In the early days of recording, it cost many thousands of dollars, took up lots of space, and required a lot of training to make even the most basic recordings. In the last few years, the price of a home recording setup has gone down in price, while the available quality for small, home-based recording devices has gone down exponentially.
Computer-Based Recording: Software & Interfaces
The first two things to consider are your software and your interface options. Your recording interface is, simply, the piece of hardware you connect your computer to in order to record. There's a lot of options, and all of them are better than using your internal microphone! Your software options are numerous, and it's really up to you what you're most comfortable using, and what you can afford. The most popular and powerful software package on the market is Digidesign's Pro Tools software suite. Pro Tools LE is aimed at the home recording market, while Pro Tools HD is more for professional studios who need expanded capabilities. There are several other software packages available, too - Apple's GarageBand is packaged with most Macintosh computers produced in the last couple years, and is a powerful music production tool. There's many other options to consider, as well. Need more info?
There's a very simple mantra to repeat to yourself when learning how to record - The better the source, the better the recording! Spending the extra money on a good microphone will really make a difference in the sound of your recordings. There's a lot of great microphones out there accessible to every budget! There's also some amazing microphones if you're able to spend a little bit more. Check out some of our microphone-specific guides for more information.
Don't Forget The Accessories!
Anyone who's visited a music store's pro audio department knows of the plethora of accessories available for the home studio! It's easy to forget the basics when you're caught up in buying the latest and greatest.