Basics for a Home Recording Studio
There are five basic essentials to your studio: a fairly new
computer, a sound card, a midi controller, software, and monitors.
Lets start with the computer. Today your average new PC is powerful
enough for what you need, anything with a processor over 2 gigs.
Should be plenty to work with, although don't get discouraged if
you have something less, it just puts a lower "creative limit"
on what you can and cannot do.
The sound card - most PC's will come with a standard sound card,
these sound cards don't give you any options like using midi or
multi track recording. I would recommend getting a sound card that
offers a mic pre-amp, and midi (in/out).
A midi controller or midi synth will allow you to play both soft
synths on your PC and if its a midi synth than you can use your
PC to play the synth. You can also change parameters (knobs on the
synth) from the PC to the hardware and vice versa.
Software is a really touchy subject there is no all in one solution,
most producers use a conjunction of a variety of different programs
when writing a song from scratch, and with VST compatible software
its almost impossible not indulge in the thousands of freeware synths
and effects on the Internet. Its almost like having a library of
virtual instruments that you can play, and then shape with effects
into any sound you want.
The basics that you will need are a sequencer or software studio,
VST instruments, effects, and a wav editor. I don't recommend buying
software unless you've tested it out first (demo versions are always
available), and there are great options for free software - audicity
is great for multi track recording, and for a very cheap price fruityloops
should not be overlooked.
Now for the speakers, plugging your PC into your home stereo may
sound great for listening to your Mp3 collections but when you are
producing music, studio reference monitors will allow you to master
your productions to sound great on all stereos. You can find these
fairly cheap (about $100+) I would also grab powered ones so that
you don't have the additional cost of an high end amplifier.
Another option is headphones, you'll at least want a high quality
pair that has a vary wide frequency response so that you can hear
all the lower frequencies in what you are producing. Many argue
that you can't master with headphones but for now your starting
off, in time your studio will grow and you can use both good headphones
and studio reference monitors.
Take all of this into consideration and start building one piece
at a time. Soon you'll be diving head first into producing your
own tracks and growing your home studio to your own individual production