If you're an up-and-coming musician and you're looking at creating your own album but don't want to buy your audio equipment yourself and can't afford studio time, then you can always hire. Audio equipment hire is a great option for those who wish to record in the comforts of their own home and don't have the space for a regular studio set-up. It's a profitable business for smaller studios who are now suffering from a lack of support from local musicians who can now record on their own laptops. However, if you want to capture a more professional sound, then hiring good quality equipment and perhaps even a freelance engineer could be the way forward. This guide will give you a basic overview of what to hire for a basic acoustic solo project.
Laptop and DAW
A laptop with a built-in DAW (digital audio workstation) is a must. This is the program that will allow you to record multiple tracks of music, as well as mix it and add EQ and effects. The laptop itself will need to be of a decent quality with a fair amount of processing power and will usually connect to an external sound card that will allow the microphone to connect to the computer.
For a solo guitar project, you probably don't need more than a couple of microphones. A large diaphragm microphone with an omni-pattern pick-up will be great for picking up room ambience and a wide range of frequencies, whereas a ribbon microphone would be perfect for picking up higher, quieter frequencies and the resonance of the guitar's body.
You'll want to listen to your playbacks and mix them. This is where monitor headphones come into play. They are like headphones, but enclose the ears and allow you to listen to the music without enhanced EQ boosts. The flat response will give you a more accurate sound when mixing, allowing you to add effects and frequency boosts/cuts sensibly. Trying to mix on headphones could result in distortions and bass-heavy mixes. Monitor headphones are also portable and a good choice if you don't have room for monitor speakers or adequate soundproofing.
Whilst there are numerous different types of microphones, monitor headphones and recording programs available, if you're on a budget and want something to record with that's accessible to someone with minimal knowledge, then the above equipment is the best place to start.