Songwriters need to be able to save their ideas down on some type of media at any given time (you don’t want to lose a great idea because you didn’t save it while it was still in your head do you?). CD’s use to be the main media, but now its pretty much all on some sort of hard drive device – SD Card, Thumb Drive, Hard Drives, Cloud Drives, etc. Recording is all digital, easier to record, less noise, and higher quality. I will not go into great detail on this Recording Devices menu page, but I will cover a few things that you need to know about recording devices (mostly my opinion on the recorders that I own).
I own a very small mini 4-track digital recorder, an iMac with Pro Tools and Logic Pro X on it, and also use the small voice recorder on my iPhone – I will describe the reasons for using these devices, and why I really need all three of them. As you will see, I have a specific purpose for each of these recording devices.
The Voice Recorder
Ideas for songs can pop up at any time, and if you don’t record it quickly, you may not remember it. For example, when I am on my way home from work, and a song idea pops into my head, I usually cannot remember it by the time I get home. So instead of purchasing a small voice recorder for this application, I had this great idea (excuse me for being slow lol) to check my iPhone to see if something was available – and of course there was (I guess I was the only one that didn’t know that). I figured that the sound quality would be sufficient for saving ideas, and now I would have a way to save my ideas (any place, anytime). All I do is hum or sing the melody or verse into the recorder, and then when I get home, I save it as an “MP3” on my computer. Don’t underestimate the power of this simple recording device…
I highly recommend having a Voice Recorder ready and available to record those ideas that just pop up from time to time. You never know, it could be the melody you’ve been waiting for…
The Boss Micro BR-80 Portable Multi-Track Recorder
This unit is a little bit larger than an iPhone, but it is packed with all kinds of features. It is also being marketed as “The World’s Smallest Pro Studio.” This thing is really incredible and very powerful. See the dealer item description / features below.
Plug into the Ultimate Micro Studio
Small enough to fit in your pocket, the BOSS MICRO BR BR-80 is the ultimate new portable recording and jam-along tool and Recording Devices for guitarists and other musicians. It’s equipped with three modes to create, record, and perform your music: an eight-track MTR (Multi-Track Recorder) mode; an eBand mode for onstage backing tracks and phrase training; and a Live Rec mode for instantly capturing high-quality stereo recordings. You can even combine the three modes seamlessly. Record your phrase ideas using Live Rec mode, for example, and then import the recordings into MTR mode to use as foundations for song production. Once you’ve added tracks, import your finished songs into eBand mode for backing-track accompaniment at the gig. The MICRO BR BR-80 is truly a must-have for all musicians!
- Three modes: MTR (multi-track recorder), eBand, and Live Rec
- Records directly to SD/SDHC memory card (up to 32 GB)
- High-quality stereo condenser microphone built in for instant audio capture
- 64 V-Tracks and eight simultaneous playback tracks
- eBand function for phrase training and play-along tracks
- Huge library of built-in backing and rhythm patterns
- World-class COSM® amps and effects onboard
- Use as a USB audio interface with built-in effects
- SONAR X1 LE software included
ASIO and VST are trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH. Gracenote® is a registered trademark of Gracenote, Inc. The Gracenote logo and logotype, and the “Powered by Gracenote” logo are trademarks of Gracenote.
The main reason for using this portable device is because it is very convenient to use. It’s one of those recording devices that fits right in your guitar case so you can use it anywhere, at anytime (it runs on batteries also), and the sound quality is very impressive. It’s a very convenient piece of gear to have. After about an hour, I was very familiar with the unit, it was fairly easy to learn and use. Another reason I use the unit is to record my songwriting ideas. If I want to hear what my chord progression sounds like to a drum track – it’s available. A couple times, I was actually going through the drum tracks, and came up with ideas for songs. Weird, but that’s how it happens sometimes…
Logic Pro X / Garage Band
These are two of the most popular and easy to learn recording devices (software programs) to record your songs with. And, they are great software packages for songwriters. You can build drum tracks for your songs – real professional sounding drum tracks. There are thousands of loops (for every instrument you can imagine). Let me tell you that this is a very powerful songwriting tool, and once you check it out, you will want it, trust me. The “learning curve” is not as long as you would think. This is the perfect tool for making demos and masters of your songs. The effects packages that come with the software are incredible. I have this software and for $200 you cannot beat it. Click on the picture for more information!
Pro Tools (AVID)
I recently purchased a Mac from a friend that has the Pro Tools software on it. Once you see for yourself what this software is capable of, and how powerful it is, you will want it, trust me. There is a long “learning curve” for some, shorter for others. But it is perfect for making demos and masters of your songs. The effects packages that come with the software are incredible and easy to use. There is other software out there that can do the job. I am sticking with Pro Tools (since I paid a lot of money for the Mac and software – but mostly because it is one of the most powerful recording softwares on the market).
What do you really need vs. What do you really want?
Look, do you really need all these Recording Devices? I can tell you that all I really needed to do my demos is the Boss Micro BR, but having Pro Tools now lets me go the distance. I can be more creative, and come up with a finished product, ready to be sold on iTunes. Ask yourself, do you really need Pro Tools for what you are doing? I can tell you that having Pro Tools is very cool, but mostly it saves me time and money. Can you afford it? And will your wife allow you to purchase it? I started out with the basic recorder, and worked my way up to the really good stuff. If you just can’t afford to go the Pro Tools route, there are other less expensive options out there for you to choose from. The bottom line is to get your ideas down, and start working on your songs.
It’s one thing to write a song, but it’s another thing to be able to record the song and then listen back to it. Allow others to listen to your songs – so you have someone to provide you with some feedback. Multi-track recorders / software allow you to experiment with ideas, and create the music you want others to hear. All the equipment / software mentioned above are great for creating demos, masters, and making CD’s (digital copies) of your songs (so you can sell on iTunes, send them out to Record Companies, or to songwriting contests, etc).
There’s nothing like writing songs, but it’s much better when you are able to share the songs with others – so go out and get yourself a multi-track recorder or software, what are you waiting for?