What you need. Recording 101
What stuff is. Recording 102
EQ Guide. Recording 103
Mic Positions. Recording 104
Mixing. Recording 105
Finishing. Recording 106

NOTE: These are guides and tips, they don't have to be done in any order (Except what you need and mic positioning of course) but don't take them as hard and fast rules because there are none.

Feel free to continue reading at my other threads.

What do i need to record? Recording 101

Note: This is the basics to make decent recordings in an all digital studio.

Before we begin i'd like to go over some basic terminology that isn't explained below and may be thrown around in the forums.

Preamp: As you guitarists may well know, a preamp does all your eq, fx etc before hitting the power amp to blow it out a speaker. Mic preamps are pretty much the same, they bring the sound up to a useable level before sending it through.

Coloured: This is pretty much when something changes the sound of your source. It is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means that whataver you send it through has added its own character to the audio.

Transparent: This pretty much means what you hear through your ears is pretty close to what you hear through your speakers when recorded. The sound wasn't coloured and its about as true as you can get.

DAW: Digital Audio Workstation, basically think of it as a tracking screen (where you see all the audio files) a mixer (where you adjust levels and add fx) and anything else you need to mix and (if you have the right tools) record music.

Compressor: In a nut shell, a compressor squishes the sound making the loud bits quieter and the soft bits louder. Say you have a recorded piece of audio that has a dynamic range of 20db, 20 db between the loudest and quietest sound. A compressor is used when you wish to make it 10.

+48v Phantom Power: Condenser mics need phantom power to work, it is the way that they are designed and i won't go more complicated than that. DO NOT USE PHANTOM POWER ON RIBBON MICS UNLESS SPECIFIED!

#1 Read This, its a rules and faq thread.

#2 Do a search, chances are someone has already asked or answered your question

#3 Read the other stickied threads which can be found here (Recording software list) here (Gear and accessories thread) here (Audacity FAQ) and for some helpful videos by moody, here

#4 Can you make a professional studio with $10k? No. Can you with $30k? No. Can you with $50k? Sort of, that will only buy you the basic gear you need (Good preamps, good compressors, good mics, good a/d converters) and this would be for a digital only studio.
Before you go out on thoughts of grandeur, and i don't mean to crush you, you will need to spend ATLEAST $100k on a studio and that is ONLY if you have a good room. You need to acoustically treat it, buy the gear, possibly even build a room inside a room. But that is for a professional level.
Can you get good results for less? YES! You do not need a million dollar studio to get good results, you need decent gear, a bit of mixing knowledge and a decent sounding room (lounge rooms tend to sound decent).

But now onwards.

Why this is for digital not analogue? Frankly because digital is cheaper, more convenient and for us a hell of alot easier. For analogue you need to chuck in a mixer, reel to reel tape machine, outboard gear for ANY effects you want etc. That being said you still may need some analogue gear to run a digital studio (for preamps etc).

Now that you've done your best to find the answers you seek, or even just aware of how to find them lets get onto the basics. I will repeat a few things that have been posted in the threads i listed above for the sake of keeping everything together.

This is what you will need.

A computer or Multi Track Recorder (MTR).
Computer wise, Mac, PC, Laptop, Desktop, it doesn't matter what you have as long as you have a decent amount of ram (1 or 2gb min) and a decent processor (dual core should be able to run nearly anything these days) and believe it or not, depending on your program/sequencer/DAW you will actually need a semi decent graphics card to display the program (despite not being a recording program, Mainstage that is bundled with Logic Studio will not run on a 2 year old macbook well because it simply can't handle the graphics)
Multitrack recorder wise, it doesnt matter what you have, there are many solutions from many companies and i would only recommend these if you are doing VERY basic recordings where you move around alot or don't care about the end product just hearing yourself is good enough.

A sequencer/DAW.
Check the software list, there are many solutions at many affordable levels depending on the scale of the recordings you wish to make. Also make sure it can do what you want it to. (Pro tools is only recently decent for midi where programs like cubase and logic have had a strong focus on it for a long time)

An Interface or A/D/A converter. This basically converts an analogue signal into a digital signal your computer can interpret. These most commonly come in USB, Firewire, Spdif, PCI and ethernet. An interface will generally have line inputs or preamps built into the unit where an A/D converter will generally only handle the signal conversion.

A microphone (unless recording direct line in). Guitars you can get away with a dynamic mic like a sm57. Acoustics and vocals you will need a condenser/s such as the mxl 990/991 pack which comes with both small and large diaphragm condensors. You can use dynamic mics on anything or vice versa but certain things are geared towards certain things, condensers to generally work on everything though. For drums, there are many ways to record a drum kit, generally you use dynamic mics to close mic the kit and then condensers to room/OH mic the kit.

Monitors. A good pair of monitor speakers is essential to making a good mix, yes you can mix with headphones but your mixes WILL suffer. Don't cheap out on monitors by any means. Krk make extremely good monitors for the price, another one to look out for is the yamaha ns-10 as it is very well known for translating onto other speakers well. On the higher end scale you have brands like genelec which are truly amazing. I can't stress how important it is to NOT cheap out on monitors.

You will more than likely need a good set of headphones while recording to a click, prerecorded track or even just listening to how your instrument sounds through the microphone. Try to get closed back headphones (such as the Sennheiser hd280pro) unless you do have to resort to mixing on headphones in which case you should get open back (such as Grado Labs SR80). Do NOT track with open back headphones as there will be alot of audio bleed through the mic.

I hope this helps people, if i have left anything out or people think i should add something, tell me and i'll add it in. If i get a good response with this i may expand on things from here on in
Last edited by doommaker at Feb 6, 2009,
this is a great idea and should be stickied to the top of the page.

I'd just like to add, the statement "...and this would be for a digital only studio" is unfair in that context. many professionals such as Andy Sneap (the guy who produced In Flames, Arch Enemy, Cradle Of Filth, Nevermore and some seriously big names) now run completely digital studios, 100% "in-the-box", no out-board analogue compressers, just really high quality plugins. and you'd never accuse Andy Sneaps work of sounding crappy because of it

My point is, its not a matter of "analogue-vs-digital", its a matter of quality. crappy Vst plugins will sound just as bad as a behringer compressor. but great (an mostly expensive) Vsts will easily stand up to the best analogue gear.
Very nice thread Doom and yes it's worth a place in the pinned posts however you will soon find that most members don't even take the time to go though the posts up there and so we still get the same questions day in and day out.

I have started putting videos out for this website and adding them to my pinned thread and there are a lot of people who watch and enjoy them but even still, not everyone goes looking though those threads first...

I don't really think another thread should be added to the pinned list as we have quite a bit up there already but I think it could be added into the Recording FAQ thread which is already pinned.
Hey i wasn't expected to get pinned but hopefully someone runs across it and it helps them out. I'll probably keep making aditions til i can't anymore! Then i'll just make a new thread and sig it.