With the typical laptop able to record an entire studio album using only tools the average layperson can afford, independent musicians are already light years ahead of the garage musicians of the twentieth century. Yet even today, home recording studios are changing faster than ever. Here are four of the most remarkable new innovations available to you.
The physical music studio is a magic place, not unlike the practice room or family garage, where artists gather to collaborate and create new sounds that weren’t there before.
But the Internet is a magic space, too, and it reaches into the households of virtually every musician reading this. Much like classrooms, churches, government facilities and much, much more, many music studios are moving onto the Internet where collaborators can meet without having to go anywhere.
Today, it is possible to record five instrumentalists over the Internet, even if the individual players are on five separate continents, live and in real time.
Music in the Cloud
Cloud computing pretends it’s a miracle, but really it’s just moving your data from a local hard drive to storage in a server somewhere. The legitimate benefit this provides is that you can access that data from anywhere, anytime, whereas your hard drive at home is far more localized.
Digital Audio Workstations are moving to the cloud, too, so that you don’t even need to install software on your home computer to use them. DAW’s like Avid, Pro Tools and Ohm Studio have developed methods for mixing, recording and other audio manipulation in the cloud so you can walk into your music studio from a computer anywhere, anytime.
What’s the trade-off? Less control over your data, maybe, but that’s a harder stretch every day.
Networked VoIP for Recording
If you look inside a traditional studio, the first thing you notice is the mixing board. The second thing is all the cables: big cables, small cables, thin cables, thick cables, cables with Y’s on the end, cables with funny attachments the purpose of which you couldn’t begin to guess.
Digital music recording looks plenty less complex, but in reality that array of cables is still there in the form of different softwares and hardwares which communicate all these different sound signals differently – but more-or-less accurately.
Networked audio over IP aims to eliminate that “more-or-less.”
Anyone who has gotten a message while putting music on their phone saying their phone might not be able to play the audio file has experienced what happens when your DAW doesn’t have the right “cable,” so to speak.
Networked audio over IP is a standard protocol. There’s just one cable for every job. That’s cleaner in terms of both practicality and sound quality. Dante and RedNet have already made this (overdue?) dream a reality, and others are in development.
No look at current technological innovations is half-complete without mentioning VR. VR is real, it is happening, it is successful, and it continues to grow day by day.
Anymotion and Audio Fusion already have virtual reality music studios available, and alternatives have been cooking for months. You can use the above three technologies in conjunction with VR to play and record music with your fellow musicians virtually in the same room.
But why collaborate in a virtual garage or stuffy studio? You can record just as well in any simulated atmosphere which might help set the tone of what you’re doing.
Imagine recording heavy metal in a rainstorm on the parapet of a Norwegian castle. Imagine recording adult contemporary music on the golden plains of the African savanna attended by wildlife. Imagine recording a live show played in the streets of Rome or Paris? Even Abbey Road Studios has been accessible from your living room for a while, now, thanks to a special experience designed by Google a while back.
All these things and much more can be utilized by the modern musician.
Keep your eyes and ears open for what’s coming next.