The Recording Forums

Basic Home Recording IV

Jim Goodman

Part 4 Intro to PC Recording

Recording on the home PC is the ultimate value for the buck. With a pc you can record as many tracks as your system can handle. And in a dollar for dollar comparison, you can get more simultaneous input and out put tracks with a soundcard and breakout box combination (to be discussed later) than with a standalone DAW. There is a caveat to pc recording and that is in the pc itself.

Every recording (pro audio) application and pro audio hardware will have certain system requirements. It is important before purchasing or downloading demo software that you seek out these requirements on the manufactures website and make sure your system is compatible. Always check user forums and support FAQ and issues pages. You can also e-mail the support department with your pc specs and ask them about any known issues. Most new to pc recording users would avoid numerous frustrations if they just followed this advice. Honestly I wish I would have known that before I started in pc recording, I wouldn’t have wasted so much money and time.

What you need to use for pc recording is a pc, a soundcard, an audio recording application (anyone’s Window’s computer not have Sound Recorder?), an input device i.e. a microphone and output device i.e. speakers. Since almost everyone reading this has a pc you can see the value in pc recording especially when starting out in home recording. The benefit here is you can learn how to use what you have before making any purchases, thus giving you the added knowledge and experience needed to make good decisions.

Here is some basic information you should know about your pc before doing anything else at this point:

  • What operating system (os) and what version: Win95, Win98, Win98se, WinMe, Win2k, WinXp, OS2, etc.
  • What processor and speed: Celeron 1.2, P3 850, P4 1.6, AMD Xp 1.8, etc
  • What kind of memory and how much: RDRAM 512MB, DDR 128MB, SDRAM 1GB, etc.
  • Who is the manufacture and model of my soundcard: Soundblaster PCI128, etc (almost all pc soundcards are made by third party companies like Creative Labs)

Get on your pc manufactures website and obtain the specs for your computer if you do not know this info. Most all computers will have a user and upgrade guide either in hardcopy or on your system somewhere. Find it or download it and get to know your pc. This will be important to you as we move forward in this series.

In the next installment we will look at simple desktop stereo (2-channel 1 track) audio recording using the absolute basics to get a baseline understanding of how it all works.