Most tutorials here on Audiotuts are aimed at an intermediate and advanced levels. But there is definitely room for beginners here too, so each month we publish 2-3 Basix tuts. Here are 26 tuts to jump-start your home recording.
Basix tutorials don’t make assumptions about what you know. They start from the beginning, and explain all terminology. They are a way that beginners can train themselves up to the level where they can begin to tackle the other tutorials on the site. You can access all of our Basix tuts by clicking “Basix” on the top navigation bar of the site.
There’s a lot to learn when starting off in audio. These tutorials cover: setting yourself up for home recording; choosing and learning a DAW; best practices for recording and mixing; enhancing your sound with effects and EQ; creating new sounds with synthesisers; capturing the outside world with microphones; composing music and writing songs.
But we’re not finished yet. We’ll continue bringing you 2-3 Basix tutorials each month. What topics would you like to see covered? Let us know in the comments.
Setting Yourself Up for Home Recording
There is a lot to consider when setting up a home recording studio: computer hardware and software, musical instruments, MIDI controllers, audio interfaces. These tuts will get you started. Is there something we haven’t covered yet? Let us know in the comments.
1. A Beginner’s Introduction to Home Recording
Home recording technology seems to get better and cost less every year. It puts power in the hands of ordinary people. Most of our tutorials here at Audiotuts are at the intermediate or advanced level, but we do have some more basic tutorials and articles aimed at the beginner. This article will refer to many of them, and hopefully give you an overview of what’s involved in getting into home recording.
2. A Basic Guide to Acoustic Treatment
After touching on the critical subject of acoustics and room treatment in a few recent tutorials, I felt it was fitting to create a basic guide to acoustically treating your work space. Of course this is an extremely technical subject and this tutorial in no way claims to be the definitive guide to acoustic treatment, but these tips and guidelines should get beginners up and running and generally help to clarify the whole subject of room acoustics.
3. How to Manage & Minimize Latency in Your Audio Projects
Whatever genre you are working in and whatever DAW you use to produce your music, it is likely you have suffered from latency issues at some point. Whether you are aware of it or not latency can be a real problem in the modern digital studio and can really effect your workflow. To help you tackle this tricky subject I’ll break it down into easy segments, starting with what latency actually is and following onto subjects such as optimizing your system and how to tackle latency throughout your workflow.
4. How to Configure Your Axiom Control Surface with Logic Pro 9
MIDI controllers with control surfaces are quite common and affordable these days. They can control just about any aspect of your DAW, but their strength is in allowing you to control the DAW while at the keyboard as opposed to being used for a mixing session after tracking is finished. Since the Axiom doesn’t come with any Logic presets, let’s take a look at how to configure all those buttons, faders and knobs from withing Logic.
Choosing and Learning a DAW
One of your major decisions will be the choosing your DAW – the digital audio workstation software that will be the center of your audio universe. If you’re on a Mac and budget conscious, you may opt to begin with GarageBand, and move on to Logic Pro when you feel you’re ready. The tuts below will help. If your computer is running Windows, you might want to start with these articles: 7 Free Digital Recording Apps for Windows, 8 Free, Cross-Platform Apps for Musicians. If you’re familiar with Linux, check out Why Linux Could Be Your Next Digital Recording Studio and 29 Music-making Apps for Linux.
5. How to Compose Song Demos in GarageBand, Part 1
GarageBand is easy to use, feature rich and affordable, making it a perfect compositional tool for aspiring songwriters. In this three part tutorial, I’d like to show you how to develop your guitar riffs and chord progressions into fully fledged song demos using GarageBand’s built in tools. In this first part, we’ll cover some basic orientation and get started on developing some ideas.
6. How to Compose Song Demos in GarageBand, Part 2
This is the second of a series of tutorials covering the basics of song demo production in Apple’s GarageBand. The aim of these tutorials is to show you the basics of recording your own song demos, covering the elements of the creative process as well as how to use the software.
7. How to Give Life To GarageBand Tunes With Automation
GarageBand is a powerful all-in-one DAW and can be used for simple podcast creation to full-blown song production. While its interface is significantly different than its older siblings (Logic Express and Logic Pro), it still packs a number of powerful features that might otherwise escape the average user.
8. Understanding Logic Pro’s Environment
The Environment is the core of Logic. It can be the cause of a lot of confusion (and even fear!) for new and even more experienced Logic users. In the first of three tutorials that focus on the Environment I’m going to explain exactly what the Environment is and why it makes Logic the most flexible and advanced MIDI sequencing package on the market.
Best Practices for Recording and Mixing
Recording requires as much technique as it does taste. You’ll get much better results if you record the right way. Find out how in these tutorials from the experts. What else would you like to learn about recording and mixing techniques? Let us know in the comments.
9. How to Use the Sound Cube to Plan Your Recording
If you don’t lay down plans before you get into the studio, you’re asking for trouble. If you don’t, the sounds are going to end up clashing for attention and the song is going to sound like it was thrown together unless you figure out what you’re doing in advance and plan accordingly. Which instruments will be up close, in your face, in the mix? Which ones will be far back? Which instruments will dominate the high frequency spectrum and which ones belong in the bottom? These are just a few opening thoughts, and by no means the whole shebang.
10. How to Record Vocals in a Bedroom
Recording vocals can be one of the more challenging tracking phase processes you may run into. If it wasn’t enough of a tough cookie in the studio, you can be sure it’s a daunting task in a bedroom (or a home office or any other room you’ve set aside for recording fun that wasn’t purpose-built for it). The sad truth is that you can’t get pro quality vocals happening at home. But you can improve the sound by a mile if you’re armed with a few tricks and tips, and that’s what I intend to give you.
11. How to Record the Acoustic Guitar
Recording acoustic instruments can be scary for beginners. In this day and age many people just plug in and play their instruments, electric guitars, basses and synths, never needing to record an instrument except the odd vocal track. True as it may be that we get better sounds out our guitar plug-ins and software synths with every update, we must not forget how to record a ‚Äúproper” instrument, in the real world.
12. How to Mix the Bass Guitar
The bass guitar, along with the drums is the foundation of the rhythm section. It needs to sound deep and punchy without overpowering other elements in the mix. We need the bass guitar to groove and supply us with a steady rhythm as well as defining the melodic and chordal structure of the song.
Enhancing Your Sound With Effects and EQ
Effects and EQ are there to enhance the sounds you’ve already recorded, but if you use them the wrong way you’ll achieve the exact opposite. The following three tuts will get you started with EQ, delay and compression. There’s so much more to learn. What would you like us to cover next?
13. 8 Easy Steps To Better EQ
Knowing how to use an equalizer is a fundamental skill for anyone working with audio, yet it is one of the most abused. Here are some tips and tricks for using your EQ more effectively. You’ll notice there are more don’ts than dos on this list; that’s because EQ is best when used in moderation.
14. Getting to Grips with Digital Delay
Sometimes it is good to go back to basics, and I thought it would be helpful if I were to cover the essential building blocks of music production. Digital delay is an effect that is used time and time again in mixes and it can create all sorts of useful results.
15. The Beginner’s Guide to Compression
Compression is one of those studio processes that is all too often taken for granted and not used to its full potential. Today’s producers think nothing of inserting compressors on every single channel of their DAW when mixing, but old school engineers had to learn to make the most of only a few units of compression‚Äîand this made us learn them inside out.
Creating New Sounds With Synthesizers
When I got my first synthesiser in the 80s, I felt there was no sound I couldn’t make. I spent hours creating new patches, and experimenting with knobs and sliders. But there are so many parameters to tweak and concepts to learn that it can seem overwhelming. Here are three tuts to get you started.
16. A Basic Guide to Subtractive Synthesis (Part 1)
This screencast is the first tutorial in a series on synthesis. This first installment shows a basic guided tour of Subtractor in Reason and covers oscillators, filters and envelopes.
17. A Basic Guide to Subtractive Synthesis (Part 2)
This is the second part in a series of screencasts about subtractive synthesis. In this part we take a close look at modulators, LFOs and external controllers. Hope fully these two tutorials will give you a basic all round knowledge of a standard subtractive synthesiser.
18. Your Guide to Getting Started with Synthesis in Reason
A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that reproduces a variety of sounds by generating and combining signals of different frequencies and waveforms. Propellerhead’s Reason features various forms of synthesis, and it’s often difficult for the user to decide which synthesizer to use. In this tutorial, we’re going to explore the art and the science of synthesis, as well as discuss how Reason’s synthesizers can be used, and in which situations you should use them.
Capturing Sound With Microphones
Make the right start by buying the right mic, and using it the right way. These tuts will get you started.
19. The Beginner’s Guide to Microphones
We’ve published a few lists of microphones for those in the market before, but we’ve never given you a proper introduction to microphones before today. Microphones are generally not well understood and one of those key elements that gives away a home recording is the wrong microphone used for the job. It’s actually quite easy to make microphone decisions if you know the basics, whether you need to pick one out or place it properly.
20. Making Your Microphone Placement Work
Miking up an instrument isn’t an easy thing. It’s not like a digital camera where you point towards what you want to capture and then click. Super cool vacation photo! You might not end up with a great photo, but you can certainly make it better afterwards. Not to offend photographers, but in audio, if you have a lousy source sound from the beginning, you are going to end up with a lousy mixed sound in the end.
21. 10 Best Affordable Microphones for the Home Studio
Making music is perhaps one of the most expensive hobbies in the world‚Äîthat is, aside from tasting truffles. When you’re looking to set up a decent home studio, it’s hard to find a way to stay within budget without ending up with a terrible sound. Here are ten options to minimize expenditure while still getting a decent sound out of your system at the end of the day, by buying smart when it comes to one of the most important types of studio equipment: microphones.
Composing Music and Writing Songs
Are you hoping to write your own songs? Understanding some music theory will help you write better music. Understanding the process of songwriting will help you write better songs. While you’ll need to come up with your own inspiration, these tuts will help you with the “perspiration” part of the equation.
22. Beginner’s Guide To Songwriting – Part 1
This tutorial is the first in a series focused on showing complete beginners how to write a simple song. This series will focus predominantly on the process of writing a song, rather than the specific software and hardware techniques, skills and applications you might need in the recording, mixing, and mastering of that song.
23. Beginner’s Guide To Songwriting – Part 2
This BASIX tutorial is the second in a series focused on showing complete beginners how to write a simple song. This series will focus predominantly on the process of writing a song, rather than the specific software and hardware techniques, skills and applications you might need in the recording, mixing, and mastering of that song.
24. Beginner’s Guide To Songwriting – Part 3
This is the third tutorial in a series focused on showing complete beginners how to write a simple song. This series will focus predominantly on the process of writing a song, rather than the specific software and hardware techniques, skills and applications you might need in the recording, mixing, and mastering of that song.
25. The Basic Functions of Harmony
“All you need is three chords and the truth.” At it’s core, all music can be considered an interplay of tension and release. The degree of tension can come from dissonance vs. consonance, orchestration, dynamics, or a hundred other musical elements. The key to using tension and release is balance. One reason great chord progressions sound good is because they are well balanced in their use of tension and release. In this tutorial we’ll examine the very basic steps of harmonic progressions to understand how this balance works.
26. Using Pedal Points
The pedal point is a common compositional device with a range of useful purposes. In this tutorial we’ll learn what a pedal point is and how it can be used for a variety of functions.