Rip, mix, burn? Well, yeah, that’s a start -- but only a start. Connect your mike, drum machine, electric guitar, keyboard. Make your own music. Add effects. Master your CD. Stream your music on the Web. Heck, while you’re at it, why not build the full-fledged home recording studio you’ve always dreamed of? Jon Chappell, who’s recorded with everyone from Graham Nash to Bruce Springsteen, will show you how.
You’ll start by walking through building your PC audio system from scratch (we mean assembling case, motherboard, memory, CPU, and so forth). Don’t want to do this? Read the chapter anyway: You can use Chappell’s insights to pick the right prebuilt system. If you do want to do this, Chappell’s step-by-step instructions are excellent. For example, there’s a careful look at working with standoffs (do this wrong, and poof! -- motherboard toast).
Next, Chappell turns to recording on your computer: installing and working with an audio/MIDI interface and control surface; using audio recording and MIDI sequencing software; choosing and using mikes (Dynamic or condenser? Will you need phantom power?). Once you’re into editing and mixing, Chappell introduces the recently revamped Cubase SX (you can download a save-disabled demo from Steinberg to follow along).
There’s a full chapter on mastering (trimming, EQ, compression, level-match, compression), burning, and packaging your CD. The book closes with the crucial nontechnical stuff you need to be a happy home studio owner: setting up your environment so it’s both comfortable and efficient and caring for your recording system once it’s humming along. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.