It offers great advantages to any songwriter that can produced the demo themselves. It is because:
a. Recording in the studio is very expensive.
b. At the studio, you do not have all the time to think creatively which can affect the quality of your projects.
b. Cuts the cost of your recording.
c. When the production cost is very low and your song has the potential to earn a lot, the return of investment in your business is very high.
d. When the return of the business is very high, it will ensure you have a successful music business.
There are a lot of ways to learn recording, it does not require hiring a recording engineer to get the job done. Though, recording needs study. Yes, you have to ensure you will have ample time to study recording yourself. Below I will outline what are things needed for you to do own demo recordings at home.
Requirement #1: Purchase the latest PC Windows XP computer with the fastest specs you can afford.
Yes, you need a computer to record the song. It may be expensive at first but you can also use your computer in any other purposes such as gaming, documentation, internet and recording. Just make sure your computer is frequently updated, well back up and has ample hard drive space for your music. I buy my computer in 2004 that cost around 45,000 pesos in the Philippines. In the Philippines it cost 8,000 pesos to record a single song complete (from recording process, then to mixing and finally to mastering process). But right now, I create around 10 songs, which should cost me around 80,000 pesos in recording studio. But I only do it in my computer so I roughly save half.
There are a lot of important guidelines in selecting the computers for recording purposes:
a. It is highly recommended to use Windows XP so that you can avail all important drivers for your audio sound card and audio drivers. And you can maximize the use of your computer. Using Linux Ubuntu is nice, but your computer can have limited programs unlike Windows XP.
b. Use a professional sound card. Highly recommended low cost solution is: Soundblaster Audigy Value. Read my audigy value reviews here. Professional sound card is very important for maximizing the dynamic range, noise reduction and capturing the widest frequency response from your recordings.
c. Use massive hard disk space and fastest Intel Pentium processor (recommended Pentium 4). Intel Pentium 4 has good processor stability in audio signals while having a massive hard disk space can give you more space in recordings. Take note that you will recording in .WAV not .mp3 file, so .wav is a much bigger file size. Read some important factors in selecting computer specifications for music recording.
Requirement #2: Purchase only one digital audio recording software (Digital Audio Workstation)
Why only one? You need to achieve some mastery in using this one as it is extremely very important for you to do this. Mastery in the usage of your DAW (Digital audio workstation) gives you the full opportunity to create great recordings. And my experience tells me that the quality of your demo recordings is highly related to the mastery level of the DAW you are using.
The software that I am using is Adobe Audition 1.5, I did not upgrade because I do not want to use the functionality and my mastery of this version. Read my Adobe audition 1.5 reviews for details.
Other standards include Pro Tools, which is widely known as the industry standard. It is by the way expensive and needs a much more expensive hardware. I suggest you will start with the simple ones as these kind of tools are suitable for advanced users.
Also it is highly important you get to know recording plugins and start experimenting yourself what sounds nice. I recommend that you read recording journals in the internet to get more techniques especially on the topic of audio mixing.
Requirement #3: Gather the basic instruments
This is more fun, I expect you already have guitar or piano. I suggest you will buy some second hand bass guitar and start playing yourself or find someone you can play for it if you do not know. Other basic instruments includes a drum sequencer that includes Hotstepper, which is a freeware program. This is very useful for creating realistic drum loops. To get real drum samples to load in the hotstepper, all you have to do is to go recording studio and record some short sample audio wave for snare, toom, kick, pedal hi hat, open hi hat and cymbals. After that go home, and load it to your hotstepper, it is by the way easy to load.
You should also have a very good audio mixer at home. I recommend Behringer Xenyx 502 because it is handy, low cost solution and provides quality sound. You can read my reviews Xeny 502 review here.
Other tools that you need includes a guitar tuner (one for both guitar and bass), audio cables and guitar pedals (this is optional, some good ones are distortion, delay or chorus).
Maintain this instruments yourself, these are assets. I suggest you will protect them too by placing in the guitar case and undust on the monthly or weekly basis. Do not let your neighbors or friends borrow it. The borrowers may not care for your instrument and will broke it by accident.
Requirement #4: Master the art of mixing
Mixing is an art with scientific principles. This is the most important skill you need to acquire if want the demo to sound good. There are a lot of great sites in the internet that teaches mixing for free. You can read this guide in how to do a multi-track recording session as well as how to mix instrument audio frequencies.The objective is to give you a beginners guide. The internet contains vast resources for your learn more. Read more until you are confident the result is great. Good luck!