Unleash their creativity
Recording equipment is a great gift for budding singer-songwriters because it provides them with the tools they need to pursue their passion and develop their skills. It is a gift that can inspire creativity, encourage growth, and provide hours of enjoyment. You can view some of the amazing creations from Phoenix Voice Academy students here.
With so many products on the market, it can be hard to find what is best for your use case. This is why we have added some explanations below to help you make your own decision, but also indicated what we use and/or would buy.
Most of our students at Phoenix Voice Academy are just starting out on their songwriting and recording journey and we have therefore opted to display choices that create a happy medium between cost, function, and long term value.
It may seem like quite the investment. Of course, you could get away with using a free DAW on a computer you already own and use the computer microphone already installed to jot down song ideas. The following items are for those who want to take things a little more seriously.
What you need
Let’s get into it. To record voice and create songs, you will need the following equipment:
A computer: You will need a computer to run your recording software and store your audio files.
A digital audio workstation (DAW): This is the software that you will use to record, edit, and produce your songs. Some popular DAWs include Logic Pro, Pro Tools, and Studio One.
An audio interface: This device connects to your computer and allows you to input and output audio. It typically includes one or more inputs for microphones, instruments, or other audio sources, as well as outputs for speakers or headphones.
A microphone: You will need a microphone to capture your vocals and other sounds. There are many types of microphones available, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and budget. Some popular options for recording vocals include large diaphragm condenser microphones and dynamic microphones.
Headphones: Headphones are essential for monitoring your recordings as you work. They allow you to hear your audio clearly and accurately, without any distractions or interference from external sounds.
Speakers: While headphones are important for monitoring, you will also want a good set of speakers to listen to your finished tracks. This will help you to hear your music as it will sound on other systems, such as a car stereo or home theater system.
In addition to these basic pieces of equipment, you may also want to consider purchasing additional hardware and software, such as virtual instruments, audio effects, and recording accessories. These can help you to create professional-sounding music and take your recording skills to the next level.
Computer we use
Buy a Mac. This part of the blog ends here.
Joking aside, the recently released Apple M1 chip affords great processing power even with the baseline models delivering superb performance for beginners. Choose a MacBook Air for those on the go, or a Mac Mini for those who know they’ll be working mostly from home. Remember, you need the peripherals (monitor, keyboard and trackpad) if you purchase a Mac Mini.
Why do I need a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)?
A digital audio workstation (DAW) is a software program that allows users to record, edit, and produce audio files. It is used by musicians, producers, audio engineers, and other professionals who work with audio in various capacities.
Some common features of DAWs include:
Multi-track recording: This allows users to record and edit multiple audio tracks simultaneously.
Virtual instruments: These are software versions of traditional musical instruments, such as pianos, drums, and synthesizers.
Audio effects: DAWs often include a range of audio effects, such as EQ, reverb, and compression, which can be used to shape and refine the sound of individual tracks.
Sequencing: This feature allows users to arrange and rearrange the order of their tracks.
DAWs are used in a wide range of settings, including music production, film and video post-production, and audio engineering. They are an essential tool for anyone who works with audio and are used by professionals in many different industries.
DAW we use
Logic Pro is a digital audio workstation (DAW) developed by Apple and is widely used by professional music producers and audio engineers. It is also a great DAW for beginners because it is user-friendly, has a large sound library, and offers a variety of powerful features.
One of the main advantages of Logic Pro for beginners is its user-friendly interface. It has a clear and intuitive layout that is easy to navigate, even for those who are new to music production. The software also includes helpful tutorials and a user manual that can guide new users through the various features and functions of the program.
Another reason Logic Pro is a good choice for beginners is its large sound library. It comes with a wide variety of virtual instruments, audio loops, and sound effects, so users can easily create professional-sounding music without the need for external hardware or software. The software also includes a drum machine and a comprehensive collection of drum loops, making it easy for beginners to create beats and rhythm tracks.
In addition to its user-friendly interface and large sound library, Logic Pro also offers a variety of powerful features that are essential for professional music production. It includes a multi-track recording capability, allowing users to record and edit multiple tracks simultaneously. It also has a powerful sequencing feature, which allows users to arrange and rearrange the order of their tracks. The software also includes a range of audio effects, such as EQ, reverb, and compression, which can be used to shape and refine the sound of individual tracks.
While Logic Pro is great for beginners, it is also used by professional music producers and audio engineers all over the world. This means that as you grow and develop as a music producer, you won’t outgrow Logic Pro. It is a powerful and professional-grade software that can handle all of your music production needs.
Overall, Logic Pro is a great DAW for beginners because it is user-friendly, has a large sound library, and offers a variety of powerful features. It is a comprehensive software that can help beginners create professional-sounding music and take their skills to the next level.
Why do I need an audio interface?
An audio interface is a device that connects to a computer and allows users to input and output audio. It typically includes one or more inputs for microphones, instruments, or other audio sources, as well as outputs for speakers or headphones.
The best choice for a particular user will depend on their needs and preferences. As a singer-songwriter, you may need an audio interface that is capable of recording vocals and instruments, as well as outputting audio to speakers or headphones. Here are some things to consider when choosing an audio interface for your needs:
Inputs: Look for an interface that has at least one microphone input and one instrument input. Some interfaces may also have additional inputs for connecting other audio sources, such as a synthesizer or DJ controller.
Outputs: You will likely want an interface with at least one pair of outputs for connecting speakers or headphones. Some interfaces may have additional outputs for connecting multiple pairs of speakers or for sending audio to an external mixer or recording device.
Quality: Choose an interface with high-quality digital converters, as this will help to ensure that your audio is accurately captured and played back.
Compatibility: Make sure the interface you choose is compatible with your computer and any other equipment you are using, such as microphones, instruments, and speakers.
Portability: If you plan to record on the go, consider an interface that is small and portable.
Overall, an audio interface is an essential tool for anyone who works with audio and is an important piece of equipment for recording and producing music, as well as for other audio-related tasks.
Audio Interface we use
The Focusrite Scarlett is a popular audio interface that is well-suited for singer-songwriters. Here are a few reasons why it may be a good choice:
Quality: The Scarlett series features high-quality digital converters, which help to ensure that your audio is accurately captured and played back.
Inputs and outputs: The Scarlett series includes a variety of models with different numbers of inputs and outputs, so you can choose the one that best meets your needs. For example, the Scarlett Solo has two inputs (one microphone, one instrument) and two outputs (one pair of speakers or headphones), while the Scarlett 18i8 has four inputs (two microphone, two instrument) and four outputs (two pairs of speakers or headphones).
Compatibility: The Scarlett series is compatible with both Mac and PC, and it works with a variety of DAWs (digital audio workstations) and other music production software.
Portability: Some models in the Scarlett series, such as the Scarlett Solo and Scarlett 2i2, are small and portable, making them ideal for recording on the go.
Overall, the Focusrite Scarlett is a reliable and high-quality audio interface that is well-suited for singer-songwriters. It offers a range of features and capabilities that can help you capture and produce professional-sounding audio.
Microphone we’d buy
The Rode NT-1 is a high-quality large diaphragm condenser microphone that is well-suited for singer-songwriters. Here are a few reasons why it may be a good choice:
Sound quality: The NT-1 has a smooth, natural sound that is well-suited for vocals and other instruments. It has a wide frequency response (20Hz to 20kHz) and a high sensitivity, which allows it to capture a wide range of audio detail.
Versatility: The NT-1 is a multi-purpose microphone that is suitable for recording a variety of instruments and vocals. It is particularly well-suited for recording acoustic instruments and vocals.
Durability: The NT-1 is built to last, with a robust design and high-quality components. It comes with a heavy-duty suspension mount and a foam-lined hard case, which help to protect it during transport.
Affordability: The NT-1 is an affordable microphone that is within the budget of most singer-songwriters. It offers excellent value for the price.
Overall, the Rode NT-1 is a high-quality microphone that is well-suited for singer-songwriters. It offers a smooth, natural sound and is versatile enough to be used for a variety of recording tasks. Its durable design and affordable price make it an excellent choice for those looking to invest in a reliable and professional-grade microphone.
Speakers we use
The PreSonus Eris E5 Active Studio Monitors are a good choice for beginners because they offer a combination of affordability, reliability, and high-quality sound. Here are a few reasons why they may be a good choice:
Affordable: The Eris E5 monitors are reasonably priced, making them a good choice for those who are just starting out and may not want to invest a large amount of money in their equipment.
Reliable: The Eris E5 monitors are well-built and durable, with a solid construction that is designed to withstand the rigors of everyday use. They are also backed by a 3-year warranty, which provides peace of mind and protection against any defects or issues that may arise.
High-quality sound: Despite their affordable price, the Eris E5 monitors offer a high-quality sound that is accurate and detailed. They have a flat frequency response, which means they reproduce audio accurately, without adding any coloration or distortion. This makes them ideal for mixing and mastering, as they allow users to hear their audio clearly and accurately.
User-friendly: The Eris E5 monitors are easy to use and set up, making them a good choice for beginners. They have a simple, straightforward control panel that allows users to adjust the volume and fine-tune the sound to their preferences.
Overall, the PreSonus Eris E5 Active Studio Monitors are a good choice for beginners because they offer a combination of affordability, reliability, and high-quality sound. They are user-friendly and well-suited for mixing and mastering tasks.
Headphones we’d buy
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are professional-grade headphones that are well-suited for singer-songwriters. Here are a few reasons why they may be a good choice:
Sound quality: The ATH-M50x have a wide frequency response (15Hz to 28kHz) and deliver exceptional audio clarity and detail. They are also designed to provide a neutral, accurate sound, which makes them ideal for recording and mixing applications.
Comfort: The ATH-M50x have a comfortable, over-ear design that is suitable for extended wear. They also have a padded headband and ear cups, which help to reduce fatigue during long recording sessions.
Durability: The ATH-M50x are built to last, with a solid construction and high-quality components. They come with a detachable cable and a carrying pouch, which make them easy to transport and protect them during travel.
Versatility: The ATH-M50x are versatile headphones that are suitable for a variety of recording and listening applications. They are compatible with a range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, and laptops, and can be used for both studio recording and casual listening.
Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are high-quality headphones that are well-suited for singer-songwriters. They offer exceptional sound quality, comfort, and durability, and are versatile enough to be used for a variety of recording and listening tasks.
Lastly, you could opt for a kit that includes a number of the items above for less. This kit from Focusrite or this kit from Rode are good options. They both include a pop shield that helps with smooth vocal recordings and is pretty inexpensive if you’d prefer to buy seperately.
You’ll also need to make sure that you have all cabling required for a successful setup. Luckily, all products above come with what is needed. If you do have any questions about cabling, reach out and we’ll be happy to help.