If you’re interested in making music, chances are you’ll eventually start recording it. If you’re not sure where to start, it can be a tricky process to figure out. So what do you actually need, and what’s just going to muddy up the water?
The Bare Bones Required to Start Recording
In order to record a sound, you only need two basic components: an input and a storage source. The input is how the sound is being picked up; in most cases, either an external input like a microphone, or an internal input, like an instrument jack.
The storage source is where the sound is being recorded; in most cases, a digital device like a computer, or an analog device, like audio tape.
The Thrift Store Method to Start Recording
I started recording with a $15 Radio Shack microphone and an old cassette boom box. Most tape players will have a microphone input on the back, and some even have a pinhole microphone built in to the body. If you’ve never recorded anything before, this is a quick way to get into it.
You can find a cassette boom box at most thrift stores for around $10.
Using Your iPhone to Start Recording
Since I started recording, technology has come a long way! Every iPhone now includes a ‘Voice Memos’ app, which is how I record most of my demos now. Just press the record button to start, again to stop, and then press ‘Done’. This will let you title and save your sound file.
After that, you can play it back by selecting the file and pressing the play button. You can also press the Save button (that rectangle with a “↑”) to text or email it to a computer. From there, you can play it on your computer or burn the file to a CD, and look at you! You’re making records already!
I definitely recommend starting with one of the methods above, to get a feel for the process of recording sounds; but after that, if recording music is something you want to get serious about, you’ll want to consider one of two things: a USB interface for your computer, or a portable workstation.