We’ve covered a lot of ground in this chapter. First, you learned that you don’t need the newest, fanciest, most powerful computer in the world to set up your studio. As long as the machine you have meets the minimum system requirements of the software you want to use, you’re in business. Of course, faster is always better, but assuming you need to watch your budget, you can probably get by with a machine that’s even as old as about three years.
We also discussed many audio interface issues. Audio interfaces that come built into most computers are inadequate for the task of multitrack recording, so you need something much better. I advocated for devices that you connect to your computer via a FireWire connection because of the portability and expanded feature set of many of these devices. I also ran down several features that I look for in an audio interface. Ultimately, the most important thing to me is the convenience. Since I prefer to work without a hardware mixer, my audio interface must give me easy access to all the features I need—features that the mixer would normally supply. These features include input jacks, input trim controls, master volume control, headphone jack and volume control, and so on.
Finally, you learned about issues related to monitoring your audio. Near-field monitors make the most sense for a small studio space, and I prefer active monitors because they enable me to eliminate a separate amplifier from my workspace. I also want a quality pair of headphones for when I can’t make much noise. I prefer the enclosed style partly because they prevent sound from bleeding out into the microphone when I’m recording.