Audio Recording Software – Home Studios

I’m at the point where I want to start putting more demos together of songs that have been accumulating in the back of my mind, as well as record a couple things of decent quality. In the past, I’ve looked at professional studio recording as the most desirable route, and always saw my home recordings as a stepping stone for final studio versions to come down the road.

Home Studio Sounds vs. Never-Good-Enough Pro Studios
In retrospect, however, some of my favorite recordings are the ones I’ve done myself over the years, in various semi-isolated basements and apartment bedrooms, etc. The recordings were solo efforts with relatively simple orchestrations, and perhaps because of that they have a real naked personality and warmth to them. With my pro studio efforts, good is never good enough. If I’m paying a ton of money for something, I want it to be perfect, but it never is. No matter how much I spend, it’s just not going to sound as good as the major label releases I hear. And that pisses me off. There are analog instruments like the drums, for example, that I’m convinced you need huge studio budgets to get top quality recording sounds.

So instead of spending more money I don’t have on pro studio recordings that I will find fault with, I’m going to focus on bare-bones home demos for a while. It’s really just a few songs that I want to focus on, but I love the intimate nature of hearing the full voice, a guitar, some nice subtle effects and maybe another instrument or two. And given my limited technical knowledge, that’s about all I can successfully capture in my home studio. I also want to venture into electronic instruments, which by their nature don’t require nearly the same level of expense to get good sounds.

Audio Recording Software: Which to Choose?
I’ve been researching again the possibilities for home studio audio recording software, so I may post some reviews of what I look at. In the past I’ve used Digital Performer with great success, but my Mac is old and barely running. Unfortunately it looks like my options are limited to PC platforms for now. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them. I’m considering: Cakewalk, Cubase, Audacity (free open source software for really basic recording), and a few others.