The four basic elements of a simple computer-based home recording studio are shown in this block diagram.
1. The analog electrical signals originate from the microphone pickup of sound waves created by a musical instrument and from the direct electrical outputs from instruments such as keyboards and guitars. The "Line" source is the electrical output from playback of a digital tape recorder or mp3 player.
2. The audio interface is the bridge from the analog signal world of the sound gear (microphones, amplifiers, FX electronics, speakers, etc.) to the digital signal world of the computer. Since it is the computer that allows us to set up a home recording studio at a practical cost, the analog-to-digital signal conversion that takes place in the audio interface unit plays a critical role in the system.
3. The computer is the "heart" of the home music studio. Here, the recording, signal processing, mixing, and mastering of the music are accomplished. Computer hardware and software combine to create a digital audio workstation.
4. Playback of the recorded music is done through monitors. Headphones and powered near-field speakers are commonly used in home studios.
In the following posts of this blog, I'll take a closer look at each of these basic elements. Although things may get a bit 'technical' at times, I hope the discussion can shed some light on some of the 'mysteries' of setting up a simple home music recording studio.