Standalone Recording Studio Items

Standalone Recording Studio Items

Home recording forums can sometimes provide excellent answers. This article is based on one of these – but it started with a well-expressed question.

I have:

  • a set of Roland electric v-drums with MIDI in and out
  • a keyboard with MIDI
  • an electric guitar and bass
  • various effects processors
  • a laptop computer

I want:

  • to buy a cheap setup to record all of these instruments.
  • doesn’t have to record all the instruments at once
  • to be able to lay down at least 2 tracks at a time

I’ve read a good bit about recording and I’m still very confused. I’ve also checked out a lot of products online. I don’t want to get super technical…

Is there a single piece, stand alone recording system that I can buy to accommodate all my instruments without having to go out and buy 20 different things just to record 4 to 8 tracks?

If not what do I have to get?

I want:

  • to record my guitar
  • to hear it played back while recording my drums
  • to lay down some bass while hearing everything else
  • to lay down some keyboard the same way

I need: a SIMPLE explanation PLEASE!!!


There are a lot of ‘stand-alone” solutions out there.

These are basically a computer dedicated for recording only. Costs can run up into the thousands, it just depends on what features you can and can’t live without.

This is such a hard topic to give advice on because there are so many different approaches to it. I have invested about $25,000 in my studio, but not everyone has to go to that extreme.

First look at your funds

The main limiting factor to consider is your budget. For example, if you have only $3000 then getting a new computer setup does not make sense since that would eat half of your budget.

Then ask “What are my goals for my Music?”

  • If it is just for a hobby then you can skimp a little here and there.
  • If you want to sound like a Pro, you are going to have to invest some serious dollars.

In Jason’s case considering his laptop.

  • What speed is the processor?
  • How much RAM does it have? Can you put more in if needed?
  • What speed is the hard drive?

If it is only 5400rpm you are not going to be able to do much on it and you will need an external 7200 rpm firewire drive.

  • Do you want to go the software route for recording?

Seems I’m raising more questions than answers.

I saw a funny post on another website the other day…

This guy, (a kid I believe) wanted to know what to buy so he could take his computer into the garage, set up a studio, and start charging bands to record them. He had no clue about recording, and along with the advice on where he could get some “cheap” equipment to buy, he wanted someone to give him a rundown on how to record a 3 piece band.

Now there’s a recipe for disaster!

The technology and science that gets a good recording is pretty complicated. Not to mention that there is a lot of equipment you don’t need, or could use another way to get the same result.

For instance, you want to record guitar, your midi drums and bass.

Your midi drums don’t need to be mic’d since they are midi. (Though you may want to upgrade the sounds for those drums.) In fact you don’t need to mic anything if you don’t want to (unless you want to have vocals). You can buy a decent preamp along with an amp/cabinet emulator and go direct.

This has been an option since the early ’90s. As the technology has evolved, so have the choices of how to go about different tasks. There are now so many choices that it is very confusing if you are not experienced in this area.

After doing this stuff for 20 years, I am glad I have everything I need. -few salesmen at the stores are going to look out for your best interests…