After struggling for a number of years, the music recording industry started to recover a few years back and finally thrived again in 2017. Despite jazz music accounting for only 1.4% of music sales in the USA in 2014 according to Nielsen, a new generation of jazz musicians are making headway in the industry, generating new interest in one of the most beautiful musical genres in existence. Fueled by their passion for jazz, an increasing number of jazz musicians and guitarists, in particular, are looking to record their music and share it with the world.
There are countless reasons why jazz musicians choose to record their music at home with the often-exorbitant costs of professional recording studios. Luckily setting up a home recording studio is not as harrowing a task as many may think. By following a few fairly basic guideline you will be well on your way to creating a jazz-friendly home recording space that will not only enable you to save money but record your own music on your own terms in the comfort of your own home.
Choosing a location and make it soundproof
Although picking a location is seemingly obvious, it is surprising how many people completely forget about it and jump straight into buying recording equipment. When choosing your location try to pick the quietest room in your house or apartment both for your own sake and that of your neighbors. You are going to be spending a lot of time in your studio so it is important to set it up somewhere you will feel most comfortable. Sound needs to be contained as securely as possible or it will leak out and affect your music in a negative way.
There are numerous ways in which you can sound-proof your recording studio. Sealing strips made of rubber, foam or vinyl are ideal for preventing sound to escape from windows and doors and are fairly inexpensive and can be bought from your local hardware store. You can also insulate all wall surfaces with a soundproofing material which will enhance your sound quality significantly. Alternatively, you can invest in a ready-made sound booth and simply place it within your studio space.
Get a PC, recording software and audio interface
Your PC is the most important piece of equipment you will have inside your recording space. If you already own one check to see whether it can be utilized before purchasing a new one. While you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a state-of-the-art PC when starting out you will need one with a fast processor, a minimum of 2GB of RAM and a large internal hard-drive of at least 1TB. If you find that you need more space on your PC you can make use of an external hard drive which is both cost-effective and convenient. Once you have your PC you need to choose the software that will enable you to record on it.
There are countless options available on the market suitable for jazz guitarists such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, FL Studio and Ableton Live with your choice ultimately depending on the features you require. Not all jazz musicians need elaborate features so make sure that you don’t spend unnecessary money on a product that you won’t fully utilize. The purpose of an audio interface is basically to replace your PC’s sound card. It will allow you to hook up various instruments and microphones via a mixer. Some audio interfaces are coupled with recording software so you may want to check that before purchasing separate software.
Invest in some equipment
Headphones, microphones and studio monitors are all essential parts of a well-equipped home recording studio. Large diaphragm condenser mics are ideal for jazz guitarists due to their increased sensitivity their generally brighter frequency response. If you are planning to put an amp to full use you can also consider a dynamic mic as they can withstand higher levels of sound pressure without suffering any damage. Pro-grade studio headphones are an absolute must when it comes to music recording. Headphones get used both during recording and playback, which is why it is imperative that they render a crystal clear, clean sound. High-quality studio monitors (which must never be confused with stereo speakers) are a welcome addition to any recording studio. Studio monitors are also known as active speakers and produce a very accurate, untainted representation of your music as possible.
Once you have your home recording studio set up and kitted out you can commence with the recording. You will learn most of what you need to know through pure trial and error although you may also consider enrolling in a music recording or production course if you feel it will benefit you more. Never forget why you opted for home recording in the first place and remember that your musical journey should never stop being fun!