Recording studios generally consist of at least two rooms: the studio itself, where the sound for the recording is created (often referred to as the "live room"), and the control room, where the sound from the studio is recorded and manipulated. Recording studios are carefully designed around the principles of room acoustics to create a set of spaces with the acoustical properties required for recording sound with precision and accuracy. This will consist of both room treatment (through the use of absorption and diffusion materials on the surfaces of the room, and also consideration of the physical dimensions of the room itself in order to make the room respond to sound in a desired way) and soundproofing (to provide sonic isolation between the rooms). A recording studio may also include additional rooms, such as a vocal booth - a small room designed for voice recording, as well as one or more extra control rooms.
Nelson - Group Manager
Our studio started in one large room housing just about everything. We are now building a two room purpose built studio to enhance our recording capabilities.
Equipment found in a recording studio commonly includes:
And may also include:
Early recording studios often lacked isolation booths, baffles, and sometimes even speakers. Designed for live recording of an entire band or performance, they attempted rather to group musicians and singers than to separate them. Modern sound stages sometimes use this approach for large film scoring projects today.
With the introduction of multi-track recording, it became possible to record instruments and singers separately and at different times on different tracks on tape. Therefore, the emphasis shifted to isolation and sound-proofing. In the 1960s, recordings were analog recordings made using ¼-inch or ½-inch eight-track magnetic tape. By the early 1970s, the technology progressed to using various types of multi-track tape. The most common of which is the 2-inch analog tape, capable of containing up to 24 individual tracks.
I started out on a Yamaha 4 track machine, which used 1/4 inch tape. The only way to improve the quality of recordings, was to use very high quality tape. This was of course very expensive. Having only 4 tracks was a major limitation. In those days I could not afford a 1" reel to reel 24 track, and I remember both drooling over and dreaming of owning one.
In the early days after an audio mix is set up on a 24-track tape machine, the signal is played back and sent to a different machine which records the combined signals (called printing) to a ½-inch 2-track stereo tape, called a master. Prior to digital recording, the total number of available tracks onto which one could record was measured in multiples of 24, based on the number of 24-track tape machines being used. Today, analog tape machines are well sought after as some purists label digitally recorded audio as sounding too harsh. This is widely attributed to the fact that digital recording will sample a sound wave many times per second allowing an illusion of solid sound waves to be created, where in contrast, analog tape captures a sound wave in its entirety. There is a lot in this.
The scarcity and age of analog tape machines greatly increases their value, as does the fact that many audio engineers still insist on recording only to analog tape. Presently, most recording studios now use digital recording equipment which only limits the number of available tracks based on the capacity of the mixing console or computer hardware interface.
Ordinary domestic computers are assuming a larger role in the recording process, being able to replace the mixing consoles, recorders, synthesizers, samplers and sound effects devices. Especially so, as most PCs are 100s of times more powerful than justa few years ago.
A computer thus outfitted is called a Digital Audio Workstation, or DAW. Popular audio-recording software includes Digidesign Pro Tools, Cubase and Nuendo by Steinberg, Motu Digital Performer, Ableton Live, Cakewalk SONAR and Apple Logic Pro. Apple Macintosh hardware is most commonly found throughout the recording industry, however because many of these software applications are so much more reliant on the audio recording hardware than the computer they are running on, many of the computers used today are not as current as the average home computer.
Much software is available for Microsoft Windows and Linux, and a sizeable portion of both commercial and home studios can be seen running PC-based multitrack audio software. If no mixing console is used and all mixing is done using only a keyboard and mouse, this is referred to as Mixing in the Box. There are also dedicated machines which integrate a recorder, preamps, effects, and a mixing console; these devices are frequently referred to as DAW's, generally in advertising.
A small, personal recording studio is sometimes called a project studio. Such studios often cater to specific needs of an individual artist, or are used as a non-commercial hobby. The first modern project studios came into being during the late 1980s, with the advent of affordable multitrack recorders, synthesizers and microphones. The phenomenon has flourished with falling prices of MIDI equipment and accessories, as well as inexpensive digital hard-disk recording products.
You can now purchase equipment capable of producing professional results at a fraction of the cost of yesteryear. To kick you off, all you need is a computer with a half sensible sound card and a few programs, which usually come with the equipment.
As you progress, you will need to buy decent microphones and effects boxes. This will make the world of difference to the end product. Just as a musician needs quality instruments to produce decent sounds.
No studio would be complete without ............................ to be continued ..........
WARNER MUSIC GROUP (AOL TIME WARNER)
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