easy is right
As with all equipment, I like preamps and I-O interfaces that run smoothly and don’t disturb the creative flow. My Universal Audio ‘Apollo Twin’ ticks all my personal boxes for home recording. The audio quality and onboard effects are impressive, and two channels are all you need for the kind of music I do. In fact, not having more helps me keep things simple.
The Apollo runs smoothly with Apple Logic, my favourite DAW. Apart from the ease of use, I also like the way Apple don’t keep charging you for updates. So far, I’ve never had issues exporting WAV files to a ProTool studio environment.
In my opinion, home recording is a dangerous drug. Before you know it, those innocent, playful sessions turn into dark, serious all-nighters fuelled by endless cups of coffee (gasp). Instead of playing music, you spend all your time deliberating which gates and compressor settings might work best – only to delete them later on when you realise that actually, they don’t.
Financially too, it’s a bottomless pit. There’s always a New Shiny to covet: the one that will transform your recordings and make everything ok at last … and somehow never does. You can spend a lot of money chasing rainbows.
Or, as in my case, you can just stop. These days I use home recording for two things only: as a quality control tool for my singing and playing (tape don’t lie), and to mess around with new songs in a lo-res, what-do-we-have-here kind of way.
Once I’ve got all the rocks out of the road (and only then), I go to a professional studio and do it properly. Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it? I think so – but only if you find a studio (person) who’s completely on your wavelength. Read my studio posts for more on that.