Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

How Easy Is It to Record a Song?

By Michael Galvan

 

The music industry today is filled with many artists from all genres striving to share their art with the world. Whether signed to a major record label or recording in the garage, artists make efforts to produce the music they love to make. 

With outlets such as YouTube, SoundCloud, Apple Music, and Spotify, it is much easier to gain exposure online than it ever was before– Just look at artists like  Justin Bieber and The Weeknd who were discovered on YouTube and have since become megastars.

So what does it actually take to record a song?

THE CREW 

In the past, I would assist a friend of mine who was interested in rapping. We would record off of my old Macbook and we would write verses to practice our lyricism. As time went by I would write verses and freestyle with other friends for fun, but nothing to the extent of actually recording a fully fleshed out song.

A group of friends and I decided we wanted to go legit by recording music of our own with real equipment, so we all pitched in to get some. Yes, it can be expensive to properly record a song, but the end product will be so much better for it. However, it isn’t necessary to buy top of the line microphones and laptops, especially if you are new to making music. 

If you decide to invest more into your music in the future, then by all means go ahead. But for starters, the bare minimum will do. 

No matter what kind of music you want to create, it is important to know that practice makes perfect. In our case, we made a hip hop track so our concern is writing rhymes whereas others may learn to play guitar or sing.  We’ve all freestyled for fun in the past and have written verses as well, so it wasn’t anything new to us when writing our song, but we still had to work at it. 

Writing a song can be fairly tough at first, but it’s important to structure your song just right– that means lyrically and musically. When with a group of friends, it is easy to assign verses and the hook to somebody that way everyone contributes to the song, riffing off of eachother to create a nice flow to a track.

“It’s important that everyone’s verse talks about the same topic, that way the song isn’t all over the place,” said my friend Steven Alvarez who has been experimenting with music for some time. “You can write a song about anything, because at the end of the day it’s your song and what you choose to create.”

THE EQUIPMENT

Two of us prospective music artists had MacBook Pro laptops so we were not in need of a computer. If you end up needing one, don’t think you have to get a Mac yourself. Although Mac computers dominate the creative industry, especially music, PCs are also more than able to perform just as well. 

Depending on what software you plan to use (i.e. FL Studio, GarageBand, Logic Pro X, Pro Tools) many programs are compatible with most computers, and it is important to read the hardware and OS requirements before purchasing. If you are a Mac user, GarageBand and Logic Pro X would be great software programs to use. Those who are using PC, FL Studio or Pro Tools would be great programs for those computers.

The paid versions of Logic Pro X and FL Studio allow you to save your projects and includes an extensive amount of drum and sound kits for making instrumentals. The more you experiment with these programs, the more advanced you will become in learning all of their functions.

However, there are cheaper and even free alternatives. GarageBand is free on the App Store for Mac users as well as a trial version of Logic. For Windows users, there are trial versions of FL Studio as well as Audacity that you can use to record with. They may not have all the bells and whistles that are included in the paid package, but for starters they will suffice.

We purchased several items for our homemade studio and set up in one of our rooms. For a microphone, we bought an MXL V67G microphone off of Amazon for $60 as well as a stand and pop filter (needed to keep spit off of your microphone). Although you may use a straight USB connected microphone, we decided to spend a few more dollars on more professional equipment. Since there were four of us involved, it wasn’t too much of a hassle. 

Next, in order to connect our MXL mic to our laptop, we needed an interface that would act as a bridge between both pieces of equipment. We bought a Focusrite Scarlette 2i2 interface for $150 on Amazon again (shoutout to Amazon Prime).

 Since computers and laptops use USB types B and C, the microphone cable type (XLR) wouldn’t be able to directly connect to your computer. This interface allows you to connect your microphone cable to it and has an additional USB outlet for computer connection.

So far, we had spent a little over $200 in equipment that we needed to start recording. There was just one last piece missing, which was our software program. A few of the programs I mentioned earlier for recording can be expensive. Logic Pro X and FL Studio will run you $199 each if you choose to go that route. 

With all our equipment set up in my friend’s bedroom and a quick trip to Pizza Hut for lunch, we were ready to start recording. 

FEEL THE BEAT

Finding beats and instrumentals was easy. A quick search on YouTube will land you with many beats you are free to use. After finding an instrumental we all liked, we wrote verses to go along with it and the recording process began. 

After a few hours of tweaking settings, recording vocals and perfecting the audio, our song had finally been finished. And it didn’t sound too bad at all. We plan to release the song soon on Soundcloud or YouTube once everyone has come up with an artist name.

So is it hard to record a song in today’s world? Not at all. It may take some time and some practice, but it wasn’t as difficult as some people may think. Although it won’t be perfect studio quality, the song itself is decent enough to play and share with others.

Patience is key. You won’t be pros at doing things the first time, but that’s what makes the creating and learning process fun, especially with the right group of friends learning with you.