DIY Recording – There is no “Top 5 Best” Anything

The Ridiculous “Top 5 Best” Recording Lists – There is no best when it comes to DIY recording.

I keep seeing these lists posted everywhere: “Top 5 Best Microphones For Home Recording,” “Top 5 DAW For the Home Recording Studio, “Top 5 Recording Studio Chairs,” etc. They do not hold much value to me. Firstly, most of the items in these “Top 5″ lists are not even included in my DIY recording arsenal. Are they great? Yeah, most likely. Are they expensive? Probably! And my theory is always, “expensive does not always mean best.” I try to always equip my DIY recording studio with quality equipment and instruments, but I also have to keep my budget in mind the whole time. I am not rich. I cannot effort to by a $5000 microphone. Of course, even if I did have an extra $5000 available, I most certainly would not buy a microphone with a price tag that steep. And honestly, anybody who does purchase a microphone for $5000 needs to have their head examined immediately.

Image of Gold Medal on No Top 5 Best Anything Page

Photo by PDPics / CC0 1.0

Here at Rockin’ DIY, the attempt is to provide budget, but workable, solutions for the DIY recording. Recording is extremely complex. It requires the correct equipment for sure. But it also requires an education in the fundamentals: microphone placement, microphone patterns, sound treatment, etc. Knowing how sound is going to move around the studio and what effects the walls and other surfaces are going to have on it is essential. What good is fancy equipment if you cannot capture a good sound in your DIY recording space? I mean, I suppose you could spend hours cleaning up the sound and processing the heck out of the mix, but why do that? Use your ears. Experiment. Do not just get on the internet and read a bunch of “Top 5″ lists and blindly say to yourself, “yes, this equipment is the solution.” There is a super amount of subjectivity in recording. What one person likes is not always what another person will want to hear. There is a wide array of recording styles to choose from, and an even more wide array of equipment used to achieve these styles. There really is no right way. Now, do not go too far with this either. There are DIY recordings that sound like crap, and these are recordings that most people can agree suck. Please do not make those recordings.

But back to the point of this article. Do not just read “Top 5″ lists and accept them as truth. They are not. Maybe these lists would be better with titles such as, “5 Quality Microphone Suggestions,” or “5 Quality Recording Studio Chairs” (strangely, I have seen a “Top 5 Recording Studio Chairs” list). And also do not take my opinions as truth. They are just suggestions. I am no expert and do not claim to be. I am a struggling musician just trying to achieve good results without becoming homeless. So do some research. Use your resources. The internet can be your friend (more like a fairweather friend, though). Find out what equipment will work for you. And never forget the fundamentals! Study those first. Understand what you are trying to achieve and what it is going to take to get the desired result.