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I’m going to describe my studio hardware plus related issues. If you’re setting up a home recording studio for the first time a lot of what follows should be useful, but bear in mind you’ll probably have slightly different needs in terms of your main instrument (I’m a guitarist), number of musicians likely to be recorded simultaneously, size of budget, type of music preferred, etc.
It would be nice to have a recording setup like Peter Gabriel's Real World studios (pictured left), which you can hire if you like for £1,000 a day! Alternatively, that same amount can give you a good start to setting up your own facility at home.
There’s a balance to be struck between (i) Starting small and adding equipment as your skills and knowledge improve, with the accepted risk that you’ll sometimes be selling stuff on Ebay that you’ve out-grown; and (ii) buying more sophisticated gear that will serve you longer but present you with multiple learning curves and possible accompanying frustration. That must be your choice depending on your temperament and budget. When I started home recording over ten years ago I went for option (ii). I still have the original mixing desk I bought and glad I made that choice, but I did struggle at first with how to use it correctly and how to cable everything else up.
Computer: PC or Mac? Well, if you’re one of the stylee tribe who think Apple can do no wrong then I can’t sway you! If you’re not, the chances are you already have a suitable computer or some kind of preference anyway. It’s true that a lot of pro studios use Apple because of some notion that they fit in with the artistic vibe, but my advice is:
I have a Scan 3XS Intel i7 2600K @ 3.40Hhz quad core system with 16GB of RAM, 1750GB storage on three hard drives plus 1,000GB external backup storage.