel Trappings

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Recording Your Music: Home Recording Basics

March 19, 2018 • Steve TylkaEducation

Home Recording

It was recently brought to my attention that many Steel Guitar players have questions regarding home recording. Musicians of all genres find it difficult to get their music out to consumers and often rely on expensive recording studios to capture their art. While using a professional studio is always the best option, there are many obstacles which may prevent musical acts from utilizing these resources. Luckily, there is a professional solution available to all musicians that is not a current trend in the music industry; the Home Recording Studio. In this article, I will discuss the basic tools available to musicians and provide some advice as to what will work best for you.

There are many iOS and Android apps which allow you to capture your music. However, not all that glitters is gold. Many phones and tablets have access to apps that claim to be recording studios, though they are little more than a modified voice recorder with a time based effects included. There is nothing wrong with these type of apps if your are simply recording an idea, or a rehearsal. You probably won't use these recordings on an album or music sharing website. If you have an iPhone, you are probably familiar with the GarageBand app.

Apple includes GarageBand on all of its devices at no cost to the user. GarageBand is a great program to start recording with! This program includes Software Instruments, Apple Loops, and Amp modeling which makes recording nearly effortless. GarageBand features an easy to use display which is perfect for the novice while allowing the experienced engineer to work quickly on the go when using a phone or tablet.

GarageBand Screen View

If you are familiar with GarageBand and want to dive deeper into recording, I recommend using Logic. Logic is available in a lite and pro version. If you are upgrading from GarageBand, I suggest Logic Pro. This program is strikingly similar to GarageBand in appearance and use, but offers a wide variety of professional tools for mixing and mastering. It is also easier to edit your tracks in Logic Pro which is one of the reason industry professionals enjoy using Logic Pro with their other Digital Audio Work Stations. Having worked with both programs, I believe that Logic Pro offers more to the home studio than software of the same price. My favorite feature of Logic Pro is the Screen View selection. This allows you to toggle between different screens with in your track while recording and editing. This allows you to open up a mixer window on one screen while having a region window open on another, toggling between the two at the press of a button. This feature is incredibly helpful if you are working on a lap top computer. Other Digital Audio Work Stations offer this option, though it is originally a Logic feature.

Logic Pro Screen View 1

Logic Pro Screen View 2

There are other software options available to anyone interested in home recording, the most notable being Pro Tools. Since this article is covering the basics, I will discuss Pro Tools in a later article. For now, I suggest using either GarageBand or Logic as your software of choice. I should mention that many industry professionals chose to record with Logic and make their edits in Pro Tools. Each program has it's strengths and weaknesses and it is not uncommon to work with numerous programs when completing a track.

In my next article I will discuss my favorite audio interface! I hope this article is helpful to you! I'd like to thank Alan Akaka and Addison Ching for everything they do for the steel guitar community! Mahalo, gentlemen! As always, I wish all of you the best! Until next time, Aloha!

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