I have a pretty standard laptop. I have been using the "sound recorder" program on Windows to record musical ideas I want to save. Of course it produces an incredible amount of noise, and not much signal.

What method would you recommend for doing some simple multi-track recording on my computer, without tons of hiss? Mostly I record acoustic instruments. Of course I am willing to buy a microphone (hopefully one that doesn't break the bank). What software/hardware would you recommend?

1 Answer 1


You need a basic level professional audio interface. For working with a laptop, you can get them as USB devices. M-Audio is one of the best known names in the business for more budget options, but they aren't the only game around either. I'd recommend checking out the USB Audio Interfaces section of something like B&H and look for a device that meets your needs and budget.

As an added bonus, many such interfaces include some special versions (or even full versions) of recording software that can get you started with some better quality recording software rather than being stuck using Sound Recorder (shudder).

  • You don't exactly need such (usually crippled) software as comes with many interfaces though. Audacity is supposed to be quite ok and it's free, and Reaper is really good, quite permissive, and cheap with uncrippled gratis-trial.
    – leftaroundabout
    Oct 24, 2013 at 15:20

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