The Center of It All — The Recorder
The recording device is the center of any studio. No matter what you record, all the magic happens at the recorder. Picking the best one for you and your needs is important, so be sure to do your homework and get it right. These days, the computer is your most capable digital recording tool. The best news: you probably already own one suitable for recording!
If you own a computer, especially one that' fairly new, you may already own a recording device just waiting to serve you. (Chapter 6 covers computer setups in much greater detail.) Why would you want to use a computer? Well, for one thing, if you already have one, there' less to buy. At this point, the alternatives to computers all utilize digital technology just like a computer. Lastly, and most importantly, most of the amazing innovation happening in digital home recording technology is centered on the computer. One such innovation is the lowered cost of home recording — a computer is just plain cheaper in the long run.
Digital recordings are stored as binary information. Music going into the recorder goes through a complicated analog-to-digital conversion that turns sound into binary information for storage. So it' important to buy the correct conversion equipment and compatible recording software for your machine. Every software manufacturer has minimum system requirements; it' up to you, the educated consumer, to make sure your machine qualifies. Software is usually not returnable.
So what kind of computer makes a good recording computer? It' difficult to answer that question because technology changes so quickly; what was current six months ago is considered old news today. There are two main types of computers based on the operating system they use: Microsoft Windows or Apple Mac. Many people swear by whichever they use, and great music can be made on each. Traditionally, professional music studios have relied on Apple computers, but Windows-based systems are becoming more and more popular, especially in home studios.
The computer debate can get very silly and many people get carried away with numbers and current trends. The basic rule of thumb is age: If your computer is less than two years old, you'll be in good shape. But here' the problem: While current computers work well now, they do so only because the current software is optimized for the current technology. When newer, faster computers arrive, software manufacturers change their software to work with the enhancements of new processors. When you try to run new software on old processors, you can run into problems.