More producers and musicians are creating their own in-home studios where they can record and create their own music than ever before. Recording vocals is one thing. But recording musical instruments is a lot more intricate. Today we will look at recording a flute. What you will need to record flute at home and things to keep in mind.
Why Record Flute?
Hiring a studio can be pretty pricey. And with the pandemic, many musicians were stuck at home without a way to record their music. But getting a home studio setup gives you all the power. I love playing with different sounds and exploring something unique. A studio at home gives you the power to do that.
Recording musical instruments can be tricky, however. Listening to someone playing the flute is one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. It sounds naturally full and brings a lot of sounds to life. But recording the flute can be much harder. You don’t want your stunning flute playing to be overshadowed by the noises of breathing. That means you need to aim the mike in a way that will allow it to capture the essence of the sound.
Things You Will Need
Getting ready to record the flute will mean that you need to set up your studio. You will need a few things to ensure that you can record your flute music and create some incredible high-quality sound. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to start setting up your home studio.
If you are just starting to set up your home studio then you can buy equipment and software that work for a budget. There are some potent recording systems and software that isn’t all that expensive and you can learn to create some awesome stuff with this. You can even get some great second-hand gear that can help you to get started.
Some of the things that you will need include:
- A computer
- A Digital Audio Workstation
- A microphone and stand
- Audio Interface and cables
- A quiet space
Let’s look at these things in more detail.
One of the first things that you will need is a semi-decent computer. You could even use some tablets instead of a computer. As long as the rest of the systems and gear that you will use is compatible with the computer or tablet.
This will be the heart of the recording. All the sound and the information will be relayed to the computer and stored or processed there. You could record sound with only your computer and a recording program. But that probably won’t end up being the best-quality recording. You need more to ensure that you achieve the sound that you want.
A Digital Audio Workstation
This is the program or device that takes your computer to the next level of recording. A digital audio workstation or DAW can be run on your computer to record and edit your audio. You will be able to play with the recording and make it clearer, make your voice sound fuller, make the flute brighter, and even add in sounds.
There are many different DAWs available on the market for many different budgets. More expensive DAWs will of course have more features, but if you are just starting and you want to learn how to use a Digital Audio Workstation then you might not want as many features to use.
Just a few examples of great DAWs include:
- Logic Pro X – this is an Apple product that is slightly expensive but it has a lot of features. You can do almost anything when it comes to editing tracks. It is easy to use for first-time users but when you get more confident it will give you a lot of space to expand creatively.
- Reaper – this is a DAW that works on several different operating systems and it comes at a more budget price. But that doesn’t mean that it is a cheap product. There are many music producers that swear by Reaper.
- Pro Tools – this is a product that has a number of different DAWs to choose from. Some are more basic and come with a smaller price tag and others are more expensive but will have any feature you can think of needing. It works on both Windows and Mac. It also works on a number of control surfaces.
- Garageband – this one is very similar to Logic Pro X it just has fewer features and comes in way cheaper. It is a great program for Mac users to start with if they don’t want to spend as much or they don’t need as many features. This is a good option if you just want to record your flute and clean it up a bit, without doing too many edits later.
- Audacity – this one does not have all that many features and it just shines as a great audio recorder. But the price is amazing, you can get Audacity for free. So, if you just want to record flute music without doing a lot with the recording afterward, then you can definitely use this one.
If you love sound and you are a musician then there is a very big chance that you already have a set of headphones. But you need to be able to hear yourself when you record and if you want to do edits later you need headphones that will allow you to hear a lot of detail.
Great-quality headphones are important when you want to record the flute. The headphones that cover the ears, and that are somewhat noise canceling will give you a better idea of the sound that is being recorded.
When you listen to the recording you also want to be able to hear any minor irritating sounds that you need to edit out.
A Microphone and A Stand
This is probably the area where you spend the biggest part of your budget when you want to record flute. Some have felt like they could just record with their computer’s microphone, but the quality will end up being pretty terrible.
Flute music is too delicate to sufficiently capture with a low-end microphone. There are some great microphones that won’t completely break the bank but are still powerful enough to make your recording sound amazing.
There are a number of different types of microphones to choose from and it can become confusing. But one thing to keep in mind is that many popular microphones are made for recording podcasts and not music.
You might even be able to get away with using these to record singing vocals, but they won’t be versatile enough to capture the flute. A lot of the unique dynamic sounds of the flute will be lost if you try recording it with a podcast microphone.
A great option for flute is a studio condenser mic. There are many different ones available and even if you get one for a budget price it will be more versatile and better equipped to record flute music. Since you will be busy playing the flute, and want your mic to remain in one space without moving, you will also need a stand to secure it to.
If you want to take your sound to the next level, you can add a pop filter to your microphone. This will help to cancel out any annoying spitting or breathing sounds that can slip in when playing an instrument like the flute.
It will make your recording sound full and allow the space for the music to shine.
Audio Interface and Cables
This is the piece of tech that ties everything together. You will connect your microphone to the audio interface using an XLR cable. On the other side, you will also use a USB cable and connect the computer to the audio interface.
This will allow you better control of the volume and quality of the music that you are producing and it will then take your recording to the computer. Since the flute has a massive high register, the sound can become distorted when you are recording flute music.
The audio interface will prevent that from happening and ensure that the recording you have just showcases the best of your music.
There are many kits that you can buy that include the audio interface, the cables, and even some of the other components that we have already discussed, like the headphones. It could be cheaper to buy these all together than separately. Just make sure they are all of sufficient quality to work when you record the flute.
A Quiet Space
This is not really one you can buy, but a pretty important step when you want to record great audio. You need a space where your recording won’t pick up a lot of background noise from neighbors, your family, or even noises coming from outside like cars driving in the street.
It doesn’t have to be a completely soundproof room. That will cost way too much and many of us just don’t have the space to achieve this. But a room where you are just mostly separate from the outside or inside noises so they don’t show up in the recording will be perfect.
Another thing to consider is that you don’t want a room that echo’s too much either. There are some instances that an echo can sound pretty cool in a recording. And when you love sound, an echo is always an interesting example of how fast sound travels. But for the most part, it is hard to edit and work with later.
Musicians love rich acoustics in rooms. But when you are recording your music, this can become a negative. You can easily fix that with more pillows or loose carpets in the room. Or even by adding some cloth to the walls and windows.
Other Things to Consider
After you have everything ready to record your flute, there are still a few things left to consider. Like how you will play into the mic and where to place it.
You want the microphone to pick up as much of the rich full flute sound as possible. So, you want to have the microphone close enough to not lose any of the detail in the sound. But you also don’t want the mic to catch all of the sounds of you blowing into your flute.
That won’t sound great as the primary noise. So, you might want to adjust the technique in which you play slightly. You could put the mic close to the flute’s mouthpiece without needing to play into it.
For example, putting the microphone slightly above the mouthpiece and then playing under it. This will allow you to capture all of the rich sounds without catching too many breathing and blowing noises.
What Sound Would You Like to Capture?
You also need to consider the type of sound that you would like to capture. This will impact where you place the microphone too.
You could always start in the middle of the flute and move it up and down until you are satisfied with the results. When you move closer to the mouthpiece it will start to record sound that is brighter and airier. But as mentioned you will then have to be aware of your breathing.
When you get closer to the foot of the flute it will start to record sound that is smoother but slightly more dull. It all depends on your flute and the sound that you would like to achieve in the end.
You could even decide to go with two microphones instead of one. Then you can place each in different positions and later mix the two tracks together to create something really interesting.
Flute music is some of the most soothing and beautiful music on the planet. It can be upbeat and fun or ethereal and whimsical. But recording flute music comes with its own set of challenges. First, you will want to set up your home studio to work when recording flute, and next you will need to consider where to place the microphone to get a high-quality sound that you will be proud of.