The basics of song recording

Much like everything in the age of technology, recording music is much easier than it used to be. You no longer have to tour with your band buddies hoping someone would stumble on your music and make you famous, you can easily record and release music from your home using your computer.

Here are the basics of the process:

Step 1: Recording

Recording is now done through the process of mixing tracks, which are single layers of instruments, making up your background music. This process requires more time and seems more complicated, but allows you to make music by yourself, with no need for a huge team of musicians and engineers.

Where an instrument or group of instruments are recorded as the guide, then “over-dubbed” one at a time, until the original can be deleted or “scratched“.

Step 2: Editing

Now that you have your tracks, it’s time for fine tuning. There will always be little things to improve and mistakes to fix. Editing is usually made up of 5 common tasks: arrangement, comping, noise Reduction, time Editing, pitch Editing.

Step 3: Mixing

Once you have your tracks as you like them to sound, it’s now time to mix them into one unit of... music.

There are certain fundamentals to mixing no matter what’s the personal touch you’re adding to it, including: balancing Faders, panning, equalization, compression, reverb, and automation.

Step 4: Mastering

After the previous mixing process, it’s time to record all the tracks into one single stereo file to be ready for mastering. Common mastering techniques are: maximizing loudness, balancing frequencies, stereo widening. The track is then converted to its appropriate sample rate/bit depth. For example, Standard digital audio is 44.1 kHz/16 Bits.

Some home studios do their own mastering, or skip it entirely. But if you want to record and share your music professionally, mastering is very important.

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