There are two types of recording. Analog and Digital. Since this is the Modern newbie files we will only be talking about digital recording on computers even though there are digital recording consoles out there that doesn’t require a computer.
Now the most important thing in computer recording is the sound card. It is what determines how well your computer handles audio. Also most of you will be using the built in converters in your audio interfaces (or sound cards) and that is what determines your sound quality of how you hear your music coming through the speakers and the sound quality of the audio going in to your computer during recording.
The most important thing to do when choosing a sound card to buy is to make sure it has an ASIO driver. ASIO drivers are what allow a sound card to function at a much faster speed so that you have much less latency (see footnote for definition).
There are three types of sound cards to get. PCI, Firewire, and USB. PCI is the fastest, Firewire is the second fastest, and USB is the slowest. Fastest isn’t always best though. The most important thing is quality. The quality of a sound card is based on drivers, power supply, converters, and analog stage. I will make some recommendations on sound cards later as well as provide a guide to picking the best one for you.
Computer Types: You have Windows based systems and Apple systems. Both are equal. Mac’s don’t get viruses as easily and usually come with better parts from the factory but pc’s that are built well are just as good.
Take note that although Windows 7 is the current windows system there is not full support for it yet. Hopefully soon there will be. Same goes for 64bit operating systems.
[Latency refers to a short period of delay (usually measured in milliseconds) required for the conversion between analog and digital representations of the sound data.]