A couple weeks back I mentioned that I wasn't able to get guitar tones going on my home recording setup. I didn't have time to go to one of the professional studios I work out of, and my home setup has become more and more minimalist as the years have gone on.
What was ultimately happening was that my audio interface (at the time it was a Steinberg UR22) was clipping even at the lowest gain setting. This was some pretty poor design, because the interface doesn't have a pad (a button to attenuate the signal a certain amount of decibels). Every direct guitar tone I tried to record sounded horrible. I headed to my favorite music store, traded that Steinberg interface in, and picked up a Focusrite Scarlett Solo.
The first thing to know about Focusrite, is that if I had my way and 100's of thousands of dollars, I'd want a Focusrite board to mix on. I've been lucky enough to use some of their channel strips in the past, and they sound beautiful. Some of my favorite records were also mixed on Focusrite boards.
The second thing, and this is the part that's great for everyone, is that Focusrite seems to keep that quality throughout their product line. To put this into perspective, the Scarlett Solo is only $99. It fixed my clipping problem right away because it had great headroom, and I was able to get back to recording direct guitar tracks that sounded awesome.
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We're living in an amazing time for people who want to record at home, and get a very good product, for not a whole lot of money. I'm able to run my guitar right into the front of the Focusrite, and I'm using Positive Grid's BIAS inside of Pro Tools for amp tones.
If you already have a decent computer, the Focusrite would allow you to get a mic and a guitar, bass, or keyboard in for $99. Pro Tools is now on a subscription plan throughout the year (so you don't have to pay for it all in one shot), and even Apple's Logic is down to around $299. A good pair of headphones and monitors, and you'd be set. All DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) come with a ton of great built in plugins, so you can get your ideas down, and record some great music.
At this point, you truly can't afford to not record. You can have a setup that myself and others only dreamed of having merely 10 or so years ago, for well under $1000. And the benefits of recording yourself are numerous.
You can get song ideas down, make backing tracks for yourself to solo over, send song ideas to friends, hear your playing progress, and so much more. What's your home recording setup? Let me know by reaching out on Twitter or Facebook.