Producing professional sounding music recordings used to only achievable by booking time, at great expense, at music studios where they had $10’s of thousands of dollars worth of recording equipment. Then you had to pay for a professional sound engineer to get everything running, sounding right, and then mixed. The costs and time invested really added up fast. Then after you’ve paid hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a song recorded, you had to struggle to find an audience to play it for.
Over the last couple years home recording technology has made some substantial strides. It has never been easier to create high quality music in your home, and then immediately have the opportunity to share it with millions of people on the internet by simply making a YouTube video. If you do it right you can buy all your own sound recording equipment and software to setup a very high quality home recording studio for the price of one or two sessions at the old school studios. Once you have your own studio setup in you home you can spend all your time and energy recording music, and getting out to your hungry audience.
That all sounds fine and dandy, but knowing where to start is a huge barrier to overcome. Before I spend money on anything I need to know exactly what I need to achieve the exact results I want. When I first started creating my own home recording studio I tried to find the answers, but found a surprising small amount of useful advice. I took months to research everything and decided to make that research available to everyone. That way you can get all the info you need from one place and start recording your own music and share it with the world!
When I started the largest questions I had were:
- What is the required music recording gear needed to start NOW?
- How to I know I am getting high quality kit that will all work together so I’m not wasting money ?
- Can I use any of the music equipment I already have?
- How do I record my songs for my videos?
- What is the best music and video recording software for my computer?
- How do I upload my music videos to YouTube?
- How do I get views for my YouTube music videos?
- Many, many more……
For every question I answered in my research I had at least 5 more pop up. There is just so much to know that it can be pretty overwhelming.
What are the bare minimums needed to make a YouTube music video?
I found that you need 8 basic things:
- A song or something to record. Pretty obvious.
- A place to record and call your studio. This can be a spare bedroom, office, garage, basement, etc…… (Read My Guide To Choosing and Preparing a Room Here!)
- Something to capture your audio with. Usually some sort of microphone. (Read My Microphone Guide Here!)
- Something to capture your video with. A video camera of some sort. (Read My Video Camera Guide Here!)
- A computer or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Where you mix and stores your recorded audio and video. (Read My DAW Guide Here!)
- An Audio interface. A way to convert your audio to something that your computer can understand. (Read My Audio Interface Guide Here!)
- Music and video recording software. Allows you to mix and process your music video. (Read My Music Recording Software Guide Here!)
- A way to listen to what you’re doing. A nice pair of headphones is what I prefer. (Read My Headphone Guide Here!)
The nice part is that while all of these things are necessary, assuming you have a computer and nothing else, you can get going for just over $300 . There is free music recording software available and as you get to know your equipment you can upgrade one piece at a time. This is nice because you will know exactly what you need and which piece of kit will work the best for you.
Any space can be used a home recording studio, though some work might need to be done to properly acoustically treat the room. You don’t want a lot of echoes or random noises screwing up your recording. Something nice to look at or neutral is needed for the background. You don’t want your dirty laundry visible behind you when you’re doing you Metallica cover.
This doesn’t have to be an expensive whole room makeover, but it does require some careful planning and artful use of space. There is a TON of information and variables you need to take into account to get the best sound for your YouTube videos.
This almost goes without saying, but you need some music to make a music video. This can be anything you want. An original song or cover. If you want to quickly build a YouTube audience for you music it is usually a good idea to mix in a little of both. People like hearing familiar songs sung by a new voice. You can sing the song as is, put a completely new spin on the original, or something in-between. There is a huge audience out there for YouTube covers and is a great way to get your foot in the door. Once you start getting subscribers they will begin to notice your original music and start looking for your name next to the Top 100 artists.
Knowing which songs to cover and how to do it is a science in itself which I will be discussing in greater detail.
Do you need a microphone with a cardioid pattern or supercardioid pattern? Should you get one with an XLR connection or USB? Is a large diaphragm better? Why do I have all this extra noise and interference in my recording? Can I use the same microphone for my vocals as I use on my guitar, piano, or drum kit? Which microphones sound better for males and which for females?
There are hundreds of microphone choices out there and each one has a different use. The microphone built into your laptops webcam is NOT sufficient for this. You will sound like your singing and playing into a potato. At the same time though you don’t want to spend $1000 on a high end microphone when you could have gotten the same quality of recording with a $100.
Knowing which type of mic is best for your specific use, how to properly set it up, and how to post-process the sound is more important to your finished sound than the price of the mic.
Gone are the days when using your laptops webcam was an acceptable way to create a YouTube music video. You need a high definition video to just be among the average videos. I can teach you some cool tricks to stand out and be noticed.
You don’t need a multi-thousand dollar camera to have a professional music video, and having the best video camera doesn’t mean your video will be any good anyway. You need to know how to do it right and look great.
The computer you use to record and mix your music is called a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). If you already have a computer available to you then it will work. If not, then don’t need to run to the Apple store and buy the most expensive one available.
Whatever you have, you can make it work and I can tell you how. On the other hand, if you want to buy a fancy laptop that can whip though all the audio and video processing then I will tell you exactly what you need and what you don’t.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what this is. Depending on how you record your audiovideo and what type of equipment you use will determine what, if any, audio converter you need.
If you are using USB microphones then a separate physical audio recorder might not be necessary. If your microphone uses XLR cables, you can’t just plug them into your computer directly and will need a go-between to convert the signals into something your computer understands.
Music and Video Recording Software
There are as many types of software to record music and video as there are any other home studio equipment. Each one has its pluses and minuses. Each one has a different way of doing every little thing and requires a learning curve to use. I will teach you how to get the most out of a variety of free and non-free recording software so you end up with music you can be proud to share.
A Way To Listen To Your Music
Laptop speakers, Hi-Fi system, $5 earbuds or $300 headphones. You need something to be able to listen to your music as your working on it. While the $5 earbuds can get you started, you will need to upgrade sooner or later. There are a lot of details and subtly to listen for when making professional sounding recordings. Even if you can’t hear the low hiss of some interference, the street noise in the back of the recording, or the subtle differences in your vocal performance on your earbuds, someone with their Audio Technica headphones can.
Quality speakersheadphones are important and knowing which ones to get for your sound is something to carefully consider.
This article was just an extremely brief and high level overview of a few topics. I am excited to go into great detail, teaching you how to create professional sounding music videos. I can tell you how to maximize your exposure on YouTube and generate a large following of dedicated subscribers.
As you can see the more questions you answer, the more you think of. “How to make a YouTube video” is not a simple question. If you are serious about getting your music out there for the world to see you need to put in a lot of work, It is definitely worth it to see your music entering and changing people lives but, if your music looks and sounds like you recorded it with your parents 1980’s video camera, you’ll never get the change.