Home recording software (we’re talking audio recording here;)) is widely available these days, and ranges in price from $0.00 up to thousands of bucks. There is always the question of what you want your home recording software to do for you. Capability and features are numerous, so it’s best to know what your recording needs are. If you aren’t sure what you’re needs are yet, but you know you want to start recording audio from home, the answer is simple. Get the free kind! One such program, called Audacity, comes immediately to mind.
Audacity is open-source software and will cost you no money! The crazy thing is that it’s a pretty amazing and capable program. For example, folks usually need two different kinds of audio program (at least!); a multi-track recording program whose main function is to record, import, and mix many audio sources; and an audio editor, which works on one audio file at a time, but allows you to make lots of changes to the audio and make them permanent. Audacity can do both! You can learn the basics or audio recording, mixing and editing with Audacity.
Another good reason for choosing it over other free recording software is that so many people have done tutorials on line that you can learn a lot very quickly about Audacity. By the way, I have no affiliation with them at all;). I just think they have a killer product.
Eventually though, you’ll want a bit more capability than Audacity has, such as midi and more audio features. Do you have to jump from free to hundreds of dollars to make this upgrade? Nope. For $39 you can have yourself a very capable midi and audio program that I used for years for all my midi needs. It’s called PG Music Power Tracks Pro, which you can snatch up from Guitar Center here: PG Music PowerTracks Pro Audio 2010 Software Standard. But for the most amazing deal of all, you should get thee to the internet and download a program called Reaper, by Cockos (again, no affiliation;)).
Not only can this program do just about anything and everything and audio editor like Audacity can’t (features list is too long to go into in one article!), but their “honest business model” and “fair pricing” schemes are unheard of. Their 30-day trial is fully functional and never expires. You are required to purchase a license after 30 days of trying it out, but if you need more time for any reason, Reaper will keep on working, just with a reminder when it starts that it isn’t “free,” and that you need to buy a license. They actually rely on the honesty of their customers!
Their fair pricing model offers two separate prices for the exact same product, depending on whether you use Reaper for mainly personal reasons ($60), or for commercial purposes ($225). And get this, YOU get to decide which category you’re in. They even help you out by defining commercial use as “using Reaper for commercial use, and the yearly gross revenue exceeds $20,000.” So basically, until you make 20-grand in a year with audio you produced with Reaper, you can use it legally for $60.
There are obviously many other choices for a starter studio. I tried to focus on not breaking the bank for this post. I’ll write more posts in the coming days on a wide range of other home recording software choices. This ought to do ya until then. Learn more about how to get the best from your PC recording studio at Home Brew Audio. Ciao!