Record a Song at Home Without a Studio for $0-$99 in 4 Hours


Hi there! So, you want to record a song at home without using a studio and all that on a budget? Well, this is the place to be, I wrote this article specifically for you. Here you will learn how to create very decent recordings in four hours investing $0.

And as a bonus, if you decide to step up your game, I’ll show you how to create even better professional recordings investing no more than $99.48 using basic but excellent equipment.

To record at home without a studio, you’ll need: 

  1. Your phone
  2. Headphones
  3. For iOS: Garageband
  4. For Android: Walkband
  5. For PC: Audacity and LMMS software
  6. For Mac: Garageband

The steps you need to take are:

  1. Set the Tempo
  2. Create a beat
  3. Create a chord progression
  4. Write the lyrics
  5. Record your vocals

The links are provide in the article. Let’s continue. 🙂

Record Your Song at Home Without a Studio with $0

You will need just your smartphone or tablet, either Android or Apple.

Recording your song with zero dollars is definitely possible, but don’t expect radio-ready professional results. What we will be achieved with zero dollars is a decent demo quality song. However, keep in mind that what we will do in this article was not possible 10 years ago! Let’s do this!!

Tools you already have:

  1. Your phone
  2. Headphones

Tools you’ll need:

  1. For iOS, use the Garageband recording app. (Click to visit the app store). If you’re using only your iPhone or tablet, this is the software you need!
  2. For Android, use the Walkband recording app (Click to visit the play store).This is an fantastic DAW-app that allows you to create full recordings and create your own instruments using just your smartphone.

How to Record a Song on Your Phone in 5 Steps

  1. Set the Tempo
  2. Create a beat
  3. Create a chord progression
  4. Write the lyrics
  5. Record your vocals

Record Your Song at Home Without a Studio with $99.48

You will need either a PC or a Mac.

Tools you already have:

  1. A PC/Mac
  2. Headphones
  3. Speakers

Tools you’ll need:

  1. For PC use the Audacity recording software

and the LMMS to produce your song(Click the links to visit their official pages).

2) For Mac users you’ll need just Garageband to record and produce your song.(Click the links to visit their official page).

3) The Neewer NW-800 microphone set (click to visit Amazon) This is a very cheap microphone that delivers insane quality! Trust me when I say this is your best option when it comes to budget microphones.

4) A microphone stand. Here you have two choices: The NEEWER microphone desk stand . Or the AmazonBasics microphone stand

5) The BEHRINGER U-Phoria external sound card. (click to check current price at Amazon)

 Your microphone absolutely needs an external sound card. This is a crucial component that will allow you to create professional recordings.

NOTE regarding the microphone stand: The first microphone stand (the Neeewer) requires a desk to be mounted on, and the second (the AmazonBasics) is your regular microphone stand.

Use the Neewer stand if you plan on recording only your vocals while sitting at your desk; or order the AmazonBasic stand if you plan on recording other instruments such as guitar and bass. The choice is up to you.

NOTE For Windows users: Audacity is an excellent free recording software and your best choice if you’re on a PC or a Mac. LMMS is a full-featured free DAW (digital audio workstation) suitable for windows that looks like garage band.

The reason why we use both Audacity and LMMS Is because we use audacity to record our vocals and instruments, and we use LMMS to create our virtual instrument recordings. The only thing you have to do is to import the recorder tracks from audacity into LMMS. If you are a Mac user, you only need Garageband.

How to Record/Create Your Song on Your Mac or Pc in 5 Steps

  1. Set the tempo
  2. Create a beat
  3. Create a chord progression
  4. Write the lyrics
  5. Record your vocals

For Windows Users: Watch These Tutorials to Learn How to Record Your Song

Watch this video to learn how to record in audacity

Watch this video to learn how to use LMMS

Watch this video to learn how to import a recording into LMMS

For Mac Users: Watch These Tutorials to Learn How to Record Your Song

Watch this video to learn how to make beats in Garageband

Watch this video to learn how to record in Garageband

6 Simple Rules That Produce Excellent Results When Recording at Home

Rule no1: Don’t Wait, Use Whatever Tools You Budget Allows You to Purchase

You’re probably thinking how budget tools will help you create excellent results? Well, from my experience, I know that 90% of the people who wait to get the “perfect mic” or the “high end” gear will NEVER record a single song! Decision requires action. Thus don’t wait and take action right now!

The biggest mistake music beginners make is postponing the recording adventures because they think they don’t have high-end equipment. It’s true that even as little as ten years ago, it was not possible to record your own song at home without spending at least a few couple of hundred dollars or more.

Since the smartphone revolution, it has become much more accessible for people like you and me to create decent recordings and even fully finished songs of the comfort of their home without breaking the bank.

The chances are that it is very moment your reading this article Through Your Smart Phone, tablet, or laptop, and this is 50% of what you need to create the first recording at home. In this article, I already showed you how to achieve the remaining 50%, investing $0 or as little as $99.48!

While the setup I showed you at this price range can’t compete directly with the super high-quality radio-ready songs, it can most definitely allow you to create very decent professional songs!

Rule no2: Analyze Your Favorite Songs

Before recording your song, the first step should be forming a vision of how you want your song to sound. As most inexperienced songwriters changes are that you don’t have a single clue of how you want your song to sound. The way I resolved this issue when I was a beginner was I listened to four or five of my favorite songs in the same genre and style and made a basic analysis of them.

Doing this will help you train your ear and discover specific characteristics that you can use your own creation.

When you’re analyzing a song, you should focus on the following:

A) Pay Attention to the Song Length

the song length is very important for each genre, as an example pop and EDM songs usually are between three and three and half minutes, with ballads sometimes reaching the four minute mark. Trap songs range from two minutes and three and a half minutes, and house music range between three and seven minutes.

Of course, this is no rule, just a guideline. As you progress, you will get feel if your song should be shorter or longer, but for now, no matter the genre, try to stick around the three-minute mark.

B) Consider the Singing Style of the Performer

Each genre has its own singing style. Listen to Pop music you will notice clear pronunciations and loud vocals, with Trap music you will most likely encounter mumble rap; Rock music is typically more aggressive Jazz music is more soft-spoken etc.

Again there are no rules simply guidelines, but as a beginner, I would suggest you stick to the general performance style of the genre you’re interested in.

C) Pay Attention to the Instruments, and Special Effects Used

The type of instrument used is another important factor when creating your song. Take as an example EDM where you will most likely hear a lot of electronic sounds such as supersaws also; you’ll hear tight drums and special Fxs such as risers and white noise. 

Now, listening to Rock music, you will notice a lot of distortion, natural but heavy drums, and tight baselines. In contrast, reggae music, which has no distortion on the guitars, also uses different instruments such as clavinet, bungos, and congas.

D) Know the Lyrical Concept

The lyrics are another critical factor. Pop music usually talks about relationships such as hooking up breaking up, but we also find songs dedicated to partying and living a stress-free life.

In contrast, Blues music talks more about everyday problems, such as how bad the singer’s last relationship went, how his/her wife/husband was unfaithful or how great of a man the singer is. And if we look at genres such as Bass House, you will notice that this type of music talks almost exclusively about partying, dancing and blowing off steam.

NOTE: When I talk about common lyrical themes I don’t intend to sound stereotypical, what I’m trying to do is to bring your attention to what most songs deliver, after that it’s in your hands to add your own creativity and personal touch when creating your songs.

E) the Energy Levels

Energy levels is something that is not mentioned very often.

We use energy levels to measure the dinamic part in each section of a song.

Typically the intro will have the lowest energy level, which will increase debate in the verse section, then if there is a pre-chorus, it’s used to build up an expectation for the big payoff at the chorus section, which also has the highest amount of energy.

Try to play with the energy levels by adding or removing instruments, as a general rule, the more instruments, the more energy you create. 

There are of course many more tools you can use, such as doubling the vocals, adding vocal harmonies, adding white noise, and much more but I don’t believe these tricks are suited for this guide since this article is focused mainly on recording your first song at home without equipment.

Rule no3: Don’t Record Too Loud

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is recording their music too loud. Recording your music at very high levels can become a problem because this might add distortion later on and can hinder the mixing and mastering process.

However, recording your music as loud as possible is sound advice only when it comes to analog tape recordings. 

Back in the day when recording with analog tape recording, engineers were faced with common problems such as tape hiss, console noise, and more. 

One of the way the results of his issues was recording at very high volumes so that their signal-to-noise ratio was high so that they wouldn’t hear much of the noise in the background. Today in the digital age, these issues are no longer present.

Rule no4: Use Correct Mic Placements

Most recording tutorials talk about which types of microphones to use, but what’s even more important than the kind of mic is the mic placement, meaning where you place the mic in regards to the sound source. 

Talking about microphone placement, this requires a guide on its own, the best advice I can give you is: experiment and try different mic placements. 

Try and experiment with whatever type of microphone you have, whether it’s your smartphone’s mic, a USB microphone, a condenser, or a dynamic microphone. 

To get you started, I will now give you an overview of a few popular microphone placement techniques:

A) Mic Placement-Distant Miking: This technique involves placing your microphones about three or 4 feet away from the sound source; this enables you also to capture some of the sound of the room. Meaning that if your room has a lot of reverb, your recording will also have a lot of reverb in it. If it’s a properly acoustically treated room, you will have much less or even zero reverb in your recordings.

B) Mic Placement-Close Miking: When we use close-miking, we place the microphone within a couple of feet of the sound source. This is the technique you’ll use more often because it captures 90% of the sound source and only 10% of the sound of the room. As most of you don’t have yet properly acoustically treated rooms, this technique will make your recordings sound more precise and more professional.

C) Mic Placement-Stereo Miking: Lastly, we have stereo miking; in this technique, we use two microphones to capture the same source (left and right), resulting in a stereo field. 

This technique can be quite complicated, but it has the advantage of capturing a very natural stereo image. I know for a fact this is the technique you will not (and should not) use almost at all, at least not before you’ve built up a decent amount of recording experience.

Rule no5: Clean up Vocal Breaths

Its a quite simple technique. After you’ve recorded your vocals, you go back and cut out annoying vocal breaths. Doing this will result in more professional and polished recordings. 

However, don’t remove every vocal breath because this can make your recording sound un-natural, as a rule of thumb remove 70% of the vocal breaths, and the remaining 30% must be barely noticeable. 

Again this is not a rule carved in stone. Instead, this is a technique that I have found to be more professional.

Rule no6: Give Each Instrument Its Place Using EQ

After you’ve recorded your vocals and the instruments (and we are talking here about real-life instruments or virtual instruments from your DAW), you must give each instrument its dedicated place in your track.

Here are a few examples: 

  • On the vocals place the EQ from 100Hz to 14.000Hz
  • On the bass place the EQ from 80Hz to 1000Hz
  • On the sub-bass place the EQ from 20Hz to 70Hz
  • On the kick place the EQ from 45Hz to 8.000 Hz
  • On the piano place the EQ from 700Hz to 10.000Hz
  • On the guitar place the EQ from 90Hz to 6.000Hz

Keep in mind that these numbers are just to get you started. You should always listen to your song and make the appropriate adjustments.

Conclusion

I am 100% positive the information I gave you in this article is more than enough to get you started and help you record your first song at home without the optional use of equipment! Check out other Home Studio articles by visiting this page. 

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