Music provides a wonderful creative outlet for kids and it is possible to set up a mini music studio at home without too much expense. With today’s affordable technology, you can purchase a few basic items to get going and add to them over time.
Your kids are likely to spend hours in a mini recording studio and can have great fun and learn more about music at the same time. Just make sure if you buy equipment that it’s compatible with what you already have.
Playing the music
A computer is like the ‘central hub’ of the recording studio. You can use a computer you already have and then pick out other gear that will work on it. Any computer bought within the past couple of years will probably be more than adequate to record, mix and share audio tracks.
Many musicians prefer to use Apple Mac computers. If you want to purchase a more affordable Mac computer, the Mac Mini is a small, desktop box that connects to an external monitor and it comes with GarageBand which is a basic, easy-to-use recording application.
A simple USB mic and a set of headphones may be all that you need if your kids want to record vocal tracks. If they want to do more than just record vocals, a digital piano is a great option. Sound Halo’s team consisting of seasoned musicians provides in-depth discussions on musical instruments and you can check out this guide on the best digital pianos under $500.
Recording the music
A good microphone can make a big impact on what a recorded voice or instrument sounds like. It’s best to pick a versatile one that can sound good when it records a wide range of frequencies. As it will be used by your kids, you also need to make sure it’s a sturdy one. Microphones use XLR connections with three pins and the other end of the lead must connect to your chosen interface. A microphone stand is also necessary.
A guitar, electric keyboard and other musical instruments will also need leads to connect to the interface. If you want to record vocals, you will need a pop filter. This isn’t expensive and can stop plosives from ruining a vocal recording.
Using an audio interface
It’s necessary to turn the sound signal into something the computer can use. An audio interface is an external sound card with inputs for the instruments and microphones. It is the equipment that gets the recording into the computer.
Most people choose to use a USB audio interface to connect the microphone, speakers and headphones to the computer. Digital audio interfaces usually include some basic software suitable for beginners to create quality recordings.
Editing and mixing the music
Your kids can have great fun recording different instruments and then using an app to play the recordings at the same time to create a sound like a whole band.
There are various different apps available that they can download to have fun messing around and being creative with the music they’ve recorded. When mixing and recording, you don’t want the results to be colored by sounds and fiberglass panels can help to make the room ‘neutral.’
Hearing the music
Having good studio monitor headphones allows your kids to hear more balanced, accurate sounds when they’re making and editing music. Headphones that cover the ears give a much better sound than buds and help stop track sounds leaking into the microphone. For a first pair of headphones, go for closed-back ones for monitoring recording and your kids can still mix on them.