The notion that computers are only good for making ‘electronic’ music may have long since been dispelled, but we don’t think we’re exaggerating when we say that there are still a few guitarists out there who remain wary of recording on a Mac or PC.
Allow us to reassure you, though: rather than being something to be feared, the computer is actually the recording guitarist’s best friend, particularly if you team it with a few choice pieces of gear from the Focusrite family of brands.
This includes not just Focusrite itself, which offers a wide range of audio interfaces to suit every price and budget, but also MIDI controller specialist Novation and acclaimed studio monitor manufacturer ADAM Audio.
Together, these three companies can provide all the hardware and software you need to record, mix and produce guitar-based music.
Getting down to specifics, if you need a reliable audio interface - the box that’s used to get sound in and out of your computer, basically - may we suggest the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, a perennially popular device that features guitar and mic inputs, high-quality preamps and top-quality sound.
This ships with the excellent Hitmaker Expansion bundle, a carefully curated suite of software that includes a set of plugins that will enable you to shape your vocals (Antares Auto-Tune Access and the Relab LX480 reverb), add crunch to your guitar (the Softube Marshall Silver Jubilee 2555 virtual amp is a top-notch performer), create piano and drum parts (you get the Addictive Keys and Addictive Drums 2 instruments from XLN Audio) and sculpt your sound via high-quality mixing and mastering plugins such as the classic BX_Console preamps and 'Red' EQ and compressors.
Of course, you’ll need a MIDI controller keyboard to play these excellent sounds, and Novation can help you out here with the Launchkey 37, which offers the perfect balance between playability and portability. This is designed to work seamlessly with Ableton Live, the industry-leading DAW, and a Lite version of the software comes in the box. It also offers full integration with Logic Pro, Cubase and Reason, while out-of-the-box support for other DAWs (Studio One and Pro Tools, for example) is made possible by the HUI controller protocol.
Between these two products, then, you have pretty much everything you need to record your songs, but how do you actually hear them?
This is where ADAM Audio has you covered: Its T5V speaker is an affordable two-way nearfield monitor that’s ideal for perfecting your mixes in a small studio, and for those times when you need to work quietly, the premium-quality SP-5 headphones are a godsend.
So, the message is simple: you bring the guitar, the computer and the talent, and Focusrite can help you out with everything else. Who said digital recording needs to be complicated?