Back when Chuck Wagner and I were setting up our studio to record and produce the old Countdown show, the cost of setting up a professional quality home audio studio started at several hunderd to a few thousand 1980s dollars! And went up from there, quickly.
Fast forward to today, and you can add studio quality audio to any decent home computer, Windows or Mac, with this sweet little device: the M-AUDIO MobilePre USB Preamp and Audio Interface. Retail it’s not hard to find for around $150 at any decent sized music story like Sam Ash Music, Guitar Center, etc.
What I especially like about this little baby is that it takes its power from the USB bus, so you don’t have to have an extra outlet for it; and it has switchable 48v phantom power, so you can use it with your studio’s good large-diaphragm condenser mike. (You do have a good studio mike, right?) If not, that will set you back between $200 and $1500, depending on the brand you buy.
The audio quality of the M-Audio MobilePre USB is amazingly clean. With decent low-cost audio software like Sound Forge Audio Studio, or even free audio software like Audacity, you can record your voice tracks, with or without a phone patch from your client, and then save the edited audio to a format you can email or upload to your client.
I love this little box. Probably 60 to 65 percent of my sessions are now recorded using it. The rest are done in someone’s professional studio.