Digital Audio Innovations 2018

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.

Remote Recording

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.

Virtual Reality

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.

7 thoughts on “Digital Audio Innovations 2018

  1. I have been a professional musician for over 25 years and nothing can replace humans, being in a room together. If you need anything other than the music itself, and all that it entails, to get inspired…then you’re doing it wrong. You can’t replace tye carpenter, with more and better tools

    1. I’m inclined to agree, Chris, as would most professionals today, I think.

      Your perspective is backed by the fact that much of the technology I wrote about aims to simulate that exact experience.

      It’s going to have to come a long way, yet, and maybe it is doomed to ultimately fail in producing the natural, simple chemistry of a few people in a room. But some people can’t ever have that experience, so it’s a positive thing to have options. (One MondoTunes artist makes blues from the Namib Desert in Africa, one of the most remote locations in the world!).

      I very much like your adage: can’t replace the carpenter with the tools. I’ve not heard that before. Thanks for it!

      Also thanks for reading! Cheers to you.

      -S. McCauley

  2. This is great how the music industry is changing more and more each day. This is really allowing indie music artist to be very creative and truly innovators of the future of the music world. This is also helping us to take innovative steps to promote and market music artist and some unique ways…

    1. It’s true, Tyson.

      New things make for new music and new methods of communicating the music. It’s impossible to tell what we’ll be hearing and how we’ll be hearing it just ten years from now. Heck, maybe even just five years from now!

      Thanks so much for reading,

      -S. McCauley

  3. All that’s pretty awesome, but it still comes down to the to the Song..
    Learn your instrument, write your ass off..!!!
    Then concern yourself with the technology.
    Mr. Jimi
    Ariana Records

    1. Hear, hear, Mr. Jimi.

      Two people with great harmony can knock anyone’s socks off without even a whistle to check their key.

      And heck, a great songwriter can make remarkable music even without the ability to perform it.

      I applaud your perspective.

      Thanks for reading!

      -S. McCauley

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