Easy home studio setup for Singer-Songwriter

This summer I have recommenced writing and recording songs by beginning with a simple set up of a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Cloudlifter CL-1, Shure M7B, and MacBook Pro 2020. (Hot Tip: I am finding that writing and recording simultaneously have sped things up. The trick is to record in small units that can be cut and pasted if the structure needs tweaking).

The aim has been to write and record a song every couple of days that explores different contemporary vocal techniques. (Hot Tip: Recording your singing is the best way to learn. As Dame Nellie Melba said – use your own brain).

To keep the summer project from becoming an uncontrollable beast, I set the limitation of using Garageband, my own voice and guitars. (Garageband is free with the MacBook Pro). Eventually, I had to concede to buy a Shure SM57 for the acoustic guitar. This lead to purchasing another Cloudlifter and another interface called a U-Phoria UMC404HD (Hot Tip: Buy an interface that exceeds your requirements at the beginning). I also had to concede by buying an AKAI Professional MPKmini… see what I mean about audio engineering becoming an uncontrollable beast! (Hot Tip: Don’t upgrade your Mac to Monterey! I spent hours on the phone with Apple trying to solve an issue Monterey and the AKAI caused!).

If you only use a midi controller, you will only need the equipment I listed in the first paragraph. I play acoustic guitar which is why I needed the extra mic/equipment in the end. Also, if you use an electric guitar, you will only need the equipment in the first paragraph. Just plug in and record.

Minus the computer, the cost of the setup was under NZD2000 so not too bad. The computer of course is the big-ticket item (NZD4500 or so). However, the new MacBook Pro with the M1 chip is fast and for people like me with no patience, it is worth it. I just love how I can bounce down in lightning speed and take my new song out for a walk on my iPhone. (Hot Tip: Bounce your songs down, go for a walk and get some exercise while you ponder if the song is going anywhere…).

Below are some of the songs I wrote and recorded. Some of my experiments worked and some didn’t. The turnaround time was three days per song. The purpose was to use my own songwriting and the recording process as a learning tool. (Hot Tip: Define your goals when songwriting and recording. Songwriting and recording can easily become a no man’s land if you don’t have an achievable and realistic goal.

In my next posts, I will go into detail about the equipment I used and the mindset needed to change from classical singing to contemporary and move backwards and forwards in a seamless and sustainable fashion.

To listen in full you will need to go to a streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music etc.

Haunt Me
This Will Soon Be Over

Published by Deborah Wai Kapohe

I am a classical singer and guitarist. I have created a project called 'The Lilli Lehmann Project'. The project, lasting from 2020 until 2023, aims to refresh my voice and prepare me to be a singing teacher. The scope of the project is that I am studying Lilli Lehmann's singing book, bibliography, recordings and her reviews, as well as other historical vocal pedagogy. I have chosen this platform in order to blog about my discoveries, demonstrate techniques and exercises, and perform pieces of music. I have done so because I wish to be transparent. I think that if a student is prepared to learn from me then I should stand up to public scrutiny.

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