Sunday, December 23, 2012

Setting up your Home Recording Studio on Windows 8

I have been playing bass for a few years now, and over the years I have used different ways to record and produce bass lines, including little pod boxes, software tools and external interfaces and sound card. However, since I moved to the UK I have been using the bare minimum, a Korg Pandora PX5D and my laptop.

I have done some research along the way, and I got some good recommendations from my friends and colleagues. Now, I have my own home recording studio running on Windows 8 to record and produce my music.

Want to Setup Your Own?

You are free to buy whatever gear you might need, also keeping in mind your instrument’s needs. You will certainly need a computer and an audio interface. The audio interface is the piece that you should push for a good investment. An interface in the $200 to $300 is worth it. You will need Windows 8 Pro and a laptop that can run it easily. Make sure the audio interface you get can be connected to your laptop, check the USB, FireWire and Power specifications. Also try to get a good pair of headphones and if you want, a good pair of professional speakers. Not counting the computer, you should be able to get all that from a decent brand with about  $500. Of course you can go up or down a little and get just what you need.


The Gear

  1. Alienware M15x
  2. Windows 8 PRO
  3. Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 DSP (FireWire, 6pin to 4pin cable)
  4. Saffire MixControl 3.1
  5. Ableton Live 8 (Lite)
  6. Sony MDR-7506 Professional Headphones
  7. Guerrilla Home Recording, a book by Karl Coryat
  8. Kubicki Factor 5 Bass


The Setup

  1. Install interface driver (do not connect the interface before).
  2. Install the interface software.
  3. Install the recording software.
  4. Install effects and plugin libraries if wanted.
  5. Turn off the computer (FireWire).
  6. Connect the interface (FireWire).
  7. Turn on the interface.
  8. Turn on your computer.
  9. Go to the computer settings, and make sure the interface is selected as the input and output audio device.
  10. Run the interface software to make the audio mix. You will select your input channel, so you can get the input signal, and also your output channel so you can hear the audio (input signal plus any audio coming from the computer).
  11. Connect your instrument to the correct audio input in your interface if you haven’t already.
  12. At this point, you should be able to hear the instrument or microphone audio coming from the interface. Adjust the volume and any other interface specific settings you need until you are satisfied.
  13. Now run the recording software. Make sure that the ASIO Driver is selected as the audio driver (Windows only). Check the input and output settings.
  14. Create a new set and add an audio record. Set it so it records the input from the desired interface channel. You should now be able to record and playback your instrument audio.
  15. Record a song, save it and play it back. Check out the export settings on your recording software and see what suits you best.

And there you have it. It seems like a lot, but is actually really simple steps, once you have the hardware and the software tools available. There’s a good amount of tutorials and communities associated with the most popular software tools, so make sure to check them out.


And what about Windows 8? Well, that is the beauty of it. There isn’t anything special you need to do to make it work in Windows 8. You will need to search and pin the new tools to your start screen, taskbar or desktop for easy access. Apart from that, everything works the same, and it actually works straight away and without having to fiddle with Windows settings. 

I’ll try to keep posting stuff related to the experience. Is nice to have both the music and gadget/techy part together, and having a good quality studio definitely helps me to polish my playing and my sound, and eventually produce stuff I can share with other musicians.

If you want to know specifics about my setup and configuration or share your own experience and tips, feel free to drop a line in the comments section. 

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