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Home Recording for Beginners

Book Description

This book guides beginners step-by-step, through the fundamentals of home recording, using the computer as the recording medium. The emphasis is on practical instruction, delivered over the course of 30 lessons in easy-to-understand language and logical sequence and with real examples for the reader to try out. Essential technical knowledge and theory are introduced and explained along the way as it becomes relevant and necessary. It also takes the reader through what they will need (equipment and cost) if they wish to progress to creating a serious home studio. The book is not software-based, but examples are shown using REAPER, a low-cost Digital Audio Workstation. A 30-day evaluation copy of REAPER is provided on the accompanying CD.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Author
  4. Introduction
    1. What You’ll Find in This Book
    2. Whom This Book Is For
    3. How This Book Is Organized
  5. 1. Your Pathway to Home Recording
    1. Myths and Realities
      1. How Difficult Is It and How Long Will It Take Me to Learn?
      2. What Do I Need to Know before I Start?
      3. How Much Will I Need to Learn?
      4. How Much Time Will I Need to Spend?
      5. How Much Money Will I Need to Spend?
      6. What Equipment Will I Need?
      7. Will I Need to Build a Dedicated Studio?
    2. What You Will Need
    3. Home Recording: Getting-Started Shopping List
      1. The Soundcard
      2. The Microphone
      3. The Microphone Stand
      4. The Microphone Clip
      5. The Headphone Set
      6. Hardware Limitations: A Disclaimer
      7. The Recording Software
    4. What about the Technical Stuff?
    5. Problems: How to Avoid Them and How to Solve Them
    6. Getting Started in 30 Days
  6. 2. The 30-Day Foundation Course
    1. Day 1: Digital Audio and Home Recording
      1. Audio and MIDI
      2. The Five Main Project Stages
      3. Assignment
    2. Day 2: Windows and Your Soundcard
      1. Understanding Your Soundcard: XP
        1. Audio Devices
        2. Volume
        3. Sounds
        4. Hardware
        5. Other Control Software
      2. Understanding Your Soundcard: Vista
      3. Assignment
      4. Post Script
    3. Day 3: First Steps in REAPER
      1. Installing REAPER
      2. Installing the Sample Files
      3. Installing the Documentation
      4. Setting Up REAPER
      5. Your First REAPER Lesson
      6. Introducing REAPER
        1. Navigating the Project
        2. Zooming In and Out
        3. The Mixer
      7. Assignment
    4. Day 4: Project and File Basics
      1. Examples of File Types Used by Projects
        1. Project Files
        2. Backup Files
        3. Media Files
        4. Peak Files
      2. Audio File Types
      3. Assignment
    5. Day 5: First Steps in Recording
      1. Audio Format Settings
      2. A Simple Recording Example
      3. Waveform Patterns
      4. Assignment: A Recording Experiment
    6. Day 6: Second Steps in Recording
      1. The Recording Project
      2. Assignment
    7. Day 7: Recording Additional Material
      1. Introduction to Layering
      2. Input Monitoring and Latency
        1. Example
      3. Assignment
    8. Day 8: Consolidation Exercise
      1. Assignment
    9. Day 9: Overdubbing
      1. The Undo Safety Net
      2. Simple Overdubbing
        1. Procedure
        2. Example
      3. Assignment
    10. Day 10: Auto Punch Recording
      1. Overdubbing in Auto Punch Mode
      2. Assignment
    11. Day 11: Recording and Working with Multiple Takes
      1. Multiple Takes: The Basics
      2. Exercise
      3. More Advanced Takes Management
      4. Assignment
    12. Day 12: Basic MIDI Recording and Editing
      1. MIDI Files and Synthesizers
      2. Simple MIDI Recording
        1. Example
      3. Simple MIDI Editing
      4. Assignment
    13. Day 13: Creating and Using Loops
      1. Working with Loops
      2. Assignment
    14. Day 14: Sampling: Where Audio Meets MIDI
      1. Working with Audio Samples
      2. Assignment
      3. Bonus Example: The Drum Kit
    15. Day 15: Consolidation Exercise
    16. Day 16: First Steps in Mixing—Pan and Volume Faders
      1. The Importance of Space
      2. Assignment
    17. Day 17: Introduction to Audio Editing
      1. Muting a Passage
      2. Creating a Fadeout
      3. Editing Multiple Takes
      4. Assignment
    18. Day 18: Plug-Ins and FX: EQ
      1. Manipulating Frequencies
      2. Assignment
    19. Day 19: Plug-Ins and FX—Compression
      1. Manipulating Dynamics
      2. Assignment
    20. Day 20: Plug-Ins and FX—Delay
      1. Manipulating Time
      2. Assignment
    21. Day 21: Submixes and Folders
      1. What Is a Submix?
      2. Assignment
    22. Day 22: Basic Routing—Sends, Receives, and Busses
      1. Creating and Using Busses
      2. Using Direct Sends
      3. Assignment
    23. Day 23: Consolidation Exercise
    24. Day 24: Fun with Pitch and Play Rates
      1. Pitch Modification
      2. Changing the Play Rate
      3. Assignment
    25. Day 25: Making Life Easier—Markers and Macros
      1. Markers
      2. Macros and Custom Actions
      3. Assignment
    26. Day 26: Automation Envelopes
      1. Setting Up Envelopes
      2. Assignment
    27. Day 27: Bringing It Together in the Mix
      1. The Master Track
      2. Assignment
    28. Day 28: Rendering for CD or MP3
      1. Rendering to Audio CD
      2. Rendering to MP3
      3. Assignment
    29. Days 29 and 30: Consolidation Exercise
    30. The Next Step: Your Learning Plan
  7. 3. What Else Do I Need to Know?
    1. Audio Formats
      1. WAV
      2. AIF or AIFF
      3. MP3
      4. WMA
      5. OGG
    2. Sample Rates and Bit Depth
    3. Audio Drivers
    4. Impedance
    5. Understanding Microphones
      1. Types of Microphones
        1. The Dynamic Microphone
        2. The Condenser Microphone
        3. The Ribbon Microphone
      2. Microphone Specifications
        1. Frequency Response
        2. Sensitivity
        3. Impedance
        4. Polar Pattern
        5. Other Features
        6. Microphone Cables
    6. Understanding MIDI
      1. There’s More to MIDI Than You Think
      2. Keyboards and Synthesizers
      3. Control Surfaces
  8. 4. Setting Up Your Studio
    1. The Need to Budget
    2. Equipment Matching
    3. Planning Your Studio
    4. DAW Software
    5. FX Plug-Ins
    6. Software Synths
      1. Simple General MIDI Synths
      2. Other Analog Soft Synths
      3. Frequency Modulation Synths
      4. Sample Playback Synths
      5. Wavetable Synths
      6. Software-Only Synths
    7. The Studio Overview
    8. Equipping Your Studio
      1. The Computer
      2. The Soundcard
        1. Audio Interfaces and Sound Quality
        2. The Preamps
        3. The Digital Audio Converters
        4. Audio Drivers
      3. The Preamps
      4. The Keyboard
      5. Microphones
        1. The Vocal Mic
        2. The Drum Kit
        3. General-Purpose Microphones
      6. Amplifier and Studio Monitors
      7. Headphones
      8. Headphone Amp
      9. Extras and Accessories
      10. Also Worth Considering
        1. Handheld Recorder
        2. Frontier TranzPort
      11. Budget Summary
    9. Studio Layout
      1. Noise Issues
        1. Dealing with Leakage
        2. Diffusers and Absorbers
        3. Hum and Buzz
      2. Room Symmetry
  9. 5. The Road Ahead
    1. The Learning Path
    2. Future Expenditure
      1. More Plug-Ins
        1. Freeware Plug-Ins
        2. Budget-Priced Plug-Ins
        3. Full-Priced Plug-Ins
      2. More Microphones
      3. More Gear
      4. More Gizmos and Gadgets
        1. General-Purpose Control Surfaces
        2. Special-Purpose Control Surface
      5. More Like a Real Studio
  10. Glossary of Basic Audio and Recording Terms