Record a hit track for less than $500

Our Founder Josh started writing songs as early as nine years old with worn out pencils and cassette tapes, he recorded his first track by screaming into the 80’s tape recorder in his aunt’s bedroom. Putting together a quality recording has gotten much easier since the crazy days of 1998 and upcoming artists, however they enjoy sharing their creativity have a litany of options available to them thanks to digital technology. Let’s break down the most common and trending ways of recording a quick take then we’ll give our recommendations based on the actual experiences of our team members.

Recording music live has become so incredibly popular, it’s become an online phenomenon and spawned the huge successes of apps like Musical.ly. All it takes to record a cover is your Smartphone, a backing track either from an external source (speakers) or a third party app such as Sing! By Smule, the makers of those funky auto-tune style tools. We’ve seen some really amazing success stories with fresh artists being able to let loose and truly express themselves without a talent show judge glaring at them.

Best Practices:
Use a basic condenser mic: Sounds all fancy but in reality, condenser microphones are incredibly cheap these days and you can pick up one for as little $60 if you look on the right sites and shops. There’s no need to worry about not being a sound engineer with digital mic’s, most of them simply plug into the USB slot of your laptop and record sound amazingly well. Matt, our Creative Director and a successful Producer, started off from working with a cheap Rode desktop mic to having sessions with some of the biggest bands in Europe. His advice is simple, just get the room as quiet as possible, shut windy windows and close creaky doors and try doing your take at the corner of your room instead of the middle of it so the sound of your voice doesn’t echo. If you’d prefer not to use a mic when recording with your phone then that’s no problem either there are several apps out there that help increase sound quality on a live recording.

Although there’s always an argument to be made that the very reason for doing a cover is to get your most ‘natural’ sound and there to potential listeners. We definitely think it’s best to still make sure you’ve got all the right items in place to make sure everything goes well. Now you certainly won’t be able to record a studio-quality track on a cover but you could still get your original track out there and start garnering a serious fan-base. In total, an awesome cover should cost from 0 to $100 depending on what equipment. Here’s our hit list:

  • Computer: Our assumption is that you already have one of these at home, either as a laptop or a home desktop. I that isn’t case, then you can get a cheap spare laptop with a usable sound-card on eBay for around $150 dollars. Brands like HP, Asus and Apple are really popular for home studios as well. Price: $150-$200
  • DAW: This stands for digital audio workstation, it is the primary software used to record, edit, and mix music on your computer Originally designed to mimic look-and-feel of analog mixing boards from the pre-digital era, their visual design has remained basically the same ever since. Pro Tools, which has long-been the most famous DAW, great for studios of all levels but it is by no means the only option. Price: $25/Month
  • Audio Interface: The primary purpose of providing all the necessary connections to send your music into the computer when recording, and out the computer during playback. In home studios though, these “all-in-one” budget interfaces can be a great way save money, and still get exactly what you need. We recommend a cheap little number from M-Audio starting at around $80 on Amazon. Price: $80-$100
  • Microphones: The oldest item on this list by a country mile. Microphones have been around for decades before recording studios ever existed. Very little has changed in all that time though and many brands from the early days are still very much in demand today. We’re sticking with M-Audio again for this one, they offer some nifty mics of the USB variety that actually produce very good feedback sound for a variety of vocals and instruments. Price: $60-$100 
  • Headphones: They are another stable find in any studio set up, however there are several types tailored specifically for recording sound. There are big name brands like Beats and Sony that offer some top level models but several brands such as Shure, Roland and AKG have quality noise cancelling studio-ready headphones starting from as cheap as $25, shop around on platforms like Amazon and eBay and be sure to read a few reviews before purchasing to ensure there are no red flags. Price: $25-$50
  • Microphone Stands and Pop Filters: Both these items might sound totally trivial but they carry such importance when starting a studio recording project from home. The great thing about both of them is that installation takes seconds and they can purchased online both new and used from platforms like Amazon and eBay for relatively cheap. Price: $25-$50
  • Live Streaming or performance: Once you’ve got your makeshift studio all set up, be sure to kill two birds with one stone and film yourself during a recording session for social and streaming media platforms. Artists like Alex Aiono, Connor Maynard and Leroy Sanchez have seen astounding success filming their in-house studio covers so be sure to tap in to that as well.  For best results and real-time feedback from potential listeners, be sure to stream on popular platforms like Krue.tv, Musical.ly and YouTube Live. Also, this may seem like an uncool bit of product placement but the Launchorb app would also be a great place to embed you cover videos or new tracks due it being powered by a collection of the most popular social networking apps and sites . Price: $0 

So in conclusion our advice would be to start off small, preferably with apps and then gradually move up to equipment you can have easy access to and purchase online. If every single stage is taken in moderation, recording a great sounding track can be a fun and developing experience for a budding artist.

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