Beginners Question Answered : Can I record music at home with my laptop?

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Can I record music at home with my laptop?

Well, there’s a big difference between CAN you and SHOULD you...

There are two major aspects that you NEED to be concerned with, and those are the recording environment, and the gear. This article will focus on the gear,more specifically the computer.

Yes, many laptops are powerful enough to record, edit, and mix music. Whether they’re great tools for this purpose is the bigger question. There are many things to consider. Let’s address them, starting from the least problematic.

Do laptops have enough Hard Drive Space?

Many do for anyone recording their own music. A commercial studio, of course, would never get by with a 500GB drive, which is a pretty average size for laptops these days. The storage space necessary for a 4 minute, song containing 12 or so tracks with some punch-ins and edits, which remain on the drive even if they’re not on your screen, is 300-400 Megabytes. Add in drums, bass and few guitar tracks and that gets tripled at least. So with a stereo music track and a few tracks of vocals, there’s space on the hard drive for over 100 songs, or when recording a whole band there might be room for 30 or 40. Of course, the size can vary GREATLY based on a million different factors such as sample rate, song length, number of tracks, number of takes, and others, but this gets you in the ballpark.

Additional storage is cheap and easy to find, so storage space is rarely an issue for the home recordist.

Just to put it in perspective, I have 17 Terabytes in my studio. That’s 17 THOUSAND Gigabytes or 17 MILLION Megabytes. And I’m at about 65% capacity now.

Are the processors fast enough?

For everything? No. For most things in your home studio? Perhaps.

Not many of you reading this will be recording orchestras, whole rock bands, or pop groups with 5 harmonies triple-tracked with EQ, compression, Autotune, reverb, and delay on each track, so a recently purchased laptop will probably be good enough. You may run into limitations that slow things down, but patience will probably get you through.

Can I connect everything I need to them?

Now we’re getting into tricky territory. Sound cards are necessary for sound to be produced. Most laptops will have soundcards built in that are good enough, but the minute you want to up your sample rate, you’ll run into trouble. You may also be connecting synths or drum machines or microphones at some point, so you have to make choices about USB ports, Firewire, and even MIDI connections, depending on your future needs. There WILL be a time, if you continue to progress, where you’ll run out of ins and outs.

Do they sound good enough?

Let’s sort something out first. Be very clear on the fact that the sound that the ones and zeroes create is the same whether they’re from a laptop from ‘06 or a super PC put together with the latest space-age components just yesterday. The idea that different programs or different computers impart a particular sound to a production is a common misnomer. Obviously there are many reasons why a faster, bigger computer is better, and different programs offer different features, but a slower, smaller one will not crunch numbers differently, it will just take a LOT longer, and the amount of tracks or effects that can be run at one time will be severely limited.
The biggest hurdle we have in the laptop equation is the monitoring system.

You should now have a pretty good understanding of the possible, the impossible, and the "I’ll-make-it-work" regarding using a laptop to record at home.Many people try it and decide to leave it to the pros, and some decide it’s the perfect way to go for them. Should you decide to go that route, you’ll undoubtedly spend some time enjoying the hell out of music and some more time banging your head against a wall.
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Thanks for the article. Very interesting. I just wanted to know, is it possible to have a home studio at a low-cost price?
Thanks for the article. Very interesting. I just wanted to know, is it possible to have a home studio at a low-cost price?

Well it all depends what your budget is. But yes, it is very possible. There are many places online that you can find used in good condition gear as well as new gear at an affordable cost. Example: ebay, craiglist, local pawn shops, etc. It just depends on how much finances your able to work with.
A friend of mine has produced on his laptop for years, Obviously upgrading every few years. And with technology now, laptops are getting more and more powerful. So it is possible to carry out numerous processes at once. You just have to be sensible with it and use the hardware you have in the most efficient way possible. And dont have over-expectations.
YES! Get a midi controller, DAW and a microphone for any audio you may want to bring in.
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I think most people can agree that it's up to the artist, not the gear, to produce a quality track.

A good setup definitely won't hurt you Just make things go a whole lot smoother
Yes you can in my opinon ik a artist who does it all the time and comes out with some pretty good quality
unfortunately i cannot post his link yet though
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