BACK IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE HOME-RECORDING BOOM,
option anxiety wasn’t much of an issue—at least regarding the
available gear to track your house-made masterpieces. Great
microphones and preamps were still expensive, so many home
studios were populated with the same dynamic mic that was
used for gigging, a budget hardware mixer, a couple of effects
boxes (likely the same devices you used for your guitar), and a
deck such as an Alesis ADAT or a Tascam cassette Portastudio.
That’s a pretty simple signal chain: source sound to one mic
to mixer to recorder. Done. Most of the magic had to happen
between your fingers (and/or voice), your heart, and your brain.
Well, home recording circa 2011 is quite a different universe.
Today’s recording musician can choose from multitudes of software
and hardware options, and tons of fantastic studio tools
are tremendously affordable. In the mid 1990s, they would have
branded you as possessed by demons if you predicted that, less
than two decades hence, a tube mic would cost $129, or that
professional-quality, digital recording software would be offered
up by manufacturers for free. Crazy.
Of course, the yang of this marvelously powerful yin is that
a home-studio musician can lose himself or herself in an obsession
with gear and technology, and allow their brains to backslide
a bit on that ol’ humanoid magic. The glorious mess of
creation is still critical to produce work that changes people’s
lives, or even just makes them smile for two minutes and 42
seconds. Technology simply gets you there faster—if you don’t
allow yourself to get lost in a Disney-inspired, wicked-witchconjured
forest of thorns (i.e., “details”).
Sadly, the GP staff can’t compel you to terminate your obsession
with minutiae, but we can provide insights into some of the
fabulous recording products released this year. Since the January
2011 Winter NAMM Show, the editors have been hoarding
some hip software and hardware with the intention of delivering
a balanced roundup of recording gear. It’s impossible to
include all of the “Class of 2011” in one roundup, so please look
for more home-studio gear reviews in future issues. As always,
we try to offer not just qualitative assessments of the products,
but also point to real-world applications that might motivate
you to try different techniques.
So, dig into the products on the following pages and see if
any of them will make your studio life easier, or inspire you to
produce better-sounding tracks, or enhance your already burning
creativity. Please feel free to present your own reviews of
any of the gear covered here in the Guitar Player Forum, and don’t forget to send us links to the tracks you
record via Facebook, Twitter, or direct email to Editor in Chief
Michael Molenda (firstname.lastname@example.org). You might
end up being the next “under-the-radar” guitar star we discover!
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